How To Save Money On Groceries Without Coupons

Easy Ways to Save Money On Groceries Without Coupons.

I think most of us are all looking for ways to save money. I’ve tried clipping coupons in the past, but I found that I ended up buying a lot of things we wouldn’t ordinarily use or eat because I was able to get such a great deal. Those things often ended up unused or spoiled. Which really doesn’t make it a money saver then, does it? After brainstorming a little bit, I realized you could save money on groceries without coupons.

I am able to earn a little bit of freelance money and money from this blog, but otherwise we’re a one income family since I’m home with the kids. All the money I earn gets invested back into my space. Speaking of which, there are affiliate links present in this post.

When I evaluated our first quarter, I realized we actually did quite well staying on budget with our groceries. There were even some weeks when we came under budget and were able to reallocate our savings towards something fun.

Easy Ways To Save Money On Groceries Without Using Coupons

Here are 10 easy ways to save money on your groceries without coupons.

1. Bring your own shopping bags. Not only is it better for the environment, but a lot of stores will also give you a few cents back for each shopping bag you use. My grocery store gives $.10 back per bag used. When I do my big twice a month shop, I use 10 bags. It seems small and inconsequential in the moment, but by taking my own bags, I save close to $75.00 a year.

2. Eat high protein snacks like almonds, cheese sticks, or hard boiled eggs. Snacking on high protein foods will stick with you longer than potato chips, candy, or crackers. The longer you can wait between snacking, the longer your snacks will last in your pantry or refrigerator.

3. Know what you’ve already got at home. When I meal plan, I look to see what I’ve already got on hand. Then, I look to see what is on sale at the grocery store that week. From there, I plan our meals. If you’ve already got ¾ of the ingredients you need at hone, there is no reason to re-buy those items.

4. Stock up when things you always use are on sale. For us, this list includes pasta, yogurt, frozen fruit and vegetables, and coffee. This week, my favorite brand of coffee is on sale at my grocery store buy 1 get 1 free. I’m buying 4 but taking home 8. I’ve now got two months worth of coffee and saved $40.00.

5. Pay attention to special promotional days. For example, the coffee I referenced above has an extra savings attached to it for Friday, Saturday, and Sunday only. Instead of it being $9.00 a bag (I like the good stuff, coffee is one of my grocery splurges), it is $7.00 a bag as long as I also purchase $25.00 worth of groceries. I often find out about promotions like this via my grocery store’s social media sites or circular.

6. Get out of the mainstream grocery store. There are several “low frill” grocery stores in my area. At these places, I have to bag my own groceries, keep an open mind, and put a quarter in the cart return to get one out, but these savings are obscene. They don’t take coupons and they don’t’ always have everything I’m looking for. But because they have a different overhead, they are able to pass their savings on to their customers. I’ve found Aldi, in particular to be amazing. They’ve got their own organic line and their price for organic milk beats my regular grocery store by over $2.00.  Yearly savings on milk  alone: $104.00

7. Make things from scratch. Have you ever thought about how much money you could save if made things from scratch at home? We don’t make EVERYTHING from scratch but we do make a lot. Malone loves pancakes for breakfast. He wants them almost every morning. Instead of buying frozen premade pancakes, we started making them from a mix. I realized we were spending about $10.00 a month on pancake mix (the just add water kind) so I googled how to make homemade pancakes. I was surprised to learn that we already had everything we needed in our pantry. Yearly savings on pancakes: $120.00

8. Pay attention to serving sizes and eat them. You can save a ton of money by eating proper serving sizes and following dietary recommendations. If you sit down with a bag of potato chips and eat the entire bag, they’re gone in one sitting. If you take a few seconds to portion out the serving size on a plate or in a bowl, they’ll last much longer!

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9. Keep an open mind about brands and generics. There are a few brands for our family that we absolutely will not stray from. Unless there is a specific brand that you absolutely adore, try something new. In the process, you’ll save some money.

10. Meal plan. Every Saturday morning, I take a look at our family calendar to see what our week looks like. I plan our meals based on what we have on hand (see above) but also on how busy we’re going to be. For example, on Mondays Malone has basketball from 3:30 to 4:00 pm. It is in a neighboring town, so I either need to plan a meal that I can put on the table fast (like leftovers) or use the crock pot. If have my meals planned, I will not be tempted to run to the store quick for a rotisserie chicken and deli salads or call in a take out order. Yearly savings (based on spending $20.00 for a quick grocery meal already made) $500.00.

