Simplify Grocery Shopping With Just A Little Planning 23.05.2013

fruit at market

Grocery shopping can be a daunting task. How many times have you walked out of the store with a cart full of things you don’t need and nothing to turn into a full meal? It’s easy enough to do as stores pack more and more items into every inch of available space, placed in just the right way to grab your (or your child’s) attention.

But it is possible to get in, get your groceries and get out without wasting time or money and having everything you need to feed your family well. The key to turning that dreaded grocery store trip into a success is a plan.

Survey The Stock

The first thing you need to do is go through your cupboards, pantry, refrigerator and freezer to see what basic items you are low on or out of. Next you want to look through to see what you currently have on hand that could be turned in to or added to a meal. Make note of all of these things.
By using what you already have to create a meal you are saving both time and money. If you have some items you aren’t sure what to do with, check out one of the many recipe sites online for ideas. You may just discover a new family favorite.

What’s For Dinner?

After you know what basic items you need and what you currently have, you need to decide what you plan to eat. Some people plan out every single meal and snack. They list what they want to make for each meal, each day of the week. Others only strictly plan certain meals, such as dinner, and then have a variety of other items on hand for breakfast, lunch and snack. How you do this is totally up to you and what works best for your family and schedule. There is no one size fits all approach to this.
Begin your meal planning with the items you already have. This will save you both time and money as well as keep from wasting food. Next, look at the advertisement for the store(s) you plan to shop to see what is on sale. This can not only save money but also inspire meal ideas when you are stumped. Some stores send out paper advertisements but you can find nearly every store’s sale ad online.
Be sure to consider your schedule. Are you working late on Tuesday? Perhaps having a meal in the crock pot would be best. Daughter has soccer on Thursday? Plan for a quick and easy meal or plan to eat out. Be sure to write or type everything out to keep it organized and avoid forgetting things.

Make Your List

Once you know what you already have and what you want to eat, the next step is making your list. Any item you need to prepare the meals and snacks goes on the list (be sure to double-check your kitchen first). Lastly, add any other items you need or want that may not be part of a specific meal and don’t forget personal care items like shampoo and toothpaste.
It is extremely helpful to have your list in order of the layout or departments of the store. This makes your trip easier and saves you the time of going back for that item that you forgot in the last aisle.

Now you have a meal plan and a list in hand. You’re ready to hit the store and get exactly what you need and nothing more. Well, maybe a little treat for you, for all of your hard work.

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