Merciful God, You are great in compassion and Your tenderness for us is without measure. We ask You to give us today our daily bread, and also provide for the needs of all of Your hungry children around the world. Through Christ Your Son and Our Lord. Amen.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Grocery shopping...revisisted

Back a month or so ago when I posted about how much I hate to grocery shop, a kind reader suggested that I stretch my shopping to every two weeks instead of once a week. Hmmm. I've tried to do a month before, but it took so long to shop with two carts, bring it home and put it away that I was discouraged from doing it again. But two weeks? Maybe I can handle two weeks.

Because I plan my menus, it really isn't that hard to make my grocery list. And besides a few produce items I knew wouldn't last into next week, two weeks worth of food fits in my pantry and two fridges, so why not? Yesterday was the experiment. My son was home because he doesn't have class on Tuesday and so I left my daughter at home with him. You would think I would have brought a kid with me to help, but kids slow me down, and kids make impulse buys. No kids.

I fit everything in my cart (it was very full) and I even bought for my college kid on campus. I realized when I checked out and spent a full $100 less than I normally would for shopping two weeks in a row (one week times two), that I probably spend a lot on "I'll just grab that" items, and shopping once instead of twice really cuts down on that. I think also because I didn't want to push two carts I really only bought what I absolutely needed (except that Snicker's bar!).

I will probably have to get more milk at some point, and I definitely will have to pick up those produce items that won't last, but I'm really happy that I have all the meat (went to the butcher shop on Saturday) and groceries I need for two weeks!


And speaking of grocery lists, a couple months ago we talked about grocery list apps. I had a few suggestions, and went ahead and loaded Grocery IQ. It's free and at first I really liked it. I could scan UPC symbols of items I use a lot and keep a list of favorites that transfer to my weekly grocery list at the touch of the screen.

But two things drive me nuts about it. First, it freezes all the time. It might only be for ten seconds, but when you are trying to do something quickly (aren't we all always trying to do something quickly?), and the device freezes for ten seconds every few minutes, it's very frustrating.

The other thing is, the app is loaded with all sorts of brand names that I don't use. Because each list is divided into sections of the grocery store -- canned goods, dairy, fruits and vegetables, if it doesn't recognize your input, it puts it in "other." Because I shop in a discount grocery store and many of the brands are unknown to Grocery IQ, a lot of my items go into "other" and then I have to change them manually to the section the item is in. If it was just one or two items, I wouldn't mind, but it ends up being a lot of items. That is probably confusing if you've never used this app, but suffice it to say it takes longer to make a grocery list than it should.

I also thought since my college son could load it on his Droid that our lists would interface, but they don't. He can only email the list and then I have to manually put the items on my list.

So, back to the drawing board and I'll try another of the suggestions I originally got.


Christal said...

Just a quick note to recommend I use their calendar for our family and it's been a life saver. There are lists you can create on it as well (shopping, to do, etc.) and because you can set in up for your whole family, once everyone has the password, they can all add to the calendars and lists. Plus, I have it downloaded on my phone so when I'm shopping (either planned or a quick pop in to the store) I have my lists. Don't know if that's exactly what you're looking for or not.

Jamie Jo said...

I've wondered about shopping every week instead of every 2 like I do...if it would be easier and if I would actually spend more. Interesting that you spent less this way. Guess I won't go to every week. It's such a big job every 2 weeks and I do SO enjoy that weekend off. This weekend, no shopping--yay! We can go to the apple orchard!

Wish I could get up really early, like 6am and go...but know that would change anyway after the baby came, so I'm not even going to try it. Really, if I could go earlier, I think it would be easier, it's like I get sucked in to all the things everyone needs and don't leave til after lunch and then the whole day is shot.

I agree with the kid thing, mine always have to go potty for sure (although, so do I now) and then, they need a snack...prepacked or not, it takes time.

I can fit it all in one cart, but then when it's bagged, need another whichever kiddo I take pushes it. Sam's Club, milk is so cheap--do you already know this? Like 2 something.

We always have to go back for milk and we run out of fresh fruit, I try to make it minimal, the 2nd time, just milk and maybe bananas and apples. Canned fruit/applesauce is good for the end of the 2 weeks.

I love your shopping posts. It's for sure one of those things I really dread and a huuuuuge offering up!

Jamie Jo said...

Oh, yeah, Sam's Club, best prices on fruit too!! I only need one cart there, the carts are big. But it's packed full!

Oh, yeah, I also forgot to mention, I pick my cashiers too, I know which ones are really slow or bag awful... This weekend I had a new one and thought she'd be good, well, she packed those bags so full....I double bagged them all and fixed them as we went along.

The cashier might think I'm picky, but you have to be when you buy this much at a time. Torn bags and messes in the parking lot, I'm not in the mood for EVER!

scmom (Barbara) said...

I have checked out Cozi and even set up an account. My trouble is I can't seem to organize the grocery list by aisle and I hate scrolling back and forth while I'm in the store. I always miss a few things and end up pushing the cart all over! I can't stand to not be efficient. Any suggestions. Am I using it incorrectly?

Abby said...

Nothing works for me like a pencil and pad! I'm old-fashioned. Plus I like making lists! And man, I miss the days my parents would take me grocery shopping when I was in college!

Jenn King said...

We use Grocery Smart on our Androids. I can sync my list with my husband's list and access it online too. Sometimes I feel like the categories aren't quite right, but it seems to be you can load your store cards bar codes (if you have a scanning app), then they can scan your phone instead of digging for you car keys. We've been using it for about 2 months now and I really like it. Useful for sure! Have a wonderful Thursday!

Elisa said...

I'm so glad you shared your meal planning blog with me. I've struggled with meal planning every since I got married. I just find it so hard to make a plan and stick to it..but now that we want to have special meals every now and then to celebrate the liturgical year, I almost have to make a plan. I can't just run to the grocery store with 3 kids 3 times a week. I have tried different things, but haven't quite figured out how to stick to a plan. We'll see. I'm going to read all your blog posts about it first.

Barb, sfo said...

For your "off weeks" you might want to look into some unusual sources for your milk and produce. Example--near my home there is a Turkish produce market. They sell a pretty good selection of fresh fruits and veggies, deli meat, fresh rolls, spices REALLY CHEAP if you don't mind Turkish labeling on your bottle of cumin--and at half the price for twice the cumin I can live with that--and a variety of Turkish foods. Every once in a while I pick out a mystery item to try :) Plus, the people who work there are super nice.

Christal said...

I have always manually organized my grocery lists by isle. I do the same when I enter it into cozi
so I never thought there would be such a thing as to have it done for me. How genius.