I’ve always been the kind of person who likes to do ordinary everyday things (like shopping) on a whim, but the older I get, the more I’m finding that a little bit of preparation goes a long way, because usually, when the whim hits to get. out. of. the. house. It’s a now or never situation, and if I stop right then to get myself prepared, then it will be too late to make supper by the time I get done shopping – or some other equally disastrous consequence.
I’m doing my best to become more structured, know my limits, and plan ahead to go shopping before stir craziness hits and I use my grocery list as an excuse to get out, because it saves me so much money.
As usual, preparation is key to staying on budget.
Check it out:
How To Set Yourself Up For A Money-Saving Shopping Trip
Keep a running list. Keep it in a handy place, like the kitchen counter top, so you can quickly jot down things you need when you think about them. And yes, it’s totally worth walking a few extra steps to the kitchen to write it down when you notice that you’re getting low on toilet paper. That’s something you don’t want to run out of!
Organize you’re list. Before you go shopping, sit down and organize all those things that you jotted down. Organize it by store, and by category (canned food isle, frozen food isle, etc.), so that you can move through the store quickly, and with intention. Knowing where your’e going next, and what your’e getting there keeps you from browsing, and spending extra money as a result.
Look for coupons. Take your list over to the computer, and start looking for printable coupons for applicable items (you can find a long list of online coupon resources here).
Look at sales flyers. If you don’t get them in the mail, you can access most retailers weekly flyers online, and they’re worth checking! You don’t want to miss out on doorbuster sales that you can actually use (however rare)!
Eat first. I use to laugh at this a little bit, until I went shopping on a truly empty stomach, and OH MY GOODNESS! The food just jumped off of the shelves and into my cart. I don’t know how it knows when you’re hungry, BUT IT KNOWS!
Shop with cash. It hurts more to hand over cash than it does to swipe a card. It just does.
Take extra money. I know folks who say exactly the opposite, but I’m not a fan and here’s why: So many times there are unadvertised sales (usually on chicken, cheese, or butter) that I could really use to stock up on, but if I don’t have the money with me, I can’t. And that would really stink, even if you don’t have to drive far, it’s still a time sink to drive back to the house or bank to get more cash.
Take reusable grocery bags. Believe it or not, there are a few stores out there that charge you for bags, but even for those that don’t.. think about this: if everybody brought their own bags, forget for a minute the environmental impact that would have, and think about the financial impact. How much money would stores be saving? And how much of that savings would they be able to pass on in the form of grocery prices? I bet prices would drop just a little bit across the board, and that little bit would add up to big savings over time. It’s a pipe dream, but we’ve gotta start somewhere, right?
Your turn: What’s your favorite way to set yourself up for a money-saving shopping trip?
Get The $20 Meal Plan Printable!
Want the printable version of this $20 plan? Sign up to get it WITH a complete shopping list, and meal prep instructions!