You probably go to the grocery store multiple times throughout the month. Usually you go because you need a particular item you ran out of, but while you’re there, it’s hard not to be tempted by extras. Even deals and discounts can draw you into overspending. But just as importantly, because you are only running to the store for one thing, you are less likely to prepare and save the most money possible on that item. Why drive an extra ten minutes to save $1 on milk if that’s all you are purchasing? It just doesn’t make sense. The answer is to grocery shop for the entire month (mostly).
Why You Should Grocery Shop For The Entire Month
Doing all of your grocery shopping at one time will save you more money than any other tip I’ve compiled. This is the best way to maximize the impact of your time spent by getting the absolute best deals on everything you will use for the entire month. You may miss out on specific sales throughout the month, but you will be able to take advantage of competing sales from multiple stores. That means you don’t have to buy hardly anything that isn’t on sale somewhere. Plus, when you are shopping for everything at once, you only have to look for coupons and rebates one time so it isn’t overly tedious. It will take some time, but the payout will be worth it.
Planning To Grocery Shop For The Entire Month
The real power of planning to grocery shop for the entire month comes from two things: shopping at multiple locations and researching coupons and rebates. Read on for specific steps to help you plan out your grocery shopping trip, as covered in previous posts.
- 1. Make Your Meal Plan
- First, you will have to know what you plan to cook and eat all month long. This will save you money and so much time in the course of the month. It’s worth the time you spend planning.
- 2. Plan Your Shopping
- Next, go through your month of meals and write down all the ingredients you will need. Be sure to note how many meals you need the same item for. I used tally marks to keep track of how many of something I would need. Don’t forget lunches and breakfasts!
- 3. Shop Your Pantry, Organize Your Food, and Stop Wasting
- Don’t buy something you already have. Take the time to take inventory of your current stock before spending money on something.
- 4. Compare Sales to Save Money on Groceries
- This is the bulk of how you will save money by learning to grocery shop for the entire month. Compare sales for every grocery store in your area (even the ones that are a little bit of a drive away. Note which items on your list are on sale at different places. It’s worth driving to 10 minutes if you can save $25 by making the drive.
- 5. Find Coupons
- Coupons really require their own post so definitely click to read more, but you should be looking at individual store coupons as well as manufacturer coupons. Be sure to note who price matches and doubles coupons in your area. You might have to do less driving around than you think!
- 6. Save Money on Groceries With Your Phone
- Download Ibotta and see which items on your list qualify for cash back rebates. This is a great way to save money on top of money, and occasionally, you might even MAKE money if you find a good enough deal with a sale, coupons, and a rebate.
How To Grocery Shop For The Entire Month
Once you have done your research, it’s time to make a master list of all the places you’ll be shopping and what you’ll be purchasing at each store. Be sure to organize your coupons accordingly. Do as much as you can before you leave the house so things don’t get stressful. You should have a separate list for each place you’ll be visiting. Bonus points if you use a coupon organizer to keep things sorted.
If there are items on your list that are not on sale anywhere, plug them into your shopping list at the places you think they will be cheapest. During your first shopping trip, purchase them wherever your best guess is, but keep track of prices at each location you shop so you can make a more informed choice in the future. You may be surprised how much you can save just by knowing which stores have the best prices on the basics. When it comes to these staples, buy bulk when possible to save money over the long run. Don’t be afraid of generics when it comes to the basics. Off-brand quinoa still tastes the same.
Start at the grocery stores that are further away first and always go to the place with the most stuff on your list first so you don’t keep cold items in the car too long while running to additional stores. Take a cooler if you are able to.
How Long Does It Take To Grocery Shop For The Entire Month?
Plan to spend longer than usual on your shopping when you grocery shop for the entire month. Remember, though, you won’t be spending all that time running to the store through the month so you’ll probably actually spend less time total than you normally would. Still, doing it all at once, particularly when you are trying to save as much money as possible, is going to take a few hours. I usually dedicate a Saturday or Sunday at the beginning of the month to do all of my grocery shopping. Then, when I get home, I divide my meats according to the meals I have planned, prep anything that needs prepped before I freeze it, and organize everything. This one day a month lets me rest easy all the other days and saves me enough money that it’s worth the dedicated time.
What About Fresh Veggies and Milk???
Don’t worry; I always do a small mid-month refresh on fresh veggies and milk. The key is to limit the items you need to purchase throughout the month, not to deprive yourself of good food. Depending on your eating habits, you may need to make this small run 1-3 times through the month. The key is to make it short and specific. Know what you are going to the store to get, get the items you need, and then get out.
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