Grocery shopping for a large family can be a challenge, but with a little bit of pre-planning and some organization, it can be accomplished rather easily with just one trip to the store each week. Her are my 5 best tips that can be applied to families of any size!
1. Menu Plan
Before you make a trip to the grocery store, you should have an idea of what you plan to cook for the week. At our house we use this menu planning board every Sunday to pick what we will eat for dinner during the upcoming week. At the bottom of the board I have a list of all of our family dinners that the kids enjoy (they are all magnets!), and then the kids and I create a game plan for each night of the week.
2. Keep a Running List of What You Need to Buy
I lost my memory way back sometime between children #2 and #3 joining our household (and if you happen to see my memory running around on its own, please send it back to me!)… so there is no possible way that I will recall that we have run out of say, ketchup, while I am standing in that very aisle of the grocery store. Even if my kids have reminded me to buy ketchup just 10 minutes before I left the house. Sad, but true.
So the only way I am going to replace the items that we have run out of, is if I add them to my grocery list right as I am tossing (recycling of course) the last container of whatever it is that we've just used up. So I created this handy dandy spreadsheet in Excel that just lists all of the grocery categories down one side and allows room for me to list what we need on the other. Let me tell you- it is SO much easier to shop when you have your list organized by category, and when those categories pair up nicely with the aisles in the grocery store!
3. Clip and organize coupons
The hands-down best ways to save money when shopping for a big family is to buy items when they are on sale, to match that sale price up with a coupon, and to buy enough to last you 8-12 weeks until that item goes on sale again. Need some more details on how to go about doing this? Then please check out these posts from my 5-part series on How to Save Money on Groceries:
4. Review the Grocery Store's Sale Flyer
I spend about an hour every Sunday evening cutting and filing my coupons, reading through the grocery sale flyers and planning my grocery shopping trip for Monday morning. This is one hour well spent, as I save about 30-40% on my grocery bill every single week. I am reviewing flyers looking for “deals”…. items that are at their rock-bottom price for this sales cycle. If you want the low-down on how I know whether or not an item is at it's best price… check out these 2 posts:
5. Plan on what to buy, head to the store, and buy only what's on your list!
After I reviewed the deals, matched up my coupons, and completed my grocery list based on my menu plan, items I'm out of, and items I want to buy because they are at their best price…. I have a full and complete list of what I need from the store. And it is organized by category for quick pick up as I cruise up and down the aisles of the store. I am generally in and out of the grocery store in about 45 minutes.
I rarely buy any additional items that are not on my list… and that only happens when I come across a great unadvertised in-store deal where I can pair a low price with a coupon that I have in my binder. Other than that- there is no wandering around wondering what to buy, evaluating “what looks good”….. I just shop for what I planned to buy, and head on out of there!
What are your best grocery shopping tips? Please leave a comment and share them with us!
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