The Game of Grocery Shopping

This month I came in 50 dollar under budget for groceries!

Maybe that doesn't sound like super savings, but for me it's a real accomplishment.  Not only am I under-budget, I also have a kitchen that is bursting at the seams with food.  Aside from a few small items (maple syrup, for example), we are totally stocked.  The only things I might need to replenish are fresh fruits and veggies. 

How did I get to this point?

Basically, I've adopted 3 new policies that have made the Grocery Game easier: planning, bulk, and waste reduction.  This probably doesn't sound like rocket science - but it sure took me a long time to figure out!

Planning involves couponing, scheduling meals and taking inventory of the cupboards on a regular basis.  Naysayer claim you can't save significantly with coupons in Hawaii.  This is partially true.  But, I've been using both Safeway and Target's online coupons through their websites and have reaped some serious savings.  One caveat, this requires being able to recognize a "good deal" and a "freaking rip-off despite a coupon and a sale". 
Scheduling meals means making a plan for the coming week and posting it where everyone can see.  This helps avoid running to the store at the last minute to buy ingredients for ...whatever.  Taking inventory of the cupboards allows me to plan meals around what we actually have in the house.  It's a good way to make sure I'm not letting perfectly edible food sit in there until it rots or expires.

  •  BULK
Even thought Costco might not always have the best price per unit, the prices are usually good.  And that's good enough for me.  We only buy things that we are sure we will be able to use up.  So when I hit Costco I buy things like frozen chicken, grains (rice, quinoa, oatmeal), canned tomatoes, eggs, raisins, bread, etc.  Unless I've seen a screaming deal or a coupon advertised in the paper - I stock up on what we eat most in bulk.
Conversely, I also try to buy things we don't eat very often in the bulk section (if possible) because I want to buy only what we actually use.  No need to have a jar of dill or a huge bag of beans sitting around my kitchen for the next decade.

Our family already ate leftovers (up to a certain point), so that wasn't a hard sell.  I've found that planning ahead and making things that can magically become something new (ex. pot roast turned tacos) has helped us to throw away less food.  As I type this, I am baking bars and cookies out of rejected cereal.  Hopefully, in this new form, it will be consumed.  Our tummies will be full and I can put off restocking the cupboards for yet another day.


  1. Woww! I envy you. I'd love to do this but I'm sooooo lazy!

  2. Love it! I recently started couponing to see if it was actually worth it and sometimes it totally pays off! Do you know about coupon mom.com? It has lists for major grocery store chains and Target that list the weekly details and sometimes even unadvertised sale prices along with the coupons to use.