10 Easy Ways to Cut Your Grocery Bill without Coupons
Everyone wants to save money on their grocery bill. Cutting your grocery budget is one of the quickest ways to see instant savings. Everyone wants to know how to save money on groceries, so let’s talk about 10 easy ways to cut your grocery bill – without using coupons!
Let’s face it. We all know coupons can save us a lot of money, but sometimes, time doesn’t allow us to use coupons. I’ve been a huge coupon shopper for years but my coupon use has changed a lot over the years. I used to buy the paper and clip paper coupons weekly. Now, I mainly use digital coupons and an occasional printable coupon. Even though I use coupons less, I still manage to save a lot!
All of the strategies I’m going to share below take little time or effort but still result in big grocery savings. As a bonus, if you DO use coupons in addition to these strategies, you will boost your savings even more!
There are so many ways to cut your grocery bill, but I am focusing on the ones that you can quickly implement to see the biggest savings. Ready to learn more?
This post may contain affiliate links. Read more in my disclosure policy.
Here is how to cut your grocery bill without using coupons.
1. Shop the sales.
This is such an important tip! If you take only one thing away, make it this one. Shop the sales and buy the sale items – so you don’t have to pay full price.
For example, if peanut butter is on sale this week for $1.50 instead of $2.50, buy it! Think of how much peanut butter you use, and buy more than just the one jar you need. Follow the simple practice of buying 1 for now and 2 for later. I personally have decided to keep a minimum of 3 to 6 of any given item in my pantry at all times. I do this by stocking up when there are sales.
The more items you buy on sale for your pantry, the less you are buying at full price.
To make this work, think ahead and make a plan. If you eat pasta at least once a week, the next time you see a good sale on pasta, buy enough to last you 2 months instead of 2 weeks. Yes, it will seem like you are spending a bit more money initially, but because you are buying items on sale, the savings will quickly add up!
Watch your grocery ads every week and stock your pantry with the best sales. Every sale item purchased will save you money in the long run.
2. Buy produce in season.
Here is one of the simplest ways to save on your grocery bill. Look for the seasonal deals on produce – and eat those.
Yes, we are fortunate to have fresh produce of all varieties available to us year round. Still, when buying fresh produce, you will find the best deals on seasonal produce. Eat lots of zucchini in the summer and apples in the fall. Then, watch for deals on frozen and canned produce for variety.
Canned and frozen vegetables are processed at the peak of freshness, so you are guaranteed a high quality vegetable without the high price of a fresh one. Your kids may love grapes, but if they aren’t on sale, find a different fruit to eat this week.
3. Look for “Buy 1, Get 1 Free” deals.
If you aren’t interesting in using coupons but want to see savings in your grocery bill, look for “Buy 1, Get 1 Free” deals. Most grocery stores have a couple of these deals every week.
By seeking out these B1G1 deals, you are actually saving 50% on the purchase of these items. Anytime you can avoid paying full price, do so! My goal is to buy very few things on full price and taking advantage of B1G1 sales is one of the easiest ways to do so.
For example, Meijer recently had ground beef on sale as “B1G1”. Ground beef was $4.99 a pound, but with a free package, that averaged out to $2.50 a pound – which is an amazing deal! Anytime you can find a good B1G1 deal on something you use regularly, take advantage of the half price sale and stock up.
4. Shop for mark-downs.
Items are regularly marked down at the store for a variety of reasons. Sometimes perishable items are close to a best by date, but that isn’t a problem if you will use it right away or freeze it. Other times, items are marked down because the packaging is damaged or dented. Sometimes, products are seasonal and no longer being sold, so will be marked down.
Make it a habit to look for mark downs whenever and wherever you shop. Some stores have a specific aisle and others mix them in among regular aisles. Learn what your store does and start paying attention to the mark downs.
I recently bought a giant box of diapers for half off (only $9.99) because the end was smashed in. They also had organic juice pops marked down from $4 to $0.99. I don’t buy mark downs every week but I do look for them every time I shop because you never know what you will find marked down.
