Good planning starts with a good list. The time you spend organizing your grocery list will pay big dividends once you get in the store. First, list the menu items you’ll be preparing for your feast, then refer to the recipe for a list of ingredients for each. Check your refrigerator, pantry, and spice rack to see what you already have on hand and what you will need. Then, organize your list by store sections to save steps and backtracking. To do this, you might want to break out your list into categories like bakery, produce, meat, canned goods, paper products, health products, and dairy. Think about your store’s layout to develop your best plan of attack.
As you make your list, don’t forget the non-food items you will need, such as cleaning products, food storage items, napkins, plastic cups, and ice. If you are having houseguests, you may need to stock up on extra paper products, too. Don’t forget that your pets will need to be fed, too!
Consider breaking your Thanksgiving shopping into two trips.
Before you head to the store, clean out your refrigerator – you’re going to need plenty of room for the extra items! Think about whether you need to raise or lower shelves to accommodate the turkey or baked goods. It’s a lot easier to change the shelving before the refrigerator is full. Check expiration dates to make sure everything is fresh, and add anything that needs replacing to your grocery list.
To make the most of your grocery budget, visit your store’s website for online coupons and specials. You may want to visit more than one store to capitalize on the best prices. There are some good coupon apps to help you get organized. And, remember to take along your store loyalty card if you have one to take advantage of the program’s deals.
Time your trip carefully to get in and out of the store as quickly as possible and to evade long checkout lines. Avoid weekend shopping if you can, as well as afternoons when school is out and people are heading home from work. Early mornings are usually good times, and weeknight dinner times are also often less crowded. A good idea is to ask a store cashier when the slowest times are – they usually know their store patterns better than anyone!
One of the best things you can do to plan ahead for any holiday meal is to make sure that your home systems and appliances are protected with an AHS Home Warranty plan. After all, it’s hard to cook a 20-pound turkey in the microwave if your oven is on the blink!