Let’s talk groceries. Grocery shopping is the thing people love to hate. I love grocery shopping but I’m also a little odd. But mostly people hate it because of the money.
How do we save money, have less waste, and eat like rock stars? I actually don’t have an answer that’s right. I don’t know if there a blanket statement that works for everyone. I doubt there is. But if you’re interested here are my thoughts and what I try to do. Now, I get lazy like anyone else, so do I follow my own advice 100% of the time? No. But that’s life, and I’m getting better at it all the time.
A lot of the ingredients I use, I find at my regular Safeway store. However, there are several different items I buy online through Amazon or Thrive Market. I now live closer to a Costco these days, but it is still not a quick trip, so there is another place where I have a different selection to choose from and perhaps save some money. But still not a place I go to often.
Groceries are expensive and healthier options to replace something you’ve been using can be ridiculously priced. My way of wading through the muck of this trying to get the most for our money, not be wasteful, but also get what I actually want is to do my homework.
I will see what the price is at my normal store, and check the price online. We are lucky these days. You can order ANYTHING online. There is nothing crazy about ordering it either. If it saves you money, and you get a healthier product, or better options, then there is zero shame. Trust me, I order mayo online. A lot… I like it.
Also, if you like me live in a rural area, you might not have some items available in your local grocery store. That’s another benefit to the world wide web at your fingertips. You can also ask your local store about ordering it for you, a lot of times they will do a special order or bring it in stock if there is enough demand.
Chain stores, are getting better about offering a wider range of options for the same item. Look at the ingredients, the price and the size. You can then decide which brand will be the most bang for your buck. The cheaper per unit price usually, unless you have something against a certain brand. No judgement there, I do that sometimes.
One thing I do at Safeway, is use a club card. I digitally add their coupons onto my card, then when I pay I enter my phone number and viola! Once you use the card often enough, you will get personalized deals on items you regularly buy.
The only other major chain in our area is Wal-Mart for groceries. I don’t shop there though. But I would expect that some days it is cheaper and some days not. Prices are extremely cyclical. So if you find a store you like, you’re probably best sticking with it in the long run. Because it will change up and down depending on seasonal prices, markets etc. just like any other store.
That’s why it can really save you money to do your homework and plan ahead. Look at the sales ad’s. Buy the things you can buy in bulk from a Costco when you go, so you can keep your weekly shopping costs lower by only getting what you need that’s perishable or short term items. Browse online for deals, find a store you like, coupon if that’s your thing (I wish I was better at it!), have a garden, go to a farmers market, and plan your meals in advance as much as possible so you are buying ingredients you are actually going to use before they go bad if it’s perishable.
I’m not the best meal planner, but it does help a lot to go to a store with a more precise list. Then you are getting exactly what you need. You’ll save money just by not buying excess food that goes bad before you have a use for it. When I actually have a plan for the week ahead when I go grocery shopping, I buy less, and toss less at the end of the week. Especially since I like to use a lot of fresh ingredients.
What tips do you have for the chore that is grocery shopping, meal planning and what do you do to save money? What stores do you like to shop at best? Why do I forget about Winco, all the time?! Tell me, folks! Talk to me!