2. Chase Freedom Unlimited: Get a $150 Bonus
If you’re not using a rewards credit card for everyday purchases, you’re missing out on free money.
You just have to be sure you don’t get too carried away with those purchases — and that the card is paid off at the end of each billing period.
Here’s an option we like: It’s the Chase Freedom card. Its claim to fame? You’ll earn an unlimited 1% cash back on all your purchases. Plus, if you spend $500 in your first three months of opening the card (hi, groceries), you’ll pocket a $150 bonus.
The card also offers 5% cash-back on select rotating categories. For example, in one quarter, you can earn 5% cash back on gas. The next quarter? Groceries. The categories continue to rotate throughout the year.
There’s no annual fee, and the cash-back rewards don’t expire.
*The information for the Chase Freedom card has been collected independently by The Penny Hoarder. Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer. The Penny Hoarder is a partner of Credible.
3. Ibotta: Find Freebies, and Snag $20
Ibotta will pay you cash for taking pictures of your grocery store receipts.
Here’s how it works: Before heading to the store, search for items on your grocery shopping list within the Ibotta app. When you get home, snap a photo of your receipt and scan the items’ barcodes.
Bam. Cash back.
Ibotta is free to download. Plus, you’ll get a $20 sign-up bonus after redeeming your first 10 offers within 14 days.
4. Ebates: Get a Free $10 Walmart Gift Card Plus Cashback On All Purchases
Want $10 for your next Walmart haul?
Sign up for Rakuten, a cash-back site that rewards you nearly every time you make an online purchase. When you give the site a try, you’ll pocket a $10 Walmart gift card.
- Sign up for Rakuten.
- Use the online portal next time you make an online purchase from a popular retailer like Walmart, Amazon or Target. Make this purchase within 90 days of signing up, and spend at least $25.
- Your Ebates account will be credited with points, which you can cash out for a $10 Walmart gift card.
5. Scan Your Groceries’ Barcodes For Free Gift Cards
Remember the Nielsen company? The one that’s always tracked TV ratings? Well, now it wants to know what’s in your fridge.
Once you sign up to be on the Nielsen Consumer Panel, you’ll gain access to the NCPMobile app. (If you don’t have a smartphone, Nielsen will send you a scanner.) As you unload your items after your next grocery shopping trip, simply use the app to scan items’ barcodes.
Nielsen will reward you with points, which you can redeem for free gift cards, electronics (new TV, anyone?) and household items. The longer you stay on the panel, the more opportunities you have to earn.
Applying to become a panel member is straightforward. You’ll answer some basic questions about you and your household, then Nielsen reviews your application and will contact you when you’re eligible to join
6. Phil: Get up to $30 off Your Next Prescription
Are you running to the local grocery store pharmacy because you forgot to pick up your refill? Next month, save time and money with Phil, a refill service that delivers your prescription right to your door.
It even talks to your insurance company to handle payment issues and renew refills so you don’t have to.
Plus, as a new customer, you’ll get up to $30 off your first prescription.
7. Swagbucks: Get $5 Cash for Shopping Online
Here’s a simple trick to snag a $5 gift card for your next grocery trip: Use the Swagbucks extension on Google Chrome on your computer or laptop, and save even more on purchases at some of your favorite sites like Amazon and Target.
You’ll get a $5 Swagbucks bonus when you earn 2,500 SB within your first 60 days of signing up. Cash the bonus out through PayPal.
8. Fetch: Get Paid to Take a Picture of Your Grocery Receipt
At this point, tons of grocery-savings apps have hit the market — and we don’t hate it. But having so many options can become overwhelming, especially for the lazy saver.
If that’s you — the one who just wants to get in and out of the store and save money on groceries without doing much thinking — there’s an app we recommend. It’s called Fetch Rewards, and all you have to do to earn rewards is take a photo of your receipt.
No scanning barcodes; no searching for offers; no store limitations.
Here’s what to do:
- Download the Fetch Rewards app. (Pst: Enter the code PENNY and scan your first receipt to earn 2,000 free points!)
- Create an account with your email address or through Facebook.
- Take a photo of your grocery receipt (must be from the past 14 days).
Fetch Rewards finds opportunities for you to earn rewards for your everyday purchases.
Every time you scan a receipt that includes one of more than 250 participating brands, you’ll earn points — without worrying about matching specific product offers.
If the app does find a match, you’ll earn even more. For example, we recently saw an offer of 2,000 points when you purchase a Suave female hair product. And another for 2,000 points for a 12-pack of Blue Moon.
Once you collect enough points (as little as 3,000), cash out for a gift card to any of a number of retailers, including Walmart, Target and Amazon.
Go ahead, and start fetching points toward gift cards by downloading Fetch Rewards.
(And, yeah, we somehow resisted the obvious “Mean Girls” reference. You’re welcome.)
9. Store Loyalty Apps: Clip Digital Coupons
What’s your go-to local grocery store? Chances are, it has a loyalty app.
For example, the Aldi app allows you to tap into its weekly coupons, create a grocery shopping list and find the nearest store. The Publix app works similarly, allowing you to clip digital coupons to use at checkout.
11 Simple Ways to Save Without Coupons
Now that you’ve got your go-to savings apps and your coupons, it’s time to hit the aisles. Use these tips to save even more money on groceries.
1. Check Unit Prices
Sure, it’s tempting to think buying in bulk is better, but that’s not always the case. That modest two pack of paper towels might actually be more affordable than the insanely large case of 16.
Divide an item’s price by its quantity before you buy — that bulk purchase might not be the better deal.
To calculate the unit price, divide an item’s price by its quantity. Consider how much you’ll actually be saving (if anything — and definitely not shelf space) by buying the bulk item.
2. Meal Prep to Make a Grocery Shopping List
We know, we know. This seems soooo obvious, but meal planning for the week and making a grocery list can help you stay on task, not waste food and avoid frivolous purchases — like cheese wedges.
3. Don’t Shop at Eye Level
Dedicated professionals study the psychology of grocery shopping.
For example, shelves at eye level are prime real estate. You’ll often find more expensive items there — or items that attract kids.
Or think about this: Between 1975 and 2000, the size of shopping carts tripled. A bigger cart doesn’t mean you have to fill it all the way up.
Once you recognize these mind games, you can more easily avoid them.
4. Ask for a Rain Check
You know when there’s a BOGO for Nutella — but then you get to the store and it’s gone? Someone else got greedy.
Don’t be afraid to ask your grocer for a rain check so you can still snag the sale when the store restocks.
5. Store Your Food Properly
You buy a container of spinach or bundle of avocados, but before you’re able to devour all the green goodness, it goes bad.
Avoid wasting money at grocery stores by storing your food properly, so it lasts longer.
6. Have Your Groceries Delivered
Sure, you’ll have to pay for a grocery delivery service if someone brings your groceries to you, but opting to get your groceries dropped off at your door can actually save you a ton of time and money because you’ll be forced to plan out your meals.
Plus, there’s no veering off into the snack aisle.
7. Don’t Shop Hungry
The golden rule of grocery shopping: Thou shall not step into an aisle the least bit hungry.
You’ll start grabbing anything and everything that looks good. Then, because you’re planning for an immediate meal, you’ll have a ton of fresh, ready-to-eat impulse purchases that’ll linger in your fridge and go bad before you have time to devour them all.