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Category: Earning & Managing Money

5 Things You Should NOT Buy at ALDI

Because so many of you loved my list of 25 best things to buy at ALDI, I decided it was time for me to put together a list of what NOT to buy at ALDI!

{Psst! Wondering why I love ALDI so much? Read this post on why I think everyone should shop at ALDI to save money!}

What NOT to buy at ALDI

5 Things You Should Never Buy at Aldi

As you well know, I think you can save a lot of money by shopping at Aldi. However, that doesn’t mean that everything at Aldi is a good deal.

One of the most popular posts on my site is my post on 25 of the best things to buy at Aldi. Today, I thought it would be fun to tell you what I think you shouldn’t buy at Aldi.

Cheerios at Aldi

a photo of Dawn at Aldi

Here’s my list of what I think you should avoid buying…

1. Name Brand Items

Don’t buy brand name items! Why? Because not only are these usually over-priced, you can’t use coupons on them to save more money.

What to buy instead: The Aldi brand/off brand counterparts for these name brand items. In most cases, you’ll save 40-60% off of what the name brand item is priced! And we’ve found that it usually works or tastes just as good! (See above photos for side by side comparisons.)

name brand items at Aldi

2. Aldi Finds

When you walk in the store and near the end of the store as you’re going to checkout, Aldi typically has what they call Aldi Finds. These are often name brand items and are typically unique or weird flavor combinations.

I don’t know exactly where they get these from, but my theory is that they were some kind of overstock or trial run at mainstream grocery stores that didn’t do well. (Anyone know?)

Not only are they usually not a great deal, but they are also probably a sort of risky purchase since they are likely a flavor or item you haven’t tried before.

What to buy instead: Stick to the Aldi brand regular deals and pass up the Aldi Finds.

Aldi special buys

3. Seasonal Items

Aldi has a big section of the store (well, big percentage-wise when you compare it to the size of the store!) devoted to Seasonal type deals. Right now, there will be a lot of summer toys and other things that would be geared toward the summer months.

While they often do have some good prices, unless you were looking for that specific item and/or saving up for it and you know this price is less than what you’d pay elsewhere, skip this section of the store.

Why? Because you’ll just end up spending money on “good deals” that you don’t need and weren’t planning to purchase in the first place. This, in turn, will negate all of the savings you are getting on groceries!

What to buy instead: Focus on purchasing the items that are already on your grocery list instead of impulse buying.

pre-packaged food at Aldi

4. Pre-Packaged Food

If you normally buy pre-packaged snacks and frozen foods, then you will save some money by buying them at Aldi. However, please don’t start buying pre-packaged foods just because you think they are “so inexpensive” at Aldi.

What to buy instead: Ingredients to make your own homemade snacks and items!

lemon juice at Aldi

5. Things You Can Get Cheaper at Dollar Tree

If you have a Dollar Tree in your area, be sure to peruse the food and household product aisles to price-check the Dollar Tree prices and sizes against the Aldi prices and sizes.

While some Aldi prices are the same or less, some items are significantly cheaper at Dollar Tree. For instance, see the lemon juice shown above? It’s regularly $2.49 at Kroger, $2.39 at Aldi, and just one dollar at Dollar Tree!

What to buy instead: Nothing! If you can get it cheaper at , don’t buy it at Aldi! 🙂

Aldi Fliers

Do you agree with my list? What do you think you shouldn’t purchase at Aldi? I’d love to hear!

Related Links:

Sign up with EF Education First to work from home as an ESL teacher!

This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy here.

Looking for unique ways to earn a part-time income from home? Apply to teach with EF Education First!

If you hold a Bachelor’s degree, you can currently  to to make money teaching kids English online from the comfort of your home!

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Psst! Looking for more opportunities like this? You can also apply with VIPKID or Qkids to teach part-time from home!

The Complete Guide on How to Use Swagbucks

Looking for an honest Swagbucks review? Want to know how to make money on Swagbucks? I’ve put together a very comprehensive guide on how Swagbucks works, how to earn free gift cards, and my top tips for earning more with .

