Wednesday, February 27, 2008

How to Shop Smarter

So, I know most of you are not like me! And that's because I love going to the grocery store, I always have! There is just something about going to the grocery store, knowing I have a limited budget, and I have to make meals for 2 weeks for a family of 5!
So I have learned several tricks along the way to help stretch my dollar, and have also gathered information from several authors and specialists in this area, and I am going to pass those tips and tricks along to you, so you can get the MOST bang for your BUCK!!
Tip 1: Shop on Mondays or Tuesdays RIGHT AFTER you drop your kids off at school, or as early as you possibly can! Stores are less crowded then, so you can take your time and not rush. That way you don't make decisions quickly and buy the wrong thing. You also will get the freshest merchandise, and get through the checkout SUPER QUICK!
Tip 2: Get to know people in each department. I know this sounds stupid, but if you know the people in the produce, meat/seafood/deli, departments, they can point to you the freshest items, and let you know when they are going on sale!
Tip 3: SET A BUDGET and stick to it! And BRING A CALCULATOR! This can be tedious at first, but then it will become second nature! Make sure you write down the price of EVERYTHING that goes in the cart, and occasionally get a tally of where you are. Just pull over and add it all up. Then you know where you are on your budget, and you know how much you have left to spend! After a while, it becomes a game with yourself to see how much you can buy for the least amount of money!
Tip 4: When making your list, put the essentials on the top of the list. If you wait to buy milk, eggs, and juice (the more costly items) at then end, you may already be over budget! So stock up on these first, then your meat and veggies/fruits, and leave the rest of the budget for everything else you need or want! After all, if you don't have the money at the end for that bag of chips that will go straight to your hips, then you can't buy them! (plus a bag of chips a week is about $100 a year that you can save!)
Tip 5: Plan your meals before you go to the store. This way, you wont be wondering around buying things that look appealing to you now, but not so much at dinner time. Also, plan around the sales at your store. Look at those sales flyers and know what meat will be on sale, so you can plan accordingly.
Tip 6: Get in and get out at quickly as possible. For every minute that you spend in the store, you spend an average of $2. So if you can get out just 5 minutes faster than normal, you will save yourself about $520 a year on impulse buys! That's amazing!
Tip 7: Pay with cash. Try not to use your credit card or a check. When you have cash, stash it in an envelope and put it in your purse. If you only have $110 in cash, you won't be tempted to buy that extra magazine, soda, or candy bar at the check out if you know it's outside of that budget!
I hope these help you save a little at the store on your next trip! Happy Shopping!
The Gourmet Momma


Katie said...

Thanks for the tips! I recently decided that I need to shop with a calculator. I hope it goes okay. Staying in budget can be so hard sometimes! I use a program called "Organized Gourmet" which is so handy! I keep the vast majority of my recipes there (No flipping through cookbooks!!!) and it has a calendar so I cn drag and drop! It's great!

the gourmet momma said...

oh, I have that one too Katie! :)
isnt it great? I hardly ever use mine though...I keep all my recipes in my head, I rarely use paper ones, but when I do, its a great program! :)

And dont sweat the calculator, its way easier than you think! :)