I Made These Changes to How I Grocery Shop and Now I Save $200+/Month

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I Made These Changes to How I Grocery Shop and Now I Save $200+/Month

Listen, we both know that you could be saving more on your groceries.

I'm not saying you need to hoard 455 rolls of toilet paper or that you need to spend hours cutting coupons, but there are a few weird (and easy) things you can do to save money on groceries each month...

1. Scan Your Groceries When You Get Home

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Did you know that the Nielsen company will pay you to scan your groceries each week? Crazy, right?

Once you sign up to become a Nielsen Consumer Panel family, you'll be asked to simply scan the barcodes on your groceries and send your data off to Nielsen each week. Pretty easy, huh?

If you want to give it a try, you can fill out an application here:

Sign up to be a Nielsen Consumer Panel family here.

2. Take a Picture of Your Receipts

Receipt

Yeah, did you know that you can get cash-back on your groceries just for taking a picture of your receipt?

Here's how it works....

1. Sign up for Ibotta here (you just need a name/email address to start).

2. Browse through the cash-back offers in your area and take note the next time you go to the grocery store (the offers change every week). For example, in my area Ibotta will give me 50 cents if I take a picture of a receipt showing that I bought a gallon of milk and a $1.00 if I take a picture showing that I bought graham crackers. Pretty cool, right? Once you've reached at least $20 in earnings, you can request payment via Paypal or Venmo. And right now, Ibotta is giving new users a $10 sign-up bonus, just for redeeming their first receipt.
Ibotta
3. So, obviously you don't want to buy a bunch of crap you weren't already going to buy. But, this can be an easy way to get a little cash-back for doing something you were already going to do. Also, you can still use coupons on the items you're buying, so this can be a nifty way to "stack" your savings and in some cases, you might be able to get the item for free.

3. Get a Free $10 Amazon Gift Card 


Have you heard of MyPoints? They are a cash-back site that lets you earn rewards by shopping online and printing coupons. We use them all the time at our house, because it’s instant way to save on everything you buy (for example, it gives you up to 5% cash-back on purchases in some categories on Amazon).

But, enough about that, here’s how to get a free $10 Amazon gift card that you can use to buy groceries (or anything for that matter):

  1. Sign up for MyPoints here using your email address (it’s free).
  2. Use the MyPoints portal the next time you need to shop online (it's connected to thousands of stores including Walmart, Amazon, and Target).
  3. As long as you spend $10 at any of those stores, MyPoints will reward you with 1,750 bonus points which you can redeem for a free $10 Amazon gift card.

4. Get Paid Extra to Use Your Coupons

CouponsDid you know that Swagbucks and InboxDollars will actually pay you to print and use the coupons they offer on their website? Here's how it works...

1. Sign up for a free account with both sites (just need a name & email address). You'll earn a free $5 just for signing up!

2. Navigate to the "Coupons" section. There you will find dozens of high-value coupons for everyday items like cereal and toilet paper. Select the ones you want, print them out, and use them in your store like a regular coupon.

But here's the kicker ---- InboxDollars will pay you 10 cents for every coupon you use.

Now, that might not sound like a lot of money, but I'm going to let you in on a little secret: Most of the coupons that you can print on their site are the same coupons you find in your Sunday newspaper or on Coupons.com. They're actually put out by the same people. :)

So, it's free cash for coupons you're probably already clipping. And all those dimes start to add up after awhile…

5. Save $10 on Your Next Grocery Trip for Using a Visa Card

Penny Hoarder assistant editor Justin Cupler shops at a Hudson, Fla., Winn Dixie. Sharon Steinmann/The Penny Hoarder

Couponing doesn’t have to be extreme.

If you swipe a Visa to pay for your groceries (or at restaurants), there’s a tool that’ll automatically find and apply coupons -- for free.

It’s called Trim, and you can register for the bot through Facebook messenger.

If you’ve missed a special or coupon the next time you charge your card, Trim will Facebook message you. Opt to activate the offer, and you’ll get paid for what you missed out on in the next 5-7 days with a statement credit.

If you sign up now, you’ll also get $10 off any grocery purchase of $50 or more -- and let’s be real, that’s not an uncommon occurrence. New users are eligible for up to $40 in cash-back deals as soon as they sign up. 

6. Get Farm-Fresh Meat at Way Below Retail Price

woman cooks dumplings in the kitchen

Zaycon Fresh supplies select, commonly-consumed meats like chicken, beef, turkey, pork and fish in bulk at prices well below what you’ll usually find at your grocery store.

For example, we found boneless, skinless chicken breasts for $1.69 per pound -- about a third of what we pay at our local supermarket!

You’ll buy it by the case, and a 40-pound case of chicken breasts costs $67.60. So you’ll want to clear space in your freezer, but it’s worth it: That’s more than $150 in savings.

