Many of us spend too much money grocery shopping. Whether a family of 2 or a family of 6, your budget can be tamed.
Tip #1: Know what you have.
Make a list and scrounge your cupboards for items you are running low on or are completely out of.
Walking into the store with an idea of what you need always leads to trouble. My husband and I made this mistake this past weekend. It was thunderstorms all day Sunday and we had to resort to plan B as walking along the waterfront would not be a safe option now. So, I needed some groceries and ideas on what to make for the week as I was leaving town. I wanted to leave him with some meal options as I would be gone four days prior to him leaving.
While we were at Costco, my mental list of 2 items quickly turned to 14 or so. Although, I tend to spend a lot of money at Costco because I really like their deals, this time was solely my husband. He doesn't go grocery shopping often as Cooper and I tend to do it during the week; he became a kid in a candy store while sampling all the food and looking at all the books, clothes and frozen snack food. As you know I tend to not purchase a lot of boxed snack foods because I can typically do it for cheaper and healthier. So, needless to say, it's critical to make your list and stick to your list.
Tip #2: Make your meal plan.
Before you run off to the store, make your meal plan. Know what you have in your house and what you are lacking. Make your meal plan for 7 days. Knowing what you will be making saves on costs as you will not be running back and forth to the store to get last minute items. It will save you time and money.
Tip #3: Look at whats on sale.
Look for what's on sale when shopping. If you need a couple dinner ideas for the week, use the sale items to become your next meal. IE If hamburger is on sale, purchase hamburger for the versatility of a meal that same week. Many things can be made with hamburger. Again, know what you have for side dishes.
Shopping with sale items will keep your budget lower.
Tip #4: Pantry Items.
I'm big on having a stocked pantry. This has helped keep me from running to-and-fro to purchase little items. Here's some ideas for stocking up:
Tomato paste, diced tomatoes, black beans, cream of chicken/mushroom, green chilies, olives, chocolate chips, and any baking items on hand.
By doing so, when you go to make your meal plan for the week, you wont have to worry about the small pantry items as you will already have them.
While you are shopping, if you find a product that is such a great deal, buy it. Do not just buy one, stock up. This will help grow your pantry for items as well. If you see a good deal, follow through and keep pantry stocked. (Read more about pantry deals here)
Tip #5: Know which stores to shop.
Before you head to the store, know which stores have the best deal going on. If Safeway as their sales, than maybe consider going there over Fred Meyers. Follow the sale. You can typically find the 1 one get one free or 50% off. It's important to follow the sale when you head out to conquer your list.
Tip #6: Coupons or Price Match.
If you have local coupons, take them in. Don't be shy about your coupons, walk with pride knowing you don't need to pay full price for anything. Couponing can take time, but is worth saving money as well. My best advice with coupons...... DO NOT buy something unless you need it. That's where coupons become a disaster. You find a coupon for a Gillette shaver, buy one full price shaver and get $2 off. Do you really need a shaver or is the deal so good you can't resist? These are the questions you must ask yourself. So remember, when couponing, only look for the coupons that match your grocery list or stock your pantry on.
Price match. Most stores will price match for you. If you know Safeway has a deal on milk and you are at Fred Meyers or Walmart, typically they will price match for you if you know what the cost of the milk is at Safeway. You simply have to ask. Something I used to be fearful of but realized it saves me from driving to five different stores just for their deal.
Tip #7 Do not shop while hungry.
This may bring laughter to your soul but there is a sad truth in this. When we are hungry and isle after isle portray a longing of sweets, chocolates, carbs and so on, our brains tell us to purchase items we do not need. There is scientific proof to hungry shopping and purchasing items you typically wouldn't give a second look had you not been hungry. The other battle is grocery stores strategically place items at eye level to grab your attention. Subconsciously you take in thousands of items that look incredible but are oh so unhealthy for you. Be aware of your own state and take a snack with you before you shop if needed.
If you follow these tips you will tame your grocery budget. It's worth a try and it's worth making your own products as well. They are healthier and cheaper!
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