Every time I look over the family budget, our grocery bill is the easily the largest expense after our mortgage. I try to meal plan, which helps, and I compare prices when deciding what to buy. I do NOT have time for coupons or shopping at several stores each week, and I want to provide my family with lots of fresh and healthy foods that aren’t necessarily inexpensive. Yet, I knew we could whittle our bill down at least slightly. Months ago, Megan from Twin Talk shared her grocery list tip and I immediately put it to work. I created a spreadsheet in Excel with an inventory of our pantry, freezer, refrigerator, and basic household items sorted by location in the store. It only took about 15 minutes for me to put this list together, and it’s on the computer so I edit it whenever necessary. It’s so simple.
A copy of the list always hangs on the side of our refrigerator. When we run out of an item, I highlight it on the list. Then, before we head out to grocery shop, I scan our pantry, freezer, and fridge to make sure nothing is missing (this is often a good time to do a quick fridge/ pantry clean out). After making a weekly meal plan, I scribble any extra ingredients on the list that aren’t part of our regular inventory. Even when we are planning to make multiple stops, I use the single highlighted list for every store we visit. It keeps things simple for me.
While shopping, we stick to the list and only allow 1-2 discretionary items. Prior to this list we often added many items off list because we didn’t take good stock of our pantry. This is where we wasted money. Many times we bought things we didn’t need, and worse, more of what we already had. For instance, after one trip, we discovered THREE boxes of Cheerios and we bought another two pack at Costco. That was WAY too many Cheerios, even for us. On the flip side, sometimes I’d begin cooking and would realize we were missing a critical ingredient AFTER I started cooking. Not good.
Since beginning our inventory grocery list, I’ve seen the following results:
- Grocery trips (even by myself WITH kids) take less time because my list is extremely organized and I don’t waste time wandering around the store searching for items.
- We spend less money, especially at Costco because we stick to the list. Granted groceries will probably always be one of our highest expenses with a family of six, we are saving at least $100 per month.
- Even if I don’t have a meal plan, I can whip up meals during the week without making special trips to the store because we have a well stocked pantry.
- We don’t waste food because we don’t buy duplicates of things. Duplicates result in everyone becoming bored of an item and also things go stale when there is excess.
If you’d like to try this money saving tip, you may want to check out our list- Grocery List (Excel spreadsheet)to get started. However, it’ll work best if you personalize it to your own inventory and preferred stores.
8 thoughts on “Money Saving Tip for Grocery Shopping”
I have been this for a few years, it’s works great!! I don’t know if you shop at Walmart but I do the Walmart savings catcher, it’s great, do you shop at Walmart?
Have a great day, Marianne
We occasionally shop at Walmart, I’ll check out the savings catcher. I use cartwheel for Target.
Thanks for sharing your grocery tips! I use a list from PaperSource [http://www.papersource.com/item/All-Out-Of-Notepad/519726.html] and check off what we are out of. I keep it handy on the fridge and each week, try to grab what’s on the list. I use to use coupons but found it was time consuming and the payoff wasn’t worth it. I’m a huge fan of doing online grocery shopping though, so when I can do that – I do. It helps me save money and time because I’m not wandering through the aisles. It also helps because with the boys, they literally bring everything out to the car and will even let you pay from the car (so I don’t have to get out). The only downside is that in order to make it worth it, I like to do a huge order, so I basically have to be out of everything. Otherwise I use BJ’s for a lot of the essentials and go to Shoprite as well.
I haven’t tried it yet, but the Walmart nearby does online orders. I wish they had it when we were on l
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Lockdown. It would’ve been a lifesaver! I’ll check out paper source too- thanks for sharing.
I found your blog by accident via WordPress, I am in the process of starting to work on a blog called ” If i only knew this ten years ago”. I don’t know how to get started but i will start within a few weeks. Sorry i deviated. I use an Android Phone App called Favado which lists stores that are in your zip code area. You then pick the stores you do shopping in and then it lists the items that are on sale at each store you picked. It works in NYC, don’t know if it will work in your neck of the woods.
That sounds like a neat app! I’ll have to look into it. Thanks for popping by and sharing your tip.
Good luck launching the blog! I really enjoy it, and have learned lots through trial and error.
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