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How To Save Money on Food
Are your food expenses high?
Are you looking for clever ways to save money on your food bill?
If you live in an expensive city, you’ll know that the cost of food is no joke — just check out the basic numbers in the chart below!
Your rent and food bill are probably one of the highest costs when it comes to living, so it’s no surprise that 78% of Americans are living paycheck to paycheck! I mean, we’re all just living, aren’t we? 😅
In my post, 11 Things You Have No Idea You’re Wasting Money On, I mentioned that my fiancé and I used to live paycheck to paycheck and were surprised at how much we used to spend on food.
Not to mention, the food we always bought from takeouts like Chiptole and Freshii aren’t the healthiest; on top of that, it leaves a dent on our budget (as you’ll see later below). 😖
For a very long time, we didn’t know how to save money on food or groceries because we just never had the time to cook (but thank goodness for point #3).
Let me recap how much we used to spend on food each year.
I know you might think: “What the?? That’s insane. Impossible!”
But before you jump to conclusions, here is a breakdown of our personal food costs (just the basics). This does NOT even include snacks, appetizers, drinks, tips, special dine-out occasions, etc.
We even asked our friends, family, and coworkers to add up their annual food costs, and they, themselves, were shocked at how much they were spending — they had NO clue!
If anything, I already downplayed the numbers a bit because I didn’t want to scare you away!
Yes, I am ashamed to say this, but we actually did spend more than the chart below.
|Breakfast & Tea||Lunch||Dinner||Total|
|Yearly Food Cost Per Person||$12,168.00|
|Yearly Food Cost Per Couple||$24,336.00|
Now that you see this, I highly recommend you to review your personal food costs to see how much you’re spending as well! You might be shocked yourself but the numbers don’t lie!!!
According to this CNBC article, the author writes: “It’s easy to start from a $10 salad one day and end up with a $30,000 credit card tab a year later. In fact, it’s becoming common.”
After realizing how much we spent and wasted on food each year, we learned how to save money on food and eat healthy.
Here’s what you can do to save thousands of dollars on food and groceries each year.
– How I Get FREE Starbucks Drinks All Year Round (You’ve Gotta Give #1 a Try)!
1. Make a list and stick to it.
This sounds cliche but TRUST ME, it works wonders if you’re serious about saving money on food and reducing waste.
I admit we had moments where we would go to Costco without a list or plan.
This was a HUGE mistake because we ended up purchasing foods that went to waste, along with other random non-food related stuff. *Sigh* 😩
Now, when we make a trip to Costco or any grocery store, we would make sure to create a checklist and ONLY buy items on that list. Not only has this saved us money, but it also saved us a huge amount of time!
So, the next time you go to the grocery store, make sure to bring a grocery checklist with you. Don’t roll your eyes at me, seriously… try it. 🙂
Click here to download my FREE grocery list printable that I made for you. You can also use this as a general shopping list!
2. How to save money on groceries without coupons (get FREE money)!
They say the best things in life are free…
If you haven’t heard of these money saving apps, let me introduce them to you today…
You get FREE money each time you make a trip to the grocery shop! I do this ALL.THE.TIME!
How it works is you accumulate cash back just for making purchases on the stuff you’re already buying.
This is a really fun, clever, and hassle-free way to save money on food and groceries WITHOUT having to clip physical coupons.
I, myself, get excited when I take advantage of these money-savings apps (tee-hee)! 😊
⭐️ I also made a quick FREEBIES resource list at the end of this post to help you find ways to get FREE money. Don’t forget to check it out! 💰
For now, check out these best cash back apps for your groceries and food…
Save money on food with Checkout 51 (It’s FREE money)!
We use this FREE Checkout 51 app to get money back on my groceries (available in the U.S. and Canada)!
Every Thursday, they have new offers on groceries and household products that you’re likely going to buy.
Make sure to check their offers to see if you purchased something from the list.
Then, quickly snap a photo of your receipts and upload it through your app to get FREE cash back!
As a real user, I can tell you that it’s quick, easy, and hassle-free! It only requires your e-mail to sign up and it’s absolutely FREE to use!
