Saving Money Tips – Take a Shopping List When You Go Grocery Shopping

How often do you go grocery shopping without a list and come home with numerous items you don’t need?  Do you find that you spend more money than you intended to on your groceries each week?  Does your grocery shopping take you a long time?  Are you always running out of things and ducking out to buy more food? Do you find that week after week you discover food going rotten at the bottom of your fridge?

I can see you nodding “yes” in answer to these questions, so it is time for you to get organised with your grocery shopping. Being organised and prepared before you head out to the shops will not only save you money but also potentially some of your time.

Here are some clues to get you started:

1. Plan your meals for the week ahead

Write up a weekly Menu Planner
Use a Menu Planner and list down all of the meals you intend to eat for the week
Include breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks
Plan carefully around the activities you will undertake that week and ensure you have time to prepare and cook your meals

2. Identify the ingredients you need for your meals for the week ahead
Use a Ingredients List to write down all of the ingredients you need to build your meals
Write down the quantity of each ingredient

3. Write up a Shopping List for the week
Using your Ingredients List determine the items you need to buy after going through your pantry / cupboards / fridge
Use a Shopping List to write down the items that you need to buy
Write down the quantity of each item you need to buy 

4. Scan your Shopping List and work out roughly how much the groceries might cost you this week
Set yourself a weekly grocery shopping budget. Remember, the amount you budget to spend each week on groceries has to fit in with all of your other regular expenses and level of income
Ensure you are within your budget allocation and if you have got a Shopping List that takes you over this figure, then you will need to adjust your Menu Planner to include some cheaper alternatives
Ensure you stick to only spending your budgeted amount on groceries each week
(this might take you a few weeks to achieve, if you haven’t taken much notice of what you currently spend on groceries or the individual cost of each item)

5. Always have a blank Shopping List on the fridge or whiteboard
Encourage all family members to add to this list as items in the house start to run low
Add items to the list that you do run out of throughout the week
Write down the quantity of each item you need

6. Look around for bargains
By being more organised with your shopping and knowing exactly what you want to buy, you will be able to shop around for the best deals that week
If you become aware of items in the house that are running low, you can shop around for a good price or wait until it comes on special. This is much better than having to rush out and pay top dollar for items at a more expensive convenience store because you have completely run out
Use advertising materials from the stores to source the best bargain. Different stores will have different items on special each week. Try not to pay top dollar for any item. Always try and source items for a bargain

7. Keep your Shopping List up to date
Take a pen with you to the shops and cross off the items as you add them to your trolley
If you haven’t been able to buy an item this week, add it on to next week’s list

8. Stick to your Shopping List
When at the shops refer to your Shopping List and only put those items into your trolley
Don’t be tempted to reach for other items that look good or get the taste buds tingling
Don’t be pressured by the kids to add items to the trolley that you don’t need. Be firm with them and teach them good shopping disciplines
Don’t go shopping when you are hungry as this can lead to temptation

Detective Heather Wood is Managing Director and writer for Money Detective Pty Ltd.

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