So, you've created your menu plan for the week. Now you need to actually shop for groceries so you have all the ingredients on hand. But, you want to save money on your purchases…and here are some of my favorite tips:
Create a Grocery List
Take the recipes from your menu plan and make sure that you have every single item that you need on your shopping list. You only want to visit the grocery store once this week since each time you step foot into the grocery store means possible additional impulse buys which can really wreak havoc on your budget. You also need to add the items from your ongoing shopping list so you don't forget to stock up on everyday items you're about to run out of.
Shop Your Pantry First
If you have a stockpile of items in your pantry and freezer, you'll want to check there first to see which ingredients you already have on hand and then cross them off the list. I hate it when I'm at the store already and I can't remember if I already have an ingredient on-hand. I usually buy one just to be sure, and then come home to find out I already have one (or four) of them.
Stick to the List
Your goal once you hit the grocery store is to only buy the items on your list. So, put on your blinders and focus on finding what you need to purchase, adding it to your cart, and hitting the checkout lane as quickly as possible to avoid impulse purchases.
Shop by Yourself
I love to do things together with my husband and kids, but grocery shopping is just not one of them. When you add extra people, you add extra voices with additions to the list :-). When my husband is with me (or I send him to pick up a few items I forgot), Swiss Cake Rolls always seem to sneak their way into my cart.
Don't Shop when you're Hungry
The funny thing is, those impulse purchases always sound soooo good when you're starving. Try to make sure you're full and not thirsty before you hit the store or you'll be tempted to buy extra items.
I'm definitely not perfect at implementing these tips all the time, but I find when I just make one big carefully planned trip to the grocery store each week, I save so much more than making smaller trips every couple of days. Plus, when you're making a bigger trip, you also have the opportunity to use any dollar off total purchase coupons since the total purchase amount is usually a higher amount that I would spend when I'm making many smaller trips to the store.
How about you? Does having a list help you save money at the store?