Do you grocery shop with a meal plan or inventory checklist?
I can never decide what to do...either set my meals for the week and shop that way, or just have a running inventory that I restock according to specials. What do you do?
I kind of do a little of both and always make a list on my iPhone before I got to the store.
I take a list of staples I need, but rarely a menu plan. That is built around what is of good quality and on sale. I'm an opportunistic eater.
I am a coupon shopper. I have coupon accounts with my local stores, a weekly menu plan, and shop with the coupons in mind if I am restocking because of great deals on non-perishable items. Anyway, I just shop weekly with a menu and get the best price. Many stores price match so I find the ones with the best buys and take the other stores ads with me to get their best price as well [price matching]. Check out coupon.com for some good coupons as well. You can really save when you add coupons to the stores and get double coupon benefits.
If you like varied, nutritious meals, I recommend making good use of your freezer to keep on hand uncooked, frozen chicken breasts, meat, and fish in meal-size portions. (Fish such as tilapia, cod, salmon, and flounder keep well in freezer bags).
Decide in the morning before leaving for work or the night before what you want to cook. Plan to serve chicken, meat, and meat during a week on alternate days. Maybe on one or two nights, you' d like to eat vegetarian, based on cooked legumes, rice, or pasta with vegetables and possibly, cheese.
Shop with an inventory list, paying attention to store circular postings of sale items. I always buy fresh vegetables but keep frozen vegetables in my freezer, as well. Pasta and rice on hand round out meals.
I used this approach when I was single, newly married, and married with growing children. Only the portion sizes changed, although my seasoning became more sophisticated. Our children are older, and the system still works.
Inventory. I can't plan my meals day by day. I might not be in the mood for it then or something might come up and won't have the time to cook a chicken for an hour and a half.
I do a little bit of both. If I know what I want to make that week, I will buy specific ingredients. However, most of the time I go for the basics like milk, eggs and bread.
We do a little of each, focusing on meal plan. We tend to buy too much and waste stuff if we go in without a weekly menu. However, we also check basic staples and make sure we have those as needed. The best advice I learned if you want to save money grocery shopping is never go shopping hungry. :-)
I agree, if you go to the store hungry you might tend to over purchase and especially items you do not need. The inevitable wasteful tossing of unnecessary items you picked up is costly. That's why I stick to a list and get the bargains.
I tried the meal plan for a week or two and that seemed to work, but then I sort of lost interest - sometimes it's more fun to just see what's at home and whip up something experimental I shop with an inventory list every week. That seems to work for us, but I think I'll need to give the weekly menu planning a try again...
I usually do my weekly shopping with a list that I constantly add to during the week and on the weekend I shop with just a meal plan....I like to see what the weather is going to do on the weekends before I plan the food.
I use an inventory. I go on one big shopping expedition once a month and restock on everything I need and just get the basics on a weekly basis; things like bread (although I keep a week’s supply in the freezer) and fresh produce like vegetables and fruit.
I like to plan in advance and I hate running out of things so this works well for me.
Also my family lives on an intermittent fast diet so 3 out of 7 days we only eat soup for the day which I pre-cook and freeze.
I coupon and stockpile so, I always go with specific items to purchase. I have been doing it over a year now and it works for us. I do pick up items that are not on sale that we must have. I do like challenging myself not to go into a store and throw things freely into the buggy. I plan the meals around what we have on hand and what is on sale.
Before my husband started doing most of the grocery shopping, I had a layout of every item in the aisles to my commonly visited grocery store. I would make my list of needed items, then make a new list with the appropriate aisles to save time. I literally cut down my grocery shopping time in half.
Since I read the couponing hub, I know my inventory, check the ads and coupons and then plan the meals. You can truly save some money and make it easier to plan. I even write the dinners on the calendar for the week. One night is for leftovers. Stock up on big specials like .39 a can for vegetables, I buy up to the limit.
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