How to grocery shop with absolutely no money

Unfortunately, this is one of those months that has 5 weeks in it rather than 4.

This is especially hard for those of us who have to stretch a monthly grocery budget an extra week.

For example, if your food budget is $200/month, in a month with just 4 weeks, you can spend $50 at the grocery store.

But, that extra week drops you down to just $40/week to purchase the food on your grocery list. Trust me, that extra $10 can make a difference to an already strained budget.

An extra $10/week can make a difference to an already strained grocery budget. #workingpoorCLICK TO TWEET

How to get groceries with absolutely no money

One way that I manage to stretch my budget is to see what I can get free from the grocery store (although, I have to say, God Bless my local food pantries and thank you for all that you do!).

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The first thing that I check on my hunt for cheap groceries is what my local grocery store, Harris Teeter, is giving away free. As far as I know, this is the only store local to me that gives away food for nothing. I just check the emails,swipe my VIC card, and off I go. The look on the cashier’s face when I have to pay them nothing, nada, zilch is priceless. Examples of the groceries that I stored free are thin Oreos, Kellogg’s single serve cup Fruit Loops, and a cup of Greek yogurt. My upcoming freebies are Nabisco Go Packs and Oikos or Light & Fit Smoothie. (As a side note, my deals are only free on Saturdays and I have to make an effort to get to Harris Teeter early or the deal items will be gone.)

My next step is to check sites and apps that put out weekly grocery match-up deals. The Lord knows that I am way to lazy to do the matchups myself. My favorite is MoneySavingMom and KrazyCouponLady.

@MoneySavingMom and @KrazyCouponLady are my favorite sites to find grocery store matchups.CLICK TO TWEET

These sites match up coupons, deals, and apps to save money. They show you how to get food for as low as possible. Some of the deals are even moneymakers so you can end up making a dollar or two. A feature of these sites is that you can quickly and easily add the food to a printable grocery list. The caveat with some of these deals, though, is that you still may have to pay out off pocket and get the money off your next purchase. I signed up to have the emails featuring my local store delivered right to my inbox.

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One minute step that I take to save a few extra pennies is to walk to the grocery store barring any unforeseen circumstances or weather. I am lucky enough to live in easy walking distance of 3 major grocery stores and 1 Walgreens, and 2 Rite-Aids. All I need now is a CVS and I’ll be all set.

My absolute last tip, though, is to not let pride stop you from asking for help. You might need the long-term help of government assistance in the form of food stamps. Or, you just might need to just stretch the budget a bit by going to a food pantry. In this uncertain job market, there is no shame in asking for the help that you need. You can’t eat your pride so you might as well swallow it.

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Are there ways that I missed to help stretch a budget, especially ways that require no out-of-pocket expense?

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