10 Tips for Grocery Shopping
Plan out a weekly menu
Making a meal plan BEFORE shopping is key, so you know what you need to pick up to complete any recipes and meals.
Keep a list on your fridge and write things down immediately
When you run out of something, don’t leave it to your memory. Jot it down immediately, and you’ll never have to run back to the store because you don’t have eggs.
Always go with a list
It is easy to think you’ll remember every item you need once you’re browsing the store, but in the hustle and bustle of shopping there’s bound to be something you forget. Before you leave home, take stock of your pantry items and make sure you’ve got things like olive oil, pasta and other staples you might not buy weekly. Plus, making a list beforehand lets you move more efficiently through the store. Pro tip: If you organize your list by product type, it’s a breeze to pick everything up as you work through the aisles.
Prepare your grocery list by aisle
If you regularly shop at the same stores, organize your list so that you can easily find and check off items as you walk down the aisle. So you’re not constantly running back and forth in the store.
Cut back on your “one-item” trips
They waste gas, and almost inevitably, you buy more than that one item. If you plan ahead, make a weekly menu, and shop with a list, this should drastically reduce the number of trips you make for a small number of items. But if you still find yourself running out for a few items, analyze the reason — are you not making a good list, are you forgetting some items from your list? Stock up on the things you frequently go out for.
Don’t go when you’re hungry
On top of making it hard to concentrate, being hungry while grocery shopping can potentially cause an increase in your spending. Past research has proved that shopping for food on an empty stomach is a pricey risk. Hungry shoppers have the potential to buy items they don’t need or to fill their cart with unhealthy snacks. Instead, shop after meals.
Always Grab Meat and Dairy Items Last
When you plan a longer shopping trip, you need to consider what items could lose their cool. On lengthy shopping trips, begin in the produce section and end in the dairy or meat aisles, as those products can spoil if left in a non-chilled environment for too long.
Understand best by, sell by and use by dates
Understanding these dates will help you get the most life out of your groceries.
- Best By dates are recommendations only and have nothing to do with safety: they indicate that the taste or texture of an item may change but they're still safe to eat.
- Sell By dates indicate how long a store is willing to display an item on their shelves. It's not a safety indicator, as the product is probably still good for a few days (or weeks) after you bring it home.
- Use By is the only safety designation and it indicates that the product is not safe to use after the date listed.
Check the date
Avoid the risk of eating unsafe perishable foods, especially chilled or frozen items. A ‘use-by’ date shows the date by which a product should be consumed, while a ‘best before’ date indicates the date until which the food will remain at its best quality.
Look for specials
Every store has specials. Be sure to look for them in the newspaper, or when you get to the store (they often have unadvertised specials — look on the higher and lower shelves for deals). Don’t buy them unless they’re things you always use.