How to Make Shopping Faster for Ingredients
One of the best ways to save time with holiday baking is to organize your shopping list. Sometimes it can be really confusing to figure out how to do this, but of course the best way is to organize it in the order you will go through the grocery store. The problem is that stores are always mixing up things on different isles. So, that might not always work.
The next best thing is to organize your shopping list by types of food that you will be purchasing; putting the cold foods last so that they spend less time in your shopping cart before checking out is a good thing too. So, try to shop in the order that best fits this purpose. The problem here is that many stores have produce on one end and frozen on another, so you may have to adjust how you go through the lines.
Keep A Running List
Even though you’re planning a special shopping trip for your holiday baking, it’s a good idea to always keep a running shopping list on your fridge. Use a magnetic clipboard to hold paper and pen, and each time you run out of an item that you know you’ll need again, write it on the list. This makes planning for shopping day a lot easier.
This is especially important for everyday items like milk, flour and eggs as well as things you purchase less often like vanilla and spices. These are things you are likely to forget or think you have, or you have something and buy more “just in case” when it’s not needed. Spices, for example, have a short shelf life so you really don’t want to purchase them if you don’t need them.
Read Your Recipes Closely
It’s really important to go over your recipes while making your grocery list. Read them over so you can add together the amounts of the items you’ll need. For example, if you are making bread, cookies, and pies, you’re going to need more of a number of items than you would typically buy. It’s important to add these items up to ensure you get the right amount.
Some people use a spreadsheet that will add the amounts up for them. I prefer just making a list with pen and paper. Some check mark lists such as this one pictured here from www.grocerylists.org are handy too. Just do a search and you’ll be surprised what you come up with.
Know What You Have
Your running list should help, but after you have written down what you need for your recipes, go shopping in your own cupboard first, marking off anything that you don’t need. For more on this read: The Importance of Taking Stock. You don’t want to skip this step because once again, you want to make sure you really do have enough cinnamon, or nutmeg or vanilla to get the job done, and you don’t really want extra of dry spices since they don’t last that long. On a side note, if you’ve not purchased sage since last holiday, throw out what you have and buy new. Your dishes will taste a lot better.
Gather Coupons Together
If you have any coupons, it’s a good idea to gather them together now and match them with items that you know you’re going to buy. This will help you save money at the checkout, and also it might give you other ideas of things to bake that you didn’t think of before due to a good sale. Be sure to note on your list that you have a coupon so you’ll remember to pull the coupon out at the checkout. Save.ca and Checkout51.com are places to start.
Frugal Friday Flyer Sales
Every week, Free Stuff 4 Daily Needs gathers local grocery store shopping deals from around the Muskoka/Parry Sound region. These deals are then compiled and printed on a 1 to 2 page listing.
It can be located and downloaded at: http://facebook.com/freestuff4dailyneeds/ every Thursday afternoon. Even if you don’t live in this region—you can do the same thing. Look over all the grocery store flyers you normally shop at. Jot down the best deals in each store. Then you can look it over and see which store has the most deals.
Now you can shop at just that store—the one with the most deals. Or, you can travel to several stores with your very precise list and get in and get out without falling to impulse buying of items, not on your list.
Here are some comments from area users of our Frugal Friday Flyers:
“Thank you so much for this list. I am a senior on a fixed income and this is truly helpful. I don’t always get a paper and not all the ads are in it anyway. Again, thank you so much for your time and trouble” –Nancy
“I think I’m going to start shopping just by sales, Theresa, lol. It seems a lot better than what I’m doing now….thank you for taking the time to put this together every week!” –Miranda
“Thank you for your time, dedication, and commitment to these weekly posts. HAPPY THANKSGIVING.” –Fawn
So take some time and check out the best deals in your community. Not only will this save you time when you are actually in the stores, it will also make you aware of sale cycles too. For instance, once you notice the cycle of sales in your area—you will find yourself buying butter only when it is on sale. It freezes so well. I can usually buy 10 bricks of butter to last me between sale cycles.
Many items go on sale in cycles. Canned vegetables in the fall. Flour around the holidays. Squash and apples in the fall, strawberries in late spring, early summer and so on. Take advantage of these sale cycles and stock up reasonable amounts to last you through to the next sale cycle.
Have you figured out that I don’t like paying full price for anything if I can help it? You shouldn’t have to pay full price all the time either. This takes time to learn what amounts of stock will get you through—but it is worth it. Not only in saving time—because it is in your cupboard or freezer. But it also saves money—it was bought on sale.
Use Ebates And Fundscrip Cards
Fundscrip is a fundraising gift card company. Non-profits and/or charitable organizations such as Free Stuff 4 Daily Needs by working in partnership with Fundscrip provide supporters with pre-paid or gift cards. These cards are now used to their full face value to do all of your shopping, just like you normally do now. Only thing is that you are paying with the gift (prepaid) card as opposed to your credit or debit card. Still a card, just a different one.
What happens is that the company who issued the gift card, whether Sobeys, Metro, Giant Tiger, or even Walmart—pays a small commission to the non-profits and charitable organinzation that you purchaed it from. This helps that group you want to support. Click here to register for FREE if you’d like to buy cards to support Free Stuff 4 Daily Needs.
For more information about Fundscrip—go to this article:
Ebates is where you can also combine the usage of these gift (prepaid) cards and make a similar commission back for yourself when you purchase items on-line. Many of the Fundscrip cards are available for Ebates companies. So click here, set up a FREE Ebates account and check out what shopping you can do online—and make money back too!
Using things like Fundscrip and Ebates will help you to shop faster for the ingredients you need for your Holiday Baking. Check it out. Especially if some of these items can be delivered right to your door. Anybody remember when the bread and milk was delivered right to your door? I do. What a time saver it was.
Finalize Your List
Type your list out if possible. Today with either your laptop or computer you can type the list off. Or, send it to your smartphone and mark off things as you buy them that way. You can do it the old-fashioned way—pen and paper. Either way, you want a good typed or well-written list that is in order of your grocery store. This saves time to be able to shop the store and your list in sections.
Sections such as:
- Fresh Produce,
- Spices and so forth.
- Remember that “Dry Goods” in the grocery store is also called “Baking Items”.
However you choose to organize your shopping list, the important part is:
- that you do try to take a list with you. This will keep you from guessing or buying unneccessary items
- check with your recipes, and with what you have or do not have on hand at home.
The fewer times you need to run back to the store for a last-minute item, the more time you’ll save when it’s time for holiday baking. Also this will help save you money by not buying things you don’t need.
For this and many other Christmas Baking tips, get this resource: An Organized Guide To Christmas Baking.