- Aim to go grocery shopping less often. It's easier when doing lots of little shops to inadvertently buy something you don't need, but you just spot on the shelf looking tempting.
- Always go shopping with a list! This is by far the most important rule about being organised when grocery shopping.
- Before grocery shopping, go through your pantry and fridge and work out what you currently do and don't have. Add anything that you don't have, but need, onto your list. Don't feel the need to add things that you don't really need onto the list (or maybe add it with a special symbol, to indicate it should only be bought if on special). A good idea is to start writing the list when you first notice something you need to buy, although it's always helpful to do a final look over your shelves.
- Make sure you know what you currently have on your shelves, so that you don't buy any of those items when shopping. Try to aim to use your existing items up in meals for the upcoming week, especially for items with a short shelf-life.
- I find it helpful to plan in advance some meals to make, including ones that use up items I already have, and then add the ingredients that I need for these meals to my list.
- When shopping, be familiar with your supermarket and only go down the aisles that have items on your list. This will both save you time, and reduce the temptation to buy extra items - especially if you skip the fizzy drink and confectionary aisles!
A recent book that advocates some of the above ideas, plus focuses on minimising your grocery bill (to $21 for the week!), is The $21 Challenge, which is currently available in Australian bookstores. Check out the book's website for a sample chapter.
Don't miss my old post How-To: Spring-Clean Your Pantry for steps on how to get rid of the existing clutter in your pantry.
(images: Shandos Cleaver)