Looking for more ways to earn free gift cards? You can earn free gift cards from Shopkick and Fetch Rewards. And here are 15 More Ways to Earn Extra Money.

I have been using Swagbucks for years, so I thought it was finally time for me to write up a really honest Swagbucks review. Plus, I wanted to give you my top tips on how to use Swagbucks!

What Is Swagbucks?

is a site that rewards you for completing tasks and doing certain actions online. When you complete a task, you’ll earn points called swagbucks (also abbreviated as SB!) that you can cash in for free gift cards.

You can earn free Amazon gift cards, Starbucks gift cards, Visa gift cards, Walmart gift cards, and dozens more! You can even earn gift cards for free hotel, travel, and airline sites.

How Do You Earn Free Gift Cards with Swagbucks?

Want to know how to make money on Swagbucks?

offers many different ways to earn points toward free gift cards or even PayPal cash!

Some of the more popular ways to earn are doing online searches, signing up for offers, printing coupons, completing special offers, and taking polls.

Does Swagbucks Really Work?

When I first heard about , I was a little leery because it sounded too good to be true. But I went ahead and tried it — and after earning multiple gift cards every month for the past eight years, I’m here to tell you in this Swagbucks review that it’s not too good to be true. Swagbucks really works!

And I’m not alone. I know dozens of friends who’ve also had great success with — earning at least a gift card or two every month and sometimes much more than that.

Here’s a Swagbucks review from one of my readers:

I have earned $325 in Amazon Gift Cards from . Last year, I bought all of my husband’s Christmas gifts, and a few gifts for the Grandparents. This year we have used it mostly for “extras” that I didn’t want to pay for, but really wanted to have (aka: my blow money). I normally earn $5-10 a month in gift cards — and I don’t have any referrals under me. I simply search on my laptop and my Android. -Andi

See more testimonials and Swagbucks reviews from my readers on how much they are earning with Swagbucks here.

How Do You Get Started Earning With Swagbucks?

Wondering how to use Swagbucks?

To get started with Swagbucks, just . It’s simple and easy to sign up and you can start earning points right away!

I encourage you to set an earnings goal each day and try to login and hit that, if possible. If you can even just put in 5 to 15 minutes each day, it can really start to add up! I loved what Megan  that she does:

I have found that watching (usually with the sound off) about 30 seconds on 10 videos on Swagbucks TV is a fast way to earn bucks… in addition to doing the daily poll, NOSO, and using the toolbar. In about 10 minutes of your day, 15 Swagbucks is pretty doable. We have a tight budget, so the 10-15 minutes a day is worth it for us. I have several little kids so I can’t commit much time or energy to it. Every little bit helps, though! This has been great for our family.  -Megan

How Much Can You Earn with Swagbucks?

You can easily earn $5 to $20 per month in Amazon gift cards without spending a lot of time.

However, if you want to earn more in a shorter time period, I highly recommend checking out Swagbucks TV — especially if you spend a lot of time working on the internet every day. You can increase your earnings significantly by watching Swagbucks TV each day while you’re working online — or through their smartphone apps.

In addition, if you have friends you know who would love to try out , be sure to pass along your referral link so that they can earn free gift cards, too.

I’ve earned over $75 this year through Swagbucks and I honestly don’t even spend three minutes a day earning points. Not too shabby! -Theresa

Do You Have To Refer People To Make Money?

If you’re curious how to make money on Swagbucks, I have great news! You can earn even without referrals!

has a great referral program: you’ll earn 10% of your referral’s lifetime earnings. Obviously, this is a fantastic way to increase your earnings — and one way that has helped me earn quite a few more Swagbucks over the years.

If you try and it works well for you, be sure to share your referral link with your friends or write a post about it on your blog. Don’t keep a good thing to yourself.

That said, you can still earn a decent amount with Swagbucks even if you have no referrals at all.

How Do You Redeem Your Swagbucks?

Once you’ve earned enough to cash in for a gift card, you just log into your account and request your gift card. You’ll have to confirm your request and then your gift card will show up in your account within a few weeks.

