Most people want to save hundreds on groceries but don’t know how.
Are you tired of the constant rise in food costs and never seeming to have a grocery budget that stretches far enough? By using these 3 simple steps, you could not only save hundreds on groceries each year, but you’ll no longer have to worry about deciding what to cook every day of the year, and you will reduce waste of not only product but finances as well.
Step 1: Create A Menu
The biggest factor in saving money on groceries is planning ahead. When you go in to the store knowing exactly what you’re getting, it eliminates the wandering effect of strolling down each aisle and randomly picking up items that look or sound good. Here’s how to do it:
Determine How Often You’ll Shop
Shopping only once or twice a month can have a huge impact on your budget. It not only eliminates the extra opportunities for impulse buying, but it also saves on gas. However, if you shop at certain stores, your fresh produce may not last more than a week, so you’ll want to take that into consideration.
Decide What To Eat
This might seem like a no-brainer, but it does take a little bit of thought. You’ll want to make sure you plan for breakfasts, lunches, dinners, and snacks for the entire amount of time before you plan on shopping again. This includes food for your whole family – if you pack your children’s lunches for school, you need to plan for those meals as well.
Pro tip: Make your lunches rather than eat out during working hours, and repeat breakfast and lunch items throughout your meal planning period for additional savings. Less ingredients to purchase = less money to spend.
Factor In Eating Out
If you’re a person that likes to eat out, it can be hard to shift to eating more at home. However, if you factor in a number of times you’ll eat out during your meal planning period (ie: 1x/week, 3x/mo, etc), you’ll be able to keep from purchasing extra groceries that will likely go to waste.
Step 2: Create Your Shopping List
Now that you have your meals planned out, it’s time to make your list. Your grocery list is the holy grail to saving hundreds on groceries, but there’s a method in order to ensure you don’t find yourself walking down aisles you don’t need to and thus, giving into temptation to add things to your cart that aren’t on your list. To create your shopping list:
Separate Your List Into Categories
Grocery stores are organized, and the shopping list you create should be, too. Create categories like frozen, produce, dairy, bread, meat, and dry goods (canned items, box pasta, etc).
Add Your Ingredients
Using your list of meals (breakfasts, lunches, dinners, and snacks), go through them one-by-one and write down all the ingredients needed for each under the category they are located in at the store. This includes spices and seasonings.
Pro tip: Be specific when listing out your ingredients. If you need 6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, list that. While you can’t purchase everything in exact quantities, you can get yourself closer, waste less money, and freeze the extra to use for your next meal planning period.
Check Off What You Have
Now that you have your list of ingredients, look through your fridge, pantry and cupboards to determine what items you already have. Cross those things off your list to prevent double-purchases.
Step 3: Save Hundreds on Groceries!
You have your menu. You have your list. Now, it’s time to shop. In order to truly save hundreds on groceries throughout the year, you still must go in to the store with a goal and a purpose.
Only Get What’s On Your List
This may seem like a given, but don’t underestimate the power of impulsive buying. Make sure you set a goal to only purchase the items on your list. When you get yourself in the habit of ignoring what’s not on your holy grail, you start putting money back in your pocket.
Pay Attention To Prices
As you’re picking up the ingredients on your grocery list, pay attention to how much each item costs. Even though costs are always changing, and you won’t memorize prices after one or two trips to the store, you will be able to eventually have a good idea of what your grocery list will cost as you’re planning your meals, and that will help you better budget when grocery shopping.
Follow these 3 steps to save hundreds on groceries. If you need to cash your check before heading to the store, visit one of our four South Suburban Currency Exchanges Illinois check cashing locations.