How to Choose the Right Turkey and Other Holiday Grocery Shopping Tips Everyone Should Know

Holiday grocery shopping can be a nightmare mentally, emotionally, and financially. But, it doesn’t have to be that way. With a few helpful grocery shopping tips and a list in tow, you’ll be able to tackle even the busiest of grocery stores this holiday season.

From choosing the right sized turkey to cutting cost, we share holiday grocery shopping tips everyone should know, ahead.

1. Monday mornings are the best for produce shopping (and skipping the crowd)

shopping woman buying fruit

Make sure you get the freshest produce. | LuckyBusiness/iStock/Getty Images

If you’re looking to snag the best produce, consider grocery shopping on a Monday morning. From seasonal fruits to your favorite root veggies, grocery stores typically stock up on fresh produce at the beginning of the week. Not to mention: The crowds are usually non-existent, too.

2. Organize your grocery list

Woman with Shopping List

Organize your list by the store layout. | Cathy Yeulet/iStock/Getty Images

When grocery shopping for the holidays, an organized list is an absolute must. That said, the most efficient way to organize your list (and grocery shop) is to go by order of the store. Group all of your fresh produce items together, your freezer section together, your bakery items, and so on and so forth.

3. Stick to the list

Don’t get tempted by things you don’t need. | iStock/Getty Images

In addition to creating a list, you should also try and stick to the list. Doing so not only saves you money, it helps you avoid overbuying and wasting food.

4. Choose the right turkey

Roasted Thanksgiving Turkey

Make sure your holiday meal is perfect. | evgenyb/iStock/Getty Images

Choosing a turkey can be super daunting, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Our advice for choosing a turkey is to start with the basics: How many people is your turkey going to feed? One pound per person is the best way to determine what size bird to buy. That said, if you want leftovers, you’ll want to add some extra pounds.

To make our lives easier, Butterball created a helpful turkey calculator that helps you determine how much turkey to buy based on portion sizes, how many people you will be feeding and if you want leftovers. Bonus: It calculates how much stuffing to make, too!

5. Shop your kitchen cabinets beforehand

Make sure you have everything you need. | iStock/Getty Images

Holiday dinners often call for non-perishable ingredients that you may already have in your cabinets, but don’t use that often. So, before you assume you need an ingredient, shop your kitchen pantry and cabinets to find out what you have.

6. Stock up on non-perishables ahead of time

Stock up on essentials ahead of times. | iStock/Getty Images

Another holiday grocery shopping tip we swear by? Purchasing non-perishables ahead of time. Whether it be flour, a box of stuffing, or even a new pie dish, don’t leave these items on your official holiday grocery shopping list. Purchase them ahead of time to save time.

7. Stick to the season

Woman grocery shopping in a supermarket

Enjoy all the produce of the season. | Minerva Studio/iStock/Getty Images

Given most holiday recipes call for seasonal ingredients, this one may be a bit obvious. But, that doesn’t mean it’s not important. Choosing seasonal fruits and veggies for your meal will not only save you money (seasonal produce costs less!), but it will also ensure you get the best quality produce. For help picking out the best produce, check out this guide from Kitchn.

8. Remember: Convenience costs more

Beautiful women shopping vegetables and fruits

Reach for a head of lettuce instead of the bagged stuff to save money. | nd3000/iStock/Getty Images

Sure, chopping veggies can be a chore, but it can also save you money in the long run. So, before you reach for an overpriced container of chopped vegetables, consider doing the chopping yourself.

9. Put the butchers to work

meat counter

Have your butcher take care of trimming the steak | andresrimaging/iStock/Getty Images

Speaking of convenience, here’s a convenience tip that won’t cost you: Put the butchers to work. Whether it’s removing bones from a roast or running meat through a grinder for meatballs, butchers can help do some of the work for you.

10. Unit prices are as important as expiration dates (especially if you want to save money)

Latin brunette picking up some food at the grocery store

Unit prices are an easy way to compare prices. | Antonio_Diaz/iStock/Getty Images

If you’re looking to cut cost (and let’s be honest: who isn’t?), take a look at an item’s unit price. Unit prices are one of the best — read: easiest — ways to compare prices, especially when misleading packaging is involved and you have a strict holiday shopping budget.

11. Ask an associate for a rain check

People shopping in a large supermarket

If they’re out of what you want, ask for a rain check. | Ljupco/iStock/Getty Images

The holidays are a great time for sales, that said sale items at grocery stores tend to sell out quickly — especially if it’s seasonal. If you see a sale you want to take advantage of, but the grocery store has ran out of items, ask an associate for a rain check. In return, they’ll give you a voucher for the sale price once they stock up again.

12. Look at the top and bottom shelves

Family with children standing in supermarket

Don’t just reach for things at eye level. | JackF/iStock/Getty Images

Fun fact: Grocery stores place the most expensive items in the center of the aisle (aka, at eye level). So, looking at the top and bottom shelves can actually help you score a better deal.

13. Avoid the inner aisles

Many different drink bottles

The inner aisles are full of less healthy options. | Kwangmoozaa/iStock/Getty Images

Another way grocery stores get you? By place the essentials at opposite ends of the store. That way, you’ll have to go through the inner aisles to get to what you actually need (and maybe stock up on some unnecessary items along the way). To avoid this from happening, shop around the perimeter. And if you absolutely must go into the inner aisles, stick to your shopping list.

14. Don’t overbuy

Young woman putting goods on counter in supermarket

Only buy what you need. | photobac/iStock/Getty Images

Holiday grocery shopping can be deceiving. You obviously want to have enough food for everyone, but you also want to stay in budget and not have too much food left over. That said, it’s much easier to overbuy than you think. To avoid this predicament, do your research ahead of time to make sure you are getting exactly what you need (and how much of it) once in the store.

15. Bring a snack with you

Family Discussing Shopping List in Supermarket

Save yourself from the hangry argument and pack a snack. | shironosov/iStock/Getty Images

Shopping while hungry is a great way to go over budget and buy unnecessary items. Not to mention: Being hungry while grocery shopping can make the whole experience much worse than it actually is. Eat before you head out to the store and carry some snacks with you in case you need a little pick-me-up somewhere between the produce and bakery sections.

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