Grocery shopping can easily become one of those routines that we just go into auto-pilot mode and complete without much thought. However, by allowing that to be our weekly modus operandi, it can end up costing us much more than is necessary over the course of time. We’ll explore ways to save money while grocery shopping.
So many of our monthly costs we cannot control, or we have limited ability to control. Our grocery shopping budget is one that we do have influence over. Choices upon how much we spend and our habits will contribute to the bottom line.
Planning Your Grocery Shopping List
This might seem like a ‘no-brainer’ tip, but it’s something many of us know, but don’t actually do. Obviously we won’t get the benefit of it, if we don’t put it into practice.
Make a habit of having an ongoing list somewhere to you’ll use it. Write down household items as you run out. Have everyone else in the household contribute to this list as appropriate.
Plan your week’s menu, and make your shopping list based on your upcoming meals for the week. You’ll benefit from becoming more organized in this area. You won’t run out of ideas of what to fix for dinner in the week, and you’ll have all ingredients on hand.
Some people gather their favorite store’s sales flyer, and construct a menu based upon the weekly specials.Pay attention also to what’s in season, and do some meal planning in that area as well.Not only will you typically get better pricing on those items, they’ll likely be fresher as well.
This is the time also to see if you have any coupons, especially items that are on sale, pull them out. Beware however, if it’s not an item you regularly use it could end up costing more in the long run. No unnecessary item is a good deal!
If you choose to shop at more than one store by shopping their sales and your coupons, consider the time and gas this takes. With high fuel costs, it’s not always in your best interest to drive all over town to save a few pennies here and there. Must sure the savings would justify it.
Do some planning to help you get the best bottom line cost savings on your grocery bill.
Do not shop hungry! You will be more tempted to buy ‘munchies’ and junk food that calls your name as you walk down the food isles. This is probably one of the worst mistakes someone can make when trying to save money while grocery shopping.
Right before shopping, eat a healthy meal to make sure you are fully satisfied. Be sure to drink plenty of fresh water too. Sometimes folks can mistake thirst for hunger. If you take children with you shopping (or anyone else), be sure to do the same for them as well.
If you have children, if at all possible try to grocery shop while they are in school or see if you can get someone to watch them. There are a couple of reasons for this. It is difficult to comparison shop and give children the attention they need at the same time. You’ll be dealing with their, “I wants” which can also increase your bottom line food bill. This principal is true if anyone else accompanies you food shopping. Go alone if at all possible.
Sometimes grocery shopping at night may work best, and usually stores are less busy then.
A grocery store’s main goal is to try to get consumers to spend more money in their stores than they originally intended. There are some specific tactics they use to help accomplish that goal.
Do your main shopping on the outside perimeters of the store first. Typically this will be where the food staples will be located anyways, produce, meat, dairy. The inside of the stores will be processed foods. Watch out for end of isle displays as well, they are usually highly targeted sales areas.
Usually the highest priced foods are located at eye level on shelves. Look up and below to find better pricing. Many off-brand or store brand are just as good quality as the name brand. If you don’t know for sure, try one item of the off-brand to see if you like it, before stocking up.
Bring a calculator to figure actual cost per ounce or other unit, to find the lowest cost. The biggest size isn’t always the cheapest, ounce for ounce.
Stick to your shopping list! Put on your imaginary blinders, get in and get out. Determine if it’s not on the list, it doesn’t go in your cart. Exercise that discipline muscle. If it’s something you had forgotten on your list, write it down for next week’s list. Chances are when next week rolls around, you might not even need it anyway. It will also help you not make much room for those ‘exceptions’.
Try shopping for foods that are less prepared, and have less packaging. Instead of cut up produce, prepare it yourself at home. Take advantage of bulk food items, often times you’ll garner savings because you’re not paying for the packaging.
Until next time,