I went grocery shopping yesterday. The boyfriance gave me the money to go grocery shopping because he doesn't have the patience to do it himself. After the "doubled budget fiasco" with his debit card, he has put me on a budget of $100 to go grocery shopping. For those of us who have gone grocery shopping in any one of the MEGASTORES (i.e. Walmart) you know how hard it is to stay on track and on budget when you enter this magnificient wonderment of everything your heart desires and you know your money is extremely limited.
I realize that in order to stay on budget more effectively you have to choose the right places to do your shopping and put in the time and effort to do it right the first time. Wal-mart or Target is a great place to get all of your goods, however, you will surely go over budget because there is just too many distractions. Kroger is also a nice place to get your food, but sometimes they don't offer as much savings as you think. But if you combine a trip to a megastore, like Wal-mart, to get your non-edible items like toilet paper, soap, or toiletries you come out on top. Coupled with getting your groceries from a Kroger, Publix, or Food Depot (I think this is only in the South) you will end up spending a lot less on your groceries.
- Know where you are going and what you plan to get. If you are going to Wal-mart or Target for non-edible items, then get JUST that.
- Keep track of what you are spending and how much the items are. When you are focused on how much you have to spend and how much you want to spend you will end up spending less because you have taken the time out to weigh your options.
- Don't be afraid to compare your favorite food items. What's the difference between a can of Green Giant sweet peas and Great Value sweet peas? Packaging. If you compare the labels they offer exactly the same nutritional value. There aren't that many items where the tastes are actually different.
- Know when to cut the fat. Do you really need the bulk package of Ziploc bags or paper towels? Know when it's better to buy in bulk and when it's better to buy what you need
- Be a coupon clipping/ collecting guru. As a young person, sometimes clipping coupons reminds me of the old ladies on Sunday afternoon clipping away at the newspapers. But clipping coupons isn't for the young or old, it's for the savvy budgeter. Or in my case, the unemployed entrepreneur. Clipping coupons can really help keep costs down and even allow you to buy a little bit more for the money
- Get the MOST important items first. You created a shopping list, right? Stick to it! Most of the time the items on your list tend to be the items you use the most. Get those first and then get everything else. Even if you have to put some items back until you can make another trip, at least you got the items that you and/ or your family needs the most.
- Don't be afraid to spend time and effort. If you are on a time schedule, don't go grocery shopping at that time. If you are extremely impatient, don't go grocery shopping by yourself. I did an experiment with the boyfriance where I had him do all the shopping and didn't add any input. The result? He ended up getting cereal (no milk) cheese (no bread) and other miscellaneous items he didn't need. The Solution? I do the grocery shopping from now on because I don't mind taking my time to do it right.
- Read up and do some research. Books like Eat This Not That! and Instant Bargains give you some serious tips on saving. So read up!
The Unemployed [but Empowered and Shopper Savvy] Entrepreneur