Thursday, July 3, 2008

Just EXACTLY How Do You Do This? Part Two: The Shopping Trip

Monday morning in my house is grocery shopping day. I’ve planned out my week’s worth of menus the night before and now I’m ready to “hunt and gather”.

My husband is home on Monday mornings so I leave all the kids with him. I need to have a clear head when I’m shopping. I don’t want to rush and make bad decisions because the kids happen to be whining or fighting. I’ll save the child training for when I can focus 100% on that. Also, if the kids are around I’m prone to buy things that are NOT on my list. That’s a struggle anyway so I don’t need anymore pressure in that area.

Which brings me to a very good point. STICK TO YOUR LIST! If you walk down the aisle and think, “Oh, that’s such a great sale, how can I pass that up?” You’re going to go over budget. Stick to what you need for the week. You’ve put lots of thought and time into it. You know what you really need to get you through the next seven days. It’s a slippery slope to start throwing “great bargains” into your cart or thinking “I forgot that, and I need to add it.” Or “It’s such a great deal. I’ll buy a whole case.” Make a commitment to your list and stick to it. You’ll learn as the weeks pass and you’ll adjust for things that you might be forgetting. If at the end of your shopping trip you come in under budget, go back and throw a few of the bargains in your basket but be self controlled and don’t go crazy with it.

Another good idea is to shop on a full stomach. I eat a good breakfast before I go because if I shop while my tummy is growling I’m tempted to throw in a whole lot of cravings or justify buying myself a deli sandwich and a pop.

So, my first stop is my local bakery outlet store. (For those of you who live in my area it’s the Franz outlet store on 3rd avenue out past Waste Control.) There I can get whole grain loaves of bread, hoagie rolls, hamburger and hotdog buns, bagels, and English muffins as wells as lunch type snacks for really cheap prices. They have a special mark down aisle where I can buy whole grain breads for 89 cents per package. So if bread is on my list I check there first. The mark-down tables are still fresh bread but the sell date is close so they need to move them fast. I just take them home and stick them in my freezer. Oh, and if you spend over $8 they let you pick free items off the shelves.

My next few stops are my local grocery outlet stores. (For you locals I sometimes go to S & S Liquidators on Vancercook Way, Prospectors Liquidators on 3rd avenue down a bit from Franz, but mostly Grocery Outlet on Ocean Beach Highway.) These are stores that sell surplus groceries, dented canned foods, (I’ve never had a problem with dented cans EVER!) items from stores that have gone out of business, overstocked items, and test items from the big name companies that didn’t sell very well in the regular stores. You’ll be amazed at the low-low-LOW prices you’ll find there. I try and get everything on my list at these few stores before I hit the regular grocery store for whatever I can’t find. These types of stores are why I never even bother with coupons. I can’t find a coupon that would compare to the already-marked-down prices I can find there.

And last of all I hit my local Win-co which is a supermarket chain. By the time I get there I usually only have a few items on my list like produce and a few dairy or meat products. I don’t cruise down every aisle to be tempted by goodies. I get in and get out.

Usually my shopping takes no more than 2 hours and fortunately I live in a mid-size town so there isn’t a huge distance to cover between stores. I also take my economical car instead of our big people-hauler to save on gas. Another good idea if your thrifty stores are spread apart is to combine all your errands into that one day. Then map out your route so you aren’t backtracking and wasting gas.

I would recommend that you spend some time getting to know your local outlet stores. When you have some free time just cruise the aisles to see where stuff is, what they offer, and meet the people who work there. Sometimes the employees will let me know of a good deal that they are getting ready to bring out to the shelves. Other times I’ve decided to look down every aisle and happily found that tucked away in a little corner is where they keep an amazing supply of brand name spices, discount toilet paper, or once I even found a huge bin of Starbucks Whole Bean Coffee for $2.99 per pound and another bin of Hershey’s chocolate chips 2 bags for a $1.

So I hope this is helping you. I’ll post about Part Three: Preparing For Your Week after the holidays.

Have a great 4th of July!


Becky @ BoysRuleMyLife said...

My problem is passing up the sales! Ugh! I've been talking with hubby about this and I'm going to give this weekly shopping thing a whirl.

With my current budget, I'm still spending as much as I've always spent (or just a little less), but I'm bringing more food in than I was before. Still though, if I'm always spending the same amount of money, my savings account isn't showing an increase.

So by spending less, my account will increase, but my cabinets will become more bare... I guess? Do you have a lot of food on hand? I'm not against decreasing the food on hand at my house and I guess there really isn't a need for a lot on hand if the week is already thought out properly, right? I think I might be answering my own question! :) LOL!

Have a great weekend! I'll be back for part 3 after the holidays! Thanks for a great series!

Leanne said...

I shop at Grocery Outlet too...but I find that we can't use a lot of the stuff because there is a lot of snackie foods and frozen meals....but I still shop there because I can find lots of the organic things that we eat and love there, like toothpaste and what not. Plus, the employees know and love us there!

My hubby likes that I always have tons of food on hand, like, we never really run out! I like that too, with 6 kids!

You're helping people out there to be better shoppers, and I'm so proud of you for that!


Unknown said...

This is very helpful! Thanks so much for passing along your tips. I love Winco! I do need to make the effort to stop at the grocery outlet stores though.

Maddy said...

I am new to your blog and have really enjoyed reading your tips!

Monica said...

Okay, I'm convicted about not walking by those sales. That is so HARD!!

We used to shop at a scratch/dent grocery when we were first married. We had a budget of $40/ month. Meat was only for special occasions.

I can not find a similar grocery outlet where we live now. There has to be one somewhere and I'm going to find it!

Sarah said...

I think shopping at Grocery Outlet Stores are great, but I don't think I know of any in my area. Any tips on going about finding some?

Anonymous said...

I live in Texas, so when I make several store stops, I take along a thermal bag which helps keep my meat and dairy items cold. It really helps - even on warm mornings.

Kelli said...

I love the scratch and dent grocery --ours is pretty big. I budget very carefully--but still have a few difficulties. My husband doesn't like to run out of or low on anything--he likes to be fully stocked at all times. You can imagine the havoc this wreaks on my shopping!

Lora said...

You've inspired me! There's just 2 of us in our house, and we should be spending a lot less than we do each week on groceries! Thanks for all of your tips!

EEEEMommy said...

These are the nuts and bolts we need. THANKS!

I need to find the Grocery Outlets! There is a bread store which dh passes on his way home from work. You can't beat whole grain organic bread for 99 cents. They also give stuff away for free when you purchase a certain amount, and if he takes in plastic bags, they give him free coupons. But I don't know of grocery outlets. At the regular grocery store, they make you pay full price for dented cans.

There's such a lifestyle adjustment and a change in thinking required to make this system work! We've all been programmed to buy those items when they're on sale.

onemotherslove said...

Know any good way to find out if there's any grocery outlets in the area?!

Anonymous said...

I am a 59 yr old gramma..and u no grammas are spose to have cookies..and snacks for all her grand children,but I also have to eat on a limited I am getting lots of usefull tips off your site...and I enjoy all the hints I can get..ty..I can use all the help I can get....

Peggy A. said...

ok my only problem with this is we don't have ANY discount places in our very small town.......only a WalMart and a HyVee and Dollar do I save there?