Category Archives: Free merchandise or services


Free advertising sites

This post was last updated on June 5, 2020 by Wix

Edited By Alex Santiago

Once you launch your small business and create a website, you’ll need to spread the word to potential customers. While there are several ways to do this – including blogging, email marketing, and SEO – online advertising is one of the most effective methods.

Though advertising is often considered expensive, it’s actually quite feasible for companies on a budget. In fact, plenty of platforms let you advertise at zero cost, including online directories, social platforms and more.

To save you the legwork, we’ve compiled a list of 50 great free advertising sites to promote your website. Some require no more than a quick URL submission, while others necessitate a more thoughtful, strategic approach.

Online directories for businesses

Ranging from high-profile platforms to local listings, online directories cover a range of audiences. The method for each of them is quite similar: you submit the URL of your professional website, as well as additional details about your business or organization. These sites, in turn, incorporate this information into their data banks, ensuring that a link to your site appears when users search relevant content categories.

In addition to displaying your business name and website, these free advertising sites can improve your search engine optimization, or SEO. This helps promote your website by boosting its search engine ranking, increasing the chances that you’ll get found on Google and drawing traffic to your site.

Social media platforms

Social media marketing is a powerful strategy for business owners. Essentially, social platforms are free advertising sites; whether you promote yourself on Instagram or start a YouTube channel for your business, you can build your brand and reach potential customers.

Social bookmarking and curating

While social bookmarking and curating websites operate on the basis of link submission, the emphasis here is on creating quality content. Like social media platforms, they function as entertaining browsing experiences for users while simultaneously serving as online advertising tools for businesses.

By circulating your content on these sites, you can subtly promote your product and gently guide users toward your website. At the same time, you’ll improve your SEO by placing inbound links to your company across the web.

Classified ad websites

Classified ads are small advertisements – often free of charge – placed in newspapers, magazines or online boards. By posting on dedicated classified ad platforms, you can generate backlinks to your company site and market your business to potential customers. Adding your company name and URL to these free advertising sites is a quick, simple and affordable way to gain exposure.

Creating business pages or listings on these platforms is an effective way to begin your online advertising strategy. For more ideas and inspiration, take a look at these low-budget marketing strategies and tips to promote your site for free.


By Susan Isaak on March 24, 2020

Edited By Alex Santiago

Susan is a licensed real estate agent who consistently ranks among the top agents in her area. Her expertise is highlighted throughout Fit Small Business’s real estate content.

This article is part of a larger series on Real Estate Agents.

Success in real estate requires being tenacious about generating leads, choosing the right customer relationship management (CRM) tool for lead nurturing, and picking the best brokerage to help you meet your goals. With an estimated 87% failure rate within the first five years of business, agents need to be diligent about their business to beat the odds.

Here are 27 real estate agent tips to ensure career success.

Talbot Sutter, successful real estate agents, Tips from the pros

1. Treat Every Client Like Gold

Talbot Sutter, President & Broker, Sutter & Nugent Real Estate

When it comes to building a successful real estate career, the most important advice I could give a new agent is to treat every deal the same. No matter if it’s a $100,000 sale or $10 million sale, treat every transaction like it’s the most important yet, and it will pay off tenfold.

Judy Williams, successful real estate agents, Tips from the pros

2. Take Advantage of Lead Gen Opportunities

Judy Williams, Real Estate Agent, Halstead Manhattan

To start on the right foot, new agents must be determined to identify and follow through on opportunities. When I started working as an independent agent, I reached out to agents who had a lot of for-sale listings. I sent emails letting them know that if they ever needed open house coverage, I would be more than happy to help and host an open house for them in exchange for access to any direct buyers who attend the open houses.

Mike McElroy, successful real estate agents, Tips from the pros

3. Set Aside Time to Grow Your Business

Mike McElroy, Founder & Managing Broker, Center Coast Realty

It’s important to set aside time every day to prospect for new clients to help grow your business. Sometimes, new agents get so caught up in closing their current transactions that they forget to look for new clients to work with, and they’re left with nothing after those existing deals close.

Kerri-lyn Holland, successful real estate agents, Tips from the pros

4. Nurture Leads to Ensure You Close a Sale

Kerri-lyn Holland, Owner, Holland & Associates Real Estate

Buying a home takes time—a lot of time. Real estate shoppers visiting your website likely aren’t ready to do business on their first visit. An intuitive funnel with retargeting and email will keep you top of mind as the shopper gets closer to a decision. You’re spending money and effort to get buyers and sellers onto your website, but too many agents let those opportunities slip through the cracks.

Lisa McGreevy, successful real estate agents, Tips from the pros

5. Have a Scalable CRM

Lisa McGreevy, Sales Tech Editor, Fit Small Business

A reliable CRM is crucial for organizing contacts and tracking leads through the entire client journey. A good CRM scales with you as you grow, but scalability is about more than the size of its contact database. A solid CRM like Salesforce Essentials also offers important features like lead and account management tools that help you offer clients top-notch service every step of the way.

