Unless you enjoy the luxury of a private chef or your budget allows you to frequently dine out, grocery shopping is probably on your list of things to do each week. And if youre anything like me, you want to avoid overspending on the items you buy without spending hours clipping coupons (because, honestly, whos got time for that!?). Check out these tips that wont consume your time or your budget. [More from Manilla.com: 7 Slow Cooker Meals That Make Dinnertime a Snap]
Take inventory: Before you hit the market, check your fridge, pantry and cupboards for the stuff you already have because theres no need to waste money on more of what youve got (at least during this grocery shopping trip).
Plan your menu: Once you know what you have, get creative! What can you do with your can of tuna and half-box of pasta? Im thinking tuna noodle casserole (one meal for the week down). Think about what else youd like to prepare that week and create a list of what youll need. See if you can overlap ingredients for certain dishes. For example, maybe Tuesday youll roast a whole chicken (which is super easy!), and then Wednesday youll use the leftover chicken for tacos.
Weekly menu planning saves you money because youre utilizing what you already have and, therefore, spending less at the store. Plus, youre going into the market with a plan, so you wont waste money on spontaneous purchases. [More from Manilla.com: Manilla Mini: 5 Tips for Budget-Friendly Meals]
Use smartphone apps: Technology has taken over just about everything even groceries! so why not embrace it? Grocery apps will not only save you money, but theyll keep you organized, too. Grocery IQ, for example, has a barcode scanner, list sharing and integrated coupons, helping you to get the best prices on your favorite items. Other great apps include Grocery Gadget, which organizes your shopping list, and Shopper, which also offers coupons and weekly ads.
Shop whats in season: Food in season is typically priced to sell, making it cheaper than its out-of-season counterparts. Here are some items to look for based on season:
Winter: cabbage, kale, potatoes, citrus fruits, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts
Spring: asparagus, artichokes, cherries, fava beans, strawberries
Summer: avocados, bell peppers, eggplant, mangos, melons, rhubarb, ramps
Fall: apples, cranberries, figs, leeks, mushrooms, pears, pomegranates, pumpkins, squash
All the tips were provides by Sarah Kaufman, the editor-in-chief of The Manilla Folder at Manilla.com, a free service that helps you manageyour bills, finances, utilities, daily deals, travel and rewards programs, healthcare accounts, and subscriptions all in one place. Sarah is also a contributor to Yahoo! Finance, Good Housekeeping, Womans Day, Redbook, Esquire, The Motley Fool, and other major sites.