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There really are lots of ways to save money on groceries. However, much of the savings start before you ever hit the store front door! In a previous post, I offered some basics of saving money on groceries. They really are necessary if we want to get a handle on our grocery budgets. However, if you don’t have a way to go about it, it’s all useless. So, ready for a walk-thru of what I do each week? Here is your inside look at my grocery shopping method!
I’m going to share my actual files with you to help you get started!
The Master Grocery List
The first essential part to my grocery shopping method is the master grocery list. It includes all the things I normally buy. Ideally, I’d print it each week and put it on the fridge so that when we run out of something I can just highlight it. In reality, I forget to print it, so I jot down things as we run out. Then I print and highlight before going shopping.
This makes my life so much easier because I do not have to redo my list every single week! I’m also less likely to forget something since I read through the list as I sit down to highlight what we need. If you need something to get you started, feel free to download a copy of my master shopping list HERE.
Seriously, why haven’t I done this all of my mommy-ing life? Even the checkers at the store are amazed at my list!
Next, I look through the local sales papers and circle the good deals on what we need or could eat that week. In our area, we have a handful of dollar stores, pharmacies, and larger grocers like Kroger. Kroger is my favorite because I can use their digital coupons, and they send coupons right to my house! What’s great about the ones they send in the mail is that they are tailored to what I normally buy.
There are times I clip coupons, but typically I do not. If I know of some I can print from home I will, but in our area we do not have the option of getting a Sunday paper with all the coupon inserts; therefore, it does not fit into my grocery shopping method. Maybe one day I’ll get a better grasp on coupon shopping! 😉 We also do not have any discount stores or wholesale clubs nearby, as the closest ones are a good 1.5 hour drive away. That combined with the fact that I’d have 8 kids in tow keeps me pretty close to home.
I go back to my list and make sure to highlight those items that I circled in the weekly ad as well as fruits and veggies to round out a meal. If I’m going to different stores, I just note where I need to stop for that particular item. For instance, often our local independent grocer will have a sale on meat that’s better than what Kroger offers. In that case, I highlight the item, and note IGA beside the item so that I remember to stop there.
Plan Meals Based on the Sales
After going through the circular for local stores and marking my list, I plan meals based on which meats and veggies are on sale. For instance, if Boston butt is on sale for $1.19 per pound, I’m probably buying 2–one for the week, one for the freezer. If sweet potatoes and cabbage are also on sale, I’ll grab those as well, making a meal of bbq sandwiches, sweet potato fries (or wedges baked in the oven), and cole slaw. We typically eat less than ½ of the meat, so there’s leftovers for a lunch during the week, a big pot of Brunswick stew, or bbq potatoes later in the week. Two days of meal planning…done!
I go through the entire week this exact same way. We usually have leftovers once a week and pizza on Friday night; we also have have supper with our community group every Sunday night. That means I’m really only planning for 4, sometimes 5 (if it’s my turn to cook at CG) nights a week.
The image above is what my actual meal planner looks like except way messier. I have it printed and laminated so that I can use dry erase markers to easily plan from week to week. Many weeks the breakfasts and lunches look the same with slight variations. It’s just makes life easier.
** If you’d like to download a weekly meal plan for you, click HERE to join my mailing list and for instant access to it and other freebies!**
The Master Recipe List
Sometimes you get hard-pressed for a meal that you like but haven’t had every week for the last six weeks. That’s why I keep a master meal list. It’s nothing fancy, really, but it helps me to quickly see a variety of meals with the ingredients listed right there. If you think seeing an example would help get you started, feel free to click HERE for access to my master meal list.
This method has proven so much easier for me! I never thought I’d prefer to shop weekly because I hate, hate, HATE the grocery store, but by shopping weekly, I get better sales more often, and I’m only shopping for a week. For me, that means I can cram everything I need into one regular-sized buggy rather than the monster twin buggy. I can wind my way through the store much faster and in a much better state of mind than ever before! [Unless I get a crazy hair and take all seven kids with me, which I did this week. It wasn’t good for my sanity, nor was it nice to my grocery budget!]
This is the method that works for me. Understand that just because it works for me doesn’t necessarily work for you, but give it a try and don’t feel bad if you have to tweak it to make it work for you!
You can do this! This grocery shopping method may seem overwhelming at first. Believe me, trying to feed 10 mouths every day can be difficult to say the least, so I get it! However, I know that this specific strategy has helped me tremendously. If you find this grocery shopping method helpful, please share with your friends!
UPDATE: Since baby number 8 was born, Walmart Grocery Pickup is my friend. I’ll share more on that later, but just know, it’s a money saver, too! The downside is that you can’t (or at least I don’t know how) to use coupons, but I still save money because I’m actually checking my pantry and freezer to see if I’m buying duplicates.
I love seeing my friends saving money!
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