7 Things Most of Us Don’t Do At the Grocery Store but Could Save Us $100 or More
Want to slash your grocery tab? Saving money on groceries is easier than collecting binders of coupons and buying 455 rolls of toilet paper.
We’ve compiled a list of simple (and some unexpected) tips to help you maximize your grocery budget.
1. You Don’t Shop With A Calculator
This is one of the easiest ways to make sure you don’t overspend at the grocery store (besides shopping on a full stomach). Bring your old-school calculator with you, or use your phone. However you do it, set a limit for how much you plan to spend beforehand, then hold yourself to it.
Add up the price of each item as you toss it in your basket, and you’ll be surprised how much easier it is to stick to your budget.
Voila! No more wallet-gouging surprises at checkout.
2. You Don’t Get Paid Every Time You Buy Toilet Paper
Grocery shopping was never exactly pleasant. But these days, it’s a downright struggle. Fighting crowds; keeping six feet of space — just buying toilet paper is a feat. Shouldn’t you have something to show for it?
A free app called Fetch Rewards will reward you with gift cards just for sharing your grocery receipts. Yep, that includes toilet paper brands like Cottonelle and Scott, too.
Just upload the photos of your receipts to the app and Fetch will reward you with gift cards to places like Amazon, Walmart, Chipotle and dozens of other retailers.
And it’s perfect for those of us who don’t want to put a ton of work into this. All you have to do is send Fetch a photo of your receipt, and it does everything for you. No scanning barcodes or searching for offers — and you can use it with any grocery receipt.
When you download the app, use the code PENNY to automatically earn 2,000 points when you scan your first receipt. Then start snapping photos of your recent receipts to see how many points you can earn without a single trip to the store!
Not so bad for a useless receipt, right?
3. You Don’t Go Grocery Shopping in Your Pantry
Before heading to the grocery store, go shopping in your pantry and fridge.
What do we mean? Take inventory of what’s already in stock, then build your weekly meals around those items. This will not only help reduce your weekly grocery bill also cut your waste.
4. You Don’t Get $225 in Free Groceries Every Month
If we told you that before you head to the grocery store, you could get paid to watch cooking videos on your computer, you’d probably laugh.
It’s too good to be true, right?
But we’re serious. A website called InboxDollars will pay you to watch short video clips online. One minute you might watch a chef teach you the recipe for fudge brownies and the next you might get the latest updates on Kardashian drama.
All you have to do is choose which videos you want to watch and answer a few quick questions about them afterward. Brands pay InboxDollars to get these videos in front of viewers, and it passes a cut onto you.
It’s possible to earn up to $225 per month watching these videos — that could make a serious dent in your grocery bill.
Unlike other sites, InboxDollars pays you in cash — no points or gift cards — and it’s already paid its users more than $56 million.
It takes about one minute to sign up, and you’ll immediately earn a $5 bonus to get you started.
5. You Don’t Scan Your Groceries’ Barcodes For Free Gift Cards
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’ll gain access to the NCPMobile app. (If you don’t have a smartphone, Nielsen will send you a scanner.) As you unload your groceries after your next shopping trip, simply use the app to scan items’ barcodes.
Nielsen will reward you with points, which you can redeem for free gift cards, electronics (new TV, anyone?) and household items. The longer you stay on the panel, the more opportunities you have to earn.
Applying to become a panel member is straightforward. You’ll answer some basic questions about you and your household, then Nielsen reviews your application and will contact you when you’re eligible to join.
6. You’re Not Taking Pictures of Your Receipts
We all want to save money on our groceries. What we don’t want to do is put a ton of work into it. If this sounds like you — someone who just wants to get in and out of the store and save money without doing much thinking — there’s an app we recommend.
It’s called Ibotta, and it pays you cash-back for buying certain items at the grocery store.
Before you shop, 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.
Ibotta is free to download. Plus, you’ll get a $5 sign-up bonus when you upload your first receipt.
7. You Don’t Stay on the Couch and Get Your Groceries Delivered
Getting your groceries delivered to your door sounds like a luxury, but ordering grocery essentials online can actually save you money.
A free browser extension and website called Rakuten has connections with more than 2,500 stores, which means it can give you a cash kickback when you shop at one. When we checked, we found cash-back deals at Amazon, Safeway, Sam’s Club, Boxed and Walmart.
It takes less than 60 seconds to download the free extension, create a free Rakuten account. All you need is an email address. Plus, if you use Rakuten to earn money back within the first 90 days of signing up, it’ll give you an extra $10.
Now you don’t have to worry about fitting that 36-pack of toilet paper in your trunk or hauling a box of cat litter across the store. Just have someone deliver it to your door and earn cash back along the way!