As a public school teacher, I have to be very careful with my money and follow a strict budget; while I make a livable salary, I also have a lot of other responsibilities that take a decent amount of funds (car payment, student loans, rent, etc).
I also love to go out with friends, go shopping, and just live a full life, so I’ve had to come up with some great ways to save money. One of the easiest ways I’ve learned to save money is with grocery shopping.
I always try to make my breakfasts, lunches, and about half of my dinners at home (which saves a TON of money, rather than going out to eat for every meal), but by budgeting and saving money at the grocery store, my discretionary funds go a lot further! So, here are my money saving tips – grocery store edition:
#1: Make a Grocery List
This is the best way to save money. Take a few minutes and plan out your meals for the week; make a list of all of the ingredients needed, and then combine everything onto your grocery list. This way, you aren’t buying more than you need. By having a list (and going grocery shopping on a full stomach – I swear, guys, this totally helps too!), you can stay more focused while shopping and you won’t get distracted by all of the products at the store. I use a grocery list like this (you can order one here):
#2: Reusable Bags
Now, this tip doesn’t save you a lot of money each individual trip, but it can add up over time; always use reusable bags! A lot of grocery stores have started giving customers a little bit of money back for every reusable bag that you bring. I typically grocery shop at either Target or Sprouts and both give you $.05 back for each reusable bag. I always bring two, so for each grocery trip, they take $.10 off of my bill. Like I said, it’s not a lot for that trip, but if you grocery shop each week, it’ll save you $5.20. Again, it’s not an earth-shattering amount, but to me, every little penny counts!
#3: Cartwheel App
My 3rd tip is an ode to my favorite store, Target. Like many of you, I can’t seem to get enough of Target…they have everything, including groceries! The Target Cartwheel app is an easy-to-use app on your phone that allows you to check out the latest deals going on in the store. These aren’t deals that are advertised, but are only on the app. All you need to do is download the app (it’s free!), create a Target account if you don’t already have one, and then start looking for savings. You click on the items you are going to purchase (you can also scan them into the app using the product’s bar code), and then show your cashier the Cartwheel app bar code (each user has their own, personal checkout bar code) for them to scan and save you money! Some trips I only save $.50, but one time, I saved $20, in one trip! It all depends on what you are purchasing and how much it is discounted. Plus, you get a free perk after you’ve spent $500 at Target, which is SO easy to do 🙂
Use this link to sign up on your computer or download the app in the Itunes store.
Ibotta is another app that helps you earn money on purchases that you’ve made. It doesn’t discount items at the register, but it gives you money back on certain items after your trip to the store. All you have to do is download Ibotta (another free app!), search your favorite stores, and see if any of the items on their list are things you’ve purchased. I always check it out before I go to the store to see if I can double up on savings with Ibotta and the Cartwheel app (or to see if anything is on sale at the store that week). Some products will give you $.25 back, while others give you up to $5.00 back. When you get home, you scan the product’s bar code and then take a picture of your receipt – it’ll credit you the money within 24 hours! After you’ve earned $20, you can choose between different store gift cards, or they can transfer the money to your PayPal or Venmo accounts (I’ve always done this, and I’ve been transferred $62.50 so far!). Now, don’t start buying stuff just because it’s on the app; if it’s not on your grocery list, then you are just spending unnecessary money. That’s why I always try to match it up with my list.
Use this link to sign up on your computer, or if you use the app to sign up, use this reference code: iaadrcq (you can help me earn $5 by signing up!).
Hopefully these grocery shopping tips will help you start to save money and stick within your budget. I feel like these tips are super easy to follow, and if done right, could potentially save you hundreds of dollars! These tips have allowed me to have a little more monetary freedom, which really lets me be able to enjoy the finer things in life!