Want to slash your grocery tab? Saving money on groceries is easier than collecting binders of coupons and buying 455 rolls of toilet paper.
We’ve compiled a list of simple (and some unexpected) tips to help you maximize your grocery budget.
1. You Don’t Shop With A Calculator
This is one of the easiest ways to make sure you don’t overspend at the grocery store (besides shopping on a full stomach). Bring your old-school calculator with you, or use your phone. However you do it, set a limit for how much you plan to spend beforehand, then hold yourself to it.
Add up the price of each item as you toss it in your basket, and you’ll be surprised how much easier it is to stick to your budget.
Voila! No more wallet-gouging surprises at checkout.
2. You Don’t Get Paid Every Time You Buy Toilet Paper
Grocery shopping was never exactly pleasant. But these days, it’s a downright struggle. Fighting crowds; keeping six feet of space — just buying toilet paper is a feat. Shouldn’t you have something to show for it?
A free app called Fetch Rewards will reward you with gift cards just for buying toilet paper and more than 250 other items at the grocery store.
Here’s how it works: After you’ve downloaded the app, just take a picture of your receipt showing you purchased an item from one of the brands listed in Fetch. For your efforts, you’ll earn gift cards to places like Amazon or Walmart.
You can download the free Fetch Rewards app here to start getting free gift cards. Over a million people already have, so they must be onto something…
3. You Don’t Go Grocery Shopping in Your Pantry
Before heading to the grocery store, go shopping in your pantry and fridge.
What do we mean? Take inventory of what’s already in stock, then build your weekly meals around those items. This will not only help reduce your weekly grocery bill also cut your waste.
4. You Don’t Get $225 in Free Groceries Every Month
If we told you that before you head to the grocery store, you could get paid to watch cooking videos on your computer, you’d probably laugh.
It’s too good to be true, right?
But we’re serious. A website called InboxDollars will pay you to watch short video clips online. One minute you might watch a chef teach you the recipe for fudge brownies and the next you might get the latest updates on Kardashian drama.
All you have to do is choose which videos you want to watch and answer a few quick questions about them afterward. Brands pay InboxDollars to get these videos in front of viewers, and it passes a cut onto you.
It’s possible to earn up to $225 per month watching these videos — that could make a serious dent in your grocery bill.
Unlike other sites, InboxDollars pays you in cash — no points or gift cards — and it’s already paid its users more than $56 million.
It takes about one minute to sign up, and you’ll immediately earn a $5 bonus to get you started.
5. You Don’t Get a Box of Free Samples Every Month
What if we told you there was a way to get a box of samples each month — from leading brands like Olay, Tide, Purina, V8 — and in exchange, all you’d need to do is share your honest feedback?
PINCHme promises to do just that.
When we registered, we found out we could choose from samples of ZzzQuil Sleep-Aid, Purina One Tender Selects Cat food, Hidden Valley Greek Yogurt Dressing, and a V8 Veggie Blend Juice and +Energy 2 pack (these were full-size samples).
But, the samples change each month, and options vary based on your profile and location.
We love that PINCHme sends the samples to you (who doesn’t get excited about mail?) and doesn’t require a credit card to sign up or pay for shipping.
Once you fill out your profile, PINCHme presents you with relevant samples it has available.
Then next month, just rinse and repeat.
6. You Don’t See if You Can Get Free Money From This Company
Here’s the deal: If you’re not using Aspiration’s debit card, you’re missing out on free money. And who doesn’t want free money?
Yep. A debit card called Aspiration gives you up to a 5% kickback every time you swipe.
Need to buy groceries? Free money.
Need to fill up the tank? Bam. Free money again.
You were going to buy these things anyway — why not get free money in the process?
Enter your email address here, and link your bank account to see how much extra cash you can get with your free Aspiration account. And don’t worry. Your money is FDIC insured and under a military-grade encryption. That’s nerd talk for “this is totally safe.”
7. You Don’t Scan Your Groceries’ Barcodes For Free Gift Cards
Remember the Nielsen company? The one that’s always tracked TV ratings? Well, now it wants to know what’s in your fridge.
Once you sign up to be on the Nielsen Consumer Panel, you’ll gain access to the NCPMobile app. (If you don’t have a smartphone, Nielsen will send you a scanner.) As you unload your groceries after your next shopping trip, simply use the app to scan items’ barcodes.
Nielsen will reward you with points, which you can redeem for free gift cards, electronics (new TV, anyone?) and household items. The longer you stay on the panel, the more opportunities you have to earn.
Applying to become a panel member is straightforward. You’ll answer some basic questions about you and your household, then Nielsen reviews your application and will contact you when you’re eligible to join.
8. You’re Not Taking Pictures of Your Receipts
We all want to save money on our groceries. What we don’t want to do is put a ton of work into it. If this sounds like you — someone who just wants to get in and out of the store and save money without doing much thinking — there’s an app we recommend.
It’s called Ibotta, and it pays you cash-back for buying certain items at the grocery store.
Before you shop, search for items on your shopping list within the Ibotta app. When you get home, snap a photo of your receipt and scan the items’ barcodes.
Bam. Cash back.
Ibotta is free to download. Plus, you’ll get a $20 sign-up bonus when you redeem 10 offers within 14 days.
9. You Don’t Stay on the Couch and Get Your Groceries Delivered
Getting your groceries delivered to your door sounds like a luxury, but ordering grocery essentials online can actually save you money.
A free website called Rakuten has connections with more than 2,500 stores, which means it can give you a cash kickback when you shop at one. When we checked, we found cash-back deals at Amazon, Safeway, Sam’s Club, Boxed and Walmart.
It takes less than 60 seconds to create a Rakuten account. All you need is an email address. Plus, if you use Rakuten to earn money back within the first 90 days of signing up, it’ll give you an extra $10.
Now you don’t have to worry about fitting that 36-pack of toilet paper in your trunk or hauling a box of cat litter across the store. Just have someone deliver it to your door and earn cash back along the way!