Happy New Year!! As you may have noticed, my website has changed a bit! My sister, Rachel, has been home for Christmas and we decided that it would be fun to combine our interests and knowledge to create “Sisters Health + Home”! Check out our “Meet the Sisters” page to learn more about us 🙂 I am excited to provide a variety of content for you guys!

With the New Year here, I thought that this would be a relevant topic. It will help you save some money AND fill your kitchen with nutritious food! I came up with 5some tips to help you feel more confident this year with grocery shopping and meal planning! Let’s get started 🙂

Be prepared!

I know we hear this all the time, but it makes a world of a difference! If you have a plan/grocery list going into the store, you will save both money and time! I have found it to be really helpful to have a designated day each week to go grocery shopping. If you only go once a week, then it forces you to be prepared and plan out your meals to last you the entire week. Take the time to plan the meals/food you want to have for the week, and create your grocery list. I have also found it helpful to organize your list to go with the flow of the store (inside/outside aisles) so that you don’t waste time going back and forth.

These are some really great grocery lists to help keep you organized:

When are you shopping?

I know that it’s common to want to go to the store on the weekend when you’re not working, have more time, and can start the week with a stocked kitchen. However, grocery shopping during the week can actually be much cheaper. I started going on Friday evening in Ames and it was cheaper and less crowded! The stores jack up the prices on the weekend so even if things are on “sale”, it can still be more expensive. Definitely worth experimenting and comparing! This is a great article talking about the best day of the week to shop! 🙂

Go with the store brand!

I also found this to make a huge difference! The store brand/generic brand of items can be around a dollar cheaper, and if you’re able to do that for 10-15 items (if not more), then you can save quite a bit of money! I shop at Walmart in Ames (so there is a pretty good selection) but I’ve had good luck finding the “reduced fat” or “lighter” (lower calorie) options for a lot of things that are the store brand as well! And honestly, they don’t taste any different! So look around a bit the next time you go to the store and compare the name brand with the generic brand and see if you can’t save yourself some money!

How many times will you use it?

This is something I’ve really implemented while meal planning and grocery shopping in college. I have two roommates so I don’t exactly have unlimited space in the fridge and cupboards. My goal every week is to empty my fridge and cupboards as much as possible by the end of the week! When you’re buying food/ingredients, make sure that you will be able to utilize them all week long, and it’s not just for one recipe and you’ll never use it again. Pretty soon the cupboards and fridge fill up with food you only used once or twice and probably won’t use again. So try to make sure that you will use the food you buy! And when you find that you’ve started to collect a lot of food items, try to incorporate those items into the meals you’re planning for the week! Supercook is a cool website for finding recipes for the ingredients you already have! Check your kitchen stock before you go buying other items, and make sure you’re planning on fully utilizing the food that you do buy!

Buy in bulk!

If you have a Sam’s Club or Costco membership, that’s awesome! Walmart and larger Hy-Vees also have a decent selection of bulk items. Buying in bulk can save you a lot of money when shopping for items such as meat, fruit, greek yogurt, dressings, and much more! I will buy a big pack of chicken breasts and then put them into smaller Ziploc bags and freeze them, and then just pull them out as I need them. I have also started buying oatmeal in just the large plain container, instead of the individual flavored packets. It is WAY cheaper and you can very easily add your own “mix-ins” like cinnamon, fruit, nut butter, honey, syrup!

Order online!

I  haven’t done this yet, but Rachel does this all the time! You can go online (for most grocery stores now) and pick out the food you want and then set up a time to go pick it up. The great thing about this is that you can see what your total is as you’re adding items to your cart, so you know exactly what you’re going to be spending. You can also look at all of the sales going on and see them all in one place. This is a great option for busy moms that don’t want to take their kids into the store, as well as for those who recognize that they always end up getting more than what was on their list. By ordering online you’re not tempted by other items on the shelf and can have more control over what you purchase. Netflix + grocery shop 🙂

Don’t go in hungry!

You’ve probably heard this before, but it makes a difference LOL! If you go into the grocery store really hungry or having cravings then you’re probably going to end up buying food to satisfy that, which can add up really quickly. Plan to go to the store after you’ve had a balanced meal so that you’re not feeling tempted by everything on the shelves at the grocery store.

And there ya have it! 🙂 I hope that you guys have found these tips to be helpful and will implement them the next time you’re headed to the grocery store! We can always work on saving a little money whenever possible, let’s start the New Year off ahead! Don’t forget to like, comment, follow, subscribe! 🙂

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