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Tips for Grocery Shopping on a Budget

It’s always nice to save money; a little here, a lot there.  One fabulous way to help save money is with some simple, free apps on your smartphone!  Read on for my recommendations, along with bonus tips on how to make your shopping and saving a breeze.

Coupons.com

You can choose to use their site or install the app on your phone.  For me, apps are easier, and I’m not tied to one spot in my house. With the option to choose your favorite stores, clip and print coupons, and submit receipts for cash back, it’s probably my favorite shopping app.

Ibotta

Browse through the available offers and save the items you would normally purchase.  Remember, you aren’t actually saving if you’re using coupons and rebates on items you don’t use.  Do your shopping, then redeem your offers and get your cash back!

Receipt Hog

This is one I have been using for about a while now.  You need 1000 coins in order to redeem a $5 gift card for Amazon or you may opt to have it sent directly to your PayPal account.  1000 coins may sound like a lot to earn, but you can get between 5 and 15 coins per receipt, and they stack up fast!

Google Opinion Rewards

Short, easy to answer surveys that get you anywhere from $0.10 to $1.00 toward your Google Play Store.  I’ve been doing surveys since 7/29/16 and have earned a total of $44.98; not a lot but that’s $44.98 that I didn’t have to pay out of my pocket for music and apps.  I just answer a question or two and the credit appears instantly in my account. If you frequently purchase apps, or upgrades within an app, definitely install this!

Dosh 

Dosh is a “cash back without the hassle” kind of app.  All you have to do is link your card(s), make your regular purchases, and you earn cash back within the app.  This app is still in beta and hasn’t reached its full potential. I’m hoping to see many more stores and options added.  In the meantime, I’ve linked my least-used card, just to get a feel for the app. Later on, I may add all of them.

Tips for Grocery Shopping

So there you have my favorite apps.  Now on to how you should prep for your shopping to make it easier once you’re in the store.

1. Create your shopping list in order of what you need most.  Out of bathroom tissue? That should be one of your top 5 list items.  Want a new video game? That should be last on your list, making way for the necessities.

2. Set your maximum budget; a set amount for grocery, and a set amount for non-grocery.  Your goal is to get all of the items on your list without going over.

3. Check for coupons.  Coupons.com provides manufacturer coupons that you can print out and have in hand at checkout.  You can also check your local newspaper for the in-store deals of the week, and any coupons for items you would normally purchase.  

4. Open your calculator.  If you, like me, take your smartphone everywhere you go, you’ll already have a calculator in your pocket.  If not, pick up a simple one, or go for pen and paper. I round up and add every single item’s price to make sure I stay within my budget.

5. Check Ibotta.  Does your normal shopping routine take you to Walmart, Walgreens, etc.? Great!  Check for offers at those stores, and add the items that are on your list. Once you’ve checked out, you can take a quick photo of your receipt.  Ibotta will verify the purchases, and you’ll have the money in your account within 24-48 hours.

6. Trying Dosh, or something similar?  Make sure any cards you’ll be using are linked to your account and ready to earn!

7. Feed the Hog.  Once you’ve checked out and have receipts in hand, open Receipt Hog and snap a photo.  Not only will the receipts be saved in your “Receipts” tab so you can reference them later, but you’ll start saving coins toward that $5 reward and some fun slots! And that’s it!  It may sound a little intimidating at first, but once you’ve shopped this way a few times, it becomes much easier to have everything ready, and see those savings … however small you may feel they are … add up.

 

 

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