Monday, November 10, 2008

getting in the swing of things

even though i've been unemployed, and therefore should technically have all the time in the world to figure these things out, i've had a terrible time getting into a good grocery routine since we've moved back to portland. we have so many more choices, though none quite so convenient as the co-op across the street from my office in bloomington.

for a while, i was making occasional trips to the store without a real plan, and grabbing things for dinner every day or two. bad plan. the more trips to the store i make, the more i spend. and unfortunately, the most convenient store is very overpriced. with groceries as expensive as they are, that habit had to go.

so, last week i made up a monthly grocery list and spent a couple hours and a couple hundred dollars to get our staples for the month. first stop was the grocery outlet, a discount store, which luckily has an organics aisle. i scored cereal, crackers, beans, and was glad to walk away with 2 big bags for under $25. next up, trader joes. their packaging can leave something to be desired, and i don't buy that produced all wrapped up in plastic, but they have some great prices on organics. and damn if i don't love that cornbread mix. it's not really budget-friendly, but at least the bag is paper! stocked up on canned pumpkin. filled up a cart for something like $110. last on the trip was fred meyer, for staple produce and bulk bin items.

after i FINALLY got to the farmer's market this weekend, i have a house full of food stocked away, and it feels great. we don't have a lot of storage, so i took what didn't fit into our cupboards, and placed it in a bin under the kitchen table. man, i feel so organized. i even went to the farmer's market for the first time in weeks this weekend. pretty soon, we'll see what you're supposed to do with quince. it's not quite ripe yet.

so, long story short, i hope this new monthly shopping system will save us some money in the long run. yes, i'll run to the store for coffee and milk about once a week, but that should be in the plan as well.

how do you save money on your grocery budget without sacrificing food quality?


JohnH said...

We're slowly increasing how much we buy through them.

kelley said...

so i suppose shipping costs are reasonable? they say that getting goods shipped can be more fuel-efficient than getting them yourself.

Mari said...

I buy staples at the regular grocery store and all produce and tofu from the Asian market where it is cheap cheap. I often stop in a few times a week just to pick up produce and it's not expensive. For fancy cheese and things I can't find at the Asian market I hit the co-op.

kelley said...

oh, yes. there aren't any asian markets just around here, but close enough that i should make a trip every once in a while. i still need to check this place out:

btw, brian was just singing a little song about leaving a comment. it was pretty good.