As many of you know, grocery shopping and meal planning can be an arduous process. Mix in a couple of kids, a crazy schedule and voila, you are looking at the same empty pantry or freezer of rock hard chicken cutlets and slimy lettuce! In this post, I am going to share with you some information on how I am making the change to simplify the process for myself. I hope you can take away some good information that can make life a bit easier for you!
This week I attended my MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) group where there were a panel of speakers who talked about meal planning to couponing. It was a bit overwhelming, however, I left with a golden nugget of good advice and that was to take one bit of information from each person on the panel and apply it to my life in a way that I think would benefit my family and me.
A few days after the meeting, I was finally able to sift through all of the information I was given from the panelists and I started asking questions to different people. One of those somebody's being my good old mother! I questioned her about a once-a-month shopping trip to the grocery store (ShopRite, Pathmark, Publix) for gathering all of the basics that I would need to stock my pantry and fill up for an entire month of cooking. This was one of the suggestions of the panelists and I wanted to cross-check it with someone with A LOT more experience than me--MOM! She told me that was what she does! Where have I been all of these years? Her pantry is always full of whatever (really, whatever) one would need to make practically anything at any time!
She started rattling off all of the basics and I was like "ahhh, I need to write this down!" So, last night, I got my pen and paper and started listing all that I could remember and then checked it out with her this morning. I was finally off to the store for my basics. I put together a list, organized by aisle, that I will be using each month. As I run out of the item, I will simply put a check mark next to it and bring it to the store as I prepare to restock my pantry each month. Feel free to use the list I have prepared below.
Now, I am going to try and implement the trendy art of couponing into all of this. How? You ask? With the advice from the panelists, I found out that I can pick up a Sunday paper at the Dollar Store! Perhaps, I will make it an after church trip each week and file away all of my coupons for four weeks. As I look at my shopping list and take note of what I need, I can dig into my coupons, compare what is on sale with what coupons I have and clip away. Hopefully, this trick will reap some rewards! I will keep you posted on this end of it.
Now, for the rest....what about the meats and fresh produce...the milk and eggs? Well, you already know that I am going to make one monthly trip to my grocery store (ShopRite). In addition, I will pay a weekly visit to my local farmer's market, where I will gather all of my fresh fruits and veggies along with milk and eggs. Then, I will hit up BJ's (which is just like a Costco or Sam's club for those of you not in the area) for my chicken breasts, meatloaf mix, ground turkey, ground beef, tilapia and other miscellaneous items. Here is my BJs list that you may feel free to use as well.