Save Money Grocery Shopping
Edited by Sobi, Eng, Grimm, MsBarbs
There are a plethora of "how to" grocery shopping and budget meal recipes that can be found on the Internet or in books. The key, however, isn't what you shop for, but rather how you shop. This involves planning, followed by buying and storing foods you like and will eat.
Companies spend millions to strategically set up stores so shoppers are encouraged to buy the products they are selling. Worse, this arrangement strongly encourages impulse buying, which is why you should never shop when hungry. Having your list and knowing what you want will help to avoid these distractions, and allow you to save money in the process.
Consider Your Purchases and Don't Be Tricked By Stores
Grocery stores want you to spend money, which is why carts are so large.
- 1Shopping Carts: Unless you are buying large items, like a large supply of toilet paper, or heavy items, such as laundry, dish soaps, or bleach, avoid using the large grocery carts, as this will encourage you to buy more than you need. Instead, use either hand baskets or the small pushcarts.Advertisement
- 2Bulk Purchases: A big decision is whether to buy in bulk or not to buy in bulk. This is an individual choice, and one you will have to figure out when looking at prices and planning future meals. For example, if a family pack of eight pork chops sells for $6.00, and a package of four pork chops sells for $4.00, the eight-pack is obviously a better buy. If you have the added cash, the family pack is more economical, as you can separate and individually freeze each chop for future use. However, only you know whether you have space to freeze the extra meat. Also, compare prices from the bulk bins and the packaged items on the shelves. Is the bulk bin oatmeal lower cost than the prepackaged shelf oatmeal? Shelf life is also a consideration, especially for products you might not consume often.Advertisement
- 3Stocking Your Pantry: Keeping staple items in your pantry, such as coffee, tea, flour, sugar, dried beans, and canned goods, is always a good idea. This will keep you from running to the store at the last minute for something you need, which contributes to binge purchasing. More importantly, you'll always have some food on hand if you can't get out due to weather, or have unexpected guests.
Steps for Saving Money on Shopping for One
Now that you're all grown up, it's time to shop smart.
- 3Making a Menu: From your list of meals, place them in order of your preference for eating during the week. Don't forget to include side dishes when planning your meals. Also, be mindful of time constraints. If you leave your house at seven in the morning to go to work, do you really want to get up early enough to make Eggs Benedict? Or would a bowl of oatmeal be more realistic? Alternatively, if you work 12 hours, do you want to make a stew when you come home? Choosing to cook on days when you have unhurried time, and then reheating on busy days, allows you to enjoy your home cooked meal without rushing.
- 4Recipes: Having written recipes allows you to glance at the ingredients and know right away what you have on hand, or if you need to purchase ingredients. With written recipes, you save time by having them together with your menu. This way you don't have to search through books, or look on the Internet for them. For example, a recipe card for lemon roasted chicken thighs, a card for sautéed garlic greens and another for roasted potatoes will easily make a delicious meal..
- 5Shopping List: Gather your recipe cards and the list of what you have on hand in your kitchen. Make a grocery list of what you need based on your menu and recipes. Going to the store with a list helps prevent you from impulse buying, and saves money year after year.
Tips and Suggestions for Shopping Smarter
- Studies have shown that shopping when you are hungry may cause you to buy impulsively. This is an easy fix. Make sure you eat something before you shop. A peanut butter and jelly sandwich, apple or bananas all make good and healthy choices.
- When buying fresh fruit and vegetables, plan on consuming them early in the week, unless their shelf life is more than a few days. When stores stock their produce bins, they rotate the oldest to the front, keeping the freshest is in the back, or underneath the older produce. Also, don't hesitate to reach for the freshest.
- By using the deli, you can purchase exactly how many slices of lunch meat or cheese you need. You can also request a small amount of their pre-made salads or other foods. If you aren't sure how much a 1/8 of a pound is, ask them to show you. You do not have to buy a large amount.
- Be sure to check out Farmer's Markets in your area for local fresh produce. Most farmers like to talk about what they grow and offer many suggestions for preparing their foods.
- If you find that some of your produce is going to spoil before you can eat it, remember that you can freeze most things. Just keep in mind that freezing can change the texture of the food. For example, spinach does not go well raw in a salad, for example, after freezing, but is still great for cooking.
- Leftover wine can be frozen in ice-cube trays and then placed in zip-lock bags and frozen. If you make your own broths, you can freeze them in ½ cup size and use as needed. Bread can also be frozen and later used for bread crumbs or croutons.
Categories : Home Finances
Recent edits by: Grimm, Eng, Sobi