Unfortunately, grocery shopping is one of the many “bills” we have to look forward to every month if you want to survive.
Doing the research for a family of four, it can cost anywhere from $146 to $289 a week to just grocery shop, at least according to the USDA. That adds up!
As I’m always about saving money and finding hacks to save, I wanted to share some tips as to how you can actually get some of your groceries for free. These tips won’t pay for your entire bill, but these tips can help you get a ton of items every month at no cost.
As with all of my posts, I can promise you that this isn’t a scam nor will I ask for any of your money. I don’t work that way! Instead, I will share some very simple, yet actionable tips that you can take advantage of right now.
If you love saving money and like the idea of free groceries, then it’s time to strap in because I have quite a few tips to share with you! All of these tips will work at just about any grocery store, from your major chains like Walmart and Kroger to your local Mom and Pop shops.
How to Get Free Groceries
Take Advantage of Coupons
Out of all the tips I mention, coupons are, by far, the easiest way to get free groceries. As long as you don’t mind printing and/or clipping a coupon, it’s as easy as 1-2-3.
If you’re new to the coupon matchup world, here’s what I do to get my free groceries.
First, bookmark the very helpful website, The Krazy Coupon Lady. This website will offer the “coupon matchup” sheets you need every single week to help you find free groceries. In short, they will tell you what’s on sale and which coupons you need to use to get an item for free. No matter where you shop, there’s a good chance they will have you covered. Just browse this stores list to see where you can save.
Next, you will want to browse the coupon deals of the week and look for the free items at the store you want to shop. These freebies won’t always be on the list, but when they are, you will need a coupon to take advantage.
So, in using my example, here was one scenario where I could get FIVE tubes of Crest toothpaste for $0 at my local Kroger store…
In this specific example, I would need five $2 off 1 Crest toothpaste coupons from the PG (Proctor & Gamble) newspaper ad from 11/24 to make this free. After the $5 instant savings and the $10 in coupons, my purchase would be free.
Now, in this particular circumstance, you would need a physical coupon from the newspaper. If you didn’t have it, that’s okay as you can often buy coupons online for less than $0.10 or you may be able to find the newspaper at a local retailer if it’s for the current week. Keep in mind that a lot of these require you to print the coupons on the internet, so you don’t always need a newspaper.
Every single week, I can find a TON of free items like this at multiple stores such as Walgreens, CVS, Kroger, Walmart and so many more. Get in the habit of checking these lists as there are always a free item, I can almost guarantee it.
If you really want to get free groceries, this is the easiest way to do so.
PRO TIP: Swagbucks will PAY you to print coupons. It’s not much, but if you’re going to print them, look here first to see if you can at least get rewarded.
Bookmark the CouponMom.com Freebie List
This one kind of ties into the coupon matching, only that it puts all of your freebies in one place. It makes researching a lot easier.
CouponMom.com works much like The Krazy Coupon Lady, offering coupon matchups and deals you can take advantage. The website is also free to use and is highly recommended if you plan on getting into coupons.
The cool thing about CouponMom is that she updates a freebie list every week, showing you what you can get for free from the many retailers they track. Select your state from the list and browse the retailers in your area to see if any freebies are of interest on your next trip.
Again, you will need coupons to take advantage, but it’s often very easy as all you need to do is print them online or find them in the newspaper. Just see what coupons you need to print in order to make your purchase free.
Make it a habit to check out the list as it’s updated all the time. It’s 100% free to view!
Download Ibotta and Other Receipt Apps
Ibotta works similar to that of coupon matchups, but you may find it easier to use. It’s a 100% free app that you will use on your phone after you shop.
On this app, all you need to do is upload your receipt anytime you buy one of the items specified on the app. You can also scan the app to see what you could be reimbursed for.
So, for instance, if it said to buy a specific brand of butter and you will get $0.50 credited to your account, then Ibotta will credit your account once you prove you bought it on your receipt scan.
There are times you can get free items, but I find it best for getting cash back. So, if you were to save $10 on a $125 order, that’s almost as good as free groceries because it’s money you didn’t plan on getting back.
Ibotta isn’t the only game in town as I wrote about the many Ibotta alternatives in the past. Some of these popular alternatives include Dosh and Checkout51, to name a few. For now, I encourage you to at least check it out if you want to get cash back with more than one app. Yes, you can upload your receipt to more than one!
The great thing about these receipt scanning apps is that you can stack them on top of the coupon matchup tip mentioned above. In doing so, you may be able to get paid to grocery shopping if you buy the right groceries.
Join Loyalty Programs
Most of your well-known grocery stores have some sort of free frequent shopper program. Kroger has its free “Plus Card” program, whereas Meijer has mPerks, for instance.
