In February, we’re talking all things Household Management, and focusing in this week on The Invisible Chores. Today, I’ll share my grocery planning strategy as it stands now.
Much like my calendar, I’ve gone through several versions of grocery planning. My personal favorite was when I stopped grocery planning and went to the grocery store every day or every other day on my way home from work to get the freshest produce, meat, and dairy products for just the one meal I was cooking that night. I know this sounds luxurious and it is—I lived less than three minutes away from a great grocery store and I didn’t have to deal with children. It was an easy stop on the way home.
Then the pandemic happened and groceries became, you know, a THING.
Leisurely grocery shopping is something that I dream of again in my near future, but for now, I still am looking at a once-weekly grocery haul, which is often actually the preferred shopping rhythm for a lot of people. But I was paying a LOT of money for a LOT of food that was going VERY bad early on. So, it took me nearly six months, but I’m finally back in a grocery planning rhythm that works for me, and that I hope you can take a few strategies from as well.
Step 1: I plan my meals on my calendar. Right on my freaking Google calendar. As I’ve mentioned before, most of my recipes are digital, so I just pop the links right onto the meal. It also helps me visualize the time it will take to cook a meal in comparison to other events going on. I plan in nights to forage the fridge and eat leftovers, and I eat the same thing for breakfast and the same thing for lunch every weekday for at least a week at a time to save money and decision energy. Since I keep a digital calendar, I have automatically set several meals that I know will be favorites to repeat every six weeks. It’s a nice thing when I see “Oh, it’s potato soup week” or “shrimp alfredo coming up!” It also helps me see if I’m eating enough fruits and veggies in relation to the other meals that week. All in all, I’m a pretty big advocate for grocery planning on a calendar.
Step 2: I go through the next week’s calendar and grocery shop online. I split my screen and order meal by meal. I’ve found that ordering my groceries from home keeps me from impulse buying, helps me cost-compare (you know, they’re not hiding something on an endcap or putting it at eye level), and is actually much faster than I anticipated since it saves my previous favorites.
Step 3: I choose delivery or pickup. Either way, it goes onto my calendar.
Step 4: I clean my kitchen before groceries arrive. I hate hauling in a lot of groceries only to find there is no counterspace available for them. Trust me. Trust me.
Step 5: Store your food, stick to the plan. It might be tempting to order takeout every night that week. And while it may be okay to indulge one night when you can freeze the ingredients, food waste is expensive and a big pet peeve of mine. If you regularly don’t eat all of your planned meals, adjust your plan accordingly for more takeout or convenience meals. It’s fine, just pay attention and adjust as you go.
I’m currently doing Walmart Grocery delivery, and I am hardcore missing my smaller grocery stores. I recognize this is a season of life and anticipate finding a new small grocery this summer. But for now, this is my rhythm and I’m sticking to it! What’s your grocery rhythm? Let me know on Instagram @nowthatimnotyourteacher. Also, we’re celebrating one month of NTINYT this week! If you’ve connected with an episode, I would love for you to share it with a friend. We’ll see you back here tomorrow!