We all know that coupons are a great way to save money, but you can save a lot of money on groceries without using coupons. These tips and tricks will have you saving bank without needing to spend time cutting coupons!
Coupons definitely have their place, but every now and again, even the most seasoned couponer experiences coupon burnout. Or, maybe you’re not a couponer at all. Luckily, there are additional ways to keep a healthy grocery budget without clipping a thing. Read below to learn how I save money on groceries without coupons.
📌 Examples of Grocery Savings
Look at the Cost Savings!
But, they no longer look that way.
I have been a dedicated couponer for a few years now and I’m good at it. Every now and then, I go through a period of not even wanting to look at coupons –I’ve couponed so hard that I’ve burned myself out. That’s where I am right now.
When I do spend time couponing, I use this coupon binder. It keeps everything organized in a three-ring binder and it is a huge help when I am trying to save money on my grocery bill.
If you don’t have an organization tool, it will be a mess at the cash register trying to hunt down the piece of paper in your purse. And, no one wants to be “that person” that is holding up the line.
My breaks have never lasted this long. They’re usually maybe one to two months tops. Since it’s been going on for so long this time, I honestly couldn’t tell you whether this is just a long break or a permanent break up with couponing. Only time will tell. But for now, I have to find a way to keep my grocery budget down until I feel the urge to coupon again.
I’ve been doing some meal planning which REALLY helps to give me direction when going to the store.
💰 Save Money Without Coupons
Meal Planning Quick Tips
Write down what you have. When I see it’s time to go food shopping, I’ll grab a notepad and a pen and head to my kitchen. I start by writing everything down in my pantry even if it’s only a few items. I then move on to the fridge and freezer. On a separate page I write down my condiments and seasonings too, so I know what my options are for seasoning my meals with what I have on hand.
Update: I now use these. Get your own free 5 Sheet Printable Set by signing up for the mailing list.
Match items to make meals. Even though I usually feel like I have NOTHING left in the house, I can usually pair together two or three dinners just from what I have in the fridge, pantry and freezer. If there are several “almost meals” like potatoes and frozen veggies, I’ll pair those together and make a note to buy meat or fish to complete the meal.
Check store ads for sales. After writing it all down, I go online to check the weekly circulars for every store in my area. I make note of the items that are a good deal and seem like I can pair with some of my unmatched food items I have in the house. An awesome way to save even more money is to find the best deals in the grocery ads and then price-match the items at Walmart. I plan on price-matching but haven’t yet. Not all of the ingredients you need will be on sale or featured in the weekly ad.
I also found ways to save money at some of the most popular stores.
- How to Save Money At Aldi
- Money Saving Tips at Trader Joes
- Best Things to Buy at Lidl
I spent a total of $13 for $25 worth of chicken and fish. Because it’s just two of us, that’s five nights worth of meals if the chicken is used in ways that can stretch it out a bit. I stretch my chicken by only using two pieces to top salads or to go into pasta dishes so it isn’t the main focus of the meal and I can get away with using less.
Tip: If you’re willing to put a little work into prepping chicken breast (slicing, portioning into freezer bags), I definitely recommend ordering chicken from Zaycon Fresh. I was able to purchase a 40-lb case of chicken breasts for $67, or $1.69 per lb.
At this point my dinner menu plan is done. I don’t menu-plan breakfasts or lunches, but I’ll go ahead and tell you what I usually do for these meals anyway.
I don’t eat breakfast every day, but do occasionally boil and peel a few eggs ahead of time and stick them in a food storage container to account for the mornings I do want a little something. I eat two at a time. Whatever I don’t use is just sliced and placed over a salad.
On our weekends (which is never actually a Saturday or Sunday), we eat omelets. We just throw in whatever extra veggies, lunch meat and cheese we have in the fridge. Neither of us are big breakfast people, so we just split one omelet and have toast and sausage.
My husband eats lunch at work and I work from home. So I’ll usually just eat a salad, wrap or leftovers. Because I can count on leftovers to account for most of my lunches, I’m not too rigid with this category. But I do always have something easy on hand like ingredients for wraps or salads. When I’m busy working, ready in under-five-minutes beats healthy-and-balanced meal every time. That’s just the way it is.
🔍 Final Money Saving Tips
1. Try to use as much of what you already have as possible. You’ve already purchased the food…no sense in throwing it away. Use it or lose it. 😉
2. Buy ingredients that can be used for more than one meal. You will see a significant difference in your budget if you can reuse many of the ingredients in other meals throughout the week.
