- Make a MASTER SHOPPING LIST of all items used by your family. Organize the list by dividing into various food and non-food categories. Prioritize needs. Update the list as needs in your family change.
- SHOP for BARGAINS, then BUY IN BULK, but STICK TO YOUR BUDGET! Learn which stores usually put what items on sale and when. Watch the ads as well as those "in-store specials." Plan ahead for special events. Stock up on special ingredients for holiday meals, birthdays, etc. months in advance when they are "on sale." Last minute purchases for specialty recipe items can be costly.
- SHOP FOR PRODUCE "IN SEASON." Check farmer's markets, etc. to supplement your garden. Make your own baby food with fresh fruits and veggies. Plan menus with seasonal items
- BE CAREFUL WITH COUPONS. Coupons often encourage shoppers to buy more expensive processed and ready-to-eat foods rather than basic cooking/baking ingredients. Using coupons can be more costly and less nutricious than not using coupons.
- Take time to DATE ALL ITEMS before placing them on your shelves/in the freezer, etc. This will help identify which items need to be rotated as well as help determine how fast items are being used. Designate shelf space and adjust quantity of purchases accordingly. Always place recently purchased items in back.
- PLAN MENUS FROM ITEMS ALREADY IN YOUR PANTRY or AFTER SHOPPING. Gradually add more items to your storage and variety to your menus as your budget permits. Wait to try new recipes until you find needed ingredients "on sale." If you feel you must plan menus BEFORE shopping, be flexible enough to substitute and incorporate items you find on sale.
- BON APPETIT!
Source: Cheri Mains