How to Save Money on Groceries and Household Items (15 Pro Hacks)

by | Last Updated: March 21, 2020

Who doesn’t love to save money when they go shopping?

Almost everyone does. From Whole Foods to ALDI or Nordstrom to TJ Maxx, people take pleasure in finding great bargains.

But there’s just one problem… finding those deals isn’t always as simple as shopping when there’s a sale.

Why? Because in some cases prices are as jacked up as Mr. Olympia to begin with. And that 20% “Hurry Up and Buy Before You Die” sale only benefits the retailer, not you.

So how do you find better ways to save money on groceries and household items?

The key is to learn the secret tactics retailers use to move products like cartels at different times of the year. Many do this on a fairly predictable schedule. And once you figure it out, you can take advantage of them to save lots of money.

Now before you ask, I’m about to give you a list of insider hacks to help you find the best money-saving deals when you shop at your favorite stores.

So, if you’re the type of person who scans coupons for grocery savings and who’s always on the lookout for cheap home decor ideas, this post is for you.

Let’s jump in.

15 Ways to Save Money on Groceries and Household Items at Popular Stores

In order to level up your shopping game, stretch your dollar, and be 100% sure you’re getting the best in-store deals, you need to use these insider store hacks.

1. Save Money at TJ Maxx

Savvy shoppers visit TJ Maxx to shop a variety of clothing, fine jewelry, accessories, and more.

And if you’re lucky, you might even find a store with their designer department called: The Runway.

Not only does TJ Maxx offer steep discounts on basic products, they do it for designer goods too. So you might snag some Gucci sunglasses for $179 instead of dropping $460 at Nordstrom.

Insider Hacks:

  • Items with yellow price tags indicate the lowest price and final markdown.
  • Pop in every Wednesday morning for the best deals. Markdowns happen on Hump Day and there’s less in-store traffic.

Want more TJ Maxx shopping tips? Click here.

2. Amazon Shopping Tips

Oooh Weee! I sure do love me some Amazon.

Even though I joke about Prime members, there’s no denying that my Amazon membership is one of the best investments I’ve made to save money when shopping.

I’m not gonna pitch you the benefits of becoming a member. There’s too much awesomeness to talk about. You can sign up here if you want.

All you need to know is that you can save money on groceries, household items, and just about anything you need on Amazon. And that’s only a drop in the river.

Insider Hacks:

  • Save 15% or more on groceries and other essential items with Amazon’s “Subscribe & Save” option. You can even combine it with coupons too!
  • Cut the cord on cable to save $1,000 (or more) instantly with Amazon Fire TV.
  • Get the Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card and save 5% every time you shop on Amazon.

Want more Amazon shopping tips? Click here.

3. Victoria’s Secret Shopping Hacks

It might still be a secret down in San Antonio, but that doesn’t mean you can’t find good lingerie deals at Victoria’s Secret.

If you’re a member of Pink Nation, then you already know that the best online deals happen twice a year — during June-July and late December into early January.

Although you get a larger selection online and the sale goes live there first, in-store deals are usually much better. So it’s a good idea to visit the store during the sale for more savings.

Insider Hacks:

  • Consider buying a discounted Victoria Secret gift card on Raise. You could save more than 15% on your next in-store or online purchase.
  • Load up on fragrances in mid-January when prices on sets drop by 70% or more. It’s a great way to shop for early Valentine’s Day gifts for your loved one or treat yourself.

Want more Victoria Secret shopping tips? Click here.

4. Save Money at Target

If you shop at Target frequently and you don’t have a REDcard or use the app… you’re missing out BIG TIME!

Ok, so I’m not a Target evangelist or anything. I just happen to shop there frequently for stuff like cheap birthday presents, greeting cards, or home and seasonal decor.

But that’s not all…

I can save as much as 50% on tons of in-store items, hot deals, and even clearance items – all with my REDcard. And that’s on top of the 5% I already get any time I shop!

So if you find yourself using Target as much as I do, you might as well take advantage of their membership perks.

