Can You Save Money on Groceries without Coupons?
You absolutely can. Shop from a list, cook from scratch, stop meal planning, shop on a regular rotation, shop at stores with lower prices, use an easy app to find great deals fast, grab markdown items, buy in bulk, and grow some of your own food. You can use any or all of these tips to see a savings on your grocery bill.
Tip #1 Shop From a List
Often when we’re in a hurry, this is the last thing we want to do, yet a list will save you time and money. I always hate making out a grocery list when I’m getting ready to go on a big shopping trip, so I finally just sat down at my computer one day and listed out all the staple items we normally buy (plus blank lines for any additional items) in a word document. Now when it’s time to grocery shop, I just print that list, cross out or add anything that’s needed, and it goes so much faster.
Tip #2 Cook From Scratch
I am not here to judge pre-prepared foods (they definitely show up at our house sometimes), but the truth is you’ll save more money on your grocery bill if you cook from scratch. I should also note, this advice is not coming from a gourmet foodie cook. I am a get ‘er done meat-and-potatoes-and-vegetables kind of cook. No muss. No fuss. And it needs to get on the table fast. I’ve learned how to cook from scratch using my crock pot and my instant pot with minimal time standing over the stove because frankly, it’s time I just don’t have right now.
Tip #3 Stop Meal Planning
This tip is controversial and it may seem to run contrary to the two tips above, but I assure you it doesn’t when you’re trying to save money on groceries without coupons. I stopped meal planning about a month and a half ago and it has changed my life and noticeably reduced our grocery bill. As mentioned in the first tip, I have a grocery list made up of our staple foods that I know I can make tons of meals from. These are “old faithful” meals, the ones I can make in my sleep that I know my husband loves and that take minimal effort on my part.
Having this flexibility has enabled me to do way better at utilizing what’s already sitting in our pantry and not just buying a whole round of new random ingredients every two weeks (which will be left to languish in the pantry for months after I’ve used what I needed for a particular recipe). There are definitely specific recipes I’ll make for a specific occasion, but for the most part, I’ve taken to buying basic ingredients that will work in a lot of different meals and calling it good.
Tip #4 Shop On a Regular Rotation
I do a big grocery shopping trip every two weeks to buy the majority of our food. We’ll always have a milk run or a banana run or something like that in the in-between time, but for the most part, the majority of our food is bought on those big runs every other week. Again, this saves time and money. I don’t keep running to the store for a bunch of little things, which reduces the chance of me impulse buying on those quick trips and throwing unnecessary things into the cart (which I have been known to do…from time to time).
Tip #5 Shop at a Store with Lower Prices
How else can you save money on groceries without coupons? Shop at a store with lower prices.This sounds so obvious and I truly don’t mean to be insulting, but often we all opt for convenience in the chaos of the moment and just swing by the store that’s closest to us. Nothing wrong with that, and if you’re trying to save time, that’s definitely the way to go.
However, if you’re trying to save money, see if you can plan ahead a bit and go to a store with great prices. If you have an Aldi or a Winco in your area, those are awesome places to shop for big savings. Look around and see what you can find where you live. Often these types of stores will be a little less “polished,” but I honestly couldn’t care less when I see how much money we’re saving.
Tip #6 Use an App to Find Loss Leaders
I do NOT coupon, but that doesn’t mean I’ll never use a coupon if I have it. As I’ve mentioned in a previous post on paper clutter management, if a grocery store mails me specific coupons tailored to what we actually buy, I’ll throw those in my purse before heading out.
More often, however, I have an app called the Flipp app, where I’ve selected specific store ads I want to see, and I’ll take just two minutes to check that app as I’m making my grocery list and see if there are any loss leaders I want to grab while I’m out grocery shopping.
I am not at a place in my life where I can clip coupons and match deals and double the discount and do whatever other fancy things one can do as a couponer, but I’m definitely not above taking advantage of a sale or using a coupon if it’s quick and easy.
NOTE: You may be wondering if I go to multiple stores when I do my big grocery shopping trips. Is this necessary to save money on groceries without coupons? For me, the answer is yes, HOWEVER, I’m pretty darn efficient about it. The kids stay home with Dad, I run and grab any loss leaders on my list at two stores in our town that are directly across the street from each other. Then, I do the bulk of my shopping at Winco and head home. If I had the kids with me, it would be a different story. Heck, If I had the kids with me, we’d be doing grocery pickup! 🙂
Tip #7 Grab Markdowns
When you’re looking to save money on groceries without coupons, don’t pass over items in a clearance or markdown area. I’ve found great deals in the meat department on meat that’s short-coded and just needs to be thrown in the freezer when I get home. I can also find bread marked down, and sometimes other fun surprises, as well. It may not seem like a big deal, but when you’re watching your grocery budget, those savings add up.
Tip #8 Buy in Bulk
I mentioned how I work off a pre-populated grocery list that’s filled with our family’s staple items. With some of those items, I’ve found it to be more cost effective to buy them in bulk. This is obviously an option if you have a Costco near you, but Winco also has a fabulous bulk section. I save a lot of money on spices by purchasing them in bulk at Winco. Just another example of how you can save money on groceries without coupons!
If you have food allergies in your family, you’ll want to look out for the possibility of cross-contamination in the bulk section, but otherwise, if you’re looking to save money on groceries without coupons, you can find some real savings there.
Tip #9 Grow Some of Your Own Food
Again, this is one of those tips that doesn’t save you time, but it can save you money if you do it right. Our garden is going crazy this year and I feel like I’m hardly buying any produce at the grocery store right now, plus everything in our garden is organic! ReLea from BalancedFI.com talks about how to save with gardening and canning in this handy post.
Now, you can definitely put a ton of money into a garden and not get any savings from what you’d spend at the grocery store, but if you plant what you’ll actually eat and just give it a little tending, you could definitely end up ahead, plus you’ll have the satisfaction of providing some of your food with your own two hands. Just think, instead of clipping coupons, you could be clipping fresh herbs, fresh tomatoes or fresh lettuce!
To save money on groceries without coupons is not only doable, but in my mind, it’s the preferred method because of the time you save in coupon clipping. Don’t let anyone tell you that you’re missing out on all the good deals by not being a couponer. Learn how to find good deals fast with the tips above, be strategic about where you shop, work off a list, and you’re well on your way to saving a bunch on your grocery bill.