Thursday, September 20
Twice a Month Grocery Shopping (Part One)
Before you get scared and run away without even reading what follows- wait! Hear me out!
Several months ago, I started reading about once a month shopping and I thought it sounded pretty ideal. Then, reality set in and I remembered that I live in an apartment without adequate storage space for our clothing much less extra food and toilet paper. I didn't want to give up on the idea. These people were making claims of saving a lot time and money. I decided to figure out my own little apartment-friendly version of this- twice a month grocery shopping. One of the big ideas with this method is the less times you make your way into the grocery store, the less impulse purchases you will make. sidenote: I do not use coupons. I've found that my family doesn't use most things that offer coupons. If you do, you'll just have to work that into the plan.
The first thing you should do to prepare is clean out the fridge and pantry of any spoiled food or things you won't use (like that salad dressing you bought on a whim thats really gross but you just don't want to throw it out). You need all the space you can get.
Next, I make a list of all the basic things we use every week. Obviously, milk and other things don't keep for two weeks. In those cases, I just use it until it's gone or spoiled and then wait to buy until the next shopping trip. If I really need it, I'll send Dave for it after work or something... You aren't trapped- I promise! There will be times that you forget something or the grocery is out of it, etc. You might have to make an extra mini-trip and thats okay.
I have two methods for gathering my recipes. The first is via my cookbooks...duh. And the the second is Pinterest. I keep a pin board with recipes that I'm going to make each week, I don't have to go searching for it when it's time to get cooking.
My first step in menu planning is to account for two meals out. We usually go out to eat once a week (unless Dave is out of town). I make tacos and spaghetti once a week (which isn't really spaghetti because I don't even use spaghetti noodles). I buy 1 lb. of beef for both of those meals and divide in half. I often add beans to the beef for tacos. I can share 'recipes' for those later, but I really don't think I can even call them recipes. Okay, moving on... We now have six of our meals planned. Now, I flip through my cookbooks and recipe files and pick a few that will work for the next two weeks. I like to tab or bookmark the recipes like in the photo above. I write down everything I need for them and if the recipe will freeze well, I plan to double or triple. Boom! More meals, less planning. Doubling or tripling recipes can also save money. Say a recipe calls for ginger or heavy whip or whatever perishable ingredient that you don't use often. If you double/triple it, none of it will go bad. Does that make sense? I end up with a total of 14 dinners planned. To simplify, we now have two meals out, tacos twice, spaghetti twice, plus eight other recipes (maybe less if I'm doubling a few). Another tip: When I find that I need multiples of something, I make tally marks next to that item on the list.
I include ingredients for snack-y things I can just whip up, and a few homemade breakfasts and desserts. I don't have kids in school yet, so I don't worry about lunch boxes. We mostly eat leftovers, soft-boiled eggs on toast, or peanut butter on Ezekiel bread for lunch (and fruit!).
The next part might sound tedious to you but I promise it will make your grocery shopping trip so much smoother. After the list is complete I re-write it in the order that I go through the store. It can be very confusing to go through a (very long) scattered grocery list while keeping up with the little ones. With this method everything is smooth sailing and it seriously shortens my trip. I don't have to continue stopping to look over my list and oops! I forgot tomatoes and I'm already at the other end of the store (bummer!).
I think that's everything I want to cover in part one. I hope this was more helpful than confusing. Please ask questions if you need to! You can always email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I'm going to start sharing my menus, favorite cookbooks, and other little time saving tidbits.
p.s. Credit goes to my friend, Jenny, for asking me to write about this. Good idea- keep 'em coming...