Do you ever feel like no matter how much planning you do before you go grocery shopping you always end up back at the store a few days later, spending more money than you had budgeted? If you answered YES then keep reading to learn about My Grocery Shopping Strategy That Saved Me $100 A Week! I bet you will find some useful tips to help you start saving today.
If your like I was, a busy working mom with little time, doing your best to make it all work then you are likely spending more time and money on groceries than you really need to. That was me. I wasn’t putting enough thought into what I needed to buy and what I was going to make which resulted in me making too many trips back and forth to the store as well as throwing away un-eaten food. Food I had spent my hard-earned money on. Waste and waste.
So what did I do?
I researched ideas and strategies for how to fix it. I read a bunch of articles about efficient grocery shopping techniques, money-saving tips, meal planning, ect.. And I learned a lot.
The key thing I took away was plan, plan, plan
You may not always follow your plan exactly but as long a you have one you will be shopping more efficiently rather than buying what you want vs. need.
If you have a plan you are less likely to waste time and money. Its like what my sister says to me when I go clothes shopping “Don’t buy a top if you are not sure what bottom you can pair it with”. I know your thinking how does that relate to grocery shopping? It relates because when you are shopping for groceries you want to buy foods that can be paired well together. For example, you wouldn’t just buy some mushrooms with no idea what you are going to make with them? If you did then you would likely forget you had them and end up throwing them away. Money and food wasted and nobody wants that. So I came up with a key strategy that I have now put into practice for the last few months that has consistently saved me about $100 or more a week. I KNOW! I still can’t believe how much money I am saving by just planning ahead!
So here you go. Here are the key strategies I now use that have saved me money, time and fewer trips to the store.
My Grocery Shopping Strategy…
Keep a list of items you run out of during the week
I put a pen and paper in a central place in the kitchen (we keep it next to the refrigerator) and take note of the things we run out of during the week. I know this one seems like a no brainer but I was keeping a list in my phone and I wasn’t following it and it also only had the things that I knew we ran out of. If you keep one list for the whole family to use then you can ensure you have everything you need on the list. Also, for some reason having a list in hand and crossing it off as I stroll through the grocery store is rather satisfying. You know you agree. Studies have shown that when you shop with a list you actually spend less money so MAKE A LIST AND STICK TO IT! I am not prefect at this but I definitely save more when I have a list.
As a side note, you also want to make sure you don’t buy extra items just because they are on sale if you’re not sure you will use them. I am guilty of this one. If I see something on sale like tomatoes or strawberries I buy more and then end up throwing the extra away. A good tip would be to try and freeze the extra so it actually ends up being a good bargain or jus stick to non perishable sale items.
Create a weekly meal plan
What’s a meal plan? A menu for the week of what you plan to eat for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks. If you plan out what you will be making for meals then your grocery list will almost make itself. I have a full inventory of our favorite recipes that I swap out every week. I also try 2-3 new recipes a week to add to our inventory to keep things interesting. Plus I do have a food blog so recipe testing is kind of part of my job, lucky family.
Take an inventory of what you have/need before you head to the store
Check how much you need vs. have remaining to ensure you have enough for your recipes. For example, if you plan to make pancakes, make sure you have enough flour. If not, then add it to your shopping list. I also have a basic list of ingredients I use almost daily to check each week like: Olive oil, grains, spices, eggs, milk, beans, tofu, vegetable stock, pasta and spaghetti sauce. All key things we use weekly and then I add it to the list of other ingredients I need for the week if I am out or running low.
If you tend to have options when it comes to grocery stores then Look at the weekly flyers and current sales and compare them to your list
For example, if you are in need of a lot of produce items then check around to see what store is having a sale. I like to review my list and if the bulk of the ingredients are produce then I check the stores around me, even the farmers markets to see what’s on sale. Sometimes I may swap out ingredients if something I need is on sale vs. not. For example, I might use bell peppers in place of celery for soup if the peppers are on sale and the celery is not. I also like to use butternut squash in place of sweet potatoes as well.
Buy seasonal produce!
Also, when it comes to produce, I like to buy what’s in season since it is much less expensive. Check out this seasonal produce guide. Keep in mind it varies by location.
A couple of days before you shop, clean out your fridge with any left-over produce so you have the space for the new haul of food.
This helps you use up the older food so you avoid waste. I do this on Thursday nights since I usually grocery shop on Fridays. The kids love to be surprised with what I come up with to make. I love to do a big batch of roasted veggies or make a roasted vegetable soup that I can have on hand. This also serves as some end of the week meal prep for the weekend and helps you stay on track!
There you have it. My Grocery shopping Strategy that Saved Me $100 A Week! I swear by this and use it every week! I hope you incorporate these into your routine too. Trust me, you will see the benefits right away! Let me know how it worked for you as well as any additional tips you may have below in the comment section.