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New grocery store strategy

August 10th, 2007 at 12:21 pm

As my previous blog entry notes, my wife and I need to cut our monthly food expenditure. We're trying out a new strategy, and so far it's worked.

Plan meals for the week. This is a biggie. We figure out what meals we'd like to have through the week and write it down. This prevents buying food items we don't need and not having enough of other things we need (which might entice us to eat out).

Write down a list of what we need and only what we need. After we have our meal plan we go through the cupboards and fridge BEFORE we go to the store. That way we don't do the "Do we have enough butter?" thing once we get there. Also we may find an item that's about to go bad (for example, eggs). We can tweak our meal plan to make use of that and save some money.

At the store, stick to the list! For many years, we've just strolled through the aisles picking up anything that looked good. (We're big suckers for ice cream.) Not only has sticking to the list saved us money, it saves a helluva lot of time too. We still pick up a few impulse items. Who can pass up ice cream when it's 50% off?

Don't be a brand snob. We shop at Super Target which makes this easier, but still it can be hard to break the brand habit. We've been saving a lot of money using the store brand. And it tastes just as good. But it's not a slam dunk. Some brand items are cheaper than the store brand. Crisco-brand cooking spray, for example, was much cheaper than the store brand.

Smaller size is sometimes better. We never go through sour cream before it expires. We used to get the bigger sour cream because it was a better deal per unit... BUT we never got our money's worth. So we get the smaller container and save money.

Be more vigilant at the checkout. My wife and I tag-team at the checkout. I'm responsible for unloading the groceries. My wife is responsible for closely watching the register to make sure everything is the right price. She is the master of finding incorrect prices. We could take this a little further by writing down the prices but we haven't gotten that Type A just yet.

Stick to the meal plan, and save the leftovers. Stick to the meals. Be sure not to use up food that was designated for the meal. Also save the leftovers for lunch the next day.

We've been considering making a longer-term meal plan (like a monthly plan or even a yearly plan) but we haven't done that yet. That would save time in meal planning since that can be a chore sometimes. But there would have to be some flexibility built in. Sometimes you're not going to be home for a meal, or sometimes you may feel like eating some red meat instead of Morningstar Chik'n Patties.

3 Responses to “New grocery store strategy”

  1. Maismom Says:

    Good for you! and great strategies. I would suggest to add "Don't try to shop everything at one store." I compare prices of several stores, including drug stores, and find the cheapest deal. Also, Target website offers coupons you can use with manufacture coupons. (means, double savings.) Good luck!

  2. crazyliblady Says:

    One thing that has helped us a lot lately is creating a backup supply of staple foods that we use a lot of. For example, we use a lot of ketchup, mayo, rice milk, Cheerios, and other things. Whenever these things go on sale, I buy as much as I can afford and also check for coupons for double the discount. I made a killing on Gourmet Choice tuna yesterday. I had 2 coupons for $1.00 each off of 2 cans. That brand was on sale, so I got 4 cans of tuna for $.50 each. I would have bought more, but our pantry is a little full right now. The pantry also helps us to weather the occasional lean times when unexpected expenses arise.

  3. devils_advocate Says:

    Good suggestions, thanks!

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