I absolutely love grocery shopping. It’s kind of the highlight of my weeks. Maybe it’s because I love to plan, make lists, cook, organize, and shop! I like staying really organized when I shop because when I’m not, I end up buying a cart full of donuts and ice cream and spending $300. Below, I’ve written some tips for a successful grocery shopping trip for you to use the next time you shop.
1. Plan ahead. Each week I ask my husband what he wants to eat and take that into consideration when making my meal plan. I also look through my recipe books and pick a few favorites to make. I search the Internet frequently to try new things and try to make at least one new recipe each week. Planning ahead will keep you organized.
2. Write everything down. Write down all the recipes you don’t know by heart or pull your recipe cards for all the meals you’re going to make so they stay in one place. I take screen shots of all the ones I find on the internet with my iPhone.
3. Make lists. This is my favorite part because I’m a huge planner and list maker. I organize my list by categories such as: dairy, baking goods, fruits, vegetables, canned food, frozen, meats etc. Obviously you could do it anyway that works best for you. Then under each category I write each ingredient for every recipe I’m making and every item I need to pick up. This is a huge time saver because when I’m at the store, I’m not spending tons of time searching my list for what I need. When I’m in the frozen foods section I simply check the frozen category on my list and everyhing goes faster.
4. Take a pen. I take a pen with me and cross off each item as I put it in my cart. Now, I was recently told by a friend that they make an iPhone app for this purpose. Apparently you can scan each item when you put it in your cart, and the app will take the item off your list for you. Sounds pretty neat but a pen and paper is more my thing. Call me old fashioned.
5. Coupon. Buy the newspaper every Sunday if only for the coupon section. Clip all the coupons you think you may use. You can also find coupons online. Couponing really doesn’t take a whole lot of time and the savings goes a long way. My mom is a master couponer. She saves lots, and I mean LOTS of money every grocery trip she makes. Couponing is a skill but you will get better and better the more you do it.
6. If you coupon, get an organizer. Put your coupons in categories and take each one out as you find the item. Have them all ready to go and handy before you check out to keep things moving along.
7. Choose your company wisely. I used to always shop with my husband and son. My husband would hit half the grocery list while my son and I did the other and it made our trips so much easier. Now that my son is getting older though we have learned it is much easier for me to go alone while daddy stays home with baby. Grocery shopping alone for a mother is kind of like a vacation. It’s a nice hour I can have to go shopping and have alone time. If you take your children with you, I highly suggest using the fun carts with the toy cars connected to the front so they can sit and play in there while you shop.
8. Buy in bulk when you can. If you notice you use up a lot of milk, eggs, granola bars, or anything in a short period of time- buy in bulk. Costco is a great place to do this. When you buy in bulk you save money. Lots of things can be frozen and stored away for later use, too.
9. Don’t shop on an empty stomach. When I’ve done this in the past my stomach was putting cookies and junk food in the cart without me even realizing it. When you shop on an empty stomach you end up buying a lot of junk food that sounds good at the moment but you don’t really need.
10. Shop on a week day. Weekends are always more crowded at the grocery store. I don’t know about you, but I much prefer to shop when it’s quiet and not so busy. It seems so much less stressful.
Now that I’ve shared my grocery shopping tips with you, leave a comment below and share some of your own tips. What has made grocery shopping easier for you?