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Grocery Shopping

K&HK&H Posts: 3,368
edited June 2012 in Parenting and Life
Do you have a successful system for grocery shopping? What is it? I'm so desperate for a different way to do things. Right now we hit the store when things are pretty bad at home with the lack of food in the house. But there isn't one store that carries everything that I want/need. So, if I had enough time and patience, I would have to go to at least three if not more stores to get everything. Also, we have the world's smallest kitchen with crap for storage space. (seriously. there is ONE drawer and it is four inches by four inches, our silverware tray lives on the ledge of the pass through window to the dining room.) Tonight was the bottom of the barrel I think. We got home from being out of town just in time to put E down for bed at a slightly late but not yet absurd time. I headed out to pick up a few things at the closest grocery store and walked in the door as they were making the announcement that they were closed. :mad: I had two things in my cart (needed at least 20) and I just walked out the door.
It seems as though lately we're hitting one of the three needed stores per weekend, and if necessary another one mid-week. Nothing is organized, food is not as good as I would like, and E is hitting her 2yo bored with food stage, so she's hardly eating what's offered.. and how can I be frustrated with that when what is offered is SO boring!?!

We leave the house by 6:45am every day. Two days a week we don't get home til 7:30, the other three days vary, 5-6-ish. We are both extremely exhausted by the end of the work day and just want to spend time together at home. Also, we live in a horrible area for traffic (H's commute takes an hour and she goes 7 miles), so any store that is more than 2 miles away is at least 40 minutes each way. On the days we've gone after work we end up not getting home until 6:45 or so, then having to start dinner at that point.. not rolling E into bed until 8:45 or later and that just doesn't go well with getting up at 6.. Oh, and we're out of town most weekends in the summer.

When do you shop? How do you organize your shopping?


  • cocobaycocobay Posts: 1,318
    edited November -1
    I'm not that much help because I am a SAHM and can go to the grocery store in the mornings when it's not that crowded. I use Target. I know other don't like Target but I can buy all of my organic fruits and veggies there and organic meats. There also lots of other organic things I have found, yobaby yogurt, Annie's pastas, organic condiments, etc. I can also get my organic household cleaners, laundry/dish detergents, shampoo, soap, toothpaste, deodorants, you name it. Their selections are pretty broad. The prices are a bit on the higher end but not bank breaking. Oh, and they carry organic baby products too!
  • annerbonesannerbones Posts: 1,812
    edited November -1
    When I nannied - the parents had a list of food that they ate and the store it was located (Okay they were super anal and actually had the aisle as well and th items were sorted so everything on the same aisle was next to each other on the list). They put a check next to the item or I did or the girls and then once a week the girls and I hit the stores. It worked really well for us/them. Once we pick a store to love we will do the same thing it makes everything so much easier.



    __ Large AA Eggs 12 (Dairy)
    __ Nonfat Milk 1/2 gallon (Dairy)
    __ Rice (Aisle 3b)
    __ Black beans (Uncooked) Aisle 3a)
    Progesterone therapy and baby aspirin daily

    Two miscarriages in between (August 2012 - same donor as Maggie, and December 2014 with husband)
  • ZenZen Posts: 2,942
    edited November -1
    Before Shiloh I shopped at Publix and bought what I wanted when I wanted it. But now ... living on a tighter budget ... I've noticed that Publix can price things $0.50 - $1.00 more per item when not running sales. So now I try to shop wherever the prices are best. And that means lots of quickie stops in multiple stores. So like ... go through Publix on Thursday to see what they've sale priced (2-for-1 deals, 50% off specials). We have a little local store (Aldi) where milk, eggs, and cheese are 30% less than the chains. And I'll try to buy fruits and veggies (and meats) at Penn Dutch because prices can be up to 50% less than Publix retail. Across the board Walmart charges less for everything but it's out of the way so my visits there are less frequent.

    I don't budget time for these trips. I just stop on the way home. I guess it adds 30 minutes to the commute when all is said and done. I have tried to do it all in a big circuit on a Saturday and it's exhausting. All that in-and-out of the carseat routine is just too much! Easier just to stop off day by day.
  • old mamaold mama Posts: 4,682
    edited June 2012
    OK I have a big family but some things that work for us...with how super busy you are I would stick to the one store. I just can't run all over even if I could get a better deal and save a bit. I only have so much time and energy too. I make standard monthly (since your storage space is small you could make weekly ones) menu and cooresponding shopping list. I run them off so I grab and go. If you get in the store you can quickly grab your pen and change a meal or two if something looks good. I do it all the time. But at least when you get home you know you have all the ingredients for those items on you menu. That saves money and time as the less trips to the store more money saved too--less impulse shopping. You would be surprised how quickly shopping time can be if you have your list and focus on it. I also have a list of household cleaners, personal care items run off. I take a minute or two before I leave and cross off the things we don't need and add if something comes up...like ovulation testing supplies or PG tests :) Happy Shopping!
  • Klt86Klt86 Posts: 567
    edited November -1
    Do any of your stores have the service where you can go online and pick what you want then they bag it for you? Then you could just pick it up on your way home? I've never used that service but I know they just started offering it where I live, and we're usually pretty behind the curve on new things.
  • fischfisch Posts: 570
    edited November -1
    We are the same in terms of working and time.....and the different stores for different things. Also we are not that great at planning...we plan a few meals well, and then just sort of forage the rest of the week. Bt Thursday/fri we are talking take out.