👉 Grab your FREE $5 here from Checkout 51 just by signing up and uploading your first few receipts! *Cha-ching*! 💸
Here’s a quick screenshot of FREE money mailed to me from Checkout 51 a few months ago…
I haven’t been requesting my checks lately (I will be soon), but here’s a current snapshot of how much FREE money I’ve collected with Checkout 51!
$260.75 is enough for my next two grocery trips!
Boo-ya! Happy savings to me! And to YOU too when you sign up for FREE with your $5 bonus today! 💸
Save money with Ibotta (more savings on your groceries)!
On top that, you can also stack up on your savings with this FREE Ibotta app (available in the U.S.).
Yes, I really recommend using both these apps to save money and get the most cash back!
And of course, I only recommend you buying items that you were going to buy anyway with or without the offers.
Ibotta is supported by 300+ nationwide retailers, so there’s always going to be something for you to redeem whether you’re shopping at your local grocery store, eating out at your favorite restaurant, or even purchasing something you need on Amazon!
With that said, here’s how you can take advantage of FREE a couple of money-saving resources!
👉 Grab your FREE $10 welcome bonus from Ibotta when you sign up today. Ibotta has helped their members save over $490,995,558 and this number is growing! 💵
Here’s a simple diagram on how Ibotta works…
Use the Caddle app (exclusive to Canada):
If you live in Canada, save money with this FREE Caddle app.
This is one of my favorite money-saving apps for Canadians and I always use it to get cash back with my Costco receipts!
Not only do you get cash back from uploading your Costco receipts (and other receipts), but the app also allows you to earn a little extra money by taking super quick surveys, watching videos, and engaging with brands.
👉 Click here to sign up for Caddle for FREE and start saving money on your groceries! Yes, this app is absolutely FREE to use! 😊
It only requires you to reach a minimum of $20 before requesting your check at NO charge.
I personally like saving up for a bigger balance because it feels great! Yep, I get really excited over small wins like these!
Here is an example screenshot of one of my Caddle checks that got mailed to me — $266.82!
It’s pretty much FREE money back in my pockets, which I could use towards my next grocery trip!
3. Invest in the Instant Pot — seriously, it’s a lifesaver!
We’ve been using this very popular and handy Instant Pot and it has changed our lives!
Say goodbye to those frequent Chipotle, Freshii, and Poke Bowl trips! Also, say goodbye to those expensive restaurant bills!
Okay before we move onto the Instant Pot, I have a confession to make…
Since I don’t usually cook or prepare for our meals (at least not 90% of the time), I’m speaking for my fiancé here.
He didn’t know what to expect before buying it from Amazon but after hearing the hype and seeing so many positive reviews, we were curious and wanted to try it out.
As the name implies, it’s a pressure cooker, slow cooker, rice cooker, saute, yogurt maker, warmer and heater.
As I was saying, we couldn’t afford to keep eating out, so we made the effort to save money on food by eating more often at home.
The best thing about the Instant Pot is you don’t always have to watch over it!
How to save money on food without cooking
Many of you are probably asking “how to save money on food without cooking” or “how to save money on food and eat healthy”.
This is one of the best solutions we’ve experimented! Okay, okay, at least it doesn’t feel like we’re cooking…
Trust me, we are probably the world’s worst cooks, but this Instant Pot allows us to make quick and easy meals that actually taste great! 🥘🍲😋
For example, we’ve made healthy beef stew in just 30 minutes — perfect for winter!
We’ve also tried making chicken broth for our noodle soup with leftover Costco chicken and the taste turns out fantastic every single time! Who doesn’t love that Costco chicken?? 🍗❤️
YES, this product is our life-saver! It can seriously save you a lot of time and money in the long run!!!
👉 Click here to learn more about the Instant Pot and how you can use it to cook tasty and fast meals! 🍲
4. Use Ebates: the Walmart cash back hack.
Shop for food and groceries from Walmart online and pick up in store to get cash back from Ebates.
I know I harp on Ebates a lot but for good reason!
It’s honestly one of my favorite cash back programs because you get FREE money just for shopping at your favorite stores online.
That includes Walmart, Macy’s, Amazon, Target, and so much more!
