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.

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 12 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. Sign Up for MyPoints for a Free $10 Walmart 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 4% cash-back on Walmart purchases).

But, enough about that, here’s how to get a free $10 Walmart 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 $20 at any of those stores, MyPoints will reward you with 1,750 bonus points which you can redeem for a free $10 Walmart gift card.

4. 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.

5. 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…

6. 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 $20 off your first prescription.

7. Save on Your Entire Shopping List with Retale

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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 the money-saving app, Retale!

Retale is a digital circular service that shows you all the weekly ads from your local grocery stores (or any store for that matter!). It lets you figure out where to get the best deal on the item you need — before you ever leave the house.

What we like most about it is while you’re browsing the ads, you can click the items you want — and it automatically adds them to a shopping list.

They even have a tab to discover store coupons to make the deals even better!

Plus, you can also add your favorite store loyalty cards to your Retale account. When you clip coupons in the app, you can add them to your card to be redeemed automatically at checkout.

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 valid until 8/4/17. It can’t be combined with any other offers or promotions and is limited to one use per household.) 

9. 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 Harris Poll 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.

10. 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.

11. 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.

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.