I really like grocery shopping. Of course, I could do without all the people, and the whole checking out and bringing home process, but I enjoy the physical act of shopping for food. I like to take my time, see what’s new or on sale, and find items I never would have known about otherwise.
The three biggest tools you can bring to the store is a list, time, and flexibility. The list is self-explanatory. You don’t have to spend hours in the store, but if you’re on a time crunch, you’re only stressing yourself out and you’re more likely to purchase impulse items or forget something important. Flexibility is helpful when you’re in the store and find out that great sale item you based a meal around is sold out. I used my flexibility by buying items at Aldi that I saw were cheaper than Shaw’s.
This is somewhat embarrassing. I went into my detailed meal plan, list and budget in part 1, and figured out that my list would be around $72. Somehow I came home with $85 worth of groceries. It happens to the best of us: we’re at the store and see something that we know we need at home that isn’t on the list. Let’s figure out where I went wrong.
First of all, I didn’t budget in personal care and household products because I decided including them in the food budget was hurting the amount of food we had for the week. If you add $6 worth of toilet paper to the list, that’s a couple food items that you can’t purchase without going over budget. I still plan to keep it separate, but still mindful of the budget.
- Toilet paper: $4.49 at Aldi
- 2 bath puffs/loofahs: $1.79 each/$3.58
- Total: $8.07
I think I figured out where most of my overspending came from.
But yet, I thought I had saved a few dollars here and there.
My first stop was Aldi:
- Bananas – $1.05 (on list)
- Oranges – $1.99 (on list)
- Quick oats – $2.39 (not on list, but $3.99 at Shaw’s normally)
- Spinach – $1.49 (on list)
- Shrimp – $4.49 (on list)
- Mushrooms – $0.79 (on list)
- Frozen tilapia – $2.99 (on list)
- Chickpeas – 2 cans at $0.65 each (on list)
- Black beans – $0.59 (on list, but lower than budgeted)
- Olive oil – $2.99 (on list)
- Green peppers – $0.99 (on list)
- Rice – $3.49 (on Shaw’s list, saved $2.50)
- Bread – $1.79 (on Shaw’s list, saved $0.71)
- Avocado – $0.89 (on Shaw’s list, saved $0.61)
- Lactose free milk – $2.79 (on list)
- Whole milk – $1.29 (on list)
My budget for Aldi – $24.27. Ended up paying – $35.80.
I then went to Shaw’s. I had a few budgeting issues here even without adding stuff to the list:
- English muffins – $4.39 for three (on list)
- 28 oz of diced tomatoes – $1.29 (on list, under-budgeted Aldi)
- Sardines – $0.80 (on list)
- Stir fry sauce – $2.99 with coupon (on list)
- Enchilada sauce – $2.49 with coupon (on list, under-budgeted)
- Cage-free eggs – $3 (on list)
- Sour cream – $1.29 (on list)
- Tortillas – $2.50 (on list, had coupon but didn’t apply)
- Heavy cream – $3.49 (on list, under-budgeted)
- Half and half – $2.29 with coupon (was supposed to be on sale too)
- Orange juice – 2 for $5.28 (didn’t budget for 2, was on sale for $1.99 but sale only applied to 1)
- Asparagus – $2.03 (on list)
- Lemon – $0.69 (on list)
- Onion – $0.82 (on list)
- Garlic – $1.99 (on list)
- Ham – $5.99 (on list)
- Cheese – $4.60 with in-store coupon (on list)
My budget for Shaw’s – $48.41. Ended up paying – $49.81. Not too bad!
Here are the meals I’m going to make with this grocery haul:
- Baked Shrimp and Orzo – Shrimp, garlic, diced tomatoes. Already have orzo, chicken stock and cheese.
- Chickpea and Black Bean Enchiladas – Chickpeas, black beans, tortillas, enchilada sauce, onion. Not using chiles.
- Chicken stir fry – Stir fry sauce, rice, green pepper. Already have chicken and other vegetables.
- Ground Turkey Casserole – Rice, mushrooms, green pepper, sour cream. Already have ground turkey and chicken stock.
- Foil Baked Tilapia – Tilapia, lemon, asparagus, garlic.