Friday, January 29, 2010

Grocery List and Meal Planning Process

A Previous shopping trip to Shaws

My frugal grocery budget this month has me planning to spend under $200 for the entire month. We will be gone for one week of the month so it should work out. Just to note I include paper, cleaning products and toiletries in my grocery budget.

Today I am working on planning my grocery trip(s) on Monday (and maybe Tuesday) to purchase the bulk of our food for the month. I have the store circulars, my needs list from the refrigerator, my coupon box, and my notebook. Everything is cleared off the dining table and I’ve got a nice cup of orange spice tea to help me get through the task.

First I work my way through the circulars listing loss leaders and sales items for each store that I am considering purchasing.

Next I work through my coupon box looking for matches to items on both my sales list and my needs list. If I don’t have a coupon I might still purchase the product depending on the price and our need/usage history for that product. If the product is on my needs list and I really need it then I try to get the best price in the store that I can without a coupon. Right now my coupon box is rather empty due to lots of expirations being purged and the fact that I haven’t been couponing in about two months. I will be buying the Sunday newspaper this weekend and scrounging around online for printable coupons. I know that will reset their printable coupons on the 1st of the month so I plan to check there once more before I head out Monday morning.

I now have lists for two stores of loss leaders and sales items. Based on what I plan to purchase for meat and produce, I start meal planning for at least the next week. Today I’m going to try to rough out approximately two weeks worth of menu ideas. I try to utilize the highly perishable items as soon as possible and push out recipe and menus that will use the hardier ingredients towards the end of my plan. I just came up with 11 dinner menu ideas - a few of which utilize leftovers. At this point I’m not looking to plan for specific days. I’m looking for ideas based on the sale items and making sure I either have on hand or on my shopping list the right ingredients for the main dishes as well as sides and vegetables.

Finally I look at my lists and select the store with the greatest number of sales items and/or the store that I know generally has lower prices. I fill in all my needed products on this list from both the fridge list and the list of what I need to round out my menu plans. This store is a must visit for me and I will schedule my shop as early in the morning as possible. The store is generally less busy, I am more energetic, the bottle return area is empty (I have holiday bottles and cans to return) and I can usually snag a few meat markdown sales.

For those of you interested or living in the Northeast here is the list of loss leaders and sales items I plan to purchase along with coupon information:

Stop and Shop
Doubles manufacturer coupons under $1.00
Spareribs (Family Pack) 1.99/lb
Italian Sausage (Family Pack) 1.99/lb
Chicken Leg Quarters (Family Pack) .79/lb
Fresh Brocoli 1.79/lb
Starkist Tuna (5oz) 10/$10
Barilla Pasta (1lb) 10/$10
Betty Crocker Cake Mix 10/$10
Pillsbury Toaster Strudel 2/$4 ($1.00 of two coupon)
Hellman’s Mayonnaise $2.99 (.75 coupon and .60 coupon – both will double)

Doubles manufacturer coupons under $1.00
Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast (Family Pack) 1.88/lb
Pork Sirloin Cutlets (Family Pack) 1.88/lb
Shoulder Steak 1.99/lb
Ground Beef 2.49/lb
Mushrooms – 1lb 1.00
Onions – 2lb 1.00
Potatoes – 3lb 1.00
Coleslaw – 10oz 1.00
Land O Lakes American Cheese (Deli) 4.99/lb
Sara Lee Ham (Deli) 6.99/lb
Yoplait Light Yogurts .59 ($1.00 off 8)
Trix Yogurts 2.69 ($.80 off 2 – cannot double)
Quaker Products Buy 5 get $3.00 back (I have other coupons that I am going to see if I can stack with this offer)
Shaws English Muffins – 12 count  1.99
Java Delight Coffee – 1lb  4.99 ($1.00 off two Shaws coupon)

The lists above are just the loss leader and sales items I am planning to purchase. I am adding to the Shaws list the additional items I need for the pantry as well as the items to round out my menus.  I have more sales items for Shaws, I prefer their bottle return area and I think their prices are generally lower than the Stop and Shop I go to.  I thought you would be most interested in previewing the sales items especially if you are local and want to take advantage of the same deals.

Next week I’ll share my menu plan as well as the results of my grocery shopping trips to both Stop and Shop and Shaws.

No comments:

Post a Comment