Insider Hacks:

  • Use Cartwheel to get half-price on hundreds of items.
  • Pair your coupons with Target’s BOGO promotions for more savings.
  • Get huge savings on birthday gifts for kids or trending Christmas gifts when you shop for toys in January and July. Don’t let resellers ruin your shopping.
  • Kenny Roger’s said “you got to know when to fold.” Well you gotta know when to shop for markdowns. Visit Target on:
    • Mondays: for girls, boys, infants, electronics
    • Tuesdays: for women and juniors
    • Wednesdays: for men, food, stationery, health, laundry
    • Thursdays: for sleepwear, athletics, shoes, paper, housewares
    • Fridays: for beauty, jewelry, scarves, domestics, auto

Want more Target shopping tips? Click here.

5. Dollar Tree Savings

Some people think Dollar Tree sells cheap, low quality products. So they avoid it like the plague.

Well firstly, let’s ignore those credit card ballers with no money in the bank. We’re not trying to compete with the Joneses.

Second, the items at Dollar Tree are totally legit. In fact, they tend to come from popular stores that need to offload their inventory.

So yea, that can of soup may be cheap but it’s still safe to eat — at a bargain price.

It’s not just food though, you can find dog treats, gift-wrapping paper, disposable plates and cutlery, birthday party items, cheap cleaning supplies, and tons more.

Don’t sleep on Dollar Tree, there’s savings to be had!

Insider Hacks:

  • Switch dealers and get your drugs from Dollar Tree. Store coupons can make medicine like Vicks, Thera-flu, etc., so cheap it just might be free.
  • Avoid Maury. Get your cheap pregnancy test kit from Dollar Tree to see if you’ll be called “mom” sooner than you think.
  • While you’re at it, grab some cheap facial tissue just in case the test triggers your emotions. Kleenex and Puffs may be your first hope for comfort.

Want more Dollar Tree shopping tips? Click here.

6. Costco Savings Tips

I’ve yet to see anyone get as excited as my friend’s husband does when she mentions it’s time to go to Costco. That’s because he loves eating all the free samples he can like a kid in the candy store.

It’s not an exaggeration either…

The store’s so awesome that people in Vancouver, BC cross the border just to shop at the Costco in Bellingham, WA — even though there are stores IN Vancouver!

Unlike most places, Costco has a paid membership which costs $60 a year. But it comes with lots of perks such as cheap car rentals, cheap flight deals, cheap vacation getaways, and more.

If you’re wondering whether Costco is worth it, there’s your answer.

Insider Hacks:

  • Get a friend who’s a member to get you a Cash Card so you can shop at Costco without paying for an annual membership.
  • Buy when the price is nice. $19.99 means full price. $19.97 means the item is on its way out. $19.00 means it’s your last chance before the product disappears (this is when you should buy).
  • Forget implants, Costco can give you big breasts for 90% less.
  • Get popular toys for kids at Costco, they’re almost always less than Amazon.

Want more Costco shopping tips? Click here.

7. Save Money Shopping at Walmart

What if I told you that you can spend money, save money, and make money, all from shopping at Walmart?

Yes, it’s true.

You see, everyone knows about Walmart’s super-low prices already. It’s why they shop there. But not everyone ventures into the clearance section or uses coupons when they shop at Walmart.

It’s possible to find cheap makeup in clearance, pair it with a coupon, and get that item for $0.00. That’s right, you can get an item for FREE!

Depending on the difference between the two, you could also end up earning money for your next purchase or as cold hard cash.

Now that’s what I call robbing from the rich to give to the needy.

Insider Hacks:

  • Get free Walmart gift cards for doing easy tasks on Swagbucks.
  • Use Ibotta to get $10 FREE just for signing up. Then take advantage of rebates and cash back offers when you use the app to shop at Walmart.
  • Got a competitor coupon with a dollar value (e.g. $5 off)? Use it at Walmart to save money and time instead of making two trips.

Want more Walmart shopping tips? Click here.

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8. Save Money at Bath and Body Works

What’s better than smelling like a field of fresh flowers on a bright sunny morning?

