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Save money on groceries without coupons

By on June 3, 2010


Clipping grocery coupons is a popular way to save money. But not everyone can or wants to be a coupon queen. Maybe the coupons you see are for products you don’t use or wouldn’t go out of your way to buy. Or maybe you’re in a hurry to shop. You can still avoid wasting money by remembering your loyalty card, checking for marked down/day-old/soon-to-expire racks and checking unit prices. How do you slash your grocery bill without using coupons?

Here are a few more suggestions.


Select a few store brands. Many vary only slightly to similar name-brand products, and many are manufactured by the same companies. Read the ingredients of both choices. Some are identical, and others are only slightly different. Stores are aware that they need to have quality products to compete. Many offer money-back guarantees, too.


Check the Red blinkie dispensers, coupons on shelves and on product packaging. Grab a store flyer while you’re there, too. One reader, Suzanne from Oregon, shares:”I shop the loss leaders at multiple grocery stores. Of course, these items are offered at such low prices to lure us into the store where the grocers anticipate we’ll inevitably spend more. But if you can limit your spending to the sale items only, there are some great deals to be had!”


Nonfood items can typically be found cheaper elsewhere. So only get what you absolutely need for this trip. Put off your bigger shopping trip until you’re better prepared to comparison shop (discount grocery, salvage food or dollar stores, warehouse clubs, ethnic or farmers markets, etc.), plan meals or make a list. One reader, Candy in Ohio, shares: “For quick trips, don’t use a cart. This works for me because I can only carry so much. When you have a cart, you are more apt to fill it. Shop the perimeter of the store, too. While shopping, I found a summer sausage for $3.99 in the center aisle. As I went on with my shopping, along the back wall of the store was a display with the same type of sausage for $2.99.” You’ll discover most prepackaged convenience and junk foods are in the center aisles, while healthier choices are on the outer perimeter. Don’t forget to weigh bagged produce, too. You can often get an additional serving by comparing the package’s weight.


Avoid pre-cut/chopped items such as produce and meat. Portion these at home. Another reader, Theresa from Florida, shares: “What I’ve learned to do is wait for sales on different types of beef. Then I ask the meat-cutter to custom cut for me. I get it ground, stir-fry cut, stew or kabob chunks, thin sliced for cheese steaks and bracciole or thicker steak cuts. Also, stop buying cold cuts from the deli. Buy whole turkey breasts, roast beef, chicken and ham when they’re on sale and slice them up for sandwiches and freeze.”


When checking out, watch that items are ringing up at the right price. Many grocery stores give a discount for pricing errors. Check your receipt in case you missed anything. Keep your receipt, too. Some have coupons on the back and you might be eligible for a price guarantee. If an item you’ve bought goes on sale within a certain amount of time, some stores will discount the difference.

photo by Lars Ploughman


  1. Carla

    7/27/2010 at 10:49 pm

    I hardly bother with coupons anymore, or even with going from store to store chasing sales. The biggest thing for me now is to just know my prices. I might go into the store looking for something in particular, but I know what it should cost and if it is overpriced I will leave it there and find something else.

  2. anna

    8/4/2010 at 2:29 am

    I just buy store brands, and take advantage of the dollar store.

  3. Niki

    1/5/2011 at 8:22 pm

    I LOVE my 2 local dollar stores! I buy my veggies, fruits and dairy at the grocery. Otherwise I’m at the dollar store for my toiletries, the occasional snacky thing, pop, cleaning stuff and so forth. If I could hug my $ stores I would! And I’m a big believer in generic/store brands. Generally, I find very little difference if at all in quality, or taste.

  4. Robin

    1/8/2011 at 9:05 pm

    What saves our family money is having a weekly dinner menu. When I get the ads on Wed. I plan the next weeks dinner with the kids. We are down to 50.00- 60.00 a week for a family of four, and I buy 75% organic products!!! Do not like $ stores except for some of my cleaning products.I clip coupons and shop with the ads. I love getting two boxes of cereal BOGO and handingthem a coupon for 1.00 off each. It is practically free!!! No store chasing I love my Publix!! I still do buy good toliet paper, and laundry deterant from Sams Club. I have been doing this for a few months. I use to spend 100- 120 a week and make 2-3 store trips because I did not know what to cook for dinner. It is nice having a plan after a long day at work.

  5. Yen

    10/14/2012 at 3:11 pm

    I go to the farmers market for produce. Big lots for spices, snacks, pasta, juice, and cookies. I frequent at the dollar stores too. But mostly now, I bake at home from scratch for desserts, mix my own pancakes, and home cook meals. I always involve the children (boy & girl) to help me cook so they learn how to cook and they know how to be frugal in their future.

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