Ally VanderHarst, successful real estate agents, Tips from the pros

6. Commit Fully to Your Work

Ally VanderHarst, Real Estate Agent, The Kate Broddick Team

In less than one year of full-time real estate, I was able to focus on providing exceptional customer service to my clients and, as a bonus, I nearly tripled my salary. But you’ve got to commit to it. You can’t sit back and wait for clients to come to you. You’ve got to put 100% of your effort into working hard, following up on leads, and making sure you’re providing the absolute best customer service to every single person that you come in contact with.

David Meek, successful real estate agents, Tips from the pros

7. Canvas Local Business Connections for Leads

David Meek, Real Estate Broker/Associate, Keller Williams Arizona Realty

It takes time to build relationships. Start with the people who know and trust you. There is no need to do radio advertising or purchase ads on shopping carts. You already have a relationship with the 100 closest contacts in your circles. Think barbers, veterinarians, supermarket cashiers, bank tellers, teachers, and neighbors.

Allie Potts, successful real estate agents, Tips from the pros

8. Use Real Estate-Specific Websites

Allison Potts, Director of Content, Fit Small Business

New agents—or those who want to scale and grow—would do well to choose a website builder like Placester. It has genuinely solid features for agents who want real estate-specific functionality like internet data exchange (IDX) integration, email tools, and lead generation features.

Karen Gray-Plaisted, successful real estate agents, Tips from the pros

9. Connect With a Professional Stager

Karen Gray Plaisted, Owner, Design Solutions KGP

A house is a product that agents are marketing to everyone who is searching. Without a great presentation to reflect the beauty of a property, the agent loses. Staging shows that agents take a seller’s property seriously and will help sell it quicker and for top dollar.

Benjamin Ross, successful real estate agents, Tips from the pros

10. Publish Content on Your Blog or Website

Benjamin Ross, Realtor, Landlord & Investor, Mission Real Estate Group

Get a website and start building domain authority by publishing content immediately. More than 90% of buyers begin searching on the internet. You need to have an internet presence. This is a long-term goal, so you must start right away, as it will take quite a bit of time for you to rank on search engines like Google and Bing.

Manuel Mata, successful real estate agents, Tips from the pros

11. Use Video to Showcase Properties & Expertise

Manuel Mata, Realtor, White Picket Realty

Having a strong online presence today means you have to be comfortable with videos. It can be as simple as using Instagram Stories and Facebook Stories, showing houses, revealing interesting finds at homes, or sharing a buyer or seller tip. Once you get comfortable, you can go “live.” The topic does not always have to be about real estate, and I would recommend you include things that would interest your audience like highlighting a local restaurant.

Headshot of Kiah Treece, Fit Small Business

12. Always Be Learning

Kiah Treece, Editorial Manager, Fit Small Business

Most successful agents have a solid educational background, and one way to grow in the field is to upgrade your license when you have some experience behind you. McKissock offers online real estate education for those who want to upgrade their license to become brokers or simply learn more about specialty fields. Not only is McKissock affordable, but you can complete courses anywhere you have an internet connection. Learn more about their course offerings.

Jared Barnett, successful real estate agents, Tips from the pros

13. Maintain a Budget

Jared Barnett, Real Estate Agent, Compass & The Barnett Bittencourt Team

As a real estate agent, you are only paid when you sell or rent a property. For this reason, paychecks do not come on a set schedule, so it’s important to create a budget to manage your cash flow so that you are financially stable during busy and slow periods.

Jonas Sickler, successful real estate agents, Tips from the pros

14. Check Your Online Reputation

Jonas Sickler, Marketing Director,

Reputation is everything for real estate agents. Potential clients will most likely investigate Realtors before reaching out, so it’s important to frequently Google yourself to see what’s been published by you and others online. Bad reviews or defamatory social media posts can destroy a real estate business overnight. Even your own private social media posts can alienate clients if you share politically charged views or use vulgar language in posts or comments.

Christopher Linsell, successful real estate agents, Tips from the pros

15. Create & Send Professional Marketing Materials

Christopher Linsel, Staff Writer & Real Estate Coach, The Close

Starting your career in real estate will require that you have marketing materials that get your name and brand out to your farm area. The marketing materials of ProspectsPLUS! allow agents to customize collateral and even provide services for distribution. Visit its website to see high-quality templates for flyers, postcards, door hangers, newsletters, and other marketing materials. Plus, if you refer a friend, you can get a $25 gift card.

Delroy Gill, successful real estate agents, Tips from the pros

16. Know Your Value & Establish a Process

Delroy Gill, Real Estate Agent, Sotheby’s International Realty

Knowing what value you offer as an agent as you grow is important but having a real database you build on is also a piece of the foundation in a stable real estate career. When you combine process with value, you have a recipe for success.

Tommy Mutchler, successful real estate agents, Tips from the pros

17. Communicate Quickly & Reliably

Tommy Mutchler, Real Estate Agent, RE/MAX

Respond to clients’ texts and emails right away—ideally within minutes—although before the end of the day is better than nothing. It’s too easy to respond to someone later. Go above and beyond and respond now. If someone calls you, answer. I don’t care if it’s a telemarketer trying to sell you Facebook ads. Answer your phone. If you have to miss the call, call them back ASAP. Just do it. Putting follow-up on the back burner will kill your business.

