4 ways to Save On Groceries Without Coupons

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I'm not a couponer, 4 ways to save on food

I’m not a couponer. It hasn’t been the best way to save for us recently. About 2 years ago, I started to see that couponing just wasn’t fitting into our new debt-free lifestyle. It was causing me stress, I wasn’t getting the deals I’d gotten years before, and I didn’t have a love for it anymore.

For anyone that’s been reading this blog since it’s inception in 2007, this is probably a huge surprise to you. I started this little part of the internet to document how we were saving, especially our ways to save on groceries, and how it was steadily getting us out of debt. Coupons worked amazingly for our family and did save us from being hungry, homeless, and deeply dependent on others and possibly the government. But, it just isn’t part of our new frugal life now.

The main reason I stopped is other couponers in my area were stealing inserts from the stores I frequented. I would get there at the crack of dawn to buy 6 or 8 papers, and find that all but 2 or 3 had full inserts missing. Yes, I could have driven about 20 minutes North or South to the “good” neighborhoods, but that would defeat the purpose of saving. Wasting gas just to get coupons ain’t my bag, baby.

While I haven’t been readily using coupon inserts, I’ve still found other ways to save on groceries. Here are a few things I do:

Keep a price book
When I first started out saving, I wrote down the prices of all of our staple items: cheese, meats, milks of many varieties, rice, dry beans, etc. Still to this day, I pay attention to the lowest prices of our staples, and once they are on sale, I stock up. If the budget allows, I get six weeks worth of the staple since sale cycles are usually 6 weeks or so.

I buy in season
I’m pretty sure this is the easiest way to save when it comes to groceries. Stores make it easy for you buy always having produce that’s in season on sale every week. Same goes for proteins. During grilling season you see all types of meats on sale. Take advantage of the season and stock up.

I frequent Farmers Markets
Summer is my favorite season to save because of Farmers Markets. We find new produce and products to try, and we know that it is local and fresh. Also, I love to wait until the end of the markets and “haggle” the farmers down on price. They’re more willing to give you a good deal later in the day so they don’t have to put all of that produce back in their truck

We adopted the minimalist lifestyle
Most think that “frugal” and “minimalist” are interchangeable. That’s just not true. Some frugal folks may love the lifestyle, but feel the need to stockpile crazy amounts of items. Some minimalists love to keep their footprint low, but see no problem spending a big amount on food if it means that it’s local and will not take up much space in their pantry or fridge. We are a bit of both. I no longer “stockpile” but  I do “stock up.” I get just enough items to cover us for about 2 or 3 months, but never go overboard. We just don’t have the room for all of that. By steadily paying attention to sales, there hasn’t been any reason for me to stockpile.

Looking for more tips on how to shop the grocery store on a budget without coupons? Check out this post from Adrianna of Military Money Chica: How to Save Money On Groceries Without Using Coupons.

How about you? Do you use coupons to save on groceries? What’s your best money-saving tip when it comes to food?

About Amiyrah

My name is Amiyrah and I'm an an African American fashion & lifestyle blogger based in Ohio.

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  1. 5.21.13
    Mariah said:

    I am not a couponer either but would love to be able to save. Thanks for these practical tips!

  2. 5.21.13
    Danielle said:

    The biggest thing I do to save is I meal plan. Having a plan for the food I buy has saved me more than couponing because I never throw out food because we haven’t gotten a chance to eat it. I couldn’t believe how much we were throwing out due to poor planning and over buying.

  3. 5.21.13

    Reading this makes me feel so much better. I have let couponing go down the drain. I have found the biggest help for our grocery budget is eMeals and we link it up to Aldi which is always cheaper than the regular grocery store.

    • 5.21.13
      Amiyrah said:

      Thanks for commenting, Brenna! I love Aldi as well. It really helps us to stretch our budget as well. If I’m in need of something and I know the pricing at our local grocery store isn’t low enough for me, I always hit up Aldi.

  4. 5.21.13

    You it’s funny I am the same way. Used to be a couponing fool but have cut back…way back..because I just don’t see the deals that I used to and it take way to much of my time. I stress about it too much. Thanks for sharing your story and other ways to save. Love it!

