Why does grocery shopping have to cost so much money? Do you ever leave the store thinking, “How did I spend that much money?” Items can quickly add up if we are not careful. Some of your friends may encourage you to use coupons, but if you feel like you just can’t take that on right now, I want to give you some of my tips and tricks on how to save on groceries without coupons.
1. Shop the Local Sales
Over on Coupon Closet we post several different store sales ads along with coupons that match up to the current sales. Here are the stores we post regularly:
Just click on the store name and follow the link to the best store deals that week. Again, we do list coupons that are available to use with sale items, but you don’t have to use coupons to save money. Shopping the sale alone will save you cash.
2. Use Your Smart Phone
We all pay enough money every month for our smart phones so we might as well make them work for us. There are several money saving apps you can use that will save you money in the store, without having to clip a single coupon. Here are my favorite 6 money saving apps for groceries:
The link will tell you more information about each of these apps. If you happen to have a coupon for an item available through one of these apps, don’t worry. More times then not, you can use the coupon and the app together.
3. Buy Produce That’s in Season
This is a biggie! If you pay attention to the produce that is in season, thus priced to sell, you will save big. You will also be able to stock up on that produce. Besides just saving money, in season produce just tastes better. Have you read my post on how to save on produce without coupons ?
If you worry about not being able to use up all of the produce you stock up on, don’t worry. I have some great tips and tricks for you:
- How to make Pumpkin Puree
- Can you Freeze Onions? – Easy tips to freeze onions!
- How to Freeze Corn on the Cob
- Why I bought 10 pounds of Old Bananas and Why it doesn’t make me crazy!
- Freezer Tip: How to Freeze Lemons, Limes, and Oranges
- Freezer Tip: How to Freeze Fruit
- Freezer Tip: How to Freeze Chopped Peppers
There are so many different thing you can freeze well. If you aren’t sure how well something freezes, do a trial batch before you stock up on something.
4. Shop at Aldi
Have you shopped at Aldi before? I just love Aldi. I know Aldi may seem like an odd store for many people, so we’ve written a couple of posts to help people get started.
If you have never shopped at Aldi before, checkout this post – Aldi Foods – 4 Things you need to know before you shop. This gives you a great breakdown of the basic things you need to know before heading to the store: bring a quarter, bring your own bags, avoid name brand and shop the produce sales (this is a biggie).
If you have shopped at Aldi before but aren’t really sure what the best buys are, check out this post – Aldi Grocery Store Shopping Guide: What to buy and what not to buy. This post gives a detailed breakdown of items that are great to buy at Aldi and items that you should not buy at Aldi.
5. Buy Meat in Bulk and Freeze
Buy meat in bulk? For sure! There have been so many times I’ve been to Sam’s Club or another store and found some great deals on meat. I don’t hesitate to pick it up because I know I can freeze it once I get home. I use my FoodSaver to freeze my meat. It does an amazing job of getting all of the air out of a package and vacuum sealing it, so no more gets in. Storing food with a FoodSaver as opposed to zip top bags will help your meat last that much longer.
Check out these posts for more great ideas for saving money on meat:
Before I started couponing, I had no idea how many different ways there were to save on meat. Now, I never pay full price. These posts are worth a read.
6. Make Your Own Baking Mixes
How convenient is it to grab pancake, brownie and cornbread mixes from the store? Super convenient! Unfortunately, it is a lot more expensive then making it yourself. Did you know you can make your own mixes? I have been making my own cornbread, brownie and pancake/waffle mix for years. I used to be a brand snob when it came to my pancake mix, but this homemade version is delicious! Give these homemade baking mixes a try:
- The BEST Homemade Pancake and Waffle Mix
- How to Make Homemade Cornbread Mix
- How to Make your Own Pre-packaged Brownie Mix
- Easy Homemade Hot Chocolate Mix
- Homemade Nesquik
7. Skip the Seasoning Packets
You can make your own seasoning packets, too! We used to buy the taco and chili seasoning in the packets by the bulk! We go through it so much. A few years ago I decided to make my own seasoning mixes and I haven’t looked back since. These seasonings are made from ingredients you already have on hand, plus you use only what you need. No more opening a packet and only using half of it and figuring out how to save the other half! These are my favorite homemade seasoning mixes:
- Easy Homemade Chili Seasoning
- How to Make Homemade Taco Seasoning
- Copycat Good Seasons Italian Dressing Mix
- Cinnamon Sugar Recipe
8. Buy Ingredients, Not Pre-Made Meals
Pre-made meals are very convenient. When you are running low on time and you just need dinner to be ready, I totally understand why people buy pre-made meals. However, with a little bit of planning, you can make your own meals in no time. Here are some of my favorite quick and easy meals:
- 15 Minute burger sliders recipe
- Skillet Honey Mustard Chicken – 15 minute dinner
- 20 Minute Dinner – Creamy Chicken Pasta with Fresh Tomatoes!