Victoria Carter, successful real estate agents, Tips from the pros

18. Be the Neighborhood Expert

Victoria Carter, Real Estate Agent, Victoria Carter Team

You will never truly succeed unless you offer real value to your clients. You need to understand the local school system, different neighborhoods, housing markets and trends, commuting options, and the finances behind buying or selling a home.

Brenda Di Bari, successful real estate agents, Tips from the pros

19. Pick the Right Brokerage to Start Your Career

Brenda Di Bari, Commercial Real Estate Broker, Halstead

Once you’re licensed, you will need to find a brokerage to sponsor you — otherwise known as a place to “hang your license.” Find a brokerage that has a comprehensive agent development program, which may include continuing education courses, a mentor, referrals to new client leads, and a marketing budget to help get you started. Be sure to choose an agency where you get along well with the managing broker.

Kate Broddick, successful real estate agents, Tips from the pros

20. Don’t Be Afraid to Take Risks

Kate Broddick, Real Estate Agent, The Kate Broddick Team

I wish I’d known that if you want to stand out in the crowd, you’ve got to be a little risky and do something different than everyone else. Once I started taking more risks and letting the real “me” shine through, my business tripled in a year. I let go of all barriers, rebranded myself, started a team, and presented the world with a marketing platform that was a bit edgier and centered myself around a less “mainstream” way of marketing. I discovered I never, ever wanted to be the person following the crowd — I wanted to be the one leading the trend.

Dan Spransy, successful real estate agents, Tips from the pros

21. Amp Up Your Motivation

Dan Spransy, Broker & Owner, Realty Executives Cooper Spransy

Motivation is key. Self-motivation can be low when transferring into real estate from a nine-to-five job or stay-at-home role. At Realty Executives, we train our executives on how to master the business but, once they know, it’s up to them to execute.

Billy Rodriguez, successful real estate agents, Tips from the pros

22. Find a Real Estate Agent Mentor

Billy Rodriguez, Managing Director, Central Florida Retail Investment Team, Cite Partners

Have a mentor. I can’t say how important this is. Everyone is faced with difficult decisions. It’s great to have trusted advisors who will always give the best advice and who will always benefit you and your family. I have three mentors and talk to them often. I always learn something new and gain so much more at the end of our meetings.

Reilly McGregor, successful real estate agents, Tips from the pros

23. Be Consistent & Hold Yourself Accountable

Reilly McGregor, Broker Associate, Harborview Realty

Be consistent. Write a list of items that you are going to accomplish at the beginning of each day and the end of each day. Hold yourself accountable. Commit to learning something new daily. This can range from new information about a community or understanding contracts better. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. We were all new agents at one point, and many people are willing to help.

Augusto Bittencourt, successful real estate agents, Tips from the pros

24. Nurture Existing Relationships & Build New Ones

Augusto Bittencourt, Real Estate Agent, Compass & The Barnett Bittencourt Team

The most successful real estate agents have a strong network that provides a steady source of business and referrals. A mistake many real estate agents make is forgetting to maintain the relationships of their core network while focusing on creating new contacts. While it is important to grow, it’s equally important to maintain all relationships.

Miles Chapin, successful real estate agents, Tips from the pros

25. Understand Your Clients

Miles Chapin, Senior Managing Director, Modern Spaces

Try to identify what you need to learn and find a place or a situation where you can get that knowledge. Get out of your comfort zone and try to understand how other people think. Everyone is different: Millennials use online apps more than baby boomers while empty-nesters have different needs than younger, single people. Don’t get caught up in any one methodology. Balance your time searching online with actual time in the field.

E. Allen Dietzschold, successful real estate agents, Tips from the pros

26. Get a Lead Generation Real Estate Coach

E. Allen Dietzschold, Broker at Encore Group & RE Coach, Real Estate Success Coaching

Your business is lead generation. New agents find that there are 100 different things you can do to generate leads, and most of them work some of the time. Bottom line: Not all lead gen is created equal. Get some coaching on which methods will be best for your personality and your market so you understand how to generate leads that will convert.

Andrew Given, successful real estate agents, Tips from the pros

27. Give Your Business a Runway

Andrew Given, Real Estate Broker, The Given Group at Lofty Real Estate

Give yourself a realistic timeframe to get up and running. You are starting a business, and any business requires time to begin to make money. Between 12 and 18 months is a realistic time before you start to see business regularly. That means you need to make sure you have money to live on and money to invest in your marketing during that time frame. Proper timeline planning and budgeting will ensure you have a fighting chance to make the career work.

Bottom Line—Real Estate Agent Tips

The real estate agent tips above can make the difference between closing a deal today vs one tomorrow. However, no one tip guarantees results every time. Becoming a successful real estate agent requires hard work and dedication. Therefore, the best tip of all is to position yourself to succeed in competitive environments, by being willing to adapt to ever-changing trends, and never stop trying new things.

About the Author

Susan Isaak

Susan Isaak is a staff writer at Fit Small Business focusing on real estate. She is also an active, licensed real estate agent with Houlihan Lawrence in Connecticut, has helped hundreds of people buy, sell and rent their homes, and consistently ranks among the top agents in her area.


1. Boohoo

Boohoo is one of the world’s fastest-growing e-commerce sites. The booming retailer offers non-stop fashion with up to 100 new pieces hitting the site every day. The majority of styles on offer are under AU$100, and some are even as low as $2, so fill up your basket without any pesky spending guilt.

