Grocery Shopping Tips
Before leaving home:
- Plan your meals for the week.
- Pick your shopping time carefully so you can avoid the crowds and use the rush to slip in your expired coupons. Rush times are after work, prior to big storms, payday, and prior to holidays. When you avoid the rush, you can price comparison shop and check labels.
- Clean out your refrigerator of all unwanted and inedible items.
- Take an inventory of all your pantry items and be sure you organize your pantry by grouping like items together. Remember to rotate your groceries first in first to eat. To aid you in this, use a water-proof marker to write the date of purchase on your groceries.
- Set up an area on your counter or table with a cutting board, knife, plastic wrap, or Tupperware containers to store portions in. When you come in from the store, you can portion your family packs of meat and fish. This technique can aid you in portioning food out for the week.
Make a shopping list:
- Making a shopping list prior to grocery shopping helps you prevent impulse buys and helps you save money. Many people have the tendency to eat the same items over and over again. Make a master list and just copy down the items you need. You can have a list in the memo/notes section s oo you can check off items that need to be replaced.
Don’t shop hungry:
- Grocery stores are designed to entice shoppers to buy un-needed items and to impulse buy, all because you’re hungry. Avoid shopping if you’re upset or have the blues as this will contribute to impulse purchases as well.
Leave the kids at home:
- Let’s face it. When you bring the kids along, they want you to buy them every piece of junk food there is and it’s hard to say no. You increase your spending roughly 10-40% with the kids.
Frozen foods are beneficial buys:
- Standard practices for harvested produce is that within hours of it being picked, the items are placed on ice just before being flash frozen. Fruits and vegetables are picked at the peak of ripeness.
Check food labels:
- If you want to lose weight, then reading the food ingredients may help. Screen items for man-made fats like hydrogenated oils (trans fats), elevated levels of sugar, sodium, and calorie count.
- Follow serving sizes per person on the package.
Stock up during sales:
- When non-perishables are on sale, stock up. Stock up on frozen items as well. Use masking tape to write the date of purchase on it before placing it in the freezer.
Sign up for a store card:
- Free grocery store membership cards will allow you to save on unadvertised price cuts and other specials offered to its members only, as well as coupons tailored to your product preference and the occassional voucher worth 10% off your entire order.
- Substitute 1 cup of whole milk with 1 cup of fat-free or nonfat milk.
- Substitute 1 cup of heavy cream with 1 cup evaporated fat-free or 1/2 cup low-fat yogurt and 1/2 cup low-fat cottage cheese.
- Substitute sour cream with fat-free or low fat sour cream.
- Substitute 1 tablespoon of butter with 1 tablespoon of corn oil/vegetable oil or margarine.
- Substitute 1 cup of shortening with 2 sticks of margarine.
- Substitute 1 egg with 1 egg white plus 2 tsp oil.
- Reduce sodium by using herbs and spices instead of salt. When using canned vegetables, drain liquid and rinse in water before cooking.
- Substitute cheeses with part-skin or non-fat cheese.
- Substitute sugar with fruit juice.
- Substitute oil with apple sauce.