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Being a systematic person I pretty much have a system for doing everything. Getting ready in the morning, laundry, and even grocery shopping. You probably have systems or ways of doing things too if you stop and think about it, or maybe not. For me it just makes things easier. Today I’m sharing my simple grocery shopping system. A plan to help you tackle grocery shopping. Sometimes I’m overwhelmed by grocery shopping, other times I actually enjoy it. Here are my secrets for making grocery shopping a little easier.
Step 1: Prep
You’ve probably heard you never want to go to the grocery store hungry, which can cause you to buy stuff you wouldn’t normally buy leading to a larger bill and not so good for you food in your pantry. I would also suggest never going to the store without a grocery list.
To make it easier to remember what you need keep a running list of things you need. I keep ours in the drawer next to our fridge. You can write items down as you run out of them. It’s frustrating but sometimes as soon as I get home from the store I’ve already started next week’s list.
After you’ve done your menu planning (see previous post) you can finish making your list. Now I don’t just write my list in any order. Oh, no. I actually write my list in the order of the aisles I go down. Bread at the top, produce, canned goods, etc.
That way as you go through the store you can fold your list as you go to mark off what you’ve got and you’re not bouncing from aisle to aisle.
Step 2: Save
The next step is coupons. I’ve gone through phases of really being into coupons, getting the Sunday paper, clipping coupons and using sites like The Grocery Game to match up deals. Those days are gone. Ain’t nobody got time for that. What I do have time for are online coupons (learn more about Modern Day Couponing the Digital Way).
When I switched to HEB I was so excited to find out they started offering digital coupons. Instead of a store card HEB uses your cell phone number and a passcode to link your digital coupons. Before I head to the store I log in to the website, sort by newest and add any new digital coupons. It takes about 5 minutes max. I believe you can even stack digital coupons with the yellow in-store coupons.
When I shopped at Kroger I loaded digital coupons onto my Kroger card. Kroger also sent me coupons for the things I buy and I would use those when I remembered to grab them.
Tip: On Fridays Kroger has a downloadable coupon for a free item. I’ve gotten free yogurt, Belvita and other things. You have to download the coupon on Friday but you can use it later.
I’ve also started using an app called Ibotta that gives you rebates on items you’ve purchased. After I shop I look and see what items qualify, scan them and then send a pic of my receipt. It takes less than 5 minutes. I’m halfway to a redeemable amount (you need $10 to cash out). So we’ll see how that works. *Update: It works! I just cashed out for the 1st time and got a Starbucks gift card. The amount transferred straight to my Starbucks app!
Step 3: Shop
Now you’re ready to shop. When parking at the grocery store I always try to park next to the cart return. When B was small it always made me anxious to leave him in the car while I walked to return the cart. Yes, I believe in shopping cart karma, hopefully by returning carts I can ward off rogue carts hitting my car. And smashing my cart into another cart (to stack them) is such great stress relief. (Also the reason I play Lego games on the Xbox, it’s just fun to smash things.)
Tip: To get the most bang for your buck look at the unit price for each item. Sometimes the biggest package isn’t always the cheapest. In the example below the Double Roll (12=24) sale price is $3.24/sq ft. while the Mega Roll (12=48) sale price is $3.71/sq ft. Double Roll is the clear winner. No math necessary.
Follow your list, fold as you go. Get in, get out and get on with your life.
What tips do you have for making grocery shopping easier?