- Shop your pantry
- Check the flyer(s)
- Make list of everything cheap and free when couponed
- Make meal plan
- Make shopping list
Shop Your Pantry
You can easily forget just how much food you still have in the back of the pantry. First examine it and make a quick list of what you have. You can start your meal planning based on this.
You might keep note if anything is near the expiration date and use those ingredients first.
Check your store flyers
If you have flyers for several stores, scan them all first and then decide on only one or two stores to do your shopping. You’re not saving money if you spend 3 bucks on gas to save a dollar off one item in another store.
Make short list of everything that will be cheap or free with coupons
Compare all sale prices in the flyer with your coupons. Make a list of what will be really cheap or free and how many of each coupon you have.
Most of the things on your list should be for things you need, but a few might not be. If you have several coupons for something that will be free due to a sale, go ahead and pick some up. Thant would be better to get it now for free than pay for it later.
Make meal plan
Now you know what you have and what you can get at the store for little to nothing, make a plan. Now, this doesn’t mean you have to know exactly what you’re eating for every meal and when. But if you have a decent idea of 7 meals in the evening, and you can use leftovers of those to make lunches for the next days, you will have a good start. Don’t forget to think ahead to see when a busy night could be. You don’t want to plan a splurge pot roast night the same night you are working late and the kids have practice.
You can Google ingredients for recipes, ex lime + chicken + recipe. Allrecipies is a good website for this and can give you many recipe ideas you might not have thought of.
Also, remember some leftovers can become a future ingredient. After a roast chicken is done, the small bits of meat can be tossed in mayo and become a chicken salad sandwich or two. A little leftover rice can be mixed with an egg and become a nice omelet. Almost any leftover vegetable can be mixed with some pasta and olive oil. Be creative.
Make final shopping list
When planning trip, put useable coupons in envelope but bring your binder for unadvertised sales or clearance