5 Tips for Smart Grocery Shopping


5 tips for smart grocery shopping


My 5 tips for smart grocery shopping is a simple concept that can change someone’s life in fundamental ways. But we can, by default, create a habit of doing life harder and less efficient. Let’s not make something as simple as grocery shopping be harder than it has to be. 

I want to reveal the light I found at the end of the tunnel by sharing these 5 tips for smart grocery shopping. I may only be a few seasons ahead of you, but it’s enough to spare you some grocery shopping angst and I know your time is precious, so let’s get straight to it. 




frustrated woman over grocery shopping


For years I would overspend on my grocery shopping because I was unable to resist buying those 20 extra items and it didn’t occur to me to change my ways…until recently. I tend to be a slow learner. 

What about you? Do you struggle with sticking to your budget and a shopping plan? Along with that, add a few children to the mix and it’s no longer about keeping your budget but rather keeping your calm, right?



My 5 Top Tips

  1. Budget a weekly grocery allowance.

    • First, you need to know how much money you get to spend. Check out this grocery budget calculator. I also learned a lot from Jordan Page by budgeting our money weekly, not monthly.
    • Every week I put aside a set amount to use on all consumables for our family of five. This includes toilet paper, pet food, everything that we use up during that week.
    • Once a week and ONLY ONCE A WEEK I use the money in my “grocery account” to buy enough food to last 7 days. That’s it. If you run out, forget about it. Do without it for a few more days. 
  2. Schedule your week so you know what to eat.

    • Sit down with a glass of wine or a cup of tea and schedule your week. I look at our calendar to figure out what is going on, what nights my husband will be home, what nights we’ll be eating out, having guests, etc. It’s important to know all these details before you plan your menu. 
  3. Plan your meals

    • Download my sample meal plan to help you create your own. Check out my post 7 Days of Easy Meal Planning for details. Choose 7 core meals. Mixing up core meals is easier than trying to find new and interesting recipes every night. Plus, I don’t love cooking so this relieves my dread of mealtime. 
  4. Write a master grocery list.

    • Once you know what meals you’ll be eating, type out the ingredients in a spreadsheet (if you wanna get crazy). This way you can reprint it weekly. Or handwrite and make copies if that’s your thing. Do this once and save yourself time in the future. Whatever works for you. I stick it to the fridge next to a highlighter and every time we run out of an item, the family marks it on the list. 
  5. Download a grocery app or order your groceries online.

    • Now that you know how much money you get to spend, what meals you’ll be eating, and what ingredients you need to buy- find an app and upload it to your phone or iPad. I’ve used a few different apps and as of now, we’re using Grocery Pal.
    • Nowadays, there are services where the store will shop for you and meet you at the curb with your groceries. This will save you money and time! And what a dream for the husband who hates shopping and can now pull up the curb on his way home because his wife put in an order. Hallelujah! Or order most of your groceries on Amazon even subscribe to recurring items you need monthly like toilet paper and dish soap. 



One caveat, inputting the items and prices into the app might be tedious. We shop on a military base, which is an unknown store to the apps. In the beginning, after we’d shop, I paid my 9-year-old to input the prices using the receipts. After 2-3 shopping trips, we had most of the prices stored. It’s so worth the initial effort!


Bonus Tips & Reminders for Smart Grocery Shopping

5 tips for smart grocery shopping


  • Make sure you fill your “app cart” before you shop.
  • Make sure the device is charged.
  • Bring your reusable bags INTO THE STORE WITH YOU. 
  • The trick to resisting the urge to buying items not on your list and staying within budget is to:
    • Switch out an item for another one of similar cost.
    • Write the item down on a list for next time.
    • Or just resist the urge all together and be proud of yourself. Do you really need it?


I must tell you, dear friend, that using these 5 tips for smart grocery shopping has helped me immensely. Do you know how wonderful it is to know how much you’ll spend before you even get to the store? And to find that you’ve stayed under budget by $1.36 is exhilarating! I literally squealed with delight at my success. 





With some effort and intentional time, your grocery shopping experience can make you a better person and teach your kids good habits as well. Grocery shopping can be a dreaded ordeal, but it really should be a system that works for you and not against you. 


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