Start saving more money at the grocery store. Follow these 3 simple steps to planning meals and writing a grocery list that will save you money on food and help you stay on budget.
1. Take Inventory of What’s in Your Kitchen.
Start off your grocery list with what you already have in the kitchen. Start your planning by understanding and trying to use up what’s already in your kitchen.
By starting off your grocery list with what you already have, you:
- Waste less food
- Prevent buying too much or duplicates
- Have a foundation for your meal planning.
2. Plan Your Meals Based on Sales.
Plan your meals around what’s on sale for the week. Yes, It’s time to pull out the circulars for the week and start building meals based on what’s on sale.
The beauty of this method is that it removes some of the decision making you have to do. By planning your meals for the week based on what you have in the kitchen, and what’s for sale, you narrow down the possible meals you can make that week. Making planning and recipe hunting a lot easier.
“Who knew that the hardest part of being an adult is figuring out what to cook for dinner every single night for the rest of your life.”
Meal Planning once a week can help you avoid decision fatigue.
Decision Fatigue is the feeling of being overwhelmed over the hundreds of decisions you have to make in a day. It can lead to burn out, impulsive decisions, and shutting down.
One of the most frequent decisions we have to make in a day is what to eat. It’s exhausting and you may not even realize it. Take the time once a week to plan your meals. This will free you of having to make the decision throughout the week.
I make a rough plan for lunch and dinner by making a list of 2 -3 large dinners to cook during the week. By planning to have leftovers, I remove the decision of what’s for lunch. Meanwhile, breakfast is usually a sandwhich or cereal.
Beginners Tip: Make one new recipe a week. Following a new recipe every day can get overwhelming and unsustainable as cooking is a new habit you are trying to build. As you start developing your skills you start relying less on recipes and more on your own skill and creativity.
Learn more about Decision Fatigue and How to Handle It.
3. Organize Your Grocery List.
Write your list in the order that you will come across the items in the grocery store. Most grocery stores are generally organized the same way, which is designed to get you to buy more. Use this to your advantage. Create an organized list so you don’t fall into any spending traps.
The longer you stay in the grocery store the more tempting it will be to buy things you don’t need! When you organize your list by the different sections, you spend less time going back and forth for items you forgot to pick up.
Group Your Grocery List with These Categories
These are common sections at a grocery store. Make your time at the store quick and write your list with these sections in mind. Also pay attention to these money spending traps while you’re there.
Through all of these sections, always remember to stick to what’s on your list!
- Bakery and Deli. This section is usually at the very front of the store. The delicious smells open up your appetite and get you in the buying mood.
- Produce. Buying Fresh produce have a nice way of making you feel healthy and accomplished. Beware though, grocers know you’re more willing to indulge after doing such a great job buying all those healthy veggies.
- Aisles. The most expensive products are usually at eye level. Remember to always look all the way up and down to get the most affordable items. Also, do your best to get out of this section as quickly as possible. All the temptations are here, and you don’t want to spend your money on things you don’t need.
- Proteins and Dairy. The most essential things are usually at the back of the store. This is on purpose to get you to walk through as much of the store as possible. Go into the store with purpose and get the heck out of there.
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Your grocery list is organized by section, making shopping a lot easier and organized. On top of that, you can easily add coupons to your loyalty rewards cards and it will suggest coupons based on what’s on sale that week too! Oh! AND you can collaborate with other family members to make your lists!
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