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.
Angela Davis says
I subscribed and didn’t receive the free printables. Can you email them to me?
Jazmin Rode says
Judy mitchell says
I try to save anyway I can. But I don’t buy a lot of processed food. Eating clean costs a lot.
Megan @ Our Pinteresting Family says
Great tips! I enjoyed reading through your post.
I just found you on Pinterest. These tips are GREAT! I have been wanting to start meal planning but it always seemed overwhelming. I like the idea of going thru my pantry/fridge/spices first and match up items. I’m definitely going to try this. When cooking dinner, I always make an extra serving to take for lunch the next day, Since it’s only my 9-year old daughter and myself, this works well for me. Thanks for the tips.
Jazmin Rode says
I am glad you enjoyed the post, Bianca. Going through your current inventory of food definitely helps keep costs down.
Watch out for Winn-Dixie in Florida and other stores here, they jack the price up double and triple in an area where you dont have food options. They do this where we are, because we dont have a bus line, a taxi would be too expensive, or you have to waste gas to save with coupons in another town. they will hold sales, and triple the price of the items, so when you do the BOGO you dont really get any deal. We also dont have double coupons in our area, and many stores are giving us a problem using coupons printed form coupons.com, WalMart has banned someone from using the competitors coupons (the individual owner did not allow it). Many Dollar Stores and Dollar generals give you a hard time for using coupons, some just wont do it, though the coupon policy clearly states they will. Also Florida pays a tourist tax on all food, and this is paid by the residents, driving the cost of our food higher, and why we dont have stores that allow double coupons. we not only pay the tourist tax which drives up our tax, we also get charged a higher price for foods. Kamiko
Jeffrey James says
Great ideas. I also think switching to generic brands can result in significant savings (30% on average)
Thank you for your helpful tips. We live in a small area with one grocery store and in order for us to use coupons we would have to drive another 20 minutes to another town. Therefore I try to plan my meals for the week and use what I have in my pantry. My husband likes to have a garden in the summer so we can and freeze alot of our items. We chose a small town to live in so we try to find ways to help our grocery bills since we are both retired.
Niquole Abram says
Great tips! I’ll definitely have to remember to write everything down.
Isabella Ow says
These are great tips Jazmin, thank you! 🙂 really fantastic blog as well 🙂
I love your ideas too. We are a two person family as well. my Cowboy doesn’t mind eating the same thing 2 or even 3 nights in a row. I can usually handle it twice but the third day I’m itching to cook something different. I usually make crock pot meals or cassaroles but when I went shopping the first of the month I made up some hamburger steaks. I can really only eat about half of one. I guess I need to make them smaller. Anyhow, my point is that I made salad and baked potatoes tonight with them. Leftover salad tonight with be paired with something tomorrow night. The only thing I miss sometimes is the fresh produce. It just always makes meals taste better. Love ya. Kim
Another way to stretch chicken breasts even further is to “butterfly” them if they are thick enough. One chicken breast turns into 2 that way…and if you thinly slice for topping on salads or putting in casseroles, you are golden!
We do this too! They cook faster, which saves time, and it looks like more food!
Great tips! I had never found an easy way to coupon and so never bothered with them, but then I found out about thegrocerygame.com and have saved about 35-40% each trip to the grocery store since. For $10 every two months for one store, the site lists all the sales there and where to find the coupons for those items. I file my Sunday coupons by date and then cut out the coupons when listed to get the rock bottom price. I use Safeway for this and coupled with their Justforyou online club card coupons, save even more and get $ off gas. It’s worked great for us so thought I’d share!
You go girl these are great tips that anyone can do beginners or seasoned love it
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Eleni @Elenisavesu says
I follow this and preach this often. It’s not about the quantity of coupons its the quality of what you bring home with it. It’s true spending less with sales is amazing! There are so many sites now that coupon match for your grocery store along with circulars that contain deals so it makes it easy for our household and readers. I just got a new menu planner board that I’m ubber excited to post and use in our home.
Your tips are great! Especially the one about buying ingredients that overlap between meals. I should do more of that to simplify things a little.
And check for manager’s specials too. It’s the only way to get roasts at a decent price here, so sometimes I just write “meat” on the menu plan and wait till I get to the store to see what’s been reduced.
And there’s no need to be an “all-or-nothing” couponer. I don’t buy lots of the things there are coupons for, but when I do see a good coupon, I stash it in my wallet. For example, a coupon for $1 off 3 Brown Cow yogurts printed out at the register for me. Those go on manager’s special all the time, so I saved them. Just this morning I found them for .40 each–that came to a total of .20 for 3 organic yogurt cups! Can’t usually beat that with Yoplait coupons 😉 Since I only clip a few coupons, it’s easy to keep a mental list of what I have and compare with any deals the store is running.