Loving The Northwest

Loving The Northwest

Monday, April 26, 2010

Tips to help make your grocery shopping successful

We all have our own way of shopping and know what works for us, but getting new ideas is always helpful.

  1. Children. Of course we all know that when we bring our children to the store it will cost a little more.   Keeping them busy helps. Have each child help get things off the shelf and put in the basket.  I also like each of them to look at the prices and compare. Have them make their own grocery list; fruit for lunches, meat for sandwiches, items for their favorite dinner, etc.  Go over their lists before going to the store so you stay within budget. For older children give them their own budget for their list and teach them how to bargain shop - great life lesson. I budget in for a few extras for them to pick out; I tell each one they can pick out something that is about $1 or they can pick out a snack from the bulk food. That seems to work well because they only need a small amount to make them feel that they received something special and normally it's less than $1 each.
  2. Coupons. Clip the coupons you plan on using and add it to your grocery list so that you have them ready. Also take the store's flier in with you so you can reference it when you need to.  The flier also comes in handy if you have to pick up a rain check.
  3. Staples. Shop your staple/pantry items first. These are the items you need and they are probably the majority of your list.
  4. Dairy. Next the dairy section. Here's where you will pick up your milk, butter, yogurt, and eggs.  These are still a staple items and it's still pretty easy at this point to keep to your grocery list.
  5. Meat/Cheese. Now that you have most of your staple items you can shop for your meat and cheese. Stock up on one or two meat items that may be on sale. Maybe pick up a deli meat that may be on sale.  Watch your budget here; it's easy to go over in this section.  When meal planning I normally plan with the meat that is in the freezer. When I'm grocery shopping I'm picking up the meat that is on sale, not necessarily the meat that I have planned in my menu for the week. Otherwise you may be selecting items that are not on sale.
  6. Produce. Your basket if filling up so shopping in the produce aisle now is perfect so they don't sit at the bottom of the basket. Every once in awhile I let the kids pick out something new to try.
  7. Frozen and Packaged items. You have all your dairy, meat, cheese, and produce it's time for the cereal, cracker, and frozen food items. If you have the children with you I would tell them your expectations before going down these aisles. I tell each one "you can pick out one box of crackers". For the cereals you should be picking these up when they hit their lowest sale price; if you need to purchase them at full price I would stick to one or two boxes until you can get them on sale. Frozen/convenience items can be pricey so by filling up your cart with all the other items and saving this towards the end might help from grabbing too much.
  8. Bakery. Who needs the cakes, pies, donuts now that your cart is filled and ready for check out? Grab the bread and head for the checkout stand.
Changing the way you shop will take time to get used to and creating a new shopping layout is hard sometimes, but give it a try and see how it works.


    Laura said...

    Good ideas! I would add: Try using a calculator, this has been a good practice for me. I use my cell phone most of the time, start with staples, then dairy, then meat, produce and add it up as you go.

    I also save candy/gum coupons and given them to my 10 year old to use on a shopping trip when she helps me - it motivates her to help and she learns about couponing.

    NW Coupon Lady said...

    Great advice Laura. I like giving the gum/snack coupons to the kids.