Grocery Shopping 101

This weekend was crazy busy. We are in the process of "remodeling" our backyard, as I like to call it. Let's just say that it doesn't look like it did when we moved in back in September '06. We are now missing 3 palm trees, some prickly plants and cactus-like things, and all of our landscaping rocks, as well as some grass and stepping stones. At least we still have our pool!

All that explains why I didn't get to the grocery store until Sunday at 8:00 PM!!! I try to do all of my grocery shopping on the weekends. I hate going to the grocery store more than once per week to pick up a few things each time. Plus, I'm a big planner. Anyone who knows me know that I like to plan everything in advance. This leads me to some grocery shopping tips to save both time and money...
  1. Plan what you are going to eat for the week. I have a great template that lets you use Excel to create a meal plan for the week. After I finish, I post it on the front of the fridge so we can easily see what's to eat for the week. Click here to download the template and fill in your weekly meals.
  2. See what's already in your kitchen. Before I finalize my menu, I look around and see what I have in my kitchen. We have a large chest freezer in the garage that is full of things, mostly deer and elk meat, since Chris is a big game hunter. There is also fish, chicken, and a variety of desserts. I buy canned items and other non-perishables that we frequently use when they go on sale to keep in stock. Look around and try to use up things you have, instead of buying a bunch of new stuff.
  3. Check the ads. I shop at Fry's, which is part of the Kroger family, for those who aren't familiar with Fry's. Every Wednesday the ads come in the newspaper and I happily make sure it doesn't get stuck in the recycle with the rest of the papers. I pull it out when I'm making my list and look for ideas. If chicken is on sale, then I plan a chicken dish, etc. I notice things seem to be a rotation, so if its not on sale one week, most likely it will be in the next few weeks.
  4. Make enough for leftovers. Some people have issues eating leftovers, but not me! I am happy to bring the previous night's meal for lunch the next day. Making just a little more at dinner is more cost efficient in the end than a whole new meal. This week I'm making soup, and its enough for dinner and a few lunches.
  5. Use coupons. I know that some people think this is "uncool" but why? They save you money. I only clip coupons for items I use on a regular basis so I'm not tempted to buy things I don't need. They probably end up saving me a dollar or so, but hey, that's a small Frosty at Wendy's :)
  6. Keep to the list. I make a list from my menu, and buy only from the list. If it's not on the list, you don't need it right? Unless its something you realize you truly forgot to write down.

Hopefully this will help you the next time you go grocery shopping to save money. On a happy note, I spent $60 for the week! I usually aim for under $50, but I did by Chris 10 frozen entrees that were on sale for $1 each when you buy 10. Why not?!?

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