[Advice] 10 Ways to Save Money on Food without Clipping Coupons

Clipping coupons is time-consuming and most of us would prefer not to do it. But at the same time, we don’t want to miss out on deals at th...

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Clipping coupons is time-consuming and most of us would prefer not to do it. But at the same time, we don’t want to miss out on deals at the grocery store. You don’t have to! There are many ways to trim your grocery bill, often substantially. Here are 10 ways you can save money on food without ever having to clip coupons:

1) Use Competitor ads at your favorite grocery store

You can save a lot of money by downloading a mobile coupon app and using it at your favorite grocery store. For example, since Walmart matches all competitor ads including buy one get one free items – at Walmart prices, we simply show them the Publix.com mobile app items listed as buy one get one free. We get the first one at the Walmart price and the second one free. Few people understand just how much you can save with this one tip. I encourage you to try it. The clerks are very familiar with the process and there is little or no delay at checkout.

2) Cultivate your own Vegetables and Fresh Herbs

Given that food costs are such a large part of our budgets, you’d think more people would take advantage of harvesting free food. But surprisingly, most of us don’t.

A backyard garden can supply all of the vegetable needs for a large family. Gardening doesn’t take much space and it’s inexpensive to start and maintain. It’s also a very relaxing and gratifying experience, as any gardener will tell you. The rewards of growing your own food are tremendous and go well beyond the healthy free food.

In addition, a few herb planters on a back porch can supply all of your herb needs year round. Herbs are costly at the grocery store and they are not always fresh. Combined with canning, cultivating your own food can be a year-round source of fresh vegetables and herbs for your family. And a big money saver!

3) Prepare meals at home

It sounds so simple: just don’t eat out and prepare meals at home. For a lot of people, it’s tough. But eating out is expensive and can definitely blow your budget. Whenever possible, you should prepare meals at home. Money Ning has some good tips on how to avoid the temptation to eat out.



4) Plan your meals

Meal planning is an old-fashioned concept that can save you a lot of money. Watch for sales and try to plan your family meals around the sale items whenever possible. By planning your meals, you’ll be less tempted to eat out and as a result, you’ll save more money at the grocery store.

We’ve also begun looking at those store circulars that used to pile up in the kitchen. They are a great way to find sales and if used in conjunction with meal planning, they can save you even more money.

Lifehacker has some good app recommendations for meal planning. But whether you use an app or not, meal planning can go a long way in helping you to stick to your grocery budget and save money on food.

5) Sign up for your grocery store membership card

Most grocery stores offer a membership card to promote customer loyalty. Members receive discounts that non-members generally do not. Take advantage of the savings by signing up for a membership card at your favorite grocery store. They are free and you can save a lot of money by using them each time you shop.

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6) Create a grocery list and don’t shop hungry

Shopping while hungry usually results in over-spending. It’s best to shop after you’ve eaten. Avoid stopping at the market on your way home from work if possible.

It’s also a good idea to shop with a list, and try to stick to it. Focus on finding healthy deals for frugal meal planning. Check the bulk aisle of your supermarket and try to find dry beans, nuts, seeds, quinoa and other healthy items inexpensively.

7) Prepare in Bulk

My mom wasn’t a nutritionist but I learned a lot from her about eating nutritious meals without spending a lot of money. When grocery store items are on sale, buy extra. Prepared foods including leftovers can be frozen and used for a later meal or an individual serving such as a lunch. Pasta-based dishes such as lasagna and spaghetti are perfect for freezing and sometimes taste even better.

8) Find Inexpensive Fruits and Vegetables locally

Vegetables can vary in price depending on when and where you buy them. If you have a coop or local Farmer’s Market, they can be an excellent source of inexpensive fruits and vegetables. You can also join a local wholesale club like Costco. You can search a public nationwide directory of small farms, farmers markets, and other local food sources in the US at Local Harvest or the USDA farmer’s market directory.



9) Consider Canning and Preservation

Dozens of fresh vegetables are suitable for canning including tomatoes, pickles, corn relish, beets, peppers and watermelon rind. These are just a few examples, but there are dozens of other vegetables suitable for canning.

Canning allows you to eat nutritious vegetables year-round and if you purchase them when they are on sale, the savings really adds up. If you’re interested in learning more about canning, this site has lots of great ideas. You should also check out Canning Across America, a blog run by gardeners and food lovers who specialize in preservation.

10) Find killer restaurant deals

If you are going to eat out, find a killer restaurant deal. We recently discovered TGI Friday’s $10 endless appetizers. It has since become our “go to” restaurant when money’s tight but we still want to eat out. Sometimes we even splurge on dessert. It’s a great restaurant experience that won’t blow your budget. If you don’t have one in your area, check out your local restaurants for their best deals and chances are, you’ll find something amazing that won’t break the bank.

Bon Appetite!

You can enjoy delicious, nutritious meals without clipping coupons and save money each week at the grocery store – without ever clipping coupons. Please share your comments and ideas with the community in the section below!

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