Guest Post by Jason Feller
We’ve all been there … we realize we need to make a trip to the grocery store, but we haven’t had a chance to prepare and get our coupons ready. This doesn’t have to be a nightmare, though.
There are other ways you can use to save on groceries without using coupons. Check out five easy methods to frugally shop at the supermarket that require no planning.
Sign Up for the Store’s Reward Program
With the notable exception of Trader Joe’s, most grocery store chains have rewards programs to encourage customer loyalty. These programs typically provide noteworthy price breaks for a significant percentage of the store’s products.
Some stores even have mobile apps that you can link with your rewards program account to get on-demand coupons while already in the store. The best part about these rewards programs? They are super easy to sign up for and are almost always free.
Shop the Expiring Soon Products
One of the oldest tricks in the book when grocery shopping is to keep an eye out for heavily discounted products that are expiring soon. Some grocery stores have a separate section hidden in the back somewhere with these items and others mix them in on the shelves with everything else.
The vast majority of stores do provide massive price cuts for these expiring products, however, so no matter where you have to look to find them, it’s worth the hassle for the amount of money you’ll save.
Buy in Bulk
When in doubt, buy bulk sizes. It’s no secret that grocery stores offer better prices for bulk packages. It doesn’t matter whether it’s meat, produce, packaged foods or household items … just about everything is cheaper in bulk.
The only exception to this is if you already have coupons in place for a major shopping trip you plan to take soon. In that case, you’re better off biting the bullet and spending more on the few items you need right now, and then returning with your coupons.
Purchase the Store Brand
Unless you have a strong affinity for a particular brand name, you are better off buying a store brand – especially if you don’t have any coupons handy. Store brands are often cheaper than the name brands and sometimes significantly so.
In the past, there were some concerns about the quality of store brands, but in recent years store brands have improved enough that research shows they aren’t much of a step down from the brand names and sometimes are even superior.
Search for Hang Tags, Tear Pads and Peelies
Hang tags, tear pads and peelies are a shopper’s best friend. A hang tag is a coupon that dangles from the top of a product. They are usually placed on bottles (water, soda, mouthwash etc.). Tear pads are little coupon booklets that stores attach to the shelf. Peelies are coupon stickers that are placed right on the product. Scour the store for these as they are just as good as coupons.
By using these five strategies you’re guaranteed to save at the grocery store no matter the situation. So fear not frugal shoppers, there’s no need to panic or fret during your next impromptu supermarket shopping trip.
Jason Feller is an established writer who has previously worked for The Washington Post, NFL.com and Yahoo! He now focuses on writing quality content designed to help people save money, find deals and use coupons for Dealspotr.com