Three ideas to make holiday grocery shopping a breeze

Sheri Alzeerah
Special to the Sun

TAHOE/TRUCKEE, Calif. and#8212; Itand#8217;s time to give thanks, and being thankful for grocery stores free of bustling holiday crowds and Thanksgiving staple shortages is no exception. Donand#8217;t get caught this Turkey Day cranberry-sauce-less or even worse, turkey-less. And no need to stress about whipping around aisle corners and swerving between foot traffic with your shopping-cart-turned-racecar. This holiday, relax by shopping smarter and taking on the beast that is the grocery store with three simple tips thatand#8217;ll save you time and money.

Ready! Make a menu.

Dig through your cookbooks, research online or pull out family favorites to get your Thanksgiving dinner menu together. From finger foods to appetizers to entrees to side dishes to desserts to beverages, Thanksgiving does not skimp on satisfying tummies, so make sure you have each and every food and drink thought out before heading to the store to avoid overbuying or making several trips back out.

Pro tip: Making a menu applies to every week of the year. Meal planning saves time and money, and itand#8217;s never too late to start planning your familyand#8217;s weekand#8217;s worth of dinners.

Set! Make a shopping list.

Just like Tip No. 1, itand#8217;s all about planning. Once youand#8217;ve got your menu down, whip out the pen and paper (or mobile app if thatand#8217;s how you roll). Cross-reference with your pantry inventory as you jot down the ingredients you need to buy for the big feast. Consider buying non-perishable items in bulk, such as boxed goods, and remember to adjust ingredient quantities to fit your party.

Making the list is one thing and#8212; sticking to the list is another. Shop by the list to keep your budget in check and separate your needs from your impulsive wants.

Go! Start shopping now.

Add items to your basket, saving the perishable items for last. By building up your Thanksgiving stock now, youand#8217;ll avoid the holiday rush all together and have nothing to worry about except getting the food from the kitchen to the table.

Keep up with coupons, both in-store and manufacturer deals, and donand#8217;t be afraid to use them. Not only will you be ahead of the game with shopping, youand#8217;ll save big bucks like a pro with little time and effort.

This Thanksgiving, itand#8217;s easy to shop smarter and stress-free. Your loved ones, your wallet and your peace of mind will thank you.–

and#8212; Sheri Alzeerah is a journalist and freelance writer for meal planning service

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