Thursday, January 21, 2010

How I Shop for Groceries

Yawn.  I know.  Shopping can be a boring neccessity.  Okay, I enjoy the 'Hunter Gatherer' of it all.  I also enjoy seeing my pantry stocked so I don't have to run to the store for something.  That wastes my time and my money as I don't always just get the one item.  There is too much marketing strategy for impluse buys in grocery stores and I do succumb to impulse buys.  Yes, bad, bad girl!
I only shop every other week.  That is how Scott is paid and that's the way I have been shopping for nearly 40 years.  By reducing the shopping trips, I do reduce the impulse buys and keep to my budget better.  If I run out of something: 
  1. I try to substitute.  Sometimes a disaster, sometimes a great result!
  2. Look for another recipe using pretty much the same ingredients
  3. Run to the store.  (This is a LAST resort)

Today is grocery list day.  I keep a pad of paper and a marker, secured with a ribbon, on the fridge.  (I get note pads, with magnets attached, at the Dollar Tree.  Uh, for a dollar and they last for about six months.)  Whenever we get low on an item, we write it down on the pad.  We try to keep an extra or two of things we use frequently on hand.  I stock my pantry by putting the last purchased item behind the previously purchased items.  That way, things are not lingering and getting stale.  Yes, canned goods can get stale.  They are still safe to eat, just may not be appetizing.  I was once given a jar of Miracle Whip that was five years past its sell by date.  I just chucked it as it was tan, not the regular creamy color.  So use your best common sense.

To make my list I:
  • Look over the week's sales flyers that come in the mail.
  • Write down the Loss Leaders that we use; if you don't use a product don't buy it
  • Use the fridge list to see if any needed items are On Sale at any of the stores   We get flyers from Safeway, Roth's, and Bi-Mart (where we have been members since 1971)
  • Anything we need that is not On Sale, I list to buy at Walmart (dog/cat food, OTC drugs) or Waremart (fresh or canned fruits and veggies, cheese, frozen pizza)  or Dollar Tree (shampoo and body wash)
I shop in Monmouth-Independence for the Bi-Mart, Roth's IGA, and Waremart Foods.  In Dallas I go to Walmart, Safeway, and the Dollar Tree.  I split the shopping into two days now.  Just because of arthritis in my back causes pain when I walk too much and lift the grocery bags.
I buy both name brands and house brands.  For instance, I prefer Best Foods Mayo, Heinz Ketchup, Frenchs Mustard, Grey Poupon, Minute Maid forzen juices, but I will buy house brand canned tomatoes and frozen vegetables. 
We buy dog food in 15# bags ever other week.  They are so spoiled, they won't eat the last 1/4 of a 40# bag.  We also buy them one 22 oz can for every day.  They each eat half the can with their dry for dinner.  So, I am always on the lookout for sales in dog food.  The dogs will not eat Ol' Roy Walmart brand. They would rather starve.
The cats only eat the Purina One Urinary Tract Health cat food.  It's spendy, but not as much as the presciption food at the vet.  We almost lost Max to blockage when he was just a year old.  So, it is important to us to feed him well.  And I never find it on sale.  
Waremart beats most places in the produce prices.  We try to get our three fruits and two veggies a day.  And since we really like fresh fruit over canned, it just makes sense.  (Scott developed Type II Diabetes about six or seven years ago.  He and his dad inherited it from Grandma Jo.  I have to limit my salt intake, not so easy when your favorite snacks include salt.  So we have tried to eat more fresh.)

When I bring the food home, Rocky has to inspect every bag.  When he finds the bag with the treats, he smiles and wags his stump until his butt raises up in the air.  Of course, I treat him for his superior detective work.  Jip has started inspecting as well.  I don't put bags of fresh food on the floor, the thought of them snotting up those, yech!

We get our bread from a local thrift shop, Health and Hope To Others (H2O).  They get day old bread from a variety of local stores and give it out, $1 for two plastic grocery bags.  We freeze the breads and they come out nearly like fresh.  (A tip for what to do with slightly stale bread.)  I recycle my plastic grocery bags there, Scott doesn't use the reusable bags and sometimes I forget to take mine into the store.  We get variety breads, buns, regular loaf bread, and desserts; along with other food items.  Like one week they had bags of winter vegetables, all you wanted of turnips, rutabegas, parsnips, beets.  I have gotten organic yeast, milk, feta cheese, small boxes of cereal, apples, cabbage, etc.

Shopping Day Dinner
Two words: Take Out
I will leave you with this request:

If you don't already use reusable bags or reuse your paper bags, please start.  Peggy has found the cutest bags at Fred Meyer.  And they are so useable with a squared bottom, they sit nicely and are easy to load up.  Thank you for your support!

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