Thursday, October 11, 2012

Small grocery shopping

I've perfected the art of what I call "large" grocery shopping: buying in bulk, keeping a full pantry, and supplementing that occasionally with fresh produce.

But now, my unemployed husband is looking for jobs all over the country, so it's possible we could move anywhere at any time. A fully-stocked pantry is a definite liability during a move, so I've been eating down our full pantry and not restocking it.

And now it's empty. So rather than "large" shopping, I've switched to "small" shopping: going to the store once a week or so and picking up a few things, plus produce, for the next week. I suspect this is how 97% of people shop, but it's new for me.

Surprisingly, if you're careful, it's not that much more expensive. With bulk shopping, I can keep our grocery bill under $200 a month for two people. With weekly shopping and no pantry stores to draw off of, if I shop the sales, I can usually keep us to $250 or so.

First, I go to Aldi. Off-brand staples at cheap prices ($1.35 for a dozen eggs, $2.29 for a gallon of milk). Then I go to the local big-box supermarket, buy the produce that's on sale, buy one meat product that's on sale (chicken thighs, pork chops, whatever), and fill in with anything else that's needed (pasta, canned tomatoes, baking supplies, coffee, whatever). I buy what's on sale and sometimes supplement that with coupons.

I'm also keeping a list of what I'm running out of and not replacing, so that those things can be gradually restocked once we move to wherever our new home will be.

This week I got some really beautiful chard, broccoli rabe, a whole chicken, and several varieties of squash. Look for new recipes soon!

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