Smelling like that on a budget, that’s what!

You can easily spend $100 in B&BW and barely notice. Not because it’s expensive, but because of the huge selection and endless amount of deals.

It feels like they almost always have a sale going on in the store when I stroll by.

Most people love finding cheap fragrances, candles, lotions, and more at bargain prices. And Bath & Body Works offers all that plus a great shopping experience.

Insider Hacks:

  • Stock up on candles on the first Saturday in December. That’s when the store has its Candle Day sale and offers huge discounts on candles .
  • Get even more savings when you shop the big sales in June and after Christmas. You can save over 65% on all items AND still use coupons too!

Want more Bath & Body Works shopping tips? Click here.

9. Kohl’s Savings Tips

Yes I know, not everyone is thrilled by the rewards system at Kohl’s or their prices. But that doesn’t mean you can’t save money shopping there.

In fact, the people who do extreme couponing have figured out the best ways to save money at Kohl’s. On average, they manage to save 60% or more using Kohl’s coupons.

Combining coupons with Ibotta is also another trick smart shoppers use to earn cash back on their apparel purchases.

I’m not saying you should like Kohl’s. All I’m saying is that you’d be crazy not to take advantage of the potentially ridiculous savings.

Insider Hacks:

  • Check out the clearance items (especially in beauty) where you can find items for a whopping 90% off the regular price!
  • Thinking of getting a cheap Dyson vacuum or KitchenAid cake mixer? Kohl’s sells them for less than most stores.
  • Crack the code like Robert Langdon for smarter savings:
    • BB = Bonus Buy
    • BGH = Buy One, Get One Half Off
    • PP= Product Placement: The sale price is fixed and not a percent discount.
    • S = Sale: The item will be on sale for 1-2 weeks.

Want more Kohl’s shopping tips? Click here.

10. Savings at Home Depot

All the cool kids are getting everything online these days. I should know, I’m a cool kid.

But unlike my fellow humans, I can actually use a drill without ending up in the ER. And since I’m a DIYer and fairly capable handy-person, I like to hit up Home Depot for my supplies.

I’ve actually gone in the store for pipe fittings and come out with a DeWalt Impact Wench ($119 $39) and 5 Plano Parts Organizers ($10 $3).

And let’s not talk about those end of season sales on bbq grills, lawn mowers, decorations, etc.

Yea, Home Depot’s not a bad place to save money on household items.

Insider Hacks:

  • Get Paribus to scan your Home Depot receipts. If the price drops on the item you bought, you’ll get a refund baby!
  • Check the clearance racks at the end of certain aisles. Some items are marked down so low, it’s a crime not to buy them!
  • Decipher price tags. Items priced with “$.06” (e.g. $3.06) will drop in 6 weeks.

Want more Home Depot shopping tips? Click here.

11. Gap Saving Tips

Gap is a go-to store for many people, especially families. You can find tons of threads at affordable prices. But that’s nothing new.

What makes Gap special is the balance of fashion and dependability.

You can put together a budget outfit for a job interview, work, or even hanging out. And you won’t have to worry about the quality of products.

When it comes to Gap, you either love it or hate it. But I guarantee no one complains about the prices when they hit the register.

Insider Hacks:

  • Don’t buy a new-release item the day it comes out. Wait 3 weeks for it to drop in then buy it. (Or wait longer for further markdowns.)
  • Take advantage of the 40% sale which happens every couple months. You can save on full price items AND get an additional 40% on clearance items too!
  • If you can wait even longer, Gap has some of the best Black Friday deals. Almost every item is 50% off or more.

Want more Gap shopping tips? Click here.

12. Save Money at Lululemon

Seems odd to find this store here, eh? Well the feeling is mutual. Or rather, it used to be.

Anytime I heard the name Lululemon in the past I thought “overpriced stretchy garments.

But then I discovered you could save more than 50% on other products besides tights. Which kinda make sense since tights are what the store was built on.

