It’s pretty easy to walk into a grocery store and want to purchase items that you don’t need — especially if you aren’t prepared. Americans typically throw away about 25 percent of the groceries they buy. To get the most out of your grocery shopping and avoid wasting food or money, here’s a quick guide to start implementing more efficient shopping practices.
Check Your Inventory
Look through your pantry and fridge before you head to the store to determine items that you need or can skip buying. Searching through your current groceries will help you identify current items that are about to expire and need to be used. It will also keep you from accidentally purchasing items at the store that you already have. Having too much of an item increases the likelihood that it won’t be used before its expiration date and will be tossed in the trash.
Plan Your Meals
Planning out a weekly menu is cost effective and can make forming a grocery list much easier. Read through every recipe you plan to use and write down every ingredient you are going to need. Once you cross check it with your current inventory, you can hit the store with confidence. Your shopping experience will be faster, and a set list will prevent you from wandering up and down the aisles.
Choose Seasonal Items
As you’re creating your weekly meal plan, put some thought into money-saving possibilities. Choose recipes that call for similar ingredients so you can save money by buying in bulk rather than small amounts of many items. (This will also cut down on waste!) Additionally, consider seasonal dishes, as their contents will be cheaper. In fact, you can save roughly 30 - 50 percent more than items that are out of season.
Grocery stores can take a toll on your wallet if you don’t go in with a plan. Remember, if the store is out of stock on sale items you want, you can always ask for an IOU. This way you get every ingredient for the price you can afford.