Saturday, September 10, 2011

Organizing your Shopping List

If you're like most people, then when you go to the grocery store you don't always stick to your list...if you even have one with you.  This leads to overspending and buying items at a higher cost!  These tips will help you get organized and be better prepared at the grocery store.  You don't have to be an avid couponer to follow these rules in staying within your grocery budget.

Tip 1: Bring cash only!  If you set your weekly grocery budget to $50 then you should only bring $50 in cash with you to the grocery store.  If at checkout your amount is more than $50, then you'll have to start putting items back to get back under your budget.

  •  This is a great way to keep within your weekly budget.  If you have leftover money at the end of your shopping trip then you can apply it towards your next week's grocery budget.
Tip 2:  Create a shopping list and stick to it.  When creating your shopping list make sure to list how many of each item you need AND put a realistic price next to it (before any coupons).  Then once you've completed your list you can total it up (and figure in sales tax) to make sure you're within budget.
  • I create a spreadsheet for my grocery list which includes the items, prices, any coupons I'll be using, and price after coupons.  I also total my grocery cost (prior to coupons) and add the sales tax so there won't be any surprises.  If I'm outside of my budget then I see what is not needed and I remove it from my list.
  • If there are any price differences when I get to the store I mark it on my list and update my totals.
  • Don't forget, sales tax is added prior to coupons, so even if you're getting an item for FREE after your coupon, you still have to pay sales tax on the original/sales cost.
    • Example: Tide detergent travel size $1.00, minus $1/1 coupon. Total cost before coupons (sales tax 7%) = $1.07, Total cost after coupons = $0.07
Tip 3: Use coupons!  By creating some kind of coupon method (see here) you will have coupons from previous weeks to use on items when they're on sale instead of at their normal price.  This will save you tons, and allow you to buy more for your money.

Tip 4: Don't shop when you're hungry!  If you go to the grocery store while your stomach is grumbling, then you'll be more likely to buy items off your list.  So make sure to go shopping after a meal or have a snack before hand.

Tip 5:  Don't make multiple shopping trips throughout the week.  The more you go to the store, the more you're going to buy.  Try to make all of your purchases in one shopping trip.  If you plan to go to multiple stores, try doing it all in one day and in the same trip.  This will help save you money on gas, and it will help you avoid buying extra items in those extra trips.

Make sure to find a method that works for you and stick to it.  This will definitely help your pocket book, and if you're using coupons then you can get more for your money as well!  Happy Shopping! 

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