Saving money can be really hard sometimes, especially when you are trying to get out of debt. One of the biggest places that we spend our money is on groceries (which is not surprising with a family of 7). However, since the beginning of the year we have been working very diligently to cut our expenses to get closer to financial independence. One of the most difficult budget categories for us is groceries. But we have found a few ways to help us save a bundle on groceries, which has really helped!
apps for groceries
Phone apps are one of my favorite ways to help save on groceries. There are a ton of them that can help and new ones come out every day. Since there are so many, it can be hard to weed through them all. So here are some of my favorites (I ONLY get the free ones!) that we regularly use to help us save a bundle on groceries:
Ibotta is full of rebates at nearly 150 retailers, which includes a bunch of different grocery stores. The quick rundown is that you choose the store that you are planning to shop at and search for the current rebates. Click on the plus sign next to any product you like and it will automatically add it to your list. Once you have finished shopping for groceries at the store, then go back to the Ibotta app and click on “Verify Purchases” for that store. Next it will ask you to take a picture of your receipt and then takes you to a screen to click on the items you want the rebates for. Once you check an individual item it will request that you scan the barcode from the item you purchased. As long as it matches whatever they have in their system, then it will give you the credit for it.
Once your Ibotta account hits $20, you can withdraw it and either have the money deposited into your PayPal account or redeem the money for gift cards. I always take the money, deposit it into my PayPal account and then transfer it to my bank. Then I use that extra money towards our grocery budget for next month.
They also have bonuses for inviting friends or purchasing certain products, which is pretty awesome. So this app happens to be one of my favorites!
This app is one of my absolute favorites because it is so easy to use. Receipt Hog doesn’t care which store you shop at because it just wants you to take a picture of your receipts and rate your visit. Obviously, this is for marketing purposes. So if you aren’t into having people use your shopping habits for market research, then this app isn’t for you. But it doesn’t really matter to us that much, so we have no problem reaping the benefits from this app.
There are different levels of rewards for big box stores, gas stations, specialty stores, grocery stores, etc. You have to take a picture of any receipt within a 2 week period and it will be credited to your account. Once you hit 1000 coins, you can redeem them for a $5 Amazon gift card or it can be deposited into your PayPal account. If you hit 2900 coins, it turns into $15. 4300 coins turns into $25 and 6500 coins turns into $40. We are still working towards the 6500 coins and are getting close!
Grocery Store Apps
Most grocery stores have apps now, even if they don’t give you coupons. We have downloaded the apps for all of the major stores that we shop at for groceries. These include:
- Trader Joe’s (this one doesn’t give coupons, sadly, but they do show you the specials)
- Whole Foods
- Earth Fare
- Harris Teeter
One of the biggest mistakes that we made previously was not making a clear and concise grocery list. Now please keep in mind that we are not the norm when it comes to meal planning. We simply just don’t do it. Not that there is anything wrong with it, because meal planning can certainly help the budget and time management boat loads. But in a house with two chefs, we are really, really good at improvising and creating stuff on the fly. Which is actually our preference. We can basically create meals out of nothing, that the whole family will eat (most of the time)!
That being said, we weren’t making clear enough grocery lists before we went. We had a good idea of what we needed but whenever children get involved at the store, it goes downhill fast. And the next thing we know, we are spending well over what we had budgeted!
So we put the kabosh on that and now make a very detailed list before we go to all of the stores. Yes, we usually hit up 3-4 stores every two weeks for our big shops. I can’t say that this is one of my favorite things to do, because I really detest shopping. But it is a necessary evil and we might as well make it as fun as it can be for us by saving as much money as possible.
Getting Kids Involved
The other thing that we have done is begun to split up the duties. I go to some stores and Bryan goes to other stores and we split up the kids. That way the kids not only get to help us (sometimes, when that actually works) but we get them even more involved with just HOW much things cost.
This is pretty cool because now that they have seen just how much we spend on food, they have been a little bit more mindful. I would love to say that they have changed completely, but that would be a lie. I will take baby steps though because our hope is that it will help them throughout the rest of their lives as well. If so, then that is a parenting win!
The long and short of it is that we are doing much better with the groceries this year because of the changes we have made, and we hope to continue to do so. We will have to keep you posted!