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If you’ve read my blog for any amount of time, you have probably heard me mention once or twice that I’m a frugal shopper and am always looking for ways to save money on groceries while also prioritizing buying healthy foods. I didn’t grow up as a healthy eater, but I did live in a household that didn’t have much money for groceries, and I watched my mom pinch pennies regularly at the supermarket.
It’s not always easy to be frugal when you love grocery shopping like I do either; I’m not going to lie, but I do the best I can and make choices in my lifestyle (and at the store) so that I can eat well while also doing it in an affordable way. Eating a plant-based diet can actually be incredibly affordable especially if you stick to the basics, but I also like to buy organic foods whenever I can and try new healthy foods whenever I can. Plus, I’m a food blogger and love food so I tend to overdo it sometimes or need more ingredients for recipes than I would otherwise.
Since I’m always trying to do more whenever I can to save money, I thought, why not share some of the top things I’ve incorporated the last year or two that have helped me the most when it comes to saving money each week. I’m not talking about clipping coupons either; while I do that occasionally for things I regularly buy, I don’t always remember to cut them out before I go to the store and sometimes, it’s not even worth wasting my printer ink for. No, I’m talking about simple, effective, seamless things you can do to save more money that I use each week, which is what this post is all about.
So, let’s get started, shall we? 🙂
1. Don’t Just Make a List: Set a Budget and Know Your Prices
Probably the best tip I can give anyone is to start paying attention to the prices of the products, brands, and the items you buy at the store instead of just making a list. Know your prices and try to remember them so you know if Store XYZ has them cheaper than other stores. If you can’t remember all the different prices of items you always buy, start writing them down in a notebook you keep in your purse or put in a notes app on your phone; you’d be shocked how much prices can differ.
I actually have a really good memory on things like this, so I know which stores sell my almond milk cheaper and which ones have fruits and veggies at lower prices, even if just by a little bit. So before I go to the store, I set a budget and know where I need to shop based on the items I need that week. I’ve saved money just by knowing where to buy my food, how much those items will cost, and being mindful of that by making choices accordingly. Then, it’s just an extra bonus if the items I need are on sale! 🙂
2. Speaking of Sales, Keep Track of Them
If I see my favorite products are on sale during the week at my local stores, such as almond milk or my favorite fruit, I’ll stock up on a few extras of each item to get a good deal. I don’t go crazy, but if I can save $10 the next week by being smart this week and getting extra items for a lower price, I’ll do it in a jiffy.
On that same note, I don’t have a large place to keep a stockpile, so I’m not talking about buying loads of one item. Just buy several extras to get you ahead of the game a little, so that when the item goes back up to its regular price, later on, you don’t have to buy it for a little bit longer. This is a great way to save money occasionally without much time or thought needed.
3. Use a Rebates App, Such as Hopster Mobile Rebates
There are lots of rebates apps you can download on your smartphone that will give you cash back on tons of products you already buy and love. However, most of them require you to shop at certain stores for certain products and most of them require you to acquire a certain amount of dollars before you can cash out.
That’s why I love to use Hopster Mobile Rebates! This easy, awesome app is fabulous! Hopster regularly features everyday items you already buy and love along with specific brands of products and items for all sorts of things found at stores near you, including grocery and beauty products, appliances, pet supplies, and more. There are always new products you can try, too. You can clip what savings you want to use that week that are available on the Hopster app, just like you would clip a coupon but on your smartphone. Then, you go shopping as you normally would and simply scan your receipt into Hopster where it gives you cash back through PayPal with NO minimum payout!
This week I went shopping for some everyday staples and saw that there were a few Hopster rebates I wanted to use: any brand of milk (for me, that’s almond milk), and bananas (yay—a rebate for produce!). I also found a coupon for some natural mouthwash I love, so I clipped that too! After I clipped those savings, I bought the items, uploaded my receipt to the app, and then got cash back in less than 48 hours. I basically got paid to shop for items I would have bought anyway. Yes, please, and thank you!
While the amount of a rebate per item might be small, it’s completely free, easy, and takes less than 2 minutes of my time. Not to mention, there’s no printing anything so it also wastes less paper and takes less time than clipping coupons. Plus, those little savings week to week really adds up; I made $20 in no time. That’s what saving money is all about: being aware and taking action. Simple as that!
Want to try Hopster out for yourself? Here’s how:
First, download the app.
Then, start saving with Hopster with these easy steps:
1. Choose your rebates from a large selection of brands.
2. Shop at your favorite store (any store will do!).
3. Take a picture of your receipt showing the items you purchased.
4. Rebates will be redeemed and the cash credited to your PayPal account as soon as the redemption is validated. No need to wait to reach a certain number or value of redeemed offers.
I highly recommend trying out Hopster, you’ll love it and it’s so easy to use and I love to see all the different offers featured week to week.
4. Keep it Simple
Another tip I can give you that has worked well for me is to keep it simple. Keep your menus simple each week, keep the foods you buy simple, and keep the way you prepare those foods simple.
I know myself well enough to know that I’m not a gourmet chef or have any desire to be, so I don’t buy fancy ingredients or foods I know I won’t eat. I buy basic staples that I know will get eaten and won’t go to waste or that I can freeze. This helps prevent me from throwing food away (something I never do) or buying things I don’t need or that I will likely never use.
5. Buy Real Food Over Processed Foods
While ramen noodles might be cheap, they aren’t going to get you very far or keep you healthy. So stick to real, basic healthy foods that will nourish you and your budget. Fruits, veggies, whole grains like oatmeal and brown rice, and items like lentils, beans, peas, and even chia seeds are all highly affordable and so nutritious.
Simple plant based foods can be turned into soups, stews, smoothies, porridge, grain and veggie bowls, and so many other ways. I try to limit the most processed foods in my diet to items like almond milk or similar options, instead of buying most all of my foods in a box or package. This is a simple rule that can save you money over time, because real foods last longer per portion, most of the time, and tend to satisfy our appetites longer too, due to the fiber and nutrients that plant foods have. Plus, if you can get a rebate for these items, I say, why not? 🙂
I have many more tips that have helped me save money over the years, but these are definitely some of the best I can give you so I hope you find them helpful.
If you have a tip to share that has helped you, leave me a comment and let me know. Also, don’t forget to check out the Hopster app if you don’t have it already, you’ll love it!