Friday, February 13, 2009

Adventures in Grocery Shopping

Some of my friends say, "You're so organized. I could never be organized enough to plan all of my meals and make my grocery lists." Boy, do I have them fooled. This is what "organized" looked like in my house this morning.

I was trying to finalize my grocery list and sort coupons, in addition to guzzling the 2 cups of French Roast required to bring clarity to my morning.

Here is the finalized list. I post the meal plan and grocery list weekly on this blog, but in reality, I plan for 2 weeks at a time. I only shop every two weeks as well. We usually need one quick trip to the corner store in between big shopping trips to replace milk and fresh fruit. This list looks more substantial than the posted weekly grocery list for a good reason, that list only encompasses dinners. At least 3 of us in the household eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner at home every day. I have to purchase enough groceries to feed us for 14 days or approximately 54 meals.

I try to keep a running list. As we run out of an item, I write it down. Sometime during the two weeks, I make the meal plan for dinners. As the shopping trip approaches, I look through the current store ads and write down the specials. Finally, the day before, I sit down and make my shopping list. I make notes if an item is "on special", so I remember to look for that special. Next, I go through my coupons. If I have a coupon, I highlight the item on the list so that I know I need to give the cashier a coupon.

How do you all do it? I'm curious.

Why am I babbling on about grocery lists and coupons? Here's the thing; I'm trying to cut back on our grocery spending. I recently heard a statistic stating that the average American family spends $30 per person per week on groceries. So for a family of 4, that's $120/week. That means for my 2 week shopping trip, the bill should be around $240. I seem to come in about $40 over this budget every two weeks. That's at least $80 over for the month! $80X 12...let's see, that's $960...almost $1000/year! $1000 dollars!

I am looking at my receipt right now. I saved $50.53 with specials and store savings and another $19.88 with the coupons that I brought to the store. That's a grand total of $70.41 saved + I earned $2 off/gallon of fuel with the store's rewards program. Before you congratulate me on this savings, you should know that I still paid way more than I had budgeted this trip. It's not that I'm just throwing stuff into the cart. Impulse buying. I really, really stick to my list. So where have I gone wrong? What can I do better? Readers, please sound off! I'd love to hear comments and/or suggestions on this one.


Kelley said...

Well I think you're doing great! I found your blog while "blogstocking" from a friend of a friend and I appreciate all you are doing here. I love it! I organize by recipies and use an online tool at
it has a grocery list that self populates from recipies on the website. You can post any recipe there from your stash and it will do the same thing. You can save recipies as "favories" and have them forever. It's free and the grocery list is cool! I do my list by coupons, what coupons I find, I try to find recipies to use them in. Maybe it's backwards, but I save a lot that way. As far as the cost of your list, that's about the cost of mine and we don't buy much red meat because of the cost. I have 5 in the family too. I think you're doing well, and that article is old! I think the economy has the prices hiked so high now less than 250 a shopping trip is unrealistic. Oh, a friend uses a similar website that includes a calendar with recipies at Thanks for sharing!

Krista said...

Thank you, Kelley! I'm excited to check out those sites!

Sara said...

I try to buy on sale as much as possible, the problem is that food prices have been rising rapidly, so it's hard to stay within a set dollar amount. We also eat vegetarian at least once a week to save money.

Anonymous said...

Hi! I found your blog on Foodie Blogroll and I think it's great!

I've saved a lot on my grocery bill by using Terri's List on The Grocery Game website: Basically, it does what you described in your post: matches daily specials to coupons. I like it because it does the work for me & simplifies my meal planning & grocery list preparation time. Maybe it will help you, too.

Good cooking & happy blogging!

Susanna said...

Hey, Krista. I love your website. I just clicked on the "budget" section. I have a few tips for your readers:

*Set a budget & always pay with cash.

*Stock up (if you have an extra freezer) I get the "Meat Bundles" from a butcher shop (Jones of course!) I rarely buy meat from the grocery stores.

*Don't buy non-grocery items at grocery store without checking prices....(unless you're going to a Super Target or WalMart).... it seems like locally the things like toothpaste, medicine, paper towels, etc are much more expensive at the grocery stores.

*Check out They give you a weekly menu & shopping list based on what's on sale at your local Krogers, Publix, Walmart, etc. Very handy & super affordable.

*Stick to a list. Keep list organized by section (cold, frozen, produce)

*Shop alone if possible. I don't know about your kids, but mine want to get all kinds of junk if they're with me! I ask them what they want at home, then usually get them a couple of their requests.

Thanks again for all of your hard work. This is the only blog I look at regularly. It's great. Your kids are adorable. I just saw your Plow Day pics!

Related Posts with Thumbnails