Don't rush off to the grocery store and then decide in the store what you will be eating for the week. Make conscious decisions about what you want to eat before you go shopping! You'll save yourself some money and aggravation in the bargain.
Before you set foot in the grocery store you need to decide what you are going to buy. Some things to consider:
What do you have on hand?
What is everyone’s schedule for the coming week?
What season is it?
What is on the week’s menu?
What’s on sale?
1. Take a look at your kitchen before you create the week's meal plan and your grocery list. Check the fridge and freezer for food that needs to be used up. Decide what dishes you can make using what you already have. Don't let food go past its expiration date.
2. Write out your meal plan for the week. Take your schedule into account. On busy days keep the meals simple. On less busy days meals can be a little more adventurous. You get the idea. Make the plan work for you.
Most recipes will have an ingredients list. Use these when you begin to make your grocery list. Check the on-line flyers of your grocery store to see the weekly specials. This may also influence your menu choices.
Also consider pantry staples such as flour, sugar and cooking oil. Do you need to restock or have a back up and do you have the space?
3. Make a grocery list. Check your pantry and fridge again to see what you need to buy considering your menu and ingredients list. Set up your shopping list in categories. This will help you navigate the store leaving you less chance of forgetting something.
On your grocery list put: dry pantry goods in one column, produce in another, baked goods, followed by meat, fish and poultry etc.
Leave the frozen section for last (especially in the summer). Don’t forget to bring reusable shopping bags.
4. Don't shop when you’re hungry or tired. This is a formula for disaster. Hunger will lead you to cheat on your shopping list tempting you to buy more than you need. Fatigue will lead to buying convenience food because you won’t want to think of preparing a meal.
5. Make your shopping trip part of your routine. Choose a time when there is likely to be less people.
During Covid 19 the usual shopping patterns have changed. You might ask at the customer service desk of your grocery store when the best time to shop is.
According to various spokespeople, evening hours at Loblaws are less crowded.
Pusateri’s Fine Foods tends to be quieter before 11 a.m. and after 6 p.m.
FreshCo’s lowest traffic is during evenings Monday to Wednesday.
Shopping the same store at a less busy time of the week makes it simpler.
6. Shop top and bottom. Most stores stock the most expensive items where they're easy to grab and go.
Take a look at what's on the bottom and top shelves and you could find better deals.
Buy your produce whole and cut it up yourself. Precut veggies and fruits are more expensive and go bad far quicker.
7. Buy generic goods. Most of the time, generic tastes just as good as name brand. Pay a little less for a less well-known but equally great product.
8. Check your receipt. Scanned items do not always ring up at the correct price. Watch the prices as they come up. Check your receipt to be sure that sale and other items come up at the right price and that quantities are correct.
9. Give yourself a break and don’t cook an elaborate dinner the day of a big grocery shop. You need your time and energy for shopping and putting groceries away.
10. Unloading groceries isn’t difficult, but it can be time-consuming. To be efficient, it’s often easier to clean and prep food as much as possible immediately.
Wash and dry produce so it’s ready for eating or cooking.
Measure out bulk ingredients or pour them into containers.
Break down packages of meat into smaller portions that go straight into the freezer.
Now more than ever making fewer shopping trips is the wisest course. Choosing what you buy and when you buy it will result in savings of time, money and resources.
Shopping trips that are well-planned help cut down on impulse buys of processed foods and unhealthy snack food. Knowing what you have on hand will avoid duplicate buying and having wasted food left over. You won't regret giving yourself time to plan your grocery shopping. You’ll have the opportunity to make better and healthier choices.
Cathy Borg is a Trained Professional Organizer working in Toronto. She and partner/brother Brad make organizing easy and fun for people working from home to help them increase efficiency, comfort and clarity. We want you to feel proud of your home. We organize your home and office to gain functionality and beauty. You'll get customized organizing solutions to suit your individual needs and situation. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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