Next to gasoline, groceries are one of the most expensive, necessary items on our budgets. Standing at the checkout as your total climbs into the triple digits can be a terrible experience. But don’t panic! Here are a few tricks for making the most of your grocery shopping trips and keeping your list manageable.
1. Commit To Only Spending A Certain Amount - Setting your total before you leave the house is crucial. This will help you avoid impulse buys and put back any items that aren’t absolutely necessary to feed yourself and your family.
2. Plan Your Menu For The Week - Get specific! Make your weekly menu before heading to the market. Typically, I’ll skim Pinterest for ideas then list every item I have to get that I don’t already have in my pantry.
3. Get In, Get Out - Don’t hang around wistfully looking at all the goodies that you can’t afford. It’ll only make you sad and spend more money! Get in, follow your list, and get out of there. Also, kiss eating healthy and your budget goodbye if you shop on an empty stomach.
4. Different Stores, Different Deals - It’s much easier, logistically, to get all of your shopping done in one location. But, that may not be the best idea if you really need to pinch pennies. Different stores have different deals on various items. Trader Joe’s might have the best and cheapest veggies and fruits, but you might have to go to Vons or Albertsons for your frozen food and meat.
5. Keep A Running List On Your Fridge - This definitely goes with number two. If you just barrel into the grocery store with no idea what you really need, you’ll end up buying what looks good in the moment. Keep a blank piece of paper on your fridge each week. As you run out of staple pantry items, write them on the slip of paper. Half the battle is knowing exactly what you need!
6. Go Half Veg - Contrary to popular belief, fresh veggies aren’t that expensive and are absolutely the best thing you can put into your body. Meat can get expensive quickly, especially if you’re eating it for two or three meals a day. Try cutting out meat for three or four meals per week. You’ll eat healthier and keep some dinero locked in your wallet.
7. Search High And Low - Most grocery stores keep the less expensive items on the highest and the lowest shelves on each aisle. Obviously not everything you need will be on those shelves but it is a neat trick to keep in mind.
8. If It’s Prepared Or Prepackaged It’ll Cost More - If you opt for veggies, snacks, and fruits that are pre-sliced or pre-packaged, you’re going to spend much more than if you bought those same ingredients in bulk and raw. Little bags is just the selling point. Bust out your knives and your own little baggies!