  • babybabybabybaby Posts: 1,564
    edited November -1
    we usually grocery shop with my sister at night when she gets off of work for all the dinner groceries, since we all eat dinner together. at the beginning of each week, i grocery shop for breakfast and lunch for the week, getting all the fruits, veggies and meal stuff we need for those meals, as well as all the staples, like milk, butter and so on.
  • yfnryfnr Posts: 418
    edited November -1
    I only shop at one place. I know that's not for everyone, but I'm not going from place to place to finish my shopping. I go every Sunday morning during the summer, and when the twins are in school I would go Monday morning after dropping them off. Most the big grocery chains here are open very late - 1am or 24h.
    Mommy to Twins plus One - donor 733
  • EMG_RELEMG_REL Posts: 2,379
    edited November -1
    Sunday is our grocery shopping day. We usually go to one store but sometimes two (our local chain grocery store plus Whole Foods). I'm on Weight Watchers, so it's both essential and easy for me to plan our week's meals (breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks). When I make a list, I break it down into meal categories...but I guess it would be more efficient to prioritize according to sections in the store (I'm impressed by those who get it down to the aisle!). When we get home from the store, it's always my job to sit on the kitchen floor and reorganize the refrigerator with our new purchases. I actually enjoy doing this; it feels cleansing. R will entertain H while I do this, or else he wants to come and join me. Honestly, he usually falls asleep on our way home, so it works out well!

    Also, in terms of boredom, I try to choose at least one new recipe every week. It changes things up.
  • KatydidKatydid Posts: 515
    edited November -1
    I go to what I consider the cheaper store on my lunch break once or twice a week for non-perishables, and then I stock up on fresh items at Publix one of the weekend days. I only get a 30 minute lunch break, so I also organize my list by location and whiz through the store...sorry if I almost hit anyone! I also try to make a meal for the week on Sunday (usually a casserole) so I am ahead at least one meal. With your hours, I think you need to become the master of the crock pot so dinner is ready when you get there. I googled crock pot recipes and came up with some easy ones.
  • A&JA&J Posts: 1,825
    edited November -1
    We mostly shop at Trader Joe's (every week to 10 days)which has a great variety of organic fruits, veggies, and meats as well as some fun snacks etc. I always leave with the cart overflowing and my budget still in tact :) Along with this we have a home delivery service for fruits, veggies, coffee, breads, etc.( weekly delivery) and we do a monthly trip to Costco, which carries a lot of organic food items too these days. Oh, and we do the local farmer's market about once per month these days.

    I recently looked at the amazonfresh website to see about having more food items delivered. Maybe you would like this for a standing order and only stop by the store for a random trip?

    As for meals can you cook in bulk and freeze? Or I will try to think of food items that can be turned into something for the next days meals--Like baking a chicken then using leftover meat for fajitas, or to toss on a spinach salad. Also even if I don't freeze a lot of food ahead of time I try to cook extra for the rest of the week.

    Got distracted, hope this makes some sense :)

  • blkbrd3blkbrd3 Posts: 1,221 ✭✭
    edited November -1
    When my life is particularly stressful and I don't have a lot of time, I designate a big block of time on one weekend day for cooking. Then I freeze or store what I made in appropriate serving sizes.

    I also try to make foods that lend themselves to multiple dishes. For example I may boil two chickens. I'll use the stock for a batch of home made chicken noodle soup, a batch of butter nut squash soup, cook any rice I need for the week in stock, and freeze any remaining stock in ice cube trays to use as seasoning. I'll take the chicken and shred them. One will be frozen for next week. I'll make a chicken enchilada cassarole, BBQ chicken sands, have chicken ceasar salad this week.

    While the chicken is cooking I'll throw a bunch of potatoes in the oven for twice bakers. I'lll also bake a pound of bacon at a time because it will keep all week and breakfasts and/ or salads will be better with a slice... You catch my drift?

    Essentially 4 to 6 hours of hard kitchen labor can feed my home for roughly two weeks.
  • charcoaleyescharcoaleyes Posts: 864
    edited November -1
    We have a little more storage space, but we go to Trader Joes and stock up on their fozen meals. We like them b/c they are fast and mostly healthy. I try to cook a big meal on Sunday so we have left overs for the week.

    Max is eating so many fruits and veggies so every couple of days we make a quick run to pick and save, aldis, or the co-op. When life is really hectic, DH goes at night after max goes to sleep.

    I agree with checking into a delivery service like peapod. That might be a good idea. I know many stores have it in NYC, but I don't know if they do out where you live.
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