There are dozens of different gift cards to choose from — VISA, Amazon, Walmart, Target, Starbucks, and more! You even have the ability to trade in for straight cash via PayPal!

You can cash out quickly when you earn SB at the 300 or 500 mark ($3 and $5 gift cards, respectively). Or you can save up your SB and cash in for the biggies at the $25, $50, or $100 mark. (They even have airline and hotel gift cards!!)

Is Swagbucks Really Worth Your Time?

There are a lot of really positive Swagbucks reviews out there, but they don’t answer this very important question…Is it worth my time?

When my husband was in law school and every penny had to be carefully spent, I would have LOVED to have something like .

I was desperate for any way to make $0.50 — even if it took me 10 to 20 minutes (or longer!) to do so. At that time in my life, it was good if I were making $2-3 per hour. would have been a DREAM come true to have as an option!

I never forget those days and I know many people here are in that kind of spot in their life, so I want to provide them with solutions that might work for those who don’t have a lot of immediate options or for whom an extra $15 or $25 per month could make such a difference!

If you’re not in that season of life and don’t have extra pockets of time in your day when you can multi-task and earn SB while doing something you’d already be doing (working on the computer, cooking, cleaning, etc.), there are probably better ways to be spending your time.

However, I bet everyone has at least a little bit of extra time each day when you could easily earn at least a few SB. And it’s fun to watch them add up over time!

How to Make Money on Swagbucks

If you’re interested in getting started after reading my Swagbucks review, I wanted to give you some best tips for earning more on .

These are my top 15 best tips on how to earn Swagbucks fast…

1. Print Coupons

Did you know you can ? You’ll earn $0.01 per coupon printed (up to 50 SB per day). Allow 48 hours for these to be credited to your account.

To find the coupons, look under Discover and then Grocery Coupons. It also says that you’ll also earn 25 SB for every coupon redeemed in-store, but it takes up to 12 weeks for these to show up in your account.

2. Play Games

There are a few games that are free to play and you can easily  every day for doing so.

Look under Play on the sidebar and then choose Swagasaurus Run (scroll past the games that aren’t free to find it). You get 2 SB for every two games you play (each game takes about 30-60 seconds to play), up to 10 SB total per day.

My kids love to help earn SB by playing these games!

3. Answer Questions

You can  for every 10 multiple choice questions that you answer! There is eventually a limit to this once they’ve asked you all of the available questions, but you can do it multiple times each day to earn!

To find this offer, just click on Answer and then look over on the far right side.

Hint: This is also really important to do, because it helps fill out your survey profile so that Swagbucks is able to better fit you with available survey opportunities! I find that the more I answer these questions, the better survey opportunities I get!

4. Complete the To Do List Every Day

When you , look on the lefthand sidebar for your daily To Do list. You can click on each of the items on the list and it will take you directly to where you need to go to complete the task.

Most of these can be done in seconds and you’ll be awarded a bonus if you complete all of the tasks on your list each day.

Hint: Even if you don’t have time to do all the tasks each day, try to complete just six of the tasks, because you’ll at least get a smaller bonus!

Sarah says: “I absolutely love . The Amazon gift cards I earn from it pays for nearly all of the Christmas gifts we purchase as well as other household purchases throughout the year. I think everyone should give it a try.”

5. Check Your Swagbucks Inbox

Click on the little mailbox icon in the upper right corner and check your . Usually, there are a least a few offers in there to earn easy Swagbucks — such as to watch a video and earn 1 SB or to click on an article and earn 3 to 5 SB.

I typically just click on anything email that is a 1-5 SB offer and then click through on it. You don’t want to take much time on these, but if you can earn a few SB in less than 30 seconds or a minute, it might be worth it!

6. Play Videos in the Background While You Work

If you have a job that you can play videos in the background on your phone or computer, don’t miss this! You can also play them on your phone or computer while you’re working on other tasks at home or when you’re out and about.

Best of all, there is no limit to how many videos you can watch. You earn points when you’ve watched an entire playlist.

