Friday, March 25, 2011

Saving Money on Groceries Part 2: Lists

Once you have a handle on your budget, pricepoints, pantry, and repertoire, you can finally get into the nitty gritty of actual shopping. There are two main types of list that you need for good grocery savings:

A need list

Your need list will consist of all the things that you absolutely need to buy this week. To begin with, it helps to make a really detailed meal plan: list every single main dish and side item you will need for every breakfast, lunch and dinner you will eat this week. Include snacks that your family has to have. Then go to your pantry and see what you already have. Make a list of every item that you need to buy to make your meal plan work. You don't want to have to run back out to the store mid-week - you'll waste gas and probably spend extra on impulse buys.

Now, how can this help you save money? Well a few ways. First of all, preventing all the extra trips is huge. Also, for a lot of people, having meals planned and on hand can prevent those quick fast food meals that add to your budget really fast. Even if you get a day or two off, you can always look back at your initial plan and know that you have everything you need for enough complete meals for the week.

The big savings come, though, when you make this list strategically. Start to plan your meals around both your pantry and the grocery ad. For example, if pork chops are on sale, and you have applesauce in the pantry, you have the makings of a great meal. You just need to add a vegetable and maybe a starch and you're good to go.

A stockpile list

In addition to looking through your grocery ad for items that would make good dinners this week, start to look ahead to the future. If you have an idea of what your family regularly uses, and you know the normal pricepoint for each of those items, you can start to stock up when the items are cheaper than that. For instance, if your family eats a lot of pasta, and pasta is on sale for half your normal buy price, buy as many as you can afford! Over time, two things will happen: as your pantry gets fuller, your need list will get shorter and your buy prices will get lower. As your need list gets shorter, you will have more money to buy stockpile items. As your pantry gets fuller, you will be able to wait for lower and lower prices, eventually getting to the point where you can get most items for close to free. This is when you'll start to see the biggest grocery savings.

Next time I'll talk more about how to stockpile, with coupons and matchups, and some great resources to help you do that.

2 comments:

Tanya (a Taste of T) said...

Here from a blog hop and happy to meet you,
<3, New Follower

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