Family Dinners · family planning · NaBloPoMo · shopping

Grocery Savings In 5 Easy Steps: NaBloPoMo Day 2

The one thing I love about social media is the ability to connect with people, not just with people you see regularly, but with people you only know via the internets. When I started blogging and communicating with other moms who blog, I learned a lot. Not just about navigating the blogosphere but about their home tested methods of getting it all done. One of the topics I would often run across is grocery shopping. Some of us hate it, some love it. There are others like me who plan for a whole weeks meals at a time and others who have no clue how to even do it. This blog is for them. You asked for it, here it is. How I grocery shop for 2 adults and 5 children for a week and spend less than $200 or less without couponing.

1.  Know Your Family.
This is something that we women just do without even thinking. You know the likes and dislikes of everyone in your household. You know what you can get them to eat and what you can’t. Start them out from a young age that they eat whatever they get sat in front of them. This helps immensely. In my family, I love to eat, the Hubby not so much. He’s a snacker. If I get him to sit down and eat one good meal a day, I’m lucky. The oldest boy is almost a teen so he’s an eater. The two girls will eat anything if it’s covered in cheese and the twins, well they’re toddlers so they don’t eat. I’m surprised they are still alive.  The point I’m trying to make with all of this, is that if you know what you’re family likes, it makes it easier to shop and you won’t waste food. Food waste is like burning dollar bills.
2. Know Your Stores.
It’s nothing for me to go to 3 different stores on Friday. Friday is my shopping day and the twins and I get all my errands done. I use the weekends for picking up odds and ends or things I forget at the store. By knowing what your stores sell and for around what price you can maximize your shopping experience. I have 3 markets near my house, Food Lion, Wegmans and Walmart. I almost never buy fresh food from Walmart. I go there for home decor, gifts, frozen foods like vegetables and small appliances. That’s it. I go to Wegmans when I need fresh meat because theirs is superior in quality to Food Lion and it costs less. I can get their store brand meat and sometimes their organic store brand meat for the same price or less than Food Lion. Usually, it’s less. I also go there when I need wine or I want fresh vegetables and fruit. They have more of a selection. So what do I buy at Food Lion? Cereal (usually whatever is buy one get one free), boxed items like Mac and Cheese, condiments, bread, butter, cheeses, lunch meat, pasta sauces, bake mixes, dog food, milk, juice and snacks. Why do I do this? I shop the sales.
3. Buy Only What’s On Sale.
The reason why I love going to a traditional grocery store over say Walmart, is that they don’t have buy one get ones. BoGos are the large family’s savior. I have 5 kids in the house and in a work week, we go through 4 boxes of cereal. So as an example, say I go to Walmart and get 4 boxes of cereal for 3.00 each, that’s $12.00 I just spent. If I go to Food Lion and buy only what’s on BoGo, I just spent $6. The kids don’t care what cereal they get because it’s the surprise of what was on sale this week. When Cookie Crisp is on BoGo, you can bet they’re cheering like I do when I find a pair of clearance shoes in my size at DSW. I do this through the whole store because when I cook, I have make two boxes of anything at a time for one meal so when Rice a Roni is 10/$10, you can bet I’m stocking up.   
4. Plan Your Meals By What’s On Sale.
I used to be one of those Fix, Freeze and Eat people. To some extent I still am. I buy meat in bulk and I still freeze it. As a result of no longer working a 9 to 5 job, I don’t have to prep meals in advance to eat at a reasonable hour. So when I arrive at the market I see what they have on sale in the meat section, if I need to buy meat that trip. If I don’t then I just go to the sides aisle and start picking up whatever is on sale but two of everything for 6 days. That’s the extent of my meal planning. I figure out what we’re going to eat on the weekend for all three meals and that’s my total shopping trip. Easy as pie.
5. What To Do When You Get The Sh** Home.
If I went on a meat run, then I portion everything up. Wegmans is great is this regard. If you buy the family packs, it’s already portioned for you so you can just throw it in the freezer. When I buy bulk hamburger, I usually get the quart sized freezer bags. I have found that the quart sized bags will hold 1 lb of ground beef or turkey. I put it in the bag, close it and smooth it out to make it easier to defrost. One pound of hamburger will easily make enough meatballs or tacos for a family of 7. I also use them when I buy a whole chicken cut up. I put as much as will fit into one bag and that will be enough meat for one meal. The only thing that doesn’t work this way is chicken tenderloins. Those you will have to count out. I usually do 2 a piece for the older kids and one for the younger ones because I cut them up into bit sized pieces.
That’s all there is to it. There’s no real planning to it other than what the store does for you. You don’t even need to make a list unless there’s something specific you need because you want to make something special. I hope you all found this helpful, try it out sometime and let me know how my plan works for you.

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