Monday, May 6, 2013

Preparing to Go Shopping

Shopping...some love it, some loathe it, but it shopping is something that every mom has to deal with.  And, just like any other chore-if you have to do it, you may as well figure out how to do it well and how to enjoy it.

For me, planning is extremely important in making shopping, especially food shopping, enjoyable.  Regardless of what day I will be going shopping, I like to start preparing on Sunday afternoon.  That is a time when my husband is available to help with the children so that I can focus.  Below I will list my routine for planning out my shopping trip.

~"Shop my pantry/fridge/freezer" I look to see what I already have on hand to make meals for the next week.  I also check on my "staples" and begin to make my list.  At this point, I am just jotting things down on paper.  I will write things like how much milk, eggs, cheese, bead, flour, sugar, oil, etc., as well as little notes like "side dish for with chicken", "two breakfasts", "don't forget church picnic" and so on to base my list on.

~Next I make a huge mess of my kitchen table.  I spread out my coupons separated into categories, my meal planning calendar, notebook, laptop with tabs for other stores whose sales I want to check that aren't in the newspaper, paperclips, and sale flyers.

~Once I'm all set up, I go through each flyer and circle the items I am interested in or that I have coupons for.  I may change going through all of them, though, because I usually only end up actually shopping at one store with coupons and then going to one or more discount stores to fill in the gaps.

~At this point, I begin to make a list of what items I am going to buy on sale or using coupons, as well as how much the item will cost.  I also separate it into stores.  Be careful to ask your hubby and kids if there is anything they can think that is needed from the store.  Often times, they will remember things that slip our minds.

~Finally, I type out my list.  I make a note at the top of how much I want to spend in each category.  Then beside each item, I list approximately how much it will cost.  This way I can easily delete items if I go over budget.  If I am under budget at the end, I make a note of that, too, and how much I have left over in case I find a really great deal.

~By the time all of this is done, my husband is usually REALLY ready to have my help again.  So I leave my list in my purse, clipped to my coupons, for when I get to go shopping.  I try to go once a week in an evening so that I can go with just the baby.  It makes the trip a lot easier and I am less likely to forget something or to get talked in to buying extras and counts as my alone time for the week, too.  Another upside to shopping alone is that I can always be on the look-out for birthday and Christmas presents to put away ahead of time!

I have several rules for myself as to how I shop.  How much to keep on hand, how to use coupons, etc., which I hope to share soon.  Tomorrow, I will share how my shopping trip went today and give you a glimpse into how I shop for our family.  Stay Tuned!

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