As you may recall from an earlier post when the pandemic first started my husband wanted me to go to the grocery store just about daily, to “stock up”, it stressed me out tremendously and in those first few weeks, going in the store and finding the shelves empty only added to my anxiety.
Fast forward to today, close to two months of being laid off and living this new norm, my husband has chilled out about the shopping and I can say my grocery shopping has returned to it’s normal once a week routine. Granted the shelves are still empty of certain things, cleaning supplies, toilet paper, pasta, things we all took for granted. I find I’m no longer anxious, and I have accepted this new norm.
The issue at hand now, is the cost of these groceries. They seem to be rising, due to one reason or another, so what can we do to save at the grocery store not only now but in the days that follow? Forbes offered up some suggestions:
Make a list: Before heading out, walk through your kitchen and look at what you are running low on and what you need for the week. Also consider how much space you have. Knowing you already have three frozen pizzas squeezed in your freezer will help keep your “Just one more” Armageddon voice quiet. If you can, make the list organized by area of store. This will also help minimize your time at the store.
Plan out your dinners for the week. This helps you determine exactly what you need at the store, and can then include these ingredients on the list. This will help reduce buying food that may go bad.
Shop Online: For the lucky ones who can get a delivery time, buy your groceries online and get it delivered or use their pickup service. It’s easier that way to stick to your list (plus another way to stay away from crowds).
Buying in Bulk – dos and don’ts: Be aware of what you buy in bulk and stock up on. How much toilet paper and dish soap do you really need? This is especially true if you’re looking at items like milk, yogurt and bread. Anything that has a use by date and you don’t plan to freeze, you’re more likely to waste that food by letting it go bad. This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t have a supply of non-perishables, but keep it within reason (shush, voice). Two weeks is an adequate amount of food and supplies to have, made up of mainly non-perishables
Shop coupons and deals: This is a smart strategy even when there’s not a global pandemic. When looking to save money on groceries, there’s no better way then check for coupons and deals. Check out sites like coupons.com for great deals, plus check with your local grocery store. You can also earn cash back on rebate apps like Checkout 51 and Ibotta
Use what you have first: Regularly check your fridge and pantry for items that are about to go bad and use it, Get creative. Now’s the time to use that rice that’s been sitting in your pantry for months.
Don’t buy prepared food. As tempting as it is, it goes bad faster and costs much more than if you made it yourself. This goes for grated cheese too. Just buy the cheese block and grate it yourself.
Leave the kids at home: One positive of this situation is most adults are keeping their kids at home when shopping to prevent the spread of germs. This saves money on all their “Can I have this?” items. If you’re still bringing your kids, leave them at home. Your health and wallet will thank you.
Check the prices at register. This is a step we may be more vigilant about during normal times. But now, most of us just want to get in and out of the store as fast as possible. Take that extra minute to double check your order to be sure there are no mistakes.
Stay away from junk food. We are all mindlessly eating. We’re at home without our usual routine, spending a lot of time wandering the house. Too often, we find ourselves in the kitchen and think “Hmm, might as well have a snack”. We’re not eating because we’re hungry; we’re just bored. And chips, muffins, cookies and candy are way more appealing as a boredom snack than a salad or tuna fish sandwich. Don’t buy the boredom snacks. This is another tip that will make your wallet and health happy.
These are indeed trying times and money is tight, but if we keep focused, go in with a plan, we might just be able to save a few pennies!
In good health,