Start looking for mark-downs at your grocery store but remember, it’s not a great deal if you won’t use it!
5. Bake foods from scratch instead of buying them.
Yes, there is a time trade-off here but I often find that the money saved is worth my time. I bake my own delicious bread (for less than $0.50 a loaf). I make homemade yogurt in our slow cooker ($1 or less for 8 cups of yogurt). I bake our cookies, muffins, brownies and many other treats from scratch, too. The more you bake and cook from scratch, the more you can save.
This is also true for purchasing a fully prepared meal. Those fully prepared meals that you just have to pop in the oven are handy, but the less of them you buy – the more you will save. It is almost always cheaper to make the food yourself instead of buying it ready-made.
If you want those ready made meals, learn about freezer cooking so you can make those ready to go meals yourself. Here are 13 easy ground beef freezer meals to get you started.
6. Buy fewer convenience foods.
This is similar to the above but worth mentioning on its own. Convenience foods are a convenience. There is a time and place for those items.
When you buy convenience foods you are paying more for the convenience of it. For example, have you noticed the prices on the individual bags of chips recently? A box of 50 bags of chips is almost $20 now! I can buy a lot more big bags of generic chips for $20 and put them in lunches that way.
If you are going to buy convenience foods, buy the big bags and divide them into smaller portions yourself. Here are some more ideas to get you started thinking.
- Grate your own cheese.
- Peel and chop your own carrots.
- Cut your own lettuce.
- Dice and freeze a whole bag of onions at once for cooking.
- Slice blocks of cheese into slices instead of buying cheese sticks.
- Buy big bags of chips and divide them into small bags for lunches.
- Buy one big container of yogurt and divide it into small containers for lunches.
- Use reusable food pouches and fill them with applesauce instead of buying applesauce pouches.
- Bake homemade cookies and freeze them for quick lunch treats.
7. Buy cheaper cuts of meat.
Meat can quickly take up a large portion of your grocery budget. One of the ways to save money on meat is to buy cheaper cuts of meat – focusing on the ones that are on sale!
Hamburger is cheaper than steak. Chicken is cheaper than hamburger. Pork is cheaper than chicken. And so on and so on. How can you substitute cheaper cuts of meat in your menu?
Another way to save money on meat is by using less meat than a recipe calls for. For example, if your recipe calls for 1.5 pounds of hamburger, try using only 1 pound instead. This is very easy to do in casserole and crock-pot dishes without noticing the difference.
Bonus points for eating at least one meatless meal a week to help you cut your grocery bill!
8. Build a stockpile.
Anyone who has read my blog before knows I’m a firm believer in realistic stockpiling. A stockpile saves our family thousands of dollars every year. Having a stockpile is one of the best ways to prepare for inflation.
My stockpile is the main reason I save our family as much as I do on our groceries. I believe every family – no matter their size or where they live – can and should have a stockpile.
The concept of stockpiling is simple. Buy what your family uses when you see it at its lowest price – and buy enough to last you until the next sale. This principle applies to food as well as household products and toiletries.
Learn more about my baby steps of stockpiling, and then focus on building a stockpile that saves your family money.
A stockpile is an amazing way to save money and also serve as a practical emergency fund for your family. Learn lots more about stockpiling here.
9. Plan your meals around the sales.
This is another great way to save without coupons! If chicken is on sale this week, eat chicken meals. If you find a great deal on pasta, try some new pasta dishes.
I do this every week, planning our meals around the meat and produce sales. The rest of items I try to fill in from our stockpile. It is a different mindset of menu planning because most of us are used to eating what we want, whenever we want it. By planning your meals around sale ingredients, you will quickly see the savings accumulate.
To get started doing this, start by making a list of your family’s favorite meals that use different meats / protein elements. Once you have that list, it will make it easier to come up with ideas based on the sales. This should also give you incentive to stock up on meat when it is on sale so you can have more flexibility with your meal planning.
