Do you have a plan when you make a trip to the grocery store? You can save time and money by planning ahead before you head off on your trip.
- Plan your meals using a worksheet such as, Create a Grocery Game Plan. This will help you make decisions about what you need to buy.
- Go through your cabinets, refrigerator, and freezer to see what items you already have that can be incorporated into your meals.
- Consider your schedule for the week……choose meals that are easy to prepare on busier days and save recipes for days when you have more time
- Make a list of recipes you would like to try. Need help finding new ideas? Try What’s Cooking? USDA Mixing Bowl for healthy, low-cost recipes using items you already have on hand.
Now that you know what you will be cooking each week, use your list of weekly meals to create a list of foods and drinks you need to buy. Be sure to include fruits, vegetables, and milk even though they may not be part of any of the recipes you have planned for the week.
Time to make your list:
- You can use scrap paper or the back of an envelope.
- Type your list on a computer
- Type your list in the “notes” section of your smartphone
- Download a free mobile app for grocery lists
- Use this template to make your list
Once your meals are planned and your list made, here are a few tips to help you get the most for your dollar.
- Read the sale flyer(s) for the stores you plan to visit to see what is on sale from your grocery list. You can find sale info at the store’s entrance, in the newspaper, and on the store’s website.
- Use coupons for as many items on your list as you can. They can be found as inserts in newspapers each week, you can download coupons from the internet, and your grocery store most likely has digital coupons on their website that can help you save even more.
- Look for store brands that typically cost less than name brands.
- Ask for a rain check if the store is out of a sale item. This is usually done at the customer service desk located in the front of the store. A rain check lets you pick up the item once they are back in stock.
- Sign-up for your store’s customer loyalty program. This free program offers discounts and rewards to members.
United States Department of Agriculture, http://www.choosemyplate.gov/sites/default/files/budget/grocery_list_interactive.pdf
United States Department of Agriculture, http://www.choosemyplate.gov/sites/default/files/budget/grocery_gameplan_interactive.pdf
United States Department of Agriculture, http://www.whatscooking.fns.usda.gov/
Writer: Tammy Jones, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Pike County, firstname.lastname@example.org
Reviewer: Michelle Treber, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Pickaway County, email@example.com