12 Things Most of Us Don’t Do at the Grocery Store That Could Save Us $100 or More

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Listen, we all know you could be spending less money on groceries.

We’re not saying you need to hoard 455 rolls of toilet paper or spend hours cutting coupons, but we do know a few weird — and easy — things you can do to cut that grocery bill each month.

How to Save Money on Groceries: Our Top Tips

Here are some of our favorite tricks to help you save money on groceries this week.

1. Get up to $500 in Free Coupons

man making a "snow angel" in a bed of coupons
Heather Comparetto/The Penny Hoarder

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?

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.

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.)

2. Share What’s in Your Fridge

A young woman standing in front of an open refrigerator holds a bowl of salad in one hand and a plate of fried chicken in the other.
YinYang/Getty Images

Remember the Nielsen company? The one that’s always tracked TV ratings? Well, now it wants to know what’s in your fridge.

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

Nielsen will reward you with gift points, which you can redeem for free electronics, jewelry, household items or even toys for the kids.

The longer you stay on the panel, the more opportunity you have to earn points toward prizes. You’ll also receive entries for the panel’s many sweepstakes. Prizes include vacations and brand new vehicles.

3. Shop for Groceries Online

Walmart store sign
Tina Russell/The Penny Hoarder

One of our favorite ways to save is with Ebates, a cash-back site that rewards you nearly every time you buy something. For example, Ebates gives you 10% cash-back on purchases at Walmart.

Plus you’ll get a free $10 gift card to Walmart for giving the site a try.

To earn your gift card:

  1. Sign up for Ebates with your email or Facebook account.
  2. Use the Ebates portal the next time you need to buy something. It’s connected to thousands of stores, including Walmart, Amazon and Target. You’ll need to 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 can cash in for your $10 Walmart gift card.

Another option we like is the Swagbucks extension on Google Chrome. Use it on your computer or laptop and you’ll save even more on purchases at some of your favorite sites like Sam's Club and Shipt. You'll even get a $10 Swagbucks bonus with your first purchase of $25 or more at a featured website.

4. Take a Picture of Your Receipt

A mature smiling man in his mid 40's takes a picture with his smart phone of a check or paycheck for digital electronic depositing
RyanJLane/Getty Images

We know it sounds strange, but Ibotta will pay you cash for taking pictures of your grocery store receipts.

Here’s how it works:

Before heading to the store, search for items on your shopping list within the Ibotta app. 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 for groceries 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.

5. Tap Into This Free Coupon Portal

A woman sits on a bench and flips through a coupon newspaper. A piggy bank sits beside her.
Carmen Mandato/ The Penny Hoarder

Just when you think you’ve exhausted all your coupon resources, think again.

Tap into exclusive discounts through the Kellogg’s Family Rewards portal. Find printable and digital coupons for cereals, diapers, laundry detergent — more than just Kellogg’s products.

Additionally, use the tool to earn points on other qualifying items. Exchange them for gift cards to popular retailers, like Starbucks, Domino’s and Sephora.

Sign up with your email address and answer a few questions to earn an easy 100 bonus points. Then start collecting!

6. Earn Cash for Sharing Your Thoughts on Food

Coffee and a muffin enjoyed on a budget in St Petersburg Florida
Carmen Mandato/The Penny Hoarder

Did you know 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 on sites like Swagbucks and Opinion Outpost.

If you sign up for both, you could easily make an extra $20 or more each month. Most surveys pay between $3 to $4 each for 20 minutes of your time. Heck, you can even fill them out while you watch TV.

Larger panels might be hosted locally — these usually take two to four hours, but they pay up to $75. Here's how to participate in a local panel.

7. Get Paid Just for Walking Into Stores

Steve Dabenport/Getty Images

No extreme physical activity or pulled muscles required for this money-making trick. All you need to do is download the Shopkick app.

Once you sign up, the app pays you in “kicks” for walking into certain stores (including Walmart, Target, TJMaxx and more). You can redeem them for gift cards to a number of retailers, including Amazon, Target, Walmart, Starbucks, Sephora and Best Buy.

It pays you even more kicks for photos of receipts that include qualifying items you purchased in-store with a connected credit or debit card. You can also earn kicks for online purchases. You don’t have to do anything; your linked cards will automatically apply your kicks.

But don’t make the mistake of buying things you don’t need just for kicks, you know better than that.

8. Get 1.5% Back on Your Grocery Store Purchases

If you're not using a rewards card for your grocery purchases, you’re really just leaving free money on the table.

Here’s an option we like: It’s the Chase Freedom Unlimited card*. Its claim to fame? You’ll earn an unlimited 1.5% cash back on all your purchases. Plus, if you spend $500 in your first three months of opening the card (hi, groceries), you’ll pocket a $150 bonus.

There’s no annual fee, and the cash-back rewards don’t expire. We checked Credible’s annual rewards calculator, and it estimates $417 in annual rewards based on our spending habits.* (You can enter your unique spending habits and see what you’d earn, too.)

Get signed up — and 0% intro APR for 15 months — here.

9. Earn Rewards While You Shop 

A woman with shopping bags on her arm, holds a credit card in one hand and her cellphone in the other.
Carmen Mandato/ The Penny Hoarder

The best kind of savings are the kind where you earn seamlessly. That’s what makes the Drop app so appealing.

As a Drop user, all you have to do is link your credit and debit cards. When you complete an offer on Drop, you’ll automatically earn points, whether you’re shopping at Walmart, hailing an Uber or ordering a pizza.

The points will add up, and you can exchange them for gift cards to popular retailers like Amazon and Starbucks.

10. Turn Diapers Into Rewards

Baby on a changing table
Rayes/Getty Images

Is your family growing? Create a Target baby registry to get over $100 in free baby stuff!

Even better, when your due date is eight weeks away, you’ll get a 15% discount on any items remaining on your registry.

11. Get up to $30 off Your Next Prescription Refill

Joyful man looking at the delivery person while taking his package
Zinkevych/Getty Images

Are you running to the pharmacy every month or so to refill prescriptions? We found a new service that could simplify your life — and save you a little money.

Phil is a prescription refill service that delivers your prescription right to your door. It talks to your insurance company to handle payment issues and renew refills so you don’t have to.

Plus, as a new customer, you’ll get up to $30 off your first prescription.

Phil partners with local pharmacies to have your prescriptions delivered. You’ll keep your insurance and the same copay you’re paying now. Partner pharmacies pay to use the company’s software, so there are no extra fees for you.

12. Quit Costco (or BJ’s or Sam’s Club)

The Penny Hoarder photo editor/photographer Aileen Perilla carries packages that were delivered using Amazon Prime
Chris Zuppa/The Penny Hoarder

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

One option is the bulk items section on Amazon Grocery. You’ll save around $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 for formula, granola bars, K-cups and more. Just click the ones you want, and Amazon will automatically apply them to your bill before you check out.

See Also >> The Ultimate Step-By-Step Guide to Saving Money

*Annual Rewards amounts will change based on the amounts you enter. The monthly spending category names and definitions may vary among issuers, and categories may not align one-to-one.

The information for the Chase Freedom Unlimited card has been collected independently by The Penny Hoarder. Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer. The Penny Hoarder is a partner of Credible.

The Penny Hoarder Promise: We provide accurate, reliable information. Here’s why you can trust us and how we make money.

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