These 9 tips will help you save money on groceries when traveling.
The first two tips are good for anytime you are going grocery shopping!
Do not go grocery shopping when you’re hungry!
It’s amazing how a hungry brain will make you buy things that aren’t on your list! They will more than likely be expensive impulse items that you normally wouldn’t buy and can be a real budget buster.
Company can only be trouble! Husbands and children wanting things that aren’t on the list can destroy your budget.
Make a list
You will spend less money if you plan your meals first and then develop a shopping list from the meal plan.
Categorizing the list will help keep you on track and prevent you from wandering down aisles you don’t need to shop. We keep our list in order of fresh items first, like meat and produce. Then baked goods and dairy products. These items you will use first or they will go bad. Then we add a category for staples; things we always need to have on hand like coffee, creamer, rice, noodles, etc., and then do the same for the non-food items we always keep on hand like paper towels, disposable plates and napkins, etc.
If you are into technology, you might want to try one of the many electronic apps that will help you develop a list of the items you use regularly and miscellaneous items that you buy occasionally. The one I like is Any List – it’s a free app for IOS and Android – that lets me create lists and keep track of prices and coupons. I can even make lists for separate stores, so if I’m in an area that doesn’t have a Safeway or Piggly Wiggly but does have an Albertson’s I can pull up that store and the list of items I usually buy there.
Take advantage of email coupons whenever possible.
Most Sunday papers have coupons and you can sign up with most big chain stores to get weekly specials and coupons sent to you by e-mail. There are also many websites where you can download coupons, so if you have a computer, be sure to bookmark the sites you like best and print out the coupons you need the night before you go shopping.
Have a budget and stick to it!
A good way to stay within budget is to set an amount for the month, then divide cash into envelopes for each week. If you have $100 budgeted for each week, when the envelope is empty for that week you’re done shopping! If you do a major shopping trip and spend $200, then divide the remaining $200 into the four envelopes. When you’re out of money you might have to become more creative in preparing a meal. There are actually computerized programs available to help you set up an envelope budgeting system like Good Budget.
Scan the cupboards and refrigerator before you leave.
This will prevent you from buying something you thought you needed when you didn’t.
Develop a budget for dining out.
Eating at restaurants can eat up a big amount of your monthly budget if you’re not careful!
Shop the local farmer’s markets when in season.
You’ll find better produce and other food items for less money. Plus, fresh food is less costly and healthier for you than frozen, processed or packaged meals.
Take advantage of special local items for variety in your menu. For example, if you’re in New Orleans and there’s crawfish available, buy it!
Buy household and non-medicine items from dollar stores.
You will save a ton of money on things like rubbing alcohol, shampoo, toothpaste, dishwashing detergent, paper towels etc.
Happy Trails and Happy Eating!