Do you ever find yourself at the grocery store feeling completely unprepared, and then you end up blowing tons of money?
Well, there are many ways to alleviate some of that madness, and I want to share a few that I use in my business and daily life. But before I begin, grab a snack. Oh wait, you don’t have to do that now, but … do make sure you have had a snack before you go grocery shopping, and if you are taking the kids along make sure they have food in their bellies, too. Never, ever go to the store hungry!!! Okay, are you ready for some good ole fashion advice?
Top 10 Grocery Shopping Tips (that will save you $$)
1.) The first thing you can do for yourself is check your grocery store ads. Find out what meats and veggies are on sale at your favorite grocery store and plan your menu accordingly.
2.) After you know what is on sale, shop at home before you hit the store. So … you have a general idea of what is on sale at the store, now go through your own stockpile of foods and see if there are any lurking in your cabinets, freezer and refrigerator that can be used in your meals. Don’t be lazy and accidentally buy things you already have. Two things happen when you don’t check out what you already have 1) you waste money, and 2) you waste food.
3.) After doing a bit of preliminary research, make a plan. Have your menu planned out for the week. Get it as detailed as you possibly can. I go so far as putting down our breakfasts, lunches, snacks and dinners. After you have your menu planned, put together a super-detailed shopping list on which you identify sale items and which store they are at, and coupons you are using.
4.) When planning your weekly menu, plan a leftover day, otherwise you’ll end up throwing out food. If you can’t eat your leftovers think about freezing them for a meal later in the month.
5.) Don’t fall prey to coupon clutter. I totally believe in using coupons … with caution! By this I mean don’t buy something simply because you have a coupon for it and MIGHT use it. Ask yourself, “Is this something I would typically use? Does it enhance my cooking? Am I simply buying it because it looks good and I have a coupon?” When I went through my coupon cutting phase I saved a lot of money and I had a fully stocked pantry of things we didn’t usually eat and definitely could have lived without. Don’t get me wrong, I love coupons for spices, baking supplies, dairy products, convenience foods I do buy for my kids, toiletries, beauty products, paper products and pet food.
6.) I mentioned this above, but I really mean it. Eat before you go, don’t go hungry.
7.) Buy fresh foods, opposed to processed. Fresh meats, fresh veggies, fresh fruits, etc…
8.) When meat is on sale, buy it in bulk and freeze it. Once you do this, do not forget it is there. If you are shopping your house first before the store this shouldn’t be an issue.
9.) Shop the outside aisles of the store. What I mean by this is to try and stay to the outer aisles, which is where you find most of the fresh foods. The inside aisles are packed with processed, convenience foods which can be quite pricey. My favorite aisles/sections are the fresh produce, butcher block, deli, frozen veggie section (frozen vegetables are the next best outside of fresh), bread aisle, condiment aisle, spices and baking aisle, and the dairy section. Most shopping trips I can skip the other areas. I DO NOT walk up and down each aisle – first off it takes too long and secondly it is too costly.
10.) Don’t fall into the trap of convenience foods, they will cost you more money in the end. If you can make it yourself, do! It will be healthier and cheaper. If you do find yourself buying convenience foods, pay attention to the price per ounce or per pound. Brands vary in their pricing. I typically buy generic brands but I do compare them with other brands and sometimes they are NOT the best value. Be diligent!
I truly hope this helps you with your grocery shopping adventures. I am not a professional grocery shopper, although it has crossed my mind. I am just a mom on a budget and schedule, so every little thing matters.
I would love to hear your suggestions as well.