How I prepare for them!
I am sitting here this evening typing this post up, realizing there is a little more into getting “ready to go to the store” than I ever gave myself credit for. LOL! My whole point to today’s post is that with some planning ahead and organization, you will be able to quickly throw together all the ingredients that you will need for delicious quick home cooked meal.
If you categorize your pantry and fridge into three groups that will help you out. Each person has a different way that they look at organization, which is just fine! So, you may look at the following information and say, “no way lady, my way is much better!” I am completely fine with that! The following is not made to throw a curve ball but is aimed more for those who would like some ideas on how to better organize their own kitchens and shopping trips.
What would be the benefit of organizing my store trips?
First, do you go to the store every day or every other day or are you more of a “get it all done in one trip” type of shopper? I am a get it all done in one trip type of shopper. I honestly really do not love shopping for anything! So, I get myself ready to go, get to the store and spend an hour in there and I have everything we need for a month. I get some very strange looks because usually the majority of the other shoppers are in there with a little basket and I see a lot of raised eyebrows.
But I feel as though I am being efficient, and I don’t have to try to beat the evening dinner crowd. Plus, if you go shopping for meat mid-morning, you will see a beautiful display of fresh meat that they put out and you can have first pick. Nothing that makes my anxiety worse than standing next to three or four other people and we are all staring at the same two beef roasts.
Let me introduce you to how I organize my kitchen!
- Cold/frozen – This is the meat category
- Pantry (Dried/canned) – This category includes bags of dried rice, bag of dried pinto beans, dried split peas, canned green beans, canned corn, chili beans, chicken and beef broth, noodles
- Fresh foods – This category includes Milk, eggs, creams, fresh fruits and veggies, cheese etc.
- Spices dried and fresh
Before I go to the grocery store, I always make a list of what I need to get. I make my list generic usually unless there is something specific that I need. Due to my “order of operations” type personality I usually make my list in order of how I walk through the store to be as efficient as possible. Also, to help keep myself on track so I don’t do a bunch of frivolous spending. It adds up VERY quickly just with the necessities!
When I go to the store I determine what my main group is that I am purchasing to restock so I am not buying everything at one time. I will usually make one trip specifically for meat especially if there are a bunch of my favorites on sale.
Prepare for your store trip
Before going to the store, I always do the following:
- Clip my coupons and review the weekly ads (I am a King Soopers girl through and through). Kings Soopers has a very convenient app that allows me to see the weekly ads and I can add coupons to my King Soopers card without any issues. This is where I generally see what types of meats are on sale and if any are “buy one get one” free right now. You also get money toward gas rewards and my kiddos school. So, it’s an all-around win!
- Check my pantry inventory, I always like to make sure that I have a bag of white rice, dried pinto beans, cans of tomatoes (plain diced and crushed), corn, green beans.
- Check my freezer inventory
- Do my fresh foods need a “refresher”
- Do I have all the spices that I need?
At the store
Meat is extremely expensive, but I find that in one trip if you shop carefully you can get $300 worth of meat for about $150. This amount of meat will last my family of 4 about 1 month. The meats that I generally like to keep an eye on are:
- Ground beef
- Chicken breasts
- Chicken thighs
- Chicken legs
- Salmon filets
- Beef roasts
- Pork Spare Ribs
Discount meat section – I only grab met out of the discount meat section about 3 of 10 times I check it out. Sometimes the meat does not look good at all and there is no way that I would want to try to cook it up.
I mentioned in a prior post that I love to go the day after Thanksgiving because the store is amazingly quiet and empty! Plus, there are awesome sales on food that was not purchased prior to the holiday and needs to be sold. There are always turkeys that customers pre-ordered but did not come pick up. The turkeys must be sold right away so they cut the price in half usually. So, I can usually pick up a $30-$40 turkey for half the original price. I always grab 2 or 3 of those and freeze them. I do the same with bone in hams.
Canned foods and bagged rice and beans. Always keep an eye on the canned foods and buy them when they are 10 for $10. Yes, I will layer the whole bottom of my cart with 10 cans of plain diced King Soopers brand canned tomatoes and 10 cans of plain crushed King Soopers brand canned tomatoes. I have found that the King Soopers brand tends to have more consistent quality than some higher scale brand tomatoes. I am rarely disappointed with the King Soopers brand foods and the King Soopers Private Selection is even better!
The reason that I buy so many cans at one time is that I will use 6 cans of tomatoes for my spaghetti and that many cans I already have the base for about 10 meals. I also choose to purchase the unseasoned tomatoes as they taste fresher and I can season them as I want for the meal I am making. Not as delicious as fresh cut tomatoes of course but who are we kidding the amount of tomatoes that I would have to purchase to make my spaghetti would completely blow the idea of being able to cook cheaper at home!
Purchase your awesome bounty!
When I go to the store I purchase everything at one time. Yes, my bill tends to run anywhere between $200-250 every couple of weeks. But on a positive note, I am not having to stop by the store every night for dinner. And I get all my shopping done in one trip. Sometimes I will have to go back for fresh vegetables or fruit to go with my meal, but I can run in and out of the store in 5 minutes. I make a mental note of what meals I am making for the week and grab the veggies for the whole week.
Every time that I go to the grocery store, I am always looking out for sales. That way I can buy the items that I want when they are the cheapest. This summer my husband bought a stand-alone freezer that has been so amazing for us. There are usually many BOGO and discounted prices on meat during the summer. I watched for sales all summer and spent about $800 (total amount actually bought about $1200) in meat, but I was able to stock up the freezer and we have enough meat for the whole winter. Pretty exciting to me!
Important note: Do not purchase more meat to freeze than you have room for!
I want to hear what you think – tell me what your preference is!
How much do you usually spend per day / week at the grocery store? Do you prefer to go daily or every couple of days or once a week?
Do you generally purchase large amount of groceries at one time or do you make one trip per meal or two?
Do you think that any of the above would help you save money and time? Gas?