Plan Ahead: Three Ways to Get Organized Before Grocery Shopping
Before my kids were born, and I was working full time, I didn’t really take much thought or time into planning my grocery trips each week. After all, it was just my husband and I, so we really didn’t eat all that much. Once my kids were born, I was still shopping like I always did. I would head to the supermarket and plan our meals as I went through the store. Two hundred dollars and an hour later, I was leaving the store wondering what had I actually bought for $200.
Since I started using coupons and shopping sales more, I’ve managed to stretch our grocery budget a lot farther while still serving healthy meals to my family. I can’t remember the last time I spent $200 in one trip to the store. Now when I leave for the grocery store (usually on a time limit with my 5 year old and 3 ½ year old), I have a plan. I have my grocery list in one hand and my coupons in the other. A lot of the work I do ahead of time, so I don’t spend as much time or money in the grocery store.
Plan Ahead: Check Out Weekly Ads
Most people will say that Saturdays and Sundays are their favorite days of the week, but for me it’s Wednesdays. Wednesdays are when most of the supermarkets around me come out with their new sales fliers for the week. Wednesday mornings I spend a little time browsing ads online, and I also spend some time on websites that help match up sales with coupons. One of my favorites is www.couponmom.com. On this site, once you register, you can check out deals at national stores, and you can also search by state to find match-ups for some of your regional stores.
Plan Ahead: Make a Grocery List and Stick to It
Before I leave for the grocery store, I try to plan out my family’s dinner menus for at least the next week. I make my list out according to what I know I already have on hand at home and what’s on sale this week. I also include meals that my family has been asking for lately. When I shop with a list, I’m less likely to pick up extra items along the way (except for maybe a treat for the kids if they are behaving).
Plan Ahead: Follow Other Blogs
Another thing I do when new ads come out each week is check out some of my favorite blogs to see what deals other shoppers have found. I like sites such as www.grocerycouponguide.com which lists weekly deals for stores like Walgreens, CVS, Safeway, and Albertson’s. This site also has links to coupon databases, which is also helpful.
So while the amount of money I spend on groceries has increased over the past five years since my sons were born, I’m able to shop more wisely by planning ahead before going to the supermarket each week. Spending a little extra time at home and making out a list saves me time and money in the grocery store.