How many of us leave the grocery store with a bill for $100+ without the item we intended to buy?
As a working mom I have no time to return for the offending item. Know too, that it isn't just you! Overworked| overwhelmed you. The pretty packages, store lay-out and soothing music are designed to slow you down. But this time suck doesn't have to happen! Here is a list of do's and don'ts to maximize this quick stop on the way home:
Go in with a plan. Actually decide what you will be cooking this week and write it down at the top of your list!
Make a list. Write your chosen dishes at the top and fill in the ingredients that you need. Make your list in categories that correlate to the layout of your store.
Encourage family members to write wanted items on the list. No more shrieking from other rooms "MOM| I NEED MORE HAIRGEL" "HONEY| CAN YOU ADD BLUE CHEESE TO THE LIST?" I'll get it if you accept responsibility for writing it down HONEYYYYY.
When you do get to the store| shop the perimeter first. It is here that you will find all that is good for you| produce| fresh meats| milk and eggs. Dip in to the aisles with the processed cans and boxes as needed; you should be too tired by now to get any more of these than necessary.
You know those newfangled carts with the three sections? Use them to guide you: The largest section should hold all of your fresh fruits and veg since they are the foundation of your healthy diet. (Top with fresh baguette| whole wheat bread etc.) The middle section will hold your meats, dairy, yogurt, eggs. The tiny little place where your tiny little people sit/sat can house the things you know you don't need like cookies and various and sundry crap. This guideline will keep your household diet on track.
Bet You Didn't Know You Could Freeze These Fruits and Vegetables
Use an online delivery service like Grocery Gateway. It will track your most common purchases and make shopping quick (from the office even!) on those weeks that you just know you are not gonna make it out alive.
Purchase this great book called Cook Once a Week| Eat Well Every Day (written by yours truly) at www.thymeforsupper.com
Frequent the hugest big box monolith that you can find. Yes| more selection| maybe better prices (though not if you have money tied up in an inventory of Club Pack toilet paper) but I guarantee you| it will cost you more in time. If you have a couple hours to kill| go ahead| meander| otherwise| find a store that's close by and that looks like the one your mom shopped at. In the summer| I go all the way back to Grandma's style shopping at farmers markets! Pleasant| fast and personal.
Back track all over the store like you are the silver ball in a Pinball machine! Bing| Ding| Boing. You have your list| be methodical. Use the same store regularly so you remember where everything is. Until they renovate for your convenience.
Be tempted by the end caps of each aisle. Assuming that whatever is on there is on sale is erroneous and without the benefit of comparison with other brands. Just one of the sneaky tricks marketers employ.