Grocery Shopping Savvy

Save Cash. And Carry On.


I approach grocery shopping the same way I do a lot of things, with savvy. Don’t confuse savvy with sass [although I’ve been called sassy by many]—I’m just spinning the fact that I know my way around serious savings. So every week when the circulars start circulating, I make it a point to set my wheels in motion helping me keep money in the bank AND food on the table. Here’s what whets my appetite for saving on and off-base:

Make Friends

There are deals to be had at off-base grocery stores, too. Getting to know your local store managers—from produce to meat to general merchandise—can result in you being in-the-know, and ahead of the grocery game. For example: your go-to grocers might nod you in the direction of the ripest fruit, the freshest cuts of meat and make you aware of store markdowns before they happen.

Meal Plan

Planning dinner can be exhausting any day of the week. Tailoring your shopping list to suit sales, too, can be tiring. Delegating the heavy meal lifting to sites like means that you are only a matter of clicks away from, well, putting food on the table. They dig into the details, if you want to go there, like including dietary restrictions in your master plans and provide you with a shopping list of ingredients you’ll need to prep a week’s worth of meals. One word of advice, though: skip the premium membership and stick with the ‘free’ version. It’s absolutely unnecessary. Especially when you are getting to know the program.

APPly Yourself

Grocery-getting? Of course, there’s an app for that. I’m pretty touchy-feely at the grocery store. And I’m not just talking about the produce. I’ve always got a finger on my phone and it’s because of apps—that just happen to have really fun names—like these:

  • Ibotta earns you cash offers on brands and products from over 40 stores in the nation—including Target, Walmart and several major grocers
  • GroceryPal is a smartphone app that browses circulars for local drugstores & supermarkets, ad specials & coupons to your virtual shopping lists and share as a joint account with friends & family—lists update automatically
  • Locavore's app tells you what’s fresh and in-season in your area so you can compare supermarkets vs farmer’s markets & farm shares
  • Grocery iQ creates & categorizes—automatically—a list by typing, speaking & scanning barcodes

Commissary Common Sense

I’ve got some go-to websites/blogs/links that have me becoming a commissary genius, thanks to the women and men who are militant about sharing coupons, discounts and general knowledge on what’s in-store before you go in store:

Go Green

Introducing a few vegetarian entrees into your meal wheelhouse can save you money, and a mega-amount of calories throughout the week. Opting for bean, egg or soup-centric recipes can really get you thinking outside of the grocery bag, too! You can find some simple, satisfying recipes on sites like:

One Stop? Shop.

Dropping in the drugstore minute clinic? Running into your local convenience store? There are opportunities to save on everyday items every day, too. Keep an eye out for BOGO sales in the refrigerator cases, and your finger on the phone apps I listed above. Knowing your sales circulars and your coupon stash can have you stacking coupons AND stashing cash.

Cut It Out.

Did you know that you can send expired coupons overseas? They can be used at commissaries all over the map outside of the United States for up to six months after their expiration dates. So clip, stuff and donate them to military members overseas through groups like

Be a Brand Fan

Companies like General Mills have savings specific to shoppers that aren’t civilian. GM’s Military Program is exclusive, and includes monthly coupons, military sales, miscellaneous GM product information and community events. To receive texts and delish details, text GMSAVE to 82857

See? Isn’t it satisfying knowing that putting a little time aside can put money in your pocket when you put food on your table? Now grab a snack, and get a plan!


About the author: Heidi Alger

Heidi Alger is the mother of two low-maintenance, high-energy kids under the age of 10. She offers financial guidance, budget tips and lifestyle advice keeping the challenges of modern military families in line, writing alongside an award-winning team at Pioneer Services. Her grandfather, a CW04, served in the Army Security and National Security Agencies during the Korean and Vietnam wars. Follow Heidi on Google+.

Contact: Heidi Alger


comments powered by Disqus