Grocery Budgeting Part 3

The Shopping Trip

To wrap up my posts on groceries I’d like to end with the trip to the store, or stores in my case. 

The more people I talk to the more I hear that grocery shopping is a dreaded chore.  I guess I am odd because I love it! It’s like a victory when I can walk out of the store with everything (or almost everything) I need for an entire month and be within budget!

I say almost everything for a few reasons. First, I’m not perfect and neither is my system. It’s still a work in progress.  I forget things, I mis-count, I break eggs, whatever the case may be.  Secondly, fresh veggies and fruits do not last a month.  Even Debbie Myer Green Bags do not keep some things for 30 days.  If you can help me with tips to keep produce longer please, please post below. I’d really appreciate it and I’m sure others will too!

Right now I shop at two to three different stores for our groceries.  I would love to be able to go to one store and get all of my groceries and then head back home.  Stores like Wal-Mart offer such convenience however if you’re shopping higher quality foods (i.e. organic, natural, non GMO, etc) and if you look for the best deals you’ll find one store shopping is not a money saver.  For example, the road side stand not 2 miles from my house offers better prices on potatoes and other veggies then any grocery store.  Plus, his food is local, fresh and good quality. I know exactly where it came from and how it was handled.  Also, in our area I can buy peaches, apples and pears local in season and they are also cheaper than the grocery stores.

So how do I know what to buy where? I believe it is important to not only know your costs from store to store but also cost compared to quality of the item.  For example, I can buy cheap eggs at the store for $1.09 a dozen or buy local pastured eggs from a woman close to my house for $2.00 a dozen.  Pastured means that the chickens not only are “free range” but they feed off the land, eating bugs and the like.) A pastured egg is more nutrient dense and of better quality.  So a single egg from the store is 9-cents and the local egg is 17-cents but the 17-cent egg is better quality.  I’ll pay the extra.  Plus, I know that the local chickens are living a good life, the way God intended not crammed in a cage treated like an egg machine. 

On the flip side, I can get bananas for 49-cents a pound or 89-cents a pound.  Same brand, one organic, one not.  Since bananas are a low to no-spray crop (meaning sprayed for pesticides) I buy the 49-cent bananas.  I’ll save the organic for other produce.

About a year ago I started making a list on the computer of prices between stores.  This is great when I see something on sale at one store I can decide if the sale price is better than the lowest price store where I shop.  Also, some natural/organic items I buy at a local natural foods store are also sold at the chain grocery where I shop.  By taking a minute to write down the price of those items at each store I can see where it is cheaper.  Believe it or not, some items are cheaper at the natural food store then the grocery store.    I also use my grocery receipt to add to my price comparison list after I get home from shopping (or whenever I can find a spare minute these days!)

Here’s an example from my price list comparing eggs:

Eggs brown, pastured 12 ea  $        4.25 Sonnewald’s  $             0.35
Eggs brown, pastured 12 ea  $        2.00 Local Lady  $             0.17
Eggs brown, pastured 12 ea  $        3.00 Caprine Delight  $             0.25
Eggs white, large 12 ea  $        1.09 Aldi  $             0.09

 

I’d like to finish up with just a few additional thoughts:

  • ·      Don’t go to the store hungry.  You’ll end up with stuff you don’t need or really want
  • ·      Use a list that works for you
  • ·      Remember your list! It sounds simple but really, you can’t shop without it.  Put it in your wallet or pocket-book.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve forgotten mine and the trip was disastrous.
  • ·      Decide before you leave which stores you’ll need to go to and how long it will take you to shop (so you’re mentally prepared and so you don’t find yourself pressed for time.)
  • ·      Stay balanced! Don’t beat yourself up if you forget something or need to make a mid-week trip for extra elbow noodles because you ran out half way through the month.  Stuff happens! Just try to not have it happen every week.

 

Last week I bought a great book called Real Food on a Real Budget by Stephanie Langford.  It’s a great book so far.  She goes into more detail than I have here and expands on things like meal planning, price shopping, coupons and gardening. (And I’m only part way through the book.) Check her out at www.keeperofthehome.com where you can check out  her blog or buy the book. 

 

Until next time,

Be Blessed!

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