5 Grocery Mistakes You Might Be Making
So everyday when I scroll my Facebook newsfeed I see posts from moms in groups about grocery shopping. The million dollar question is always, "What do you spend per week on groceries?" Or something to the tune. The answers are always pretty variable and realistically most of it comes down to where you live and what you buy. If prices are high where you live, it is what it is. If you buy all organic, you pay more.
But that doesn't mean you can't improve your grocery budget! It is possible to take control of spending even on essentials like food. If you're making any of these 5 mistakes, you're likely spending more than you need to. Now full disclosure, some of these corrections will take a bit more time and effort on your part but many just take a little bit of thought.
1. You're Not Sticking To The List
Most of us bring a list of things we need when we go to the store (for the rest of you, we're going to talk about that in a minute). However, many of us just write down things we know we're out of and use the list as a reminder instead of a plan. Others tend to buy things not on the list just because it "looks good."
There are of course exceptions to this rule like when it's something won't expire and you know you'll use it (if you see a great price on laundry detergent, totally stock up even if you didn't plan on it.) But the general idea here is to stick to the list you came with. Make sure it's actually a complete list of your family's needs and resist picking up "a few things." Even assuming you only grab 2 extra things that are $2 each every week, it adds up (to $17.33 a month in case you were wondering.)
2. You're Not Even Making A List
As I said, some people just aren't list makers. Maybe mom gets one chance a week to get out without the kids so she likes to take her time and look around the store (I don't blame you there.) So instead of making a list, she walks the aisles and grabs things she needs (or wants) as she sees them.
As much as it might "work" for you as an experience, it's not smart shopping. Having a list is having a financial plan. Not going in with the knowledge that you need certain items, you're going to likely buy lots you don't need and maybe even forget things you do.
3. You're Not Meal Planning
When I talk about meal planning, a lot of people say "Oh I don't have time for that!" It doesn't take long to realize they definitely think meal planning is the same as meal prepping (AKA cooking for the whole week one day and filling your Tupperware.) Meal planning simply means making a menu for your week ahead instead of figuring out what's for dinner everyday.
How many of us have full pantries of foods we aren't using? Probably a lot. When you make a meal plan for the week, you know exactly what ingredients you'll need to execute the week's menu. Knowing what you need and only buying what you need will keep your budget on track.
4. You're Not "Shopping Around"
If you get flyers, don't pitch them immediately. If not, get an app on your phone to see local flyers. Once you have your meal planned and your list made, figure out which store has the lowest prices for the items you need. Odds are there will be a mix so do your best to figure out which offers the biggest savings. An even better option is to find a store that offers price matching! Then you can get ALL the lowest prices in one spot and save big time!
5. You're impulsive
There's a reason they put things where they do in a store. Marketers have pinpointed which items you're most likely to grab on your way out. RESIST TEMPTATION. The bakery smells good, I know, keep trucking. As a rule, when you want to grab something not on that carefully planned list we talked about - force yourself to take 1 minute. One minute to think about why you should or should not buy this item. Consider the price vs what you're getting. Is it worth it? Avoiding those last minute buys could save you a ton. I'm not saying to never ever have a treat but if the budget's tight - make the sacrifice and it will pay off!
Feeding your family is non-negotiable and we have very little control over what prices are set at. But assessing your family's grocery needs and using these tips will help you save as much as possible. Happy saving!