Anyway, you don’t have to love lattes, yoga, and expensive clothes to shop at Lululemon. There are ways for us normal folk to save money at this body accentuating boutique.

Insider Hacks:

  • Call up your lazy friends. Create a running club. Join the Sweat Collective. Get 25% off any item. Praise the fitness Gods such a glorious gift.
  • Check out the store at 11AM on Thursdays for discount items. Or shop online the same time to see what’s good.
  • Skip the retail stores and head straight for Lululemon outlets. There you’ll find discounts of at least 40%.

Want more Lululemon shopping tips? Click here.

13. Save During Big Lots Sales

True story… my buddy does retail arbitrage. He buys stuff at Big Lots and resells it online for a profit. It’s a side hustle that funds his tech addiction.

Anyway, one day I decided to tag along with him on a sourcing spree. I wanted to see these deals for myself.

Long story short, I ended up buying 24 rolls of Reynolds Aluminum Wrap ($3.99 ea.) and 10 packs of Betty Crocker Rainbow Cake Mix ($0.56 ea.).

And unlike my buddy, I actually kept those items for my personal use. Not bad, eh?

Insider Tips:

  • Shop during Big Lots’ semi-annual sale in April and October to save an extra 20% when you checkout.
  • Use discount gift cards from Raise to get 7% off your in-store purchase. Or pair it with Retailmenot to save over 15% when you shop online.

Want more Big Lots shopping tips? Click here.

14. ALDI Shopping Tips

ALDI is the place you go to get affordable groceries without worrying about quality.

Most of the prices are so low, they’d be the sale price at any other grocery store.

You’ll find some of the best prices on cheese, chocolate, and wine when you shop at ALDI. And their private label items save you money too.

Trying to find more savings at ALDI is just wrong. Their prices are already criminally low, yet here you are trying to commit double homicide.

Hey, I ain’t mad at ya. I’m happy to help you spend less on groceries and stuff. As long as you know that ALDI doesn’t take coupons, it’s all good.

Insider Hacks:

  • Grab some breasts on Hump Day without feeling guilty. At over 50% off, you can’t afford not to!
  • Save 30% on seasonal and household items, particularly in the Fall. You can get cheap halloween supplies and save for Christmas too.

Want more ALDI shopping tips? Click here.

15. Save Money at Chick-fil-A

Let’s face it, sometimes you just gotta “Eat Mor Chikin.”

While it’s nice to save money when you shop for groceries, there are a few times when you (or your kids) just want that delicious chicken sandwich.

Believe it or not, you can save money or even get free food at Chick-fil-A. It all starts with their app.

I’ve eaten enough free food there to make me question my addiction to the company. But all that goes away every time I bite into one of their yummy chicken meals.

If you love chicken, don’t want to die from McDonald’s, and want to save money, get the Chick-fil-A app and thank me later.

Insider Hacks:

  • Before tossing your receipt, check to see if there’s chance to get a FREE chicken sandwich.
  • Skipping the chicken sandwich and ordering a 4-piece strips meal will save you almost $2.
  • Swallow your dignity and dress up like a cow to eat chicken. It’s a contest that happens in July at every location. Pretty fun for kids.

Want more Chick-fil-A coupon tips? Click here.

Ready to Save Money and Shop Smart?

Now that you know more about saving money while shopping, your next trip to the store should be a blast! Heck, even I can’t wait to apply these hacks myself. 

BTW, although I mentioned some of my own shopping experiences, the majority of tips in this post were definitely new to me. 

A lot of credit belongs to the savvy shoppers who do this for a living. They’re the ones who inspired me to write this post. So kudos to them for helping us become better consumers.

Speaking of inspiration, there are folks out there who would be thrilled to find this post. But they can’t find it on their own. They need your help. So do me a favor…

Click the buttons below to share this post, and let’s inspire others to save money and shop smarter.

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About Carlton F.

Most people like to brag about themselves here. Carlton just wants you to know that he co-founded this website to help you find meaningful solutions to your money problems. Cars and traveling are his passion, but otherwise, he’s a humble dude.