I love to cook. When you love to cook, you have to learn how to be methodical about your shopping for the necessary groceries. I wasn’t always good at this, but I learned through some trial and error on how to best budget for my shopping and cooking needs.
1. Plan for the Week
I can’t stress enough how important it is to make a plan- and I HATE making plans. But if you can plan or in the very least guess what you are going to eat for the week, you can be a little more armed when going grocery shopping. The best thing you can do is make a meal plan for the week. You can sit down for a few minutes on the weekend to do so. Bonus points for recipes that use a lot of the same ingredients! Triple double mega bonus points if you can use leftovers as part of your ingredients for your next recipe. Sorry- now I’m getting a little carried away!
2. Have Themes
If you plan to have certain dinner themes each week (i.e. Taco Tuesday, Make your own Pizza Night), not only will it make your planning easier, but you can buy in bulk and save more money!
3. Don’t Miss the Bottom Shelf
Understand that the goal for grocery stores is to make the most profit possible, they’re not our deal buddies. In most cases all the aisle and shelf displays are designed to make it easy for you to choose items that have the highest profit margin (for the store). Not necessarily the highest priced items, but the highest profit margins. Look for good deals hiding on the lower shelf (it’s easier to look straight across and up than it is to bend low–stores know this). Also watch for small shelf displays, the items that make the store big bucks get larger amounts of shelf space, with only a small section for some of the lower priced items. You see them–but your attention is mainly caught by the large displays. Be aware of that so you don’t miss the better deals.
4. Don’t Shop Hungry
Before shopping, have a snack so you aren’t hungry while shopping. If fresh bread is a tempting trigger for you, have some toast before you head off to the store. If chocolate items makes you weak at the knees, have a bit of something chocolate. These may not be as wickedly good than what’s waiting to tempt you at the store, but it’s enough to kill the craving and those triggers are harder to manipulate you when you’re fortified ahead of time.
5. Running Grocery List
When you run out of anything, add it to the list. The more well-stocked your larder, the better you’ll eat, and the less you’ll spend. Always take your list of the things you need when you shop, and only buy what’s on the list. If it’s not on the list, then you obviously don’t need it.
This list has effectively made me hungry and anxious to cook! Any tips you want to share?