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

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Overhead image of food aisles in a grocery store
Honest Abe

Disclosure:

Some of the links in this post are from our sponsors. We’re letting you know because it’s what Honest Abe would do. After all, he is on our favorite coin.


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

We’re 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.

How to Save Money on Groceries: Our Top Tips

1. Share What’s in Your Fridge

A woman grocery shops at a grocery store.
Carmen Mandato/ The Penny Hoarder

Believe it or not, this company wants to know what’s in your fridge…

Once you sign up to be on the Nielsen Consumer Panel, the company will send you a free scanner, or you can use your smartphone. Every time you go shopping, you simply scan the barcodes on the back of each product and send your data off to NCP.

As an active participant, you earn gift points, which you can redeem for different types of merchandise. You can choose electronics, jewelry, household items and even toys for the kids. The longer you stay on the panel, the more opportunity you have to earn points toward prizes. You also receive entries for the panel’s many sweepstakes. Prizes include vacations and brand new vehicles.

2. Get up to $750 in Free Coupons If You Have an Email Address

Crescent dogs
Carmen Mandato/ The Penny Hoarder

Betty Crocker

Give Betty Crocker your email address, and it’ll send you up to $250 worth of coupons that can help you get deeply discounted or free canned goods, cereal and yogurt.

In addition to coupons, Betty Crocker’s free email delivers the best of Betty’s 15,000 kitchen-tested recipes, how-tos and more — straight to your inbox!

If you’re like us, you probably get bored making the same food week after week, so wouldn’t it be nice to occasionally be surprised with simple recipes you can make on a budget?

Pillsbury

Sign up for Pillsbury.com emails to receive up to $250 in yearly coupons, access to free product samples (quantities limited, one per member) and the easiest recipes sent right to your inbox.

Because of the high value of these coupons, they’ve limited it to one set of coupons per person, so if you need more, get someone else in your household to sign up, too.

Tablespoon

Sign up for Tablespoon’s free email and score up to $250 per year in coupon savings. Plus, stay on top of your food game with free recipes for doable dinners, delish desserts, party snacks and more.

Fill out the short form here (it takes 10 seconds), and select “coupon & sales.” Then click the button marked “clip all” to claim your coupons.

(Side note: A few readers have reported not seeing the “coupon & sales” link. You may have to log out and log back in for it show up.)

3. Save Your Receipts for Cash Back

Man lying on his sofa with his dog and typing on his smart phone
vgajic/Getty Images

Ibotta is an easy-to-use cash-back app that’s partnered with more than 50 retailers, just about anywhere you’d do any kind of shopping.

Before heading to the store, search for items on your shopping list within the app. Strawberries? Check. An ear of corn? Check. Add each cash-back opportunity to your list in the app.

Then shop.

When you get home, snap a photo of your receipt and scan the items’ barcodes.

Bam. Cash back.

Some cash-back opportunities we’ve seen include:

  • 25 cents back for any item
  • 25 cents back on strawberries
  • 50 cents back on frozen fruit snacks
  • $1 back on a box of tea
  • $5 back on a case of Shiner Bock beer

Notice a lot of those aren’t tied to a brand — just shop for the staples on your list, and earn cash back!

Ibotta is free to download. Plus, you’ll get a $10 sign-up bonus after uploading your first receipt.

4. Earn Rewards With This Website

Cropped image of girl leaning on shopping cart, using a mobile phone
GeorgeRudy/Getty Images

Believe it or not, some sites will give you free gift cards just for signing up with them.

One of our favorites is Ebates, a cash-back shopping site. It’s giving away $10 gift cards if you sign up as a new member and earn your first cash-back rebate.

You can choose a $10 gift card for Walmart or $10 in Ebates cash for your next shopping trip on the site.

To earn your gift card:

  1. Sign up for Ebates here with your email or Facebook account.
  2. Make your first purchase through the site within 90 days, and spend at least $25.
  3. Your account will be credited with rewards points you cash in for your $10 gift card.

5. Earn Cash for 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 Swagbucks and Opinion Outpost 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.

6. 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.

7. Save on Prescriptions

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There’s nothing more frustrating than getting home from the grocery store and realizing you forgot to pick up your prescriptions. You know, the ones that have been sitting there for two weeks.

Then you worry that the pharmacy is going to put them back, so you have to make a special trip back to the store the next day.

However, there are actually some companies out there that deliver your prescriptions right to your door — and can save you money.

Try Phil, an online prescription refill service. You sign up, and Phil contacts your pharmacy, doctor, your insurance company — whomever it needs to — and handles the rest. Each month, you’ll get your prescriptions delivered to your doorstep. You’ll still have to pay for them, but delivery is free.

You can even manage prescriptions for your entire family, including your aging parents.

If you sign up now, you can get $30 off your first prescription.

8. 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 ZAYCON20 to save $20 off your FIRST order of $75 or more. (Offer can’t be combined with any other offers or promotions and is limited to one use per household.) 

9. Quit Costco/BJ’s/Sam’s Club

Sam's Club

We love the wide aisles and free samples of a warehouse club, but it’s gotten to the point where you can buy bulk or wholesale groceries cheaper online.

Another option is the bulk items section on Amazon Grocery. You’ll save $50 a year in membership fees, and Amazon will ship most things to you for free.

Also, do you know about these Amazon-only coupons posted each week? We’ve seen 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. Optimize Your Credit Card Rewards Use

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If you’re not using a rewards credit card to pay for your groceries, you’re missing out on free money.

(One obvious caveat here: This only works if you pay off that credit card balance every month to avoid paying interest.)

Credit card rewards programs can be confusing, though, because each card gives you different rewards for different purchases. Managing all your points and rewards can be a challenge, especially if you’re juggling more than one card.

To get the most out of your rewards cards at the checkout counter, try using Birch. The free app keeps track of your spending and helps you maximize the rewards you’re getting, whether it’s travel rewards or cash back.

Birch plugs into your bank account and credit card accounts (with high security) and analyzes your spending habits. It recommends which cards you should sign up for, and which cards you should use for your most frequent purchases.

For example, it might suggest you buy products at your favorite grocery store with a specific card in order to rack up the most points or cash back.

The average American shopper could be earning $600 in credit card rewards per year, Birch co-founder Alex Cohen says, referring to a Bureau of Labor Statistics finding that the average consumer spends $2,165 a month on groceries, gas and other “credit card eligible” expenses.

Don’t miss out.

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