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We all make grocery lists of some sort to help us when shopping, and most of us actually use the list. By making a grocery list in advance you can save time and money.
First start with a basic list of your needs, write down the items that readily come to mind. Then go through the coupons and store advertisements (see below under save money), determine if any of the sales are right for your particular needs. Finally, go to the refrigerator, cabinets and pantry to see what you are running low on. Add all items that you are out of or running low on. By using a well prepared list you will find your shopping experience is less hectic and more enjoyable.
Save money by going through your coupons and grocery fliers to determine what's on sale that you might actually need. Remember using the grocery fliers and coupons sometimes add to our expenses because we determine we want something just because it's on sale, not because we actually need it. The best thing to do is be frugal and try to remember what you or your family might actually need versus desire. It's ok to splurge and enjoy your desires, as well, provided you have the funding to support them. Using the various coupons and fliers you can determine where you may want to shop for your groceries.
By writing out your list of needs in advance your shopping trip becomes less hectic and more organized. You won't be running up and down the aisles because you just remembered something you "think" you need. Also, you won't be making several trips back to the store because you forgot something. Keeping your trip organized keeps your stress level down and the trip more enjoyable.
Many of us today are you trying to watch where our money is going. We are looking for the better prices and sale bargains. By doing your homework in advance and writing down the prices you may help cut some of your grocery expenses.
Make it a habit to write the advertised price next to the item on your list. When you get to the store you'll be able to verify that the sale price and product is indeed the bargain you were looking for. You can also pre shop by visiting the grocery stores web site to determine varying prices of products. This may help you determine which store to purchase which item.
There are two things you should have with you, your list and your coupons. Pre written grocery list and pre sorted coupons will save you tons of time at the grocery store.
Fast Trips: Run in with the coupon you need (if any) in hand and get the quick pre selected items you need by going promptly to the isles containing those items. Do not browse. Remember this is only a fast trip.
Grocery Shopping: Start at one end of the store and work your way through each isle slowly to till you reach the other end of the store. If you buy bulk buys, hit the isle that contain the big bulk items first to make sure you can place them safely in your cart. Now, take out that list and as you browse through each isle keep in mind what you are looking for. As you find the item cross it off from your list and (if applicable) pull out the corresponding coupon. By pulling the coupon for the item you place in your cart you will save time at the check out counter. You can safely keep the coupon separate by clipping to your list.
At the register you can now unload your groceries, put away the coupons you didn't use and have ready those you did for the clerk.
Use your computer to set up a grocery list form. Our family created a form made of two columns, with several headings in each column that give a brief description of the items on each aisle. Grocery departments will usually have between 12 to 15 aisles plus the produce and bakery sections so you'll probably have 7 or 8 headings in each column with enough space underneath the heading to write the items needed. This worked the best for us as it allowed us to quickly work our way through the store without a lot of backtracking. We keep this form posted on the frig so we can quickly write down items as we think of them.
You may want to keep a basket or tray in the kitchen you can make your coupon toolbox. The box may contain store advertising circulars for the week, the coupon inserts from the Sunday newspaper, coupons cut from boxes, found in magazines or that come in the mail, a pair of scissors, and a calculator. You may choose to pre sort coupons prior to placing in the toolbox. However, if you prefer you can wait until it's time to make your grocery list. By keeping all these items together you'll be prepared when it's time to make your grocery list.
The coupon organizer is a purse or box like item you use to transport your coupons from your home to the store helping organize your shopping experience.
Basic Coupon Organizer: You can get a simple soft carrier, preferably with two dividers (which you can make yourself if necessary. The coupons will be placed in three sections. The first section is all your coupons (for those of you who like last minute buys at the store), the second section contains those coupons you have presorted for your grocery trip (the items you actually plan purchasing) and the last section can be used for when you are at the store and you need to separate out the coupon once you have pulled your grocery item and crossed it off your list.
Fancier Coupon Organizer: To get the most benefit from your coupons they must be organized. The most common organizers are small file boxes or the velcro-wallet type. But it´s the category dividers that are the most important to finding the coupon you´re looking for. While many of these organizers come with a set of dividers and labels, you may need more dividers tailor-made to your needs for your system to be effective. Try cutting file folders down to fit to the size of your organizers and making your own labels.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|