Bonus Tips.

Avoid prepackaged foods. The easier it is for you to use a food as soon as you bring it home, the more expensive it likely is. Instead buying prepacked snack sized food for school lunches, buy the bigger bag and package them yourself at home. If you purchase prepackaged foods or snacks, you are paying more for the premade portion sizes.

Invest in reusable paper products and food storage containers. If you use cloth napkins instead of paper napkins, you don’t have to continue to buy them. Did you know there are companies that make reusable food storage bags for snacks on the go? Sure, there is a little bit of upfront investment. But the lifetime savings outweigh the initial investment!

If you liked this post, I’d love for you to share it with your friends. It seems like almost every day someone within my Facebook friends list is wondering about how they can save money on groceries without coupons. This post was written for and inspired by them.

What are you doing to make your dollars stretch further in your food budget?


  1. 1

    Nancy says

    Probably the biggest change I’ve made recently is switching supermarkets.
    I also have a lot of weeks where I don’t buy meat. I ration milk and oj…I buy a half gallon a week; when it’s gone, it’s gone.
    I also have different stores for different things. Trader Joes for certain things, Big Y for other things, etc.
    I also decided last week that by recycling our beer bottles, we were throwing money away! So now I’m returning them for my deposit.
    Nancy recently posted..A Blessing and A Curse, No. 1My Profile

    • 2

      Nancy says

      Someone just commented on my FB that Aldi owns Trader Joe! I had no idea… Also, you left out one of your tips! Do you still save leftover veggies in the freezer to use in burritos?
      Nancy recently posted..The Lazy Cinnamon Bun.My Profile

      • 3

        NJ says

        That is true, Trader Joes is part of the Aldi network of grocery stores!

        If we had any leftover veggies, I’d make burritos out of them. But, both Mike and I eat salads everyday for lunch and most of the leftover veggies get dumped right into our salad bowls!

  2. 4

    christie elkins says

    I love every thing about this! Especially the wisdom of “The easier it is for you to use a food as soon as you bring it home, the more expensive it likely is”. Good ideas!
    christie elkins recently posted..cell phone friday, volume 28.My Profile

    • 5

      NJ says

      Thanks friend! It is true! Have you ever looked at the price of a fresh cut fruit platter? Those puppies are expensive! You could DIY one for way less!

  3. 6

    Jessica Cook says

    Fantastic tips! I especially like the idea of eating high protein snacks-not only does it save money but it’s also healthy! We always shop at Aldi’s and local farmers for produce- it saves so much money!

  4. 8

    lisacng @ says

    I think that waste is a very common way that people spend so much on groceries so I like your tip on knowing what’s in your house and also meal planning. Definitely 2 things I do. I also like to use coupons in conjunction with promotional sales, though I’m not crazy couponer.

    • 9

      NJ says

      For a while, I used to keep a freezer and pantry inventory. I need to get back to doing that!

  5. 10

    Rebecca Hosea says

    Great tips! One thing that I do, during the summer months, I keep my eyes open on the milks prices at the gas stations. Milk here in SC is between $4-$5 per gallon, but there is a gas station, not far from us, that has milk for $2.50. Ever summer they will have cheaper milk than anywhere else.
    Rebecca Hosea recently posted..Get Out of the Office and into the Sunshine with GrasshopperMy Profile

    • 11

      NJ says

      What a great idea to get your milk from the gas station! I am going to remember that tip for this summer!

  6. 12

    Scott says

    The serving size is so spot-on! I used to eat double what I should be until I started paying attention.
    Scott recently posted..Clean. From Top to… Bottom.My Profile

    • 13

      NJ says

      Me too! I’ve started to really pay attention and portion things out. As an unexpected bonus, I’ve lost a few pounds doing so.

