Travelling across the interwebs, I sometimes stumble on a Thing that makes me want to rant. Today, I am feeling ranty about grocery shopping. I will like to share a few things I have learned in my 39 years here on this planet with you –
The Less Often You Go, The More You Save
Unless you are incredibly determined and motivated, most grocery shopping trips will result in one or more “impulse” purchases. You’ll see something you had no intention of buying on special and put it in the trolley. For me it is usually crumpets, Starburst Babies, potato chips and dips. So if you go once every fortnight instead of once a week, less impulse purchases will = more $$ saved.
Junk Mail Is Useful
Those catalogues most of us get every week from the supermarkets – you can sign up to receive those via your email now, or you can view them online. Why would you want to do that? Because you can suss out the specials before you even leave home. If something is on super special at one place and you need to restock it, you can find out via the catalogue, and go in there with a very strict list of things you need.
In Australia? Here are links to the email sign up pages for – Woolworths – Aldi – Coles (view online only) – IGA (view online only)
Saving Can Be An Effort
There have been fortnightly shopping trips where I have been to IGA, Aldi, Coles *and* Woolworths, all in one day. Why? Here’s a hint. Supermarkets make more money because in general, people only want to go to one place to shop. The big specials are designed to make you pick their store that week, because they think you’ll buy everything else there once you get in the door. They even have a term for these specials – a Loss Leader.
Don’t play by their rules – there is nothing saying you have to do all your shopping in one place. If you will save significant money purchasing items you regularly use across two or more stores, then do that. :) I’m lucky where I live because Coles, Woolworths and Aldi are right next to each other.
Buying Many Can Save You Headaches.
Buying several of an item you regularly purchase can be a great idea, especially if the item is on special. If you know you use certain tinned items or items with a long shelf life regularly, it makes sense to buy those things in bulk when they are on special. You will buy them eventually anyway, having them on hand means less trips to the supermarket.
Buying In Bulk Can Save You $$
This should be obvious. I think anyone who has ever done a price comparison of things is well aware of this fact. I will like to talk specifically about some ways we use this in our household. I bulk buy things that I know we will use eventually and store them well, so they will be there when we want to use them.
We like a Lenards chicken mini roast once a week, but the nearest Lenards to us is a 100km round trip. So when we go, I will pre-order 8-12 chicken roasters and bring them home in insulated bags with ice packs. We have a Foodsaver, and they go into the deep freeze. They cook up beautifully even after being frozen *and* I usually get a discount for buying them in bulk.
Toilet Paper, Paper Towel, Tissues, Anti-Bac Wipes
These are things I use regularly. I’m going to continue to use them regularly. I will be spending money on these things no matter what, so it makes sense to buy them in bulk and save the $$. Plus, there is nothing worse than Running Out Of Toilet Roll As A Surprise To Yourself.
Buying Cat Related Bulk Items
I have seen no signs that my cats plan to stop eating anytime soon. :) They will always need food. If I buy it in bulk from our local pet store, this is good for two reasons – it supports a local business *and* it is cheaper than the supermarkets. We save over 20 cents per tin of food, which is $20 per 100 cans. Plus, we buy kitty litter and chicken food there in bulk.
I *hate* running out of kitty litter. With 2 indoor only cats we use plenty of kitty litter. Recently we have discovered a new brand at our local pet store called Trouble & Trix Lavender Litter. This stuff is amazing. The cats really like it, when they bury their doings or you scoop it instead of bad smells, a lovely lavender scent is released into the air, and the litter clumps, which means it lasts a lot longer with regular scooping and just the occasional top up. We’re down to changing it once a week at most, which saves us money. Plus, this!
Meats In Bulk Can Be Good, Too
The Other Half is the cutter up and Foodsaver of meats – in particular chicken – in this house, however, having to do this job regularly leaves him irritated and annoyed. If we buy 5-6kg of chicken breasts in bulk, and I ask him to do the chicken cutting up job once in a blue moon instead of regularly, then we freeze the results, it could be 2-3 months before he has to do this job again.
He cuts breast chicken into steaks – for me to eat when he has a red meat steak – pieces – for our regular Honey and Mustard chicken tonight dish which we enjoy – slices – for chicken and bacon pasta or stir fries.
Next time I am hoping to up the amount of chicken to 8-10kg and then we might go 4-5 months without a chicken cut up session. I’ll let him play some music while he does it, which will make him less irritated and annoyed. Happy times for all!
Pantry Staples Are Important
Right now I have everything I need in this house to make 2 weeks of Pizza. If we leave out the bases -I get a killer woodfired herby pizza base from Aldi and normally I buy 4 at a time because they are vacuum sealed and keep for ages – I have everything we need to make 5-6 weeks of pizza. I’ve got everything I need to make at least 8 recipes we regularly eat right here at home.
Sometimes Fresh Is Best
Sometimes you want something fresh cooked special. For me that is usually crumbed chicken with potatoes. I don’t like to use frozen chicken for that recipe, though I certainly could. There is something about the entire process of making crumbed chicken from fresh ingredients which is comforting to me, probably because my Grandma and I used to make it together a lot.
Also, you have to use fresh meat in the slow cooker. Those recipes get made close to shopping day, for obvious reasons. Which leads us to..
Meal Planning Is Awesome.
Sitting down and coming up with a list of meals you would like to make for the next week or two weeks seems like a daunting concept, until you do it. And once you do it, you’ll likely want to keep doing it. But this does not mean you have to eat all your meals on a set day. It just means those meals which you need super fresh ingredients for are best planned for cooking right after shopping day.
Regular Set Meal Days
Some people like to regularly meal plan a roast on a Sunday, or Pizza on a Friday. We’re not quite that regimented around here but we usually do eat pizza and a roast sometime around the weekend.
Things You Wouldn’t Usually Buy
This week I bought a large bag of red capsicum (bell peppers to some of you :) ) – they were on special, they were *not* on the meal plan, and suddenly I had visions in my mind of a roasted red capsicum and potato soup. The other half looked at me weird, when I picked them up, and he said wow, that is a lot of red capsicum. I’m about to go roast it in my new roaster, with some potatoes, and then make it into a soup. I’ll share the recipe! ;)
What do you know for sure about grocery shopping?
Share it in the comments! :)