Before you go to the grocery store, start with some simple steps...

and come home with cash still in your pocket!

              With the economy at an all-time low, it’s important to consider how to properly budget your grocery experience.  Yes, there are shoppers out there who spend hours upon hours reading through ads and clipping coupons, but those of us who have things to do can’t always spend that amount of time just to save a couple bucks (or have 100 tubes of toothpaste stocked up). It IS necessary, however, to plan your trip(s), make a list, and stick to your budget.

                Efficiently grocery shopping is not as simple as it sounds. You will need to take into account how many people you are shopping for, what meals you are shopping for, and if everyone will be eating at the same time. Start by making lists of meals that your family enjoys (or have time to make) – and separate by mealtime category. 

                                    IE: Breakfast       French toast, Omelets,  Cereal

Then, breakdown these meals into ingredients underneath each meal. You now have a list of items you need. After creating your list of items, check your refrigerator and pantry to make sure you are not doubling up on ingredients (unless you are running low). This is also where budget comes in to account. If you HAVE ingredients that you know you will use often, keep them on your list and purchase them when they are on sale.

                Reading a grocery store tag is usually self-explanatory, but make sure to read the cents-per-ounce on each of the possible items you plan on purchasing. Even when on sale, some things are still more expensive than other brands. On that same note, purchasing store brands is absolutely one of the best ways to keep your budget in check – most things are exactly same, but feel free to check the ingredient labels.

                If you are really on a budget, before your trip – write down next to each ingredient what you think the cost will be (if you have an idea) then add the guessed total up. Does it match what you can afford? If not, circle or star the necessary items on your list, and keep the others there in case they are on sale at the store.

                The worst thing you can do to hurt your grocery shopping budget is to purchase things that look good on the shelf. Just because it is new or different does NOT mean you need to purchase it! Stick to your list! After using this method several times, you should be a grocery store virtuoso! Pick and choose what you like off of this list, and use what works for you. Happy shopping!