6 Tips for Making Your Grocery Trips Count
By: Aviva Goldfarb, Six O’Clock Scramble Founder, cookbook author
I may be the last person that the supermarket owners want advising you about grocery shopping, since I built my whole business around avoiding trips to the grocery store. Because I don’t like to grocery shop (what a waste of precious time!), I have developed some strategies for making grocery trips count, so I can shop as infrequently as possible. Here are a few of my suggestions:
- Trust the list: Keep your grocery list handy so you can add to it any time you run out of something you need to replenish. I stick mine to the side of the refrigerator so anyone in my family can add to it.
- Check your freezer: Rather than buying more chicken or peas, go shopping first in your own freezer. By using what you have already purchased, you can save money and freezer space. For example, if you have some frozen seafood, just cook and top on pasta or salad and you have a meal! Gorton’s makes several great frozen seafood items, like Grilled Lemon Peppercorn Tilapia and Classic Grilled Shrimp.
- Stock up on essentials: There are few things that irk me more than having to stop at the store just to buy milk or orange juice. Be sure to buy plenty of the things your family uses daily, so they can last until your next trip. (Note: Under Tips and Articles on The Scramble website we have listed the pantry essentials used most often in Scramble meals.)
- Resist the candy and potato chips: If you don’t want to eat it (or you don’t want your family to) don’t buy it! Especially when shopping with kids or when we’re feeling hungry, it can be tough to avoid the displays of fabulous cupcakes or half-priced chips. Have a healthy snack before you shop and try to stick to your list, rather than getting thrown off course by foods you don’t want to eat. For me, that means averting my eyes when I pass the marshmallows.
- Shop sales wisely: Is that sale item really going to save you money? In general, only buy sale items if they are nonperishable and are something you would otherwise buy. If it goes bad or sits in your pantry for 2 years, is it really a bargain? (I’m talking to you, 4-year-old-unopened-box-of-Lipton-Vegetable-Soup-Mix in my cupboard). On the other hand, if you can stock up on expensive items when they are in sale, and shop in your freezer before you go to the store (see item #2), you could save a bundle.
- Don’t wait until the last minute to update your grocery list: I used to put off finishing my list, figuring that if I looked through the pantry and the ‘fridge right before shopping, the empty spaces would jog my memory of what staples I needed to restock — which leads me to my pet peeve (see # 3 above) – a second trip to the grocery store in the same week! Now I know myself (and my weaknesses) better and I add the items to the list as we run out of them, instead of waiting until the last minute.
P.S. Don’t forget to keep your reusable shopping bags in your car to protect our precious planet (and to keep zillions of plastic and paper bags from cluttering up your kitchen space).