Buying groceries is a necessary chore whether you have a food blog or not. I actually enjoy grocery shopping most of the time, even with a baby. Toddler shopping has been even more fun because he loves to interact with everything and everyone around us. Besides, when I used to shop on my own, I would talk things out in my head. Now? I get to talk things out…out loud. People don’t think I’m crazy, just a cute mom who loves talking to her kid. 😉 It’s more fun to comment on how sweet the pineapples smell when you have an audience, than if you’re just thinking about it.
So, how do I help keep groceries enjoyable? Well, for starters, I try to pick one day a week when I go. Sometimes I need follow-up trips for unexpected recipe ideas or guests, but in general, once a week for my regular groceries. Pick a day that is convenient for you. When I was single and working, Fridays after work were nice because usually the store was less crowded. I was already out, so running to the store straight from work helped keep me from procrastinating. Going extra early in the morning or late in the day can also help avoid crowds. If you like crowds, then that’s fine, but I like wandering the aisles with more room around me. These days, I tend to go shortly before lunch since after lunch is the Fudgelet’s nap. It is less crowded going then, and it is a convenient time for us. If K takes the last banana on his way to work, I can pick up some more before lunch and we are good to go. Occasionally I have to change the day based on other activities, but it’s not a big deal and I work that into my meal plan. Speaking of…
Once your day is picked…let’s say it is a Thursday (my normal day), I spend the day before (or morning of) picking out meals for the rest of the week until I plan to shop again. This way, I know what groceries we need for those meals, as well as food that needs to be restocked. I try to do the meal plan the day before, and then the night before I go over it with K. He doesn’t like to do much planning, so I do a brief summary. I let him know what meals he will be making, to ensure that he is ok with them, and if there are new recipes I want to try, I get his opinion on them. Sometimes he suggests an extra ingredient or dish, and then I can add that to my plan. I hope to include the Fudgelet with the meal plans as he gets older. This way, he could also pick meals to add into the rotation.
How do you make grocery lists? We use our phones which have the ability to share lists between us. We have lists for groceries, Costco, Target, etc. This way, we can add foods on the go, and there isn’t one single paper that can get lost over the week. I used to use the list while at the store for shopping, but it became a hassle. Nowadays, I write the items onto a piece of paper that I bring. Obviously you can shop without a list, and sometimes I do go beyond my list and pick up some random clearance items or snacks. But, since our town charges for bags and you are supposed to bring your reuseable bags with you, I generally need to plan ahead for how many bags I will need. A list helps with that.
To make the list even more handy, I write down the items in order. So, since I shop in the produce section first, I write down fruit and vegetables first. I have a visual in my head of the grocery store and of how I like to shop. I use that to make my list. I also make notes next to items for which I have coupons. This way, I remember to look at the coupon while I shop (to make sure I get the correct items), and I remember to use the coupons! I used to forget, which was annoying when I got home later.
Speaking of coupons, they are also a pain to carry around. You might have a fancy holder, but I try to keep my hands free so that I can handle the Fudgelet (and the groceries). What works for me is taking an empty envelope from our recycling bin and writing my grocery list in a blank space on it. Then, I put the coupons in the envelope. This way, I won’t lose the coupons, and when I am done shopping, I can recycle the grocery list, along with any unwanted coupons. We constantly receive junk mail, bills, etc. It is super easy to take one each week and use for my shopping. I’m not wasting paper and it holds my coupons.
What tips do you have for grocery shopping?