So, here’s how you can save money on some of your groceries and food by using Ebates…
If you shop online at Walmart for your groceries and pick them up in store (this doesn’t cost you anything), you can earn cash back on your purchases.
Note that this doesn’t apply to produce and cold meats, but it is applicable for dried and boxed foods (and of course, everything else at Walmart).
You can even grab your FREE $10 Walmart gift card (or cash value) just for signing up here.
Make sure to spend $25 on your first purchase (to any store listed under Ebates including Walmart itself) within 365 days to get your $10 bonus. I’m sure you won’t have a problem with that since you’ll be shopping for what you regularly buy!
🌟 Sign up here and get your FREE $10 bonus after making your first $25 purchase through Ebates. 🛍💵
If you live in Canada, use this link to sign up and get your FREE $5 bonus.
Related post: Click here for my full Ebates review and how to use it to save money on ALL your purchases. You’re gonna LOVE Ebates! ♥
5. Meal plan the SIMPLE way.
If you have time to decide which foods and ingredients to buy and plan your meals, then that’s great! You can save money on food just by avoiding takeouts and fancy restaurants.
However, some people just aren’t cut for meal planning.
What if you’re not good at meal planning but want to save money on food?
With your life getting busier each day, there’s absolutely no time for you to meal plan. Just thinking about what to cook or eat may even kill your brain cells (or is that just me?).
I have a solution for you!
The $5 Meal Plan:
If you’re looking for ways to save money on food without having to eat out every day, then I highly recommend this $5 Meal Plan. This is a weekly meal plan service that aims to make your life easy by saving you both the time and money. For only $5 a month, you will receive a delicious meal plan that costs less than $2 per meal.
They even offer a FREE 14-day trial absolutely RISK-FREE! If you decide that this isn’t for you, simply cancel it with no questions asked.
Save thousands of dollars on food each year by clicking here to start your FREE 14-day trial.
6. Don’t shop at the grocery store with an empty stomach.
When you shop for groceries on an empty stomach, you are more likely to waste money on junk food.
According to this Reuters article, No, Really – Don’t Shop When You’re Hungry, research shows:
“People who hadn’t eaten all afternoon chose more high-calorie foods in a simulated supermarket than those who were given a snack just before online food shopping.”
Based on this Forbes article, Shopping Hungry? You’ll Spend More (Even if You’re Not Buying Food), a different research reveals that you will likely spend more when you’re hungry regardless if the item is related to food or not. Here is the study I pulled from the article:
“Researchers surveyed 81 consumers who had just shopped at a large department store that carried mainly nonfood products such as clothes, shoes and electronics. The shoppers shared their receipts with researchers and completed a questionnaire on their mood, level of hunger, and how much time they’d spent in the store. In the end, those who were hungrier had spent 64% more money than those who were less hungry.”
7. Buy discounted gift cards.
Shop for discounted gift cards and get an instant discount without the hassle of clipping coupons.
Related post: 9+ Clever Ways To Get FREE Gift Cards and CASH Online (Amazon, Walmart, Starbucks, Visa, and more!)
8. Look above and below the shelves.
If you want to be mindful and save money on food, don’t just look at the middle shelves where the eye level is. That’s where supermarkets display more pricey items for you to see. Chances are, you’ll spend more money on those items compared to the better-valued ones placed above or below the shelves.
According to this National Geographic article, Surviving the Sneaky Psychology of Supermarkets, the author writes:
Even shelf order is a psychological trap. The most expensive items are generally placed conveniently at eye level; generic brands are on the lower shelves such that, to get at them, you have to crouch. Foods meant to appeal to kids are set at kids’-eye-level; and one study by researchers at Cornell found that kid-targeted cereal packaging is designed such that cartoon characters on the boxes make eye contact with (short) passers-by.
9. Skip the prepackaged salads.
I admit that I was a bit guilty on this one.
I’m generally lazy and don’t like cutting and mixing my own vegetables. However, I noticed that every time I go to Costco or Walmart to buy ready-to-go salad mixes, it ends up going to waste because they don’t last very long. Not to mention, I didn’t find them as fresh as buying the whole vegetable itself.
