Who doesn’t need to save money while grocery shopping these days? If you want to save more at the grocery store, you don’t have to be an extreme couponer. You just need to save where you can and learn to shop smart. In reality, most moms are aware of what they need to do in order to save on food for the family. Unfortunately, your savings goals might be thrown off track if you make these three common grocery shopping mistakes.
- Shopping without a meal plan
You know it’s a bad idea to shop without a list, so hopefully you don’t make a habit of running to the grocery store without specific items to buy in mind. However, you may be guilty of making your grocery shopping list without having a meal plan. Whether you shop once a month or once a week, you should never go grocery shopping without a solid plan for what your family will eat between now and the next shopping trip. Otherwise, you’re likely to end up with wasted food or meals that are cobbled together out of whatever happens to be in the fridge and pantry – not a great crowd pleaser!
A meal plan doesn’t have to be set in stone, and it should be flexible depending on your family. If you lead busy lives and end up not cooking once or twice a week, only plan five or six meals for each week. You can give yourself a tentative idea of what you’ll eat each night, but be sure to have a couple of quick, easy meals on hand to toss in if you have a long day at work or simply don’t feel like cooking. One of the best options for most families is to do a rotating meal plan, so you enjoy your favorite meals often and throw in a few new meals each month for good measure.
- Shopping with the wrong type of payment in hand
There really are only a couple of great ways to save on grocery shopping when it comes to deciding how to pay: cash and credit cards. Cash is a great option for some families because it will help you limit what you spend. You’ll pay more attention to what’s going in your cart if you only have a certain amount of cash on hand, and you’re less likely to buy things you really don’t need.
A credit card, on the other hand, can be a good option for other families – or certain types of shopping trips – because it can give you cash back. If you’re looking for a grocery credit card, get a family-oriented card that has great cash back or points perks for grocery shopping, especially. Just make sure that you’re tracking how much you spend on your credit card during each trip so that you can pay off the credit card monthly.
- Not watching the register
If you’re a really frugal shopper, you probably count on advertised sales at your favorite grocery stores to save more money. This is a great idea, but it only works if you make sure you’re actually getting the sales at the register. Sometimes, scanners simply aren’t updated to include the latest sales, so the advertised sales may not scan in right away.
As the cashier is scanning your items, pay attention to the price that’s coming up on the register. You can make this process more efficient by putting all of the weekly sale items on the checkout counter at the same time, so you know when you need to be paying close attention to the prices that ring up on the register.
About the Author
Debra Wilson is a social media advocate with CreditDonkey. Remember, just avoiding these three simple mistakes will help you spend less at the grocery store and cut back on your spending for your family’s food.