2. Nasty Gal

Created by “girlboss” Sophia Amoruso, Nasty Gal began as a humble eBay store selling vintage clothing. Since then, the brand has grown into an e-commerce giant that sells a broad range of genuine vintage and new, vintage-inspired pieces. This site is perfect for girls with a little bit of attitude who like to have a lot of fun.

3. H&M

Do we even need to introduce H&M? The Swedish super-retailer is everyone’s first choice for affordable, fast-fashion clothing, and its online store makes it all available from the comfort of your home. Sit on the couch while stocking up on great basics, lingerie, trends, accessories, workwear, activewear, and even homewares.

4. Free People

If you’re a free spirit or a hippy at heart, Free People is the online shopping destination for you. This bohemian retailer dishes up the goods when it comes to dreamy designs. Fill up your basket with wonderful pieces that are fit for brunch, the beach or a trip around the world. Also, take a look at the brand’s Movement label for great activewear.

Nordstrom has been a leading fashion retailer for over 100 years and is continuing to uphold the title. Although the brand’s online store is obviously a lot younger, it follows suit from Nordstrom’s physical stores in terms of excellent service and extensive product range.

6. Mango

Mango, also known as MNG, offers a broad range of minimally chic clothing and accessories. The brand’s designs are pieces that can be worn every day that easily blend into the rest of your wardrobe.

7. Luisa Via Roma

From sporty to chic, this site has it all. It offers pieces fresh off the runway, exclusive collaborations and discounts across some of the world’s biggest labels. If you’re after curated styles that will make you stand out from the crowd, you can’t look past Luisviaroma – it’s the one-stop-shop for all things beautiful.


If you haven’t shopped online at ASOS, you’ve seriously been missing out. This site is a one-stop destination for all of your fashion and beauty needs at a reasonable price. Filter through thousands of on-trend products from a variety of brands as well as the ASOS house labels.

9. The Outnet

Created by the people at Net-A-Porter, The Outnet is the ultimate destination for exclusive discounts on more than 350 designer labels. Some of the featured brands include Chloé, Stuart Weitzman and Oscar de la Renta. This is a great place to visit if you’re after your first luxury piece, but don’t want to spend your entire paycheck on it.

10. Farfetch

There’s only one of you, so why wear something that everyone else has? Finding your perfect piece of clothing shouldn’t be a hassle, thanks to Farfetch. With vintage pieces from the labels you love like Chanel, Yves Saint Laurent, and Versace, you can be seen in something that no-one else is wearing.

11. Shopbop

Since its launch in 2000, Shopbop has become a site that fashionistas know and love. It’s the perfect place to shop for both contemporary and designer labels and has an impressive selection of apparel, shoes, bags, and accessories. Another major highlight of this site is that it offers lookbook and wardrobe advice features, which makes the online experience all the more enjoyable!

12. Revolve

You can always count on Revolve to bring you the most trendy pieces you’ll need for a season update, and the site features many prominent designer brands. They’ve even added face masks to their list of products —  so you know they’re keeping an eye on current trends and needs. For convenience, fashion lovers can also get their favorite beauty products on the site, which is super appealing because you don’t have to order from multiple retailers. Revolve’s Shop This Look section is also a fantastic way to find outfits you want to recreate, and their dedicated customer service team will help with any issues.

13. Nordstrom Rack

If you love a bargain, then Nordstrom Rack is the place to go! We all know that designer clothes can come with a high price tag, but this is the site that helps you save money while also getting your hands on your dream brands. At Nordstrom Rack, you can get up to 70 percent off the original department store and boutique prices, and they are continually adding new items to the inventory. Be sure to check in weekly for new arrivals and shop your favorite styles, which can be done from the comfort of your living room. If you want to browse on-the-go, the mobile app also makes shopping super easy!

14. Saks Fifth Avenue

Most people have heard of Saks Fifth Avenue, the famous New York department store, and their online site does not disappoint. Saks is known for fashionable and exclusive items, and you can now shop them from the comfort of your home. Choose from a wide range of designers, pick the trendiest apparel, handbags, and shoes, and finish off your looks with interesting pieces of jewelry and chic accessories. If you need inspiration, The Edit highlights seasonal favorites and trends, and the editorials are always impressive.

15. Topshop

One of our favorite British high street brands, Topshop, is also available online. This site offers all the great styles that you’re used to finding in-store at the same affordable price. Tall, petite and maternity ranges are also on offer for those who want Topshop’s on-trend style but need a different fit. On top of all that, standard international delivery, which is up to nine days, is free when you spend over £100.


For the lovers of luxury fashion and independent designers, look no further than SSense. With thousands of incredible curated pieces available, you can find a one-of-a-kind piece that others will adore, or the latest items fresh off the runway. Whether you’re gaga for Gucci or a lover of La Perla, this is the site for you.

17. Uniqlo

Uniqlo is the place to go for basics on a budget. You may not find the most fashionable pieces here, but you will find some great, quality pieces to be the core ingredients of your casual wardrobe. Think comfortable cotton hoodies, cashmere sweaters, down puffer jackets and essential seamless underwear, all for the lowest prices imaginable.

