Its the first of the year! We made it through the holidays and all the wild Christmas shopping and after Christmas sale shopping. But now, our bank accounts are kind of mad at us. I mean, whew! Emptied or worse, piled on credit cards.
I spoke to a lot of my followers about what they wanted to see from me this year and I got just as many requests for lifestyle posts as I did fashion! That makes me so happy, because there is definitely more to life than clothes, even though they are super fun!
This time of year a lot of people start focusing on ways to save money. We have spent quite a bit and are looking for ways to recover. One of the best ways to cut back on spending is at the grocery store! We all eat, so we all buy groceries and the total can rack, up fast at the register when shopping for a family. When I became a stay-at-home mom, I still wanted to feel I was contributing in some way, so I started making it a goal to save the family money whenever I could.
I have rounded up some great tips for you today to help you save on your next shopping trip. Saving money only takes a little preparation and you are well on your way to some extra change in your pocket!
Tip #1: Review weekly ads BEFORE making a meal plan. This may seem backwards to some people. Before focusing on saving money, I would sit down and plan my meals for the week, write down what I needed to get then head out to the store to purchase, no matter the price. Now I check out local grocery store’s weekly ads before planning my meals. Chicken breast is BOGO? Some white chicken chili and chicken fajitas would good this week. Boston Butt marked down to 35 cents/pound? That would be amazing to toss in the crockpot for gameday or Sunday dinner (bonus points for the leftovers it will give you). Checking out sale ads is the best place to start when planning your shopping!
Tip #2: Do meal plan. As stated above, I check the sale ads first then write out a meal plan. Meal plans are a great way to make sure you are utilizing everything you are purchasing and nothing will go to waste. I even factor in leftovers as well as breakfasts, lunch and snacks. One recipe call for 1/2 an onion? Try to incorporate another recipe that will use the other 1/2.
Tip #3: Take advantage of grocery store coupons. On my phone I have a section just for coupons where I have the Target (cartwheel) app, Publix (coupons) app and Winn Dixie (coupons app). I always check those before I go, or if its a last minute trip I check the items while in store. Once you select the coupons you want to use, you either enter your phone number or scan your phone at checkout. I usually always get $3 off a pack of my baby’s diapers or 50% off some canned goods I planned on stocking up on.
Tip #4: Use store loyalty cards: Check and see if your local grocer offers a loyalty card. My Winn Dixie card gets me automatic discounts on thousands of items at checkout and my Target Red Card (which links to my bank account and is NOT a credit card) gives me 5% off my total every day. This even includes gift cards!!
Tip #5: If something you buy/use regularly is on sale, BUY IT! I know this seems silly in terms of saving money each trip, but the savings is greater over time. A couple weeks ago, right after I had purchased a bottle of our go-to laundry detergent, Target offered it at 25% off plus offered a $10 gift card for buying 3. The savings was so great, I definitely purchased it. Of course we go through the laundry detergent in this house, so it will definitely be used!
Tip #5: Use rebate apps! This is one of my favorite ways to save, because it feels like I am MAKING money more than actually saving it. All apps work different ways, but I have a few that I use on a regular basis and make back about $50/month using!
a. Ibotta: Ibotta is definitely the most time consuming of the rebate apps. To get rebates, you search through hundreds of available rebate items. If you see something you intend to purchase or have purchased, you add that rebate to your cart. Once you have added all the rebates, you then scan your grocery receipt and boom! Money added to your account. In some instances when the receipt is hard to read, the app may also ask you to scan the item’s bar code after purchase. Their are multiple ways to cash out, but my favorite is Paypal, which you can cash out to with a minimum of $20 (which I usually get each month). You can download that app by clicking this link.
b. Fetch: Fetch is an incredibly easy way to get money back at grocery stores. All you do is scan your receipt. That’s it. If you purchased an item from any one of their hundreds of partner companies, you automatically get cash back. Even if you didn’t buy a qualifying item, you still get 25 cents just for scanning your receipt. Not a bad deal! You can cash out to a gift card with a minimum of $3. I personally love cashing out to the Amazon gift card and make about $10/mo using this app. You can download Fetch here.
c. Shopkick: Shopkick is an interesting app due to the multiple ways it offers you cash back. First, they give you points (kicks) for simply walking into a store. Yep. That’s it. Walk in, open your Shopkick app and boom, automatic kicks. The second way to earn kicks is by scanning eligible items in store. The app may show a bottle of nail polish or a box of crackers in a particular store. If you see that item in store, scan the barcode in your app and instant kicks! The third way to get kicks is by purchasing eligible items and scanning your receipt. Just like the apps above offer. They also offer bonus kicks for watching 10 second videos they have in the app. Kicks rack up quickly and can be cashed out for gift cards. I average about $10/mo with this app, but usually don’t cash out until I reach $25. All my Shopkick points are going towards Disney gift cards right now for us to use on our next trip! Download Shopkick Here.
d. Coinout. This is the final app that I use regularly. I like this one because you can scan ANY receipt. Not just grocery. So save those gas, coffee and department store receipts too. They all add up. Coinout offers the lowest payout. Cash back amounts are completely randomized and could be anywhere from 1 cent to 15 cents per receipt. They also offer surprise scans that may net you $5-$20 for one receipt. You can cash out to Paypal for as low as $2.50. They also do trivia games and offer bonuses for more cash back. You can download that app here.
Following these steps saves me about $1000 or more each year! That could add up to a fun weekend giveaway, that purse you have been saving for or even use it towards future Christmas gifts to avoid throwing it all on the credit card. I hope these tips help you get back on track this year as well! Happy New Year!