As a newly married couple, I and my husband Dave find grocery shopping as one of the overwhelming tasks of a husband and wife. When I was still single, my mom was in charge of the grocery shopping. Dave went to a supermarket to buy his supplies just once in a blue moon. So the first thing we did right after our honeymoon aside from doing the laundry is to go to a supermarket. Exciting!
But our grocery-shopping-journey seems to be a trial and error. We discovered some ways that are effective, and some ways that cost us more money and time. So here are some of the tips to make you a WISE SUPERSTAR SHOPPER:
- MAKE A BUDGET and a GROCERY SHOPPING LIST
When you go to a supermarket, every single item has an invisible tag on it telling you, “BUY ME, PLEASE! Remember, you need me!” So if you don’t make a budget and a list, you’ll end up buying things that you think you need, but you really don’t.
- MAKE YOUR WEEKLY MEAL PLAN
This is one of the things that we learned from our couple mentor. Aside from planning the things that you’ll do for the week (projects, meetings, date night), plan also your meal. With this, you’ll be able to know what are the dishes that you will cook for the week, what are the needed ingredients, etc. Then you can add this to your grocery list. In our case, I made a menu plan for the whole month of January and set a scheduled day and time in a week for our grocery shopping.
- DON’T SHOP IN A CONVENIENCE STORE
If you plan to buy your grocery needs from a convenience store, think twice. Convenience has a price to pay. There is one instance that I didn’t have a choice but to run to the nearest convenience store to buy pineapple tidbits for my Pininyahang Manok (The consequence of not making a list-I forgot that a pineapple is needed in that dish, duh?!?). I found out that the price of that item in the convenience store is 50% higher compared to the price in the supermarket. A convenience store is for urgent and emergency needs only. But buying your toiletries, canned goods, and other grocery needs in a convenience store is not a practical thing to do.
- BE FAMILIAR WITH THE LAYOUT PLAN OF THE SUPERMARKET
As a first-time grocery shopper, I believe this is a must. I remember one time when we were looking for table placemats. We had a lot of detours inside the supermarket and found ourselves carrying a half-filled basket and asking, “I thought we are just planning to buy placemats?” In order for us to save time and money, we took note of the sections of the supermarket. And every time we do our grocery shopping list, beside the item, we write down the section number where we can find it. Swear, this is really effective!
- TRACK YOUR EXPENSES AND YOUR CONSUMPTION
Use an expense manager app, an excel sheet, or small notebook to monitor your grocery expenses. This will help you analyze whether you are over the budgeted amount or not. Keep and organize your receipts for your reference. It is also our practice that we put tags on the items that we bought and write the date when we started using it and when it is consumed. This will help you track your consumption and include this as a consideration when making a grocery budget. So the next time you run out of toothpaste or shampoo, you’ll avoid buying those things from the convenience store.
With these things in mind, are you ready to kick start your new grocery shopping habits?