Tired of rising food prices taking a bigger bite out of your wallet? Inflation is hitting us all! The price of groceries has increased by 12 percent since last year, making it the biggest 12-month spike in 43 years. Here are five easy ways to save money on groceries and cut your bill down fast.
Head to these stores
Believe it or not, even though grocery prices are going up, many supermarkets are bringing prices down on products that are considered staples, such as dairy and meat.
Giant Eagle recently announced that members of its myPerks loyalty program now get discounts of up to 20 percent on more than 1,000 items, including beef, milk, cheese, and produce. Weis Markets is cutting prices on hundreds of its bestselling frozen products, including brand names and private labels, by 13 to 33 percent. Lidl has slashed prices on more than 100 brand-name and Lidl Preferred products, including sirloin steak, orange juice, and pound cake. And Amazon Prime members now save 20 percent on select essential and ready-made foods at Amazon Fresh stores.
The way grocers see it, they can help you when buying basic necessities while still covering rising costs with higher prices on less important items, like snacks and paper towels. To find out if your supermarket is lowering prices on any products, ask the store manager or visit their website.
Bonus Tip: Want a break on gas too? Check your supermarket loyalty card’s benefits. Many grocery stores (including Hy-Vee, Shop ’n Save, and Stop & Shop) points you earn from food shopping can turn into discounts on fuel at gas stations.
Snap up senior discounts
Even though food stores may not advertise it, many offer seniors a discount on certain days. For example, at Fred Meyer, adults 55 and older get 10 percent off select items, including private-brand products, on the first Tuesday of every month. Shoppers 60 and older who have a free Harris Teeter savings card receive a 5 percent discount on their entire grocery bill every Thursday. And for customers of Tops markets who are 60 and over, you’ll get 6 percent off your total bill the first Tuesday of every month when you join the store’s free savings club. Ask your supermarket’s manager if they offer senior discount days at their location. Then, ask for the discount at the cash register.
Bonus Tip: Active and former members of the military may also qualify for discounts you convert on certain days; for example, Weis Markets offers a 10 percent discount on certain Weis-brand products every Thursday.
Look for these coupons
Go through Sunday newspaper inserts and circulars that arrive in the more high-value coupons for brand-name products, such as Campbell’s soup and Pepperidge Farm bread. Why? More shoppers are opting for store-brand food and household goods than private brands because of their lower prices. In fact, a recent study found that 92 percent of us have put at least one store-brand product in our grocery basket this year. And this has name-brand manufacturers worried about losing you as a customer. So to win you back, they’re issuing a greater number of coupons that’ll save you even more cash than if you purchased a store brand!
Bonus Tip: You can find additional coupons for name-brand foods when you download the Fetch Rewards app, which has partnered with General Mills and other manufacturers to deliver exclusive offers to app users.
Nab free bonus discounts
Supermarkets know competition is even fiercer when food prices rise. So they’re trying to entice you with money-saving perks when you join their free loyalty programs. For instance, loyalty members at Albertsons, Schnucks, and Winn-Dixie earn points from each purchase that can be redeemed for discounts on future groceries. And when you sign up for Target’s Circle program, you’ll earn 1 percent back on all purchases to redeem on future ones. You can even snag free cash just for signing up; for example, Albertsons and Safeway give you $5 off a purchase of $25 or more. Visit the courtesy desk at your local grocer to find out what bonuses you can get from their loyalty program.
Make use of digital dispensers
Love the savings from the coupon dispensers on supermarket shelves? Coupon distributors are introducing a new way to help you save: digital dispensers! How they work: Instead of you pulling out paper coupons, you scan a QR code with your smartphone that gives you a certain amount off a product on a nearby shelf — like $1 off a specific brand of cereal. After you scan the code, you’ll be given easy instructions to load the coupon to your loyalty card. The coupon then gets redeemed at checkout.
A version of this article originally appeared in our print magazine, Woman’s World.