Frugal Grocery Shopping

How to Grocery Shop Without CouponsTo clip or not to clip; that is the question.  It is often assumed that people who are frugal use coupons, coupons and more coupons.  It is possible to be frugal and not use coupons for your grocery shopping needs.

Unless it is the exact item you want, using coupons means you must spend money to save money.  Spending money to save money is not a sustainable lifestyle.

It’s not that I am against coupons but I don’t normally use them.  Here’s why:  there aren’t coupons for whole foods, bulk foods (meaning, no packaging), and fruits and vegetables.  Every once in a while I will check the coupon sections of our Sunday paper just to see if I’m missing anything.  I’m not.  This picture is a little less than $100 (*see note below*) and is the result of my usual once-a-week-shopping routine.

Coupons that are mailed to me as part of one of those grocery store loyalty programs are different.  I do use those.  Using coupons on items you actually use in your home is key. The spending frenzy that surrounds coupon crazed shopping these days seems excessive.  Where do people keep all the items they’re buying?  Do people really need to purchase 50 of anything?  Want a simpler way to grocery shop and not use coupons?

Frugal Grocery Shopping Tips:

1.  Find, and shop at, the store with the lowest overall prices. This sounds simple but it’s easy to just go to the closest or nicest store nearby.  For items not purchased as regularly (larger quantities of oil, vinegar, oatmeal, other staples etc.), there is usually a store other than your regular store that will have even a better price.  I shop at a restaurant supply store, called Cash & Carry, for these items.

2.  Buy whole foods. Wholesome, basic ingredients.  Packaging that reads like this:  Ingredients:  Whole Wheat Flour.

3.  Buy bulk foods.  Find a grocery store that has a bulk section.  This is NOT the same as buying in bulk.  In the bulk section you can purchase as little or as much as you’d like.  Food from the bins at busy bulk stores turns over quickly and is many times fresher than packaged items.  Spices from the bulk section are a big money saver, too.

How to Grocery Shop Without Coupons

4.  Buy vegetables and fruit.  Period.

How to Grocery Shop Without Coupons

5.  Grow vegetables. Grow your own veggies and freeze what you don’t eat in season.

How to Grocery Shop Without Coupons
A beautiful carrot from our garden on a bed of spinach – dinner!

6. Meal planMeal plan first, then make your grocery list according to what you’re cooking.  Only buy what you need so food doesn’t get wasted.

Lastly, anytime a food item is on sale that our family uses, I do stock up and buy several.  In the first picture, there are three containers of organic, non-fat yogurt.  I bought three and froze two for later use.

*Note* There is no fish or meat from this week’s purchases.  I only buy fish, meat (chicken, pork, beef) from certain stores.  When on sale, I buy and stock up again utilizing our freezer.

For me, not using coupons helps me keep life simpler and easier. That’s a time saver I’ll take any day.

Do you use coupons?  Do they save you money on your food bill?

Go Gingham related links:

National Match-Up Day: A step-by-step on how to clean and organize your food storage containers!
Grocery shopping from the bulk bins and food storage containers
Reusing glass jars and how to get them ready for re-use
Fruit flies be gone – with lids from glass jars
Pantry basics for the home cook – what’s in my pantry
Refrigerator basics for the home cook – what’s in my refrigerator
New to cooking at home? Fear not!

Here’s a quick video I filmed with Fusion NW TV show in my kitchen on storing grains.

Sara

Sara, creator of Go Gingham, is passionate about cooking and feeding her family healthy, real food. She's a green enthusiast, too, who loves to grow food organically. Sara loves to travel - especially by trading houses. An avid runner, she can also be found chasing after her chickens in the backyard.

9 Comments


  1. Not that this is a reason to do something (or not). It is just for so long I thought I was doing something wrong because I didn’t use coupons. But the majority of what we buy is fresh produce and bulk grains and nuts. Didn’t have coupons for what I bought. It is nice to read others have the same experience. Yes, we do big store runs for items. We just lost our Cash and Carry type of store in my town. Thanks for the post.


    1. Sorry you lost your store that’s similar to Cash & Carry! I love that place and it seems like a secret find!! If you buy whole foods, fresh produce and wholesome, simple foods, there simply aren’t coupons. I attended an event recently where I was given several coupons for “free” food items to try at my grocery store. I ended up not using the coupons because after reading the ingredients, I realized they were just chemicals/junk – not food I want my family to eat. Thanks for the comment!!


  2. Things have changed a little in the coupon industry. More and more whole foods are becoming available at discounts thru the use of coupons. I’ve gotten several boxes of whole wheat pasta for free, and there are coupons in the last two weeks papers for fresh grape tomatoes and Dole fresh slaw mix. Not to mention milk and other organic products. Others too numerous to name in the health and beauty aisles — haven’t paid for soap, deodorant or shampoo in a while. And lots of natural products are becoming a regular occurrence. It might be worth the two bucks and fifteen minutes or so a week to grab a paper and just see what’s out there. 🙂


    1. You are right, Kellie and I have checked through the coupons from time to time and found a few items we buy are in there – mostly the fancy deodorant my kids like to buy! Good tips! Thanks….


  3. Great tips. Also a way to stay mindful of food waste, a huge problem in our country!


    1. Thanks Jessica! I agree about the food waste problem.


  4. Yay! I don’t use coupons either for that very reason. If only Whole Foods would start giving out coupons for produce!


    1. That would be great, wouldn’t it? I’d take coupons for produce from almost any store!! Thanks!

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