  7. 14

    Farin Vazquez says

    I wholeheartedly agree that using a circular and buying the basics when on sale are my top two tips! We usually go to either big-name grocery stores (that have horrrrrrrible checkout lines) or local stores (that never have good discounts and their meat is questionable). Grocery shopping nyc is definitely more difficult that country stores. We probably throw out more meat than anything because it takes them so long to get it out onto the sidewalk, pricemarked, sorted and then into refrigeration. Biggest downside, any savings is seemingly gone by the end of the month.
    Farin Vazquez recently posted..Anniversary Week. Toasts, Cake and a Dance-offMy Profile

  8. 15

    Amber @ Apples to Applique says

    Excellent post, thank you! You give some wonderful tips, some of which I already follow, others I could do better about. I love shopping at Aldi; it enables me to grocery shop without clipping coupons because their brand is typically cheaper than other brands even with the coupons.
    I will be sharing this!
    Amber @ Apples to Applique recently posted..Ruffled Top RefashionMy Profile

  9. 16

    Christy@SweetandSavoring says

    Great list! My husband and I try to be super mindful of what’s on sale, and he reminds me to keep in mind meals and what we’re actually going to use rather than ‘oh this is a good deal!’. I second getting away from the mainstream grocery store- we have an Aldi near us and they are so, so cheap. It’s ridiculous and amazing! Spinach, yogurt, walnuts, spices, beans are all Aldi staples.
    Christy@SweetandSavoring recently posted..Ask Away Friday with Stacey of This Momma’s RamblingsMy Profile

  10. 17

    Jennifer Van Huss says

    These are great ideas! I love how they don’t involve coupons! I always leave my coupons at home!!
    Jennifer Van Huss recently posted..Food Friday ~ Citrus infused Carrot Soup by Kathy SmartMy Profile

  11. 19

    Sam says

    Great tips! I hate couponing! I will be using these awesome tips
    Sam recently posted..Frugal 101 : Buying A CarMy Profile

  12. 21

    Lisa says

    I love this list. I recently started shopping at a farmer’s market grocery store (Sprouts- I don’t know how widespread those are) and they beat the regular grocery store prices on ALL produce and some dry goods but theirs is all local, fresher, and organic. I’m loving it.
    Lisa recently posted..Hospi-condoMy Profile

    • 22

      NJ says

      We love our farmers market, Lisa. Ours is really just starting here. August and September are really great months for our farmer’s market. I love harvest season!

  13. 23

    Karen @ From the Garden Table says

    Great tips for things we don’t always necessarily think of! Now if I could just everyone in the house to stick to the proper serving sizes of snacks… :)
    Karen @ From the Garden Table recently posted..Strawberry Lemon Yogurt CakeMy Profile

    • 24

      NJ says

      Eating the proper portion sizes is so hard sometimes! Just this past weekend we blew through a bag of tortilla chips and salsa in one sitting. Granted, we ate that instead of having a proper lunch, but now our snacks for the week are gone!

  14. 25

    Jenny says

    Such great and useful tips. I find that in using coupons I spend so much time clipping and trying to find those items at the store and I really don’t save that much. Plus, you’re right, they are items we wouldn’t usually buy. I love the tip about buying higher protein snacks. They may cost a bit more but you’ll eat less. Now I’m inspired for tomorrow’s shopping trip.
    Jenny recently posted..Working Mamas Unite and Share!My Profile

    • 26

      NJ says

      Thanks Jenny! I’m glad you enjoyed this post. Eating high protein snacks will revolutionize your world, trust me!

  15. 27

    Tara Newman says

    Boom my friend! Great post! Great tips. When those cuponing shows came out a few years ago, I wanted to see if I could crack the code. And I did. It took more time than blogging to collect, sort, plan, analyze, match up and spreadsheet my shopping but I would save a ton of money. Most of the stuff was on non-perishables but in the end it was a lot of time for products I didn’t want to use. I prefer more organic, less chemicalized, yada yada and those are never that deeply discounted. We find our biggest savings comes from the farmer’s market and shopping at trader joe’s instead of a conventional store. With a competitive athlete and two active kids, our grocery bill is our highest bill!
    Tara Newman recently posted..American Zofingen Duathlon Race ReportMy Profile

    • 28

      NJ says

      You are correct, Tara, it takes so much time to do it all. I don’t have a lot of free moments, so it really wasn’t worth it for me. I did it for a little bit, but we ended up with a lot of extra (free) toothbrushes and processed food that we wouldn’t already eat.