Tips For Earning More with Swagbucks Videos:

I would recommend making it a habit to start playing the videos at set times during the day when you don’t need your phone, but can have it near to you. I just turn off the sound and have the phone nearby me when I’m working on blog projects. You’ll want to check in on it periodically as sometimes it will stop playing or you’ll need to engage with the content or restart the videos to continue watching.

Here are two tips from my readers’ Swagbucks reviews:

Christina says: “I LOVE ! Worst month, I make about $40. Best month, $120. Pays for all of our toiletries and then some. I run nCrave videos on my desktop, and run videos on my phone and tablet. Not much else.”

Karen says:  “Make sure you have the most up to date version of the apps. If you don’t, it won’t let you earn points. I exclusively use the apps when I’m not using my phone or run them on another mobile device. It’s rare for me to not earn 50 SB a day from them.”

Do note that many of the videos are for movie trailers or other things that might not necessarily be family friendly. Also, keep in mind that playing videos will drain your phone battery, so it’s great to do this when you can have your phone plugged in.

7. Install the SwagButton on your Browser

If you have Chrome or Safari, be sure to add the SwagButton to your browser! (To download the SwagButton, look for it at the bottom of the menu on the lefthand side of your screen once you’re logged in.)

This is just a little extension you add to the top of your browser in the bookmarks/menu area, but I think it’s one of the most helpful Swagbucks tools!

I love the SwagButton, because it reminds you to on a daily basis! Not only does it automatically pop up for any site you’re shopping at to remind you to activate cash back, but it also alerts you to swag codes all day every day!

Since I work from the computer all day, I almost never miss a swag code anymore! And there’s even a place you can enter the swag code right from the SwagButton.

It also alerts you to survey opportunities that specifically fit your profile. I typically get alerted for 10-minute surveys that will earn me at least 50 SB. And I find that I almost always qualify right away and can earn the SB very quickly. For some reason, the surveys that become available to me through the SwagButton are almost always successful (compared to the ones I’ll try and try to qualify for from the “Answers” page on the actual site.)

I would miss out on SO many cash back opportunities, survey earnings, and swag codes if I didn’t have the SwagButton installed on my browser.

{Psst! is also currently offering a bonus 100 SB when you refer someone with your SwagButton referral link. Once they install the SwagButton and start using it normally within 30 days, you’ll receive a bonus 100 SB. This is on top of all your regular referral earnings!}

8. Book Your Travel Through Swagbucks

Do you purchase airline tickets or book hotels online? If so, you’ll want to check to see if you can !

They offer great cash back offers for many travel sites. And typically, when you book travel, it’s going to be at least a few hundred dollars — which means that your cash back can add up very quickly!

To book your travel, just go to the Shop section on the lefthand sidebar and then click on Travel. Click through on whatever travel site you are planning to purchase your tickets or book your hotel through.

Since it takes a little while for Swagbucks to verify things, allow a week for your purchase to show up as pending in your account.

9. Refer Your Friends

Have any friends who might be interested in ? If you encourage them to sign up with your referral code, you’ll earn 10% of their earnings — for life! So as long as they are earning Swagbucks, you’re earning Swagbucks!

Plus, they oftentimes run bonus offers where you can get an additional SB bonus when they first sign up and earn SB.

So if you find that you really love Swagbucks, be sure to share your Swagbucks review with friends to earn even more!

{For example, right now they’re offering an extra 300 SB if your friend signs up and earns 300 SB in the first month! They’re also offering the bonus 100 SB mentioned above if you refer someone to install the swag button in their browser — and that’s on top of all the extra referral earnings!!}

10. Download the Swagbucks Answers App

Qualifying for Gold Surveys on can be a little frustrating at times, but I do try to earn 50-100 swagbucks from Gold Surveys each day. If you qualify for one, it’s such an easy way to quickly earn 50-100 swagbucks!

This is where the Swagbucks Answers app really helps out. It can sometimes be frustrating or boring to take Gold Surveys on my computer, but I don’t mind taking surveys through the app when I have down time on the go!