The company’s founders applied their grocery industry experience and a unique model to directly supply food to consumers and cut out the middleman.

By hosting sales events at more than 1,200 locations nationwide, Zaycon Fresh is able to provide farm-fresh meats without charging specialty-store prices.

Here’s how it works:

  1. Register for a free account here.
  2. On the day of your local Zaycon sales event, bring your order confirmation to a designated location a short drive from your home, and you get your fresh, delicious, nutritious food.

Bonus: Use promo code FIRST25 to save $25 off your FIRST order of $99 or more. (Offer valid until 6/15/17. It can't be combined with any other offers or promotions and is limited to one use per household.) 

7. Save on Your Entire Shopping List with Retale

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Yep, Retale. Not retail.

We all know the best way to save is by shopping around. But who has time for that? Running all over town is time consuming and kind of annoying, which is why we’ve fallen in love with this money-saving app.

Retale shows you all of the weekly ads from stores in your area. You can search on specific items to find the best deals near you—then add them to your shopping list with one click.

And if you're someone who likes to stack, they even have a tab to discover store coupons to make the deals even better!

Here's a link to download the app on Android.

Here's a link to download the app on iPhone.

8. Earn $20+/Month By Talking About Food

$20

Did you know that the packaged food companies will pay you for your thoughts? These companies are hungry for data on what shoppers think of their products, so paid food panels are becoming more and more common.

Some of these panels are hosted online -- sign up for sites like Vip Voice & Springboard Panel to participate. If you sign up for both, you should easily make an extra $20 or more each month (most surveys pay between $3-$4 each for 20 minutes of your time). Heck, sometimes I fill them out while I’m watching TV.

Larger panels are hosted locally -- these usually require 2-4 hours of your time, but they pay up to $75. Here's how to participate in a local panel.

9. Quit Costco/BJ's/Sam's Club

Sam's Club

Listen -- I shopped at the warehouse stores for years, but it's gotten to the point where you can often buy bulk or wholesale groceries cheaper online.

One of my favorite places to shop is at Thrive Market because you can buy food at up to 50% off retail prices, and the stuff it tends to stock is usually healthier than what I find in the store.

You can get a 30-day free trial through this link. Thrive members report saving an average $200/year

Another smart place to check is the bulk items section on Amazon Grocery. Not only will you save $50/year in membership fees, but Amazon will ship most things to you for free.

Also, do you know about these Amazon-only coupons that are posted each week? For example, this week there are coupons on formula, granola bars, K-cups and more. Just click the coupons you want and Amazon will automatically deduct them from your bill before you check out.

10. Save on Prescriptions

theevening/Getty Images

Different pharmacies sometimes charge different prices for the same medication.

Before you get your prescription filled, call or stop by a few different local pharmacies to see what they charge individuals without insurance.

Or use an app like GoodRx to quickly compare prices across pharmacies and see where your meds are cheapest.

The app also provides coupons -- some could save you up to 80%! You can either print them out or just show them to the pharmacist on your phone.

For example, Penny Hoarder senior media buyer Kelsey Buxton recently needed to pick up a prescription. She was going to order it at Walgreens, but checked the GoodRx app before heading out. It told her the prescription would be cheaper at Walmart, and also provided a coupon.

"I saved $20 on a prescription just for getting it somewhere else," Buxton says.

11. Shop Smart to Avoid the Pink Tax

Pink Tax

Are you worried you’ll pay more for women’s hygiene products versus men’s because of the “pink tax”?

Don’t worry -- it’s completely avoidable! You just have to be a smart Penny Hoarder and look carefully at what you’re buying.

While you might see slight price differences between products marketed towards women versus men, the biggest factor in price is more likely the brand, not gender. So, find the right brand!

For example, when shopping for shampoo, we found that Suave products for men and women tend to be priced the same, while Dove’s Men + Care series is priced cheaper than its lines for women.

And what about deodorant and razors -- commonly seen as the greatest pink tax offenders?

Mitchum and Lady Mitchum deodorants came in at the same price. But, if you prefer Dove, you may want to grab the blue stick to save between 20-25%.

If you’re shopping for razors, we found the “men’s” version may actually cost you more -- almost $14 for a single razor.

However, you can save a ton of money on razors and avoid the pink/blue dilemma altogether with a paid subscription to Dollar Shave Club, which sends you up to five new cartridges each month.

Dollar Shave Club is offering a special promotion for Penny Hoarders now, too! Sign up now to get your first month free (just pay $1 shipping). After that, your subscription is just a few bucks a month.

Good luck Penny Hoarders!

Your Turn: Would you use any of these unusual ways to save money on groceries?

This article originally posted here.

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. By checking out this featured content, you help us bring you more ways to save! Lastly, General Mills has sponsored the placement of Betty Crocker, Tablespoon and Pillsbury in this post. We appreciate them sharing money saving tips with our readers!