Ever see the meme that goes something like "I hate it when I'm waiting for mom to cook dinner, then I remember I am mom..."
If we're being real, I think this ALL THE TIME. Honestly, when will Alexa be able to cook us dinner? That's the real question. I'm sorry but who really has time to grocery shop? I have about 100 other things on my to-do list all of which revolve around my two-year-old. Moms, I know you understand.
As an enneagram type 1, I am a planner, list-maker extraordinaire through and through. So if I don't have a plan things get a little questionable especially when it comes to dinner time. (Bless my family for sticking with me during the dark times of baked chicken and corn 3-4 times a week).
For the past 6 months or so, I have been fairly consistent when it comes to planning out a week's worth of meals. Before we dive into my current process let me just give you some numbers so you have an idea of how much this has improved our finances.
Go to the market every day or every other day to get ingredients for dinner.
Spent nearly $750-$800 a month on groceries for our family of 3. * I am cringing as I write out those numbers.*
It is easy to disregard how much you are spending on groceries when it's going on your card. I assumed this was normal until I posted in a Facebook group and saw that people were spending less than $400 on their family of four. WHAT? HOW? That shook me, something had to change. Yes, kids are expensive and their snacks are even more expensive, but I knew there had to be a better way.
After a lot of trial and error, I have refined our process and it has saved me both time and money. An activity that use to take up 6+ hours of my life is now cut down to 1 hour a week and has saved us nearly $400 a month.
Plan, plan, plan
Shop your kitchen first
Pick out 6-7 meals + list out all the ingredients needed for each meal
Figure in snacks + pantry staples (TIP: try to pick meals with shared ingredients)
Check for coupons + discount codes
Order your groceries online
Schedule + Pick up groceries
Every Saturday I sit down with my handy little Kris Jenner notebook and look through our kitchen to see what we have left from the previous week and what can be incorporated into meals for the new week. I then pour myself a strong cup of coffee, pick out 6-7 dinners that sound appetizing, and write out all the ingredients needed for each meal. I can't say this enough, pick out meals with shared ingredients. This makes it cheaper when shopping in bulk and helps when using leftovers for another meal. For example, crockpot taco leftovers are great fillers for enchiladas. You guys this takes me maybe 30 mins. Yes, 30 minutes to plan out a week's worth of dinners + snacks for our family.
After I have my list, I order our nonperishable groceries online through Walmart pick up and fresh produce from our local grocery store. This takes 20 mins to order online and I schedule a time to pick them up that works with my day.
This whole process takes less than an hour.
Grocery pickup is a game-changer. Initially, I was worried about how they would pick out produce, but I have yet to be disappointed. I don't know about you, but I am very guilty when it comes to tossing things in the cart as I wander the isles. So this alone has saved us hundreds of dollars in the last 6 months.
(If you didn't know, Walmart will upgrade you to the larger quantity of an item for free if they are out of the quantity that you originally requested. It's a win.)
Also, if you have kids who LOVE to snack, I recommend picking 3-4 of their favorite snacks and rotating them out weekly. Once I put together our online order for dinners, I figure out how much we have leftover for pantry staples + snacks and that determines which ones we get for the week.
Before placing the orders online I check the website or store for coupons to see if any of the ingredients needed for our meals are on sale or if they can be substituted for ones that are on sale. Apps I currently use are Krazy Coupon Lady + Ibotta.
What is your grocery shopping method? How do you shop for your family? I would love to hear how you maximize your grocery hauls on a budget.