My Current Grocery Shopping Plan

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How I have figured out how to integrate my food storage into my grocery shopping plan.

It’s taken me a bit to figure out a food storage plan.  Of course, it took me a good 3 or more years at my last house, so I figure 9 months isn’t too bad!

We have a large pantry in our kitchen, and while it’s behind our table, which I don’t adore I do LOVE all the space.  The shelve aren’t super deep, but I’m learning to roll with the punches.  I mean, I would’ve DIED for this kind of space in CA, right?  It’s all about gratitude. :)

Someone went a little crazy when canned salmon went on sale.


I have all of our LDS cannery items on the top left shelf, but I have tried to limit that to stuff we actually use (refried beans, apples, carrots, onions, cocoa, fruit drink mix some oats — I do have oats and wheat in big bins on the floor, I don’t think you can see them, but I also have some #10 cans of wheat also, in case of emergency).  Some of it is in the super awkward corners of our kitchen, some is on top of the cupboards (although I am hoping to eliminate that, most of that is just excess, and the things I only plan to use in an emergency (canned flour, or sugar or canned dry beans) is under the guest bed.  It’s taken a while to figure that part out, but I decided there was no reason to have our real “emergency” food taking up room in our super accessible pantry.  I always want to store more then I have room for, and THAT is a fact. :)  I’m also hoping to can some chicken soon, and with the 9 tomato plants we’re growing I am guessing we’ll have some of those to can too.  {fingers crossed}

BUT, back to the stuff that I’m rotating through on a regular basis.

Once a month I go through and count everything.  Drew made me a fancy excel spreadsheet that makes that super easy.  It looks like this.  I’m not sure how he got it so that it adds it up for me (it takes what’s in the “want” column, minuses the “have” and the answer is in the “need” column), but I love it.  It saves a ton of time to just type in the numbers and then just see it all there.  I’m always adjusting my “want” number.  I just try to assess how much we use each item.  I think we used to use more refried beans, beans until I started using the dry ones from the cannery more, so I have decreased that number.  Some of it is just how much I have room for.

Then, I go through and highlight the ones that we are in need of.  Red are things I need to buy right now, sale or no sale. I won’t buy a lot of these items, but enough to have on hand.  I HATE to run out of stuff!  I also highlight in green things that I am NOT allowed to buy.  I have obviously over-bought on those items.  It’s kind of my e-slap-on-the-wrist.  Overbuying has been a big issue for me in the past.  for instance, I right now have 22 boxes of cereal.  It’s excessive, since I try to limit cold cereal days to once a week during the school year.

Then, I write down the items on my grocery list.

Now, I have a grocery list that lives on my fridge.

This is a fresh one I just started this AM.  It lives there all month, and I just write the items that I need on it all month long.  I tend to shop at Walmart (hate me, it’s fine but it’s super close and cheap) and there’s some stuff I just can’t find there (aka, panko bread crumbs).  I cross off what I’ve gotten on the grocery list and hten when I’m close to a better grocery store (Trader Joe’s) I grab those items.
Here is my old list from last month, I don’t tend to have a lot of things I just need that I write down each month.  This is a full month of needs on the grocery list, you’ll notice a fair amount of it is refrigerated items or frozen.
Then, I have a grocery list that I print out that had categories.
When I’m planning a grocery trip I get one of these and fill in the items that I need.  It’s Walmart, so I also often have items like “weed killer” or “jammies for P” on my grocery list.  I also take the items on the right side of the grocery list.  My next trip will have all the “top” items on my fridge grocery list (pesto, baking powder and boillion) — these items are usually not numerous enough to throw my budget off.  Then, I go through my ads and find what’s priced well to add to the pantry.  Then, I also add a few of the “orange” or “yellow” items (also on the right side of my grocery list) onto the list.  I also take extra care during the month to find good prices on these items.  BUT, honestly — I find that many grocery store’s good sales aren’t any better then Walmart’s regular prices, especially on their Great Value items.  So, sometimes I just need to bite the bullet and refill these items.
FYI, my weekly grocery budget is 80 dollars, I also have a few other “pots” to dip into.  I have a 150 dollar Costco budget (which I REALLY have a hard time sticking to).  I also have 50 dollars for clothes and another 50 for household items.  Anyway, that’s how I’m doing grocery shopping right now.  I sometimes wonder if I’m spending more shopping at Walmart.  I know I get a few more of the household items, like jammiesWalmart, as well as price matching can’t be beat.  I also think I tend to get less impulse-y items.  I used to have a lifetime supply of fruit snacks (because I literally got paid to take them) and now I just would rather my kids eat fruit I’ve found on sale.
I’d love it if you did a post on your own grocery shopping plans.  Comment here if you have one!

Pulling Curls blog by Hilary EricksonCheck out Hilary's Most Popular Posts ~ Learn more About Hilary

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  1. says

    Oh my word you are and insanely organized grocery shopper. This inspires me to actually be more thoughtful about it because I hate it when I go to grab something and I’m out! About 3 months ago we started getting Bountiful Baskets for produce and find that I am shopping MUCH less at the grocery store. And we eat fresh produce every night. It keeps me away from impulse items and basically I hit the store once a week for milk, eggs, cheese, yogurt, bread. Of course I still have to do some ‘stock-up’ grocery and Costco runs for pantry items….which is the much less organized version of your need vs. have list. Anyway, not sure if you have tried Bountiful Baskets. It’s a super great value for the price.

  2. says

    Oh dead, what a pantry!
    I guess if I’d have pantry like that, I wouldn’t need to go grocery shopping more than twice a year :-) Yes, I am jealous!
    And if there is no need to go shopping, there won’t be also extra items which aren’t really necessary…


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