How I Grocery Shop

One year ago I changed the way I grocery shop. I did not realize how much I would need or depend on that method until this month.

Due to some unexpected expenses, after my shopping trip last week, I had $30 left in the food budget to get us to the end of the month...14 days.

My first instinct was to panic. After a few moments and calming my breathing, I knew I had to create a plan.

It didn't take long for me to realize I could do this. I could get my family through 14 days of meals on $30 because of the way I have learned to shop. I already had my plan in place. I just needed to be sure I kept to it.

Shop Sales Not Menus

Any given week you will not find my cart filled with what I will be serving that week. Instead, I have learned to look for what is on sale. When I find something on a good sale, I stock up. I have been known to buy 15 boxes of cereal at one time. A few weeks ago I purchased 6 tubs of salsa. Just last week I bought 7 dozen eggs.

Create Menus from Stock

Menu's are planned based on what I already have in the house verses what might be on sale any given week. When I buy a particular item, it is most likely for my stock pile to be served later on a different menu plan.

Produce, milk and other items that spoil are bought week to week. So many other things keep long enough to store until a later date. The eggs I bought last week have a date of August 24. We will eat them by then.

Storing the Stock

I have a small freezer and an additional older fridge. This allows me to buy extra fridge items. (yogurt, sour cream, cottage cheese, salsa, milk, lunch meat, etc.)

I do not have a pantry. I have shelving in the basement that serves as my pantry and stock location.

I *shop* from my pantry and freezer when menu planning. I try to use as much as I can from what I already have on hand.

Grocery List Contents

I try to make the majority of my purchases based on what is on sale and what we will potentially need and eat in the next months.

I have a few staple meals that I know are always favorites and the ingredients are easy to keep on hand.

This Month's Plan

Having only $30 left for this month meant that stocking on sale items would have to wait until next month. I already had enough food in the house to get us through 14 days.

It would mean no eating out. Not a problem. We rarely do that anyway.

It would mean thinking through and being more mindful of what we were eating and how much we were eating. That probably wasn't a bad idea to begin with.

I am making one more trip today for a few items we need to get us through next week. I already have it all planned out. I know exactly what it will cost. My carefully thought through list will keep me within my $30.

In the future I will share what I've learned about couponing as it relates to my method of grocery shopping. I will also talk about the differences in sale prices and identifying a good sale verses a better sale.

I am convinced that how I grocery shop has allowed us to be prepared and have more available on less money. How I grocery shop has taught me how to stretch our dollars.

Now, if you'll please excuse me, I have a trip to make to the grocery store.


  1. I really appreciate your help in getting me started with stockpile grocery shopping. My problem this summer has been not having time to go to the store, but I too have a stockpile of things to eat. I can just pop in and get dairy and produce and skip the rest of the store. My stockpile has been a real time-saver this summer!

  2. That's exactly what I do (in my book) SHOP SALES not menus :) Funny, uh?

    Happy FRI. Looking forward to TUES.

  3. And your pantry is so organized! My husband is going to be out of town for a few days and I'm taking everything out of the pantry and organizing! I don't know how long it will last, but I'm gonna try.

  4. That is so wonderful! I need to do a better job of shopping and watching our budget in the grocery store. I recently began using coupons regularly. When my husband was a pastor and our income was very low, our budget was $25 a week and I did it, but there were only two of us.

  5. I just started doing some crazy couponing a couple of weeks ago and I have been totally amazed at my purchases. I have been able to stock up on cereal, ice cream, fiber one bars, and my favorite Diet Dr. Pepper in just two weeks spending very little money.

  6. What a great post! I'm trying to find ways to cut back our astronomical bill - and I love how you plan meals from your pantry instead of from the grocery aisle. I have to say my bill is ALWAYS bigger when I plan menus...I'm going to give your tips a try!


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