Lisa Lee Freeman
3 money-saving hacks for non-coupon queens
If you don't have time to round up coupons or just can't be bothered, here are 4 easy ways to save big on groceries without them! You can literally save hundreds of dollars a year just by changing a few habits. (Check out my video here: http://www.thelisttv.com/the-list/4-grocery-store-hacks-that-can-save-you-hundreds!)
Try new store-brand foods. OK this is a no-brainer. But have you tasted the store-brand ketchup? Or the cereal that looks just like your favorite brand? C'mon, give it a try! In taste tests over the years at Consumer Reports, many store brands were as good or even better than the big-brand products. And stores are offering more store brand products, especially organics, which can save you 60% or more.
Don't buy the same stuff every week. Instead, stock up on storable staples when they go on sale. Buy enough for at least a couple of months. Shopping apps like Flipp, Shopular, and Retale make it super easy—the apps put dozens of local weekly ads at your fingertips so you can quickly scan them to find the best deals. Most groceries can be stored for months or longer, including cereal and canned foods (in the pantry), as well as meats and most veggies (in the freezer). Ground meat, for example, lasts three to four months in the freezer. Be sure to date those frozen bags so you can keep track!
Never buy singles. Buying produce by the bag instead of individually can slash your costs by 30% or more. TIP: When purchasing bags of apples, onions, potatoes, and other fruits and veggies, weigh them on scales in the produce aisle. Bags of produce typically cost a set amount, but they may vary in weight—so pick a heavy one! Like produce, staples like yogurt can also be significantly cheaper when you buy more than one at a time. Of course, buying in bulk can also slash your costs. Join a warehouse club with a friend to split the costs and large packages so they don’t go bad before you can use them up.
Cut your own. Buying precut kale, onions, and squash and bagged salad greens can more than double the price of your fruits and veggies. In fact, markups of 300% or more aren't unheard of when it comes to convenience foods. Cut your own and you can literally save hundreds of dollars a year on groceries.