Our uber-organized blogger Super-Mom is back to give us some more amazing tips on how to get rid of some of that daily Momma stress! Last week she told us about menu planning and this week it’s grocery shopping! Without further ado, here is Katrina!
Yep, I am one of those freaks! I grocery shop and menu plan for 2 weeks at a time. What is wrong with me? Ummm, some OCD, a homeschool Mom who also runs a small childcare out of her home adds up to necessity!
Now, once I have scribbled all my meals down… I can make my grocery list. I shop every 2 weeks on a Friday. Less crowds, less crazy people, less tired kids whining in the store and I can get in and get out ASAP! Plus if you shop early in the morning, you get freshly filled shelves and fresh produce. Meat markdowns have already been done and you can get deals!
My list usually starts filling up on Wednesday or Thursday prior to shopping! I write it down as I go and I mark how many next to it and IF I have a coupon for it, I put a star next to it. So, if my 2 week menu has 3 meals down for chicken…then I mark that I need 3 packs of chicken. Everything I need for meals is on that list unless I already have it in the cupboard. I also completely restock the pantry. It is kept full all the time. No excuses. If something messes up with our budget or paychecks and we have to skip shopping, we could survive a month or longer on what I have in the pantry and freezer. Now, some meals would be interesting and creative but I know it is there IF ever needed.
Then……wait for it…… here comes my OCD. I make a key for my grocery list. A color key using highlighters. It is ok, roll eyes, palm to face, whatever you need to do….. guess what, it works and my shopping goes a lot faster! I hit the same 4 places every 2 weeks 99% of the time. Winco(pink), Walmart(yellow), Dollar Tree(orange or blue) and Fred Meyer(green). This means that when I arrive at Winco, I know everything marked in pink is items I am looking for there. Repeat for Walmart with yellow, etc. My boys know this and they can easily tell me what we are looking for. It saves time by not having to read down the list over and over and over to see what you want or need. I say try it just once and see if it helps you. My husband laughs at my list but gosh, when he shops with me…. he knows what we need.
STICK TO YOUR LIST! This is the hardest part for a lot of people! STICK TO IT! I cannot stress this enough. Do not go to the store hungry, do not go with crabby kids who are hungry, do not go with husbands who love snacks and you are helpless against their puppy dog eyes when asking for something. THEY are worse than kids, I swear!
I usually have a $20 contingency in my budget for extras or things I forgot to put on the list, but otherwise I try to stick to my list. But I will say, if I get to the store and they have a GREAT sale on something…I will splurge on that and stock the freezer. Especially if it is pork roast. We love it and have several ways to cook it that are family favs BUT our store doesn’t always have the cut we prefer. When they do, I stock up! Same with chicken, we eat a lot of chicken and when I see a sale…I stock up and freeze it.
I grocery shop for 2 large teens, a husband, 5 daycare kids total, myself, assorted pets and whatever else falls in the month. I only do this every 2 weeks and on a budget of about $350 for every 2 weeks or $700 a month. And that is for paper products, food, toiletries, cleaning supplies, pet food, etc. It is because I keep my freezer and pantry stocked that I can do it for this price. I only have to fill the voids and purchase the few extras we need for meals, etc. Holidays or birthdays or family visiting, I do spend a little more but not much.
I honestly HATE grocery shopping. I hate the crowds, I hate the rude shoppers, I hate the time it takes and I hate putting it all away. So, I do it for 2 weeks at a time plus have a well-stocked pantry and freezer that is highly organized. Okay, my pantry is organized. My freezer goes in stages. If the teens have been digging out ice cream, the freezer has become a balanced death trap and time bomb. One false door opening and you could be maimed by a falling package of meat! LOL! But, I do know what is in there.
Take some time this weekend and sit down, look at your pantry and freezer, your families menu FAVs and try out making not only a menu for 2 weeks but also a shopping list and only do it every 2 weeks. Can’t do it, that is ok! Try it for 1 week at a time. You can make a 2 week menu but just shop for 1 week at a time. Make sure to leave room to rotate some meals and ALWAYS have 1-2 back-up meals that you can prepare easily. Whether that is made ahead meals in the freezer or a quick made soup or breakfast for dinner. You never know when you will be running late from work, the meat you defrosted smells funky and needs to be tossed or you just do not feel up to what you planned.
Katrina calls herself a jill of all trades! She is a stay-at-home Mom, raising 2 teen sons. She homeschools both of them using Time4Learning high school. She is also an in-home childcare provider and has 5 preschoolers under her care. She loves her kids, her animals and gardening on her small urban farm in Portland, Oregon. You can read more about her on her blog, Preschoolers Day by Day.