When you are on a budget, it’s essential to stay on task at the commissary. Whether it’s due to the kids, your cravings or that great sale on imported chocolate, we tend to buy impulsively. What can we do to alleviate this? Besides putting literal blinders on, there are a few tips that we can use to help us stick to the grocery list. Budgeting for groceries doesn’t have to be difficult, as long as you have a plan.
Learn the layout of your grocery store or military commissary.
This is one of the easiest ways to bypass grocery budget pitfalls. Money-saving moms shop the perimeter of a store. This is where you’ll find the items most needed in any home: produce, protein, dairy and discounted baked goods. Once you learn the layout of your store, you can create your grocery list to reflect it. If produce is the very first thing you see when entering the store, be sure to add the fruits and vegetables that are on sale to the top of your grocery list. Figure out which middle aisles are the ones that you visit once a week or twice a month. Be sure to only visit those aisles instead of perusing ones that you wouldn’t or shouldn’t visit (candy aisle, anyone?).
Bring your own snacks.
I’ve heard time and time again that you should eat before you venture to the grocery store, but most of the time that doesn’t work. Here’s a great tip: keep a granola bar, nut mix, or whatever healthy snack you enjoy in your purse or bag. When you walk in and smell freshly baked cinnamon rolls at your store, you’ll have your own snack ready and will be less likely to spend an extra 6 bucks on a treat you’ll regret later.
Utilize your phone.
Our smart phones are our best friends, especially when grocery shopping. Use your phone to make your grocery list. You won’t have to worry about misunderstanding handwriting, even your own. If you’re a visual person, take pictures of the items you need from the store circular and use that as your list.
To keep you from spending hours in the store and getting distracted, set a timer for yourself. Do you allot an hour for shopping but end up spending 2 in the store? Set an alarm on your phone to alert you when your hour is up. Once that alarm goes off, select your last items and hit up the checkout lanes.
What tips do you have for sticking to your grocery list?