How to outsmart your grocery store

how-to-outsmart-your-grocery-storeA supermarket trip as a parent can be akin to running the gauntlet – perilously teetering between obstacles and aiming to get back to the car before either you or one of the kids has an emotional breakdown.

It’s even tougher when you have a budget to consider. Getting home intact and on point budget-wise is a serious parenting win.

Luckily, Family Times has some tips for supermarket success:

1)    Plan out a weekly menu
Before you even start your grocery list, plan a weekly menu. This will save you on two fronts – you can write an effective shopping list to stick to and cut down extra supermarket trips for the few items you forgot for each meal. We all know these extra trips can end up costing $80 when you only meant to spend $10.

2)    Always go with a list
Once you’ve planned your menu, checked your fridge and pantry, write a list. If you go supermarket shopping without a list, you may as well just throw your money away.

3)    Have a budget
Know exactly how much you have to spend before you pull into the supermarket car park. If you don’t set a limit, you can’t stick to it.

4)    Do a rough running tally
Use your head, or a phone calculator, to do a rough running tally as you go. That way you can decide whether or not you really need that 1kg block of chocolate.

5)    Buy in bulk when it makes sense
Buy jumbo boxes of imperishables if you know that you will use them over time – i.e. nappies, toilet paper etc. But watch out for bulk buys on fruits and vegetables – you may get more produce for your dollar, but will you use it all before it goes bad?

6)    Look for specials
Do buy specials, but only if they’re items that are on your list.

7)    Try store brands
It’s all in the advertising – but once you take the label of a can, it’s often the same thing. If it’s chopped tomatoes going into a casserole, nobody will notice.

8)    Choose your time
It’s best to visit the supermarket at a non-peak time, especially if you’ve got kids in tow. Avoid the 5pm rush, pay days and major holidays.

9)    If at all possible, fly solo
Shop when the kids are at school, or another great time is late at night (if you have a partner who can stay home with the kids.) That way there’s less drama and it becomes a quicker, more targeted shop.

10)    Don’t grocery shop when you’re hungry
This is an age-old truth, but still relevant today. You will buy extra stuff you don’t need if you shop when you’re hungry. Have a decent meal before you go.

11)    Don’t be afraid to change supermarkets
Store savings cards are great, but you need to compare the overall cost of a shop between supermarkets (accounting for those savings) and go where the buying is best.

12)    Where headphones and listen to upbeat music
Supermarkets intentionally play music with a slower beat to encourage shoppers to move more slowly through the aisles – and buy 29 per cent more. Put on your favourite workout mix and get moving – and saving – while you shop.