Simple steps to save thousands on groceries

(ABC) – It’s a feeling familiar to most families: arriving at the grocery counter checkout line and being shocked at the number that comes up on the register once all the items are scanned.

For one Connecticut family, that number was regularly $600 per week. The Krause family, with their three kids aged 16, 15 and 10, needed ways to shave a few dollars off that weekly bill but still feed their kids’ friends, who spend a lot of time at their home, plus buy organic produce and keep up their overall healthy diet.

The family was making several trips to the store each week and not doing any sort of sale shopping or advance planning, so they needed a strategy. Here’s the three-part plan “GMA on the Money” came up with to save them big bucks without clipping even one coupon.

1. The first step deals with how the Krause family shops. It’s important to not only look at the products at eye level, but to look at the top and bottom shelves. The most expensive products are usually the ones right in front of you, with sale items being higher or lower than eye level. Also keep an eye out for the items at the ends of the aisles that often hold great sales. And finally, store brands are often cheaper than name brands. Decide where you can sacrifice name brands to save. For the Krauses, they couldn’t give up their Starbucks coffee, but were happy to save money on condiments by buying store brands.

2. On-phone apps. Grocery Pal brings in-store sales to your phone. Simply plug in your zip code and the app pulls up stores in your area. From there, select your preferred grocery store and browse the sales by category: Dairy, coffee, meats, deli, etc. Once you find the deal you want, track it down in the appropriate section of the store. The app was 100 percent accurate on our grocery shopping trip with the Krauses.

3. Money back. There are also apps that send you money — yes, like a check in the mail — simply for using the app. Ibotta and Checkout 51 are two apps that ask users to watch a video or take a survey and, in return, get cash back on their groceries. Take a photo of your receipt and upload it to the app and let the checks roll in.

All in all, we saved the Krauses $120 per week — or more than $6,000 per year — by using these three steps

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