Sep 23, 2011

The Grocery Shopping

One of my (many) jobs as a wife and mom is to do our family's grocery shopping.

My husband attempts to do the grocery shopping about once per year.

That never goes well.

Somehow we always end up spending double and all we have to show for it is a lot of frozen meals, guitar magazines and peanut butter and jelly.

{Those of you who know my husband know that he would NEVER forget the PB&J!}

So, I do almost all the grocery shopping in our house.

Which I usually don't mind that much.

I try to go in the evenings once the kids are in bed, or on Sunday afternoon when I can leave the girls at home with my husband.

Hey, I'll take any kind of alone time I can get!

But lately, I have been in a grocery shopping funk.

You see, I used to go to a pretty huge grocery store.  I liked it because the prices were better and there was a lot of selection.

But then we moved, so I just started going to the grocery that is closest, which happens to be just a little more expensive.

At first, it didn't seem to be an issue.  Maybe $10 more per week, which wasn't a big deal considering it saved me a lot of time.

But now it has turned into more like $30, which irritates me.

I know prices are going up everywhere, but unfortunately, my husband's salary has not.

So that money comes out of the budget that would be used for other things.

Like fun.

So lately I have been re-thinking my grocery shopping situation.

I am wondering how much I value convenience over being able to use my money in a more fun way.

I *could* trek over to Aldi and save A LOT of money on basics.  But then I would have to also go to Kroger or Meijer or Wal-Mart to get the other stuff I need.  And then I have essentially doubled my grocery shopping time. 


Or, I could just go to one of the bigger chain stores to shop for all my stuff.

It would save a little money, and time (compared to shopping at Aldi and another store), but the thought of having to deal with a huge store, lots of people, and only 3 lanes open and a cashier that you swear is being paid extra to move as slow as possible is just about enough to make me jump off the nearest bridge. 

So I just keep going to the near-by store, which isn't working either.

I need a new solution.

I asked some of my Facebook followers what they value in a grocery.

Kacy Maroney Houlton said "In our town in Texas we have an HEB and a Wal-Mart- while I would probably get a little bit cheaper prices at Wal-Mart its so much easier to get in and out of HEB in a lot less time with my kids. As long as I use coupons from the paper and instore coupons I can save some money and save time too!
Oh and at HEB the produce is always better and so to me not having to go to one store for pantry items and one for produce helps out alot." 
Most others who replied also said they would rather go to a store that would be a little more expensive if they can get the things they like and can save time.

Almost all of them said they do shop Aldi a lot, though, for the prices.

(If you don't have an Aldi near you, I am so sorry.  It is a lifesaver when the budget is tight!  If you do have an Aldi but have never tried it, give it a try.  It's not for everyone, but if you want to save money, don't mind having to bring the bags yourself, and paying cash, and you don't care about name brands, then you will LOVE it!). 

And this brings up another issue, which is coupons.

I use coupons almost every time I go grocery shopping, but I will never be an "Extreme" coupon person.  I just don't understand all of that craziness.

And who has time for that anyway?

So tell me, how do you decide where to shop? Do you value convenience more than money?  Do you Extreme coupon?  If so, what are some of your tips? 

1 comment:

  1. (This is my first time reading your blog, came over from Anne's 101 days of homeschooling)

    I sometimes have shopping issues as well. Most recently came from one of my favorite local stores closing. I live not in the downtown of my city, but close to it and if I want to pay a decent price for food I have to drive about 10 miles (15-20 min) to get to any of the grocery stores I like. While I don't live in your area and don't have Aldi's I do have thoughts that might help you.

    Like you, I coupon, but am not an extreme couponer. I have different stores that I like to shop at for different things. WINCO has CHEAP produce and a great bulk food section, as well as good prices on canning and home goods. But their produce tends to be of a lesser quality so I supplement with the rest of my main shopping at Fred Meyer's (Kroger) where I am also able to do other one stop shopping. I have a few things I purchase at Costco. I theoretically will shop some at the new closer Grocery Outlet for cheap non-perishables. For occasional I need more bread or milk I will shop at the local Safeway... but it costs more for most stuff so I avoid it 99% of the time.

    So onto my shopping methods. We (I) do my grocery shopping no more than once a week. With the exception of a WINCO/Costco (same direction) run I never go to 2 stores the same week. For our family of 5 we cash budget $100 a week for any grocery/drug store item (everything except clothes). Weeks 1,2,4, and 5 I shop at Freddy's and I spend $60-$80 of that money. Week 3 I shop at WINCO only and 6 I shop at WINCO and Costco. So on those weeks I have my weekly budget for that week plus the extra money I have saved up from the other weeks because I never make it out of these two stores for less than $100 usually close to $150. Once Grocery Outlet opens I will have to readjust my routine... but even with my 3 current staple stores I am able to get my different needs by stocking up on the items I get at each place enough so I don't need make shopping day seem endless. To keep track of everything I have 3 shopping lists on the fridge, one for each store.

    I have one last food supply that doesn't factor into our regular shopping. I am currently buying my beef and chicken through non grocery store options. We have a local friend who has cows and so we buy a sizable portion when they butcher. And for the first time through the recommendation of friends got chicken through Zaycon has food events where you buy in and then you pick up your allotment when the truck comes into city. The catch is being able to be free to pick up in a short window of time. The benefit is really good chicken, meat, etc for a really good price. The chicken I just purchased was $1.60/lb for 40 lbs of skinless/boneless chicken breasts. In the store I'm hard pressed to find it cheaper than $3 a pound.

    I hope you found this helpful and not too horribly longwinded.



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