Let me start by saying, I actually love coupons. I am not a coupon queen, by any means, but thanks to Laurie over at Passionate Penny Pincher, I have learned the coupon basics and saved quite a bit of cash.
But I am not a faithful couponer every week. I know a lot of people who are and save a lot of money. But I have a few reasons it doesn't always work for me.
1. The local paper won't deliver to my house. Yeah, as a former newspaper reporter I would LOVE to subscribe, but they won't drive the extra 1/2 mile to my house to give me the paper. So, I get busy on Sunday and forget to buy it.
2. I love my computer, but Smart Source and Redplum don't always like to print and I get tired of updating my software ever two seconds to make those programs happy.
3. I have a baby and run a business and even though there are A LOT of really great websites that do matchups, sometimes I don't have a spare minute.
So I thought I'd share how I save BIG bucks on my groceries each week WITHOUT coupons.
1. Shop the sales, meal plan accordingly. Every Wednesday the sales papers arrive in my mailbox. I am a faithful Publix shopper. So I grab the Publix sales paper, and I use my Pantry and Freezer inventory (Free Printables here.) and I plan my weekly meals.
For example if I have a whole chicken in my freezer and brown rice and vegetables are on sale, that's a meal one night. Or if ground beef is on sale and I have lasagna noodles and sauce, that's a meal!
And no, I am not loading up my cart with cheap, processed foods. In fact, you'd be surprised how little processed foods we eat at our house. Since I make 95% of our food from scratch I save a lot by just buying the fresh foods I need for one week.
2. Organize your list in sections. Organize your list like your store is set up. I organize mine like this: produce, protein, dry goods, dairy.
That way my list is already set up and I don't wander around the store looking for things I put on the list out of order. This means I also don't walk past a tempting looking "sale" item I don't need.
3. Ditch the debit card, carry cash. I tell myself I am only going to spend $65 a week on groceries. That makes us seven dinners, breakfasts, and lunches. We always have leftovers!
I will use that sales paper I just talked about and figure out the price of things I need. I also keep a running talley of the cost of my staples like milk and eggs and I factor that into my budget. I only spend what I say I am going to spend. I even use my calculator in the store to make certain I don't go over budget before I get to the register.
4. Grab a smaller cart. Ever noticed how much bigger shopping carts are these days? Yeah, the supermarket has caught on and they make those baskets bigger for a reason. Don't fall fool to this. Grab a smaller cart if you can.
The carts with the "cars" for children attached to them often have a smaller basket, use that. Or line your shopping cart with the small baskets.
5. Don't buy meat every week. I only buy meat once a month. I store it all in our deep freezer and I have a list of what is in there. I buy things like chicken, pork and ground beef when it goes on sale each month and then I don't purchase it again.
I also roll my leftovers into new meals. For example, last week I used one chicken to make three meals (18 servings) for only $23.
A few more ways to save:
Dollar Tree- I buy our toiletries (toothpaste, toothbrushes and shampoos) as well as cleaning supplies (bleach, pinsol) at the Dollar Tree. I can get a pack of five toothbrushes for $1!
Banish name brands- I don't buy a lot of name brand items, I buy store brand and my husband can't tell the difference. If you swear you can, give yourself time you'll adjust and your pocket book will be happy.
Amazon- I buy my toilet paper and the occasional diaper we use using Amazon subrscribe and save.
Don't forget to hop on over to Romance on a Dime for Take it On Tuesday.