When Shopping…

When I first started to really get into cooking, all I thought was “this is going to get expensive.”  I knew all I was going to want to do is spend, spend, and spend.  So, I started to do some research on some tips on how to save on my shopping trips.  At first I was going to the store every single day just to support the fact that I wanted to cook.  Even when I had things in my kitchen cabinets that I could very easily make dinner with, I was still making daily trips.  Then I realized I was spending entirely too much money on these daily trips!  Something needed to change.  These are the things that I started doing to help me save money to support my new found passion.
The first thing that I start to do was meal planning.  This was probably one of the biggest money savers.  Either the night before or the morning of(if I had the free time at work) I make a list of the dinners I want to make for the week.  Once I have my list of meals, I go through each one and write down the ingredients that are needed for each individual meal.  After that is done, I check through my list of ingredients and see which ones I will need multiple of.  For example, if all the dishes I am making for the week all need tomatoes, I’ll mark it by putting “x3” or “x4” I’ll do this throughout the entire list of ingredients so it makes it easier for when I make my shopping list.  Also, that way when I am at the store I’m not frantically looking through all my ingredients for each recipe to see if I need multiple of an item.  If I did that I would spend way more time in the store than needed.
Speaking of shopping lists, MAKE ONE AND STICK TO IT.  This is really important.  Meal planning may be one of the biggest money savers that I have found but by making a list and sticking to it, you won’t be buying extra things that you don’t need.  Therefore, you will not spend that extra money.
Give yourself a budget.  I will come up with an estimate of how much I think I will spend and then I will give myself a small buffer.  Just in case one or more of my items are a little more than I was expecting it to be.  If I think my total will be $80 I will estimate $100 giving myself a $20 buffer.  While I am walking around the store, I try to keep track of where I am at in my total.  For an item that is $2.89 I will round it up to $3.00 to be safe.  Now if an item is $1.30 I will round it to $1.00 I feel comfortable doing this because most items have higher cent values and I will round up more times than I will round down.  This usually gets me an accurate idea of what my total will be at the check out.  By rounding the total is usually significantly lower than expected, that is always an exciting thing.  Making a budget is something my mother taught me and I have become very good at doing this.  It has in definitely saved me money.
By no means am I a coupon expert.  Far from it actually.  Even though I am not one of those people that can save $45 on their shopping trip with coupons, I can save a few dollars.  Which is better than nothing in my opinion.  After I have made my shopping list I will go to and see if there is a coupon for any of my items.  Usually, they will have at least 5-10 coupons on my list, sometimes even more.  These coupons are considered “manufacture coupons” so they can be used at any store of your choice.  I also use Ibotta which you can download as an app.  Ibotta offers cash back on every day items that you buy.  It is super used friendly.  All you need to do is select the rebate you want and after you have purchased said item, you open the app, go to the rebate and click “redeem this rebate” and scan your receipt.  I like to use Ibotta because if I need to buy it, why not get money back for it?   Both of these sites have not only food, but items like ziplock bags, Tupperware, trash bags, makeup, cleaning supplies and so much more.  It is nice that they offer coupons/rebates on everyday items as well as food.
There are probably so many other options out there that help save money on shopping trips.  These are just the tips and tricks that I have learned and that work best for me.

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