Mandy and I have a very different view of the grocery store than we did a year and a half ago. Furthermore, the way that we grocery shop has changed as well. Before our fitness journey started, our trips to Kroger consisted of lots of packaged meals, cake mixes, ice cream, and treats. With the reduction in our caloric intake came a reduction in our grocery needs as well. During that transformation, we developed some tips and tricks that help us not only save on calories, but on cold, hard cash as well.
For consistent readers of our blog, you will know that we love to plan for things. Grocery shopping is no different! We use Google Docs to organize and plan our weekly Kroger run. By using the cloud Google Doc, we both have access to the list at all times and can add meal ideas and ingredients. Having a list that we stick to once we get inside the store also helps to keep us from randomly wandering the aisles and grabbing everything that we see. Have we mentioned I am a marketer’s dream? I used to drop $120 at Kroger when I only walked in to get a gallon of milk. Lists keep me honest.
Notice up there where I said weekly? You didn’t misread that. We made the conscious decision to limit ourselves to one grocery store trip a week. We plan our menu on Sundays and swing by on our way home from church. When you run to the store every day to pick up one or two items, it inevitably turns to four or five items when you start saying “oh shoot, I forgot we ran out of this thing yesterday”. Those little things add up quickly and will deplete your budget really fast!
Additionally, we get creative with our menu and try to buy in bulk to cover multiple meals. Instead of planning to have chicken stir-fry one day and steak fajitas the next, we will buy a large pack of chicken and use it for both. Then the next time we have fajitas, we will get steak and use the rest of the pack for something else. This doesn’t mean that you have to only buy one thing and eat it for every meal that week, but be flexible and strategic about which meals you have in which week. If you can buy one item that can be used for multiple meals, you will save money when you go to checkout!
Finally, the old adage about staying on the perimeter of the store is true. The outside edges of the store hold all of the fresh produce, meats, and dairy. In addition to being healthier, these items are also less expensive. A cart full of Hungry Man meals and Hamburger Helper is always going to be more costly than fruits, vegetables, and quality ingredients. It takes a bit more leg work in the kitchen, but that’s just one more opportunity to spend quality time with your spouse and cook together!
What are some ways that you have found to cut down on the cost of groceries?