10. Use coupon apps to earn free money on items you’re already purchasing.
My last tip for saving money on your grocery bill is to start using free coupon rebate apps. The premise of these rebates is simple. After you shop, scan through your receipts to see what matches up with the items listed on the app. You will earn anywhere from $0.25 to $2 for purchases you have already made! The money you make with receipt apps can easily be added back into your grocery budget or set aside for something special like Christmas shopping.
If you are just getting started with coupon apps, try Fetch. Fetch is the easiest coupon app because you simply take pictures of your grocery receipts and it will give you points for purchasing various brand items. I love Fetch because they do all the work for you, and it is easier than Ibotta to use. (You’ll get a bonus 2000 points when you sign up with my Fetch link here.)
Read more about Fetch and Ibotta here, and how to use them to earn extra money.
Now you should have some more ideas for how to save money on groceries – without coupons! What other ideas would you add to this list?
Want to know even more ways to save money on groceries? If so, check out Crystal Paine’s Grocery Ebook! It is the best grocery guide around (and a cheap one too!) that describes my process exactly. Seriously, I could have written this book! It is that similar to what I do. If you want to find the best deals to build your stockpile on a budget, read Crystal’s ebook and watch the savings stack up!
I get excited when my favorite or most used products are buy one get one. Lately, we have been eating what we have on hand in the cupboards. Enjoy reading your posts and money saving ideas, Kristen. Thank you!
Use store brands if you can.
These are great tips!! I’m trying so hard to cut our grocery budget right now. The two on your list that I definitely need to work on are coupon apps and making things from scratch. The coupon apps I’m especially excited to start b/c it just seems like free money sitting there!! Thanks for the tips!
Good luck cutting your grocery budget, Nikki! I know you can do it! 🙂 The coupon apps really are free money! It takes some time to reach pay-out (at least for me), but I don’t mind because like you said, it’s free money sitting there.
I’ve been trying to find ways to cut back on my grocery bill. I think I spend way to much per week for a two person household. The tips I really need to put into play are #6 Buy fewer convenience foods, and #7 Buy cheaper cuts of meat. I guess I always felt that I was willing to pay for the convenience, but the prices really add up. Also, meat makes up for the bulk of my grocery bill, so I’ve been thinking of ways to can reduce what I spend on meat. Thanks for sharing these tips. Let’s see if I can use them to reduce my bill. *fingers crossed*.
There are always areas where we can improve and save money! I hope that these tips are helpful, Tiffany. Sometimes, it does take a bit of planning but I firmly believe everyone can do it! And the plus side? Grocery budgets are one of the quickest areas to see immediate savings! Good luck!
I have also cut back on my couponing now that I have three kiddos with me when I shop! I use my store rewards card a whole bunch. They have coupons that I can add to my card, so I get the discount at the register without cutting anything! Also, my store runs some really good deals around Thanksgiving and Easter–where if you spend a certain amount for a certain number of weeks (which we always reach) you get a $20 gift card. Good stuff!
Isn’t it funny how shopping with kids changes us? I love using my store rewards cards, too, and loading digital coupons. And what a great deal to watch for with gift cards, too!
What a great list! The seasonal produce savings is huge, especially in the summer when we can go to our local Farmer’s Market. I would say for us the biggest savings came when we switched to shopping at Aldi’s for some things. The amount we save over our local grocery store on milk, sour cream and cheese helps so much. I also like their snacks, for me they are just as good as a store brand or name brand and so much cheaper then I can get them with a coupon at the grocery store. I avoided Aldi’s for years but now I am a big fan.
Thanks, Barb! Aldi can be a huge source of savings – especially for dairy products! My only wish is that I had one closer to where I lived. And great tip about shopping at Farmer’s Market’s too!
This is a great list! I really struggle with how expensive fresh produce can be. But like you said, buy in season! The savings are so substantial. I am a big fan of reading the weekly flyer from the grocery store, and I try to plan my meals around what’s on sale. The savings can really add up!
That’s exactly how I plan my grocery shopping! I sit down with the weekly flyer and circle the best deals, and go from there. I’ve also learned to freeze what produce I can – especially if I will be using it for baking or smoothies. There ARE ways to save on healthy food choices, and the savings DO add up!