Making Your Grocery List AT the Store.
Shop for the week ahead – but don’t plan ahead.
So, we’ve all heard to 1) never go to a grocery store hungry and 2) go prepared with a list. I agree with both – to an extent. This past Sunday, I prepared the week’s menu and the corresponding list before I went to the store.
But, what I’m about to say further supports a previous post from Beth – Planning on Sales vs. Coupons.
Plan your menu as you walk the aisles! As I proceeded to shop for the menu items on my list, I noticed the sale items. A lot of them. Pasta sauce BOGO Free, the same deal on pasta. Chicken on sale, as well as organic spinach. My menu for the week quickly changed. I revised the menu to incorporate familiar sale items. Now, be careful. Don’t necessarily buy to stock up on something that’s going to stay in the pantry for months. Makes little sense to buy the food because it’s on sale just to store it in the pantry for months and months. To me, that’s like putting your dollars in the pantry and not in the bank. And, check sale prices – compare them against store brands. Don’t buy a BOGO if the per unit cost doesn’t make sense. Check the per oz cost – compare, compare, compare. Once, you feel knowledgeable about navigating the aisles, try developing a menu based on legit sale items.
My approach to this week’s menu:
1) – Taking inventory: I first took inventory of what we had. Monday was set with what I called Pantry Salad – making a gourmet-type salad from what I had. Because of the ingredients already on hand, one dinner was arugula with garbanzo beans and bacon-wrapped shrimp.
2) Notice the sale items: The sale items can build my menu for the week. The sale items were legit. For example, the Pasta Sauce BOGO doesn’t make sense if they are $5.79 each then marked down to half when the brand next to it (just as good) is $1.39. Creative salads or vegetarian dishes can be invented with sale items in produce. If it’s a product you normally buy, but now on sale, all the better to be flexible and make a meal of it.
So, while the store is not necessarily the place to hang out and spend hours looking at new food items, you can build a successful menu for the week and save money. By building a menu based on the LEGIT sale items, and a little creativity, I saved money.
As Beth mentions in her post it’s not a quick event, nor one that does well with children in tow. But, it’s an alternative to planning your meals around coupons. Hey, combine your efforts with coupons. This takes time, but if money is too hard to come by, so I’m willing to do it if it saves some cash!