There are a lot of people (myself included!) that are spending a lot more than we want to going out to eat instead of cooking, so today I’m going to share with you some of my top tips for making grocery shopping a seamless and budget friendly experience!
Tip #1: PLAN
Plan plan plan! This is so important. Never go to the grocery store without a plan. If you don’t understand what you need then you’ll end up buying lots of things that don’t go together, or things you already have, or just plain junk! So. always plan. I suggest planning out your meals, however that works for your lifestyle.
I like to buy simple things for breakfasts and lunch, and then use the app ‘Mealime’ to plan our supper meals. It has lots of different recipes to choose from, and then aggregates everything you need for those recipes into a list. Once you have your grocery list, make sure you’re going through your pantry before you go to the store to make sure you’re not double buying anything!
Tip #2: Shop the Sales
Make sure you’re looking at the flyers of the grocery stores before you go! I live in Toronto, which means there’s a lot of variety for my grocery stores. I can go to Metro, Loblaws, or Shoppers Drug Mart all within a 3 minute walk. So, we always look up what’s on at each store before we go. If meat is cheaper at Metro than it is at Loblaws, we’ll take two trips and get veggies from Loblaws, and Meat from Metro, or whatever the case is. A lot of the grocery stores actually do price matching as well, I know Walmart does this. I’m too much of an anxious person to do this, I hate talking to people, so I’d rather inconvenience myself than ask for price matching, but if you don’t have that issue, feel free to take that option because I’m sure it’s a lot easier! ha-ha
Tip #3: Don’t Forget Snacks!
How many of you are like me and constantly need snacks?! Yep, I see you out there, and you always go down to the convenience store and buy chips or candy because it’s close and you’re craving it. Build healthy snacking into your diet instead! I think sometimes when we’re meal planning we forget that sometimes we like to eat at other times of the day. So make sure you’re thinking about that when you’re shopping. Buy some extra fruit or vegetables just to snack on. It’s way healthier, AND it will keep you from making extra trips in between your grocery store runs which can really hike up your bills!
Tip #4: Buy in Bulk
Now, this next tip is a little tricky, for single people, or people without big families. But you can do it! Tip number four is buying in bulk. Now, if you’re in a family, that’s super easy, you’re likely already buying large amounts of food anyway, but if you live by yourself, or just with a partner this can be tough. Try and think about the things that don’t spoil easily, like cereal, or pasta, and buy those things in bulk when they’re on sale. Also, try thinking about things that can freeze and do that with them too, like, meat, or even some fruits! Especially if you’re using fruit for smoothies or something, it really doesn’t matter if they’re fresh or frozen. And, buying them fresh THEN freezing, is sometimes cheaper than buying those pre-frozen bags!
Tip #5: Don’t Get Scammed
I know that seems a little aggressive, maybe there’s a better word for it, but something that grocery stores do that just drives me NUTS is they make ‘sale stickers’ but not actually have ‘sales’. For example, here is something I found at the store last week:
“A 6 pack of Pepsi was ‘on sale’ for 2 for 6. But the larger container, which includes MORE Pepsi’s than the smaller container (15) was the same price?!”
If you weren’t paying attention to the math, you’d totally just buy 2 of the smaller ones because the sticker was yellow! I’ve also seen it where they make the sticker yellow, but the original price, which is usually underneath the sticker, is the EXACT SAME PRICE. Stores are just preying on that psychological mindset that comes with a ‘sale’. That yellow sticker creates urgency and you buy the thing just because the sticker is yellow, not because you actually need it. So, the next time you’re about to put something in your cart that’s on sale. Think ‘would I have bought this anyway?’ If the answer is yes, keep it. If the answer is no, really think about what the original price of that item was, and if you’re getting scammed into purchasing it. Most of the time, you’re going to put it back.
Alright, that’s all my grocery store tips for today! If you have a great grocery store tip let me know in the comments below!