Kacie from Sense to Save asked me to share how I go about my grocery shopping each week. I actually have two methods, depending on how organized (or not) I am on any given week.

The Planned and Organized Method

First I’ll share with you my preferred method of grocery shopping. This is what I do on those weeks that I take the time to do some major planning. On Sunday mornings I log into the Grocery Game to see what the list of bargains looks like for the week and how many coupon inserts are in the paper. Then on the way to church, I stop by the grocery store to pick up the Portland Oregonian, making sure all of the coupon inserts are in the paper before I pay for it. We get the local paper delivered, but the big city paper has much better coupons.

After I get home from church and have some lunch, I grab both papers, my coupon binder, and the laptop and head into the bedroom to plan for the week. I make a menu for the week. based on what I have in my pantry. Then I check the Grocery Game list to see if there’s anything I need or use frequently. I plan to stock up on those items.

I make 2-4 lists, depending on who has what on sale that week.

  • I check the Walgreens deals at Money Saving Mom and make my Walgreens list. I usually only buy things that are free after rebate, or free with register rewards.
  • Then I check the Rite Aid flyer and see if I need any free after rebate items.
  • I make my Albertson‘s list based on the deals at the Grocery Game.
  • Finally, everything I need for my menu that isn’t on the previous three lists goes on my Winco list.

I flip through my coupon flyers, and grab the coupons I need, separating them into different envelopes for each store. I paper clip the coupon envelopes to the corresponding lists and put everything in my purse, so it’s ready to go in the morning.

On Monday morning I throw a cooler in the back of the van and leave for town as soon as I get the kids off to school. I start at Rite Aid, then go to Walgreens, then do the bulk of my shopping at Winco. I shop at Winco for my non-sale items, because it’s one of those bare bones stores where the prices are typically much lower than the big-name stores. I load my refrigerated items into the cooler, and head for Albertson’s to stock up on sale items.

I know this sounds like a lot of work, and sometimes the planning part can take a couple of hours. But most weeks I only hit 2-3 stores. I rarely go to Rite Aid and Walgreens in the same week. And fortunately Walgreens and Winco are right across the street from each other, and Albertson’s is on the way home, so I’m not driving all over town.

On any given week, I try to keep my grocery bill under $100 including my regular grocery shopping and my stocking up. I hope that as my stockpile grows, I can cut the bill down further.

The Spontaneous Method

Now that I’ve told you my super-organized grocery shopping method, I’ll tell you what I do on weeks where the menu planning doesn’t happen. I actually used this method on Monday morning.

I wake up on Monday morning and go to Menus4Moms before getting the kids up for school. I find a menu that my family will eat and print out the recipes and shopping list. I cross off everything on the shopping list that we already have, then retype it in Word based on the Winco store layout. I add stuff I need for breakfast, lunch, and snacks and print out my list. When the kids leave to school, I go shopping.

Fortunately the Menus4Moms menu plans usually cost under $100 for all the ingredients, so I usually stay within my budget on bad weeks.

So now you all know how I plan my shopping. How do you plan yours?