Over the past year, your grocery bill has skyrocketed. You’re not alone, as prices for food at home surged 10.8% for the year ended April 2022 — the largest 12-month percentage increase since the period ending November 1980 — according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
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To give a bit more context, the average price of a dozen eggs was $1.64 in June 2021 but increased to $2.71 by June 2022. Another example: The average price of one pound of 100% ground roast coffee was $4.61 in June 2021 but skyrocketed to $5.79 in June 2022.
Given these price increases, you may have decided to get creative to lower your grocery bill. Specifically, you may want to find as many ways as possible to get free food.
Thankfully, this might be easier than you think. If you’re willing to dedicate a bit of time and effort to the cause, it might literally pay.
Ready to get started? Here’s a look at five ways you can get groceries for free.
Take Advantage of ‘Buy One, Get One’ Deals
If you’re willing to purchase multiple items, Katie Roberts said you might be able to score free groceries with “buy one, get one” deals.
“Grocery chains like Publix offer a variety of ‘buy one, get one free’ offers, where you buy one item and get a second of the same item or brand for free,” said Roberts, a consumer analyst at shopping comparison site DealNews.com. “Look at the store’s ad before grocery shopping to see which items are eligible, and then plan your list around those products to get the best chance at saving.”
Join Store Loyalty Programs
“Loyalty programs are an ideal way to save on groceries, and even get some for free,” Roberts said. “Members often get access to exclusive discounts, and the programs are typically free to join, too.”
For example, she said the Target Circle program has special offers for members, including the ability to get free gift cards.
“For instance, you may be able to get a $5 Target gift card after spending $25 on a certain brand or type of product,” she said. “Buy that $25 worth of items now — make sure you need and will use the items before you buy — and then you’ll have that free $5 gift card to spend later on groceries or whatever you’d like.”
Check Out Community Gardens
Usually managed by a local organization or group, a community garden can be a great way to get free food.
“Once you’re a member, you’ll likely be asked to help with garden tasks like planting, weeding and harvesting,” said Samantha Hawrylack, co-founder of personal finance blog How to FIRE. “In exchange, you’ll be able to take home a share of the produce.”
As an added bonus, your volunteer efforts likely will help you develop a green thumb that could give you the knowledge needed to plant your own garden at home next season.
Search Online for Freebies and Giveaways
You might not realize it, but there are many websites and online communities dedicated to sharing information about freebies and giveaways — including those offering free food.
“To find out if there are any currently available in your area,” Hawrylack said, “try searching for ‘free food‘ or ‘food giveaway’ on a search engine like Google or check out websites like ‘Freebie Mom’ and ‘The Free Site.’ When searching for giveaways, be sure to read the fine print carefully so you know what’s required of you — if anything — and how to claim your prize.”
Search Online for Coupons
You might already have one online site you use to find grocery coupons, but Hawrylack said there are a few different options. To start, she recommended visiting the websites of your favorite stores or brands, as many offer coupons that can be printed or used online.
“You can also search for grocery coupons on a search engine like Google, which will bring up a list of websites where you can find coupons to print or use online,” she said. “Finally, you can sign up for a coupon service like Coupons.com or Grocery Coupon Network, which will send coupons directly to your inbox.”
She advised reading the terms and conditions first, as some many require you to provide personal information, such as your name and email address.
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