Saturday, October 15, 2011

Day 15 - Finding Harmony in the Grocery Store (and Bank!)

To say that I hate grocery shopping is a gross understatement.  I truly despise having to go grocery shopping.  To make it feel a little less hell-ish, I've come up with a routine.

Tip 1:  Make a menu.  Since I have to drive "to town" to get groceries, I try to only have to do it once a week at the most.  We decide on our menu for the week.  We make specific plans for all 7 suppers, and lunches on the weekends (and days the boys are home from school).  J and I also decide what we want for our lunches during the week, which usually consist of sandwiches, leftovers, or freezer meals (see yesterday's post).

Tip 2:  Decide on a budget and make a VERY specific list, including estimated prices.  I use a steno pad.  In the right hand column I list the meals we have planned for the week.  Then, I go through the fridge, freezer, cupboards, and pantry to figure out what we have and don't have for each meal.  Next to each item, write down an estimated amount that either the item costs or that you are willing to pay for it.  Since we budget $100 per week, I try to keep my list cost below $95 because there's usually something I forget.  Also, keep an alternate list of 5-6 of your family's favorite meals and the ingredients each meal requires.  I write this list on the last page or back cover of my steno notebook since I take the whole notebook shopping with me.  And one of the most important lessons I've learned about grocery shopping?  STICK TO THE LIST! 

Tip 3:  Take cash to the store, and ONLY the amount you've decided you want to spend.  This will help you stay under budget, and help prevent you from becoming a hoarder.

Tip 4:  As you shop, keep a running total (estimated values) of what your cart items cost.  ALWAYS round up.  That way, you're sure to have enough cash once tax is included.  If you have extra money, pick up some of the items on your alternate list.  This has saved us a couple of times.  Like the time our monthly bills were $200 more than usual.  Since I had been able to pick up enough items on our alternate list to make a week's worth of meals, we were able to cut our weekly budget down to $60-75 that month. 

Hope these tips


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