You Can Save Money Without Coupons

The following is a guest post from Shelly who blogs at Coupon Teacher.

I do call myself “Coupon Teacher”, but the principles I try to share can apply to saving without coupons as well. I hear a lot of people say that there just aren’t coupons for the items they buy. While that may be true, there are still other ways you can save at the grocery store. Use these tips and tricks to save from 30-50% at the grocery store without coupons!

1. Store sales cycles repeat about every 12 weeks. This means that the items you buy at the grocery should go on sale at least once every 3 months. Some items go on sale less often and some more often, so start watching the sales.

2. Make a list of the items you buy most, and start watching the sales flyers for those items. Remember, just because it is on sale, doesn’t mean it is a great price. Keep a price book, if you have trouble tracking what is a good price.

3. Buy enough of a really good sale item to last you until the next sales cycle. If you use 1 box of cereal per week, buy several the next time you see them on sale. That way, you don’t have to pay full price for them.

4. Watch for Buy One, Get One Free Sales. Many stores offer these sales, even on organic and healthy items. If you snag BOGO items, you have already saved 50%.

5. Buy produce in season (and freeze it if you can). There was a recent sale at Whole Foods for $1.99 organic blueberries. That is a great price for organic fruit. I would buy one to use right away and one or two to freeze for later.

6. Watch for clearance and mark down items! Many stores mark down meats, produce, and milk that is about to expire, as well as other items.

7. Don’t shop hungry.No matter what shopping hungry leads to spending more money. If necessary, eat a little snack before you shop. You will put less in your cart and find it easier to stick to a shopping list!

What strategies do you use to save money with or without coupons?

Shelly is a full-time fourth grade teacher and blogs at Coupon Teacher. She wants you to share and celebrate your successes with her, and she may give you a few tips along the way!


This post may contain a link to an affiliate. See my disclosure policy for more information.

Comments

  1. Holly says:

    If the store offers a rewards card – get it! You can get instant discounts and/or coupons at the checkout!

    Holly @ http://www.highheelsandflipflops.com

  2. Jaimie says:

    You can save WAY more using coupons on BOGO items and on sale items. You should save your coupons to use on items ONLY when they are on sale!!!! I am someone who had a $126.00 grocery bill and brought it down to $17.00 AFTER COUPONS. :-) Couldn’t have gotten that much for that little without the coupons. The truth is around here when an item at Publix or W/D goes on sale BOGO you are basically getting it at the Wal-Mart price maybe a TINY bit less… It’s not saving any money unless you apply the coupons…then you save a TON!!!!

  3. Dalari says:

    Thanks for the info. I use Grocery IQ app on my iPhone and computer. I like it cause I can enter the price for the item, know an estimate of what I am spending at each shopping trip before I go and comparison shop at different stores or check for when it’s on sale. Great tips.

  4. Kelli says:

    I love saving money. Tonight was a great example of how to save money on chicken (a protein we use OFTEN). I always buy my chicken breasts in bulk, which usually gives about $.30 savings per pound, unless its an item running out of date or otherwise on sale as stated above which will yield even more savings. I then use some for a recipe this week and put the rest in the freezer for later. But to stretch my money even further I cut them ‘thin’. You’d normally pay a premium for the thin cut breasts in the store, but with a good sharp knife you can CAREFULLY do this yourself by starting at the thick end of the breast and slicing it in half horizontally. (I have a wonderful, sharp filet knife to help me in this task.) I then freeze them, 2 pc (1 full cutlet) in a pack and can pull out what I need for future recipe. Plus they thaw quickly when this thin AND cook quicker. Tonight, I took roughly $7.50 worth of chicken and will get a min of 3 meals out of it for 3 people! That’s about $2.50 per meal (not taking into account we’ll get to nights out of those meals due to leftover) or roughly $.65 per breast! If you factor in leftover meals, the cost drops WAY down!! Awesome!

  5. Tress says:

    We buy and eat the same foods consistantly, in the summer its mostly salads w/ fish or poultry and in the winter I make soups. We know everyweek what we need and the brand. We also buy toiletries in bulk from a local club when we have coupons for them and we buy the cheapest ones we can. I have aan excel sheet w/ the food prices and stores on it and I pretty much know the cost by heart on most of our groceries. Eggs we get locally and only pay $1 a dozen. We try to only get whats on our list as well. Its important to factor in gas and mileage on your vehicle as well when traveling around to different stores to get the best deal as well as ink and paper if you print out coupons and the cost of the newspaper to get the coupons in it, we feel that we save more by not couponing at times!

