Because our family is in a season of living with less, food purchases have been one area where we’ve had to become more strategic than ever.

If you haven’t figured it out yet, you’re likely to purchase more when you shop without a plan in mind. Going to the grocery store takes a good amount of time. But did you know that getting ready to go to the grocery store is one of the most important steps we can take to save money? We’ve found these five steps of preparation actually allow us to buy more at the grocery store with less money:

Pantry Scan—When we make meals from food we already own, we’ve saved our family a lot of money. Inventory the food you have in the pantry, the refrigerator, and the freezer. Remember to check on non-food products like toilet paper, paper towels, shampoo, toothpaste, and soap.

Meal Plan— Once we determine what ingredients and food items we have on hand, we can sit down with the calendar and plan out meals for a period of time. The calendar allows us to plan around our family’s schedule and the meal plan helps us think through all the ingredients we will need for each meal.

Shopping List—When we run out of something, write it on a continuous shopping list kept in the kitchen. With the continuous shopping list, inventory, and meal plan in hand, we can begin to create the list we’ll use at the grocery store.

Coupons—We’ve begun the process of super-couponing and have found that it has saved our family so much money. Websites like and have taught us the strategies of super-couponing.

Price-matching—Many grocery stores will match the price of other grocery store sales if you bring in an ad to prove the price of the sale item. By keeping grocery store ads in a file folder each week, we secure the best prices in town while shopping only at one primary store.

These five steps usually take about an hour of preparation time, but it’s an hour well-spent because it saves us hundreds of dollars each month. If you want to spend less at the grocery store, try increasing the preparation time. You’ll decrease your spending for sure!

What shopping preparation do you do that helps you shop for less?

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