Being budget-wise or store-savvy doesn’t just mean finding good deals. It also means knowing how to plan ahead and shop smarter.

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Smart Grocery Shopping

I spend a lot of time planning my family’s menus. Sure, it takes some work, but there are ways I can achieve a week of fun and healthy meals – without overspending.

Schedule, plan and prep
I pick one day each week to focus on meal prep – usually Saturday since dad is home too. I make sure everyone knows he is the go-to guy for an hour, so I can get my grocery plan done without interruption.

Go online
I venture to online recipe sites for recipes that appeal to my family, are easy on the budget and include ingredients I already have in the pantry.

Make a menu
I develop a day-by-day menu. This helps me create my grocery list and stay focused when I’m at the store. I post this on the refrigerator so the entire family knows what to expect that week.

Make a list
I create a comprehensive list with everything I need for the week – that way, I only have to shop once. I always check my store’s weekly grocery flier to see which brands and products are on special.

Shop smart
I always bring my list to the store to avoid impulse buying. I ask the grocer when items go on sale so I can plan shopping trips to maximize savings. I try to shop earlier in the day when it is typically less crowded and I’m less likely to be rushed or hungry.

After the store
I do as much prep as I can when I get home. If I’m making chicken dishes, I bake and dice the chicken (or pull the meat off a rotisserie chicken – one of my favorite time-savers). I put the cooked chicken in a container, date it and indicate ingredients to add later. I’ll wash and slice fruits and veggies for snacks or meals.

All these little tasks add up to time saved during busy weeknights! How do you make grocery shopping smarter?

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Amy Clark

Amy Allen Clark has been the driving force behind MomAdvice since 2004. In addition to running a successful community for women and running after her two kids, she has appeared on The Early Show, and in Parents magazine, Redbook, Martha Stewart’s Everyday Food, MSN Money and The New York Times.

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