With that said, my fiancé and I now only buy whole veggies and cut them up ourselves. It’s much fresher and we get to choose how to mix them. Of course, you save more money this way too!
10. Buy seasonal.
Not only does this save money, you’re getting fresh foods when you buy seasonally. Who buys watermelon during the wintertime, anyway?
11. Save time and money by using Flipp.
I absolutely love using the Flipp app because you can price match your groceries all at one store. This saves you both the time and money!
Make sure that the grocery stores you shop at allow you to price match. Stores like Walmart and Superstore (in Canada) allow you to price match almost anything.
With this app, you’ll get access to all the weekly flyers electronically in your city without having to flip through the physical copies. You can even easily search for specials and compare which store has the lowest price, saving you so much time and money!
👉 Get FREE cash here for your food and groceries! 💵 💵 💵
Are you new to my blog?
If you follow me, you’ll know that I’m all about saving money and making money. Below are some of my favorite sites and resources that may help you! The best part is that they’re all FREE to use!
Not to mention, these are great ways to get cash back, which can help towards your food bill! An extra $1,000+ each year? Heck yeah, sign me up!
Swagbucks: I use this almost every day to earn FREE gift cards and cash just by surfing the web (like how you search for things on Google), watching videos, playing games, and completing easy surveys. You need to check out the FREE gift cards they offer here. My fiance and I have been using this since 2009. We redeemed many $50 to $100 Amazon and Starbucks gift cards which helped us save money and reduce our spending!
🌟 Sign up for Swagbucks here to grab your FREE $5 welcome bonus. It’s 100% free to use and takes less than 10 seconds to become a member!
Survey Junkie: I personally use this free resource to earn extra cash by answering simple surveys online. This may help you save money or pay for some of your monthly bills because you can redeem cash or FREE gift cards (your choice). They are rated 8.7/10 which is one of the highest on TrustPilot reviews.
🌟 You can sign up for Survey Junkie for FREE here and start earning FREE gift cards and cash immediately! 💵
Ebates: You get FREE cash just for shopping at over 2,000 of your favorite stores. This includes Walmart, Macy’s, Apple, Kohl’s, Target, eBay, and so many more! I use Ebates to save over a few hundred dollars per year just for shopping for the things I normally buy.
🌟 Sign up here and get your FREE $10 bonus after making your first $25 purchase through Ebates. 🛍💵
If you live in Canada, use this link to sign up and get your FREE $5 bonus.
Related post: To learn more, read my full review and tutorial on how to use Ebates here. You will LOVE Ebates! ❤
Paribus: Ever heard of price-adjustments? This free app helps get your money back when an item you purchased goes on sale (there’s no effort on your end). When Paribus finds a price drop in your e-mail inbox, and you’re eligible for a price adjustment, it will notify you and the retailer. Yes, Paribus will do all the work for you and you keep 100% of the savings! Paribus has helped users saved over $24,000,000 to date!
🌟 You can sign up for the FREE Paribus app here and start putting cash back into your wallet!
MyPoints: You can earn FREE gift cards to your favorite stores or FREE cash just by watching videos, taking surveys, shopping online, reading e-mails and more. MyPoints has paid out their members $236,000,000!
🌟 Sign up for MyPoints here for FREE and get a $5 bonus immediately when you take 5 surveys! 💵
⭐️ Important: Don’t forget to verify the email from MyPoints in your inbox so that you can redeem your bonus!
Related post: The Best Places to Get FREE Gift Cards!
Drop: My fiancé and I use this FREE Drop app to rack up cash rewards on our everyday purchases. I love how this app allows us to combine their offers with other cash back rewards and store promos. That’s how we get the most cash back! 😉
My referral code is applicable to both the U.S. and Canada!
Related post: To learn more, read my honest review and tutorial on how Drop works. If you like the idea of passive savings, then I’m sure you’re going to enjoy this app as much as I do!
Over to you — How do you save money on food and groceries? I highly encourage you to review all of your past restaurant and grocery transactions to see how much you really spend on food. Could you be spending more than $10,000 on food each year? This could be a huge wake-up call for those who eat out a lot!
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