This article originally appeared and was published on AOL.com
Grocery shopping is one of those necessary expenses that always ends up costing way more than we plan for.
From the number of people we have to feed, to how far in advance we need to stock up and the specific items we’re shopping for, our bills can often become double what we had anticipated.
Thankfully, there are ways you can grocery shop and get your bill down without ever having to pull out a coupon.
Here are 12 coupon-free tricks you can use to cut down your grocery bill without having to sacrifice your favorite items:
Buy in bulk
Even if you don’t think you need a bulk amount of an item, you can always find a way to use it, especially if it’s a dry good or item you can store for a long time. It’ll save you down the road.
Memorize rock bottom prices
You may have to jot down the prices you pay for certain items a few times before you can gauge the maximum price you should pay every time you shop for that item. Eventually, you’ll commit it to memory.
Research specific stores’ policies
Certain grocery stores will price match or honor deals from other grocery stores, while some might have certain designated deals on different items on certain days of the week. Research before you shop.
Buy a mix of name brand and generic brand products
For dry goods and condiments, stick to generic brand. For products like meat and dairy, stick to a brand you trust.
Skip out on anything prepared, pre-packaged or pre-sliced
It’s almost always more expensive than buying bulk ingredients and using them to prepare on your own.
Leave the kids at home (if possible)
“How did eight boxes of fruit snacks get into the cart?”
Don’t buy boneless chicken or meat
It will cost you the price of the meat plus the cost of preparation. Buy with bone-in and prep the meat yourself.
Take advantage of “buy one, get one” deals
Especially if they’re items like meat or bread, which can be frozen and stored for quite a while.
Plan meals around when things go on sale
Instead of planning out your meals for the week and shopping for the appropriate ingredients, figure out when certain items go on sale, buy them and plan your meals around those ingredients.
Look at the unit price
It’s possible, for example, that buying two boxes of 10 granola bars is cheaper than buying one box of 20, based on the price per unit.
Look up, then look down
Grocery stores tend to stock their most expensive items at eye-level. Look at the top and bottom rows for cheaper items.
Skip out on personal care items
Your best bet for these kinds of items is drugstores.
You may have to readjust your timing on purchasing certain items or switch from buying on a needs basis to shopping in bulk, but the amount of money you’ll end up saving up will be seriously sweet.
Plus, you can use that extra cash you tuck away to treat yourself to a gourmet meal, one where someone else shops for the ingredients, of course!
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