Tips To Stretch Your Grocery Budget

With inflation and supply chain issues, no doubt you’ve noticed the strain on your wallet when shopping for groceries over the past year. Are you looking for creative ways to stretch your budget? There are so many digital deals and unique discounts that can be easily accessed these days if you’re willing to put in just a little effort before you shop. For even more great budgeting tips and strategies to reduce debt, click here.

Buying in Bulk

You can definitely save money by buying in bulk from club stores like Costco and Sam’s Club, but they do require a membership. Right now, Sam’s Club is running a promotion where you can join as a club member for just $8 through 2/21/22. Costco also runs promotions where you can get a gift card when signing up for their membership, which mostly offsets the fee.

Another great option is to buy meat in bulk directly from local farmers. You probably have several farms nearby that will allow you to buy a whole, half, or quarter cow or pig at a deep discount. Going in together with family members or friends can be a good option if you don’t have a large family or room to store that much meat, but still want to save. Make sure you invest in a deep freezer so you’ll have space to store your meat. Another idea is to cut down on your meat consumption since the cost of meat is so high – try starting a Meatless Monday tradition.

We recently invested in 1/4 of a cow and the cost ended up being $4.85/lb, which is much cheaper than any stores near us, especially for grass-fed beef. You can also sign up for a CSA (community-supported agriculture) to find great prices on local produce. The one we’re a part of offers a 10% discount for each $100 we load on their discount card, so it’s a painless way to save while also being able to support local farmers.

Loyalty Rewards

Almost all grocery stores have some type of loyalty reward program that either requires you to scan a card or enter your connected phone number at checkout to earn/redeem rewards. I’ll use Food Lion as an example since that is our most visited store. Their Shop and Earn program resets each month and it offers you deals like “$10 back in store credit when you spend $30”, as well as specific category offers like “spend $15 on produce and get $3 back.” It’s such a fun feeling to earn that credit and then on my next shopping trip, I end up only having to spend a few dollars, or sometimes nothing at all. Each month, you can also load customized coupons to your account on their website. Harris Teeter has a similar program called e-VIC which also allows you to load coupons to your account and save automatically.

Receipt-Scanning Apps

This last category can be a little overwhelming just because of the sheer volume of apps available, but don’t let that deter you! If you’re not familiar, receipt scanning apps offer you either cash rebates or points in return for scanning your grocery (and other shopping) receipts. My 2 favorites apps for scanning receipts are Fetch Rewards and Ibotta. For Fetch, very little effort is required; you get points immediately after scanning your receipt, whether it’s from a grocery store, gas station, pet store, etc. You can cash out for gift cards once you reach around 3000 points, and each receipt earns around 25 points on average.

Ibotta is a little more involved as you have to select cash back offers on products before you scan your receipt. Some stores they require you to scan your receipt, and others you just select your offers then link your loyalty card to Ibotta and you will automatically get cash back after shopping. With Ibotta, you must earn $20 to cash out, but many offers are $1-2 back, so it doesn’t take too long to cash out. Last week for the Superbowl they had a $4 back offer on frozen pizza, which made the pizza free! It can be slightly tedious, but I typically gather all my receipts once per week and take about 10 minutes to scan them into all the apps I use. If you’d like more information on the other apps I use, you can read about those here.

I hope these tips will help you find some creative ways to save money and stretch your grocery budget!

Thanks for reading!

Emily

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