One of our major expenses month after month is food!
It's usually my third largest expense, right behind housing and transportation. If you have a family, it is an even larger portion of your expenses.
That's why it's so important to save money on food whenever and wherever you can.
Outlined in this post are a number of ways to save on food, all of which are fairly easy to implement. Utilize them all to save another 10%-20% on your average food costs!
Cash Back / Rebate Grocery Apps
Cash back rebate apps can be a solid way to save money on groceries. There are a number of free apps that offer a variety of cash back rebates on all kinds of items.
You browse the offers, select the ones you want, and after you go shopping you upload your receipt and get the cash back.
In my opinion Ibotta has better deals and a larger variety of rebates, however you can find some pretty good rebates on Checkout 51 from time to time too. It’s worth downloading both and seeing if you can use both to maximize your savings.
Check out this post to learn how to use Ibotta most efficiently. Learn how to use these apps correctly so you don't end up wasting a lot of time.
Aside from having to manually select your own rebates, some apps allow you to just take pictures of your receipts and they will send you gift cards or sometimes send cash straight to your pay pal! They use the receipts for market research and that is how they are able to pay you for them.
Popular apps for this are Fetch and Receipt Hog. Fetch is my favorite just because it is so simple and quick. They make it so easy there's really no excuse not to use them. It's just free money. Unfortunately Receipt Hog currently has a waiting list to join.
If you know how to use these apps correctly, you can end up saving a decent amount of money without having to spend too much time!
Cash Back Rewards Cards
If you want to save on groceries and food, you need a great rewards card. You can save a huge amount of money just by putting all of your food costs on credit cards that offer high cash back rewards in these areas. Below are some great cards to consider:
Blue Cash Preferred Card by American Express - This card is a cash back dream. 6% on groceries, 6% on streaming services, 3% on transit and gas, and 1% cash back on everything else. Talk about savings.
American Express Gold Card - 4 membership rewards points per dollar spent on groceries and dining. These can be redeemed on things such as travel, gift cards, statement credit, etc. Yet again another great option by American Express to save on food.
Capital One Savor Card - 4% cash back on dining and entertainment, 2% cash back on groceries, and 1% on nearly everything else. This is the card that I use and I love it.
One thing to mention is that some of these cards have annual fees. Generally they waive the fee the first year, and it's something like $100 per year after that. Don't worry though, the cash back earned throughout the year easily covers the fee in most cases.
There are also great cards for specific stores such as Target and Costco. Normally these are around 5% cash back. If you do most of your grocery shopping at one of these stores it might make sense to go this route.
Great rewards cards can be an easy way to permanently cut your food costs by 2%-6%! Just be sure to pay off your balance when it's due.
This coupled with your rebate and cash back apps can really add up to some big savings on food!
Cut Down on Eating Out
Even if you have a cash back card for dining, eating out can get expensive. One major way to save money is to avoid eating out. Bringing lunch to work instead of eating out will definitely be cheaper, and likely healthier too.
An average fast meal costs roughly $10 nowadays. Saving an extra $10 a few times a week can add up to some major savings.
Going out to dinner is even more expensive. While it is nice to treat yourself and your loved ones to a nice dinner out from time to time, if your goal is saving money these will have to be limited.
If you’re not eating out you’ll have to start cooking more! There are some great resources to teach you how to cook amazing food for cheap. Gordon Ramsay has a great youtube video series (below) that shows you how to cook delicious foods on a budget:
He also has a great cookbook that I’ve been using to help me cook up delicious meals for maybe $3-$4 per meal. If you buy the ingredients right, you can get quality foods and cook delicious meals for surprisingly cheap.
Buying Store Brand Items versus Expensive Brand Items
This is perhaps the biggest area of potential saving for your grocery shopping. If you are one of those shoppers that always get’s the expensive brand choice, you are losing a lot of money. Expensive brand name syrup, mouthwash, paper towels, toilet paper, contact solution, cleaners, milk, etc. are often no different than the store brand versions.
They are exactly the same products in most cases, and the store brand versions are generally 20%-25% less expensive on average! For the quickest way to move the needle on your grocery savings, buy generic store brand stuff.
Implement Them All
These are all great options to begin saving more on your food expenses. By implementing all of these tips you will achieve max savings.
It takes a bit of work to do the rebates and apply for a great rewards credit card, however it is well worth it in my opinion. Use your savings on food to pay down credit card debt, build your emergency fund, invest for further growth, etc.