I try to for at least one Gold Survey through the app each day — whether it’s when I’m waiting for something to finish cooking, watching a tv show, sitting in the passenger’s seat of a car while someone else is driving, or waiting at an appointment or in the carpool line! I can usually find a small pocket of time to qualify and earn for a Gold Survey.

Hint: I go for the surveys that take less than 15 minutes and give me at least 50 SB — that way it’s definitely worth my time and it doesn’t take too long!

11. Submit Your Grocery Receipts

Another great perk of the Answer App is that you can submit your grocery receipts to earn 2 SB!

Any time you have a grocery receipt from purchasing groceries, household, or personal care items, just snap a photo of your receipt and submit it right in the app! You’ll earn 2 SB per receipt, and it’s SO easy to do!

I’ve gotten into the habit of saving all my receipts and being sure to submit them in the app. It’s a super quick way to earn a few extra SB each week.

12. Try to Hit Your Daily Goals Each Day

This is one of the biggest secrets to ! At the top of your screen when you’re logged in, you’ll see a “daily goal” area. Each day, you have a daily goal to hit. If you hit that goal, you’ll get BONUS swagbucks!

And once you hit the first goal, you have a chance to hit a second bonus goal — giving you even more . At the end of each month, you’ll confirm your monthly bonus and be awarded for all of the daily goals you hit that month!

I typically aim to hit the second goal each day, which gives me anywhere between 5-8 extra swagbucks per day. That equates to about 150-240 bonus swagbucks per month!

On top of that, you can get winning streak bonuses for meeting your daily goals multiple days in a row:

  • 7 days in a row — bonus 25 SB.
  • 14 days in a row — bonus 100 SB.
  • 21 days in a row — bonus 200 SB.
  • 31 days in a row — bonus 300 SB.

This is such a great way to earn fast!

13. Play SWAGO Each Month

This may not be something you see often in Swagbucks reviews, but it’s one of my favorite tips!

If you haven’t been playing SWAGO, you’re missing out on a BIG earning opportunity with !

SWAGO is sort of like BINGO with swagbucks activities. Each square has a certain activity you have to do in order to earn swagbucks.

You get to choose which pattern to go for and submit your board for bonus SB!

SWAGO typically occurs once (sometimes twice) per month. I just submitted my SWAGO board for May and earned a bonus 165 swagbucks. And I didn’t do anything very differently than normal. I just made sure I did all of the activities I needed to do in order to submit my board. Score!!


14. Sign Up for Trial Offers Through Swagbucks

Have you been wanting to try meal delivery boxes, Hulu, BarkBox, Graze, or other subscription-based services?

If so, be sure to double check if rewards you for your first trial offer! You can often earn BIG swagbucks for signing up for your trial through Swagbucks.

For example, right now you can earn 4000 swagbucks on your first HelloFresh box, 3500 swagbucks on your first Schwan’s delivery, 2000 swagbucks on your first HomeChef box, 500 SB on your first IntaCart purchase, 1000 swagbucks when you sign up for Hulu, 4000 swagbucks when you try BarkBox, and tons more!

While I don’t recommend just signing up for these offers to earn swagbucks, it’s definitely worth activating the offer through if you’re already planning on trying these services in the first place.

Hint: If you have the SwagButton installed, it will alert you when free trial offers like this exist!

15. Join the

Looking for more tips beyond what I mention in this Swagbucks review?

Karen submitted this tip and she said, “There is a Facebook group called  that is awesome! Be sure and read the pinned post at the top-it is full of tips and hints. Members also post new deals that worked and things to look for.”

I hope this Swagbucks review was helpful! What other tips or advice do you have for earning more Swagbucks? Tell us in the comments so we can help each other out! And I’d love to hear your own personal experiences and Swagbucks review if you have one to share.

Related Links:

This Week’s $70 Budget (+ our menu plan)

I’m currently challenging myself to stick with a $70 budget for our family of five. This includes almost all of our breakfasts, lunches, snacks, and dinners + most household products (toiletries, laundry soap, etc.).

For live updates, be sure to . See all posts on my $70 Grocery Budget here.

