Dearest readers and grocery shoppers,
Thanks for hopping here from The Blended Blog for my “5 Grocery Shopping Organization Tips” post. I have been grocery shopping for about 40 years now…at times for a family of five and at times for just little ole me. There were periods in my grocery shopping past that I pulled one cart and pushed another while managing three hungry little girls ages 5, 6 and 7. So I had to come up with some survival tips for getting out of the store quickly, efficiently, with the groceries my family needed (and a minimal number of Twinkies and bags of candy). During those most stressful shopping days for my family of 5, we were also on a strict budget. While pushing and pulling my way through the store, I added items to my cart and my calculator in order to ensure we wouldn’t break the bank account. Life is easier these days in so many ways, grocery shopping included.
Here are a few grocery shopping organization tips I have found helpful. Beyond the big no-no of going to the store hungry!
#1 Meal Planning and Killing Trees
For years, I was paid once a month. Felt rich on the first two days after payday and dirt poor for the remainder of the month. I am not a great budgeter. And could never seem to manage to save any of my paycheck for the lean last three weeks of the month. So I grocery shopped once a month. Immediately after cashing my check. And for the most part, I still do. Which requires some planning.
I have loads of recipes pinned on Pinterest. A healthy foods board, here. Appeteasers and salads pinned here. Breakfast and brunch recipes on this board. Main meals, here, desserts, here and soups, here. Oh, and the ever-nutritious snack foods, here. Would love to have you follow me on Pinterest, here. Shameless plug. Forgive me?
So I look at my boards and pick out recipes I want to prepare over the coming month.
Then I kill trees. Yup, I print the recipes out. Call me Paul Bunyan. But I like to hold a recipe in my sticky little hands when I am cooking. Old-fashioned that way. However, I don’t print the recipe out over and over and over each time I am going to prepare my bud Casey Rooney’s delicious fall chili, for example (PC’s fav). I keep my printed recipes together in a cabinet over my frig. So after perusing my Pinterest foodie boards for recipes and printing them, I leaf through my printed recipes for any I want to prepare.
Then I have recipes that are floating around in my head. Yeah, scary. No wonder I’m always hungry. Like my spaghetti sauce. Or my recipe for PBJ. No need to write them down when I can commit them to memory. Also scary. So here’s where step #2 comes in.
#2 Making Your List and Checking it Twice
I am a list maker. Sometimes (ok, often) I forget to look at my lists after I create them. Kind of like forgetting to check my agenda on a daily basis. But I love making lists. And when it comes to grocery shopping, I generally remember to consult them while at the store. Have a grocery list template that I use. Found it on…yuppers, Pinterest.
Here’s my preferred master grocery list.TBB Spring Time Fun Series: 5 Grocery Shopping Organization Tips, 5.22.2017
I consult each recipe and identify on my grocery list the ingredients I will need to purchase. Then I run around the house (getting steps on my pedometer) to check the status of our toilet paper, laundry soap, deodorant, kitty litter, which may or may not be an ingredient for one of my planned meals. And add those items to my list. Finally, I put the list in my purse to be sure I’ll have it the following day when at the store.
#3 Follow the Yellow Brick Road
This tip is something I’ve always done but felt validated in doing it after reading this post by Simplified Organization. Follow the same route – the same yellow brick road – through the store every single trip. Ok, maybe not if you are just running in for milk. But honestly, when do we ever run in the grocery store and come out just with milk?
When PC shops with me, he will ask “Do we have to go down this aisle? Do we have to go down that aisle?” Yes. Yes, we do. Otherwise I might forget something. Something on or off my list. And hitting every aisle makes back-tracking for a forgotten item less likely.
I’ve toyed with the idea of making a master grocery list in order of the departments in the U.S. Army commissary where I shop. For instance, produce is the first department. So it would be the first section on my list. Maybe I will work on it this summer. Don’t you hate it when they move everything around all over the store. My Wal-Mart is doing that right now and my commissary did it a few months ago. It’s a wonder I can find anything.
#4 Sort it Out
As you put items into your cart, keep cold items together, canned foods together, boxes all in the same place. That way similar items will get bagged together, making putting the food away easier. My PC is a master grocery cart sorter and packer. Some days I am so tired when I hit the store after a day in heels at work, it’s amazing I get the food into the right cart. I kind of hurl the packages in its general direction. Forget packing it in some kind of logical order. Guess I need to pack flip-flops for after school on grocery day and take to heart my own grocery shopping organization tips.
#5 Ounce for Ounce
Way back when I was buying groceries for 5, I often had to buy the smallest/cheapest container of whatever it was. The smallest jar of peanut butter rather than the family-sized which was less per ounce but $5.00 a jar versus $2.50. Now days I at least use the price for ounce to compare brands. Skippy at $.23 an ounce or Jiff at $.21 an ounce.
I am so thankful that PC and I have a comfortable-enough grocery budget to allow me a little wiggle room. No longer have to carry the calculator around with me, thank goodness. But still often buy the generic rather than name brand of many items. When we first married, and PC would shop with me almost every month, I amazed him by being able to calculate, often within a dollar, the total price for all of our groceries each trip. Could kind of add things in my head as they came across the conveyor belt up to the register to be rung up by the clerk. So very grateful that I don’t have to do that math any more.
Do you have tricks for managing the grocery shopping in a more organized manner? How often do you shop? Are you a list maker? Would love to have you share in a comment below. Am I the only monthly shopper?
For additional grocery shopping organization tips, stop by to read these posts. “5 Grocery Store Tips“ at Simplified Organization, “6 Ways to Stay Organized When Grocery Shopping“ at PopSugar and “How to Stop Wasting Time at the Grocery Store“ from The Spruce.
Next week will see the conclusion to The Blended Blog’s “Spring Time Fun” series. We will be talking summer plans. Hope you will join us. Have you enjoyed these posts and blog hops?
Linking up today for the “Over the Moon” link party. This great group of gals has been so supportive. Please stop by to see what they are up to.
Have a breezy, beautiful week. Thank you for starting it out with me.
Hugs and kisses,