Monday, February 25, 2008

Rethinking the Grocery Routine.....

You'll notice that I have no menu planned for the week. Yes, that was done slightly intentionally. Part of it was because we have had a very busy weekend....but I'm really re-thinking the whole grocery trip plan (or lack of it that I have had of late). I live really close to my favorite grocery store, and so I can pop down on any given day. Plus dh drives by it twice a day too, so if I ever need anything he can pick it up. Now, this isn't necessarily a bad thing and it sure is convenient.... but it has a few drawback as well.

  1. Going to the store so many times, causes me to go over budget.

  2. It's harder to track what I spend with so many receipts for different trips.

  3. It pulls me away from my home and family. I know that sounds a little over the top, but it really does. Each 1/2 hour is one that we could spend together, or I could be working on some task in making my house more like a home.... be it cleaning, organizing, or whatever. Those little grocery trips are a contributing factor to why my housework is falling behind. (It really has little to do with my computer time..... umm right???)

So anyway.... this weekend, I was setting up my coupon binder, and listening to Crystal's Grocery Shopping 101 seminars. One area of my grocery plan that I think needs improvement is the number of times I go to the store. It really needs to be limited..... I used to shop once a week, and that worked out really well for us.

I already plan my weekly menu and recognize the importance of that. But another thing Crystal suggests is to plan your menu around the grocery stores' sales flyers. Well, to do so instead of planning my menu on a Monday, I should really do so on a Wednesday or Thursday. This coincides better with both my local store's flyers which runs Wed. thru Tues. each week. If I plan to shop at the beginning of the sale, I can be sure to get the items I need, because everything is in stock. As I have learned from experience many sale items are just about gone after the weekend, and I would be getting rain check upon rain check and having to make return trips to the store.

The other thing she mentions is to have a grocery envelope and pay only in cash. YIKES!! That one is much more difficult for me! I think I'm going to take baby steps and start with a new shopping routine and a new menu planning day...and see where I go from there. (Wimp! I know it!! But, I'm not ready to go cash only just yet.... lol!)

How do you all plan your meals and your shopping trips?? Any comments would be helpful!


Rebecca said...

I am embarrassed to say that at one point, my husband and I would go to the store almost daily and wander around trying to figure out what to have for dinner. How dumb is that?? I can't tell you how many times we just gave up and went out. After a financial class, I began budgeting for groceries and to stretch that money began seriously studying the sales flyers. I totally shop around them and plan my meals around them. Only in the last few months have I seriously planned meals. I try to have meals planned for 8-10 days just in case I can't get to the grocery for some reason and to also avoid emergency trips where I will tend to buy more than I originally go in for. Good luck!!

Karen said...

We went to cash only for household expenses about a year ago and it has made a significant difference in our budget.

I take 'my money' out of the bank on payday and that is used to cover groceries, eating out, playdates, anything that is a day-to-day expense for the family. When the cash is gone, I can't spend anything else.

It keeps us from having to keep track of two people using the debit card and it keeps me from going way over budget by spending a little here and there without realizing how much it is adding up.

I like the tangible aspect of it and honestly, prefer it over working with the debit card. I have an envelope system to divide up the money when I get it into budgeted categories. I can show that to you sometime.

Jennifer said...

I really don't "plan" my meals. I go by what's on sale for the week for our meals.So lets say that spaghetti and sauce are on sale,guess what? we'll be having that 1 nite! Also,I buy meats when they are on sale so its pretty easy as we have our staples on hand (boxed mac n cheez or potaoes au gratin,etc..)for quick meals especially when you have your pantry already stocked:)

Teri in CO said...

I do exactly what you are saying... plan my menu around what I already have (and need to use up) and what's on sale. And I ONLY carry cash. And yes, I add up the total as I put things in my cart! Also on my list, I highlight "must haves" and everything else is negotiable. If I'm getting close to my limit, I start putting things back in order to get my must haves. That's the ONLY way I can stay within my budget! And it works for me!

jeannie said...

You know when we drop those CPNS off at your house. The kids said "mom she lives really close to that store. So I bet it is HARD not to stop when you know there is an awesome deal in there call "jackie, jackie" hehehehe

I agree with Karen using cash really works. It makes you look at things alot different. If you see you only have 10.00 left you will rethink that "great deal"....

Mamosa said...

I might have to start seriously considering using cash only. What a change that would be for me! I am debit card dependent.