Here are ten tips to master frugal grocery shopping. A little planning can save you some big bucks over the long term.
1. Make a list.
Before you head out to the store, prepare a list of everything you need, making sure you have everything needed for your weekly menu. Before you leave, check to make sure you don’t have it in your pantry, fridge or freezer. Stick to that list and don’t buy anything else.
2. Plan a menu.
Plan a weekly menu for each week. This way you will know exactly what to buy. Be sure to plan a leftovers night.
3. Don’t shop hungry.
When you’re hungry, everything looks good. When you shop hungry you’ll end up spending a lot more. Eat first and then you will be able to stick to your list.
4. Set a budget.
When you go to the store, know exactly how much you can spend. Then try your best to stick within that limit. Keep a running tally as you shop to ensure that you’re within your budget.
5. Create a grocery spreadsheet.
Keep your grocery receipts, then enter into a spreadsheet. This will be your price and comparison list. Use it so you know when bulk or sale items are a good deal.
6. Cook and freeze.
Plan to cook a big amount of food and freeze it for multiple dinners. A great idea is to use one Sunday and cook a week’s (or even a month’s) worth of dinners. Plan 5-6 freezable dinners and cook them all at once.
7. Shop for specials.
Every store has specials. Be sure to look for them in the newspaper, or when you get to the store. Don’t buy things you don’t use just because they are on sale; make sure you will use the items.
8. Buy store brands.
Brand names are often no better than generic, and you’re paying for all the advertising they do to have a brand name. Give the store brand a try, and often you won’t notice a difference.
9. No “one-item” trips.
They waste gas, and almost inevitably, you buy more than that one item. If you plan ahead, make a weekly menu, and shop with a list, this should drastically reduce the number of trips you make for a small number of items.
10. Stock up.
Sale items can be a great deal. If it’s an item you normally use, buy a bunch of them.
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