How to Grocery Shop Smarter

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I remember my sister going grocery shopping for me a few days after my second daughter was born. I thought she'd never stop picking on me after she realized that my list was written in the order of the aisles at the store. She couldn't believe I was “such a mom”! At that point in my life, I had just became a mom of two and I honestly couldn’t afford the energy that it took to backtrack through the store, so I started to grocery shop a little smarter. I started writing my grocery list in the same order that the items were in the store. Now, a mom of three, I can’t afford the time OR the money that it takes to NOT shop smarter.

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This is how to grocery shop smarter:

1. Throughout the week keep a notepad and a pen handy in the kitchen, and jot down an item as it gets low or as you randomly think of it.

2. Make a meal plan and include any items that I need for those meals on my list.

3. Rewrite and organize the list. Walk through the store in your head and make the list accordingly.

-Produce
-Bread
-Meat
-Health Food
-Basics (the random items like pasta, sugar, cereal, etc)
-Dairy
-Baby
-Snacks
-Drinks
-Household
-Cleaning
-Pets
-Toiletries

*This part you would want to make specific to your store and your list. If you don’t buy your household and pets items at your grocery store, you would want to make a separate list for those items. I, personally, choose to buy everything at Kroger. I feel like their prices are very reasonable, my time is too valuable to shop at multiple stores, they usually have a less crowded store, and they always have a short check out line. All major selling points for me!

4. Go through the list and draw a star next to each item that you have a coupon for, and make a small note of the size and quantity that you'll need.

*I usually paper clip my coupons to the back of my list or keep them somewhere handy in case I need to double check them while I'm shopping. Also, if you use a big chain grocery store, you might want to check and see if they have an app. Kroger has an app that I love! The app lets you save your shopper card and load digital coupons onto it. This saves so much time and energy versus paper coupons.

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5. Finally, it’s shopping time! If you have your kids with you this can make for a chaotic hour or so in the store, but try this tips...

  • Try to stay upbeat.
  • Wear comfy shoes.
  • Keep your phone or calculator handy to determine which deal is better (Don't assume the bulk size is a better deal). 
  • Don't buy things you don't need. 
  • Don't let a coupon persuade you into buying a higher priced item (Generic brands might still be cheaper). 
  • Stay focused on your list.
  • Think about your budget. 
  • Get out of the store as quickly as possible.

 

Luckily, shopping with kids helps cut back on browsing the aisles and buying things that you don't really need! It does, however, make it very difficult to do the math on items to figure out the best deals. I know it’s hard when we’re tired, or your toddler is grabbing everything in sight. Try to remember that groceries are one of our budget categories that we have the most control over! Make this work to your advantage! Shop smart and with the goal of saving money in mind!

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