No matter where you shop, I can almost assure you that there’s some sort of loyalty program that offers coupons and even freebies once you join.
For example, the Kroger Plus card offers a FREE item on the first Friday of every month, whereas Sprouts offers a freebie on its app on occasions. For instance, I checked out my app and found this freebie for the upcoming Friday at my local Kroger store…
Seeing these programs are 100% free to join, there’s no reason you should at least create an account as you never know what freebie will be sent your way. You won’t always find one, but when you do, it can help you save a few dollars!
Sign up for Coupon Newsletters
Not only do your grocery stores have a loyalty program, but companies do as well.
Kellogg’s, for instance, has its Family Rewards program, while Coke has a mobile app where you can earn free Coca-Cola. Betty Crocker is known to send out free sample coupons as well. Hundreds of companies want you to join their email list, and in doing so, they will often send out coupons and even freebies.
In the past, I wrote about more than 50+ companies that offer coupons just for signing. Take a look at the list and see if there are any brands you commonly purchase from. If so, sign up for their free newsletter to receive some great coupons that could make your items free.
As a fair warning, if you do decide to do this, I highly recommend you at least create a separate account because you will receive a TON of emails from these companies. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!
Become a Mystery Shopper
This one takes a pinch of work, but it can lead to free groceries.
I have talked about mystery shopping so many times in the past, particularly in my get paid to watch movie trailers and how to make money playing golf posts. In short, you’re asked to shop undercover, all while answering questions once you complete your job. Companies want to know how their stores are performing and look to the average shopper like you to help them out.
Now, you’re probably wondering what the heck this has to do with free food?
Well, the great thing about mystery shopping is that so many companies work with your big-name grocery stores. And, with many of these jobs, not only will they give you a certain amount to spend on grocery shopping while being undercover, but they will pay you as well! For instance, in the past, I was paid $9 to buy meat from a deli counter and $5 to complete the job. It took me all of 15 minutes to complete and earned me enough deli meat for the week.
It only takes a few days to get approved with many of the bigger mystery shopping companies and is a great way to earn free food and cash on the side. To get started, check out the more than 75+ reputable mystery shopping companies that are hiring right now.
Join a Survey Panel
Many times, I have been able to sample food products at home via multiple survey panels, all while being paid.
While there’s no guarantee you will get a free food sample since it depends on your demographic, it doesn’t hurt to at least try to join to see what comes your way. You may be surprised as to how many freebies companies send out.
If you’re not familiar with a survey panel, I have talked about them many times before. Basically, the premise is simple. You answer questions, and the research companies pay you. YES, it’s that easy. I do it in my spare time and easily make $200 a month.
I have so many favorites, many of which I covered in my 83+ favorite survey companies, but to get started, I would at least check out Swagbucks, Survey Junkie and Vindale Research for the time being. All of these options commonly send out free samples, including food, and it doesn’t hurt to at least be in their database to potentially get an invite.
Don’t Forget the “Catalina”
In the coupon world, the term “Catalina” refers to those coupons that print out after you make your purchase.
Many times, these coupons can hold a lot of value, from buy one, get one free to a certain amount off your upcoming purchase.
While I find a lot of these coupons to hold little value, I find a gem every once in awhile. With that being said, at least take the coupon from the printer to see if it’s something you can use on a future purchase.
Could You Win?
This is a long shot, but you could always test your luck to win cash for an upcoming grocery trip or maybe even a grocery trip in itself.
Like the lotto, if you don’t play, you can’t win. But, unlike the lotto, these sweepstakes are 100% free to enter!
If you have the time, explore one of the many sweepstakes that are active right now and at least enter your name to see if you can win big.
If You’re in Need…
Lastly, if you’re desperately in need of food, then let it know that there are more than 60,000+ food banks located across the United States that can help you.
While it would be impossible for me to list all of them, thankfully, the wonderful website, Feeding America, did the dirty work for you.
Feeding America will help you see if you’re eligible for SNAP as well as connect you with a local food bank that can stock your shelves at no cost. There’s no shame in asking for help if you desperately need it as this is what they are there for! Click on the link as you will find a ton of resources that can get you help as early as today.
These tips won’t pay for all of your groceries, but it could help you save $5, $10 or sometimes even more. It just depends at how good you get at it as well as what you buy.
The next time you head to the grocery store, use some of these tips as I can almost assure you can get at least something for free.
If you have any tips you want to share and/or you want to comment on what I already mentioned, then you’re more than welcome to do so in the comments below.
In the meantime, start applying these tips on your shopping trip so that you can spend that newfound money elsewhere… like a vacation!
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