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5 Things You Should Never Do If You Want to Save Money on Groceries

Are you trying to save more money on groceries and stick to a grocery budget? NEVER do these five things!

Psst! Looking for more ways to cut your grocery bill? Check out my FREE cheat sheet on how to cut your grocery bill by $50 this week!

Guest post from Katrina of Frugal Fun Mom

If you’re a busy mom, I’m sure the last thing you want to do is go to the grocery store — let alone go to the grocery store with cranky kids and still try to find ways to save money on your groceries.

I get it. I feel the same way!

While I do enjoy saving money on groceries, the actual process can be daunting — especially when time is limited and you have kids who would rather be doing anything but grocery shopping.

If you’re looking to get the most bang for your buck when it comes to saving money on groceries, my advice is to never do these 5 things…

1. Never Use Grocery Delivery or Pick Up Services

I can hear the gasp – yes, I said it. You should never use grocery delivery or pick up services.

What?! Yes, never… at least not if your goal is to save money on groceries!

While these services are super convenient, they come at a cost and some of these costs are hidden. While a lot of grocery or delivery services are free, most are only free if you buy a certain quantity of items – which can mean you overspend just to make sure you don’t have to pay delivery fees.

Also, most of these services do not allow you to use coupons. I think we can all agree that coupons are like free money, so you always want the option to use them when you shop. Yes, you can choose to buy only those items which are on sale, but you still can’t use coupons – your free money – to buy those items.

If I haven’t convinced you already, the main reason I don’t use grocery delivery or pick up services is that I miss out on all the hidden deals inside the store. I’m talking about the deals you find in the clearance bins, discount section, or the manager’s specials aisle. Plus, when you find a great deal in clearance and can use a coupon on top of the deal, you have just scored yourself an even better deal than you never would’ve found using grocery delivery or pick up services.

2. Never Go to the Grocery Store Without a List

Make sure you always go to the grocery store with a list of stuff you need – don’t go into the store blind! If you do, you will overspend and most likely buy things you don’t need.

Make a list of the things you need and try your best not to deter from your list while shopping.

3. Never Go to the Grocery Store Without Looking Over the Weekly Ad

Always look at the weekly ad before you head to the grocery store! Make sure you know what is on sale, and what is not.

If you have multiple grocery stores in your area, compare prices and deals by looking at the weekly ads.

If you don’t have a newspaper subscription and don’t receive the ads, you can always find the weekly ads online or by downloading the grocery store app to your smartphone.

4. Never Go to the Grocery Store Without Your Coupons

This one should be a no-brainer, but just in case you forgot – make sure to always take your coupons with you when you go shopping. You never know when you will come across an unexpected or unplanned deal at the store. Especially when you’re digging through the clearance or markdown bins.

I like to take my big coupon binder that holds all my coupons, as well as my mini organizer, with me every time I shop. I put specific coupons in my mini organizer that I know I will use at the grocery store based on their weekly ad. Then, when I bring my big coupon binder along with all my other coupons, I make sure to get maximum savings at the store when I find that unexpected deal because I have all my coupons with me.

5. Never Go to the Grocery Store Without a Budget

My final tip is to never go to the grocery store without a budget.

Why, you might ask? Again, because you will overspend. Even if you do find a good deal on an item, it’s not a good deal if you don’t have the money to buy it.

Make sure to have a grocery budget and stick to it.

If you have extra money after you buy all the things you need, then go ahead and buy those unexpected deals you find in the clearance bin that you can add to your home stockpile – but don’t overspend!

If you can stick to these 5 guidelines, I guarantee you will save money on groceries.

Remember that saving money on groceries is not always easy, otherwise everyone would be doing it. It takes a little work, but saving money for your household is so worth it!

You can do it, momma!

Katrina Rauch is a full-time blogger and a mom of three. Her blog, Frugal Fun Mom, is dedicated to helping moms discover practical ways to save money, find encouragement for everyday mom chaos, and be inspired with frugal fun ideas to enjoy their kids.

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  • Rebekah Williams says:

    6 & 7 –

    Never go when you are hungry

    Never go with your kids (half kidding) or when your kids are hungry! 😉

  • Pam says:

    I kindly disagree regarding grocery pickup ☺️ I stay on budget way better doing grocery pickup. I stay on budget far better not going in the store and buying intentionally in the app with my menu plan. I often find even the reduced items are impulse buys not things I need for the week. We all shop differently but for me … grocery pickup is a huge money saver! Not a never do ☺️

    • Jordan says:

      Interesting! Thanks for sharing! -Jordan, MSM Team

    • Charity says:

      I agree for myself. My pickup is free and lets me bring coupons. They actually make sure I get deals by replacing stuff that the store may be out of for the same sale deal. I still run in and check clearance quickly sometimes too…lol. So I think it’s a great tool if you do it right.

