View Full Version : Grocery Shopping

08-04-2016, 10:16 PM
I have been working very hard for the past couple of years to fine tune my grocery shopping to save money, be healthy, save time throughout the month and not waste food.
But I believe there is always room for improvement.

I'm sure there has been a post like this before, but I thought I would ask what your tips and tricks for grocery shopping are?

08-04-2016, 10:22 PM
So here is what I am doing currently, if anyone is curious :)

I meal plan and prep for a month at a time so I'm not tempted to buy a bunch at the store every week. Because food is where I like to spend money! LOL.
I just recently started doing a ton of freezer meals which has been AWESOME so far. I wish I would have discovered it sooner.

I live in an every other week bountiful baskets area, so I buy the basket every opportunity (in my area, about $20/a time)
I buy a lot of my dry/pantry/household items online at vitacost, because it's cheaper than what I can get here.
We also have an azure standard truck delivery, so I buy some bulk with them once a month.
I supplement the rest at the local grocery store.

At the grocery store, I have the stores app which I use to collect coupons and use the rewards card for discounts. I check online for coupons on my branded items (like formula, etc.)

08-04-2016, 10:33 PM
Yeah, I'm terrible at this. Healthy food is perishable, which means if I only shop once a week, I have to prep it all basically within 1-2 days. I'm good at it in the summer. But once school hits? Forget about it.

I used to do coupons, but I found that I personally started buying stuff I didn't need JUST because I had a coupon. Now I only save coupons for things I already buy (like almond milk or Kind bars or whatever).

So yeah, I don't really have any tips or tricks. I guess the one thing I do is only buy organic on the fruits and veggies that matter (thin skin) instead of the ones that don't (thick skin, like avocados).

08-04-2016, 10:59 PM
Make a list and don't go when you are hungry. I don't really coupon unless it's a store given coupon, b/c most are either it's for something that is junk or it's like save 25 cents when you buy 3, which isn't that great of a savings. Once upon a time I was really into following saving cycles at the grocery store. You keep a journal and each week you mark down the price of the staple things you buy so you can see what the lowest price for that item will be. Every 4-6 weeks it will hit the lowest price and you know when to stock up. It's hard to save at the grocery stores in the northeast. I guess with the store card; you save some, but they aren't as user friendly as say, Kroger. I would download on line coupons on my Kroger card and they would have double days. I haven't seen that here.

I guess each region is different. Here we have kosher grocery stores and Asian grocery stores. They really do have the best prices and selection for fruits and veggies, but other things are higher than normal. Now, I don't have the time to go to different grocery stores in one week.

08-05-2016, 09:23 AM
I keep to a very regular shopping schedule. Grocery shopping on Tuesdays, one week the market, the next week Costco. I have a master list for each store of things we buy at that store - like, I don't usually buy produce at Costco, but we buy meat there, so produce is on the market list, meats on the Costco list, bulk items like paper towels are on Costco, milk is on the market list. Just anything you can think of that might be needed at either store is on the master list.

And then I use the master list to make my weekly shopping list. This way I am looking in my pantry, cupboards, and fridge to see what we have and only adding something to the list to buy if we really need it or if we want to have something as a meal in the next week. It also minimizes impulse purchases because I have a good list, I know what I'm getting, I keep the list organized by department (list items begin with their department so they can be easily sorted alphabetically, "DAIRY - MILK, FRUIT - APPLES" etc.) and I can breeze through the store quickly only going to the sections I need and buying what's on the list.

ETA: I use Google Keep to store my master lists. I can make a copy, rename it to the current week, and then use the handy checkbox feature to take items off the list that don't need to be bought that week. And when I'm going through the store, I can check each item as I put it in the cart. It just keeps things organized better, and organization helps me stick to the structure I'm trying to create when I shop.

08-05-2016, 10:17 AM
I shop almost exclusively at Aldi. Anything I can't find at Aldi, I will make a separate trip to a regular grocery store for, or order from Amazon (so I'm less likely to pick things up I don't need).
I've also started meal planning one week at a time. My husband's work schedule is Wed-Tuesday, so that's how I do my weeks too (since I can plan differently for the nights he won't be home at dinner time). I only buy exactly what I need for that week. This has been the biggest change for me. I'm used to buying things, just to have them. By Tuesday, my cupboards look a little bare! I went last night and got a week's worth of groceries for $76!

08-05-2016, 03:39 PM
I so wish we had specialty and ethnic grocery stores. But we have two options of big chains and that's it within a large distance. I do have a health food store about 45 minutes away that I could go to if I really wanted, but their prices aren't good.

Snooch, do you meal plan or are your essentials basically the same at every visit?

Thanks for sharing everyone! It's always interesting how people go about this regular task.

08-05-2016, 06:54 PM
Snooch, do you meal plan or are your essentials basically the same at every visit?

I tend to meal plan as I'm making the list. So as I'm looking at what we have, and what I'm going to buy, I'm thinking what I want for meals to get us to the next shopping trip. I'll usually make something in the crock pot to last a couple, three days, we'll eat out one night at week, salad one night, steak one night, and one night of "figure it out" if we haven't got enough leftovers to get by.

