Thursday, May 22, 2008

Preview: Grocery Shopping together

Tonight is our first time really going grocery shopping together. I have a system of disorganization for grocery shopping that I love to use.

Step 1: Sunday I buy 2 newspapers (1 for fliers, 1 for coupons). I scan the fliers and take mental note of sales. I scan the coupons and do a quick compare of what is on sale and a coupon for.

Step 2: Sunday or Monday night I clip the coupons, pull the expired ones and file the new ones. (sometimes done in conjucton with Steps 3a and 3b)

Step 3a: Monday or Tuesday night I make my Walgreens and Rite Aid lists. Rite Aid is prone to run out of sales, so I try and hit them early in the week.

Step 3b: Tuesday or Wednesday night (or during my lunch hour) I pore over the Meijer flier and make my list and pull out coupons I'll use. I write my list on the back of an old envelope with the price and a “C” next to the item if I have a coupon. The coupons go into the envelope. Items I may or may not want (is the advertised “Great Meijer Price” a sale or just the normal price?) get a “?” behind them.

Step 4: Get the stuff! This is where the disorganization comes in. I start in produce and work my way back. I try to avoid back tracking but it happens. Even though I’m careful to write down precisely what I want, I still end up reading nutrition labels and trying to figure out the best unit prices for items (“Even though this is on sale, is the regular priced store brand cheaper?”). And this, my friends is where the tension may mount. I also very rarely buy anything that didn’t make it on my list unless its something that is marked down (close to expiring meat that I’ll cook and freeze, close to expiring produce I’ll eat the next day, etc). Brent is more of an “emotional” shopper. If something looks good, he’ll put in the cart.

Step 5: Check out! I have a love/hate relationship with the U-Scan. I like being able to see what my stuff is ringing up at, but when something doesn’t work right, I get annoyed. And since I’m usually armed with a trillion coupons, something is bound to go wrong.

Step 6: Get home and unload the groceries. Trying to figure out where to put everything in our little kitchen is challenging.

Step 7: Enjoying not worrying about dinner because we made a menu and have enough stuff to get us through without little side trips to the store.

I also prep by reading the Grocery Gathering just to make sure there aren't any sales I may have overlooked. They are so good, I barely need the fliers!

My process may seems tedious but last week I spent $20.14 on groceries and saved $23.78. In April I got a rebate check for $43 from Rite Aid and $49 from Walgreens. That equals a lot of free or very cheap toiletries and other stuff.

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