18. Verishop

Verishop is the one-stop-online-shop customers love because they have so many different apartments. From men’s and women’s clothing and apparel to beauty and wellness or stylish pieces for your home, this is the best way to find items you love or the perfect gift for friends and dear ones. Shop from both global and digitally native brands, including Billie the Label, and leisurewear brand LETT. Another highlight is the fast and free shipping and 24-hour customer service, which makes the whole experience easy and fun!

19. MyTheresa

MyTheresa has been around for over 30 years, first as a fashion hotspot in Munich, and later an online extension of the exclusive store. What can you expect from this site? For starters, fast delivery within one business day, free returns within 30 days, and an impressive collection of designer items! The site stocks over 250 international designers, and is known for being one of the best sites to purchase luxury buys, with big names including Acne Studios, Emilio Pucci, and Fendi.

20. & Other Stories

If you live in the U.K., U.S., or one of a selection of European countries, then you are lucky enough to be able to shop online at &OtherStories. The brand focuses on the whole outfit, making accessories an essential part of its business. The clothes are nice, but the pieces to buy are bags, shoes, sunglasses, and jewelry.

21. Coggles

Discover your next favorite piece of clothing on Coggles. Featuring designers like Victoria Beckham, Balmain, and Kenzo, you can filter through thousands of beautiful clothes and accessories to find something perfect for you. From sneakers to fine jewelry, it’s the perfect shopping site for a friend or yourself.

22. Missguided

Missguided is your online shopping destination for young and fun fashion. This site is perfect for anyone who’s not afraid to show a bit of skin. Low cut tops, bodycon dresses and short shorts are a regular occurrence here. Pick up a few of the brand’s continuously on-trend pieces as a cheap way to spice up your usual wardrobe.

23. MatchesFashion

Everyone deserves to treat themselves once in a while, so why not do it on Matches Fashion? From the essentials to the exquisite, this site offers unmatched assistance. If you’re having difficulty making a decision or you need a bit of extra help, let the MyStylist service help you out. Whether you’re unsure of how to put a look together or you need to spark some inspiration, this team is here to help.

24. Urban Outfitters

Urban Outfitters stocks a huge range of brands and styles so that you can find what you need for the price that you want. Filter products by categories, styles, lengths, sizes, colors, brands and prices to quickly hunt down key items, or just click through pages and browse all the lovely styles.

25. Forever21

Forever 21 offers super-affordable casual wear that is both cute and stylish. This user-friendly online store is the perfect place to pick up all the trends that you want to try without investing too much financially. The brand also loves social media and often re-posts customers’ photos, so get buying and then get snapping to feel the online love

26. ModCloth

Visit ModCloth if you’re on the lookout for indie, vintage, and retro-inspired clothing and accessories. This brand’s democratizing approach to fashion is incredibly refreshing, featuring a variety of models on its site and selling styles to suit everyone. Take a look at the dress section to find some truly beautiful pieces that are perfect for summer days and picnics in the park.

27. Miss Selfridge

Miss Selfridge, which initially began as a part of Selfridges department store in the U.K., is now a part of the Arcadia Group, which owns Topshop. Visit this retailer’s site if you’re looking for fun party dresses or gorgeous day wear.

28. COS

COS is like the older, cooler and much more refined sister to H&M. Made by the same company, COS steers away from fads and passing trends while H&M embraces them. Offering a range of minimal and modern wardrobe essentials, COS will provide you with pieces that last beyond the current season. Although you will pay more than you would at H&M, you’ll get your money’s worth.

29. Marks and Spencer

Marks and Spencer, which launched its Australian web store this year, offers a range of relaxed and chic styles that are all well within budget. Check out the brand’s extensive range of accessories to find affordable pieces to match every outfit. Also, explore the M&S & Alexa Chung Collaboration for great vintage-inspired styles.

30. Princess Polly

Shopping multiple brands that you love in one spot is as convenient as it is fun. Proving this point is the online retailer, Princess Polly. This site carries several fashionable and affordable brands, including Evil Twin, Minkpink, Somedays Lovin, The Fifth Label, Windsor Smith and Nobody Denim


Alex Santiago – Editor & Publisher

It’s easy to waltz down the grocery store aisle and fill up your basket with things that aren’t on the list. Maybe it’s the fluorescent lighting, strategically placed products at checkout, or that squeaky wheel on the cart that messes with your sanity—and your budget.But that doesn’t mean you get a free pass to spend like crazy! It’s time to reel it in and learn how to save money on groceries.

How Much Do Most People Spend on Groceries Each Month?

Around here, we recommend spending 10–15% of your take-home pay on food, which includes both groceries and eating out. But (like you probably guessed) most people spend a lot more than that. The average cost of monthly groceries for one person ranges from $162–372. Married couples clock in at spending somewhere between $371–773 each month. And when it comes to a family of four, the average cost for their monthly grocery bill shoots up to $570–1298!1 Yikes!

Spoiler alert: You don’t have to spend an arm and a leg on groceries. But don’t just take our word for it. Here are 30 easy ways to go grocery shopping on a budget, plus some tips from Dave’s Facebook fans!

