Tips for Grocery Shopping
One of the biggest expenses of daily life is paying for groceries. It doesn’t matter if you are living by yourself or providing for a family, you will spend a significant chunk of your paycheck on groceries. It can be difficult at times to budget effectively, especially if you are just starting out living on your own and haven’t yet gotten a handle on the ins and outs of living on your own.
Over the years we have managed to pick up a few tips here and there about grocery shopping. Some of these we came up with on our own, but a lot were picked up in magazines, news articles, cookbooks and other sources.
You don’t have to follow these to a tee. Instead, you should pick and choose the ones that work for you. If something doesn’t make sense to you or just isn’t your style then don’t stress about it. You will find that most of these tips are rather basic, but their simplicity makes total sense and in the long run they will end up saving you money.
Make a list.
If you go grocery shopping without a list then you are more likely to end up impulse buying. This is exactly what the stores want you to do. Let’s face it, grocery stores are a business and they will do whatever they can to get you to spend more money.
The more time you spend inside the grocery store the more likely you are to spend more money. A shopping list will help you avoid making impulse purchases, like buying something just because it’s on sale or getting items in bulk even though you rarely use them. Make a list, take it with you, and do your absolute best to stick to it.
Weekly menus are a must.
This is the best way to make sure that you only buy what you need and don’t waste money on extra items that you won’t use throughout the week. If you buy perishable items that you don’t have a plan for you will often end up throwing them away, and food waste is a big problem.
Pre-planning weekly meals and only shopping for items you need to make those meals is a great way to reduce food waste. If you are a bit more experienced you might be able to even shop for two weeks, but keep in mind how long it takes items to expire and don’t forget to plan for a leftover night which is a great way to cut down on both food waste and budget.
Eat up before you venture out.
This sounds a bit silly, but trust us with this one. When you are hungry you will end up buying a bunch of junk that you and your family don’t need.
Can you imagine walking around the store, your belly grumbling, and literally wanting to eat everything in sight? It’s just not a good idea. Eat a full meal first and then go shopping. It will save you money.
Limit your spending by following a budget.
We overlook this one a lot. You need to figure out a rough budget for your grocery shopping needs. Once you have a number in mind, you will have to do your absolute best to stick to it.
This can be difficult, especially when you have a big family, but there is no other way to make sure you only buy the essentials. When you do have your budget set up, don’t forget to have a running tally of all the items you put in your cart as you shop.
Always round the number up to ensure that you are always flying under your budget radar.
Have a list on your fridge.
Keeping track of all the items you need in your kitchen, especially the long lasting ones like butter, can be a bit cumbersome. This is where keeping a list on your fridge really comes in handy. Did you just use the last two eggs? Add them to the list.
No need to dedicate your memory to it, you have plenty of other things to worry about. Besides, what if you end up not going shopping for another few days? There is no way you can remember all of the items you will need for that long.
It is also a good idea to keep a list of pantry essentials and check them every time you are about to head to the store. This will ensure you don’t run out of your basic spices and other vital kitchen ingredients.
Don’t forget to plan for simple meals, too.
Let’s face it, we all get lazy sooner or later. Not all of your weekly meals have to be an amazing dish from the outskirts of Ecuador; mac-n-cheese is an acceptable meal as well.
You will go crazy cooking extravagant and difficult to prepare dishes all the time. Simplify things by turning to spaghetti or a quick stir fry. Not all your recipes have to be a from a restaurant cookbook.
Buying in bulk can save you money, but do it the wrong way and your wallet will suffer.
When you are planning to buy groceries in bulk, you have to always approach each item with logically. Items like paper towels or toilet paper should always be bought in bulk, but what about the quickly perishable items?
That bag of tomatoes for a dollar may be a bargain deal, but will you use all of them before they go bad? Can you adjust your weekly meal plan to incorporate them all? If you are confident that you can do it, then it may be a good choice that will save you money. But be careful, if you over estimate or miscount, the result can be dollars in the trash bin.
Clip those coupons!
Are you sitting in front of a TV relaxing for a change? Why not use the time to clip some coupons from your favorite grocery store? More often than not, you will save 10-20 percent if you do some careful coupon clipping. Most stores have weekly deals and the items you buy normally will show up on the list sooner or later. Just remember to stick to your plan. Don’t jump into an impulse buy just because something is on sale.
These are just a few basic tips on how to save some time and money at the grocery store. Always remember that the longer you stay in the grocery store the more likely you are to spend more money. Get in, get the items on your list, and get out. That’s the best way to get everything you need without breaking your budget.