Shopping is great! Shopping is fun. Shopping is a chore. Shopping is exhausting. Shopping is expensive. Whatever your thoughts on shopping, it’s something we all must do. Some of us have a strict budget, while others don’t. If we add up what we spend weekly, or monthly, it can be shocking.

What? All that just for food and some clothes for the kids? How can that be?

Plus the time it takes, especially for working moms. Or the effort, when having to bring along babies or young kids. This year, why not make an effort to save time AND money on shopping? Here are 9 ideas to consider:

  1. Use coupons. It doesn’t take long to flip through a circular or newspaper and clip coupons for your grocery list. Many grocery stores now have apps where you don’t even have to clip, you just add the deal to your card. It’s worth the 3 or 4 minutes to go through the app and tap your favorite deals.
  2. Use cashback shopping apps. This is my personal favorite and better yet, you can use them along WITH coupons to save double. Browse your app store or check out a few tops ones including Receipt Hog, Ibotta, and Fetch Rewards. After you shop, just hang on to your receipt, open the app, snap and upload a picture of the receipt (and sometimes the bar code of the product), and earn points for cashing out. If you use these apps regularly you can save quite a bit of money!! Cash-out by PayPal, amazon cards, store gift cards.
  3. Utilize store delivery services to save time. These don’t always save money, but if you’re too busy to shop, most stores nowadays offer delivery. Some offer fast pick up in designated spots so you can just swing in and get the stuff that someone else shopped for you. How easy is that?
  4. Before shopping in clothing stores, see if they offer a discount on your purchase for downloading an app. Many do, however not all are instantly available. So if you know you’ll be shopping later in the week, download the app and see what offers are available for shoppers. In store, sometimes you can text a code and receive an instant 10% off coupon code to show at the register.
  5. Consider shopping at thrift stores and yard sales. This is recycling at its best. I’ve bought name brand shirts for less than a dollar, household items at 1/10th retail, and everything in between! Kids toys are a bargain, as are books. Don’t rule out secondhand items, sometimes they are barely worn.
  6. When food shopping, don’t overlook store brands. Store brands can have equivalent ingredients at a lower cost. Read labels and get to know store brands.
  7. Buy in bulk as often as you can. Whether you belong to a shopping club warehouse or not, there are always larger sizes. Paper towels, toilet paper, and garbage bags, can cost nearly half that of buying smaller sizes. Stock up and save!
  8. Make little changes in what you buy. Store cut fruit costs more than whole fruit you cut yourself. Shredded cheese is generally more than a block you shred on your own. Prepared meals can cost more than buying the items yourself (though we know prepared can save time, so sometimes that is worth it)!
  9. Pay cash (or debit) when you shop rather than using credit cards unless you will pay off your full balance monthly. Who wants to pay interest on watermelon and milk?

What other ways do you use to save time and money? Have you added up last year’s expenses and made a plan to spend less this year? Having more money in your savings account for a family vacation or needed home improvement can really make a difference!