Since posting about our chalkboard, I’ve received a few questions regarding our grocery shopping routine. We’re not professionals, by any means. We’re just trying to eat healthy & buy smart.
Before our grocery trips, we take inventory. We open up all of the doors, and I write down what’s currently in our pantry, fridge, & freezer. Then I look through websites & cookbooks, comparing recipes to the list of what we currently have. I try to select meals that require buying only one or two additional items. This usually takes about an hour total.
Our buying system varies, depending on seasons/pregnancies/babies/finances.
Here’s a little glimpse into a typical winter shopping trip on a very tight budget:
Sticking to the list. We do not vary from the list, no matter how painful.
Shopping with someone helps with accountability!
No catering to the little ones. We cannot afford the cost (or trash) of individually-packaged toddler foods. Our kids eat what we eat, even at an early age. These animal crackers can be enjoyed by everyone, and the big tub is great for customizable serving sizes.
Buying it frozen. We are blessed to have three farmers’ markets within as many miles. There is nothing like fresh, local produce! During the winter months, though, frozen is a good alternative. The crops are harvested when ready, making them more nutrient-rich. And we’re not throwing out rotten, uneaten veggies at the end of the week.
Keeping it simple. Chris is not too happy about the recent switch… he used to buy individual (read: fancy) ingredients and make a huge salad to keep in the fridge. It was delicious, but we often threw out brown lettuce and soggy toppings. Right now, less is more. We buy just enough for one or two meals, and no toppings.
No filling the cart. If we must balance & stack items to keep everything in, then we’re not sticking to the list. If we’ve forgotten to check the remaining amount of a staple item at home, we don’t buy it this trip. We’ll be back next week – same time, same place.
TOTAL SPENT: $69.61
We successfully fed two adults and three kids all week long on this amount. Dinners consisted of shrimp & grits, spaghetti, and beans & rice. We also ate breakfasts and lunches at home. It’s not gourmet and it’s not always exciting, but we get it done. This is an ever-evolving process for us, and I love to learn… please feel free to share your tips!