3. Get creative. You’re going to feel like you have nothing in the house, but trust me, you probably have enough to make a few meals or at least plan a few side dishes to go with what you’ll have to buy.
4. You don’t need as much meat as you think you do. Almost every recipe I’ve seen for chili requires two pounds of ground beef. I only used 1/2 a pound and it turned out amazing. And we have tons of leftovers.
5. Cut your beef costs by incorporating beans. This is easy to do in tacos and chili. If the recipe calls for one pound of ground beef, use 1/2 pound of beef and 1/2 pound of beans.
6. Stretch chicken by making it part of the meal rather than the star. Use chicken in a stir fry, in pasta or in a salad. I never use more than 2 chicken breasts for these meals. And often, I can get away with just using 1 large piece of chicken. Another thing I do to make it *feel* like we’re eating more chicken is to cut the strips width-wise (is that even a term?) instead of length-wise. We still have chunky strips, they’re just shorter.
7. Cook for the amount of people you’re serving.
I waste TONS of food by cooking too much of it. Of course, we can have leftovers, and we usually do. But often times, we have too many leftovers to feed two people. I can have leftovers for lunch the next day, but after that…I don’t want to eat it again. It gets repetitive. I find that I often have to halve recipes just to get the amount of food to a comfortable serve-two-people-and-have-one-serving-of-leftovers amount.
Well that’s it, folks. That’s how I save money on groceries without coupons. Meal planning does wonders for the grocery budget. You could go a lot more in detail and plan out every single meal including breakfast, lunch, snacks and dinner. But I find that’s a little too hardcore for me. Just do what works for you and your family.
My husband takes his lunch to work four days a week and this summer we bought him a tiny crock pot for reheating things at his desk. I had never heard of these until recently but it really saves him time by eliminating the long line at the one office microwave. 🙂 Here’s the link if you are interested: https://www.amazon.com/Crock-Pot-SCCPLC200-BL-20-Ounce-Lunch-Warmer/dp/B006H5V8RG
Kim M says
He’s very lucky work allows him to plug things in at work. We’re not allowed to use any type of plug-in device, for safety reasons :-/
one night a week we do a leftover buffet. I pull out any left overs and everyone takes a little of what they want. Who cares if it doesn’t go together….thats part of the fun:)
Rachel Maurer says
I know what you mean! Sometimes couponing can be a pain, though it does save quite a bit. I feel like I also save quite a bit just by stocking up on things when they are on clearance or on sale. We freeze a lot of things so that does help.
Rachel @ http://www.alifeintune.com
I can completely relate about couponing burnout! I also go through periods where I use less coupons, but like you said, I also eventually go back to using them. I find that making things from scratch along with growing my own food is cheaper and healthier. Great post!
Nice post. We tend to do huge couponing trips at once (like 25 cans of veggies, 10 soups, etc.) and then apply these principles for the meal planning. One thing that REALLY made our lives much easier – which is all based on location- is finding a good meat market. GOOD being the keyword. Some are pricey. We bought ourselves a deep freezer and it has been worth every penny. We go and spend $50 on meat and it lasts us half a year, usually. Divide it up into portions and freeze it and just defrost as needed. We do the same with veggies, go to a veggie market (we have a great one in town but we really like Aldi too, though ours is 50/50 on the yuck factor) and then blanch and freeze the vegetables we aren’t using right away. Though, not everyone has a good meat/produce market. Last time I went, I spent $12.54 and got bananas, 10lb bag of potatoes, cabbage, cucumbers, onions, tomatoes, 1 turnip, and a small bag of radishes. I don’t remember what else. $25ish at the meat market gets 1 lb ground pork, 2 lb ground beef, hot dogs, bacon, a rack of ribs, a 6 pack of chicken breasts, a 6 pack of pork chop, pork loin, and a 10 pack of steak fingers.
robin lorraine williamson says
I get a little burned out but not for very long with teenagers in the house. I look for ways to save and will apply some of the things youu mentioned every little bit helps I’m lorraine at http://lorrainesresources.blogspot.com and I’m following from my turn for us friday hop.
Jazmin Rode says
Thanks for stopping by Lorraine. I’m back to very occasionally couponing if there’s a deal that’s too good to pass up. But I’m no longer the crazy coupon lady I once was lol.
Great article! I found you from blissful and domestic’s links party!