- 20 minute Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup Recipe
- Pepperoni Pasta – an easy 20 minute dinner idea!
Making your own quick and easy meals will save you quite a bit more money then buying the pre-made meals from the store. You can also be confident that all of your ingredients are fresh, because they are coming straight from your kitchen. All this takes is a little bit of menu planning so you can make sure to buy everything you need from the store.
9. Freezer Cooking
Have you ever done any freezer cooking? I LOVE it! It is another great tip for how to save on groceries without coupons. I have done marathon freezer sessions where I make a bunch of different recipes and wrap them up and freeze them for later. If this seems a little daunting to you you can start small. I suggest double a recipe for one of your favorite dinners (you might be surprised at how well most meals freeze).
Let’s say you’re making enchiladas. Assemble two batches. Throw one in the oven to cook and the wrap the other tightly with saran wrap or other air tight sealer and place in the freezer (would be helpful to make this in an aluminum disposable pan). The next time you know you are going to have a busy night – a night you might normally want to head to the drive thru, throw this meal in the oven. You will have a delicious home cooked meal without all of the work – or the added cost of fast food.
10. Menu Plan
This goes hand in hand with what we have been talking about. Menu planning is probably one of the biggest tips I give people on how to save on groceries without coupons. When you take a little time out of your schedule, you will be amazed at how you will be saving money on groceries by menu planning.
Here is an idea. Take 10 minutes our of your day, maybe after dinner, and sit down and picture what your week looks like. If you know you are going to your mom’s on Friday night, then you know you don’t need to plan a meal for then. Also, if you have 2 soccer games and basketball practice on Thursday, you know you need a quick and easy meal. Once you’ve looked at your week, decide on your menu. There are a bunch of delicious and frugal meals to choose from here at Eating on a Dime.
Not sure where to start making your menu? Check out some of the Menu Plans we’ve posted. Feel free to mix and match the recipes to suite your family’s tastes.
11. Eat your left overs!
Don’t throw away those left over food. Sure… I hate left overs just like the next person, but when you repurpose it, it doesn’t taste like left overs. We ate roast the other night and I had some left over. However, I didn’t have enough to make another meal. So I chopped up the brisket, and make beef quesadillas and you would have thought I made a gourmet meal. That brisket didn’t go to waste and my family was pleasantly surprised. We actually had enough for a lunch for my husband too! Here are some clever ways to use up your left overs.
- 10 ways to use leftover baked potatoes
- Over 50 leftover turkey recipes
- 7 ways to use leftover grilled corn
- 8 ways to reuse leftover rice
- 6 clever ways to use leftover hamburger buns
- 6 ways to use left over pasta
- 10 ways to use left over grilled chicken
As you can see, we have a TON of creative ways to use up your leftovers without feeling like you are eating the “same old thing.”
There are plenty of ways to save! If this list seems overwhelming to you, pick one area and start there. Do you love using your SmartPhone? Maybe you can start with some money saving apps. Are you a planner? Maybe you should try to make a menu plan this week. Whatever you decide, just remember, you are saving yourself and your family time and money. More then likely, you’ll be eating healthier, too!
What are your tips for how to save money on groceries without coupons? Do you have tips and tricks that you live by? We’d love to hear from you.