  6. Jaimie says:

    I pay $0.52 a week for my newspaper and around here all the grocery stores are within 3-5 miles of each other. I buy 4 news papers a week so I spend $8.00 a month on newspapers and save around $200.00 or more so I think the $8.00 investment in news papers every month and the $15.00 in extra gas every motnh is well worth it. You just have to know how to use coupons EFFECTIVELY.

  7. Jennifer says:

    I live in a dense urban area so I have 3 stores within one mile of my home. I compare the specials every week and also clip coupons. I NEVER buy anything with a coupon if it isn’t something I would normally buy but do use them when I find a special. I take an insulated bag with ice packs with me to keep cold items cold while I hit each store. I spend about 3 hours a week shopping, and another hour planning my list. (I’m a housewife without kids, so I consider this part of my job). For the 2 of us, I a, able to spend less than $100 a month. I also buy our meat from the bargain section and freeze until I need it. My husband is really proud of my savings and it stretches our one income budget.

  8. Leah says:

    We have a weekly budget of $50, and I plan menus based on the items listed in the weekly ads. When I write out my list, I write the price beside each item so I can make sure I don’t go over budget.

    If I need something that isn’t on sale, I budget in an “allowed” price. Sometimes it means buying a smaller jar of peanut butter that will only last the week, but I know it will be on sale again and I can stock up.

  9. Mindy Nave says:

    Tress, I’ve been looking online trying to find a spreadsheet like the one you said you use. Would you consider emailing yours to me? I would be so grateful! If you are willing, my email address is mindysue77@gmail.com Thanks for thinking about it. :o)

  10. Breana says:

    I find that stockpiling (as you mentioned), meal planning based on sales, & matching coupons with sales and ONLY buying produce & meat on sale or markdown are the easiest & best ways for us to save. I typically shop at 2 grocery stores week, to grab the sale items. But if there is nothing that I find that interests me I can easily last a few weeks with only shopping for fresh produce & eating out of our stockpile.

  11. Tonya says:

    Have everyone in the house add an item to the grocery list when they are the last to finish it. I buy only items on sale (stocking up) and what’s on the list if we really NEED it. If it’s on the list and it’s not on sale, I roll it over another week, sometimes two until it is. I keep the freezer stocked with meats, usually from Sam’s Club, and always buy fresh produce in season. Toiletries are bought the same way–only when on sale and then I stock up because I know they will always be used at some time. Just a pantry and a laundry room, plus inside frig and an extra freezer to store the stocked up food. No hoarding, but usually plenty to give when food drives come around.

  12. Jenni says:

    Shop alone, if you can. Husbands and kids like to add things to the cart that aren’t on the list! :)

  13. I understand completely! (Now, I do use coupons…) But you do have to factor in each and every cost when you are trying to save money.

    I love that you use a price book!

  14. Stocking up is very useful in saving money.

    I need to train my hubby a little better to let me know when he is out of things!

  15. Absolutely, hubby always adds to the bill!!

  16. Alyssa says:

    These are some great ideas.. when I do clip coupons they often expire before I get around to using them! I’m trying to be better about it though and more organized!

  17. Callie says:

    We have 2 freezers in our home! One for meat, and the other for produce or other things! We buy a side of beef every year. It is quite a chunk of money up front, but it averages out quite a bit cheaper per pound, saving our family who knows how much! We also put out a big garden every year! We usually can or freeze enough veggies to last us almost the entire year! (yes, I have jars of veggies under my bed, lol) We also have a small orchard. So we freeze, can, or dehydrate apples, peaches, pears, blackberries, and grapes!
    Also, when I make a trip to the store (grocery, Wal-Mart, Dollar General) I ALWAYS go to the clearance isle first! Our local Wal-Mart has a clearance tent for 6 weeks every summer! This is usually when I stockup on enough toothpaste & personal hygiene items to last us several months! Last week I bought 5- 3packs of toothpaste, for $1.50 each! I also watch the local grocery adds for the truck load meat sales! This is usually the only time I buy meat (chicken, pork, and some fish), due to the price!

  18. Anise says:

    I don’t coupon, as I don’t buy processed food very often, and produce and meat don’t usually have coupons. We save grocery money by cooking rather than eating prepared food, eating up all the leftovers in various ways until they are gone, and eating cheap meats, rather than steaks. We also don’t eat much meat at a time, as in we don’t eat a whole chicken breast or pork chop per person per meal. I buy bruised produce a lot at our local Kroger and buy in bulk when things are on sale, and try to freeze what we can’t use immediately. We spend about $150 monthly on groceries(food, not detergent) per month for 3 adults.

  19. Sarah says:

    Sooo true! My husband always adds a few things he considers staples to the cart regardless of how many he has at home- “just in case” he needs them. Those protein bars are pricey if you don’t get them on sale!

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