How Do You Shop For Groceries?

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Yes, I want to know, how do you do your grocery shopping? See, I am thinking about changing the way I shop for groceries. To those of you who are wondering why I think changing the way I shop for groceries is important, let me just say, that it is. Change is big for me. I hate change. Hate it. Despise it. I am more than happy to do the same thing, day in and day out. As a matter of fact if you came to me and said, “hey, Pam, you just won a trip to Las Vegas, and you leave on Thursday,” I would probably reply, “but, I wash clothes on Thursdays, the cold load.” And I would mean it, because that is what I do on Thursdays.

So, I’m thinking about changing the way I grocery shop. Right now, I plan my whole week’s menu in advance. This is usually based on what meat, pork, chicken, or seafood that I have in my freezer. I peruse multiple cookbooks, until I find what I want to make, trying to even it out, so that we don’t have 3 chicken meals that week, or that I have included seafood. This has worked fine. The problem is the new grocery store that I’m shopping at. It has all this wonderful produce that is not on my list, so I walk by the sweet, tiny fresh carrots, the bright green baby bok choy, and pick up only what is on my list because after all, I have an entire week’s menu planned. So, I think I might change it up. Shop and buy what looks good, and then come home and decide what to make with it.

This is really scary to me. It’s like jumping without a parachute. I will still definitely have to plan a menu for the week. When I come from teaching school all day, the last thing I want to do is think too much. I like knowing what I’m doing. The difference would be that I would plan my menus after the fact. I guess the key to this is having a well stocked pantry.

Help me people, how do you grocery shop? What works good for you?

And to reward you for reading all this dribble drabble, I’ve included a picture of my cat, Smudge.

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  1. KarenP says

    I grocery shop pretty much the way you currently do. I plan my menus for the week and shop off the list. One thing I do slightly differently that I think could help you purchase some of that wonderful produce, is that I will sometimes plan the main dishes, but leave the side dishes open based on what veggies look good at the store. This way you wouldn’t completely change your method of shopping, but it would allow you some flexibility to buy the produce that looks good to you.

    By the way, this is my first comment, but I have been enjoying your blog for quite some time (I have even tried a few of your posted recipes).

  2. says

    I’m not sure this is from spending time in Europe or from growing up in a rural, farming community, but I shop two ways.

    Pantry shopping once a week. Fresh shopping every other day or so. To me, fresh is just that. I can’t see buying beautiful, mouth-watering veggies to only have them sitting in the crisper.

    Except for holidays and special requests, I don’t plan my meals. You see, I grew up in an environment where you learned to make due with what you had, or had access to. My Gram always had a garden. Meat was bought from a butcher and bread from a bakery. Fresh milk arrived on the porch every morning like magic. I was lucky to have learned early to be spontaneous when it comes to meal planning. I can literally load my basket with assorted fresh goodies, and have the meal done in my head by the time I hand the checker my money.

    It may seem like a huge leap out into the unknown, to make such a change, but it’s worth a try.

    Go on. Get your feet wet. If you find its not for you, then at least you know that you gave it an honest effort. I really think you will surprise yourself.

    Have fun…and good luck!

  3. says

    OMG…my Mom would L-O-V-E your cat. She has been a Siamese cat lover for years and years.
    Anyway….When I worked a regular 9-5 I shopped weekly, but when I went with my crazy new lifestyle of hours I sometimes decide on tea (dinner) that morning on my way in to work (Tue, Wed, Thur – soon to be Mon, Tue, Wed, Thur) and pick up the makings (I leave work at 7:00 3 nights a week and go home and cook us dinner) and store the items I pick up in my work fridge.
    On Friday (my day off) I shop the big shop for the week for basics and then I shop for creative dinners on Fri, Sat , Sun , Mon based on freezer meats, CSA meat pickups and a need to include fish in our diet 2 – 3 times a week, cutting back on red meats (pork, lamb, beef). if I could I would be veggie a couple nights a week, but that would be a tough call for the Brit in the house, but I am still trying.

  4. says

    I’m more of a planner now as well with very few allowances for veering from the plan. I aim to cook 2 or 3 meals a week with one dessert on the weekend (usually), and I try to make sure any ingredient with a short shelf life is either used entirely in one dish or two dishes have to use it because I hate to buy food that just goes bad. I’ve also made efforts to only go shopping once a week rather than here and there throughout the week because I find that leads to more unnecessary purchases which hurt the grocery budget. I used to just think it over, go and buy what I thought I needed, but now I’ll take inventory and make a bare minimum grocery list so I don’t load up on things I don’t need. It doesn’t go perfectly every week, but overall, its been a good thing for me that allows for more predictable expenses. I get tempted by the odd produce, too, but I’m bad at thinking up how to use it on the spot, so I can’t buy food w/o a specific recipe in mind.

  5. says

    Oh geez, whatever you do, don’t do what i do. I go everyday because I hate menu planning. Then I go two to three times because when I go the first time I forget my list and then I forget things on it. I’m a complete wreck with this. Sorry. I hate change as well.

  6. Debbie Cook says

    I tend to plan after I shop. But I don’t plan very far ahead because I don’t like to be stuck to one plan for meals. There are some things that we have usually every week. But other than those, I see what looks good and what’s on sale. Pantry items are usually well-stocked and always on hand so it’s really the fresh ingredients that change on a non-regular basis. Some weeks I stay in the rut and make “the usuals” that my family likes. Other times I get the urge to try new things, especially when YOU post something that looks especially tasty. 😉 I guess I’m just “moody.” LOL! I also hate to grocery shop more than I have to. Never more than once a week and usually, it extends to every 10 days or so. I have two extra freezers so we’re not going to starve if I don’t get to the store on a particular day.

  7. says

    Smudge is so pretty! I order grom a restaurant supply house; sorry, I’m not much help. My kids laugh at my schedules and structure. Sunday night is roast turkey breast. No changes allowed. Why? Because that’s what I want. Silverware goes in a certain order in the dishwasher, a given number of pieces per basket section. Why? Because I say so. I order fresh foods every 10 days to 2 weeks, meat every 6 weeks. I rarely plan more than a day ahead, so there’s no need for change if someone extra shows up, or someone’s sick, or if I just don’t feel like doing that. The rare times I’m in a store I can spend forever in the produce aisle picking out whatever looks interesting, but familiar: I rarely travel far from my comfort zone. Sorry I can’t help you much.

  8. says

    I totally don’t plan at ALL. I keep a list on a dry erase board on the fridge, but we never write it out and take it with us.

    I should, but…I live with a really picky eater, so I never know if he’s going to be “in the mood” to eat whatever I have come up with. So I go to the store alot for random things because I don’t have plan out the meals.

  9. says

    Due to the fact that we are traveling in an RV for the next year or so…….food shopping has become quite interesting to say the least. Oh sure there are local markets but what is the best find are local farmers markets. I try to shop for staples once a week or ten days and hit the farmers markets or the fresh store every few days.

  10. says

    I always do the menu and plan – but I’ve always lived in places where, if I forgot something, it was just too bad. And If it snowed and the pantry was empty it was REALLY too bad!

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