Official kick-off to my “Staying out of the Grocery Store Challenge”

by Melody on July 30, 2012

This summer, just like every other, is flying by.  We are always super busy and seem to have something going on every weekend (if not every day).  With all the different get-togethers, parties, camping trips and other miscellaneous fun we are having, I feel like I am in and out of the grocery store just about every day.  I forgot this for the cookies I was making, I forgot to add that to the grocery list for the BBQ we are going to next weekend.

I really want to enjoy the remainder of our summer and not feel like I’m running around like a crazy person, so I’m challenging myself.  I’m not going to step foot into a grocery store for the entire month of August.  I want to see how this affects our schedule, my sanity and the budget.  Our 3-year old will start preschool in September, so this is our last chance to be home together as our little family unit before he starts his journey into education.  I don’t want to miss a thing while I’m trolling the aisles of Fred Meyer.

How did I prepare?

I took a good hard look at our calendar for the month of August and wrote down all the parties we have been invited to, along with the 3 birthdays we have in our family and any other events that may require some kind of food item.  I took a look at our pantry and freezer to see what I would need to stock up on before the month started.  Our core meals are just about the same, so our pantry essentials were pretty easy.  We include an ever-changing rotation of fresh fruits and vegetables into our meals, so this will be the challenge.

I took a look at all the things we buy from Costco and doubled or tripled my purchase of those items.  I also picked up the bottled and sparkling water for my son’s 4th birthday at the end of the month.

After looking at my list, there were a few specialty items that I needed that we couldn’t get at Costco.  Since I wasn’t going to be using coupons for those items, I headed to Winco, where I knew their everyday prices were a little lower.  I bought the whole wheat bread flour in the bulk section to make homemade pizza dough in case we get in a pinch for meals.  The pudding and Butterfingers are for an extremely sinful ice cream cake I’m making for my husband’s birthday party. Everybody needs a little Butterfinger Ice Cream Cake every once in a while.

One unexpected bonus that came out of all this planning is that I feel much more prepared for the month to come.  I feel like I am very close to having everything I need, plus extra items for unexpected invitations.

But where will I get my food during the month?

Good question.

  • Our stockpile.  Our pantry and freezer are now pretty full.  We have a decent amount of frozen ground beef and some other miscellaneous cuts of meat.  We have all the base ingredients for things we eat everyday.
  • Our garden.  We don’t have a huge garden, but we do have carrots, tomatoes and strawberries that can help stretch our meals.
  • Our Community Supported Agriculture program (CSA).  We are signed up for a weekly produce pick-up from a local farm that is paid in advance.  We get most of our salad fixings from them, plus some fruit.  My husband just picks up our produce each week after work on his way home.
  • Fresh Picks WAThis is another weekly produce pick-up that specializes mainly in fruit, so for the weeks we are in town, I will order from them.  There is a park right across the street from our pick-up spot, so the boys and I can head out for some play time and pick up produce at the same time.  Double bonus.

We get our eggs from a friend whose coworker raises chickens, so we just pick them up at her office.  The main challenge for me was going to be our milk, which is sold at 2 of our local grocery stores.  However, the NW Regional Food Hub just started carrying the milk we drink (non-homogenized whole milk from Pure Eire in Othello) in glass bottles, so I am going to sign up for that program.

While it may sound like I’ll still be making a lot of stops, the nice thing about all of these options is that I can quickly schedule them into our day.  I’m not going to feel the need to rush to the store for anything because  I should be prepared in advance.  Plus, by picking up produce or heading to the farmer’s market, I’m not going to be tempted by any fantastic coupon deals because there just won’t be any.

A few exceptions

I do have to make a weekly trip to Rite Aid to gather prices for my match ups over at Frugal Living NW.  I can’t feasibly cut this out because the match ups would seriously suffer.  I’m going to do my best to not be tempted by the deals while I’m there.

I will also have to make a trip to Costco to gather prices for the monthly home mailer coupon match ups.  Also unavoidable, as I know several of you count on these each month.  Again, I’ll attempt to avoid temptation.

Each week I will share what we have picked up and what we spent.  I would love to hear your feedback?  Have you ever done something similar?  What are some tips and tricks you have to share with me?  What am I forgetting to think about?

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Brenda August 1, 2012 at 4:06 am

Sounds great to me, Melody!
I did something similar last year for August and found it to be much easier than I thought it would be and you are more prepared then I was.
Selfishly, I am pleased to hear that you will still make time to share the Costco and RiteAid weekly deals. It makes it so much easier on me, I’m afraid I’d be a bit lost without it. I can’t thank you enough for the time and effort you spend on rounding up the deals.

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