Thursday, January 29, 2009
Thrifty Thursday - Grocery Shopping
Last week I wrote about how I organize my monthly menu plans. Today I'm writing about how I grocery shop based on those monthly plans. After I finish making my monthly menu plan, I go through and write down a grocery list for each week. This includes the ingredients for the meals I have planned that I know I do not have on hand. I also add milk and eggs to the list every second week.
I shop once a week (usually Sunday afternoon or Monday morning). I take the list of the things I will know I need for the month and I add anything else that I know I am running out of. I also look in the flyers for both grocery stores I shop at to decide where I'm shopping that week and to see if anything I need is on sale (or if there's anything on sale that I could get in place of something on my list). I also keep an eye out for products I will be needing later in the month. If they go on sale early in the month and I have room in my budget, I pick it up.
Making a list when grocery shopping is seriously the only way I can possibly manage to stay on budget and not pull my hair out. I am pretty much obsessed with making lists so this isn't a problem for me. I have been known to make a "rough copy" and a "good copy" of my grocery list. I know it sounds silly but I like to have my list written in order of the grocery store sections. All the produce first, the meat and cheese next, frozen foods, etc ... you get the point. I also estimate the cost of products on my list so I can keep myself on budget.
After making a list, it is crucial that you stick to it when you get to the store. Especially if you've already looked through the flyers, there shouldn't be many deals that jump out to you as must haves. You should know what you need, be able to get it and leave.
I think it's also very helpful to find a grocery shopping pattern that suits you. What time is it best for you to go? What day? What store? For me, I like to grocery shop with my hub. I know this won't be possible once we have kids, but for now it works. We both shop better if we're together because we hold each other accountable rather than giving in to our cravings. We can also shop quicker this way, which makes it easier to stay on track. For you this may not be the case, maybe it works better to shop alone, without kids, with a good friend, on a certain day, at a certain time ... whatever the case may be, I encourage you to find the pattern that works well for you. I find that looking through flyers, making lists based on my menu plan and shopping with my husband helps me to stick to what I need and also cuts down on the number of quick trips to the grocery store throughout the week.
Some weeks there is something we would like to have but we don't know if it will fit in the budget. Once the groceries are being rung up, we see if we have a bit extra to spare and if so, we go grab that treat (usually chips, pop or ice cream ... my weakness). If there's no room to spare, then we will wait until next week ... okay, maybe that would be in an ideal world. More like we wait until the next day when we're at Walmart and get it there. Oops. But you get the point. Make a budget, make a menu, make a list. If you find what works for you, I guarantee you'll be amazed at how much money you can save, how many trips to the grocery store you can cut out and how much you can cut back on throwing out extra food. Happy Thrifty Thursday!
P.S. Today I just made my second batch of dryer sheets. That means they last for about two months.