My Food Shopping Commandments

Saturday, April 12, 2008

There are a few simple things I have learned over the last year on how to really make the money stretch. One of them is not spending a lot of money on extras I will never use. This is a great thing to learn, and has helped me significantly in saving money for things I can really enjoy.

The one area I was struggling with, even until a few months ago, was food shopping. It's such a crime when I buy an item with out a plan and it goes to waist. I took some time to go over information I found on how to curve your impulse buying, and applied it to my food shopping with great success.

Here are the simple laws I have set for my self with great success.

Always shop with a list
With a list you know what you need, and your less likely to roam around the store getting pulled in to the displays of food.

Use Cash
Never walk in a store armed with your debit / credit card!
The dollar or two for the ATM may save you 10 or 20 at the check out line. It's always easier to budget money you can feel, see and count on the spot.

Budget the trip
Bring just enough money and leave your wallet in the car.
If it's so important you really need it, then your just going to have to come back and get it after you go to the car. Ah yes, lazy vs impulse, it's a great way to counter each other.

Know the prices!
Make a list of the things you often use.
Break the prices down per unit of weight not containers. This way you know how much the product is not the packaging.

Carry a calculator!
This will help keep you from getting fooled by items that say on sale, but when you break it down to unit, often are not worth your time.

Keep count
I keep a monthly tally of how much I spent on food and groceries, with a special note on how much of it is eating out and snacks. Do this for two months and see how quickly you realize it's time to start bagging lunch. Also note the effort of recording everything made me buy less, it's the lazy vs impulse thing again.

Well, thats my few quick tips for grocery shopping, hope it helps!