The Dos and Don'ts of Savvy Shopping
Although you may want to feed your family only the best foods, throwing down a small fortune every time you go grocery shopping probably isn‘t an option for most families these days. Rest assured, though, that it is possible to keep your family eating healthy without breaking the bank.
DO buy frozen
One of the most nutritious and cost-effective items you can purchase is found in the frozen foods section of the market–not the TV dinners, but frozen fruits and veggies. It’s often less expensive to buy frozen rather than fresh produce. And don’t worry about freshness; frozen produce is packaged and frozen almost immediately after it’s picked to retain all of those important nutrients.
DON'T take shortcuts
Instead of buying bags of shredded cheese, packaged salads or pre-cooked meals, buy blocks of cheese, whole heads of lettuce and other ingredients to make your meals from scratch. Admittedly, this requires more time in the kitchen, but the cost savings will be tremendous and the food will be tastier and healthier. Tasks like grating cheese or tearing lettuce also give your child a chance to lend a hand.
DO take a grocery list
It will be worth your time and effort to type up a master grocery list. Keep a copy on your refrigerator so that you can make a quick mark on it every time you run out of something. Having a list handy makes grocery trips quicker and easier and helps avoid impulse-buys.
DON'T go shopping on an empty stomach
You’ve probably heard this wise adage numerous times, but it’s true. Try to plan your shopping trips after you’ve eaten a full meal. This will reduce the temptation to toss unneeded items into your cart.
DO plan your meals
Meal planning can seem like a daunting task, but in reality, it will actually save time, money and stress—eliminating those anxious weeknights when you start searching the cabinets at dinnertime. If you still don’t think you are up to the task, subscribe to a meal planning website, such as www.menufortheweek.com, which provides a weekly meal plan and corresponding grocery list.
DON'T take the children with you
While leaving the children with a partner or sitter isn’t always an option, it is helpful to plan solo shopping trips. The reason is that the quicker you get in and out of the grocery store, the less likely you will be to buy extraneous items that you probably shouldn’t be eating anyway. Plus, who doesn’t appreciate a quiet moment every now and then, even if you are grocery shopping?
DO shop generic
While the flavor of a similar store-brand cereal may not be exactly like your favorite Honey Bunches of Oats, there are numerous generic items that taste just as good as the name-brands and cost a lot less. So, the next time you shop, go ahead and compare prices and taste and you just might find some new favorite foods.
DON'T buy toiletries
Many grocery stores mark up the price of toiletries, so an extra trip to your local drug store could save a pretty penny. Try planning a monthly trip to Walmart (or another drug store near you) to purchase your toiletry needs at a fraction of the cost.
Although it seems hard to find a balance between great taste and great price, a little effort is all it takes to keep the cost down. With a little planning, you’ll start to see that groceries don’t have to cost a fortune.