Taking my children to the supermarket is hard work, so I've come up with some ways to reduce the number of times I visit each week.
It has come to my attention that I am spending FAR too much time in the supermarket. Not only am I spending too much time there - usually with my children, which is just painful, but by going to the supermarket every second day, my weekly budget has well and truly blown out.
I used to live just a short walk from our closest shopping centre, so it wasnít a big deal if I needed to pop to the shops for bread and milk. Now, I live in an area where the nearest supermarket is a ten minute drive and since my husband works interstate, now I have to lug the kids in and out of the car just to nip to the shops.
So itís time to get my organisational mojo back and avoid those budget-busting trips to the supermarket. Hereís how.
I don't smile like this when taking my children shopping.
Audit your existing goods
I have a freezer full of meat that Iíve picked up along the way, plus a heap of meals Iíve already cooked and frozen. If I am smart in my shopping, I should be able to get away with buying minimal for dinner over the next couple of weeks.
My first step is to audit my freezer and my pantry. What meals can I make with what I have on hand? Iíve got chicken, Thai green curry paste, rice, coconut milk frozen veggies for a Thai curry, so thatís a meal right there! Thatís one less to buy for at the supermarket.
Make a meal plan
Meal planning is an easy way to cut down going to the supermarket. Simply plan out your meals for the week, make a list of all you need and take one trip to the store. Easy! OK, so it does take a little bit of planning and getting used to, but it will help you reduce the amount of time you have to drag the kids in and out of the car to go into the supermarket (and get them in and out of the trolley).
Try and use up what you have first
Once you have done your audit, try and use up as much as you can before automatically heading out to the shops. In our freezer, we have frozen meals like spaghetti bolognaise sauce, so all I have to do is boil some pasta, grate some cheese, and it's another meal down!
Make a list
Sounds so simple, doesnít it? Once I have my meal plan and have done my audit, I know what is needed for the week and what we have on hand already. Whatever I need goes on the list. Easy! I take a notepad with me as I check the pantry, freezer, fridge, cleaning cupboards, bathrooms and nappy and wipes stocks so I donít miss anything.
Leave your list somewhere visual
Mine is on the fridge - something I look at several times a day as I open it for milk etc. If I forget it, I go home to get it. Itís another 10 or so minutes out of my day but itís going to save me a painful trip to the supermarket after the school pick up with two cranky kids.
Get on board with online shopping and youíll be able to either have your groceries delivered, or pick them up - sometimes without even going in the store, as some supermarkets offer a Ďdrive thruí or Ďdrive upí service. My local grocery store has a drive up service, so I pick up my goods after my childrenís sports class on a Saturday morning. I simply park in the designated bays, call the number provided and a staff member will bring the groceries out. WHY DID I NOT START DOING THIS EARLIER? I barely have to get out of my car and I certainly donít have to drag the kids out.
Now, Iím off to make a list for my next shop. Iím determined to stop the excessive trips to the supermarket and put my precious time, energy and money to better use.