I don’t know about you, but I love grocery shopping. I just love it. It’s so much fun to me! Before Jared and I were married, I would tag along with my parents to the grocery store at times but I never actually went grocery shopping myself. The first few times Jared and I got groceries, we were unpleasantly surprised at how much we spent- but when you’re just starting out with your own home you do need to stock up, and once we got the essentials, we were able to cut back to a much more satisfactory number for our weekly shops, and stick to it! It took me a while to figure out normal prices for things and what I could fit in the budget, but once I did it wasn’t hard to stay in budget. If you’ve just moved out or gotten married, and you’re starting to grocery shop on your own, here are a few tips to help you out.
- Make a budget. Okay this one is kind of obvious, but make sure you know how much you can spend. If you just go into the store with a list but no budget you can spend way more than you intended. Also bring along a calculator so you can be sure that you stick to the budget!
- Make a list. Always bring a list with you! I typed up a master grocery list that I print off every week. It makes it so easy to just look in the fridge and pantry as I go through the list and highlight what we need that week. That way I can be sure I don’t forget anything important.
- Don’t be afraid to go to more than one store. I always go to Pak n Save, because they generally have the lowest prices. Also, they’re conveniently close! However, I also love to go to Reduced to Clear, which is even closer to our house than Pak n Save, and on the way. They’re a clearance grocery store, so it’s a bit of a hit and miss, but their prices can be great, and I always check online before shopping there to see if they have anything I need. We also have a New World and Countdown nearby but their prices are higher than Pak n Save so it’s not worth the hassle to visit them as well in the hopes of a sale. But if you do have a couple local stores that each have the best prices for specific things, don’t be afraid to go to more than one place! For example, if meat and dairy were consistently cheaper at Countdown, it would be worth it to me to make an extra stop.
- Be flexible! If you want to stay in budget, give your list a bit of wiggle room. I often will highlight the things we need and for the things that I’d like to get but I’m not sure if I’ll be able to fit them in, I’ll use my highlighter to put a small dash on the item on my list, so it’s on my radar even if it’s not a priority. For things that tend to fluctuate in price, like fruits and veggies, I highlight the things I know I can get for a good price (potatoes, carrots, bananas, etc.) and then just see what’s on sale when I get to the store. If broccoli is over $3 a head, we’re not having broccoli that week. Again, this is where it helps to know the usual prices. Jared loves to have mandarins especially when he referees rugby, so if they’re more expensive one week I’ll just buy 2 or 3, rather than buying close to a kg. In the summer you can often find pineapples, mangoes, peaches, etc. for good prices. In the autumn, squash is cheaper- I bought a buttercup pumpkin for $1 last week.
- Meal Plan. Sometimes I do and sometimes I don’t, but it does help to have several ideas of what to make throughout the week so you’re not just standing in front of the fridge a few days later trying to figure out a meal from random ingredients. But as I pointed out above, this can also depend on prices of veggies and meat, so don’t be too strict about it. When Pak n Save has a meat special, or reduced prices on a few items because they were packed a day or two ago, I love to grab those ones up! But know the prices too, so if you really want to make tacos but mince isn’t on sale, you can still buy it because you’ve planned for it.
These are just a few things I’ve learned since I’ve been doing our grocery shopping, and I hope they can help you out a bit. What are your favorite grocery shopping tips?
This morning I finally got something done for immigration that I was stressing about, so it’s a relief to have that off my mind! Anyone who has moved to another country knows… agh it can be stressful! When I got my visa in September I was so relieved just because I didn’t have to think about visa stuff for months and months! And now it’s time to think about it again… *sigh*.
I hope you all have a lovely start to your week! Sonic found one of Jared’s dress shirt’s and chewed a button off, so that’s great… still a better Monday than last week though!