When it comes to grocery shopping, there are a few things you can do to maximize your efficiency. Let’s face it, most people don’t enjoy going to the grocery store, so the easier you can make it on yourself, the better.
Besides utilities, grocery bills are often one of the highest monthly expenses for most households. And it usually takes at least a few hours every month to get it done. So what can be done about that? Work on becoming a savvy shopper and increase your savings while decreasing the time it takes to get your shopping done.
Start with a List and Stick to it
Make a detailed grocery list of everything you need to pick up. It helps to separate the list into groups. I usually do produce, cold, frozen, non-foods, and everything else. When I go into the store, I start at the produce, then move through the aisles. The cold is at the edges, so when I get to that area I check those sections on the list. You can break it down further if it would help you.
Then most important, stick to your list. If you start getting too many items that are not on the list, your bill will start adding up quickly. Not to mention the time it takes to run all over the store when you realize you forgot something 4 aisles ago!
Don’t Wait at the Deli
We always prefer to get freshly sliced meats over pre-packaged. They tend to taste better and have fewer preservatives in them. The only thing I don’t like…. waiting forever to get my freshly sliced deli products. A lot of times, Justin and I both go to the store either while the boys are at preschool or we bring them with us. If we are both there, he usually waits at the deli while I do the rest of the shopping. Most of the time, I am almost done by the time he finds me.
Last time I went grocery shopping, it was just Tyler and me. The store was not very busy, and there was no one else at the deli. I told the lady behind the counter what I wanted, and she asked me for my entire list of deli selections. Then she said it would take a little while, to come back in about 15 minutes. I had never thought about that before! Now when I go by myself, if it isn’t busy, I’ll ask if I can give my entire order and come back when I’m done shopping to grab it. I’ve never been told no and it saves so much time!
Unit Price Matters
It’s always a good idea to compare prices. Which brand has a better price? Is it more cost-efficient to buy this in a larger size (as long as it won’t go to waste)? Do you know the easiest way to check this? Look at the “unit price” which is listed next to the price. It will say the price per a certain amount, such as $0.52 per oz. Now look at the item you are comparing that to, is the unit price more or less? Make sure that the units are being given for the same unit of measurement as well. You can’t compare gallons to quarts.
Just because something is on sale does not mean you need to buy it. I repeat: just because something is on sale does NOT mean you have to buy it. Got it? I know so many people who come home with something, and when asked what they got it for, say, “I don’t know, but it was on sale!” At first, it sounds like you got a deal. But in reality, you just spent money on something you didn’t need, even if it was on sale.
Also, make sure that you will use everything if you buy a deal. If a certain item is buy one, get one half off, but you won’t use all of that before it goes bad, then you have again spent money that you didn’t need to. Yes, you got that second one at a “deal” but how much of a deal was it if it ends up getting thrown out?
If you haven’t started using cash-backs apps, what’s holding you back? Seriously?! I have made over $200 on my cash-back grocery apps on the food I was already buying. My top two are the Walmart Savings Catcher and Ibotta. It takes me about 5 minutes when I get home to go through these, and I get money back. What I don’t do, is go through before I go to the store to see what’s on there. I know that seems counter-productive, but I don’t want to end up getting something just because I saw it on Ibotta – See Recognize Deals above. It would put you into that same cycle. My cash-back apps happen once I get home and have unloaded the groceries.