But many essentials are the same week to week. Things like milk, cream, and produce we buy week after week, and we keep enough meat in the freezer to always have a variety to defrost for dinner.

08-08-2016, 03:33 PM
I make a grocery list and go to Costco, Whole Foods, Trader Joe's, the farmers' market, and alternate between the Chinese and Japanese grocery stores. I buy specialty items online from Thrive Market, which is basically like an online Costco. I don't do coupons because it's too much work. I can definitely do better in terms of meal planning.

08-09-2016, 09:09 AM
I buy basics including meats that are on sale from our local supermarket. Sale items I buy in quantity and I freeze them. I even freeze milk, cheeses and even Ricotta cheese. I do that maybe once every 2 weeks.
Fresh fruits and vegetables I buy weekly also from our local supermarket and from Jewish fruits/veggies store if I can get there.
This way I cook and bake from whatever I have in my freezer and can even put together a meal for a company.
Specialty things (those are fun to buy!) I buy from Russian, Armenian and Greek stores when I can get there. Again, I buy quantity.
No coupons for me!

08-15-2016, 05:11 PM
$160 cash budget a week for the five of us:

Spring, summer, and fall, I buy bulk items at the Co-op, eggs from the stand down the road, and veg/meat/goat cheese from the farmers' market. I save a little from the budget garden seeds and you-pick strawberries, blueberries, and then apples.

Winter I split between the Co-op and Hanafords because the Co-op's produce is sooooo expensive--at least $1 more per pound on everything which is a big deal when you're buy 30 pounds of fruit for the constantly starving children.The Co-ops bulk is way better than H's though (spices! dried goods! cookies! and dish soap!), so it makes up for the extra trip. No coupons, but I do hit up sale items.

I don't plan meals--just buy the sale items and pretend I'm on Chopped.

08-16-2016, 05:24 PM
I love that you pretend you are on Chopped!
I'm to OCD for that, I think, though I've been known to throw things together if I absolutely need to.

Let me tell you, this last month was the first month I really worked hard at freezer meals and it worked REALLY well! The only problem we had was company and I was embarrassed to have a freezer meal while they were here (why, i don't know. For some reason I assumed my father-in-law would think it was weird if I wasn't "slaving away in the kitchen" so I went and bought groceries for their stay). Otherwise, this month has been okay.

I find it really interesting how differently everyone shops. I mean, we don't have a Co-Op, but some people don't have azure standard, etc. It's just interesting. I wish I had some speciality shops that have been mentioned but in small town Nebraska there is very little call for a Asian grocery.
It's cool to learn how people do things from house to house :)

08-16-2016, 05:26 PM
Also, I just started using Ibotta, an app that gives you rebates. It's kind of hard for me since I don't buy pre-made, so I don't get a ton of discounts, but with the sign on bonus I have a rebate of $15 so far this month. Which is pretty sweet.

08-16-2016, 06:17 PM
I love hearing how everyone shops. An old coworker used to go everyday on her way home for her dinner ingredients-- she'd have a recipe almost everyday. I'm not good at being that organized!

I will say this, yesterday's dinner was a HIT! So I'll leave it here:

-Boil 1 cup of wheat berries in plenty of water until they are chewy and soft (similar to rice, but you need much less for a full belly.

-While that's bubbling, roast at 400 the following tossed in olive oil and sprinkled with salt: 1 pint whole small tomatoes (no bigger than cherry), 1 diced eggplant, 1 onion in wedges (note: the eggplant gets dry looking, but with soak up the juices from the tomatoes)

-Mix veg and juices,a goodly amount of Za'atar spice into strained wheat berries.

- Dice 2 flavorful sausages (I had lamb sausage and it was soooooo gooooood), cook in oily pan until brown and crispy.

-Add sausage to the dinner bowl, deglaze the pan with a smidgen of water and pour sauce over bowl as well. Salt to taste and enjoy.

08-17-2016, 04:05 PM
We're at $250+/wk for food. 2 teenage boys and a DH that eats for 2 makes it crazy.
We eat lots of meat, veggies, little filler (pasta, rice, etc).
I usually make a bit more during dinner and use the left overs as lunch.
I'm at costco 2x/week and get specialty items at WF or Sprouts

08-18-2016, 03:28 PM
I think I spend about $250+ on groceries a week too, for 5 people including my mom. My boys eat more than my mom and I. We eat a lot of veggies, fruits and seafood/meat/tofu.

08-19-2016, 08:47 PM
TW, that dish sounds very good. I love wheat berries.
The way we shop and cook also changes depending on our changing families and lifestyle.

09-02-2016, 02:38 PM
I love hearing how other people shop! This is one of my weak areas! I am terrible at planning. I usually go to the store once every 7-9 days and buy sale items. But I'm unorganized and end up spending too much money. I need to get better about meal planning and making lists!