Note: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links and we will be compensated if you click through and sign up. Read our .

I was $0.99 over-budget this week… however, since I’ve been under-budget the past few weeks, I’m good with it! 😉

This Week's $70 Grocery Budget

I went to two different Kroger stores on Tuesday morning while I was dropping the kids off at school.

Kroger Shopping Trip #1:

  • Chocolate Milk — marked down to $1.49
  • Carrots — $0.99
  • Breakfast Sausage Links — marked down to $1.79
  • 3 packages of breakfast sausage — marked down to $1.79 each
  • Total with tax: $10.24

This Week's $70 Grocery Budget

This Week's $70 Grocery Budget

This Week's $70 Grocery Budget

Kroger Shopping Trip #2:

  • Kroger Half & Half — $1.79
  • 3 boxes of Shrimp Potstickers — marked down to $1.49 each
  • 2 packages of King’s Hawaiian Hot Dog Buns — marked down to $1.79 each
  • 2 bars of Lindt chocolate — $0.99 each
  • 1 box of Matzo Ball soup — marked down to $0.50 each
  • 1 box of Stuffed Clams — marked down to $2.99
  • 2 packages of salmon — marked down to $1.99 each
  • Hunt’s Tomato Sauce — marked down to $0.25
  • Hormel Chili — marked down to $0.49
  • Mint — marked down to $0.25
  • Simple Truth Eggs — $2.99
  • Diced Ham — $1.59
  • Dove PB Eggs — $0.09
  • 2 packages of Bran Muffin Mix — marked down to $0.25 each
  • 2 Salad Kits — marked down to $1.99 each
  • 1 bag of apples — marked down to $0.99
  • 2 boxes of Kroger cereal — $1.49 each
  • Kroger baking mix — marked down to $0.79
  • Barlean’s Forti-Flax — marked down to $1.50
  • Lemon juice — $2.49
  • Milk — $2.69
  • Total with tax: $43.59

This Week's $70 Grocery Budget

I was excited to get this printout offer to take a survey and get $5 off my next shopping order. I wrote more about it here.

grocery shopping trip

We invited friends over for dinner on Saturday, so Jesse ran to the store on Friday to pick up a few things we needed for that.

Kroger Shopping Trip #3:

  • 2 bunches of Lettuce — $1.79
  • Ragu Pasta Sauce — $1.50
  • Kroger Butter — $3.19
  • Breyer’s Ice Cream — $3.99
  • Cottage Cheese — $3.89
  • Total with tax: $17.16

What We Ate This Past Week

Note: When you see the meals below, please remember this: I buy ahead often. Which means that when I find a great deal on something I know we’ll use, I buy as much as I can afford in our budget to have on hand.

This means that you aren’t going to see all of the groceries my shopping trip that I used to make all of the meals we ate.

Please also remember that I’m putting this out there and it’s not a perfectly balanced menu. This is just really what we ate — and I hope that it encourages you to see the real-ness and lack of perfection here.

Our Menu Plan


  • Cereal, Oatmeal, Scrambled Eggs


  • Peanut Butter & Jelly Sandwiches, Carrots, Oranges, Salads, Leftovers, Cookies


  • Fruit, Cookies, Popcorn, Ice Cream, Crackers & Cheese, Carrots & Hummus


  • Sunday — Fend for yourself
  • Monday — Dinner at TopGolf for Silas’ birthday
  • Tuesday — Meatballs, Twice Baked Potatoes, Fruit
  • Wednesday — Leftover Meatballs, Potstickers, Fruit
  • Thursday — Homemade Pizza, Sweet Potato Fries, Fruit
  • Friday — Kaitlynn went out to dinner with her class for school formal, Jesse and I met friends for Panera, and Silas and Kathrynne had hot dogs
  • Saturday — We had friends over for dinner and we made Ziti, Peas, Homemade Rolls, Salad, Apple Crisp/Ice Cream.

Grocery Budget Totals

Total spent on groceries: $70.99

Cashback earned this week: 350 points for submitting my receipts to Fetch rewards + $0.45 for submitting my receipt to iBotta rewards.

