20 Ways to Save on Groceries Without Using Coupons: #1-5


Couponing is all the rage, and I’ve saved a pretty penny using them myself.  Some items, though, are rarely found with a coupon, and others… in my humble opinion… don’t qualify as food.  Fortunately, there are many effective methods of shaving the grocery budget without clipping and sorting and remembering your coupons.

1.  Add beans and rice to your meat mixtures. This works fantastic with Mexican dishes.  When we make Loaded Tostadas, I add refried beans to the meat and layer black beans and rice in with the toppings.  Lots of protein and fiber, very little cost.  Beans and rice taste great in Brown Bag Burritos also.  Don’t mind going meatless?  Let the beans and rice take center stage.

2.  Buy produce on manager’s special. My children make a game of “eagle eyeing” the orange and yellow Manager’s Special stickers in our produce department.  Often times you can purchase perfectly good fruits and veggies for a fraction of the original price, simply because they need to get it moved.  I almost never pay full price for bags of apples and bunches of bananas. While shopping, I always scan for Manager’s Special items.  When I find them, I either adjust our menu plan so we can use up the produce right away, or I prepare and freeze it for later.

3. Make substitutions. Sour cream’s not on sale, but plain yogurt is?  Perfect.  Yogurt in the place of sour cream when baking works beautifully.  You’d like to have blueberry pancakes but strawberries were so much cheaper this week?  Forgo the more expensive fruit and whip up some strawberry topping to make your pancakes special.  There are many resources available for recipe substitutions.  Don’t let not having an ingredient stop you from making a delicious, frugal meal.

4.  Keep a price book. When shopping, write down the sale price that you’re willing to pay for items that you use often.  When you’re in a hurry and don’t know if something is a good deal, you can refer to your price book.  Simply don’t buy if it’s not at your target price.

5. Wait for it. Have a hankerin’ for a favorite meal?  Don’t run out for a full-priced pork tenderloin just because it sounds good.  Meat goes on sale in cycles.  Wait until the cut you want is on sale, then enjoy that special meal knowing you’re getting a lot more food for your dollars.  A little discipline and delayed satisfaction are good for the wallet.

Next week:  Saving without coupons #6-10.

This post is linked to Frugal Friday.

This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy here.


  1. One store I shop at puts the single bananas in a bag and sells it for $1.49/bag. Some of the bananas are still green. $1.49 for about 5 pounds of bananas instead of $.65 a pound? Sure, I’ll take a bag! That’s pretty well the only way we buy bananas anymore; I just freeze whatever we can’t eat fresh.

    I watch for sales for produce and generally only buy fruit if it’s $1 pound or less. I also stick to the “cheap” produce-carrots, celery, potatoes, onions,greens, bananas, apples,etc. and then supplement with the sale priced or marked down items.

    We get a lot of variety this way!

  2. Wow you are so right about these ideas. I try to only use coupons for the items that I am “going” to buy. I like using the coupon database at coupon mom or hot coupon world. If it is not on sale or something that I need that week then I won’t spend the money on it just to “save” with the coupon. I use to do that and found that I never used the product and ended up throwing it out when the date expired. Thanks for the reminders. I’m looking forward to next weeks post.

  3. So true! I went in the grocery store today and didn’t have my coupons with me. I still came out with 3 meals worth of food for 7 bucks. It’s all about finding those meat and produce markdowns!

  4. Oh, I wish we had managers specials here… they’re non-existant! I even asked the produce manager one day about them and he said, “what’s that…like discounted produce??!! Nah..we thow that stuff out!” UGH!!!

  5. Those are great tips:-)

  6. Wow Amy, this post couldn’t have come at a better time in my life. The LORD sure works in funny ways sometimes. My husband was just lecturing.. err asking me to look and see how full our cupboards are and WHY could I possibly NEED to go and ‘stock up’ on more food we don’t need right now… This whole coupon craze is VERY addicting and like my husband said tonight, I’m like an alcoholic looking for my next fix with these stinking coupons. Yes, I can get a good deal, but not when I’ve spent $50 on stuff we really didn’t need RIGHT NOW! Thanks for the post Amy, I really needed to ‘hear’this from someone other than my husband. Ha! Take care.. I look forward to the next steps.. 🙂

  7. I am in a season of not having much time to shop or clip coupons, so I can totally relate to your tips here! One thing I have found to be so helpful is shop the loss leaders every week, usually the front page of the store flyer. I usually choose one store to “hit” that has the best deals going that week and that’s it. We have still kept our grocery bill down even though I am using less coupons and going to less stores, so it can be done!

  8. I don’t like to use coupons either. Most of the time the things on sale with coupons are junk food anyway so I’m always looking for ways to save on real food. Thanks for the post!

  9. These are all good tips! We do all of those things, I think.

  10. Love reading your blog!

  11. Thanks and great comments! I’m so bad about wanting an item for dinner and going right out and buying it. If I would arrange my menu more around the sale, I would come out ahead more often. Good reminders.

  12. Thanks for the great tips! I love our Meijer store, and usually find great marked-down meat, produce, bread, and more! The price book is a good idea…you have to know what is a good deal, and what is not. Most of our stores in the Indy area have whole aisles or racks that are discounted and we love seeing what we can get from them. I’m also having a lot of fun making ALL of our bread items home-made lately. I can’t believe how much cheaper it is, and it does not take that much longer at mealtime. We’re saving so much on loaves, tortillas, pizza dough, rolls, pancake mix, biscuits. And our kids enjoy helping 🙂 I look forward to your next post!

  13. Great article! I love couponing but it’s really time consuming and don’t always have time. I appreciate your tips!

  14. Thanks for the great idea of using a price book. I usually know about the price I am willing to pay for certain items, but never thought of keeping it all written down. Thanks!

  15. It’s been really hard to learn not to succumb to the #5 antithesis. Just because I WANT something for dinner does not mean I have to have it or it’s economical. More and more I try to pick up manager’s special meats and just go from there. I have cut my grocery bill really significantly–60%–by doing this and using some coupons.

  16. Great tips. I just did a blog about the same thing and had 20 tips too. Maybe you can get some tips from my list too.

    I too believe you can save money and not have to clip a ton of coupons, use them on certain dates, at certain locations with certain other coupons blah blah blah. The fact is that most coupons are on items that are not healthy. Why fill your pantry with unhealthy items? Shop wisely, seasonal, and take advantage of tools like your freezer, dehydrator and try your hand at canning.
    Its easy ladies and I blog about it daily!

  17. These are all good tips! We do all of those things, I think.


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