More than ever we should be paying attention to what is in our weekly grocery cart because prices are out of sight and we are all concerned about tightening our belts.
Most people I know go into a grocery store with no idea of what they want to buy for the week. Planning a menu before you leave home and step into the store is really a good idea. That way you won't be running willy-nilly down each aisle waiting for inspiration to kick in. And you will probably eat more healthily if you take the time to think about a weekly menu. Best of all, you may be surprised at the savings.
- Never shop for groceries when you are hungry; it could lead to impulse buying.
- Have a list; this will save time and keep you focused.
- Don't shop the end displays; they are often not a bargain and many are snack type items you don't need.
- Buy foods in season; they are cheaper and fresher.
- Definitely shop the store specials and adjust meal ideas accordingly.
- Take advantage of store coupons either from the newspapers or Web sites offering coupons, like this one.
- Buy the store brand which is often cheaper.
- Buy "extender" type foods that can be used for more than one meal; for instance a ready cooked rotisserie chicken leftovers can be made into a chicken casserole and the carcass turned into soup.
- Know weight and prices comparisons on frequently purchased items.
- Stay away from convenience foods like bottled dressings, prepped chopped vegetables and ready to eat salad greens. Instead make your own dressings, buy whole vegetables and heads of lettuce.
- Try to make only one trip a week to the grocery store; going frequently costs more because we tend to pick up more than we need.
- Don't be tempted by the treats at the checkout; leave the gum, candy and magazines behind.