Have you ever gotten home from the grocery store and realized you didn't get one single thing on your "list"? You went in for the basics, eggs and milk, and walked out with literally every other thing they had to offer. I'm betting that 99.9% of you can attest to this happening... and probably more than once. I used to be the same way but over the years, I've wised up. I got tired of going grocery shopping but still not having "anything to eat". After reading numerous tips/tricks and using the trial and error method, I've finally found a system that works for me. Here are a few tricks to remember next time you head to the grocery store:
1). Make a list.
I realize this isn't mind blowing advice but it never ceases to amaze me at the amount of people I see roaming around the grocery store without a list. If you do not have a written list, it will be impossible to stick to it. Look through your fridge and pantry to make sure that you don't put items on your list that you already have. Without a list, you've mindlessly wandered around the store and not accomplished much at all. In your shopping cart you'll find toothpaste, dog food and soda. What are you going to make for dinner with those three things??
2). Organize your list.
I start at the back of the store and work my way towards the front, which puts me right by the checkout! Let me give you an example of what a short version of my list would look like:
- Peanut Butter Crackers
- Ice Cream
The eggs are on the very back aisle, then I walk by the Cokes. The yogurt is next, followed by the cheese.
Moving towards the front of the store, I'll find the rest of the items on my list in the order they are written in. Once you've learned your store, this is pretty easy to do. And it saves SO much time. You no longer have to run up and down multiple aisle, multiple times. If you haven't already tried this, you will thank me later!
3). Do not go shopping on an empty stomach.
You will blow the budget and probably buy a lot of junk food if you head into the grocery store while hungry. It happens to the best of us. If you have little ones, the same goes for them. I make an effort to eat before we go shopping or make sure I take snacks along for the ride.
There's nothing more dangerous than a hungry mom and baby roaming the aisles of the grocery store. If you do happen to get in a pinch try to reach for something filling. Make sure it is individually wrapped and can be paid for when you reach the front of the store. Chocolate milk has saved me on multiple shopping trips. It has a lot of calories and the "milk" part of it is packed with protein.
4). Don't take your debit card.
This tip can transform your grocery bill. If you find yourself over spending on every single shopping trip, give this one a try. Set a budget, say $100, and stick to it. Only take $100 in cash into the store. Make sure you keep a tab of your spending as you shop. My favorite way to stick to my grocery budget is to add up my items on my cell phone calculator as I shop. Just make sure you don't forget about tax! This tip will definitely keep you from grabbing items that are not on your list.
These tips and tricks are not original, nor am I the only human being in the whole world that's implemented them. But I will say that they've transformed the way I grocery shop. If you struggle with over-spending, wondering aimlessly around the store and never making it home with anything on your list, try these tricks next time you shop. You might be surprised at how easy it is to stay in the right "grocery" lane.