How to Save Money at the Grocery Store Without Coupons
So as we addressed before, many of you don’t use coupons anymore… in fact, we don’t use coupons as we used to either. BUT, that doesn’t mean we don’t love to save money! Aside from watching the sales, there are other easy ways to save money on groceries without having to clip a single coupon.
In this post, we’re going to share two of our favorite ways to save on groceries, and then we’ll share 8 other smaller, but still actionable tips to slash your grocery bill even more. Let’s get started!
1. Use Rebate Programs From Your Phone!
There are so many great rebate programs out there! Generally, all you have to do is download the app onto your phone, activate the offers you are interested in, and then scan your receipt after you are done shopping!
Best of all? If 3 different companies are offering a rebate on the same thing, you get to redeem the rebate on all four offers!! It’s like using 3 coupons, legally, on one item!!
Below are four of our favorite grocery rebate apps, and if you use all four consistently you’ll be able to get a ton of savings each month.
Ibotta is the original e-rebate program. It’s been around the longest and we’ve been using it forever. They have tons of great offers with new ones added every Wednesday.
Once you reach $20 in the app, you can cash out straight to your PayPal account, or via gift card. Join now, and get a $10 bonus when you redeem your first rebates!
Fetch Rewards is similar to iBotta – just scan your receipts into the app and you’ll earn reward points. Super easy. They have a ton of different gift cards available for redemption once you reach a certain number of points.
SavingStar is great because every Friday they offer you a FREE item! 100% back, and it’s usually something delicious and indulgent (like a candy bar). Your rebates on this one are attached to your store savings cards (More below!)
Every Thursday morning, Checkout 51 updates with a new list of offers. All you have to do is pick the ones you like, purchase them at any store, and upload a photo of your receipt through the mobile app or website. When your account reaches $20.00, they send you a check!
How to Get the Most Out of These Apps
If you want to maximize your grocery savings with the apps above, there’s one extremely important thing you need to do: browse the apps BEFORE doing your shopping. This way you won’t miss the best deals.
Even better, if you follow our meal planning tips, you can base your meals off of the sales happening in the apps above. That way the majority of your list will be filled with cashback items.
2. Get Your Reward On
If you don’t already have a reward or loyalty card from your favorite grocery store, it’s time to sign up! Most stores have rewards, coupons, and freebies you can earn or receive simply by scanning your store loyalty card.
From exclusive discount prices and coupons to reward points that turn into cash and savings at the gas pump, using a rewards card is key to saving money at the grocery store! It doesn’t take much effort either.
The trick is to be educated about the offers that are available with each store loyalty card and then use them to your advantage. I figure the more a store can offer me in perks and savings, the more likely I am to shop there!
Some stores offer better rewards than others so today I’m going to outline the advantages to each of the top 5 Loyalty Cards:
- Kroger (which is Fred Meyer where I live)
- Rite Aid; and
Make sure to register your card online, give them your current address, phone number and everything else they need because of all the cool perks they will send you:
- Receive Coupons in the mail: I know this post is about how to save money at the grocery store without coupons, but we thought we’d mention this perk anyway. Kroger/Fred Meyers will mail you store coupons based on what they notice you have bought in the past. This is very useful because I get coupons I will actually use, and I don’t have to worry about printing coupons or scouring the newspaper. I keep the ones I like in my purse.
- Rewards Rebate: Every quarter they mail you a rewards rebate based on a percentage of how much you spent in the last quarter! You can spend this rebate like cash in the store. If you spend about $40 or more a week at Fred Meyer ($500 per quarter), you will earn a Rewards Rebate. Just be sure to scan your Rewards Card every time you shop (you can also type in your phone number if you linked it to your card).
- Gas Rewards: Earn $0.10 off per gallon for every $100 you spend in the store each month up to $1.00 off a gallon at Fred Meyer Fuel Center and participating Shell Stations. Purchase third party gift cards at Fred Meyer, and you’ll receive 2 Fuel Points for every $1 you spend. For each eligible prescription you fill at a Fred Meyer Pharmacy, you’ll earn 50 Fuel Points when you scan your Rewards Card at the time you pay for your prescription. Also, check the bottom of your receipts, sometimes you will receive an offer to take a survey and receive 50 extra bonus points which translate to fuel points!
- Community Rewards: I love that Fred Meyer not only rewards me for being a loyal customer but I can support my favorite local charity or school by linking my Rewards card to them and then using my Rewards Card in the store!