  5. 5.21.13

    What a fun twist on how to save without coupons! Thanks for sharing your tips I will give it a go!

    • 5.21.13
      Amiyrah said:

      You’re welcome Kelsey. Thanks for commenting!

  6. 5.21.13
    Ghada said:

    Those are great tips. I am not a couponer either but I think your ideas about living a minimalist life and making smart choices definitely help save money

    • 5.21.13
      Amiyrah said:

      Thanks Ghada!

  7. 5.21.13
    Michelle said:

    I don’t coupon. Most of the reason is that I buy whole foods, and they rarely have coupons. It isn’t worth the time or effort for me. I do definitely purchase staples when they’re on sale, and I know exactly how much things usually cost and where the cheapest gas ON my route is, etc. I love hearing about NOT using coupons working.

    And people stealing inserts? Wow. That’s… special.

    • 5.21.13
      Amiyrah said:

      Yes! They get up super early just to steal from the stores. For some reason, the stores around me seem to not care. So…I decided to stop caring too. Ha!

  8. 5.21.13
    Michelle said:

    I don’t use coupons, but I should! I might use one every now and then.

  9. 5.21.13
    Tazim @beingtazim said:

    While I do coupon when I can, I don’t find many for the types of food I eat. I don’t have a lot of packaged foods where coupons are available. I like your ideas for other ways to save – like farmers markets, etc.

  10. 5.21.13

    Great tips~ Your Farmer’s Market shopping advice- LOVE IT!

  11. 5.23.13
    Jen @ Healthful Saver said:

    Thank you for so simply stating the difference between stockpiling and stocking up. I’m all for stocking up, but I live in a city and getting groceries is not difficult. I like to take advantage of seasonal good prices… Maybe get 2 ketchups on sale for Mem Day. I don’t ever want to have food expiring.

    • 5.24.13
      Amiyrah said:

      Exactly, Jen. I wrote a post a while back about how people get caught up in stockpiling, and don’t pay attention to all the space they are giving up to have stuff “just in case.” Stocking up is more than enough and you don’t have to live with macaroni boxes under your bed because you used a coupon to get them free 😀

  12. 1.24.14

    Love your post. In pursuing the internet I ran across your blog. Lovin it. I use to be a couponer as well — it was all the rage. Now that the stores have caught on to us — the coupons are not what they use to be — and you are right — I didn’t like the stockpiling — all my girlfriends buying deep freezers — I just couldn’t get into it that deep — and I’m glad I didn’t because it too fizzled out. Those tips above are spot on — and it just makes sense.

  13. 3.13.16
    Jmo said:

    I loved reading this, Amiyrah. We met years ago when we were both “grocery hounds” but I haven’t used any coupons for the last 5 1/2 years. 95% of the food I eat is natural, whole foods, and I do buy organic when possible. The key like you say is to “stock up” not “stockpile”. That’s such an important point.

    And for me 90% of the time, I shop at Costco! Yep, Costco! It’s only 4 miles from my home, and has the cheapest prices for what I buy. They’ve made a huge commitment to natural/organic and I can find all my staples there. 2X a year they have a big organic sale with rebates off, and yesterday, I did stock up: So Delicious coconut milk (for breakfast spinach shakes), organic hummus, and veggie burgers. I also get car gas there-huge savings. Last fill-up: $1.77/gal. In August, I will get 2% of purchases back. It will pay for my executive membership fees (and more).

    They’re switching credit cards in June so if I get that card, I also get 2% back on purchases-which is 4% total with my membership. Costco nearly has everything I need, and I don’t waste gas going to multiple stores. The other 10% I buy at an employee-owned grocery store that also has organic produce, bulk spices, bulk nuts/seeds and other staples. I go there about 2X/month.

    My recommendation to others: Find what works for you and your family w/ as little stress as possible. I’ve found what works for me and it’s a whole bunch of less stress, and I still have found savings.

    • 3.13.16
      Amiyrah said:

      Jmo! I’m so happy to see you here! Thank you so much for all of these wise words. I sure hope my readers take this all in and utilize your wisdom. I hope you’re doing well!