Your BBB® understands how grocery shopping can be a hassle. But we all need to get better at it and here’s why: according to the USDA, the average monthly tab for a family of four runs between $568 to $1293. Unfortunately, 25% of the food we buy ends up in the trash.
In 2017, we can step up our grocery shopping game with these 10 easy tricks:
[su_heading style=”flat-blue” size=”15″ align=”left”]1. Plan your meals[/su_heading]
You don’t have to be very strict because no one knows how hungry they are going to be three days in advance. But if you are the cook in your family, you probably know how many meals you’ll be cooking and what quantities you will need. Make a list and divide it in 3 columns: meat, fruit and vegetables, other. Then, count the number of times you’ll be using each product, put everything on the list and you are ready to go shopping.
[su_heading style=”flat-blue” size=”15″ align=”left”]2. Use up your pantry[/su_heading]
Americans only use 25% of their pantry. Instead of ordering pizza at the end of the week, visit your pantry and try to use as many ingredients as you can to cook a delicious meal.
[su_heading style=”flat-blue” size=”15″ align=”left”]3. Learn to DIY[/su_heading]
Remember that bread maker that’s been collecting dust since the day you got it? It’s time to put it to good use! Also, why don’t you grow your own herbs? All they need is a little water now and then. Plus, herbs like peppermint will keep mice away!
But the biggest DIY of all is to cook your own food: start with easy online recipes and put your twist on them. Once you get the hang of it, remember to pack your own lunch- takeout is 50% more expensive than homecooked meals.
[su_heading style=”flat-blue” size=”15″ align=”left”]4. Don’t shop on an empty stomach[/su_heading]
A study in the Journal of Consumer Research shows that people who are shopping on an empty stomach are more likely to purchase unnecessary items than those who had a snack. This is probably why pastries and rotisserie meats are placed by the entrance of each supermarket.
[su_heading style=”flat-blue” size=”15″ align=”left”]5. Shop local for a better taste[/su_heading]
Supermarkets are very convenient, but locally grown produce tastes better, is fresher and helps the local economy. Lookup farmer’s markets in your area and shop there once a week.
[su_heading style=”flat-blue” size=”15″ align=”left”]6. Prepare for the cold season[/su_heading]
Since no one can really predict the weather, make sure to purchase a few items in case you get snowed in. Here’s what to put on your list: flour, dried beans, potatoes, pasta, garlic and onions, tomato juice, meat in bulk. You can later carve the meat, place it in small Ziploc bags and keep the bags in the freezer. You can also buy fresh peas, carrots, spinach, slice and dice and then freeze them.
However, make sure not to forget about these goodies in case there is no snow and you can go grocery shopping every week.
[su_heading style=”flat-blue” size=”15″ align=”left”]7. Bring your own soundtrack[/su_heading]
Many studies show that stores play slower beat music to encourage shoppers to move slower through the store. This alone makes people increase their spending by 29%! Put your headphones on and shop at your own pace!
[su_heading style=”flat-blue” size=”15″ align=”left”]8. Shop alone![/su_heading]
Spending increases by 8% when you are shopping with someone else. In fact, the larger the shopping party, the bigger the spending, if we are to believe the Journal of Marketing Research.
[su_heading style=”flat-blue” size=”15″ align=”left”]9. Never shop more than once a week![/su_heading]
If you find yourself thinking: If I had butter, I could’ve made biscuits. I better go to the store, it’s time to change things up. You have many other items in your pantry and refrigerator that would make a great meal! Thrifty people have a saying: The less you shop, the more you save.
[su_heading style=”flat-blue” size=”15″ align=”left”]10. Do an inventory[/su_heading]
Once a month, do an inventory of your pantry and freezer and create meals based on these items alone. If you are new at this, you can use an app like Out Of Milk to help you out.
Reduce your waste, save money and eat better: great resolutions for 2017!
For more information you can trust, visit bbb.org/Evansville!