- Digital Coupons: Kroger has some great coupons that you can load directly to your Rewards Card. No more clipping! All you do is purchase the item at the check stand, scan your rewards card and the coupon comes off after the cashier presses the total key!
- Freebie Fridays: Every Friday Kroger has had a freebie coupon that you can load to your card available while supplies last on Fridays only!
- Senior Citizen Tuesdays – Seniors 55 and older can save 10% every first Tuesday of every month.
- You can track your rewards online. Plus using your Rewards card makes returns a snap, you just scan the item and your card. No more keeping receipts!
Sign up for the Fred Meyer or Kroger Credit card and earn Rewards and Fuel Points quicker!
Make sure you download the Kroger app for iPhone or Android. You’ll be able to check for new offers and load them to your loyalty card, plus check store circulars, and refill your prescriptions from the app on the go.
- Discounts – Having a RED card will deduct 5% from all Target purchases! This is a big deal. Plus, this is an immediate discount taken at the register, not some cashback rebate that you have to wait forever for!
- FREE 2-day shipping – Unlike other sites there is no minimum purchase to receive the free shipping. So you can order those shoes you are not sure if they will fit, get free shipping and if you need to return them you can take them back to the physical store!
- REDcard Returns – You will get an extra 30 days to return your unwanted items with your Target REDcard .
- REDcard Education Donations. 1% of all Target Redcard purchases are donated to the K-12 school of your choice.
- Redcard Contests and Promotions. From time to time and during the Holiday Season especially Target REDcard Holders are eligible for exclusive giveaways, deals, and sweepstakes! I’ve seen days where REDcard holders get free or reduced food items from the food court and other cool stuff!
- Target Circle – This is a Target coupon and discount app that can save you tons of money at the register. Just load the app to your phone, then load coupons into your account. There is a barcode on the app that the cashier scans at checkout and all the coupons in your account will be discounted for your purchase. Easy!
- Discounted Member Prices – Only Extra Care Members will receive the sale prices listed in the store and ad. You can get an Extra Care Card online or in-stores or on your mobile device.
- ExtraCare Coupon Center – Every CVS has a big red machine called the Coupon Center. Scan your ExtraCare card at the Coupon Center before you shop in-store to print coupons for your favorite products, special weekly offers, freebies and more. You can also choose to send coupons to your Extra Care card.
- ExtraBucks. When you make a qualified purchase a coupon like receipt will print out at the register and can be used like cash on your next purchase (a few exclusions apply). These are advertised in the weekly ad and oftentimes included in the advertised final price.
- For example, something that is advertised for $6.99 with $2 Extrabucks – when you buy 1, you would pay $6.99 for the product and get $2 in extra bucks. That coupon would print at the register and you could use it on your next visit.
- You will also earn 2% cashback in the form of Extra Care Bucks on every purchase in-store and online. Every three months these Extra Bucks will print out at the end of your receipt.
- Also, when you fill 10 prescriptions, you can earn $5 ExtraBucks Rewards when you join ExtraCare Pharmacy & Health Rewards.
- Join the CVS Beauty Club and when you spend $50 annually on qualifying purchases you will receive a $5 ExtraBucks reward after checkout. Along with that, you will get a 10% off Beauty Shopping Pass after enrollment, a $3 Extra Care Buck on your Birthday, exclusive coupons, and more!
- Sign up for CVS emails and get exclusive coupons and offers sent directly to your inbox.
- Sign up for the CVS advisor panel – CVS will email you online surveys and research studies throughout the year to gather your input about CVS stores, products, and services. You will receive printable coupons, Extra Care Bucks and more!
- Wellness+ Card for FREE and start saving with Wellness Only Members price throughout the store.
- Wellness+ Rewards – Earn 1 point for every dollar spent on eligible non-prescription purchases you make when you scan your card at the register. Earn 25 points for every prescription filled. When you earn 1000 points you become a Gold Member which gets you 20% off nearly everything in the store for at least 6 months! Once you have accumulated 500 points you can go online and claim a reward. There are giftcards, magazines, discount cards and more for you to use your points on!
- Earn +Up rewards are credits earned when you purchase specially marked +UP merchandise throughout the store. Then you can use your +Up rewards just like cash on your next visit, for up to $150 in savings per week!.
- Load2Card – load eCoupons right to your Wellness+ Card online, use in-store by just scanning your card at the register. Get over $100 in eCoupons on your favorite brands like P&G eSavers every month! You can also get the Rite Aid mobile app to load coupons and savings on the go!
