Going to the grocery store is a task we all take on as adults. If we want to be frugal and eat well we must learn how to grocery shop efficiently. To make the most of your trip to the grocery store you must go with a list, a full or satisfied stomach, and a plan. Without these things you may end up needing to make several trips to the store, with more junk in your kitchen than you need, and money spent that could have been saved or put towards debt.
Begin in your kitchen
Before attempting to meal plan, go into your kitchen and make a list of the ingredients you already have. I start with my freezer by making a list of all the meats/proteins I have on hand. Then I look at the refrigerator, list out fruits and vegetables that I have available, and check the cupboards. Often I have things I could already use to make meals and realize a trip to the grocery store is not absolutely necessary. It’s amazing how much you can stretch the ingredients in your kitchen if you are purposeful in knowing what is in there.
Even if a trip to the grocery store is necessary you have a list of what you have and can meal plan around those ingredients. This will help you to use the ingredients while they are still fresh and keep you from having to throw them away. Take the list and begin thinking of meals you would like to have that week.
Technology today gives us access to millions of recipes and cookbooks. If you Google recipes with chicken, onion, and rice, a whole list of recipes will come up. This is a good place to start when meal planning. It will help you come up with ideas to keep your mealtimes from getting boring. Pinterest is another place to find meal ideas. (Take a look at our Pinterest page and you will find recipes and other tips for saving money.) I usually plan for 3-4 dinner meals for a week and have left overs the other nights. I plan easy meals on nights when I know my husband will be home late and I will have both of our boys to entertain and take care of while cooking dinner. I love my slow-cooker. It saves me tons of time and creates yummy meals with minimal effort from me. Once you have 3-4 meals planned make a list of the things you need to get from the store.
Eat a snack
Once you are armed with a list that has everything you need on it, eat a snack. Make sure you do not leave home on an empty stomach or you may end up buying things that you do not need. Studies have proven that if you go to the grocery store hungry you end up buying more fattening foods. If you are hungry you may fall into the traps grocery stores attempt to get you with in their store. Marketing puts fattening foods on the end caps. Ever wonder why the main aisles have chips, soda, cookies, etc.? Avoid these marketing traps and stick to your list. It will save you time, money and the extra effort you will need to put in at the gym. There is even some data that the clicking noises the carts make encourage you to move slower through the store so you buy more you do not need. Do not be distracted from your list.
Benefits of a Grocery Budget
Following these simple steps helps you to save money and time. It will keep you from forgetting the old lettuce in the back of your fridge. Instead you will know exactly what is in your fridge and plan efficiently for your meals. Not only will this keep your kitchen cleaner and more pleasant, it will encourage you to make healthier choices. Coming soon I will help you know what a well-stocked kitchen looks like. Here at Clearpoint we want to equip you with easy tips to implement that will save you money and empower you to stretch your money so you can save more and get out of debt faster.