How to Grocery Shop

Over the years our grocery shopping budget has fluctuated from $130 a week to $40.00 a week. This due to us going from two jobs to just one and me learning how to menu plan and work the store sales. Right now we average about $80.00 a week. For some this is high and others too low. But this seems to get us what we need. When we were on a budget half that, I would often get asked how we are able to survive on so little. It wasn’t always easy and there are lots of different methods but here is how I did it and still do today.

We have a family notebook/binder that I keep all relevant day to day living things in, one of the sections is our favorite recipes. I usually browse through those and write down the different meals that I want to make for the week. I then have a section of the binder where I have created a sheet that lists the ingredients by recipe. I did this so that I would have a quick go to place when I need a list of ingredients, I add these to my grocery list. Of course If I’m trying something new, I just add the ingredients to my list.

I then go through the store ads for the week, Sometimes I start here and decide whats on sale and then I choose the recipes. As I look over the ads I circle anything that is on sale from my list or if there is something we need I circle it and add it to my grocery list. I do this because if I am price matching at Walmart I don’t want to be standing in line searching through my ads for what I need, and because sometimes grocery stores don’t have their sales labeled on the shelves. If there is something I’m price matching I place a small (pm) next to that item on my list so that I remember to tell the cashier.

I then go through my coupons –  I use a coupon binder- but there are many ways to organize and keep up with coupons. I look to see if I have any coupons for the items that I need, If I do, I take them out and  place them on a small clipboard that I take to the store with me and I add a small (c) for coupon, next to that item on my grocery list so that I don’t forget that I have a coupon for that item when I’m checking  out.

Lastly, I organize my grocery list by the layout of the store. I know when I walk into Walmart I head to the back first and that is where they keep dairy, so Dairy is first on my list with all of the items that I need from that category, and so on. This is something I have recently started doing after being frustrated with getting all the way through my trip only to find out I forgot something that was 7 aisles back. It has been a huge time saver for me.

I always take to the stores my sales ads, my coupon binder, my mini clipboard with my grocery list and coupons attached and a pen. I don’t know if I look crazy or not… I probably do, but I figure the savings are worth it!

I do mentally add up my groceries as I go along, usually just rounding up or down so that I can keep up with how much I’m spending.  I used to use a calculator but it was slowing me down and somewhere along the trip, my not so fancy calculator would lose power and lose data, this works for me.

If you are the “wing it” type then I’m sure this will seem like way too much work. I started doing this in stages and have gradually incorporated things, but when money is tight, priorities change and you do what you have to do. I also look at it as being good stewards of what God has given us.

Note: Sometimes I shop for just the things on sale at particular grocery stores, I get great deals when I do this but my system is a little different. I’ll share that in another post.


One Response

  1. Geez, I didnt know you had such a system! I am lucky if I start out with a list, then just ignore it when I get in the store! Do you have all 3 kidos with you when you do this?

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