  16. 29

    Melissa says

    Our new favorite way to save is stop and shop pick up service. You can work on your grocery cart from home. You can really peruse the sale items, take things in and out of your cart quick in order to spend the amt you want. Plus they bag and load the groceries for you. Bonus. Oh another way we save is splitting a farm share and u pick is free and we freeze. Plus we have our own garden: freeze and can!

    • 30

      NJ says

      I haven’t tried that service yet Melisa, but I’ve been thinking about it. I actually love going to the grocery store. I am often able to get there WITHOUT the kids and I enjoy wandering the aisles and dreaming about life in peace!

  17. 31

    Diatta @ Femme Fitale Fit Club says

    I liked these suggestions. I hate clipping coupons.
    Diatta @ Femme Fitale Fit Club recently posted..#FitTube Tag Episode 4: Favorite No-Equipment WorkoutMy Profile

    • 32

      NJ says

      Thanks Diatta! I love to look at the coupons but I often don’t clip them. It just takes so much time!

  18. 33

    Joey Lynn Resciniti (@BTaC_blog) says

    I need to get back into making meal plans. Not only does that save money, it is much easier to know ahead of time what you’re going to make. Otherwise I must waste hours each day thinking through what I’m going to make. I need to get back to thinking about it once a month and be done with it.

    Speaking of coupons… yesterday I had $2 off dog food as a mfg coupon, 5% off with Cartwheel & 5% off with my store credit card. The darn dog food still came to $20. I was all prepared to have this major couponing moment and I think they’d jacked the price up so that my discounts just broke even anyway. You have to be careful with that stuff. I think that’s why the extreme coupon leads to binders and price logs and too much for me to handle.
    Joey Lynn Resciniti (@BTaC_blog) recently posted..Bowtie* FestivalMy Profile

    • 34

      NJ says

      Well, you did save some through right? If you would have found a target coupon or been able to get a gift card out of it, it would have likely been a win. Dog food (and cat food) is SO EXPENSIVE!

      I love to meal plan. I have heard of some people that plan by the week and then rotate between 6-8 weeks. That sounds like a great method to me!

  19. 35

    Sonya says

    Great tips! I use coupons, mostly on household items. I buy a lot of produce and there are rarely coupons for produce. I save on produce by buying when it is in season and on sale. Even organic produce is a good price when in season and on sale.
    Sonya recently posted..Old Navy 50% Off Swimwear + Everything Else On SaleMy Profile

    • 36

      NJ says

      I was a pretty avid couponer for awhile. It just doesn’t work for my family. For us, it isn’t worth the time and expense of buying the paper, clipping, organizing, and matching things up.

      Now that summer is here, we will get most of our produce at the Farmer’s Market or roadside stands.

  20. 37

    Anna Belle says

    These are great ideas (and so much easier than coupons!) Throwing away food in particular is often a big expense for me…
    Anna Belle recently posted..Memorial Day StyleMy Profile

    • 38

      NJ says

      I hate throwing away food! It has taken some additional planning, but most of the time we use everything up before it spoils.

  21. 39

    Mothering From Scratch says

    {Melinda} Great tips! Meal planning is the #1 thing that saves money for me. Also, knowing what you already have. Thanks for sharing your experience!
    Mothering From Scratch recently posted..4 ways to stand firm with your kidsMy Profile

    • 40

      NJ says

      I love meal planning. It saves us so much money. I like to meal plan on pen and paper but I know there are some pretty amazing meal planning websites out there!

  22. 41

    Rachel G says

    Aldi has been a BIG moneysaver for us ever since we started shopping there!
    Rachel G recently posted..How to Learn a LanguageMy Profile

    • 42

      NJ says

      I love Adli. It is a little bit out of my way to get to, it is about 25 minutes from my house. But the savings there make it worth the trip!

  23. 43

    Deborah says

    Couldn’t agree more …meal planning is the way to go. Also, people throw away a lot of food that might not be ready for the trash i.e. stale bread, not pretty (but still usable) produce, etc. If you learn to utilize the most of what you already have it’s a huge money saver.
    Deborah recently posted..Crawling to the Finish LineMy Profile

    • 44

      NJ says

      I frequently make soup out of the vegetables that are on their way to ugly. I think sometimes people don’t realize that if just a small portion of produce is bad, it doesn’t mean the entire thing is. You can just cut away the spoiled part and use what is still good!

