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Looking for ways to cut your grocery bill? Don’t worry: It’s way easier than collecting binders of coupons and buying a bulk pack of 300 toilet paper rolls.
In this list, you’ll find some simple (and surprising!) ways to maximize your grocery budget. Here are nine things you’re probably not doing…
1. Shop With a Calculator
One of the easiest ways to keep your grocery spending in check is to bring a calculator with you (or use your phone).
Before you step foot in the store, set a limit for how much you plan to spend, then hold yourself accountable by adding up each item you toss in the cart. Sure, it sounds simple (and it is), but you’ll be surprised how much easier it is to stick to your budget.
2. Turn Your Receipts Into Free Visa Prepaid Cards
What do you usually do with your grocery receipts? You check out, the cashier hands you a mile-long piece of paper, and you stuff it in the bottom of a grocery bag. Pretty worthless.
But a free app called Fetch Rewards will turn your receipts into free Visa prepaid cards. All you have to do is send Fetch a photo of your receipt, and it does everything for you. No scanning barcodes or searching for offers. It’s perfect for those of us who don’t want to put a ton of work into this.
Better yet, when you download the app, use the code PENNY to get a bonus toward your first gift card.
3. Pocket an Extra $225 to Take With You
What if we told you that, before you head to the grocery store, you could get paid to watch cooking videos on your computer? We’re serious. A website called InboxDollars will pay you to watch short video clips online.
All you have to do is choose which videos you want to watch and answer a few quick questions about them afterward. Brands pay InboxDollars to get these videos in front of viewers, and it passes a cut onto you. It’s possible to earn up to $225 per month watching these videos — that could make a serious dent in your grocery bill.
It takes about a minute to sign up, and you’ll immediately earn a $5 bonus to get you started.
4. Take Advantage of Free Food
Give Betty Crocker your email address, and it’ll send you up to $250 worth of coupons that can help you get deeply discounted or free canned goods, cereal and yogurt. In addition to coupons, Betty Crocker’s free email delivers the best of Betty’s 15,000 kitchen-tested recipes, how-tos and more — straight to your inbox!
5. Get Cash Bonuses When You Grocery Shop Online
If you have a massive shopping list, the supermarket is always overwhelming. Next thing you know, you’re lugging out hundreds of pounds of groceries — or at least that’s what it feels like. Make life easier for yourself (and your arms) by buying your pantry and dry goods online — and earn cash bonuses along the way.
A free website called Rakuten has connections with more than 2,500 stores, which means it’ll give you a cash kickback when you shop at one. When we checked, we found cash-back deals at Amazon, Safeway, Sam’s Club, Boxed and Walmart.
It takes less than 60 seconds to create a Rakuten account. All you need is an email address. Plus, if you use Rakuten to earn money back within the first 90 days of signing up, it’ll give you an extra $10 bonus.
6. Have Your Groceries Delivered for Free
An app called Shipt will pay you up to $22 an hour for going to the store to pick up and deliver someone else’s groceries. Even better? All Shipt shoppers get a free membership (normally $99 a year).
Yep! Not only can you make hundreds of dollars a week on your own time, you can also sit back and let someone else bring you your own groceries — for free (not to mention all the money you’ll save avoiding in-store temptations).
Just sign up online; the application is pretty simple. Once you’re approved, pick which jobs you want to take, and Shipt will send you a prepaid card to buy the groceries and deliver them to customers.
Then put your feet up and place your own order.
7. Check Unit Prices
Guess what? Bigger isn’t always better, especially when it comes to grocery shopping.
We’ve been trained to think anything bulk is cheaper, but the truth is, that’s not always the case. Instead of always reaching for the biggest, bulkiest option, do a unit-price comparison. The unit price is often located on the price tag affixed to the shelf below the product, with phrasing like “$0.59 per ounce.”
You might find that the smaller item is a better buy (and easier to store), especially if it’s on sale.
8. Get a Free $150 With This Card
If you’re not using a rewards credit card for everyday purchases, you’re missing out on free money. You just have to be sure you don’t get too carried away with those purchases — and that the card is paid off at the end of each billing period.
Here’s an option we like: The Chase Freedom card. Its claim to fame? You’ll earn an unlimited 1% cash back on all your purchases. Plus, if you spend $500 in your first three months of opening the card (hi, groceries), you’ll pocket a $150 bonus.*
The card also offers 5% cash-back on select rotating categories. For example, in one quarter, you can earn 5% cash back on gas. The next quarter? Groceries.
There’s no annual fee, and the cash-back rewards don’t expire.
9. Collect Gift Cards When You Walk Into a Store
Sometimes, to get the most out of your Walmart bargain-shopping trip, all you need to do is walk in the door. That’s right — no purchase necessary.
The Shopkick app pays you in “kicks” for walking into Walmart and other participating stores (including Target, CVS and Publix). You can redeem kicks for gift cards to a number of retailers, including Amazon, Target, Walmart and Starbucks.
It pays you even more kicks for photos of your receipts that include qualifying items you purchased in store with a connected credit or debit card. You can also earn kicks for online purchases.
It only takes a few minutes to download the app and start collecting kicks.
*The information for the Chase Freedom card has been collected independently by our advertising partner,The Penny Hoarder. Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer. The Penny Hoarder is a partner of Credible.