Triple Clicks

Monday, March 31, 2014

Preparing For the Next Grocery Trip

So we are at two weeks into the last trip. Like typical, we are running out of eggs and orange juice. And I'm out of flour, which means no pancakes, waffles, coffee cake, pizza and *GASP* cookies (or so my kids think)... Well, you get the idea. Normally I would the necessities at our local store, which costs more but a trip to the city for anything under $100 is just not worth the gas. However, I'm going to be in the city tomorrow anyway so planning on stopping at Sam's and getting eggs, orange juice and flour. We'll see about the flour. 

Usually about this time, I get a rough layout of a meal plan. I keep last month's meal plan so we don't eat the same food a lot. Except for spaghetti, we love spaghetti, it's cheap and usually gives us two meals out of it. I buy angel hair spaghetti, it seems to last longer. I would say we eat this staple at least 4 times a month. 

I have four main helps on my computer to help with the shopping trip:

1) A spreadsheet I have a calendar on.  On the columns I have heading of the days of the week along with the date separated into weeks. At the end of each week I make a list of what is needed for each meal. 

2) A spreadsheet to keep track of what I have in my cupboards. I keep a little notebook on my counter in the kitchen and write down every time I use something that way I don't buy something I already have.  I redo the inventory every three or four months just to make sure I have everything right. This spreadsheet has sections for each part of my kitchen: fridge, Freezer, meat, baking, pantry, canned goods, fresh produce, spices. 

3) A spreadsheet to keep price comparisons of the grocery store regular prices so I know when I get a good deal on a sale or not. This spreadsheet has different tabs (on the bottom) for each grocery store I go to. The bakery prices run pretty much the same-around $1.50 for each loaf of bread or package of buns, so if I find a sale cheaper than that, I pick up bread at that store. The columns on each tab are: item, price, amount in container and price per (oz, lb..whatever it comes in of the size I typically buy, if I need to get it down to smaller than the big container then I just do the math). 

4) A spreadsheet to keep track of sales I find. I don't get a paper in print, so I look at ads online. I know I could save some hassle if I would get ads because my favorite store (Fareway Foods) will price match if you have the paper ads. But something I have learned about Fareway is they price match anyway. When shopping there there are weeks you will see a few different sale tags, they either look at the ads or send somebody around because they will match if not go lower than the competitors.  They also are a full service grocery store-which means they walk out to your car with you and put your groceries in for you. Which means I can buckle kids while somebody else is putting groceries in. :D Usually I go to Sam's, then Fareway, then see if I even need the other three. This spreadsheet has sections for each grocery store, then column headings of 'item', 'size', 'price' and 'final price' for each grocery store. 

I would love to say that I don't have to cut things off my list, but usually I do. 

Things are easier now because my oven is fixed. We were without an oven for about 10 months. But now it's fixed and you have no idea how happy that makes me. I missed baking so much I went through 10 pounds of flour in two weeks. Which is good because that means we are eating more baked from scratch foods which is always cheaper and healthier because it doesn't have the preservatives. We still buy more ready-made products than I would like, but we are working on that. Slowly but surely. 

I almost always forget something-go figure-no matter how detailed I get. This time it was mayonnaise. We ran out and had to stop yesterday to eat hamburgers for lunch. Man alive has mayo got expensive! 

I have found the trick to shopping monthly, is planning..Lots and lots of planning. And a list. Don't forget your list. If you are a coupon user, then I write down beside the item on my list if I have a coupon. I don't do many because I have found buying store brand to be cheaper. There are a few items we want the name brand simply because of taste, so when I find a coupon for those, I get it. 

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