This week was a “Big Shop” week. How many of you can relate to the grocery trip that has been so long coming your cart threatens to overflow? Yeah, that was us. We’ve been cruising along on farmers’ market fare and the occasional milk and bread run that we haven’t filled the pantry in quite some time. We needed everything from meat to crackers. I was afraid of the bill.
I spent that morning planning the meals and writing out the list and then we all piled in (as school’s out so grocery trips are a family affair now) and headed to WalMart.
WalMart you say? Yes, when I have to do the full cart trips, it makes sense to drive a bit further to WalMart because the prices can’t be beat and they have way more healthy options then you’d ever imagine. The produce is often local (at least at my store) and there are free range, grass-fed and organic options for just about everything from eggs to beef.
I know, I know this is not the store that gets the best score with lots and lots of people. But when you’re trying to feed a family of five with as much natural food as possible, you have to make concessions and WalMart is mine.
So, off we went and guess what I forgot? Yep, the list. Not only did I have all three kids, but we had to go aisle by aisle and try to remember the weekly plan! Luckily, my kids are pretty programed to shop for only what we need and of course I threatened them in the car about “asking for ANYTHING!!” so it went pretty smoothly in spite of no list.
The kids even got in on the game. I let go of some of my hyper-control issues and they went to town weighing and measuring produce. We picked out some new kinds of trail mix and fruit & nut bars to try and they did their fair share of label reading.
We ended the day with an entire kitchen full of fresh produce, meat from chicken to chicken sausage and some extras like toilet paper, dish detergent and three small candy treats in the checkout of course for under $300. That may sound like a whopping bill, but if you compared it to my local grocery I saved over $150 which is totally worth the drive. Also, we won’t shop like that again for at least four weeks, with small trips to tide us over, so that’s actually a monthly budget of $400 which for a family of five is pretty darn good. The only thing I’d do differently is start at the back. We began our trip in produce and bakery so we had all our yummy food squished at the bottom of the cart under Ritz crackers (It’s beach season, we need long-lasting snacks)and goldfish (colors are now made from natural products-did you know that?). Next time, boxes first, fruit and bread last!
So it is possible to eat well on a budget. You just have to think outside the box, or in this case inside the big box store.
What are your Fit & Frugal tips?