Groceries & Saving Money

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Playing a silly game of The Price Is Right with baked goods at a wedding shower this weekend, I realized that I really do pay a lot of attention to the dollars and cents of grocery items I purchase. I thought in this economic time, I might share a bit of my border-line obsessive-compulsive, Type-A, obnoxiously organized, weekly grocery shopping ritual. Perhaps it will serve to give ideas about how to conserve when grocery shopping or, at the very least, amuse you in how ridiculous my procedure is. So, for better or worse and those in between, here's the ritual.

1. Planning at least 1 week in advance, I write down days and meals in a row like:
M L (Monday Lunch)
D (Tuesday Dinner)

2. Thinking through any items that I might have in my fridge/freezer and favorite recipes, and I fill in the meals accordingly. I usually have notes about things like-- potluck breakfast at work.

3. I go through my most recent copies of Real Simple, Cooking Light, or my favorite- to fill in the gaps. Sticking to one culture of cooking keeps your ingredient list down-- like Mexican, Oriental, Italian, etc. Make 1 batch of meat sauce that'll get you through the week or stretch 1 can of black beans over a couple days. No wasted food!

4. As I write down recipes, I'm writing down what ingredients I know I need, listed by aisles at the local grocery store to make shopping a bit easier.

What I end up with is this (this week is boring b/c we're working off a bunch of bulk from our Costco and Trader Joe's trips in Nashville last weekend-- whoohoo!)

M L chicken caesar salad and hummus (leftovers from Sunday D)
D chicken ravioli & salad

T L leftovers (or lunch at the House) only $2!
D chicken parmesan pasta

W L chicken parmesan pasta
D tilapia, wild rice, green beans (frozen, Trader Joe's)

T L frozen mini tacos (Trader Joe's strikes again)

You get the idea. Doing it this way, we only spent $20 on groceries for the week granted we did have chicken, fish and tacos in the freezer. But on a weekly basis we spend around $75 for 2 of us. I hope that helps!

I would love to know your top grocery money saving tip!!


Anonymous said...


Larry said...

You're the best cook in the world, and you do an incredible job at figuring out our meal plans. I love you!