1. Redefine dinner.

If the word dinner makes you picture a big homemade meal with a nice cut of meat, two steaming sides of fresh veggies from the farmers market, a warm loaf of French bread, and a chocolate dessert—chill out and cut yourself some slack! This isn’t 1952, and supper doesn’t have to be a big feast.

Your kids and spouse will survive on BLTs, omelets or a big salad several times a week. Don’t be afraid of serving simple meals or doing breakfast for dinner to make your groceries stretch! Eggs are inexpensive, and you can whip them up into different dishes like frittatas and quiches if you’re feeling fancy. Or make egg salad sandwiches if you want to keep it simple.

It’s time to shrink your guilt and your budget by rethinking the most misunderstood meal of the day. Freeeeedom!

2. Crunch some numbers while you shop.

If you keep a running tally of how much money is adding up in your cart, you’ll save yourself from any surprises when you get up to the checkout line. Pull out the calculator on your phone and keep track of all those veggies, fruits and other staple items you’re putting in your cart. This might make you stop and ask yourself—wait, do I really need that fancy $5 sparkling water that isn’t on sale?

“Stick to your list and use a calculator as you shop to stay under budget. We’re under $50 a week for our family (two adults and a toddler). No junk food either. It’s doable!” — Amanda N.

3. Round up your grocery cost estimates.

This is a fun little trick to play on yourself when you’re stumped for how to save money on groceries. While you’re walking around with your calculator, round up each item’s price. The $1.59 product becomes $2, that $7.75 item becomes $8, and so on. If you do this for everything in your cart, you’ll still know roughly what you’re spending, but you’ll be pleasantly surprised when you’re standing at the checkout line and coming in under budget every time.

“I use tally marks to keep track of what I’m spending, and I always round up every item. Even if the item is $1.29, it gets two tally marks. That way, by the time I check out, I’m both aware of approximately what to expect and surprised to still be under what I wanted to spend.” — Jillian H.

4. Raid your pantry.

Challenge yourself to look through your pantry (or fridge) and see what kind of meals you can throw together with the ingredients you already have. Who says you have to stock up on more groceries when there are perfectly good chicken thighs shoved in the back of your freezer and a couple unopened cans of black beans and salsa on your shelves?

“Don’t feel like you need to buy something just because you’re out of it. Raid your pantry and fridge for substitutes first. Make your meal plans around what you already have.” — Carla A.

5. Think before you bulk up.

Buying in bulk is amazing . . . when it actually saves you money. Don’t assume that the big bulk buys at the discount stores are automatically the cheaper option. When you’re grocery shopping on a budget, be sure to stop and compare the price per unit or ounce for the item you’re buying.

As tempting as it is to stock up, don’t buy more than you really need—especially when it comes to perishable items. Buying bulk cereal might be a great investment for a family of four, but if it’s just you and your spouse, that 40-count of Greek yogurt might not be the best buy.

6. Start freezing and storing meals now.

Need to figure out how to save money on food fast? Say hello to freezer meals. There are a ton of freezer meal recipes online. Look them up! You can set aside a Saturday to make a bunch of freezer meals and then reap the benefits later on down the road. Not only will you save money, but you’ll also save time. Can’t beat that!

“Cook big meals and divide leftovers into portions and freeze them. Freeze as much as you can from your shopping.” — Anthony R.

7. Pay with cash.

It’s like Dave Ramsey always says: Cash is king! The best way to be sure you’ll end up with a lower grocery bill is to stick to the budget and pay with cash. When you go to the store with cash in hand, you know exactly how much you can spend—because once the cash runs out, that’s it!

Plus, it’ll help you prioritize the meat-and-vegetable necessities rather than the ice-cream-and-cookie impulse buys. Those little extras are okay if you plan for them!

If you still find that you’re eating like royalty at the beginning of the month and then scraping by at the end, take out cash for groceries every week instead of once a month. That way, you’ll have a better picture of how much you can actually afford to spend each week.

“Use the envelope system and put unnecessary items at the end of the counter. I would tell the cashier I only had a certain amount of money to spend and to stop when I got to that point. Instead of it being an embarrassment, it was a bonding moment for me and the cashier when I made my goal, or even if it didn’t work out.” — Jan B.

8. Don’t allow for budget-breaking surprises.

This is one of the simplest ways to save money on groceries. When you get to the store, stick to your list! That’s the key to staying on budget. And if you go shopping as a family, let your kids help plan the meals and then find the items. It’s much easier to stay on budget when you’re shopping with a plan and working as a team . . . and when you get comfortable saying no to candy.

“Our grocery store offers ‘scan it.’ You can walk around with a scanner and scan your items as you shop. It keeps a total for you so you’re never surprised at the register—and you can decide if you really need certain things.” — Jamie M.

9. Shop in season.

When you’re grocery shopping on a budget, it’s super important to live by this rule. Buying a pomegranate in mid-July will probably cost you an arm and a leg—and it might not even taste good! So, throughout the year, make it a point to only buy fruits and veggies that are in season.

10. Ignore eye-level items.

Have you ever noticed how the most expensive items on the grocery shelves tend to be right at your eye level? That’s no random fluke. It’s on purpose. Grocery stores are smart. They want you to go for the splurge items!

Instead of falling for those marketing tricks, look up and down as you shop. The more affordable brands could be higher or lower on the shelves. Think of it as a treasure hunt for the best price!

