Supermarkets have millions of different food options. Knowing what to buy and staying within your food budget can be tricky. Here are some tips to help you spend less each month but still get nutritious food for you and your family to eat. Here are our top 12 shopping tips. These are a great reminder for all of us since, after all, we all buy food!
1. Have a budget. Most importantly, just keep track of what you’re spending on groceries. We buy food so often that we should be more aware of what we’re spending on it. You usually end up spending less when you keep track of where your money is going.
2. Always go with a list! Don’t know what meals you should make for your family? Start with the store ads. That’s a great place to see what will be on sale that week. It helps to give you ideas for dinner as well as give you the bargain price too! Coupons work great too but don’t let them deceive you, if it’s not on your list then don’t buy it! That means you’re spending money on something you don’t need.
3. After you’ve made your list you can organize it into sections of the store. This will help you save time at the store. And we all know that the more time you spend at the store usually means you spending more money. Use this Shopping List to help you get organized.
4. Watch those labels! Look for food items that are low in sodium and have no or little trans fat. Check the ingredient list for “partially hydrogenated oils”. Those oils have trans fat in them and have been linked to heart disease. High amounts of sodium is usually found in products that are packed and “ready to eat”. High intakes of sodium can increase our blood pressure.
5. Go during least busy times and leave children at home, if possible. Grocery stores get busiest after 5:00pm and weekends. Try to avoid these busy times so you won’t have to spend more time grocery shopping. Though it may not be possible, try to leave any kids at home. Try trading baby sitting times with friends to give yourself time to grocery shop without any distractions.
6. Shop the perimeter. The healthiest food seem to be located on the outside of the aisles. These things include your produce, meat and dairy items. Try to spend the bulk of your time in these areas and go to the inside aisles only when you need to.
7. Don’t shop hungry! This one is a no-brainer. When you’re hungry you’re bound to buy lots of food that just look good, but don’t necessarily need. This can lead to a lot of overspending so try to have a little snack before shopping.
8. Avoid overspending. It can be really easy to spend just a little extra each month but it can be easy to Make sure to have a reasonable budget too. Plan for big spends that may happen each month.
9.Go grocery shopping once a week. Avoid going back to the store a few times a week for one or two things. This can promote accidental overspending. Try planning out all the meals your family will eat throughout the week so you don’t forget anything.
10. Higher price doesn’t mean higher quality! Food companies can trick us into thinking that if the price is higher then the quality must be higher too. This is not always the case. Check the generic brands’ ingredients to see what’s actually the difference in nutrition and price. Some products are exactly the same but one has a fancy label and higher price!
11. Choose a smaller cart for a smaller bill. When you choose a smaller cart it helps you subconsciously buy less. When your cart is full you are less likely to buy more, no matter what the size of the cart is.
12. Pay attention at the register. Don’t be afraid to ask the cashier questions when you notice an item not ringing up at the price you had anticipated. Prices change frequently so be sure to double check to ensure you’re not getting ripped off.
Do you have any good grocery shopping tips? If you do, please share with us below in the comment section!
This Black Bean and Corn Salsa is a great recipe to make because it has lots of good vegetables in it and it goes well as a side salad or as a salsa served with chips. Enjoy!
Certified Nutrition Education Ambassador