The best ways to save on groceries in 2018
Consumers have noticed over recent years that fewer and fewer newspaper coupons are for food. In their 2017 findings, Kantar Media confirmed this with stats, stating that of the 274 billion coupons distributed via newspaper inserts, 72 percent of them were for non-food goods. Non-food goods include things such as household consumables like laundry detergent and health and beauty items like toothpaste and body wash. The lack of food coupons is such a source of frustration for families that many have abandoned couponing altogether. But I’m here to encourage you to come back to using them this year with some of the best ways to save on groceries in 2018.
I have to start with a bit of tough love here. There are so many sources for coupons today that if you’re not saving money, it’s only because you’re not taking the time to use what is out there and use them well. Let me explain…
Even though non-food coupons dominate the number of available coupons, the average face value of both non-food and food newspaper coupons increased in 2017. So even if you struggle to find coupons for all the food items on your grocery list, you should be getting all the savings you can to offset other items. That’s what will keep your grocery bill low. And what will keep your grocery bill even lower is to stock up when you can match a good coupon with a good sale. When you have plenty of products on-hand that you can find coupons for, you don’t need to buy them again for a long time – freeing up money for things like weekly fresh consumables.
Now that I’ve reminded you to stock up, it’s time to talk nuts and bolts. Where and how do you save?
First, nearly all major store chains have gone digital with coupons. You should be using your store’s “click to clip” or “digital coupon” apps, loyalty cards, and points programs. These are some of the easiest ways to save.
Next, make sure you’re not missing additional savings from printable coupons and newspaper inserts. You should be using Swagbucks.com to “double-dip” the savings of grocery coupons. You’ll not only save at the store when you use coupons, you’ll earn Swagbucks that accumulate afterward.
Then, you need to shake up where you shop. Going to one “big store” might be easier but it definitely isn’t the way to save money. Learn where you can save more money and develop a “go to” place for each thing you regularly buy. You’ll find your best savings are a combination of traditional grocers (like Meijer or Publix) where you use coupons, discount grocers (like Aldi) where a good selection of groceries are already less expensive, and additional stores you wouldn’t normally think of when preparing to grocery shop.
For example, did you know that CVS pharmacy can actually be a great place to buy things like milk and cereal? They often offer Extra Care Bucks on such items, plus put them on sale AND you can use manufacturer’s coupons. As a bonus, if you’re only making a quick milk stop, a place like CVS isn’t likely to trigger as many impulse buys.
In fact, that’s another reason you may even find that ordering some grocery items online saves you money. Not physically walking through a store almost completely eliminates the temptation of impulse buys.
By “cherry-picking” the best deals, using coupons, and shaking up where you shop, you’ll save on your groceries in 2018, I guarantee it! And even though food coupons can be harder to come by, they are out there. Speaking of which, I do want to end with a warning…
Because newspaper inserts are very non-food coupon heavy these days, it can be tempting to turn to buying coupons off the internet to get your hands on more savings. But let me tell you straight out: Don’t do it. Even though it’s still hotly debated in some circles as to whether or not buying and selling coupons is technically “illegal”, wording changes and litigation are squarely landing in the “Yes, it is” category.
Personally, I’ve always been against the buying and selling of coupons. Not only do I believe it is illegal, you’re likely purchasing stolen property or coupons obtained by circumventing coupon printing software. In other words, you could be supporting the very criminal activity that has prompted multiple arrests and lawsuits in the past few years. Just think about it, why would anyone take the time to make a business “selling” coupons… or, as they claim, “selling not the coupons but being paid for their time” – if they didn’t have dozens and dozens of copies to sell? And how did they get so many to sell? Not by following the rules, I assure you.