shopping on purpose means starting with a menu
Apparently when kids are out of school they line the isles at the discount grocery store patiently waiting for trouble to get into. I’ll make a mental note for next year to shop in advance – before kids are out of school for the holiday and have no supervision because their parent’s don’t get off for Christmas break so they just leave them to fend for themselves and probably have no idea that they’re causing trouble in isle 7.
I’m slightly sore about the experience. Can you tell?
Anyway, our grocery shopping trip was a successful one. We stayed well under our weekly $100 budget, totalling out at $83. And that was with a few extras I threw in the cart because I knew we were way under.
Extras like bendy straws. A $.79 package of bendy straws and suddenly I’m the most awesome mom ever. Who knew it could be so easy.
Here’s what our menu looks like this week. Like I said before, it’s not a typical week for us. Breakfast is usually more varied and has more baking involved. But, we found a super awesome cereal deal. The kids do love waffles so they’re usually on the menu a couple times a week. And most of our dinners involve fresh veggies. We do like to keep a stocked pantry of canned veggies, but try to only use those on pantry challenge weeks. I’ll talk more about pantry challenges in future post.
poptarts and fruit smoothies
mac n cheese
tuna and crackers
chili cheese fries
mac n cheese
chicken Pot Pie
homemade fried chicken nuggets with tater tots
leftover beef stew with rice
Keep in mind that we didn’t get all the ingredients for all of these meals for $83. I pantry shop before I grocery shop and we’ve gotten really good at tailoring our menu based on what we already have. Plus, I buy stuff in bulk when it’s on sale. Right now ground beef is $1.20 a lb. That’s a stock up price.
Also, we always have fresh fruit around for snacks. Each week we pick up a 5 lb bag of apples, a bag of oranges or tangerines, and a couple bunches of bananas. Sometimes we throw grapes in there too, if they’re cheap enough. And other fruits like berries, melons, etc… Depending on the deal I can get.
And carrots. My kids are also always asking for carrot sticks. Weird.
There are good habits to get into when you’re first learning how to shop on purpose.
- Learn the prices of the things you buy most often. This is actually pretty easy with a quick glance of the receipt right after you get home from shopping. I had a small notebook I wrote down everything in until I started remembering it on my own. I can’t believe I bought cereal regularly for 10 years before I learned what a good price for cereal was.
- Use a calculator until you’re confident about what things cost. This way you won’t be surprised at the checkout. Ryan and I use to take the extra time to add each item in our cart up before we checked out. If we were over budget we’d see what could go back. We were very strict about this.
- Shop at a time when you don’t have to rush. And you may want to leave the kids at home if possible in the beginning. I didn’t, but some people find this helpful.
- Keep your meals simple in the beginning. Unless you’re really into elaborate cooking you’ll want to keep an easy menu while you’re starting out.
- Don’t deviate from the list unless you absolutely have to. If you forgot to add your favorite itch cream to the list, by all means pick some up. However, if it’s chips you forgot you wanted – well, no chips for you then.
- There is an acceptable form of deviation. You may find deviating from your list beneficial when you spot a serious sale. If your favorite cereal is normally $3.50, but you find it for 50% off and then spot a coupon blinky for $1 off on the shelf, that’s $.75 for your favorite cereal. You’ll want to buy a bunch right there on the spot.
And like I said, don’t feel the need to follow my family’s grocery shopping model exactly. These are just basic guidelines to help you get started on your money saving adventures.
Kait’s really ticked at me for my current blog divergence. Apparently posting about grocery shopping is not what she wants to read about.
I liked it better when you wrote about stuff that was funny.
She’ll have to get over it, if only temporarily. I have a few more posts to write on the grocery subject. But maybe, if she’s a good girl, I’ll throw up a couple non-money saving posts to appease her. She did say I was funny after all. And that deserves something.
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