11. Try different grocery stores.

Why did you pick your grocery store to shop at? Is it the friendliest? Is it the closest to your home or most convenient to your commute? If we’re being honest, most of us probably shop where we do out of pure habit.

Don’t let a comfortable routine cost you money.

In the U.S., the top seven cheapest ranked grocery stores to shop at are Aldi, Market Basket, WinCo Foods, Food 4 Less, Costco, Walmart and Trader Joe’s.2 But keep in mind, things might stack up differently near you, so if you’re not sure which grocery stores are worth your time and dollars, ask around and compare prices.

Also, if you want to save money on food, be sure to check the weekly ads in your area for what’s on sale at competing grocery stores. You might find that shopping at the store down the street is costing extra money in the long run. Figuring out a new shopping plan may be frustrating at first, but it’s worth it to keep extra cash in your pocket.

12. Learn the sales cycles.

Are you ready to do a little detective work? Start paying attention to when your favorite items go on sale and how much the price drops. You might even want to jot it all down in a small notebook or on your smartphone. Whatever you do, just make sure you’re keeping track of those sales so you can see if there’s a trend. Soon you’ll be able to predict them before they hit!

13. BYOB.

Nope, it’s not what you think.

It’s time to bring your own bag to the grocery store! Lots of stores will give you a discount off your total grocery bill just for bringing in a reusable bag. How easy is that? Your savings will usually run somewhere between five and 10 cents per bag! Five bags could save you anywhere from 25 to 50 cents. Hey, savings are savings!

14. Don’t shop when you’re hungry.

People do a lot of silly things when they’re hungry. They say things they don’t really mean, eat all of their roommate’s chips, and aimlessly stroll the grocery store aisles like zombies.

And while your best friend might not hold you responsible for what you said when you were “hangry,” your grocery bill won’t let you off the hook so easily. Step away from the 48-count of frozen waffles, and put back that pineapple upside-down cake from the bakery.

Walk into the grocery store with a full stomach, and you might be shocked by how much lower your grocery bill is!

15. Stick to a meal plan.

It sounds like a chore, but meal planning can actually be a lot of fun when you’re learning how to save money on groceries. Pick a day of the week when you’ll plan out the meals. Once you decide what you’ll make for breakfasts, lunches and dinners, write out each ingredient needed for those meals—plus a few snacks, of course. Try to use ingredients you already have on hand before you think about the other ingredients you need to shop for.

And remember: A list can make or break your budget. So stick to your meal plan for the week and let your list be your guide!

16. Don’t buy more than you need.

We love a deal. Everyone loves a deal. But if you get suckered into buying stuff you don’t really need, did you really get a deal at all? Buying something just because it’s on sale is a good example of this. If it wasn’t part of your planned grocery list, then you still spent more money than you were intending to—deal or no deal.

“Just because something is marked two for $5, four for $10, etc., doesn’t mean you have to buy that many items. You get the same discounted price if you buy just one.” — Stacy H.

17. Test out your green thumb.

This might not be for everyone, but if you can grow your own tomatoes, bell peppers and cauliflower in your garden, you’re sure to save money at the grocery store. Why? Because you don’t have to buy any of those things there! You can just go out and grab them from your garden, Little House on the Prairie style. How awesome is that?

18. Shop online and pick up at the store.

If you’re looking for another hack when it comes to grocery shopping on a budget, you might want to consider using curbside grocery pickup. You can select the exact items you want online, pay for them, and then pick them up at whatever time works for you.

A lot of grocery stores are offering this service, and customers seem to be enjoying the convenience factor. But here’s why we really love it: You tend to cut out the impulse buying and stick to your grocery list and budget! No more getting up to the register only to discover that family-size box of cereal isn’t on sale after all. And no more buying rolled oats just in case you’re out at home (you can walk to the pantry to see for yourself—mind blown).

Some stores offer a pickup service for free, but others will make you pay a small fee, so be sure to budget that into your overall cost too.

19. Use apps on your smartphone.

When you’re searching for ways to save money on groceries, don’t forget about all the rebate apps out there!

Ibotta, Receipt Hog, Checkout 51 and Fetch Rewards are just a few of the great apps that can help you save. While rebates don’t give you a discount up front (like a traditional coupon), you should see savings in the long run.

20. Try going meatless for a meal.

Look here, carnivore, don’t be afraid to branch out and have a meatless meal once or twice a week. Buying large quantities of meat can make your grocery bill skyrocket (especially when the meat isn’t on sale). So instead, find some meatless recipes to whip up on Meatless Monday—or whatever day of the week you choose!

“We do a meatless meal one to two times a week. We budget $500 for a family of five. Sometimes it’s too much, sometimes it’s the perfect amount. If we don’t spend it, we put it toward our debt snowball.” — Holly M.

21. Eat leftovers for lunch.

We all know this—going out for lunch will seriously eat into your food budget. If you’re dropping $10 just twice a week, that’s $80 a month being spent on going out to eat (and we’re not even talking a nice dinner out with friends on Friday night).

Don’t waste your money like that when you can take leftovers and save a ton!

