Chances are you aren’t saving as much on your groceries as you should.
I’m not saying you need to clip coupons until your fingers fall off or that you need to spend hours comparing sales ads, but there are a few weird (and easy) things you can do to save some money on your grocery bill.
Here are 6 ridiculous ways to save on your groceries…
1. Scan The Groceries When You Get Home
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 Homescan family, the company will send you a free scanner (like the one pictured to the left). Every time you go shopping, you simply scan the barcodes on the back of each product and send your data off to Nielsen. Pretty easy, huh?
If you want to give it a try, you can fill out the application here: Nielsen Homescan Application
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 towards prizes.
You also receive entries for the panel’s many sweepstakes. Prizes include money, vacations, and brand new vehicles. This is a great way to make your consumer voice count and be rewarded handsomely for recording your purchases. You’re already going to the grocery store anyway, right?
2. Tell the Packaged Food Companies What You Think of Them
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 and Ipsos Panel to make extra money. After you join VIP Voice and start taking a few surveys, lookout for a special survey that offers a $25 reward (sit tight, you might have to take several surveys before you see this one).
Larger panels are hosted locally — these usually require two to four hours of your time, but they pay up to $75. Here’s how to participate in a local panel.
3. Take a Picture of Your Receipts
Yeah, did you know that you can get cash-back on your groceries just for taking a picture of your receipt? The very popular website and mobile app, Checkout51 will pay you to do just that. Here’s how it works….
1. Sign up for Checkout51 (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 Checkout51 will give me $0.50 if I take a picture of a receipt showing that I bought a gallon of milk and $1.00 if I take a picture showing that I bought graham crackers. Pretty cool, right?
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.
4. Once you’ve reached $5 earnings or more, you can request payment via PayPal or Venmo.
4. Quit Costco
Listen — I shopped at the warehouse stores for years, but it’s gotten to the point where you can actually buy a lot of things cheaper online.
I like buying bulk items online 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 checkout.
5. Have Your Meals Planned For You
A lot of our readers have had good success using eMeals. Every week they send you a meal plan with recipes for each night of the week (you can customize it to your tastes) and a grocery list so that you don’t have to do any planning. Plus, they’ll match up your grocery list with items that are on sale at your local grocery store that week. It’s a great way to save money!
The eMeals plan is supposed to keep your grocery bill under $85 a week (for a family of four), which makes it really easy to save without having to think about clipping coupons or comparing sales circulars.
The service is normally $5/month, but I had them work out a deal where our readers could get two weeks for free so you could try it before committing. 🙂 Here’s the promo link.
6. Print Up to $100 in High-Value Coupons
Here’s a quick way to get up to $100 in high-value coupons that will help you get free or nearly free cereal, frozen vegetables, canned goods, yogurt and more.
Take 30 seconds and sign up for the Proctor & Gamble email newsletter. You’ll save a ton at the grocery store this week.
Your Turn: Would you use any of these unusual ways to save a little extra on your groceries?
Good luck Penny Hoarders!