When you go grocery shopping, do you find yourself coming home with more than you went out for, a receipt a mile long, and the wallet a little lighter? While it’s not necessary to be the Martha Stewart of shopping, there are some things you can do to reduce the time and money you spend at the grocery store.
1) Plan your menu a month ahead. Stick with nutritional meals with lots of grains and vegetables—theses can be found for relatively inexpensive prices.
2) Be specific! Write out which ingredients you’ll need for each recipe you use and how much of everything you’ll need.
3) Take a little extra time and make the things you would normally buy. Bread, croutons, and granola can all be made quickly without creating a large mess, and homemade food is much healthier for you than store-bought or processed foods. They also make good snacks for when you’re on-the-go, and making them at home will cut down on the money you would spend on them otherwise.
4) Map out the route you will take through the grocery store. If you know what you need and where to get it, you will spend less time wandering through aisles and looking at everything you don’t need and more time doing something you enjoy.
5) Go at a time of the day that is the least busy. Early mornings or early afternoons are usually best. Don’t go when you’re tired or hungry—this will only make your trip longer and more expensive!
6) Budget your time as well as your money. Give yourself an amount of time to get your shopping done and try to stay within your time limit. This will help you stay motivated as you shop.
7) Plan something fun to do to reward yourself after a successful shopping trip. It also helps you relax and gives you something to look forward to while you shop.
8) Only go to the store when you absolutely have to. Frequent trips are not only time-consuming, but inconvenient as well. It adds up!
9) Buy in bulk when you can. This too cuts down on the number of trips you make to the store. It can also be cheaper to buy certain things in bulk than individually.
10) Realize that the world isn’t perfect. So when you go to the store and realize you’ve left your list at home, the store is packed tighter than a can of sardines, and you spend more than you intended to, take a deep breath and remember, you’ll be back. You can always try again.