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5 Tips to Simplify Your Grocery Shopping

Grocery shopping is something we all have to do, but I have a few tips to help you streamline your weekly grocery shopping. I’ve been using these tips for the past year and I’ve found I can save time without spending more money.

Grocery shopping is one of those tasks that I like some days and other days I really wished I didn’t have to do it. But we all need to eat so it has to be done. Since I like to keep our grocery budget right around $300 a month for the 4 of us, I really need to watch prices and get the best deals to keep it low. But I don’t like to go shop at every store each week it’s just too much. But I do a few things to keep my spending low without having to shop a bunch of stores each month.

5 Tips to Simplify Your Grocery Shopping

Keep a Reasonable Stockpile

I think having a stockpile is one of the most important ways I keep our grocery spending low. I don’t keep a huge stockpile like you might see on the extreme couponing shows. I do keep a reasonable amount of food and non-food items on hand for our family.

I only stockpile items that I know we love and will use. There is no use stocking up on a good deal if it’s something you won’t end up using. When stockpiling just stick to the items you use regularly and only stock up on things you know your family loves.

Keep your stockpile limited to what you’ll need until the next sale. I know at what rate we use of the items I stockpile. We stock just enough to get to the next sale and most sales happen every 12 weeks. So when I see it on sale I purchase enough for 12 weeks, if I can, sometimes there are limits on sale prices.

The stockpile helps me to have the main items I use all the time already in the pantry. Which cuts down my trips to the store and I don’t have to buy items at full price either.

Menu Plan

I make a menu plan each week. To make my plan, I look at what I have on hand and look at what is one sale. Then I plan my menu around those items. By knowing what I need to pick up at the store, I’m not wandering aimlessly looking to see what looks good. I can have my list in hand go in and grab what I need and get out. I’ve read the longer you spend in a store the more money you’ll spend so it’s best to get in and out as quick as you can.

Limit the Stores You Shop

In our area, we have these major grocery stores, Safeway, Fred Meyer, Albertsons, Winco Foods, Trader Joes, and Food 4 Less. Then there are two discount grocery stores in our area too, Everyday Deals and Grocery Outlet. They all have different deals, but it would take me forever to shop each one. To make my grocery shopping simpler I’ll limit the number of stores I shop. Picking one or two to shop each week helps me take advantage of the best deals but still not have to spend all day shopping.

I decide where to shop by the items I need to purchase and who has the best sale for that week. If the sales are not that great I will shop Winco Foods and one of the discount grocery stores because I’ve found with that combination of stores I can get what I need in two stops and get the best deals overall.

Grocery shopping is something we all have to do, but I have a few tips to help you streamline your weekly grocery shopping. I’ve been using these tips for the past year and I’ve found I can save time without spending more money.

Buy In Bulk

Buy in bulk when you can. I’ve found when buying bigger packages of meat or big boxes of other items often means a better price. It doesn’t hold true for every purchase but is a good rule to follow. If you have freezer space, buying the bigger packages of meat can really save you money. I usually do freezer cooking when I find a good deal on meat like my chicken freezer plan or my pork loin plan. Both plans use about 10 pounds of meat and the meat packages for the freezer can be prepared in just about an hour each. Buying a little extra as you can helps to keep your stockpile up which save you time on grocery shopping. I would much rather shop my freezer and pantry than the store.

Use Coupons Wisely

I clip the coupons I know I might use and place them in my coupon envelope in my price book. That way I always have them with me to use when I’m shopping. I keep the rest of the coupon inserts for those shopping trips when I do a planned coupon trip. Once they expire they are removed and recycled. I used to clip a lot more coupons and file them, but it took a lot of time. My streamlined coupon-clipping method really works well for us. I have the coupons I know I will use ready to go. But I have access to other coupons if I find a great coupon and sale match up. But I don’t have to spend time or energy on clipping coupons I’m not sure I’ll use.

All of these tips work together to help me save time on my grocery shopping without me having to sacrifice too much in savings. I’ve been using this method for about a year and most weeks I’ll spend one-hour grocery shopping. I used to spend a lot more time clipping coupons, shopping more stores, and storing more in our stockpile. But I like my streamlined method much better.

What do you do to help simplify your grocery shopping? Do you use any of the tips above? What is something you could add to this list to help others save time and money on grocery shopping? If you have an idea scroll down and share it in the comments below.

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10 thoughts on “5 Tips to Simplify Your Grocery Shopping”

  1. These are great tips, Shelly. I need to start menu planning regularly again. I recently started back up, and it worked out great that week. But then this weekend, I didn’t create a plan, and we’re just sort of back to our old routine…but actually doing better because my husband is doing more cooking. 🙂

  2. I also purchase the larger packs of meat and then separate them for the freezer. It certainly does help with meal planning and cutting down on grocery costs. Great post!

    1. Thanks, Cheryl! I love to purchase the big packages of meat and be stocked up for a while. Just this past weekend I picked up 13 pounds of ground beef and make meatballs, a meatloaf and a bunch of cooked ground beef packages for the freezer. I was hoping to get back to purchase 10 more pounds before the sale went off, but I didn’t make it.

  3. Your tip on limiting the grocery stores at which you shop is great. I used to try to go to many stores to get all the deals, but I ended up tired and didn’t really see that much savings (since I was using up extra gas driving to all the different stores). I also wasted a lot of time that I could have used doing other things.

    1. If you have a super Walmart near you, they price match groceries, just bring in your sales ads from the other stores. There are some restrictions, but not a lot. Go to their website for details. To speed up check out I put a post it note on the item I want price matched. I write the sale price and the name of grocery store flier it is from. Before I go shopping I will often circle the item I will be matching. This makes it easier to locate the sale item, especially if you are bringing in several ads .

  4. Great tips, Shelly! I agree that stockpiling is probably the biggest source of savings for me when it comes to my grocery bill. My grocery bill has started creeping up over the past months for a combination of reasons, including rising prices and buying less processed foods. I need to take a hard look at my budget and see if I need to increase my budget or work harder at keeping costs lower.

    1. Prices have been creeping up in our area too. Meat is a big one but I’ve been trying to be more diligent in stocking up on meat when I find it on sale or purchase it through Zaycon Fresh. That has been a big help plus having a few great discount grocery stores helps too.

  5. I agree that menu planning is key. It requires a bit of time, but well worth the $ you save. My meals revolve mostly around what is freezer and pantry. Because I do have a small stockpile of food on hand, I usually am shopping for perishable foods.

    I also have a binder of three months worth of weekly menus that we love with an ingredient list for each meals. After three months, you just go back at start again. You don’t tire of eating the same thing over and over because you are only making the dish 4 x’s a year. If you like trying new recipes, just have one meal a TBD meal. If your family likes having a certain dish more often you can put it in your planner more often.

    My best friend is my “Food Saver” vacuum appliance. I only buy meat when there is a good sale and freeze it. I never worry about freezer burn, but date your packages so you eat the older food first.

    BTW too keep celery fresh longer, wrap in foil. I have had celery 3 months and not go bad by doing this.

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