- Author: Patti C. Wooten Swanson
Two steps to cut your grocery bill by 20%:
1. Plan meals in advance.
2. Make a detailed shopping list.
With a little practice you can do both in 30 minutes. Here's how:
1. First, get organized.
Grab a pen, notepad, weekly grocery store fliers, and your calendar.
Have your recipe file nearby.
2. Keep a list of meals your family likes.
You'll save planning time and cut down on spending for food that no one eats.
3. Think about your family’s schedule and lifestyle.
What days will you eat at home? Will you be pressed for time to fix dinner before an evening meeting or after your child’s baseball game? If so, plan easy, nutritious meals built around a few prepared items from the grocery or deli, such as a roasted chicken, frozen pizza dough and bottled pizza sauce---just add cheese and vegetables.
4. Plan the main meal of the day first.
Simplify the process by using a meal planning template. Make your own or find a template online, such as this one adapted from Planning Meals for a Family:
|Sunday||Soup & sandwich|
|Tuesday||Dinner in a crock pot|
|Wednesday||Coupon take-out night|
|Friday||From the grill|
4. Plan for breakfast, lunch and snacks.
This is doesn’t need to be as specific as main meal plans. You may like to have cold cereal and fruit for breakfast every day, and take leftovers or a sandwich for lunch.
For snacks, plan grab and go items that don’t need preparation: pretzels, low-fat yogurt, whole or cut-up fruit, low-fat crackers and string cheese, 100-calorie packs of cookies, etc.
5. Make a detailed grocery list.
Review the recipe for each menu item and list any ingredients that you need to buy and the amount. Check your grocery list against what you already have on hand---in the pantry, refrigerator or freezer---so you don’t buy items you already have.
Stick to your grocery list when you shop. You’ll spend up to 20% less than if you shopped without a list./span>