Are you shocked at how much you spend on groceries each month? Do you find yourself making lots of trips to the store each week, or throwing out spoiled and expired items regularly? If so, you probably could improve your approach to grocery shopping. Here are some ways you can make the process easier and reduce food waste:
1. Plan your meals – The best method for saving money on food and reducing waste is to plan your meals each week. This may sound like a lot of work but it can be accomplished pretty easily. Take some time before the week starts to look at your schedule and decide how many meals you will need to cook. Keep a running list of your favorite recipes and use it to decide what to make. Preplanning also allows you to take advantage of sales and to use up whatever is about to expire in your pantry.
2. Keep breakfast and lunch simple – Find a couple options you love for breakfast and lunch and stick to them every day. You will get efficient at preparing them and familiar with what ingredients you need to have on hand. When making your weekly list, check for these items and restock so you won’t have to make multiple trips to the store.
3. Use a list – Once you’ve decided what you’re cooking for the week, make a list of all the items you need to buy. Group the items by category or store aisle to make shopping easy. Consider typing up a document of your staple items and always keep a copy on hand in the kitchen to check off things as you run out.
If you’re lucky enough to live near a Wegmans, I would recommend using their smartphone app. You can create customized lists and view your frequently purchased items. Select a recipe from their library and add all the ingredients with a single click. The best part is your list will be sorted by aisle of whatever store you are shopping in! (I get nothing from this endorsement, Wegmans simply does a lot of things very well.)
4. Consider subscriptions - Amazon has a program called Subscribe and Save, and other retailers like Target are getting in on the act as well. These allow you to set up scheduled shipments of the things you use, such as non-perishable food, cleaning products, toiletries, and paper goods. I have spoken with people who have used these services to minimize their shopping trips to only produce and perishable items. It’s important to comparison shop when using a subscription service to make sure you are not spending more than you would in-store, and it may take some time to figure out how often you need to schedule specific items.
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