Do you enjoy grocery shopping or despise the thought of it? A lot of people complain about it taking a lot of time, spending too much money and not using the produce or meats before they go bad. I can’t say I love grocery shopping EVERY time I go, but I do enjoy it most times. I want to share with you a few tips that may save you time, money or stress on your next grocery run.
1. Plan your meals for the week, before you go shopping.
Never plan them as you are going through the aisles, this will cost you more and add to your waistline most likely. Heading in with an outlined plan of what you will be eating for breakfast, lunch and dinner will save you from having to head back to the store later in the week, catching yourself opening that fridge and saying, “there’s nothing to eat.” You can print out a blank calendar and simply write in B: / L: / D: for each meal and write it out. That will give you a start. Or utilize your phone and keep track there.
2. Check out the ad before you go.
You may change your mind when you see a type of produce on sale, so make sure to do your homework before you go. A lot of grocery stores will post their ads online or you can even download your favorite store’s app and check it out there. Plan your meals and side dishes according to what is on sale.
Bonus tip: If you are buying meat at the store, check out the discount meat section, sometimes you can get a smoking deal on meat that is close to it’s expiration date. Pick it up and freeze it immediately so you can use it for next week’s menu!
3. Stick to your grocery list.
Once you have your meals lined up, take inventory of what you have or don’t have and create your shopping list from there. Categorize it by department or by area of your store so that you can head in with a mission, keep on track and get out. I like to start mine like this:
Health food section
In addition to sticking to your grocery list and planning it before you go – create a master one that you can either laminate or make multiple copies of and keep near your fridge. This way you won’t have to re-create it each week and save yourself time there as well as each time you run out of something just make a quick note on your already made list.
4. Try to keep to the perimeter of the store.
If you don’t head down those middle aisles, you’ll again save yourself time, money and un-needed empty calories. Have you ever thought about what those items really are? Each one has an ingredient list and over half of them contain ingredients I can’t even pronounce. How is my body suppose to recognize an ingredient if I can’t even recognize it with my eyes?
5. Build your pantry one or two things at a time.
If you can’t wait to try a new recipe but it has a lot of ingredients that you don’t have already, just buy one ingredient each time you go to the grocery store and plan to make that recipe at the end of the month. It won’t hit the pocketbook as dramatically if you can purchase your spices and specialty items over time.
6. Eat before you go shopping.
Have you ever been shopping when you are hungry? All of a sudden EVERYTHING looks and sounds amazing. Especially that fried chicken cooking over in the deli. Make sure to go when you aren’t close to meal time and know that your stomach may try to convince you to purchase things that aren’t on your list due to low blood sugar.