My mission this week was to fine-tune my shopping list for my new monthly meal planning adventure I’ve embarked on.
First note—buying for a month is pretty much impossible. I found that I had to make little trips to the grocery store for more cheese, bread, milk, eggs (the basics that we go through so quickly) and Mountain Dew because that’s a staple in our house too.
Second—the crock pot is a life saver…for real! I found 30 recipes online through Pinterest when I started meal planning last month & the majority were crock pot ones & they are simply A-w-e-s-o-m-e!
I spent quite a pretty penny on my meal planning last month, compared to what I would normally spend, but my cupboards are still pretty well stocked but it’s time for a run to Wal-Mart to get some of the things that we go through quickly.
I was looking for tips to shopping on a budget & I repeatedly found this theme:
- Make sure you shop with a list. Don’t even go without a list, it will be a disaster.
- Don’t shop hungry—you will go home and say, “Seriously, I bought 4 packages of poptarts…we don’t even eat poptarts in this house!” That’s because shopping on an empty stomach makes everything look good…even stuff that really isn’t that good…unless you’re pregnant maybe.
- Don’t grab & toss. Make sure you have a real plan before going to the store. If you try to meal plan as you walk through the store you will buy everything in the store. The average person who just grabs & throws things in their cart spends $30-$50 more than they would if they had stuck to their list. So come on, it’s not dorky, write a list! And stick to it!
My next inkling was to check out bulk vs. single serve shopping. I love bulk shopping because we are at least 30 minutes away from a town with a Wal-Mart so I have a closet made just for my OCD bulk shopping items. I typically go to Sam’s Club & buy my things in bulk. I have compared 4 common household items. I was a little shocked to see some of the results.
|Product||Sam’s Club Price & quantity||Wal-mart price & quantity||Deal? explanation|
|Heinz Ketchup||$7.38 for 44 oz. 3 pack||$6.52 for 50.5 oz. 2 pack||Bulk is better for condiments: By spending an extra $.86 at Sam’s you get 31 oz. more of ketchup & are spending $.05 per ounce.|
|Cottonelle Toilet paper||$35.28 for 48 rolls ($.74/roll)||$11.97 for 24 rolls ($.49/roll)||Wal-Mart is better for you tp: Better deal is Wal-Mart—you save $.25/roll—that’s HUGE!|
|Folger’s classic roast coffee||$11.48 for 48oz. container ($.24/ounce)||$9.68 for 33.9 oz. container ($.29/ounce)||Bulk is better for coffee: Sam’s saves $.05 per ounce.|
|Traditional Ragu Pasta Sauce||$7.68 for 3-45oz. containers ($.06/oz)||@2.98 for 45 oz. container ($.07/oz)||I thought bulk buying would be a huge savings but it’s only one cent/oz.|
(I used Walmart.com & samsclub.com for my research here)
This proves that it does pay off for some things to buy in bulk but not always so making a comparison before you enter the store (even though it may be time consuming) is well worth it. But then I have to think—Okay, so yeah, sometimes bulk is a little more expensive but what about going through the Wal-Mart quantity in a month or less, is it worth buying in bulk? That’s one that might be unique to each family. Maybe it’s just peace of mind for me but I would rather pay $7.68 for 3 jars instead of $2.98 for one because when I go through one I don’t have 2 hours to carve out of my day to make a trip to town just for pasta sauce—that wouldn’t even make sense. But I am one of those people who loves a stocked fridge, freezer, and pantry. I was raised that way & having it full makes me happy. P.s.—I’ll post my monthly meal plan for next month next week…I have a few hours before I go shopping so I’m going to fine tune it.