    • holly says:

      I agree Pam. There are literally two things that I purchase on store markdown: cottage cheese and marinated pork loin. Everything else I buy at the advertised price with store coupons loaded to my card. Those coupons also work on pick up orders. I stick to my list so much better when I do not go into the store.

    • Shelly says:

      SAME for me, Pam! I am much more intentional about my spending when I shop online. It eliminates those impulse purchases when walking up and down the aisles.

    • Sarah says:

      I also kindly disagree with item #1 of doing grocery pickup. This saves me a ton of time and money. I know exactly how much I am spending beforehand and no impulse buys!
      Oh how I wish this was available when my kids were young.
      Don’t knock it until you try it! 😀

    • Sarah says:

      I was going to say the same regarding grocery pickup – it has really helped me use coupons within the app and stay within a budgeted amount more consistently. That being said, you do miss out on great deals, but I tend to make a quick stop midweek after work for more bananas and/or salad stuff so I can check then. I think it is worth a shot although it does cost $5 and you do have to pay with a card.

      • Sarah says:

        Add me to the pro-pick up list! Walmart’s pick up is freefreefree!! I can avoid impulse buying with pick-up. I don’t coupon anyway, because most coupons are for foods I don’t buy (they’re usually for convenience foods and
        chemical-laden cleaning products and toiletries), so that’s a non-argument for me. And most of all, don’t forget that time is money! It’s extremely efficient for me to write my menu and shopping list concurrently, zip through my “favorites” in my Walmart grocery account, and pick up my groceries while I’m in the Walmart area for other reasons. They say to never say never, and I think that ‘s true for point #1 in this article.

  • Nicole says:

    I have found that pick up can save me money. I didn’t know that some don’t allow coupons, but our King Soopers (Kroger) will come out and scan any coupons I have. I also feel like I know exactly how much I’m spending and can tweak things if needed. Also, if you wait for promotions, pick up can be free as well. Impulse buys don’t happen as much. The only thing that I can’t do is check out clearance but realistically, it hasn’t made a significant change in our budget. Any way, just some thoughts!

    • Bethany says:

      Yes, I totally agree with this. I have gotten some amazing deals using grocery pickup pared with coupons. Also, avoiding the inside of the store means no impulse buys. And my time is a significant resource as well. Particularly around holidays, I find grocery pickup a sanity-saver, time-saver, and probably money-saver, particularly if you factor in grocery shopping with young kids.

      Then again, I usually find “always” and “never” lists unnecessarily alienating. 😜

      • Diana Still says:

        I’m glad you didn’t say you always find them unnecessarily alienating 😉

        I was thinking the same thing, though. You have to know yourself. What might be one person’s “always” could be another person’s “never.” Doesn’t hurt to think through what works for other people, though!

        • Crystal says:

          I have saved using the pickup service at Kroger during the holidays (no extra fee). They apply all the same coupons and it keeps me from impulse buying. I menu planed and set a budget before purchasing. I stuck to my grocery budget much better using the pickup service. Plus I scheduled the pickup for when I would be out so no extra trips to the store!

    • Jordan says:

      Thanks for sharing! -Jordan, MSM Team

  • Christy McEldowney says:

    I always use my coupons with grocery pick up at Kroger.

  • Debi Z says:

    I use Wal-Mart pickup for our twice a month haul. We recycle the same meals every 2 weeks, so i hardly ever have to change the list! I actually spend less than i used to at Aldi because there is zero impulse buying!!! Also, with the grocery stores around here, I’ve never found coupons to help much with savings, so that’s not an issue for me 🙂 I go to the local grocery store a couple of times a week to look for markdowns and buy produce. Also, my #1 rule of “never” in grocery shopping is never buy something just because it’s on your list! If you have wraps on menu, don’t buy tortillas just because your list says so. If tortillas aren’t cheap, you can eat that same meal on bread or over rice! Or maybe leaf lettuce is marked down and you can do lettuce wraps instead. I never buy cheese if it’s more than $2.75 a pound. If i can’t find it at that price, i just adjust the menu so we don’t need cheese until it’s cheap again 🙂

  • Julie says:

    I agree with all of these points except the online grocery pickup! Pickup has saved me SO much time and money. Over six months I have also significantly cut our grocery bill because I can carefully compare prices, stick to my budget, etc from my home computer, rather than trying to do it at the store with 5 kids. Also for anyone reading this…Dillons (Kroger) DOES allow you to use coupons with grocery pick up and they often have several high value (sometimes free) coupons that are available to use on pick-up purchases only.

