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Creative ways to cut down on your grocery shopping costs: Bet you haven’t heard of the third one before!

Food is just one of those expenses that we can’t avoid, and the cost of your grocery bill can quickly add up, especially if you have a large family. But why pay full price all the time for your favorite products when you don’t have to? The following are some creative ways you can save significantly on that next grocery shopping trip:

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Order certain things online

Shopping online isn’t just a great way to save money on some of your favorite products, but it can also help you save on non-perishables. Discount sites like Amazon frequently sell a lot of the same pantry items you’d find at your local grocery store, but often for less—and you may be able to score free shipping, too. Not only is this a terrific way to save money, but it’s also extremely convenient, especially if you’re stocking up and making heavy bulk purchases. Just be sure to always compare prices first (the unit price, specifically), so that you know you are, in fact, getting the better deal.

Woman Grocery Shopping

Strategic couponing

Although saving money on groceries by couponing is not a new concept, those unfamiliar with couponing are often surprised to learn just how much they can really save. Some grocery stores will double manufacturer coupons up to a certain amount, often allow stacking (pairing manufacturer coupons with store coupons), and will frequently accept coupons for sale items. When all of these things line up perfectly, it can mean big savings. With a little practice, it’s not unrealistic to stock up on some of your favorite products for next to nothing. In fact, some stores also have certain overage policies set in place that could end up giving you cash back if you have a negative balance on your grocery bill.

Store Clerk Holding Sign

Rain checks

You head to your local grocery store to stock up on a sale item, only to find that they’re sold out and won’t be getting another shipment in until the sale has already ended. This can be frustrating, but it also doesn’t mean you missed out on the sale, either. Many supermarkets will offer rain checks, so if you ever find yourself in this situation, be sure to ask if it’s possible to receive one. With a rain check, you’ll be able to take advantage of that terrific sale price once they have more of the product in stock again, regardless of whether the sale has ended.

Mother and Son Cooking Together

Plan your weekly meals based on sales

Many people plan their meals for the week in advance and before they head to the grocery store. This can be a good way to save money and time, so if you aren’t already planning your meals in advance, you may want to start. But the way you plan your meals can help you save even more. Rather than plan your meals first and then begin looking for what’s on sale (and often just settling for full-priced items), check your local grocer’s weekly circular and find out what the best deals are for the week. Plan your meals for the week based on some of the store’s sale items and you’ll save a bundle. You can even plan out a little more in advance by preparing certain meals and then freezing them.

How do you save money when you go grocery shopping? We’d love to hear your own tips! 

Nothing above is meant to provide financial, tax, or legal advice. You should meet with appropriate professionals for such services.