There are plenty of ways to save money on groceries: meal plan, couponing, stretching food with rice, etc. What most people don’t realize is they can get normal food at a discounted rate as well. We all know that you can find coupons for Campbell’s or Kraft, but did you know you could save money on generic milk and eggs? I’m not talking about getting rebates through Ibotta or Checkout51 or any other app or program (here’s 10 of those), but actually buying them for cheaper.
Buy Discounted Gift Cards
I am a huge fan of giftcardgranny.com. They serve as a central hub to 14 different gift card selling sites. Basically, when someone needs cash or has a card to a store they are never going to use, they sell it online at a discounted rate. Gift Card Granny sees the cards, organizes them, and presents them to you. I use it for nearly every store I visit: Dollar General (3% off), Best Buy (5% off), Home Depot (10% off), RiteAid (14% off), Cheesecake Factory (22% off), Autozone (23% off), etc.
Get an account at giftcardgranny.com, scroll through the stores that you actually shop at, and sign up for their notifications. They will send you regular newsletters listing the best prices for each of your subscribed stores. For grocery stores the % off is fairly low usually 1-3%.If you shop at a unique store, you might get a greater % off. Don’t forget to buy it with a rewards credit card (that you pay off monthly) so you get an extra 1-5% off!
Gift Card Granny also has a new rewards program. For every $1,000 you spend or friend you refer, you get a $5 credit (that’s my referral link above). They give you a head start with the first one by giving you 200 points just for making an account and signing up for the newsletter. Effectively, that is another 0.5% off each card (or 0.625% off your first $800). It isn’t much, but I know I would have qualified for one by now if it was around when I signed up, and hey, it’s free money.
Once the card arrives in the mail (usually free shipping), use it at the store as you would any other gift card.
Full Purchase $ or % off deals
The next step is to look and wait for the general deals at your grocery store. Specific brand deals are usually not worth your time sifting through because most of the time you walk in the store and realize the generic equivalent was cheaper than the name brand with a coupon anyways. Do keep your eye out for any store brand coupons though.
They will often occur as coupons in your junk mail or through your grocery store’s online coupon site. I do my local grocery shopping at Dollar General for this very reason. For my usual stuff like milk and eggs it is hard to find a bargain, but Dollar General holds regular general purchase sales. For example, during the weekdays they will occasionally do $2 off a $10 purchase, most Saturdays they do $5 off $25, and if you take the online survey at the bottom of your receipt you get $3 off $15. All three options are 20% off an already inexpensive store!
You have to sign up for their “Digital Deals” online to get these offers, otherwise you’re dependent on receipt stubs and have to go to the store more than once a week (and not always with a deal) to stay current.
Note: you have to pay attention to the price in your cart to make these deals work the most for you. If you buy $40 worth of groceries and only have a $2 off $10 coupon, you only save 5%. I usually add up the prices as I go and target barely over the $10-$25 I’m shooting for. Since the store is walking distance from my house and I’m mostly buying perishables there anyways, I don’t mind shopping smaller and more frequently. I’m not worried about the over shopping because it is very rare for extra items to make their way into my cart when I’m targeting a specific number. If my list comes out shy of the target, I throw in some $1 margarine, $0.50 canned veggies, or pasta since they last a long time and I’m sure they won’t go to waste.
Other Grocery Deals
Of course you should always look for and take advantage of the other deals that come your way. When they sell canned veggies at 3 for $1, stock up for the year (or longer). When you have a coupon that puts the name brand cheaper than your usual price, go for it. When Christmas is over, stock up on any ribbon or things you need at 75%-90% off. Just don’t break the principle of a deal and spend money on stuff that doesn’t save you money in the long run. Don’t buy a ton of Chips Ahoy because it is $1.00 off if you buy 3. You don’t need Chips Ahoy. You can’t depend on these deals in your budget because they rotate and mostly target more expensive convince food, but when they do come, notice and exploit them.
Stack the Deals
So there you have it, the secret 3 part formula: buy cheaper money to use at the store (giftcardgranny.com), take advantage of bulk bargains provided by the store, and take advantage (when they exist) of individual item on sale.
Here are my usual numbers:
3% off gift card–> 97%
20% off store–> 80%
97% x 80% = 77.6% or 22.4% off!
Not bad for an expense I make several times a month!
Shop your discounts carefully and/or add coupons and you’ll do even better!
This week I even turned a $31 purchase into $22 with a 4% off card, $5 off $25, and a $3 off Dollar General brand diapers. Nearly 30% off! That’s also not including the 1% I got back by purchasing the gift card with my Discover credit card.
See what saves even more money here: My Un-Shopping List – Things I don’t Buy Anymore
Good luck with your grocery shopping adventures!
This post may contain affiliate links that give me a small commission, but my opinions are 100% mine. I will NEVER recommend something I don’t believe in.