A mini Rule Book on Grocery Shopping
As a kid I loved grocery shopping for two reasons; driving the shopping cart like a car and eating samples. Now as an 18 year old man on my own, nothing has really changed besides me having to pay for the food. Yes, I still run and jump on the cart as I go down an aisle. On a serious note, grocery shopping is actually a huge part of my life because what I put in my body is important since I am an athlete. I like eating healthy, but the hardest part is staying on my budget. So I have to find a balance between what is economical while being healthy. I wish I payed a little more attention to what my parents were doing when I was driving the cart as if I was in NASCAR because grocery shopping has been the hardest responsibility for me as an adult.
It is very easy to over spend on meat if you just pick whatever you see first. The first time I went shopping for meat, I just picked the cut of meat that I wanted and did not try to compare prices. COMPARE PRICES (RULE 29). There are three grocery stores in a 5 block radius, but I never went to the other two. I thought, what is the difference? There is a difference in grocery stores, you just have to find it (RULE 30). When comparing meat, always compare amount per pound, not the price tag (RULE 31). I have finally found which store has the best quality for a reasonable price but it took a few mistakes. The last thing about buying meat is, buy meat in bulk (RULE 32). It is cheaper to buy big things of meat as a opposed to small little packages of meat. Not only is it cheaper, this practice saves time. I do not have time to go the grocery store everyday to buy meat. When you do buy meat in bulk, do not forget to FREEZE your meat (RULE 33). Trust me, it does not smell or look great in the fridge.
2. Fruits and Veggies
My fruits and veggies are an important part of my diet. The first thing to be aware of when buying fruits and veggies is what is in season (RULE 34). You may love a certain fruit or veggie, but if it is out of season, you have to ask yourself, "Is it worth it?" (RULE 35). You may have to adapt on what fruits and veggies you are eating in order to save some money. My last rule on fruits and veggies is know how long the item can last before buying in bulk (RULE 36). It was my first time buying avocados and I did not know how they lasted but there was a deal, 10 for $10 deal. That sounded good, so I got ten avocados. Well a week or two later, the last four got a little funky and black on the inside. Ummm no thank you.
Check all the eggs on the top of the carton and check the bottom of the carton (RULE 37). The first time I ever bought my eggs two were cracked. It was not pretty when I tried to hard boil the eggs. They were half hard boiled and half poached.
4. General grocery shopping skills
The main thing to me for every grocery store, is sign up for whatever rewards/loyalty program you can get your hands on (RULE 38). Why would you not want to be a club member? I save like 10-20 dollars each trip for free. FOR FREE! It is a no-brainer, so sign up.
Come in to a grocery store with a plan (Rule 39). There have been plenty of times when I entered the store to buy two specific things for a meal and left with ten items. UMM what? The same outcome happens when you go grocery shopping on an empty stomach. Do not go to a grocery store hungry (RULE 40). When it comes to shopping, stay focused and do not give in to big signs (RULE 41). As a kid it was easy to tell my parents, "I want this, this, this, that, oh and can we get this?" because it was not my money. With my money, I need to stay focus or else I can throw money away with random, junky snacks that I should not be eating in the first place.
Grocery shopping is the biggest responsibility for me. It is easy to want to buy lots of junk/good tasting food. I do not have my dad to watch my diet. I have to take care of buying the right foods for myself while at the same time, I have to make sure I am being economical. It is a hard balance that I am trying to figure out. This is still a learning process for me, so there will be plenty more rules to come. Please comment below if you have some advice or crazy stories about grocery shopping.
If you ever get stressed about money or do not know what to buy, find a sample and eat it. Then just run and jump on the cart for old times' sake. That always helps me.
But do not fall.