Nowadays you can't just walk into a grocery store without a plan and a shopping list. When people ask me how to shop frugally and bring home some decent food for their family, that is the number one answer I give them. "Make a plan and a list!"
Making the grocery list without your plan will work, but it will not be the most effective use of your grocery budget. When making a plan, you must know what meals and snacks your family will be eating for the week or month. Keeping a list of the foods your family eats on a regular basis is the first step.
The next step is to have a permanent list of the ingredients you use. That way if you need to change the way you make something, you can just delete the ingredient to add the new one. This is a post I wrote about making my list for our low carb food plan in 2010, Planning Your Meals Around Special Diets. You just write it around the type of diet your family eats.
Do not neglect adding new recipes,which you should, to add some variety and pizzazz to your table. There are many online sources of recipes such as All Recipes. You can locate recipes of all descriptions and ingredients to build a repertoire of recipes to fit every size budget.
If your list is for one week, plan what you will serve for each day. How much does your family eat? A family with teenage boys may need more than a family with little children or no children. Plan to have enough food that is nutritious and enough so they won't leave the table hungry.
Always include the sale flyers from the stores you are shopping at, if possible. Sometimes you may find a good deal on a meat or other ingredient you weren't planning on serving this week. Make your list flexible enough to change the plan for the week to include it. In 2008, I had wrote a post called My Frugal Grocery Shopping Plan that is just a quick overview of how to do it.
If you have children, of whatever age, include them in the making of the food plan for the week. That way, they will understand the process, and as they grow up, they will have an understanding of how to do it themselves. While they are younger though, it teaches them why they are eating certain meals this week, and not others. Ask them for their ideas for meals, and it can be an activity of teaching math and frugal shopping.
In future posts, I will be going into detail on how you can best shop frugal and stay well within your budget. If you have any suggestions yourself, please feel free to post them in my comment section. I love to interact with my readers, and may use some of your ideas in my future posts!
Copyright © 2012 Kathleen G. Lupole
All Photographs Copyright © 2012 Kathleen G. Lupole