  • Marcia says:

    I am disabled and use a walker. Grocery pickup has been wonderful for me!
    I have to what works best for my situation, even though I can’t routinely visit the clearance aisles.

    • Jordan says:

      We’re so glad you are able to find something that works for you! -Jordan, MSM Team

    • Diane says:

      I agree. I have a medical condition that makes grocery shopping a challenge. Without the pickup service, I end up going to the store multiple times for the brief amount of shopping I can tolerate. The pickup service is a godsend!

  • Emily F says:

    I’ll just agree with what others have said. Pick-up varies by store and by policy, but Kroger and affiliates do let you use coupons and I almost always save more than the 4.95 pick up charge by using the digital coupons. There are many that are exclusive to pick-up, as well. It also limits impulse shopping which is huge for me.

  • I loved this post. So many great ideas. I personally have never used grocery pickup. I love love love my coupons and being able to compare pricing in store and find deals is HUGE to me. My list is never the same so I’m a budget shopper. I know how much I have to spend and try to stretch those dollars as far till they almost break!!! I also bring my large coupon binder with me in case I can stack some coupons!!! Thank you Katrina for this guest post!

  • Lindsey Swinborne says:

    Grocery pick-ups are AWESOME and help me save both time and money. The Smith’s store near us lets you use all kinds of coupons, rewards deals, etc. and often the $5 fee is waived if you buy a certain item, like organic kale, or whatever they’re promoting that week. I am tempted to buy things I see around me, and the clearance mark-downs are not that great at our store, so by doing grocery pick-up I save tons of money and time in the store, time in the grocery line, etc. I highly recommend them and wish we’d had this service when I had 4 kids 5 and under.

  • Alison says:

    I personally slashed our budget nearly in half by doing grocery pick up through Kroger. I have a large family and meal plan ahead and make a list just like I would i I was going to the store. Kroger does let us add coupons when I get there on top of the awesome features on their app of showing you Digital coupons you can use on items you put in your cart. Plus they have their weekly ads and coupons all in one place. I have a large family so I order the bulk of the everything for pick up then I go inside for meat and clearance bins. It has saved me so much time and money. The fact that I can see exactly how much I’m spending has helped too. Plus if they have to substitute an item they still give me the deals as if I picked the item that’s part of the sale, where as if I went into the store I’d just have to pay more and not get the sale. Going through H-E-B was way more expensive as they up charge every item. Walmart was not bad, but didn’t take coupons.Kroger is the best so far.

  • Emili Parmelee says:

    I kindly disagree as I have saved a lot of money doing grocery pick up. Most times it’s free but even with $5 I still save so much money by sticking to my budget and only buying what I need instead of a bunch of promotions. I tell so many people to do pick up bc it saves so much and time!

  • Belle says:

    I also love Kroger Clicklist. I like that I can do my shopping from my phone while on my lunch break and then have it ready to pick up on my way home. Kroger lets me use coupons and subs in a higher quality/size if an item is out of stock. This keeps me on budget and frees up my time to spend with my little one before his bedtime.

    • Tabitha says:

      Amen! I’m another that loves Kroger Click List and will sometimes use Aldi’s new grocery pick up. I don’t generally have coupons, but the Kroger folks always offer to scan coupon.

      With 4 kids hitting the $35 minimum order is never an issue. I save money this way because my husband and/or kids always see things when they are in the store and blow the budget. It’s just better to have the food at home rather than stop in to pick up a few things.

  • Sarah says:

    I also kindly disagree with item #1 about doing grocery pickup. This has saved me a ton of time and money (no impulse buys) and I know exactly how much I’m spending.
    I wish this service was available when my kids were younger!
    Don’t knock it until you try it! 😀

  • Anitra says:

    I used to compare all the fliers – but there are more than 10 different grocery chains in my area – I regularly shop at about 4-5. I’d spend hours comparing and figuring out what would benefit my family the most (ie. Shaws has chicken on sale; Walmart has beef on sale AND eggs for a great price; Park N Shop’s advertised prices aren’t the best, but I always find the best markdowns there). I might even plan to go to multiple stores – and then I’d be exhausted, irritated with my children, having spent too much time and still more money than I wanted.

    I don’t do that anymore. There are a few items that I can only buy specific stores, so when we’re running low on those, I plan to go to THAT store and make a list based on their flyer for the week. The next week, I’ll go to a different store. I compare no more than 2 ads in a given week. And yes, if life is particularly crazy, I’ll do grocery pickup from Walmart. I know I’ll get exactly what I need, and I don’t have to go through my list twice (once at home and once at the store).

  • Clair says:

    I also disagree about pick up. Often our store waves the fee and it totally helps me stay in budget and not pick up “extra” items. And I can better look around the house while I’m making the list to make sure I don’t already have it.

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