Before you shop for groceries, there are a few things you should do to get ready.
Choose the Week’s Meals
Before you make a grocery list, map out your meals for the week.
- Check what you have. Look through your fridge and cabinets to see what you have on hand to get meal ideas and to make sure you don’t buy anything you already have.
- Think about your week. Choose meals that are easy to make for your busiest days. Save recipes that take longer for weekends or days off. Choose big recipes that will give you lots of leftovers for lunches or busy days.
- Keep recipe lists for ideas. Keep a list of your family’s favorites for quick planning or bookmark your favorite cookbook. Keep another list of recipes you’d like to try. (Find healthy recipes in our food category or our Pinterest.)
- Write it out. Planning and sticking to your plan is easy with these meal planning worksheets from ChooseMyPlate.gov.
Make Your Grocery List
Make a grocery list to stay organized and make sure you never run out of important ingredients or household items.
- Organize your list for easy shopping. Add items in order or use a list broken into sections, like this one from ChooseMyPlate.gov.
- Use an app. You can use a list app, like Wunderlist, that you can use on your phone or computer or try one of these other grocery list apps.
- Add things as you run out. Keeping a running list makes it easier to keep track of what you need to restock.
- Look at your weekly meals. Use that plan to make the list of ingredients you need to buy. Don’t forget important basics, like bread, milk, fruits, and veggies, that may not be in recipes but that are perfect for quick meals and snacks.
Plan to Save
Being prepared can help you save money once you’re at the store.
- Join a loyalty program. If you always go to the same store, join its loyalty program. Loyalty programs are usually free and give you discounts and special offers just for signing up.
- Read the sales fliers for deals. They usually come out midweek in the newspaper, or you can find them at the front of the store or on the store’s website.
- Use coupons. Coupons can help you save on the items you know you’ll use. (Don’t buy too much of something you don’t need just to use a coupon, though!) These apps can help you find coupons and other ways to save.
- Eat before you shop. Going grocery shopping while you’re hungry is a big mistake. It makes you more likely to buy things you don’t need, especially unhealthy foods.
Now you’re ready to head to the store!
Make the most of your next shopping trip with our ultimate guide to grocery shopping.