When most twenty-somethings like us finally make the jump into living on their own, grocery shopping can seem like a simple task. That being said, it can quickly turn into a dietary nightmare and a guaranteed money pit if you aren’t careful.
Grocery stores across the world are laughing at the unprepared, because if you don’t follow a plan, you’ll always end up spending more than you originally intended.
The money that you spend at the grocery store can add up very quickly, and having a set budget and meal plan is a great way to prevent that. You will save money in the end and prevent waste from spoiled and uneaten food.
Here are a few ways to prepare for the daunting task of grocery shopping:
Never go to the grocery store hungry: This is one unwritten rule that everyone should follow. Most people go after work, before they’ve had a chance to eat dinner. When you’re hungry, the whole store looks like a giant chocolate bar, which most people can’t resist.
Plan out your meals for the week: Lots of people our age don’t do this. Planning your meals in advance is a great way to make sure you don’t end up wasting food. Plus, it gives you meals to look forward too. Buying random food items isn’t going to help you during the week when you are making meals. You are without a doubt going to miss something or not use something.
Grab our meal planning guide and grocery list organizer here:
Make a list and stick to it: This is in the same family as number two. Again, you should never go without a list. You’ll either buy too much or forget things you had a mental note of.
Designate one day a week to cook and prep your weeks meals: Now, we all have ridiculously busy lives either with school or just getting their toes wet in the corporate world. Because of this, having a set time that you cook will stop you from missing meals or having to pick up fast food.
Coupons, coupons, coupons: These can be a great asset, however, coupons can hurt you if they aren’t dealt with properly. People like to pick up a flyer of coupons and say, “I could use this, this, this and this.” But that is wrong on so many levels. That prompts you to buy things you might not actually need and you can end up spending more money without creating any savings.
Our advice is, make your grocery list and plan all your meals. Then once that is done, consult your coupon flyer and see if any of the items you are getting have a coupon. If they do, bonus! If not, don’t buy something you really don’t need just for a deal.
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Go shopping middle of the week, later at night: This is when you will find more deals then on the weekend and early in the day. Baked goods that were made that day tend to go on sale an hour or two before close. Depending on the store, they put of some deals late at night for the next day.
At the end of the day, it will never hurt you to be prepared. Make sure you do your research and set a strict budget. You will soon learn the benefits of doing that, and you will be able to shop stress-free!