I’ve recently gotten into a pretty steady routine with my grocery shopping. Now that I know Copps does double coupons on Weds., it is officially my grocery shopping day. I’ve done pretty well with the double coupons the last few weeks and I’m quite happy with the amount of money I’ve been saving. Each week when we get the paper, I carefully look over the ads for Copps and Festival and pick out the specials that I’m most likely to use and also try to find sale items that will match up with my coupons. I write out a list for each store, making notes next to which items have coupons. I plan everything out as much as I can to make my two stops as short as possible. I always have my 2 yr. old twins along, so if I spend too much time in the store, it gets pretty crazy. I visit Copps first since it is the farthest from home, then hit Festival on the way back. I usually get done shopping with just enough time to run home and put everything away before going to pick up my daughter from preschool. Unfortunately this system won’t work so well when the warm weather returns. I’ll have to keep shopping at Copps on Weds. though, and go to Festival another day. I never thought I would take the time to shop at two separate grocery stores, but it really is worth it. They rarely seem to run the same specials at the same time, so there’s something great to pick up at each store. It’s also nice shopping this way because I don’t end up having an overflowing cart. I’m only buying about half of my groceries at each store. I shop fast, I check out fast, and I move on. I love it.
I’m still getting used to planning meals based on what I have on hand, rather than planning a menu before shopping. I regularly forget to take meat out of the freezer to thaw, and sometimes I get a little lost as far as what meals I’ll be preparing for the week. I always manage to throw something yummy together, I just wish I felt a little more prepared. I feel like I’m working backwards from what I’m used to doing, so it just doesn’t come as naturally to me. I’ll keep working on it though, because I’m definitely spending a lot less money this way.
My grocery budget has been bouncing up and down from week to week, but overall I’m spending a lot less than I used to. In the past month, I had a couple weeks where I spent $80-$90, one week where I spent $43, and this week I spent $68. It all depends on what’s on sale, what I decide to stock up on, and whether I decide to get some extra items that might not have been on the list. On the weeks where I spent around $80, I picked up things like a 2lb. bag of shrimp, on sale for $10 (reg. $16). Yes, it’s an expensive item, but it was a good sale and my family LOVES shrimp. This week my $68 total included 7 12-packs of soda, which normally I wouldn’t consider part of my regular grocery budget. I’ve come to realize that it really does pay to stock up when the deal is good. I’ve completely changed the way I shop for groceries and I can see the difference it is making for us. I will never go back to the way I used to shop. I spent a lot more money, yet never had much extra on hand. To go from that, to having a full pantry and freezer while spending far less still amazes me and it probably will for quite a while.