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
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.

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…

How To Save Money on Groceries: Our Top 10 Tips

1. Scan Your Groceries When You Get Home

Man comparing items in order to save money on groceries
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.

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. Go Organic — Without the Cost

ansonmiao/Getty Images

Budgeting for groceries is hard enough. Try to eat healthy on a budget, and you’ve got yourself a serious challenge.

Instead of paying extra for foods from the “organic” aisle at the grocery store (like Whole Foods), I look online.

One of my favorite places to shop is Thrive Market, because you can buy food at up to 50% off retail prices. The stuff it stocks is usually healthier than what I can find for the same price at the store — organic and non-GMO.

Here are some deals we just found on Thrive:

  • Zico Coconut Water: Two 33.8-ounce cartons for $8.45 (34% off)
  • Earth Friendly Products Hypoallergenic Dish Soap: One 25-ounce bottle for $2.29 (34% off)
  • Seventh Generation Bathroom Tissue: 12-roll pack for $8.45 (35% off)
  • Seventh Generation 100% Recycled Paper Towels: 6-roll pack for $9.79 (45% off)

Orders ship within 24 hours and sometimes arrive at your door within two days.

Plus, right now you can get a 30-day free trial through this link and 20% off your first three orders. After that, you’ll pay $59.95 for a full year, which helps Thrive keep prices down and pass on the organic savings to you. Thrive members report saving an average $200 a year — a pretty good deal for a healthier diet! If you don’t make your membership fee back in savings by the end of the year, Thrive automatically gives you the difference in Thrive Market credit after you renew.

4. Get Paid Extra to Use Your Coupons

CouponsDid you know that 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. 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 PENNY22 to save 22% off your FIRST order. (Offer valid until 6/30/17. It can’t be combined with any other offers or promotions and is limited to one use per household.) 

6. Sign Up for MyPoints for 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, you can get 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 or Facebook account (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.

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 Point Club and Vip Voice 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
You’ve heard of Jet, right? It’s a shopping site that wants to help you save money.
Seriously: As you add items to your cart, the prices drop. For instance, add deodorant to your cart, and the price of your KitchenAid mixer and box of cereal will, too.

You’ll also get to skip out on a yearly membership fee, and two-day shipping is free (when you spend more than $35). 

OR
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. Save on Prescriptions

theevening/Getty Images

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 $20 off your first prescription.

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.

12. Optimize Your Credit Card Rewards Use

funstock/Getty Images

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.

Good luck Penny Hoarders!

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.