One thing I try to do that helps is to plan my leftovers–especially sides into another meal. It I have fish with cole slaw, I plan to have BBQ later that week, and finish the cole slaw then. That way, it feels more like a normal, planned dish instead of just something I threw out that doesn’t fit. If I put out leftover baked beans with the spaghetti dinner, I just get weird looks!
Jazmin Rode says
Great tips! Thanks for commenting! 🙂
I don’t do coupons so I tend to have a higher grocery bill. I really wish food companies would do more to offer them to whole food items.
Jazmin Rode says
I definitely agree! I’ve recently started price matching and it’s helped me save money on produce. Every little bit helps.
We have some special ziplock freezer containers that are used for leftover to use for lunch.. we put our left overs in them, mark date and what is and toss in freezer for me to take to work. We used to do the whole eat it until gone without freezing and we got really sick of it. Now I just go to freezer and grab something knowing not getting last night’s dinner.
It also helps on portion size since putting it in containers right after dinner keeps us from thinking we need to eat more of it now so doesn’t go bad.
We have been doing this for last 3 years and have saved lots of money doing it between portion sizes and having lunch ready to go. Also, I eat much healthier and look forward to lunch.
Jazmin Rode says
Thanks for your fantastic comment! That is definitely a great way to save money long-term.
Wonderful tips!Thanks for sharing on the BeBetsy BRAG ABOUT IT. We’d love it if you would link back to us! Have a wonderful weekend!Sharon and Denise BeBetsyFollow us: Facebook ~ Twitter ~ Bloglovin ~ Pinterest
Jazmin Rode says
Thanks for commenting!
Oops… I corrected my party page to include your link. I must’ve forgotten to add it when I submitted.
I tried the Walmart price match the other day and it went well. Walmart beat about 2 items and then the cashier needed a manager to enter some codes because we saved more than half the bill. SCORE!!
I am all about frugal living. Awesome tips, thanks! Hugs, Holly
Jazmin Rode says
Thanks for stopping by, Holly!
I do a lot of couponing (my husband & I are on a fixed income). I find that, if I buy King Arthur baking mix, it eliminates the need for pancake mix, Pillsbury biscuits and other things too. It saves me quite a bit of money. Also, buy hamburger & make your own patties instead of buying the 1/4 lb. patties in a box at premium prices. Just a few ways to cut corners.
Jazmin Rode says
Such great tips!
Southern Scraps says
We live in a world of excess, so a pantry or freezer week where you don’t shop or only buy what you need to go with what you have is a great way to cut grocery expenses.
Great post. I don’t do much couponing at all, but I do apply a lot of these principles.
Jazmin Rode says
Mira P says
I love this advice. I have some more below. While not grocery-saving advice, it’s still money saved!
1) drop the smart phone and get a “dumb” one. Save about $50 per month. Get a low-priced tablet (e.g., Kindle Fire) or use your old iPhone as a wi-fi only device. Wi-fi is available everywhere; you really don’t need to pay for cell-based data plans
2) call your car and home insurance company and tell them you want to go through all your coverage because you found another carrier that is cheaper. They’ll probably help you “find” 10% off or more.
3) speaking of car insurance – An expensive policy from GEICO, Progressive, etc. is not needed. You can find one usually for less than $25/month from a place like 4AutoInsuranceQuote. If you spend too much on car insurance from one of those big companies, chances are you are simply funding their expensive TV ads with cute animals.
4) compare what your house is really worth to your assessment. Many assessments have never been properly adjusted down to reflect the market over the last 4 years. We cut our property taxes by about 20%.
5) re-fi your 30-year mortgage to a 15. The interest rate will drop by at least 50-75 bps, more depending on your current rate. The payment may go up slightly, but it is because you are paying off your loan faster. If it’s possible, get the mortgage paid off before the kids go to college. At a minimum, have it paid off before you retire.
6) review your credit card bills for all the things you are paying $10-20 per month for that you no longer need. I bet everybody has at least a couple
7) drop all magazine (paper and on-line) subscriptions. If you look around, you can find comparable content for free.
8) review your investment portfolio for ways to replace higher fee mutual funds or ETFs with lower fee ones. S&P500 funds/ETFs shouldn’t charge more than 0.10% in fees. Fees may be higher for specialty funds, but they are all coming down fast. If your company 401K uses high-fee funds, talk to the folks in charge. A difference of 25 bps in fees will mean a difference of about 5% in your portfolio value after 25 or 30 years.
9) and of course the most impactful — never carry a balance on a credit card. If you can’t resist, cut up the cards.