Wednesday, April 23, 2008

How I Do Our Grocery Shopping

(My computer is finally back and working now, so I should be back to posting daily again!)

I've been thinking about our grocery budget and how I seem to be slipping a little in this area, so I thought I would write a post to share with others and to remind myself of how to make the most of your grocery budget.

1. Plan Menus For The Week Using Calendasr (keeping it flexible enough to change)
First I get out my calendar and see what we have scheduled for the upcoming week. Using those plans as a guide, I plan a dinner menu for each night of the upcoming week. If we have a busy evening I will plan a less complicated meal that requires very little prep. I will also keep in mind some meals that may allow for leftovers that can be reheated the next night or used to make a slight variation of a meal the next night (like leftover chicken used for chicken soup, etc.).

2. Go Through The Local Grocery Store Sale Flyers
Next I go through each grocery flyer. I use a small notebook to write a small list of sales that I would consider for each store. I indicate the item and the price. I do this for each of 4 grocery stores and 3 pharmacy type stores. (This sounds tedious but really only takes about 10 minutes.)

3. Go Through Coupons
First I go through my stash of coupons tossing any that have expired and pulling any aside for items I will need to buy this week or for items that are on sale somewhere this week. Next I clip the coupons from the Sunday paper. I put aside any for items I will need to buy this week or for items that are on sale somewhere this week. When I find a coupon that matches up with a sale, I indicate the price after coupon on my grocery stores price list. The rest I save for a possible future grocery trip. This process takes about another 10 minutes.

4. Evaluate Sales/Coupons/Stores
Next, armed with all the informatio I need (what I need to buy, what is on sale, what I have a coupon for), I decide which store or stores I will be shopping at. (I usually pick the top 3.)

5. Go Shopping
I usually do my main grocery shopping on one day, and stop at two other stores just to pick up great sale items on another day.

I think I'll go get my calendar, grocery flyers, and coupons and get started now!