Planning what your family will eat can seem like a very time-consuming task. Give it a chance for a few weeks, once you get the hang of it you will find it saves you time, stress and money! Spend a little time each week to figure out what meals you have food for. Maybe you have enough food in your house to make 4 supper meals. This means now you only need to buy for 3 other meals that week. Here is an example of my relaxed menu plan.
Check your pantry & freezer.
Be sure you know what you already have on hand. It is so easy to overbuy, especially on items you use often. You can even keep an inventory of what you have on hand and then when you reach a certain number, you stock back up. Here is a list of Pantry Basics you should have on hand.
Search sales flyers.
Flyer sales are great to help you plan. If you have items you use all the time, and they are on sale, consider stocking up. You do not need a room full of stuff, but perhaps picking up 2-3 boxes of your favourite cereal, instead of 1, will get you through to the next sale.
*PRO TIP* Everything you buy is on a 4-6 week sales cycle. If it is on sale this week, you will see it on sale for roughly the same price in 4 to 6 weeks.
MAKE A LIST – Only buy what you need.
It is much easier to only buy what you need when you do the previous steps. Having a plan for the food you are buying, and knowing what you have on hand, means you will only buy what you need that week. If you see something on clearance or in-store sale and it will not be used/eaten, then it is NOT a deal if you throw it out! Download our Shopping List
Shop refill stations/bulk.
If your meal plan includes some items you do not always have on hand, and usually do not use, pick up these items in smaller quantities at a refill station or bulk section. Back to the old, ONLY BUY WHAT YOU NEED idea.
BONUS: many let you bring your own bags/jars to use so you are not buying packaging.
Eat before you shop.
Hungry shoppers buy more. If you go to the grocery store when you are hungry, everything will look good and you will put more in your cart than you need.
It is not always possible, but if you can shop alone, you will spend less money, stick to your list and not be distracted.
Look High and Low.
Manufacturers pay big bucks to have their products placed at eye level. The higher-priced brands will be displayed where the majority of shoppers are bound to look. ALWAYS look above and below eye level when browsing.
I have found lately that if I need to save time as well as money, I order my groceries online and pick up at the store. It truly helps save money, as it completely eliminates impulse buying.
SHOP LOCAL TIPS:
We purchase larger quantities of meat from local farms. The prices for fresh local meat often works out to the average sale price or better of the same cuts in grocery stores. It takes a little planning ahead, as you are spending $100-$350+ when stocking up, but it is well worth the planning.
There are also farms that offer farm shares, or veggie box programs where you pay a fee to receive a box of veggies each week throughout the growing season.
Eggs are another item we love to get fresh at the farm. This is one thing we do not mind spending a little more on…honestly, $4-$5 for a dozen eggs is only the price of one fancy drink your favourite café or craft brewery!