Which does come first? Planning the grocery list from ads and staples or planning the week’s meals? It depends what your weekly grocery shopping entails, if you are stockpiling a loss leader (something the stores sell at a price so low that they lose money on it) or simply purchasing the items to get you through the week.
There have been weeks where I’ve been known to purchase 20 or so packages of dry pasta below 30 cents each or canned tomatoes at rock bottom prices (a case at a time). Or last year at this time (hint, Albertson’s…it’s time to do this again) when I purchased bottles of ketchup for 29 cents a bottle. I bought 40 of them. I wanted a year’s supply.
(We tend to go through a lot of ketchup. I have the gentlemen who put ketchup on their ketchup, after all.)
And then there are weeks, when Josh is working and on call, when I don’t want to be at the grocery store for very long with Muffin by myself. And when I don’t want to have to lug groceries into the house. For those weeks, I tend to buy only the necessities to make it through the week, the staples. Eggs. Milk. Juice. Bread. Produce.
Regardless, my planning begins at the end of the previous month for meal planning. I try to have a rough draft of the meal plan for the month ready in the days following the announcement of Josh’s schedule for the month.
I can count on no fingers the number of times that what is planned in that rough draft is 100% followed through the month. Life happens. Sales happen. Tastes change. Schedules (other than work) change.
On Wednesday mornings when the Big 4 circulars hit the websites (Brookshire’s, Albertson’s, Kroger, and Super 1), I make a preliminary grocery list based on the sales. I usually don’t meld that with a more refined weekly meal plan schedule until closer to Saturday. Just in time for shopping on Saturday and the planning for the week ahead. By Saturday, the meal plan for the week is pretty much set.
On weeks when I’m only buying the necessities and staples (and perishables), I tend to keep meals pretty basic to ingredients I pretty much keep on hand. (Usually with lots of leftovers) This is usually not a week when I introduce a new recipe.
So, that’s how the planning goes, meal and shopping wise.
How do you handle it?