10 Strategies to Save at the Store Without Coupons
Looking to cut down on your grocery budget, but you aren’t crazy about using coupons? Or maybe you are rushing to the store after work, but don’t have coupons with you. There are some strategies you can use to still see a significant savings on your grocery bill.
Tips to Save Without Coupons
1. Make a list and stick to it. Even without coupons, you should have a plan on what you are going to buy in the store. This will keep you from impulse buying, which may cost you more than what you wanted and lead to buying unnecessary items. Plus, with a list, you’ll know how much you can spend, and how much you plan to save.
2. Buy produce in season. Buying fresh produce isn’t just healthier; it is cheaper, too, since the cost is lower to have it shipped to the store. I recommend checking out a local farmer’s market or food co-op to optimize quality and price.
3. Look for manager’s specials. Meat, bread, and produce can all be heavily discounted if it will expire in the next day or two. Buying these products can help you save up to 90% of the original price and as long as you use (or freeze) it by the expiration date, are just as good. If you aren’t sure where your store keeps their manager mark-downs, just ask!
4. Check the end of the aisle. Many times stores (Target especially!) will place discontinued products on the end of the aisles. These may still be good, but are only discounted because of packaging or new specials. This is especially true after the holidays with products that still have the holiday packaging.
5. Watch sales. All products have a sale cycle with low and high prices. Start watching the products you consistently buy and you’ll see a pattern. Buy at the lowest price in the sale cycle, and you can instantly save at least 40%. Also, stores often put on special promotional events (holiday items, food for football parties, etc) to help you save on products you need. Just don’t fall for buying extras at the grocery store that can be cheaper at other specialty stores.
6. Stock up on sales. When you find a great deal on a product, go ahead and stock up (within reason) so that you’ll have it on hand the next time you need it. By doing this, you’ll manage to never pay full price again for those necessities that tend to cost us the most.
Not sure how much to buy? Figure out how much of the product you will need until the next time the low price will come around in the sale cycle. Also look at the expiration of your product to help you determine how long it will last.
7. Compare name brand products with store brands. If you aren’t using coupons, the generic product might be a cheaper option for you. Just make sure you are checking the price per unit on each to ensure that you are getting the best deal.
8. Look outside of grocery stores. I significantly reduced my shopping budget when I started shopping at the drugstores, like CVS and Walgreens, which have really good reward programs. Of course, I like to use coupons to maximize my savings at the drugstores, but even without coupons you can score some FREE products almost every week.
Other places to find groceries for cheap: Dollar Stores, Big Lots, Target, Walmart, or the super stores by you (Costco, Sam’s Club, etc).
9. Don’t shop hungry. Sounds basic – but this will help alleviate impulse buys. Make sure you have a full stomach before heading to the store and you won’t want all those tasty looking snacks that aren’t good for your waist or your wallet.
10. Leave the kids (and maybe your spouse) at home. If possible, this can also help you save money (and time) since you won’t have the distraction of your children in the store. Plus, many products appeal to kids, making it harder to stay away from them. And if you do have to bring the kids, bring a healthier snack to keep them occupied.
Do you have other strategies to save at the store? Feel free to comment below and share your tips, too.