“We almost always have a nice dinner every night and are really good about taking the leftovers for lunch. No matter what you cook, if you consistently eat at home, it’s way cheaper than going out all the time.” — Cindy N.

22. Buy generic.

You know generic pasta is cheaper, but you’re still not convinced it won’t ruin your grandmother’s lasagna recipe. Are generic brands really as good as the name brands?

Consumer Reports found that most store brands measure up to the name brands in taste and quality—and they’re usually 20–25% lower in price too! And if that isn’t enough to sell you, a family of five can save up to $3,000 a year just by making the switch to store brands.3 In other words, your less expensive lasagna will taste just as delicious as Grandma’s.

Still not sold? The National Bureau of Economic Research says when buying staples like salt, sugar and baking soda, chefs were more likely to buy generic than everyday grocery shoppers.4 And they’re the food experts! The study figured out that if more consumers purchased store brands, we could save roughly $44 billion.

With that kind of money on the line, it pays to be brand disloyal.

“We shop at a great grocery store known for their low prices, and most stuff we buy is generic. We no longer buy desserts or junk food, which cut probably $200 from our budget.” — Erin A.

23. If you buy it—use it!

Nothing is worse than discovering funky vegetables and fruit floating through the abyss in the back of your fridge. And to make it worse, all those rotten cucumbers and moldy peaches are dollar signs you just wasted. Ouch!

Try your best to actually use what you buy at the grocery store. Put a list on the front of your refrigerator if you think that will help jog your memory. Whatever you do, just don’t let those items go to waste.

24. Shop the farmers market at the end of the day.

Okay, heads up—not everything at a farmers market is going to be inexpensive. But by the end of the day, most farmers don’t want to take their food home with them. It’s to their advantage to part with the items, even if it means they barely break even.

Walk around your local farmers market toward closing time and see what kind of deals you can score. Make a reasonable offer for the box of produce they have left. Chances are, you’ll get a great deal on delicious, fresh fruits and veggies!

25. Preserve and store away.

When ingredients are overflowing at the farmers market (or in your garden), buy in bulk and preserve them for the winter. Yeah, it may seem like you’re spending more during the summer between the extra produce and canning jars. But think of each one of those jars of tomato sauce or pickles as an investment.

You can buy a box of pasta for a couple of bucks and pull a container of your homemade “summer in a jar” tomato sauce off the shelf in the winter. You’ll have created an affordable dinner. Plus, think about how gratifying it will be to eat sauce you made!

And speaking of sauce, you can save yourself time and effort if you invest in a vacuum sealer. Plan a day where you make big batches of sauces—like curry, tomato, cheese, etc. Vacuum seal and freeze them for when you want all the comfort of a flavorful sauce with minimal effort. All you need is some simmering water or a slow cooker to revive the sauce. Bon appétit!

26. Shop the perimeter of the store.

The inside aisles of the grocery store are mostly made up of processed food that can derail your budget. Instead, shop the outer edges of the store for fresh fruits and vegetables, grains and beans. Look for nutrient-dense items and fresh, seasonal food. Your food budget will thank you later.

27. Skip the packaging.

A pre-packaged bag of lettuce with a dressing packet and fixings will cost double what a head of lettuce with some simple, homemade dressing would. Go for the unpackaged fruits and veggies whenever you can. They’re cheaper and usually healthier too.

28. Grow herbs and spices.

A store-bought pack of rosemary, mint or chives can get pricey. So even if you don’t have a ton of space to garden, it’s worth it to plant a few fresh herbs indoors or on your patio to save money. And if you can’t use your harvest right away, puree and place it into ice cube trays to freeze.

29. Only buy meat when it’s on sale.

No secret here: Meat can be expensive. And if you want grass-fed beef or extra lean cuts of organic meat, the price is going to go up. So, what’s a savvy budgeter to do when grocery shopping? Well, you could become a vegetarian, sure. Or you could just learn how to become a better meat shopper.

Look for great deals on meat when it’s on sale. Don’t worry about it going bad before you can use it all, because you can always stash it away in the freezer. Also, look for cuts of meat that are cheaper alternatives to what you usually buy. Instead of chicken breasts, opt for chicken thighs. Skip the sirloin and use ground chuck. Pass on the pork chops and grab the pork loin.

30. Leave the overspenders at home.

Word to the wise, if you find that your kids are the culprits of adding all those “not on the list” items to your cart, you might want to leave them at home. Yes, we’re looking at you with the box of cookies, little Jimmy. On the flip side, maybe it’s your spouse who needs to stay far away from the grocery store.

“My #1 [grocery store hack] is banning my husband from going to the grocery store! We saved at least $300 a month by him not going.” — Melissa W.

Grocery Shopping on a Budget Doesn’t Have to Be Hard

A few new habits can help you lower your monthly grocery bill, stick to your budget, and meet your money goals faster. That means more cash to pay down debt, invest for the future, or save for something fun—like a babysitter and a nice meal out where someone else cooks and cleans up.

Try one of these grocery store hacks on your next trip down the grocery aisle, and you could be pleasantly surprised by how much cash stays in your pocket!

Don’t have a grocery budget? Well, what the heck are you waiting for? You need one to figure out how to save money on groceries! Create your budget with our free budgeting app, EveryDollar, and get ready to hit the grocery store armed and dangerous next time