As parents, we don’t have all the time in the world or a big fancy kitchen pantry in our house. But what we do have are a very particular set of skills, skills we have acquired over a very long time spent in grocery stores… Skills that have enabled us to master the art of grocery day. In today’s post I am going to let you in on some awesome grocery hacks to help you master the art of your grocery day. This all begins with a detailed plan to be prepared, followed by precision execution.
Prepare to master the art of being frugal and efficient, while still purchasing quality health foods.
To start it off, asess and reassess, then plan accordingly. What does that involve?
First off, it involves creating and managing an inventory list of your kitchen pantry. Now due to my career path, I am fairly good friends with spreadsheets. I like to use excel for a lot of things, including our pantry inventory list. Having a good system for what you keep on hand will not only make your shop more efficient, but it will save you a lot of money on grocery day. Get what you need, not what you think you need. That covers the assess portion before you shop. Now comes the plan.
Think about the meals, (breakfasts, lunches, dinners and snacks) that you want to cook for the week ahead. Pick the meals you want to cook, think about the ingredients and quantities required. Again, I lean on a trusty spreadsheet to help here. I create a list of meals with the ingredients required for each meal and break them out into quantities saved in my spreadsheet. I also break out the items by type: Produce, Meat, dry goods, and other. This will help you cruise through the grocery store like a swift ninja, never having to double back because you missed something in the produce section but only realized it when you got to the meat department. I use this spreadsheet as my check list marking each item off as I go. Also due to my career path, I am a pretty big nerd – thus my grocery list comes along with me on my iPad or iPhone. (Polaris Office is a great free option to view and edit microsoft excel sheets.) We usually do 2-3 batch cooking sessions per week (Sunday and Wednesday, then depending on the type of meals we may do some cooking on any given day during the week. Having a solid meal plan for the coming week allows you to look at your inventory, and make an exact list of ONLY the items and quantities you require. That means no wasted groceries, and no wasted leftover food items. We cook our meals, portion them out and freeze the majority of them until we need them. Coming home and tossing something to reheat is not only quick and convenient but it ensures you are always dialed in on your nutrition. If you don’t have a meal prepped and you get off work late, you are more than likely going to reach for the phone to get take out or crack a bag of chips. Stay in the zone, keep your meals prepped.
Once you have planned your weekly meals and created a list of what ingredients you require, its time to find the sales and get the best bang for your buck. To do so, we use 3 awesome apps to plan our grocery trip. Normally we hit up 3 stores. 2 regular big chain grocery stores like Costco and Loblaws, then our fav butcher shop for some clean, quality meat products. In the summertime it’s always wise (and super fun) to hit up the local farmers market if you have access to one. You can score great deals on locally grown high quality food products there. So, check out these apps to plan your grocery attack:
Loblaws PC Plus Points
If you shop at Loblaws, or use the PC points credit card, this is an excellent app to accompany. You can track your points here but you also receive targeted grocery offers based on your shopping habits. Offering customized deals that better match up with shoppers’ actual buying habits allows you to save! Check here for what offers are available and if they match your grocery list requriements, mark down which items you will be getting at Loblaws to claim those offers.
This is another offers based application. Every Thursday the cash back offers will change and some of the items on your list may be included here. All you have to do is pick the ones you like, purchase them at any store and upload a photo of your receipt through the mobile app or website. When your account reaches $20, they send you a cheque 😉
This app is excellent. The Flipp team of digitized 99% of the big box retailer’s flyers. You can find pretty much every grocery store on there and you can search for any of your grocery items within the flyers and locate the best available deals. Then markdown on your spreadsheet which store you will get each product. You can even use this as a grocery list, but like I said before, I’m already in a committed relationship with my custom spreadsheets…
BOOM! Armed with your plan and your iPad or iPhone grocery list/master map, you are ready to kill your grocery shop! Following these steps will set you up for a perfect week of nutrition, giving you everything you will need to cook all of your meals thus saving you time spent on cooking dinner every night. Spending that couple of hours on Sunday batch cooking a few meals and prepping them for the week will save you countless hours that can be spent training and reading our other blog posts!
Quick Steps to being a grocery guru:
– Asess current kitchen stock and inventory
– Plan meals for the week
– Create grocery list for those meals
– Scan your apps for loblaws offers, checkout 51 cashback offers, and take a quick browse of the Flipp app to see which stores may have items you require on sale.