Monday, October 24, 2011

[day 24] grocery shopping methods

I am not sure which I dislike the most: creating a grocery list or doing the actual shopping. Neither are appealing to me. I think even if I had an limitless budget for the tasks, I'd still rather avoid them!

I am out of excuses. Out of some of the essentials like bread (for lunch sandwiches) and bagels, cereal, & poptarts (for breakfast), I can't put this chore off any longer. Uck.

At this point in our family's lives, I basically shop at Aldi and then go to Walmart (or Harris Teeter if I care to assemble coupon match-ups on a super double or triples week) to fill in what I can't get or don't like to get at Aldi. I have found that this is the best way to pay the least amount of money for the food we need, without all-out couponing.

It seems like there are a few different thoughts to shopping/cooking. There's what I'll call the "stockpile" mentality, which tends to work best for couponers. Stock the pantry when you can get the best deal on an item. Those type people tend to meal plan/cook from what is in their pantry.  I admire these people greatly and have dabbled with being one of these types, however I just can't make it all work for us consistently. I am not diligent enough to stay on top of the sales (even with great sites like this one out there, who does it all for you!) and don't have the money up front, honestly, to be able to begin stockpiling my pantry while also feeding my family for the first few months.

What I'm doing now is writing out a meal plan for two weeks and then shopping only for those things. I don't necessarily write out which day I am going to serve what, but just create a big list of these meals that I am purchasing to create. Each day I then pick whatever sounds appealing for that day, knowing my ingredients are already purchased. I do tend to look at what I already have in my pantry and start my planning from there, but don't solely rely on pantry items to create the list.

I guess the third type would be those that wander the aisle and buy what looks/sounds good, essentially creating a menu as you go. Never really good at sticking to a budget using this type mentality, it's not been what's best for our family. Although some times when I was too lazy to meal plan, it's inevitably what happened during my trip to the store. Those were not good budget months when that happened.  

What have you found to work best for your family? How often to you grocery shop?

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