Monday, August 19, 2013

What Every Young Wife Needs to Know About Grocery Shopping

I just got back from my monthly shopping trip to Wal-Mart, and am feeling so blessed! I saved about $50 this trip! 

For the past two years that we have been married, I keep praying for creative ways to save money. We did the whole "no cable tv for a year" thing. We thrift shop and yard sale every weekend. And I've learned to fix more things than I want to admit, on my own (have you ever replaced a toilet handle..?). 

In any case, I want to pass along some of the tips I've learned related to grocery shopping. Saving money and being smart about what you buy is not just for new moms, or the moms with multiple kids.Young wives also need to understand how grocery shopping can make or break your monthly budget! 

Educate Yourself: 
  • Familiarize yourself with prices. How much does your regular grocery store charge for milk? For name-brand cereal?
  • What items do you end up buying once a week? Once a month? I knew we probably eat between 2 to 3 boxes of cereal in a month. 
Plan Your Recipes: 
  • Scour Pinterest, cook books (yours, your neighbors, or from the library!), and your recipe box for recipes and meals you enjoy. 
  • Decide on 8 recipes you want to make over the course of the month. These will be your "nicer" meals for when you have time to cook, want to try something new, etc. 
  • Decide on 4 recipes that are favorites. These are your "old stand-by's". Chicken Parm, fajitas, spaghetti and meat sauce, etc. 
  • Lastly, decide on 4 more recipes that are super quick, on-the-go meals. Frozen pizza, frozen lasagna, soup and grilled cheese, etc. You want something that you can make without much effort. 
  • With all 16 meals, you'll cook 2 "nicer" meals, 1 "favorite", and 1 "convenience" meal each week. The other days of the week will be for leftovers, eating out, and/or last minute plans.
Start that Grocery List:
  • Decide which items you can buy ahead of time and in bulk. These will be food items needed for your recipes, and items you know you eat all the time. For us, it's yogurt, cereal, and snacks!
  • Take note of how much and which kinds of meat you're cooking during the month for your recipes. Individual packs of chicken at your grocer typically are more expensive than a 3lb. bag of frozen chicken breasts at a wholesale store. 
  • Also think through which items you want fresh each week. For me, that's fresh fruit, fresh salad, and fresh bakery bread. 
  • If you're really fancy, you can clip Sunday paper coupons. Often I find that the coupons aren't for items I'd buy anyway, but you never know!
At the Store: 
  • Go during YOUR personal best time! Don't shop when you're under a time crunch, or hungry. You want this to be an enjoyable experience!
  • While buying your monthly grocery items, don't be afraid to try the store-brand product. Today, I grabbed butter sticks for baking, but realized that I could save $1 buy buying Walmart-brand instead of the name-brand. Who cares about butter sticks anyway!? For that particular item, I was ok with a generic brand, in the mind-set of saving money. 
  • Think through that cost per unit price. Remember your homework in the first section?! Today I saved about $1.50 on a box of Kellogg's cereal. That's awesome! I also felt pretty good about my greek yogurt purchase. At my normal grocer, I pay $4.50 for 4 yogurts. THat's $1.13 per yogurt. Today, I got them for $3.98- that's under a dollar a piece!
  • DON'T BUY THINGS YOU DON'T NEED! I have been guilty of this before! Just stay focused on your list! 
Back at Home:
  • Think through how your trip went once you're back at home. 
  • Was it worth it for you to shop for the majority of your groceries in one trip? 
  • Did you go at your best time of day? 
  • How did you feel during the month with your food? Did you go through it too quick? Did you buy too much, too little?

I'd love to hear feedback on how your trip went! 
Happy shopping!

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