    • 46

      NJ says

      Thanks Tory! We could very easily spend more each month on groceries than what our rent is if I wasn’t careful!

  24. 47

    GiselleR @ Diary of an ExSloth says

    I love these tips! I used to like right next to a low frills grocery and you’re right the savings are almost insane but I moved so I have to look a little harder for my savings. Thanks for the tips :)
    Stopping by from SITS
    GiselleR @ Diary of an ExSloth recently posted..Chocolate Banana-Nut Bread RecipeMy Profile

  25. 49

    Lauren says

    Great tips! I definitely save money when I meal plan!
    Lauren recently posted..Balloons for NicholasMy Profile

    • 50

      NJ says

      I think I save the most money when I meal plan. I’m less tempted to run for take out that way!

  26. 51

    Tamara says

    I’m such a proponent of eating high protein snacks! I swear that’s all I do every day.
    I don’t clip coupons because…the time it takes..but I do have crazy couponing friends and they save thousands of dollars. I’d love to find ways to save without resorting to the binders! Not the binders!
    Tamara recently posted..I’ve Been Looking Forward To This All Week.My Profile

    • 52

      NJ says

      I feel a lot better when I eat high protein snacks! My favorites are string cheese or almonds. I’m also pretty partial to cashew butter and celery.

      If you’re going to be an extreme couponer, I think you have to have a binder to keep yourself organized. Or, maybe you could use a recipe card box?

  27. 53

    Alison says

    These are such great tips, NJ!
    One thing we do which is a great money saver, is to buy non-perishable items in bulk, when they’re on special/ sale – such as toilet paper, diapers, wet wipes etc. It saves us from having to stock up often, and is a great way to save.
    Alison recently posted..Through The Lens Thursday #21: StreetMy Profile

    • 54

      NJ says

      Thanks Alison! That is a great tip too! We don’t have a ton of storage space, otherwise we’d bulk up when things were on sale too! I often dream of a house with a lot of closets!

  28. 55

    Sybil Brun says

    So glad I found this on Influence! Thanks for sharing, this was so very helpful and practical!

  29. 56

    Treana @ House of Bennetts says

    Thanks SO MUCH for linking up to our merry monday pinterest party! We are thrilled to have you! I post a LOT about budgeting and love this daily life kind of reminders. -Treana
    Treana @ House of Bennetts recently posted..DIY Crate Coffee TableMy Profile

  30. 57

    Sarah @ Beauty school dropout says

    NJ, I think we are kindred spirits! I actually have a draft post titled “How to Save Money at the Grocery Store when you’re too lazy to coupon” but I’ve never gotten around to writing it! This is exactly what I would have written, though. So many great points here! I keep telling myself I should shop at Aldi but it’s really inconvenient and I pretty much need a one-stop grocery place. I switched from the “fancy” grocery store to a more run of the mill one that’s slightly further from my house, and started buying generics with a vengeance, and it’s unreal how much money I’ve saved — maybe $30 a week without really changing what I’m bringing home? Worth the 5 minutes extra drive! I wish I got money back for bringing my shipping bags… I would be rolling in dough! But I get gas points at the new grocery store that saves me 10 cents a gallon, so that’s nice!
    Sarah @ Beauty school dropout recently posted..Sam at 10 monthsMy Profile

  31. 58

    Jenna @ A Savory Feast says

    Meal planning and being organized is the top way I save money! When I don’t plan ahead, I end up going to the store for every meal I make. This leads to more impulse buys so I try to avoid it as much as possible.
    Jenna @ A Savory Feast recently posted..Buffalo Chicken DipMy Profile

  32. 59

    Denise Gabbard says

    Great post– I absolutely HATE spending so much money on something that is gone so quickly…I guess it’s the whole “nothing to show for all that money” thing. I alternate between Aldi and Save-a-Lot when in Florida, and rarely stray from Aldi in Ohio…but I do hit Giant Eagle or Acme when they have Buy One Get One sales that I can’t pass up. It is funny– I have a friend who is a grocery store snob and won’t step foot in Aldi– imagine how much money she wastes every week.
    Denise Gabbard recently posted..New Blogger Opp: Kindle Fire HD GiveawayMy Profile

  33. 60

    Amy Flory - FUNNY IS FAMILY says

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