Before you shop
Make a plan
Smart shopping begins long before setting foot in the grocery store. Planning out your meals for the week and keeping a list takes a little time and saves a lot of money.
Consider these 10 tips before heading to the store.
- Try Meal Planning. Think about what meals you would like for the week. Check to see what ingredients you already have on hand, then list the ingredients you’ll need to make the meals you’ve planned.
- Make a shopping list. A shopping list stretches your food budget and saves money.
- Buy foods based on when you’ll use them. Buy fresh fruits and vegetables and use them up during the week so they don’t spoil. Buy frozen and canned foods to serve when you don’t have fresh on hand or need to prepare a quick meal.
- Check ads and websites for specials and coupons. Clip or download coupons and buy only the items that your family will use. You don’t really save any money if you buy items that go unused or spoil, then are thrown away.
- Stock up on sale items. Stock up on canned, frozen and non-perishable foods when they’re on sale. Remember to use them when you make your weekly meal plan and shopping list!
- Keep a list. Keep a list on paper or on your phone to keep track of items you’ll need as you think of them.
- Keep your list visible. Try keeping your list on an envelope with coupons inside or a list on the refrigerator so all family members can access it.
- Shop on a full stomach. It’s easier to stick to your list and avoid impulse buys when you are not hungry.
- Involve kids when they shop with you. If you bring your kids with you, try to shop when they’re well-fed and well-rested. Depending on their age, they can help by reading the list and checking off the items in your cart, by finding items on the shelf, using the calculator to find the best value or by pushing the shopping cart.
- Know the layout of the store. Remember that stores and manufacturers use sophisticated marketing research and strategies to encourage and entice customers to buy more food.