9 Things Most of Us Don’t Do At The Grocery Store But Could Save us $100 or More
Want to slash your grocery tab? Saving money on groceries is easier than collecting binders of coupons and buying 455 rolls of toilet paper.
We’ve compiled a list of simple (and some unexpected) tips to help you maximize your grocery budget.
1. You Don’t Shop With A Calculator
This is one of the easiest ways to make sure you don’t overspend at the grocery store (besides shopping on a full stomach). Bring your old-school calculator with you, or use your phone. However you do it, set a limit for how much you plan to spend beforehand, then hold yourself to it.
Add up the price of each item as you toss it in your basket, and you’ll be surprised how much easier it is to stick to your budget.
Voila! No more wallet-gouging surprises at checkout.
2. You Don’t Turn Those Crumpled Grocery Receipts Into Free Gift Cards
What do you usually do with your receipts? You check out, they hand you a mile-long piece of paper and you frantically stuff it to the bottom of a grocery bag. Pretty worthless.
But a free app called Fetch Rewards will turn your receipts into gift cards. It partners with tons of brands to give you points for every grocery receipt you share. Then you can exchange them for prepaid cards for Visa and MasterCard.
And it’s perfect for those of us who don’t want to put a ton of work into this. All you have to do is send Fetch a photo of your receipt, and it does everything for you. No scanning barcodes or searching for offers — and you can use it with any grocery receipt.
When you download the app, use the code PENNY to get a bonus towards your first gift card.
When your budget is at its limit, these cards can go a long way on your next grocery run. Not so bad for a useless receipt, right?
3. You Don’t Get Take This Free $225 With You
If we told you that before you head to the grocery store, you could get paid to watch cooking videos on your computer, you’d probably laugh.
It’s too good to be true, right?
But we’re serious. A website called InboxDollars will pay you to watch short video clips online. One minute you might watch a chef teach you the recipe for fudge brownies and the next you might get the latest updates on Kardashian drama.
All you have to do is choose which videos you want to watch and answer a few quick questions about them afterward. Brands pay InboxDollars to get these videos in front of viewers, and it passes a cut onto you.
It’s possible to earn up to $225 per month watching these videos — that could make a serious dent in your grocery bill.
Unlike other sites, InboxDollars pays you in cash — no points or gift cards — and it’s already paid its users more than $56 million.
It takes about one minute to sign up, and you’ll immediately earn a $5 bonus to get you started.
4. You Don’t Get a Box of Free Samples Every Month
What if we told you there was a way to get a box of samples each month — from leading brands like Olay, Tide, Purina, V8 — and in exchange, all you’d need to do is share your honest feedback?
PINCHme promises to do just that.
When we registered, we found out we could choose from samples of ZzzQuil Sleep-Aid, Purina One Tender Selects Cat food, Hidden Valley Greek Yogurt Dressing, and a V8 Veggie Blend Juice and +Energy 2 pack (these were full size samples).
But, the samples change each month, and options vary based on your profile and location.
We love that PINCHme sends the samples to you (who doesn’t get excited about mail?) and doesn’t require a credit card to sign up or payment for shipping.
Once you fill out your profile, PINCHme presents you with relevant samples it has available.
Then next month, just rinse and repeat.
5. You Don’t Get Paid To Grocery Shop
The grocery store is a surprisingly zen place. Somewhere between the soothing elevator music, the free samples and the wafting aroma of rotisserie chicken, you settle into a peaceful groove.
None of the stress of work or home — it’s just you and the aisles.
Some people, for some reason, don’t feel the same. They’d rather avoid it altogether. And with an app called Postmates, you could get paid to pick up a few extra groceries for them.
Even better than getting paid to grocery shop? If you need the money, like, now, you can cash out instantly after each delivery.
Holly Gaston, of San Francisco, California, has tried plenty of side gigs. With Postmates, she makes an average of $15 an hour. Plus, she says it’s been much more enjoyable than any of her previous side gigs.
Signing up shouldn’t take you more than about three minutes. The hardest part will be choosing which selfie you want to use as a profile pic.
6. You Don’t Check the Unit Price
Bigger is always better, right? Maybe, but it’s not always cheaper.
Don’t blindly choose the largest can of coffee or bottle of detergent just because someone taught you once that buying in bulk will help you save.
Do a unit-price comparison. The unit price is often located on the price tag affixed to the shelf below the product, with phrasing like “$0.59 per ounce.”
If the unit price isn’t listed, divide the price of the item by the number of ounces or other unit of measurement. You might find that the smaller item is a better buy, especially if the product is on sale.
7. You Don’t Get Cash Back on Your Grocery Purchases
If you’re not using a rewards credit card for everyday purchases, you’re missing out on free money.
You just have to be sure you don’t get too carried away with those purchases — and that the card is paid off at the end of each billing period.
Here’s an option we like: It’s the Chase Freedom card. Its claim to fame? You’ll earn an unlimited 1% cash back on all your purchases. Plus, if you spend $500 in your first three months of opening the card (hi, groceries), you’ll pocket a $150 bonus.
The card also offers 5% cash-back on select rotating categories. For example, in one quarter, you can earn 5% cash back on gas. The next quarter? Groceries. The categories continue to rotate throughout the year.
There’s no annual fee, and the cash-back rewards don’t expire.
8. You Don’t Get Paid For Taking The Convenient Route
Some people find the grocery store relaxing, but if you have a massive shopping list, it can easily become overwhelming. Next thing you know, you’re lugging out hundreds of pounds of groceries — or at least that’s what it feels like.
Make life easier for yourself (and your arms) by buying your pantry and dry goods online — and earn cash bonuses along the way.
A free website called Rakuten has connections with more than 2,500 stores, which means it can give you a cash kickback when you shop at one. When we checked, we found cash-back deals at Amazon, Safeway, Sam’s Club, Boxed and Walmart.
It takes less than 60 seconds to create a Rakuten account. All you need is an email address. Plus, if you use Rakuten to earn money back within the first 90 days of signing up, it’ll give you an extra $10.
Now you don’t have to worry about fitting that 36-pack of toilet paper in your trunk or hauling a box of cat litter across the store. Just have someone deliver it to your door and earn cash back along the way!
9. You Don’t Let This Bank Spot You Up to $100 for Free
You need groceries, but your bank account’s empty and your paycheck doesn’t come until next week. What are your options — take out a payday loan with a 10,000% interest rate? Yikes.
Chime is a bank account that will lend you the cash — for free. And it does it in two different ways.
Chime will spot you up to $100 at any time, as long as you bank with them and have direct deposit set up. And unlike a payday loan — it’s free.
With its early direct deposit feature, it’s also possible to get your paycheck up to two days early (without asking your boss for a favor).
Sure, switching banks sounds like a pain, but more than four million people have already switched to Chime. It only takes two minutes to sign up for an account. Then, when you have a minute, Chime will show you the easiest way to switch everything over.
Now you don’t have to make two packages of ramen last until your paycheck comes.
*The information for the Chase Freedom card has been collected independently by The Penny Hoarder. Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer. The Penny Hoarder is a partner of Credible.