Grocery Skills

become a food-finding ninja

The feeling of immense satisfaction you get after enjoying a great meal might start all the way back at the grocery store, if you knew that the cost of the meal was a fraction of what it could have been. Here are some tips that we’ve used to help us save money while buying ingredients for our first foods.

Have a Plan

One of the first things you can do to improve your grocery store shopping experience is have a plan. Before you leave the house, write down what you’re getting, and from which store(s). If you’re familiar which the store, jot down or organize your list by the aisle, so that you can walk from one side of the store to the other, confident that what you’re currently getting should be in the next aisle.

Check the time before you go, and think about how long it’s going to take to get to the store, shop, and come home. That way if it’s going to be a long trip, you can at least expect it and feel less frustrated about “wasting” time. Think about everything you’re bringing to the store, (your list, pen, bags, phone/calculator, etc.) and how you’re going to use them. Remember that not everything needs to be planned down to the ‘T’, but an outline plan using these techniques will help the trip go much more smoothly.

It’s also very important and helpful to know exactly how much you can or want to spend on groceries for this trip. If you have a monthly grocery budget, and go shopping once a week, your budget for this trip is 1/4 of your monthly budget. Add up the cost of the items you add to your cart as you go, and when you reach your budget, it’s time to hit the checkout. IF you’re over, review your cart and remove any items you may not really need (that bag of potato chips or the ice cream), and put them back on the shelf. Self-restraint will help your grocery budget.

Check the time before you go, and think about how long it’s going to take to get to the store, shop, and come home. That way if it’s going to be a long trip, you can at least expect it and feel less frustrated about “wasting” time. Think about everything you’re bringing to the store, (your list, pen, bags, phone/calculator, etc.) and how you’re going to use them. Remember that not everything needs to be planned down to the ‘T’, but an outline plan using these techniques will help the trip go much more smoothly.

Informed Execution

At the store, compare ‘sale’ prices to those of the store brand items. Sometimes a ‘sale’ is still more expensive than the generic brand. However, if you see a really great sale on a good pantry item (oatmeal, flour, canned tuna), it’s sometimes worth stocking up x4, even if you weren’t planning on buying the item. If your budget is really tight that week, then know that it’s ok to forgo the sale; it will happen again at some point.