- Free shipping on $34.99 0r more.
The Walgreens Balance Rewards Card, like all of the above cards, is a savings and rewards card.
- Receive points each time you spend – Earn 10 points/dollar for regular purchases, and more points for shopping in the pharmacy and healthy choices section. The more points you earn, the bigger your reward. You can check your point balance at the bottom of your receipt, online or on the Walgreens app.
- Here are the point values:
- 5,000 = $5.00
- 10,000 = $10.00
- 18,000 = $20.00
- 30,000 = $35.00
- 40,000 = $50.00
- Special Sales – Sale prices at Walgreens are exclusive to Balance Reward Members so if you want the price in the ad you will need a Balance Reward Card.
- Stack coupons and points – If you want to use manufacturer coupons, you can stack your earned points and store and manufacturer coupons on the same purchase. It’s important to know that when you redeem points on a purchase, you won’t be earning points on that purchase.
- Earn Balance Rewards points just for doing everyday healthy activities like going for a walk or eating healthier. You’ll get 20 points any time you record an activity, 250 points when you set your first goal, and 250 points when you connect a device or app. Your points expire 3 years after they were earned or if you have not used your card in 6 months.
- Sign up for offers and promotions on a variety of products, exclusively for Balance Rewards members.
- Load eCoupons to your card – Just go online and sign in to your account then you are able to load coupons to your card, scan your card at your next visit when purchasing the items and your coupons will automatically come off!
- Free shipping on orders of $25 or more.
Other Ways to Save Money on Groceries
Above are two easy and effective ways to save money on groceries, but we’ve still got a couple more tips to share – don’t leave just yet! The tips below are super straightforward. Combine them all together and you’ve got a solid grocery budget!
3. Make a List
This is one of the easiest things to start doing. Plain and simple. On top of that, making a list has a few great benefits:
- Less likelihood of forgetting something – Getting home with groceries only to realize you forgot something is…frustrating, to say the least. With a well-planned list, though? It rarely happens!
- No more impulse purchases – As long as you actually stick to your list, you won’t make any purchases that weren’t already planned. Budgeting will be much easier.
- Less time spent shopping – With a list, you know what you need. As long as you know the store well, you can get in and out swiftly!
4. Don’t Shop Hungry
Raise your hand if you’ve ever gone shopping while hungry and came out with snacks or other groceries that weren’t on your list (me!). It may not seem like too big a deal, but shopping while you’re hungry is one of the number one causes of impulse purchases. Sometimes when you’re hungry enough you simply lose willpower and give in to all the tasty things (that you don’t need) calling your name.
5. Understand Sales Cycles
Every grocery store has sales cycles and if you understand them, you can stock up at the perfect times, purchase products when they’re at their cheapest, and save a lot of money. To learn more, check out our guide on the grocery sales cycles for all 12-months.
6. Shop With Cash
If after implementing a grocery list and avoiding shopping while hungry you STILL can’t seem to avoid impulse purchases, it might be time to try the cash envelope system for your grocery budget. By shopping with a set amount of cash you’ll be less likely to overspend and more likely to stick to your original grocery list.
7. Start Meal Planning
If you find yourself throwing out a lot of food, you’re basically throwing your money in the trash. Luckily, with a bit of meal planning, you can reduce food waste AND grocery costs. Learn more by reading our 15 Meal Planning Tips.
8. Try No-Name Brand
If you’re used to buying the most premium brand-name groceries and you’re looking to lower your grocery bill quickly, give some no-name alternatives a shot. Most of the time you’ll get the same taste but for a much lower price tag!
This works just as well with pharmacy products too. For example, no-name ibuprofen will cost a lot less than a bottle of Advil, but it works just as well.
9. Use Reusable Bags
Most grocery stores are starting to charge $0.25 or more for each plastic bag you use, so you’re better off bringing reusable bags from home. It’s much better for the environment too!
10. Start an Indoor Herb Garden
Ideally, you’d want to grow all your produce yourself, but that’s not always possible if you have a small space. However, even if you’re in an apartment, you can always start an indoor herb garden! The savings aren’t huge, but it’s something. It’s a fun little hobby too.
Groceries are typically one of the top three expenses for most households, so any savings you can find in this area are going to free up a good amount of cash in your monthly budget. By using the 10 tactics above, you should be able to cut your grocery bill by up to 50%! Good luck!
Have any of your own tips to save money on groceries? How do you lower your grocery bill each month? Share your tips in the comments!
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