We never gave planning much thought.
We didn’t plan our meals out.
We never even took a list to the store.
We didn’t have it together…
Looking back, I recall the chaos. It was ugly. I would not even shop without my husband there to help. The kids would run up and down the aisles, yell, slam into people, throw fits… not super fun. We would stand there and try to figure out what we were going to eat, and what all those meals needed. In the store. I’m not kidding. Then we would struggle our way through the store. By the end, our kids were insane, and we despised each other. Cashiers pitied us. Why… did we do that??
Because I wasn’t on Pinterest yet. LIFE CHANGING – I TELL YOU! Now I see how having a plan BEFORE we get to the store absolutely makes all the difference in the world.
There are lots of ideas for planning meals and shopping efficiently on Pinterest. They are fascinating. A lot of them are for those “Super Organizers”… not for me. So after looking through them, I came up with my system, which is more reasonable for a person like me – you know… a cool person…
It has been working great, and it has saved us money, and it has made this chore fun for me – as it’s part of me caring for my family in a more efficient and thoughtful way.
So! Here’s my process…
1. I do not grocery shop until we are desperate. I use up ALL of my food, until there is like one random packet of taco seasoning in the cupboard. Then we aren’t wasting food. So, we don’t have a set grocery day. We go when we are out of food. Plus, I have come up with some super creative meals with this strategy! I’ll share them some day! My sister, Joy wants credit for this tip… so here it is!! JOY IS AMAZING (and thrifty!) Love you!!
2. I “shop” in my kitchen. Inevitably, (I don’t even know how it happens) I do have bits and pieces of meals in my kitchen. Like that taco seasoning, or garlic bread in the freezer, or a jar of soup. So, I look at that stuff first, and see what meals I can use them for. This saves us money. If I already have stuff, then I have a cheaper meal. And it means I have (somehow) stretched out a week’s worth of groceries.
3. I grab my lists of meals. (I’m always looking for new ideas!)
4. I plan our meals for a week. First with the meals I can make with what I already have, then with meals on my meal lists. I use this Menu Planner… fill in the days of the week, fold in half, and sit down to make my store list.
5. I make my list. I use this store list, by “category” to make shopping with 4 kids easier.
HERE IS THE SINGLE MOST LIFE CHANGING THING ABOUT THIS PAGE!!
Note the smiley faces down at the bottom. I add the kids’ names to them.
If they misbehave, I put an X on a smiley face. At the end of the trip, if they have any smiley faces left, they get a treat. I personally put a box of Little Debbie in my cart, and they can have one in the car – IF they have behaved!
Working hard for the chocolate!
My kids work REALLY hard to keep their smiley faces!
6. I’m off! I fold the menu page in half and hang it on the fridge to be used all week (then the next week, I’ll flip it over) Stick my store list in my purse, (oh and take a pen!) and we’re off on a fun-filled adventure to the store…
It’s amazing what a glimpse of having it together can do for a shopping trip!