It’s easy to spend a lot more than you intended when grocery shopping. You go in without a plan and find out all sorts of “great” deals and end up just throwing products in your cart that you don’t even need! Don’t worry; a lot of us shop like that. It’s not the greatest way to get your groceries, because the total will rise to staggering amounts. If you’re a reckless shopper, you might find this article to be particularly helpful to get your grocery spending under control.
Shopping without a list might seem like a great way to come up with spontaneous meals, but it’s definitely not. We all occasionally make a half-hearted attempt at a grocery shopping list on the fridge (which we often forget to even bring along), but that’s not enough! Do your meal planning ahead of time and write down exactly what you’re going to eat, how you’re going to make it, and most importantly, what goes in it. By writing down the essential ingredients on a shopping list and actually bringing it along, you’ll never forget any ingredients, and you’ll tend to stick to your list more. If you have a tendency to grab some sweet deals along the way, look up what kind of deals the store has before you visit it. This way you can see if they are actually good deals, and it gives you time to decide if you actually want or need it.
There have been several studies that suggest that the more time we spend in a grocery store, the more we end up spending. Avoid racking up the bill by timing yourself when you go shopping and then cutting that time by 20 percent the time you go shopping after that. The less time we spend, the less money we spend. There’s also an added bonus to this; you won’t have to spend as much time in the pesky grocery store!
We all have those items that we buy over and over again, even though we don’t need them. Surely five bags of frozen corn will come in handy one day? You love Mexican food! But no, it’s still there, and your collection just keeps growing and growing. Some collect spices, some soda, some sauces… we all have our vice. Fortunately this does mean that everyone has at least 1 item already stocked. Find out what’s in your pantry or cupboard right before you shop, adjust your list according to the items you already have and which you definitely need, and save some of that sweet, sweet cash.
You can’t always stick to your budget; we understand that. Sometimes the best way to fight your shopping urges is to just… let it happen! That’s right, leave a little bit of room, say, five dollars or so, in your budget for “spontaneity.” This can be a couple of candy bars that were on sale, a bag of chips, or some other snack. It’s up to you! This way, you don’t feel like you’re doing a chore; you’re actually getting something out of this as well.
Leftovers are love; leftovers are life; leftovers are any budget lover’s savior in times of need. If you plan for there to be leftovers of every meal or most meals you prepare the night before, you’ll never have a dull lunch again! By making enough leftovers, you could save yourself a couple of bucks that could certainly come in handy next time you go grocery shopping.
This should be a given: always buy things that are in season and inexpensive. By inexpensive, we mean that it’s fine for some products to be off-brand (as long as they have the same ingredients!) Produce that are in season, like fresh vegetables, not only taste better but are also cheaper than produce sold outside of their season. If you must have a particular kind of produce, but it is out of season, we suggest checking out the frozen section of the grocery store. There, you will not only find frozen vegetables, but frozen fruits as well!
You can’t use every last bit of a piece of meat or a vegetable. However, if you get a little creative, the possibilities are endless! Chicken bones that were going to be thrown away can go in a pot with some vegetables, seasoning and water and turn into a delicious broth. Vegetable peelings can also be made into stock or fed to animals. Waste nothing that you buy!
You can save a ton of money by not splurging on herbs while you’re grocery shopping (which can easily break up your carefully thought out budget) by growing them yourself. All you need is a little soil, some planter pots, seeds (relatively cheap!), and daylight for the seeds to sprout. You’ll have fresh herbs in no time, and you will have saved a bunch of money.