One of my goals this year is to spend less at the grocery store. I’m sure all of you want to spend less, whether you’re consciously thinking about it or not.
While there are many ways to spend less at the grocery store, here is one that I’m putting into practice this year and want to tell you about. This year I am only going to the grocery store once every two weeks.
Here is the way I do it: I plan out all of my meals. Every. Single. One. I am not the kind of wife who can spontaneously look in her pantry and fridge, see a few vegetables, meats, pastas, or whatever, and then whip up something fabulous before 6:30pm rolls around. Don’t ask me why, I just can’t do it. I’m always shocked when my mom emails me to say she tried a new recipe because she had all the ingredients just “laying around.” How is that possible? I must have the meal planned out beforehand and all the ingredients purchased.
If my meals are planned, each item purchased has a purpose and then gets used. If I am just aimlessly buying food, hoping it will all come together to make meals for the next week, guaranteed half of my food will go bad and get thrown away. I have wasted so much money, especially on produce, by buying vegetables or fruit, but only needing half of it for my recipe. By planning out two weeks of meals, I find that I’m able to use the entire bunch of spinach by using it in three different dishes. If I only plan for it in one meal, the rest of the bunch sits unused in the fridge and goes rotten. Wasted money.
I keep this all organized with these two notepads:
On the “What To Eat” one, I write all my meals for two weeks (including lunches). On the “All Out Of” one, I check all the ingredients I need for these meals and then take this list with me to the grocery store. I bring a pen and mark off the items as I go to avoid forgetting anything and also to avoid buying items I don’t need. If you take your time in planning beforehand, you won’t get home and realize you forgot to buy five things you needed, meaning you’d have to go back to the store later in the week and spend MORE money.
Although it takes some planning on my part, I am never stuck with nothing to make for dinner, I never wander through the grocery store isles picking up random things, and I'm already finding that my grocery bill has significantly decreased.