Getting groceries used to be such a chore to me. I don’t really enjoy large amounts of people and I always seem to find the aisle with a pair of neighbors chatting. When I lived by myself I never created a very firm list, so I would end up trekking to the store several times a week, which made the task even more unappealing. Plus if I did write down a small list, when I would remember items I needed, I would then promptly lose the paper. Then, once at the store I would become easily distracted and end up buying more than I needed.
I was wasting my time and efforts.
Then I met my husband. He promptly started a new way of grocery living for me.
1) Once a week shopping: We only go to the store once a week. Unless there is an emergency – like unexpected guests coming to stay – we wait until that day to get what we need. If you keep a good list it’s easy not to make multiple trips.
2) Keeping a good list: We keep a list of items that we need ongoing right on our fridge. We have one of those long list magnet things and each of us add to the list throughout the week as we run out of items (or with things like toilet paper and paper towels, when it’s getting close to running out.) When grocery day comes we cut off the piece that contains our list (saving paper!) and head to the store. In addition, when I have coupons I want to use I pull them from the clip next to the list and attach them behind the magnet. Those coupons – and only those coupons – go with us to the store. So we’re not sifting through massive amounts of paper at the checkout or in the middle of the store. The importance of item number 2 helps to eliminate multiple trips to the store – thus saving time and money.
3) Keep to the list: My husband’s motto is: if it ain’t on the list – we don’t get it. I’m a little more lax in that thinking – especially since I am the cook. Sometimes you just see something that you want to try or you forgot that Aunt Ethel was coming for Sunday brunch. It’s okay to go off the list for 3-5 items – MAX. Many times my hubby will hit the store without me though because I am known to be an impulsive shopper. It’s good to have someone to keep you in check if you know this is your Achilles heel too.
4) Utilize a staples list: I’m now learning to add certain staples in a rotating fashion to our list. For instance: some weeks we buy a container of small mushrooms. I can add them to stir fry’s and casseroles easily for a quick fix meal. Asparagus is also becoming one of our favorite staples because it can be easily steamed or sauteed. Some other quick fix items: olive oil (I have several flavors too), minced garlic (you can buy it already minced. I keep mine in the fridge for easy use, but I do often buy whole garlic too. It is fresher tasting, but takes more time), frozen meatballs, frozen shrimp, broccoli, pasta (we mostly use spaghetti, but occasionally I buy others to mix it up. And we always use whole wheat pasta), Spam (don’t knock it. It comes in low sodium now and I love it – in moderation), tuna, and rotisserie chickens.
With the above items in place it takes much less time at the store and I don’t get so agitated. Plus, my pantry is well stocked and so is my wallet – since I’m not spending willy nilly on items I don’t need!
However, now I rarely even go to the store. My list is thorough and my hubby knows how I roll so it’s easy for him to go on his own. We still sometimes go together and maybe catch breakfast on the way. It can be sort of like a date. Although my husband likes to go at “0 dark thirty” as he calls it, so many times I do not tag along.
What tips and tricks to do you that make grocery shopping easier?