How To Save Money and Time Grocery Shopping for Your Family
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How To Save Money and Time Grocery Shopping for Your Family

Discover five helpful tips for saving both time and money when you're out grocery shopping for your family each week.

Updated April 19, 2024

by Meredith Rines

Accountant and Certified Financial Planner

One of the biggest budget mishaps happens at the grocery store each week. You walk in feeling in control with your list in hand, ready to conquer your grocery budget. But then something happens. You get distracted, your kids want this or that, and the next thing you know, you’ve overspent. It happens! However, there are specific steps you can take to help you save money and time grocery shopping.

How To Save Money and Time Grocery Shopping for Your Family

Here are some great tips to help you stay on track each week:

1. Create a Smart List

When you randomly jot down items on a to-do list and then head to the store, you will find yourself wandering through almost every aisle. This inevitably means you’re going to spend more money at the checkout. Creating a smart list is one way to save money on grocery shopping.

Before you leave for the store, spend a few minutes rewriting your shopping list. More than likely, you know your grocery store like the back of your hand — that’s mom life. So, create your shopping list in the order of the store’s layout, and try to group items near one another. You’ll spend less time backtracking, which means fewer distractions and chances for impulse shopping. This makes shopping so much easier!

Here’s how to do it: If you first enter through the produce department, start with those items at the top of your list. As you create your list, go in order aisle-by-aisle, so you don’t have to wander back and forth throughout the store. This should also encourage you to purchase more whole foods around the outside of the store!

Not only does this help you save money, but it’s also a great time-saving tip for grocery shopping. You’ll be more efficient in the store, meaning less time inside and even less time for your little ones to add items to your cart.

2. Use Money Saving Apps

There are quite a few rebate and savings apps that help you either get money back or pay less in-store. Here are a few you should check out:

You can use one app or a combination of a few different apps to help you save more money. It’s up to you! To get into a routine of using these apps, enter your purchases and scan your receipt before leaving the parking lot or as soon as you get home. By creating a habit of scanning receipts after each purchase, you’ll be sure to get the most benefit from money-saving apps.

3. Make a Meal Plan

Spend a few minutes planning your breakfasts, lunches, and dinners each week. By having a good meal plan, you can easily create your weekly shopping list to ensure you buy what you need — and only what you need.

To create a money-saving meal plan, make sure to review what you already have on hand first. Go through your cabinets, pantry, fridge, and freezer to make a list of the food items you currently have, and then create a meal plan based on those items.

4. Do Grocery Pickup

If you struggle with impulse shopping, try your local store’s grocery pickup option. Most stores have programs where you use their app or website to add items to your cart, and then after you checkout, you schedule a pickup time. This works great if you need to avoid any distractions in the store. You can use your meal plan to ensure you stay on top of what you need.

Many families can see a decrease in their budget categories by using grocery pickup. You will be more likely to buy only what’s on your list and prevent any impulse shopping. Also, you’ll be able to save a lot of time each week by avoiding weekly trips inside your store.

5. Switch to Cash

If you struggle to save money on grocery shopping, try switching to cash. Review your budget before heading to the grocery store, and decide how much you can afford. Make your list, then head to the bank to pull out the right amount of cash. When you go to the store, leave your wallet at home (or in the car — hidden, of course) and only take in your cash. This will force you to pay attention to prices and stick to your grocery budget.

We hope these tips for saving time and money are helpful for your weekly grocery shopping! It might seem challenging to make your routine more efficient, but it’s worth putting in a little extra time now to establish good money- and time-saving habits down the line. Are there any other tips you would add to this list? Let us know!

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Meredith Rines, MBA, CFP®
Meredith Rines Accountant and Certified Financial Planner
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Wife, Mom, MBA, Certified Financial Planner, and a budget and financial strategist helping families pay off debt and live the life they've always wanted. Meredith resides in Missouri with her… Read more

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