You may be spending more money on groceries than anything else but there are ways to save money, an expert says

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Got Ibotta or Fetch? Maybe you should

Millennials and people with a taste for avocado toast are no longer the only ones at risk of overspending on food, according to new research.

In a survey of U.S. adults commissioned by UserTesting and conducted by OnePoll, 48% of respondents said grocery costs eat up the majority of their monthly budget. It’s millennials who say they’re spending the most on groceries – at a 48% clip. Then Gen Z at 48%, baby boomers at 47%, Gen X and the Silent Generation (people born from 1928 to 1945) at 45%.

When you put a pencil to those figures and start multiplying them out over the course of a person’s life, the average person will burn through $200,000 to $250,000 of grocery money in their life.

On the heels of the new data and ConsumerAffairs’ report on budget grocers and private labels, we wanted to see if there were other ways for consumers to lessen the impact that grocery spending has on Americans’ lives. Actually, there are.

“The good news is that saving money on groceries is one of the easier ways to lower monthly costs and you can use that savings to pad investment accounts and an emergency fund,” Kyle James of told ConsumerAffairs. 

Cherry-picked tricks

Of James’ 24 clever tricks to save money on groceries, here are five that we cherry-picked:

Shop online for non-food items: James says that store pricers know consumers are willing to pay a little more for certain things so they don’t have to make another stop, and they charge shoppers a lot more for the convenience. His recommendation is to go to Amazon (or another online store) for things like toilet paper, diapers, toothpaste, deodorant, female products, diapers, and paper goods because grocery shoppers can save as much as 50% by buying those things online. 

Buy staples all at once: This advice is one of Jame’s top three go-tos. “Fill the pantry with canned goods, dry staples like rice and pasta, and storables like breakfast cereal and soda. A little planning can give you a good idea of how much you’ll need for a 12-week stint, then buy it all next time it’s on sale,” he said.

Work the edges: There’s a reason why grocery stores are laid out the way they are and it all has to do with how they can play to shoppers’ traffic patterns. From James’ point of view, the outer perimeter of a store has two things going for it: that’s where the most nutritious and best value foods are – fruits and veggies, dairy, unprocessed meats, etc.

Coupon apps and a list are crucial

The other two on James’ top three tips are shopping with a list and couponing apps. “Shopping with a list and sticking to it can reduce up to 65% of your grocery bill by helping you avoid impulse buys,” he claims. “Having a written list doesn’t just protect you from extra purchases. It saves you from making extra trips because you won’t forget a vital ingredient.”

As for couponing apps, he likes that tactic because it makes savings automatic and less of a hassle than coupon-clipping and scanning. His two best choices for couponing apps? Ibotta and Fetch.

Ibotta - “I like Ibotta the best as it lets you score rebates and coupons on generics like milk, produce, and eggs in addition to name brands,” James said. “Plus it works at any grocery store, even your local Ma and Pa corner store.”

Fetch -  While it’s not a true couponing app in that it takes a dollar amount off a specific item in the checkout line, James said Fetch’s power is that a shopper can simply scan their grocery store receipt and earn reward points on the things they buy and use those for future purchase.

“They'll accept grocery receipts from any store," he said. "You're basically trading the information about the things you buy for reward points. You can then redeem those points for gift cards to places like Amazon, Walmart, and Target.”

Two important things about those apps that ConsumerAffairs found: they “may” collect and share personal information and location information with others. However, both companies say that data is encrypted and can be deleted upon request.

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