25 Ways to Save Money on Groceries

Wishing you could figure out how to save money on groceries? In this post, I share 25 simple ways you can lower your grocery bill — starting today!

Looking for more ways to save money on groceries? Check out my $70 Grocery Trip posts, How I Cut $80 Off Our Grocery Bill, and How We Lowered Our Grocery Bill By 60%.

how to save money on groceries

1. Plan a menu.

Want to save even more? Plan your menu based upon what you already have on hand and what’s on sale at the store.

Need help: Read my post on How to Plan a Menu.

2. Have a budget.

Need a ballpark figure for starting out? I recommend shooting for $20 to $30 per person per week. Then, work on slowly lowering that by 1-3% every month.

Tip: Use a calculator to keep tabs on how much you are spending as you add things to your cart at the store.

3. Use less meat.

View meat more as a condiment then as the main thing for your meal. To further your savings, try adding lentils to ground beef or beans and onions and tomatoes to taco meat.

Need more inspiration? Check out my post on How to Eat Less Meat.

how to save money on groceries

4. Shop the loss leaders.

These are the weekly specials — usually advertised on the front page of your store flyer — that are such great prices your store is taking a loss for you to buy them.

They are banking on the fact that you’ll come in to get these great deals and then buy a lot of others things, too. But hey, no one says you have to load up your cart with a bunch of other over-priced items!

5. Shop at more than one store.

Scout out all of the stores in your area and see which ones routinely have the best prices. Also, pay attention to weekly sales and specials at a few local stores. Plan your shopping trips based upon which store has the best deals that week.

Skeptical as to how this works? Check out my post on How to Shop at More Than One Store.

6. Use cash.

It’s a fact of life: If you only bring cash to the grocery story from your allotted grocery budget, you can’t go over budget! 🙂 Don’t knock this until you’ve tried it. It’s a surefire way to help you stay on track with your budget.

Need help getting started? Read my post on How to Shop With Cash Only.

7. Print or download some coupons.

Before shopping, take a few minutes to check out the Coupon Database for printable coupons or your store’s online coupons (if they offer them) to see if there are any coupons for items you are already planning to buy.

how to save money on groceries
8. Look for markdowns.

If your store offers markdowns, keep on the alert for these when shopping.

When you find a great deal, see if you have enough money in your budget to buy it. Consider swapping out something on your list for this item. (For instance, if you were planning to buy cereal and you find a great deal on boxed oatmeal that is less expensive, buy that instead.)

Need more tips? Check out my post on How to Find Markdowns at Kroger.

9. Eat from the pantry.

Occasionally challenge yourself to see how long you can go without going to the store. It’s amazing how creative you can get — especially if you view it like a fun game!

Want more inspiration? Read my post on How to Eat From the Pantry.

10. Use your freezer.

If you have a deep freeze, make sure you are using it by buying items when they are on their lowest prices and freezing them. Don’t have a deep freeze? Make use of every nook and cranny of what little freezer space you have!

Need tips for using your freezer? Here’s my post on How to Become Best Friends With Your Freezer!

11. Buy ahead.

Most items routinely go on sale every 12 weeks at the grocery store. My goal is to never pay full price for any item. Instead, I try to stock up when it is on the lowest price. I aim to buy enough to tide me over until the next sale.

Find some of my best tips here for practicing the Buy Ahead Principle.

how to save money on groceries

12. Plan your menu based upon what you already have on hand.

The more you buy ahead when items are on sale (see #11), the less you’ll spend on groceries. Plus, the more you’ll be able to plan a menu based upon what you already have on hand.

Before making a grocery list, always look through your refrigerator, freezer, and cupboard to see what you already have. Do you really need to go to the store or can you make do with what you have?

13. Use Swagbucks to buy groceries.

Get into the habit of turning on the Swagbucks videos or doing some things on the Swagbucks site every day. You can do this while you’re relaxing and watching a show at night. Or while you’re waiting for your coffee to brew in the morning.

