Today is grocery day. Grocery day is a new thing for me - it used to be grocery days, grocery every-other-day, grocery twice a day... I used to buy groceries whenever I had the craving to try something new. I probably visited the grocer four to five times a week. And although I am feeding six people one week, seven on the opposite week (my Grandma lives with us every other week), my grocery bill was wildly out of control!
My new plan is far more structured which is something that, on most occasions, I thrive on.
~First of all, I keep a running list next to my laptop in the kitchen which everyone is encouraged to add to when things run low. I have gotten quite good at writing things down as soon as I either open the last of something or notice I am out of an item. I find that if I don't write it down right away, I will most certainly forget~
~Second, I plan out my meals for the week and make sure I have what I need. That way I can see the entire week together and make sure that I am planning a variety of meals for my boys. I love looking through my cookbooks for different ideas, seasonal inspiration, and fun desserts that we haven't tried.
~I then separate my lists into the different stores that I shop at. In the winter I shop at Trader Joe's for as much as I can get there, Costco for the larger things that I know I will use (I only visit Costco once every 3-5 weeks), and the regular grocery for things that I can't get at Trader Joe's. In the spring, summer, and autumn, I try and grow as much as I can in the gardens, and also shop at Yakima Fruit Market. Yakima opens in March (the 4th this year) and for me, it really marks the start of spring! I am counting the days...
~Of course, I ALWAYS bring my own re-usable bags to the grocery. I keep a supply in my SUV, and also have a cute little nylon bag that I keep in my purse for emergencies which unfolds to the size of a plastic grocery bag. I refuse to use plastic bags due to their effect on the enviroment (I will take paper if I don't have a bag and it is available) but have been known to carry my groceries out in my cart without a bag if I have forgotten mine...
~There are times when I don't have a meal plan, and as I won't go to the grocery on my non-grocery days (okay, I would if I desperately needed something, but really am trying to keep to my schedule) I am really enjoying going through my pantry and back freezer and getting creative about meals. It helps me use things that I don't often use - things which I bought PB (pre-budget) spontaneously, without a plan. I love using up things that I haven't had a need for and turning over my supply!
We just received our first visa bill since I had begun my attempt to be economical. Granted the budget started part-way into the bill, but I was still down about $300-400. I am really looking forward to the coming bill!
Happy Shopping my friends~