Foodie news | Ten shopping list rules | SierraSun.com

Foodie news | Ten shopping list rules

Sheri Alzeerah
Special to the Sun

TAHOE/TRUCKEE, Calif. and#8212; Shop and#8217;til you drop the grocery bill this year by opting for the free and easy money- and time-saving tool most shoppers take for granted and#8212; the shopping list.

Think of the shopping list as a road map for your grocery store adventure. Plotting out stopping points, destinations and routes in advance will make your trip efficient, direct and save you from overspending.

But before charting your route, keep these tips in mind to become a savvy grocery-store explorer:-

1. Make a meal plan.-

Organization is key to saving money, and meal planning is a simple way to be a pro planner. Each week, make note of what entrees to cook and eat on which days, and be sure to plan for leftovers. With meal planning, each grocery store purchase has a predetermined purpose, meaning no more compulsive buying and no more food waste.-

2. Work grocery day into part of the routine.-

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Donand#8217;t shop on impulse, an impulse, go to the store according to your plan to steer clear of unnecessary goods and expenses. Set aside specific days to grocery shop on your meal plan and your budget will thrive.

3. Donand#8217;t shop on an empty stomach.

A rumbling tummy and aisles bursting at the seams with appealing foods donand#8217;t really mix. Shopping after a meal is wiser for the budget and likely your health. Those sugary, processed foods might look less desirable when your stomach is satisfied.

4. Carry a physical list.

Try not to rely on memory when it comes to shopping lists. That way, youand#8217;ll be sure of what you need and enjoy the fulfillment of crossing something off a to-do list. Whether written on paper or saved on a smart phone, shopping lists take on many forms: Find what works best for you.

5. Organize the list by section.

Separate the list by type of grocery to cut shopping time down. Categories such as dairy, meats, produce, baking goods and beverages will help you navigate the store efficiently rather than backtracking, wandering and circling.-

6. Separate wants from needs.

Lucky for you, a meal plan automatically separates wants from needs. Still, donand#8217;t skimp on snacks in between meals. Allot room in your list and your budget for a few snacks. That way, youand#8217;ll have no reason to spontaneously dish out coins and bills to vending machines and drive-throughs.

7. Consult with the family.

Take family favorites into account when creating a shopping list. You canand#8217;t expect your family to eat what you buy, so have them join in on the grocery list-making process. In fact, the family should have say with the meal-planning process too. Again, keep in mind No. 6, being careful not to go overboard and over budget.

8. Build around coupons and discounts.

Keep up with in-store savings, mail-in coupons and manufacturer coupons. Scope out your storeand#8217;s membership program for customer rewards and loyalty perks. By knowing in advance whatand#8217;s on sale when, you can plan your meals around the weekand#8217;s cheapest eats.

9. Think seasonally.

Generally, for in-season produce, go fresh, and hit up the frozen aisle for out-of-season goods. Because the supply is bountiful for in-season produce, prices for these fresh fruits and veggies are kept at a low. Keeping the season in mind as you make your meal plan and your grocery store route is an easy way to save money and give your meals variety throughout the year.

10. Stick to the list.-

Perhaps most importantly, avoid shopping for goods off the list. Think of the shopping list as a budget more than a guideline. A non-meal plan good in question is likely a want rather than a need. By abiding by the list, youand#8217;ll shop and save money in no time.

Set forth and conquer the grocery store, and remember your map.

and#8212; Sheri Alzeerah is a journalist and freelance writer for meal planning and grocery list service http://www.foodonthetable.com.