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Grocery Lists & Coupons Can Save Money for Busy Families

Written by:
Brenda Marty Jimenez, Extension Agent IV, Broward County
Rachel Biderman, Extension Agent I, Miami-Dade County

With the fast-paced nature of modern-day life and the effects of a pandemic, it can be challenging to find the time and resources necessary to feed ourselves and our family nutritious food. Agents at the University of Florida/IFAS Extension recognize this challenge and strive to help families and consumers save money at the grocery store.

Below are a few tips and tricks that can be helpful for busy families.

GROCERY LISTS (Meals, recipes, and snacks)
  1. Writing out a grocery list before going to the store will save you time and money, especially if you are shopping with your children. A list written on a grocery scratch pad or on a piece of notepaper keeps shopping focused and limited to the needed perishable and non-perishable items on the list.


  1. Take some time before heading out of the house to think through your next week and have a few ideas of planned meals you would like to prepare. Locate your recipes so that you know the quantity of the items the recipe calls for. Write out your weekly menu plan. Jot down the specific items needed. Plan ahead.


  1. You can get your family involved by keeping a running list of their favorite meals and healthy snacks that is posted on the refrigerator. Remember MyPlate nutrition concepts, the five food groups, and the importance of including a variety of foods when planning nutrient dense meals and snacks.

  1. Involve your kids or other family members in writing out the shopping list. Keep the list separated by food type (fruits, vegetables, meats, dairy, dry goods, frozen, etc.). This will save you time by staying in the appropriate area of the store before moving on to the next section.


  1. Do not forget your shopping list; make sure you take it to the store with you and use it. It will not do you any good if you leave it behind by accident. Some find it useful to take a cell phone photo of their grocery list just in case the list gets misplaced on the way to the store.


  1. Once in the store, stick to the list! Do not be tempted to purchase unplanned items. These unplanned purchases can throw off your budget.


  1. Before heading to the register, double check your grocery list to make sure you have all the items you need inside your cart. A second trip to the grocery store, for only one item, costs time and extra gas money.
  1. Once in the grocery store, older children can help find items to redeem coupons. They can have fun finding and placing items in the grocery cart.

2. In store sale flyers can help save money too. Families can make this into a “game” for older kids, by tasking them with finding specific items on the list. This works great if you are using a sale flyer from the store. You can circle a few items that you had planned to buy for your children to find, and hand them the flyer to retrieve the items. Kids love being helpful and involved in food preparation, and this is a great way to make them feel part of the process.


  1. Youth, with appropriate motor skills, can help cut coupons at home. Once clipped, these coupons can be filed in a coupon binder and then used once inside the store.


  1. Children can be made aware of coupons and how they work. This can increase their understanding of how coupons help the family save money and manage resources. This is an important life skill.


  1. In store sales including buy-one-get-one free offers can save money. Make sure you can actually use the item prior to the expiration date to insure it is worth purchasing.



The use of a well-written grocery list and the redemption of coupons can save money.  Do not buy what you will not eat just because it is on sale. Plan where you will do your shopping based on where you will find the best deals. This may take some extra research but will save you money in the end. Most grocery stores have deals and savings online too. Engaging in healthy eating, managing food dollars and cooking for less is a good step towards managing resources.

During these times, remember to wear a face covering when shopping, sanitize the grocery cart handle with a disinfectant wipe and social distance from other shoppers. Make sure all family members wash their hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds after returning from a trip to the grocery store.

  1. UF/IFAS Extension, Solutions for Your Life, Family Resources-
  2. UF/IFAS Extension, EFNEP Recipes-
  3. UF/IFAS Extension, Food Shopping-
  4. USDA SNAP-Ed, Recipes-
  5. USDA SNAP-Ed, Eat Right When Money is Tight-
  6. Choose MyPlate-
  7. UF/IFAS Extension, Broward County, Family and Consumer Sciences-
  8. UF/IFAS Extension, COVID-19 Updates-

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