Ok so. The grocery store.
I have a love hate relationship with it. There are things that I love about it. These include discovering new ingredients, coming home with enough to stock our fridge and I always love finding deals and seeing how low I can keep our grocery bill.
Oh and the hate part? That comes from actually having to give up precious weekend time to actually go grocery shopping. I don't like that part. It's crowded, there are never enough check-out lanes open and it cuts into my fun time at home.
But the deed must be done!
So how do I maximize efforts? Here are my tips.
Make a list.
After I meal plan, I make my list. Call me crazy, but when I make my list, I use a giant sheet of paper. At the top goes my meal plan and below that goes the list. My preferred paper is this Russell + Hazel One Day at a Time notepad. So pretty. Anything to make it more fun, right?!
Organize the list.
I like to write my list by section of the store. I know. I'm a serious dork. But it really makes shopping so much easier! That way I'm not running back and forth across the store. Instead, I use the left side of the page for fruits, vegetables, deli counter items and breads, the middle for meats, canned and boxed goods, and the right for frozen and refrigerated items like eggs, milk, cheese and frozen veggies. You may think I'm crazy but this is the system that works for me!
My favorite time to go is early on Sunday morning. I try to get there before the store gets busy and it makes the whole process relatively painless. And once I'm there? I stick to the list! Sure I'll browse a little, especially when it comes to fruit...if I see something a little different on sale, like grapes or cherries or berries, I'll scoop them up!
Keeping costs down.
I always, always, always use my bonus card! The usually saves me at least $10 per week on my groceries. I stopped checking the circulars each week, but instead, as I walk the store, I try to pick brands of food that are on sale. For example, I always buy reduced-fat shredded cheese and there are about 5 brands on the refrigerator peg. I can typically find one brand on sale and that's the one I buy.
What I spend.
I'm always in a battle to spend less at the grocery store. Right now, we spend about $115 per week on groceries. Sometimes it's more, sometimes it's less. To me, this seems high. But! I also buy some organic foods where I can (without breaking the bank) and do my best to buy the right ingredients for a healthy lifestyle. As Shaun pointed out, we also cook 3 meals a day at home. I estimated that between the two of us, we make 34 meals per week. This means we each eat 17 meals at home or brought with us to work each week. This takes into account a couple of lunches and dinners out, but with 34 meals on a $115 budget means that we spend about $3.38 per meal. And that's not too shabby if you ask me.
So that's how I get it done each and every week. Just like meal planning, it does take a little effort and a little planning. But I've never felt healthier with my eating choices and in the end our bank accounts thank us for not overspending on lunches and dinners out of the house!
With that being said...
Do you have an attack plan when it comes to grocery shopping?
Do you have most meals at home? Or do you order in/eat out a lot?