The key to saving big when you shop for groceries is not eating less, it is actually planning more. Here are four ways that planning can help you save money on your grocery bill:
1. Plan a Budget
The first step to saving money when you shop is setting a budget. Setting a budget goes well beyond setting limits on how much you can spend. A budget provides you with a benchmark to help you measure any progress you make on your goal of saving money. If you have never had a grocery budget, don't set one that is too restrictive because you may only be setting yourself up to fail. Set up a realistic budget based on what you have spent in the past. Make this a starting point on your road to savings.
2. Plan Your Menus
Save money when you shop by only buying the items you intend to consume over the next week. By carefully planning your family’s weekly meals, you create a shopping list that leaves no room for impulse buys. PLUS, you also create a meal plan for your family that prevents last minute meal scrambles that lead to ordering take-out.
3. Plan to Shop Smarter
Start your menu planning by looking for what’s in season at your grocery store. You can save a lot of money by buying foods that are in season and therefore are priced less than those expensive imported ingredients. Don’t forget your coupons. Printable coupons have made coupon savings available to anyone with a computer and printer at home.
4. Plan for the Unexpected
Make sure to plan for changes. Your family needs will change with time, and there will be times when you will need to adjust your budget to fit the needs of your family. Allow yourself some flexibility in your budget for any setbacks that may happen. If you stick to your plan, you’ll quickly see results reflected in your grocery budget.