If you’re like most of us, a trip to the grocery store is a necessary but painful experience. And for good reason. Buying groceries is probably one of your biggest household expenses. A family of four can spend anywhere from $500 to $1000 a month, or more, on groceries alone. And the bigger your family is, the larger that monthly grocery bill will be.
Fortunately, there are countless ways to save money on your monthly grocery bill. Unfortunately, most people don’t take full advantage of them, and for various reasons. The biggest reason being they just don’t know about them.
One money-saving method many people do know about is couponing. But there are many others ways to save on your grocery bills. If you are already a couponer, these other methods will help you save even more. On the other hand, if you have no interest in spending a few hours a week clipping and organizing coupons, but you’d still like to see your monthly grocery bill shrink just a little, these methods are a perfect alternative to couponing.
So here are three easy ways to save on groceries without using coupons.
Collect Store Savings Cards
Many stores offer “store discount” or “store savings” cards. Using these cards is just like using store coupons. Only there’s no coupon clipping required.
These cards are easy to apply for and even easier to use. When you go to checkout to pay for your purchases, you either hand the card to the cashier, or you scan it the way you would a credit card or debit card. If there are discounts on any of the items in your cart, those savings will be taken off of your total bill.
If you’re a couponer, using these cards can double your savings. Many stores will allow you to combine savings card discounts with manufacturer’s coupons. For example, if your store savings card gives you a dollar off of a box of cereal, and you have a manufacturer’s coupon that gives you another dollar off, you’ll save a total of $2. Considering how expensive some cereals can be, that’s a pretty good deal any way you look at it.
Buy In Bulk…Sometimes
If you look at the prices in most grocery stores you’ll see that, along with telling you how much a product costs, you can also see the price per ounce. And the bigger sizes of most products cost less per ounce than the smaller sizes.
However, buying in bulk can be a slippery slope. Yes, buying that 20 pound bag of rice can work out to a savings of 50%. But are you actually going to be able to use all of that rice before it goes bad and has to be thrown away? If your family doesn’t eat much rice, you could end up throwing away 18 pounds of it. Meaning that, while buying that gigantic bag of rice might have seemed like a good deal when you bought it, you’ll actually end up losing money in the long run.
When buying in bulk, especially when purchasing a perishable product, ask yourself this: “Is my family really going to use all of this before it goes bad?” If you have a large family, or it’s a product your family tends to use a lot of, the answer might be, “Yes.”
And, remember, you don’t have to buy the biggest size of a product to see a savings. For example, if you usually buy the smallest size of your favorite coffee creamer, buying the next largest size will save you money. And you won’t run out of creamer as soon.
Buy Generic and Store Brands
There are some great name brand products out there. And, if you’re like most people, you probably have a few favorites that you feel you just can’t live without.
But what about generic and store brand products? Have you ever given any of them a try?
The biggest advantage of using generic and store brand products is, of course, their price. These products are usually quite a bit cheaper than the name brands. One reason for that is packaging. The packaging for many of these products is bland and boring. But the products themselves are, in many cases, just as good as their name brand counterparts…or, at least, almost as good. And, sometimes, almost as good is good enough.
The next time you go shopping, pick up the smallest sizes of a few generic products and give them a try. Chances are that you won’t be satisfied with some of them, and will go back to buying your preferred brand s. But many will turn out to be good enough to replace the more expensive name brand versions you usually buy. And the more generic and store brands you buy, the more you’ll save.
While couponing is a great way to save money on groceries, it’s not the only way. And couponing just isn’t for everyone. Fortunately, there are easier, less involved ways to save on your grocery bills. And, over time, using savings cards, buying in bulk, and switching to generic brands can add up to big savings.