The Weekly Meal Plan: How I Grocery Shop

I have had several people ask me recently how I plan for grocery shopping or if I plan at all. I do have a plan, I wouldn’t call it a budget so much, but definitely a list and a plan. Here’s how it works…

Usually on Saturdays I scour the internet and my cookbooks looking for recipes that sound like something we might like to eat. These might include dinner ideas, snack ideas, breakfast, side dish or dessert ideas. Then I take a piece of paper and I start making a list of all the things I know we need just off the top of my head. The list usually starts with milk, soy milk, bananas and Kashi. I then begin to add the items I need based on the recipes I’ve decided to try for the week.

On the other side of the piece of paper I write down the menu for each dinner meal we are going to have that week. I don’t assign a day to each meal, but I generally plan for four meals (Sunday-Wednesday) with the main dish and a side or two. Then on Sunday we head to our favorite local grocery store and pick up everything on the list.

Why do I only plan through Wednesday? Well, I used to buy the entire week’s worth of groceries on Sunday, but I usually ended up having to go back sometime during the week to pick up something. There was also the problem of meat and some fruits and veggies not being very fresh by the end of the week.

I solved that problem by only buying things for Sunday through Wednesday, then on Thursday I go to our grocery store that’s just down the street (not my favorite place to shop, but it’s close and convenient) with a new (and much shorter) list and pick up things that we’ve run out of (usually milk, soy milk and bananas) as well as things we need for dinner on Thursday and Friday, lunch stuff for the weekend and anything else we need. We usually go out to dinner on Saturdays.

photo from Family Shopping Bag

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