By making Swagbucks a simple part of your day, you can pretty easily earn up to $25 in Amazon gift cards each month. Use these gift cards toward grocery items that are on sale on Amazon to save more.

14. Have a leftovers night.

Once a week, have a Clean Out the Fridge Night for dinner. Pull out all the odds and ends and serve a leftover Buffet. This can be a fun — and unique — dinner. Plus, it encourages people to use what you already have!

Bonus tip: Having a leftovers night once a week means you don’t have to cook dinner one night each week!

how to save on groceries

15. Don’t be a brand “snob”.

Buy the store brand or off brand whenever possible. (The only exception I make to this rule is when I can get the name brand marked down or on a great sale. If it’s cheaper to buy the name brand, you better believe I’ll buy it!)

Tip: I have more tips here on why you should stop being a brand snob.

16. Drink more water.

Buying fewer soft drinks and other beverages can significantly reduce your grocery bill over the course of a year. Plus, water is just plain better for you!

17. Make your own snacks.

Challenge yourself to find simple homemade snack ideas that are frugal and your family will enjoy. You can find some of our favorite snack items here.

(Bonus tip: I keep a snack stash of items that I find on great deals and just bring out a few things from this stash each week. This way, there are always

18. Sign up for cashback apps.

Download the iBotta, Fetch, and Shopkick apps. See if you can earn kicks from Shopkick when you go to the grocery store. Then, scan your receipt on Fetch after shopping to earn a little cashback. Finally, check to see if you purchased anything that qualifies for cash back from iBotta.

how to save money on groceries

19. Have a meatless meal once a week.

Meatless doesn’t have to mean bland and tasteless! Some of our favorite meatless meals are lasagna casserole (we leave out the ground beef) and pancakes and eggs.

20. Buy whatever produce is on sale or marked down.

We typically only buy produce if it’s on sale or marked down. Yes, it means we usually only have 2-3 different veggies and 2-3 different fruits that week (unless I found lots of different sales/markdowns), but because the sales change each week, we eat lots of different veggies and fruits over the course of a few months.

I aim to pay no more than $0.99 per pound for fruit and can usually always find at least 1-2 fruits that are that inexpensive (well, bananas which are always cheaper than $0.99/lb!)

21. Find a blogger covering deals at your local store.

Don’t spend hours looking for deals if there is already a blogger doing all of the legwork for you! Search for your local city/town + “coupon matchups” or “deal blogger”.

If that doesn’t pull anything up, try searching for the towns around you. For those of you who live in a very small town, you might not find anything. However, if you live in a decent-sized town, there’s a good chance you’ll find someone — maybe even multiple bloggers!

If you still can’t find anything, then search your store’s name and “coupon match-ups” or “deal blogger”.

how to save money on groceries

22. Don’t shop on an empty stomach.

This is a very basic tip, but it is one that is often overlooked. If you go into a store when you are really hungry, you’re going to have a lot less willpower and self control. And thus, you’ll likely spend more money and struggle to pass up impulse purchases.

23. Stick to simple meals with inexpensive ingredients.

When you’re planning your menu, think about how much your recipes will cost you to make.

It doesn’t have to be a scientific to-the-penny figure, but just having a good idea that there is a $10 difference between the price of making one meal as opposed to another meal can help you decide whether you can afford to make something or perhaps should save it for a special occasion.

24. Shop at Dollar Tree.

Very few people think of buying grocery items at Dollar Tree. It can be a goldmine of great deals on groceries, though.

Please note: Not every deal at Dollar Tree is a good deal. However, many things — like lemon juice, brown rice, apple cider vinegar, bread, beans, and much more — can be a lot less than what you’d pay at the grocery store.

25. Don’t buy pre-packaged, unless it’s on a great sale!

Look for ways to cut down on pre-packaged purchases. In most cases, these are quite a bit pricier and not as healthful. The only time I will buy pre-packaged is if there’s a great rockbottom price (such as a markdown or a sale paired with a coupon).

What tips for saving on groceries would you add to my list? Tell us in the comments.

For More Ways to Save Money on Groceries:

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