Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Lists, lists and more lists

I'm a list maker. I mean, like, a hard-core list maker. I make lists of things that need to get accomplished, Calendar app fanatic, and have grown to love Siri so much for reminding me of so many important things that I would've never remembered had her creepy voice not reminded me.

In the 7 years the Amazing Mister and I have been married, I have gone to the grocery store maybe 4 times without a list. We end up coming home with Hamburger Helper, frozen pizza and 1 package of toilet paper on those weeks.

Grocery shopping usually includes a not so orderly trail of little blonde people. So, I need my list to survive. And not only do I need my list, but I need it to be organized. Having 1, and only 1, store that I frequent, I make my list according to the layout of the store. It makes my shopping experience so much more joyful to have everything- well the things I can control at least- to have everything all sorted out just right.

But with our family income being reduced a bit in the last couple of weeks, I had to get a little more resourceful in my shopping. Desperate to not enter the coupon game and visit 18 stores per week, I racked my brain as to what we could do to cut back. First, I would have to meal plan more than I already was doing.

Meal planning has been crucial for me to keep our menu lively and non-redundant. But this past week.. I really combined my awesome list making skillz with my menu planning skillz. I planned our week up and down, from breakfast, lunch and dinner to even the snacks. It's all my menu plan for the week.

I scoured Pinterest, the favored recipes already in the forefront of my mind, and recent sales ads for recipes. I clicked on a few grocery stores that are REALLY close to my house. (For me to visit multiple grocery stores, it would not be worth it for me to drive further than 6 miles from my home at this point. The gas spent in my typical "Soccer-Mom" car would not be worth the few bucks I would save at Grocery Store C that is 15 miles from home.)

And then I made my grocery list based on ingredients needed for said meals, snacks, and other household items. Simple enough. But I also based my selections between store A and store B based on which store had the lower price for the items I needed. As I made my list, I made sure to make note of how much each item would cost. (Of course, produce would be a rough guesstimation. However, I've bought nearly the same produce for so long and know the seasonal prices well enough to know the approximate $'s I would spend on it.)

This whole process took about 3 hours of my Saturday between the listing, the planning and the shopping. On a grocery budget that was already tight, without cutting anything off my normal shopping list, and no couponing... our family saved well over $30 in one week's worth of groceries. Well worth the hard work for those few short hours!

What are your tricks for the grocery store? How do you save a dime without losing your mind? Have any habits that help you out?

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