Tuesday, July 6, 2010

how I shop for groceries.

A long, long time ago (okay, like, last year), I had no idea how to shop for groceries. I would just wheel the cart down the aisle and throw in anything that looked good. And I would just hope that I could create meals from my weird variety of groceries.

And then I became a better at my role as a wife (snicker snicker) and researched the best, and most cost-effective, way of buying groceries! I'm really not sure if everyone in the world does it this way, or if it's just me. No clue. But it's a great system, and I'm never going back to my old laissez-fair way of shopping!

First of all, I get a little pen and paper out, and I map out every meal we will have for two weeks. Lunch is a lot more laid back, but I strategically plan our suppers. Once I've made a list of each meal, I then decide how much meat we will need to prepare it all. Not only do we get exactly the amount of meat we want, but it's a lot easier to thaw meat when you know what you're having for dinner. This way, we never ever let meat ruin, because each pound of meat serves a purpose.


..So, we go grocery shopping twice a month. For you military folk out there, we first go to the commissary to buy our animal products (read: milk, cheese, and meat). We do NOT buy our eggs at the commissary, as they are much, MUCH cheaper at Walmart. And just as good. I'm talkin' over a dollar cheaper at Walmart. Make note.

We also make a list of all the things we need, even down to the amount of snacks! It's a zillion times more easy to shop for groceries when you're reading off a list. Things go MUCH faster than if you're mindlessly wandering up and down the aisles and trying to imagine what you'd like.

A lot of recipes, we've discovered, don't need as much meat as they say. For instance, we actually prefer to cook Hamburger Helper with only half a pound of ground beef. Same goes for homemade spaghetti and homemade chili. This allows you to get two meals out of one pound, and it's much healthier! (Everyone knows that Americans eat too much meat anyway!)

So, uh, there you have it. Pretty simple, right? Like I said, the whole universe might do things like this, and I would never even know. But it works for us -- it saves time and money. We have a little dry/erase board on our refrigerator. I list all of the possible meals we can have, and Mark chooses what he wants before he goes to bed. That way, I'm able to thaw our meat and have a nice hot meal ready for him when he walks through the door.

(PS. I love my life as a stay-at-home-wife for this very reason. And he does too!)

Oh, and in case you're interested about what we'll be preparing for the next 9 days...
-grilled chicken with sweet potato bundles and creamed corn
-spaghetti with garlic bread
-tacos with Mexican rice
-chicken fingers, mashed potatoes, and green beans
-chicken & rice casserole
-biscuits and gravy with sausage and fried potatoes
-hamburgers with potato cheese bundles
-blueberry pancakes with bacon and scrambled eggs
-Hamburger Helper (my least favorite...)

***By the way, Crown Financial actually recommends only grocery shopping once every two weeks. So this is a proven method of saving money on your grocery bills! We do have to stock up on things, such as buying 3 gallons of milk at a time, but it keeps us from running back to the store every few days for missed items. The List works wonders - I promise!


  1. whats great about the list of groceries, is tracking how much we spend and then finding cheaper brands with the same taste. we went from spending up to 160-150 dollars down to 100 dollars. hopefully we can still keep up the 100 dollar grocery bill every two weeks. Good job honey, I love you.

  2. You and your hubby are so cute. Thanks for sharing!

  3. You two are, again, seriously the cutest couple ever. :)

    We do this, too. Well...*did* when we lived by ourselves and had to buy our own groceries. We'll revert back to it when we move. Anyhow!

    I always did an actual meal *calendar* for 2 weeks. For example, "we'll have enchiladas on Tuesday night." But I REALLY like the idea of just having a list and then having M choose before bed! 1.) That's so cute! 2.) You never know if you're actually going to want enchiladas on Tuesday. Maybe you'll want hamburgers instead.I think we'll definitely copy that idea when we move out. Thanks for the tip!

    Also, did I ever email you the spreadsheet we use for grocery shopping? It divides everything up into categories and makes it easier - for me, at least! - to picture what our master plan will be when we go in the store.

  4. That's how we always did it! Derek gets paid every 2wks anyway so that's how we were able to stay on budget. I have been going every week the last month and I went from spending $100 for two weeks to $150 a week!! So yes it does save money to go every other week. I also have to make a mental list of how many meals I need and as I'm shopping i make sure I have the right amount of meals...I love the idea of the list on the fridge! That's a great idea:)

  5. I really like this. We did this when we first got married, but it has kind of fallen to the wayside. We started something similar on the fridge so at least I know what to put out to thaw in the mornings before I head to work. I so cannot wait to be a stay at home wife and mommy.