Photo by KitAy
As you may have already gathered, I'm not a shopper. It's exhausting! I can't always decide what exhausts me in particular, certainly the walking around gets tiring after a while, but I don't think that's it.
I think it's because when I'm financially exhausted (as in, no more money in my wallet!), it strikes a cord with me physically and emotionally, as I am more inclined to be a saver.
I feel this way about all shopping, including grocery shopping. I've seriously tried something new almost every month with our grocery shopping to try to make it more manageable for me. I think it might be helpful (and hopefully encouraging!) to give you a little history of my "adventures."
When we got married last May, we had already figured out a budget and we had some goals. I had asked a friend of mine what she and her husband budgeted for groceries and started with that. As it turned out, that was just about the perfect amount for us. I was following Money Saving Mom (still am!), and trying my hand at couponing and creating a stockpile.
I would cut out coupons every week, organize them in envelopes according to their nature, menu plan every week, and grocery shop every week. I would go to 4-6 different stores to get the best deals.
I enjoyed it through the summer, but as soon as life became "normal" again, I found myself spending so much time on my groceries and neglecting everything else (from people to cleanliness). I did not enjoy weekends so much, because I had to do all the grocery stuff on the weekend.
I was reading one day on Simple Mom, and Tsh explained that she menu planned once a month. That sounded heavenly. She made it even easier for herself by only menu planning for two weeks and repeating the two weeks to finish out the month. Um, yes please! She saved money by using simple, inexpensive meals that her family liked. Maybe she wasn't maximizing every single sale, but she was saving incredible amounts of time. And, working 40 hours a week away from my home management tasks, I was in desperate need of just that.
So I menu-planned simple meals for the entire month and went shopping for everything that wouldn't spoil. I used a few coupons if I could, and I still went to 3-5 different stores to get the best deals on everything. It was AWESOME!
I did run into a little problem with it though. It was actually too planned for me. Weird, I know. I would get home from work every day and feel like switching things up. While I thrive on organization and a plan for 95% of my life, I think I'm more of a spontaneous cook.
While I veered from the plan, the once a month thing was actually kind-of perfect for my sudden spontaneity. I had a basic plan, lots of groceries to choose from and could get creative if I wanted.
That brings us to this month of March, where I have again changed my mind-who knew I didn't have it all together?!
I'll go more in depth next week, but here are my basic grocery shopping to-do's:
- Menu Plan (dinners only) for the entire month using my list of go-to meals that we like and can afford
- Shop when I need to
- Buy only what is on sale at Fareway, veer from the menu plan if there are great sales
- Use coupons for things I need and to keep my stockpile going
- Buy everything else at ALDI, where everything is always "on sale" : )
- Have a Prep Day
Next week, I'll have specifics for the things I mentioned today and tips for saving money! In the meantime, Money Saving Mom is doing a pretty great series on lowering your grocery budget. Just click on the picture below!