It’s that time again, ready to grocery shop. Ready to drag ourselves to the store just to spend $300+ on food. Meat, fruit, snacks, meal prepping, milk, eggs, bread and more. It is time to step back and take a look at the grocery bill. What is in your cart? What can you go without? What did you impulse buy? Did you use it last time? These are all questions I asked myself when I noticed just how much we were spending on food. My grocery bill was out of control and I noticed In my pantry I haven’t used half of the items I had bought at the previous trip to the grocery store. I cruise down the aisles and think this would be great for dinner, oh Kayden loves this, Adelyn needs that. When in reality, that “dinner” idea was never cooked, Kayden was interested in the specific snack item and Adelyn really didn’t need that food choice.
I was tired of spending $300+ every time I hit the store. I thought of how I could stop impulse buying and what I can do to put myself on a budget. It wasn’t easy the first few times I went to the store, but the new and improve budget worked like a charm.
The first thing I did was meal plan for two weeks. I opened up Word on my computer and I found a lot of different templates from grocery planning, budgeting, calendar’s and more. I clicked on the grocery tab. Now, this is one option one may do, pencil and paper works just as well. I made a list of dinners I wanted to cook from Monday through Sunday. In my house, I don’t cook everyday. We are very busy and sometimes there are days we do eat out, left over’s or just simply sandwiches and soup. Below is an example of what my template looks like.
I then list my ingredients for each dinner and check my pantry for those items. I cross off each item I have in the pantry or in the refrigerator. This saves so much time and money. Making the checklist helps in avoiding to overbuy at the grocery store and also in forgetting items and then having to go back to the store. Check!
Next, I glance at the fruit bin on my kitchen counter and in the fridge. I look to see how many fruit items I have. My family and I love fruit. When shopping, I tend to buy only 3-4 fruit selections at a time. I do this for a couple reasons. First, sometimes the fruit turns bad on us faster than we consume it. Secondly, it helps staying on track for budgeting. If i choose to buy more fruit, I purchase frozen fruit and make smoothies. The frozen fruit stays fresh longer and one can consume it over weeks at a time.
After the fruit, I look at my pantry to see the amount of snacks I have for the kids. Does Kayden have enough for school? Adelyn have a variety? Is this enough for two weeks? When I shop, I tend try and buy only 3-4 snack items at a time. For instance, I may purchase gold fish, teddy grahams, cheese crackers and fruit snacks at one time. The next shopping trip in my basket may include, veggie straws, peanut butter crackers, cookies and pretzels. That way when the snacks are bought at different times, kids excited for the new snack items. Now if one has a bigger family, then purchasing 3-4 snacks at one time may still work. Buy those snacks in a larger quantity may work better or choosing more like 5-6 variety of snacks.
With my vegetables, I usually are added into my dinner so I don’t to overspend. Sometimes I do pick out a few extra like carrots or cucumbers, because they make great snack items!
Almost there! Take one quick glance at your pantry and cupboards. Look at what your low on. Jelly, bread, milk, eggs, make a list at the food items you need to get you buy. Add those items to the list.
Lastly, look through your local newspapers and also online for coupons. They help tremendously. One can visit www.pgeveryday.com and print out coupons right from the site. Also, coupon apps like Kroger and Meijer give digital coupons weekly. Apps called Ibotta, Shopkick or Checkout 51 are great to use as well. They are a reward system. The more one shops, the more they give back. Check it out!
Gather up your checklist and coupons and head to the store. Keeping to the list really prevents from impulse buying. Your not thinking of dinners you may or may not cook, throwing in snack items just because and trying to remember if you have specific items at home. Wondering the store in circles will be a thing in the past with a good checklist.