Last Updated on 27th October 2020 by Emma
There are numerous grocery store hacks to save money on your grocery bill.
From meal planning to shopping lists to buying generic brands, all are great ways to save money.
I would encourage you to follow as many of these tips as you can because they do indeed save you money.
But there is another grocery store hack that I want you to know about and pay attention to.
This hack is about the real world.
You know the one where you are human, you have foibles (love that word) and as much as you want to follow advice perfectly every time.
You know in reality that it doesn’t happen.
And I get it because I am human too.
(This post contains affiliate links. If you click on a link and make a purchase, I may make a small commission at no extra cost to you. You can read more here)
Why we need grocery store hacks
I’ve been saving money and living frugally for a very (cough) long time yet I am human and I cannot seem to follow every piece of advice to the letter all the time.
Which given I am here giving you advice might seem strange.
We are all human and we are not perfect.
We strive to do the best we can with what we have but sometimes it feels like we sabotage our own success.
When it comes to saving money on your grocery bill I know you know that these are great tips to follow:
- meal plan
- list ingredients needed for meals
- check cupboards for ingredients already got
- create shopping list for ingredients needed
- Include non- food items on list
- follow shopping list to the letter, only buying what is on it
And this is where our human foibles can let us down.
Because sticking to that shopping list is HARD. Really hard.
Sometimes it’s because you didn’t make the perfect list.
You get to the store and realize you’ve missed off some basic things like; milk, bread and toilet paper.
Yep, been there and done that more than once.
Sometimes it’s because the store doesn’t have what you need for your meal plan so you’ve got to think things up on the fly.
And sometimes it’s because you get sucked into the bargains you see and the range of tempting offers.
Working backwards – Do this one thing When You Get Home
After you’ve saved money with my fail safe grocery store hack, always take one minute to do the following.
It’s so simple yet so effective in giving you extra for that one minute.
Scan Your Receipt Through Fetch
Fetch Rewards is a free grocery savings app that rewards you just for snapping pictures of your receipts. That’s really it.
You get free rewards on groceries on thousands of products every day, no matter where you get your groceries.
Just scan your receipts to receive rewards.
In The UK? Scan Your Receipts Through The Storewards App
The Storewards app works in the same way as Fetch, all you need to do is snap pictures of your receipts.
Even better though, it allows receipts from all purchases made (in-store and online), up to 20 receipts a week, not just groceries. Plus you get a daily bonus just for logging into the app.
Use referral code l8iph to get 250 bonus coins when you sign up today.
Back to those bargains
Those bargains that you can’t resist are what I want to help you with today.
I am a bargain hunter by nature. I cannot pass up the opportunity to save a few pennies.
It can physically hurt me to pass up on a great deal in the clearance section just because that item is not on my list.
This is why changing your meal plan on the fly can work.
If you see something you would normally buy for 50% off it totally makes sense to buy it then and there.
Even though it’s not on your shopping list or meal plan that week.
To keep your bill low though, you do need to swap out what you would have bought to make room for your bargain in your meal plan.
I am not here to encourage you to buy bargains on top of your shopping list.
Quite the opposite.
My no.1 grocery store hack
Getting back to my tip.
You get to the checkout queue and glance at your trolley.
You realize that there is a bit more in there than your shopping list would have you believe.
It might be the milk or bread you forgot to put on your list in the first place.
They can stay.
It might be the 50% off bargain you’ve bought but have removed something else to compensate.
That can stay.
It’s those other things in there that we need to do something about.
Those things that can jump into your trolley all by themselves (well maybe not literally!)
The cheap bargains you could not resist
The treat you’ve popped in there because it’s been a trying day
The extra bottle of wine, just in case a friend pops round
That snack you love and try so hard not to buy (and fail more often)
These items add up. They could easily add $10 on to your bill, more if alcohol is in the mix.
use this grocery store hack
What you should do.
Take 5 minutes to look through your trolley and be honest with yourself.
- What is in there that you don’t need?
- What wasn’t on your list and really, you can do without?
- What have you duplicated that could be put back?
Challenge yourself to find $5-10 worth of items to put back on the shelves before you hit the queue.
Do it fast, don’t take too long.
You will either end up putting too much back and then having to go shopping again later in the week (not good).
Or, you’ll spend the time convincing yourself you need everything in your trolley and therefore nothing gets put back.
Do this every time you go to the grocery store.
save money easily
After a while you will find less extras get put into your trolley so less needs to be pulled out.
It doesn’t take long when there are only 2 things that you are putting back.
A word of caution: when others are with you (children or partners) this can turn into a battle ground.
You may need to moderate what you put back or how much time you plan on discussing it.
I’m all for an easy life so I won’t stick to my guns every time – life’s too short to argue over one grocery item!
Best to go to the store alone to maximize your savings.
This hack is your safeguard.
If all else fails, checking your trolley before you join the checkout queue gives you one last chance to cut your grocery bill and make the savings you need.
For more help in reducing your grocery bill join the Grocery Budget Challenge:
Come and follow me on Pinterest for more money saving hints and frugal tips!