We’ve made a menu for the coming week but it won’t be successful if we don’t have all the ingredients necessary to make everything on our plan. Creating a grocery list and sticking to it when we are shopping is the next part of learning to keep a well run kitchen.
I didn’t mention in the meal planning post that when we plan our meals we do so by first looking to see what we already have in the freezer and pantry, then we look at the grocery sales ads. Doing this helps to keep our grocery costs down. We typically spend $80 – $100 per week on groceries. Really! Our grocery budget is strictly for food. It does not include toiletries, diapers, etc. Those fall under a different category in our family budget. I budget $100 a week for groceries. Whatever isn’t used one week is rolled over to the next week so that usually by the end of a couple of months I have an extra $100 – 200 dollars to make a “big” shopping trip to Winco or Costoco to stock up on canned goods that we’ve used. If you want to read more about how we save on groceries etc read the following posts that I wrote the first month I started this blog:
On to how I teach my children to make a good grocery list.
3-6 years old. We talk about what foods we’ll need to make each main dish. Then I’ll take them to the fridge, freezer, and pantry and let them look to see if they can find them. I usually make the grocery lists on my own.
7-10 years old. They’ll look at the recipes for each main dish, check to see what we already have, and write down what we need to buy at the store. I’ll then double check it all. When we are shopping I start helping them see what items are cheaper and why. We look at the price per ounce for packaged goods and the price per pound for fresh food. They learn that because one brand is on sale it doesn’t necessarily mean it is the cheapest one to buy.
11 and older. By this time my kids are experts at looking through the ads and the pantry and creating a shopping list that sticks to our budget. If they could legally drive themselves to the store I’d let them do it all! Instead when we get to the store we divide and conquer. I give them part of the list and let them find what we need. And darn if they aren’t better than me sometimes!
A word about buying the cheapest brand. For some foods we’ll buy the store brand but for others we buy well known brands (like Hidden Valley Ranch). We want to like what we eat so we start by buying the cheapest brand first. If we like the taste and quality we’ll stick with that, if not we go to the next cheapest brand and so on. We keep on testing until we find the one we like. We do buy many of the store brands. They’ve come a long way in quality! But there are just some foods like Hidden Valley Ranch and Yoplait yogurt that have no comparisons. We don’t feel bad buying those when we’ve saved so much elsewhere. We can afford it.