Feb 1, 2008

Grocery Shopping Tips

by Natalie Mitts


It's a new year and like everyone else, you've made a resolution to eat healthy and spend less money. By shopping smart for groceries you can meet both your goals. Here are some tips on how to spend less money on groceries, eat food you enjoy and lose weight.

  1. Make a calendar of meals: Decide what you are going to eat for at least a week in advance. Plan a main course and don't forget to include vegetables on the side. This way you won't waste time looking in the fridge and cupboards. You will be less likely to go out to eat every night since you already have something planned. You can also avoid eating junk food since you have a structured meal in place. Don't get tied down to your calendar, though. There is always room for switching meals if you decide to go to the basketball game or want to grab a bite with friends. When you're shopping for food, you also will avoid some of those impulse buys because you already have a plan. Whether you only plan out dinner or decide on a calendar for breakfast and lunch as well, you've got something to stick to.

  2. Make a list: Write down the items you need to buy at the store according to your menu. Remember to put some healthy snacks on the list i.e. carrots, pretzels, wheat crackers or apples. These will keep you from wandering to the vending machines when you are stuck on campus all day.

  3. Check out advertisements: Compare the advertisements from local grocery stores. Decide which one has the best deals according to what you were already planning on buying. Alter your menu if there are some sales that don't come along every day. It's important to be flexible so you can save money and still enjoy your food.

  4. Eat before you go: It's not a myth that shopping hungry causes you to impulse buy. When you eat a meal before hitting the store, you aren't as tempted by foods not on your list.

  5. Budget: Set a monthly budget for yourself when it comes to buying food. This can change if your goal ends up being completely unrealistic, but it's good to notice how much you are spending. As you shop, try to keep in mind how much each item is costing as you put it into your basket. This way you won't be completely surprised at the check out. Keep your receipts and if you are extra curious, evaluate what kind of food is costing you too much.
Now you've got a menu, a list and a price range. You're ready to shop for groceries and won't be fazed by any item not on the list.

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