Grocery shopping – love it or hate it! How often were you duped into buying the latest sale item or finding yourself wandering in the chip aisle, when you originally came in for carrots and cucumbers? We’ve all been there! So pull out your notepads and get ready to learn how to shop like a pro! These grocery shopping tips will save you lots of time and money on your next trip to the store!
1. Shopping without a List
Stick to the rule, “if it’s not on the list, I’m not allowed to buy it.” Make a list of the ingredients and items you need before walking into the store to ensure that you get in and out as fast as possible and keep to your food budget! Most grocery stores have placed sale items on the endcaps of the aisle in hope of customers purchasing their product with the mindset of it being a limited time offer – which it is, but is fifty cents really worth the savings on a jar of salsa that you don’t need? If its an item you know that you’ll be running out of in the next week or two, then take the deal, but if you find your basket getting heavier and heavier as you approach the cash after passing the end of an aisle, now you know why!
2. Shopping without a meal plan
Again, “failing to plan is planning to fail!” Make your meal plan and stick to it! The easiest thing to do is loosely plan out your meals for the week so you have an idea of the ingredients and the quantities in which you need to buy. Plan your meals and then build your grocery list around it. The last thing you want is picking up ingredients you for recipes you “think” you might do, and let that food goes to waste. Did you know that the average Canadian household ends up wasting up to 140 kilograms of food per year – at a cost of more than $1,100 per year!
3. Shopping Before Checking your Stash
This next tip goes hand in hand with making your meal plan. I recommend using what you have on hand first before heading to the superstore. It’s far too common for us to get to the stores before checking what we have available in our own home grocery stores! Seriously, how many times have you picked up black beans only to find out you have five cans already? Spend a few minutes scoping the shelves in your kitchen pantry, make your meal plan, then your shopping list and then head to the grocery store to get the few ingredients you don’t have on hand.
4. Shopping the Middle Aisles
Unless you’re purchasing spices, cooking oils, whole grains, beans, and vinegar, there’s no need to be in the middle aisles.
Say what? Yup. Stick to the perimeter of the store where you will find all the fruits, vegetables, proteins, and dairy alternatives and save yourself the time and the energy (and money!) of weaving between the aisles. The middle aisles are home to food products that have a shelf life longer than yourself. If the food on the shelves lasts longer than we do, how long will it take for us to digest, absorb and utilize the energy? So keep your blinders on and stick to the outsides of the store. If you’re running low on your condiments, cooking oils, seasonings and vinegar, venture into the middle aisle at your own risk and try to avoid falling for the slew of health labels that each product tries to claim that they offer.
5. Falling for health claims & purchasing foods based on their calorie count
This common grocery shopping mistake ties perfectly to the previous one. Do not fall for the pretty labels, bold lettering, health claims and food stamps on the packaging of healthy products. Try to purchase food without a label on it – good luck trying to find “rich in protein, carotenoids, antioxidants, iron, and minerals” labeled on a bundle of kale! When buying packaged food, learn to read labels and pay attention to the ingredients lists. Remember, real food tastes better! That’s why Hippie Snacks are minimally processed snacks with nutrient dense ingredients you can pronounce!
6. Not buying in bulk
Go big or go home! Save money by buying in bulk. In the long run, it is cheaper to buy items such as nuts, seeds, grains, almond butter and coconut oil in bulk. Wait until you are out of the item before you stock up and ensure that it is a food staple that you know you will eat and won’t get bored of. Extra points if you bring your own reusable containers to refill and shop in a packaging-free store!