My Real-Life Busy Mom Way to Save Money On Healthy Food
I always have the best intentions to clip coupons and save money. The reality is, I rarely remember to take the coupons with me to the grocery store, or I stop at the store on my way home from work, before picking up my kids from childcare.
Clipping coupons is a great way to save money, if you have the time and ability to track the sales and go to multiple stores in a week. Additionally, coupons rarely work for my family since we don’t eat much processed food and there are rarely, if ever, coupons for produce and proteins.
Just because I don’t use coupons to save my family money on groceries, doesn’t mean I don’t try to cut our grocery bill wherever I can. Every little bit helps! Here are my grocery shortcuts that have saved me time and money, even without the coupons.
Cost Saving On Food Products – Even Healthy Food Items
My new favorite way to save money on groceries is to do the majority of my shopping at Target. Have you strolled their grocery aisles lately? You don’t have to have a Super Target nearby anymore. Regular Target stores now carry organic dairy and produce! I have also recently noticed organic chicken and ground beef!
I saved $30 on my groceries just yesterday. It definitely takes more work to get the big savings, but it has paid off.
My husband and I applied for a Target Red Debit Card, which saves us 5% off everything we spend at Target. We have it linked to our bank account so that we don’t get hit with an unexpected credit card bill. Our local Target is a half mile from our house, so not surprising, we shop there a lot. Saving 5% off of everything adds up!
In addition to a Red Card, I downloaded the free Target Cartwheel app on my cell phone. My family tries to eat mostly organic protein, dairy and produce and even with those high-cost items, we are saving money on our groceries.
Target regularly updates the Cartwheel app with new specials and you can add up to 16 for each shopping trip. Before I go to the store, I check the app to see if anything I need is on sale. This week, I saved 25% off Danimals kid’s smoothies for my son, 25% off Tropicana orange juice, 15% off organic string cheese, 20% off Ocean Spray juice and 5% off organic eggs, to name a few.
I basically choose items we already buy and have to remember to pull out my phone, but it saves me at least $5 – $10 on average. In many cases, the items are are actually cheaper at Target anyway. For example, my son has taken a Sunflower Seed butter on raisin bread sandwich to school every day since preschool. A loaf at Pavillions is $4.99. The same brand is $2.99 at Target. They also occasionally have a special $10 gift card with $50 grocery purchase if you sent them a text (easy-to-follow signs were in the grocery aisles).
Between the Red Card and Cartwheel, my family is saving a fairly significant amount, particularly since we buy mostly organic foods, which Target now carries. If you do happen to cut coupons, Target accepts coupons, so you can add that the basic discounts and rack up even more grocery savings.
I’m not sure what the Costco is like in your community, but in mine, it is an extremely unpleasant shopping experience. There is limited parking and the store is overcrowded, particularly on weekends. That being said, there are some major savings to be had, so I brave it once every 2-3 months and stock up.
Since I’m not shopping there regularly, and I have a small family, I don’t purchase much produce there, although they do now stock an impressive organic selection. I purchase groceries that can be frozen, so they will last a while.
Did you know Costco carries organic proteins? I usually purchase a multi-pack of organic ground beef and chicken for close to what I would pay for one package at the grocery store. I also purchase a few frozen meals for those times when I just can’t get dinner on the table. My family’s favorites are the frozen chicken meatballs, tortellini and ravioli and the egg white quiche. We also occasionally buy bread or bagels and freeze them as well. For those who don’t live in a tiny two-bedroom condo like me, you can stock up paper goods as well.
I will admit that I haven’t used Amazon Pantry, but I have several friends who swear by it. Regardless of whether you are an Amazon Prime member, you will still need to pay the $5.99 delivery charge for Prime Pantry and it is shipped by ground, so it will not be delivered in 2 days. The benefit to using Prime Pantry is the cost savings on the items, particularly if you shop the items that are on sale. You can take advantage of the specials they are running – currently they have 30% off certain items – and you can take check the coupons and deals for extra savings.
I have been wanting to try Amazon Subscribe and Save for a while, but to be honest, I haven’t had the time to determine which items we can purchase through this program and how often to schedule them to save money. Once you work this out, you can save up to 15% and receive free shipping. You can set up a subscription for anything from toilet paper to granola bars. If there is a product you use frequently, you can consider setting this up so that you can reduce your grocery trips. Just off the top of my head, I could probably set up granola bars, fruit pouches for my youngest son, coffee and diapers since we go through those quickly and regularly. What could you set up?
And finally, this isn’t a money saver, but if you are pressed for time, you should definitely try Amazon Prime Now for grocery delivery within two hours. In my area, they shop at Sprouts, which is where my family usually shops anyway and we were extremely happy with our groceries. A friend recommended Prime Now to me when I was stressing out about fitting everything in to a busy week. She uses this regularly to shop for her family since she travels biweekly and has 5 year old twins at home.
Save Money on Toiletries and Cleaning Products
I rarely shop for toiletries and cleaning products at the grocery store, unless I am completely out and don’t have time to hit two stores. While I am not a grocery shopping mastermind who keeps a price book, I do notice that items like toothpaste, cleaning products, face wash, etc. tend to be cheaper at stores other than my regular grocery store. Here’s how I maximize the savings.
I usually wait for a CVS 25% coupon and stock up on many of my toiletries and over-the-counter medication so that I can save big without a lot of effort. They are mailed every month or so and I have also found them in the newspaper. If you don’t have a CVS Extra Care card, you should definitely sign up for one. You will be eligible for discounts and Extra Bucks, which is basically a cash back reward. If I’m really organized, I combine manufacturer coupons with the 20% off coupon for even better savings. I have managed to save at least $15 in one shop.
I recently started shopping at the Dollar Store for candy – full disclosure, I am a sugar addict. While shopping, I noticed that my name-brand toothpaste is sold at the dollar store. Big win! I save around $1 – $2 on toothpaste and since it doesn’t expire, I pick up several tubes so I don’t have to make a return trip until my candy stash runs out (ironic, I know). Check your local dollar store for brands you always use to save money. I have noticed products such as Bounty paper towels, Palmolive dish soap, various bar soaps, and so much more.
If the items don’t expire, you can buy in bulk to save time. You can also purchase food at some Dollar Stores. Did you know many carry fresh produce, milk and a large selection of frozen foods? Just be sure you are checking packaging and expiration dates.
Do you have shopping shortcuts that save you money?