I blogged about laundry last week, so following the same domestic trend, today, I’m talking about grocery shopping. I have posted about grocery shopping in the form of couponing on a few occasions. Well, 17 weeks of feeling yucky (first trimester) really do a number on a person’s motivation to clip coupons and plan money saving grocery trips. Now that I am feeling better, I thought it would be a good time to re-evaluate my grocery shopping system.
Before getting pregnant, I was going to the grocery store once a week, using coupons and shopping sales. Mostly at Kroger, but also Publix. This way, I could take advantage of the weekly sales.
I decided to try to grocery shop only once every 2 weeks. Why?
1. Fewer trips to the grocery store means less time carting Eli in and out of the car and in and out of the store. More time to play outside, etc. He’s happy, I’m happy!
2. Fewer trips to the grocery store means less opportunities to bring home items that were not on my list!
3. I wanted to give Aldi a try, and the closest one is in Fayetteville…so only going every other week is much more economical when it comes to buying gas.
How is it going?
Short answer? Good! I have gone to Aldi twice, and will go for the third time today. The first time I spent $76 and the second time I spent $96 and was amazed at how full my buggy was each time. Now, They don’t have organic chicken nuggets or nitrate free lunchmeat or soy nut butter, so I still make a trip to Kroger once in a while for a few items that I can’t get at Aldi, but for the most part, Aldi has the bulk of what I need. So far, the only things I haven’t emjoyed is the boxed mac n cheese (that I shouldn’t eat anyway, I know!) and the hamburger buns (they were very crumbly). I know some folks are concerned about all of the ‘off brands’ at Aldi, but really, I am noticing no difference in quality. The produce is actually really good, and less expensive that almost any other option.
So, I’m not buying newspapers and clipping coupons. I do still use the coupons that I get in the mail from Kroger and Publix when appropriate, but I am saving so much on the basics that I am willing to give this method a longer trial period….at least through the end of the year.
It has forced me to take a realistic look at what my family uses in 2 weeks. I now know that we need 2 gallons of milk, 2 boxes of cereal, one bag of potatoes, etc to make it through 2 weeks. I also try to have a basic idea of about 8 meals that I will cook in that 2 week time period. We will eat chicken X number of times, and once it will be a Mexican version and once it will be paired with potatoes and carrots…etc, etc. That means that along with the chicken, I need to buy enchilada sauce, sour cream, cheese, salsa, tortillas, potatoes and carrots.
There are also times when I need to take a snack to a playgroup or a breakfast item to bible study. I plan ahead for those occasions by always having the supplies to make some brownies or something else appropriate for said occasion. In the past, it would have meant a trip to Kroger which means the opportunity to bring home more than was on my shopping list.
Could I save more money using coupons and going to multiple stores a week? Probably. But I decided that just isn’t worth my time right now. I feel confident that I will be able to continue to come in at or under budget with this system.