style / mindset / simplicity
style / mindset / simplicity
After years of independent research, I’ve discovered that there are two very simple schools of thought regarding weekly grocery shopping…I love it! Or I hate it! I have always attended the second school.
Allow me to offer a brief history and my reasoning…
I (unknowingly, but wisely) married a man who is an excellent cook.
Restaurant quality meals come easily to Matthew. He enjoys the entire process! And thanks to his mother and his professional training, he cleans up while he preps and cooks... with Bob Marley playing in the background. How dreamy is that?!
Early in our marriage, Matthew did almost all of the grocery shopping. This made perfect sense because he was usually seeking specific ingredients for amazing meals… and he'd grab bread, milk and eggs in the process.
After we had children, Matthew would take Peter with him on his weekly outing to the Apple Store (actually it was Whole Foods, but Peter always got an apple, thus they referred to it as The Apple Store:). This ‘divide and conquer’ method allowed me to complete tasks around the house with only two kids at home.
Then things shifted… Matthew’s work schedule made it difficult for him to fit grocery shopping and cooking into his week.
I was happily a stay-at-home mom, with a more flexible schedule… so I assumed the role of ‘grocery shopper’ with the help of three small assistants:-0
As every mother knows, grocery shopping with littles in tow is a special treat. It can be challenging, to say the least;-) Even as I type this, I can feel the stress of those days.
Someone was always whining or crying or begging or exhausted or having to use the bathroom!
Or all of the above at the same time!!!
Grocery shopping was definitely not my favorite part of the week.
I prefer tasks that are once and done, which food shopping definitely is not!
The fact that it needs to be repeated...Every. Single. Week. makes me dread it even more.
It’s so bloody expensive!
Soon after I became our family’s food shopper, I realized that spending money on groceries stressed me out. I always embarked with a budget and kept a running tally of what I was spending as I navigated each aisle (I still do this!), but I always felt that I was overspending even when I was only buying what we truly needed. (Financial limiting beliefs, much?! ... that’s for another post:)
At this point, I’ve been grocery shopping weekly for over 15 years. The funny thing is, when I do the math… that’s less than 800 trips to the grocery store. Looking back over all the family meals, holiday celebrations and snacks... that actually doesn’t seem so bad!
I've finally had a change of heart about this recurring chore!
I've gained a new appreciation for this mundane art:-)
If you struggle to get excited about this necessary errand, here are my tips for making the whole experience more pleasant:
Since I’m thankfully not the head chef at our house, my meal planning muscle is a little weak. However, it's clear that when I have a plan for what we’ll be eating… the shopping process is much smoother. Your meal plan doesn't have to be complex or extravagant. I keep mine as simple as possible. But it helps to know what you'll be preparing so that you know what ingredients you need. The reality of burgers without pickles might have you dashing to the store mid-week.
Once per week.
I know SO many women who 'run to the store to grab a few things' every single day! This wastes not only your time, but your money. Set up your life so that you only hit the grocery store once a week (or less, if you can swing it). The only exception to this rule is for city dwellers with very small refrigerators and produce stands/take-out on every corner. Otherwise, shop one time per week!
Crucial. I finally have this part down! Years ago, I grew tired of writing the exact same items on my list week after week after week. So, I used my very limited spreadsheet skills and created a very basic grocery list on Excel. Since I go to both Costco and the grocery store weekly, I decided to design my list by category instead of by store layout. Either way, a functional list is a game-changer.
I print out a fresh list every week (I know, it’s not zero waste, but it’s what works for now) and hang it in our pantry (with a highlighter and a pencil). During the week, as we run out of something, we highlight the item or write it in. When I shop, I take the list with me on a clipboard so that I can easily cross things off without poking holes in the paper:-)
Go figure. Pesky little schedule strikes again. I think a big part of my problem in the past was no real plan for obtaining groceries. I guess I thought if I waited long enough they might simply fall from the sky! I didn’t have a specific day for crafting my list. I was usually flying by the seat of my pants with regards to when I was going to do the actual shopping. I had no meal plan. It was always a scramble. No wonder I disliked it so much! These days, grocery shopping is on my calendar as a non-negotiable. I’ve locked in the day and time that work best for me and I do everything I can to keep that appointment sacred.
At some point in my grumbling about the grocery store job, I realized that I could instead choose to be grateful. Humbled that I am able to fill my cart and my cupboards each week, I decided to adopt an 'attitude of gratitude' when it’s time to grocery shop. This usually works. Sometimes I still resist… but I quickly shift my thoughts and focus on the pure blessing of being able to buy fresh, healthy food for my family.
A helper. Seems all of those trips to 'The Apple Store' made my son Peter a willing grocery store participant. He often volunteers to go with me. He knows that I’m not a huge fan of this weekly task so he joins me in solidarity and he'll usually score a favorite cereal and a pack of gum in return. He plays good tunes in the car (even if Keith Urban's Raise Em Up always makes me cry) and I love spending this time with him. And as an added bonus, he’s become a rockstar bagger!
This is the answer! Since I lose my helper during the school year, I needed some motivation for my weekly trip to secure groceries. Enter podcasts! Have they always been this popular? Always been so good? Probably. As you may know, I’m no early adopter. Anyway, I’ve discovered the power of the podcast!! I can do anything (that doesn’t require real thinking) while listening to a podcast. Grocery shopping is now like hanging out with my coolest, smartest friends! I learn something new every week!!
Here are my three favorites right now…
Manifestation Babe - Kathrin Zenkina is a 25 year old sharing her passion for the Law of Attraction. She's living proof that it actually works!
This is Fifty - Sheri and Nancy are powerhouses. Former Hollywood executives. Friends for decades. I was skeptical, but I truly enjoy their banter and their wisdom.
Oprah’s SuperSoul Sunday - I resisted this one, like I do anything that’s super popular. But it’s 'super popular' for a reason. It's excellent. And honestly, I think the world always needs a dose of Oprah.
Okay, let me have it. Share your thoughts!
Grocery shopping… does it make you groan or cheer!
What's your favorite podcast?
Thank you so much for being here. It means the world to me that this little space is shared by so many women around the globe. I'm beyond grateful for each of you.
I'll be traveling for the next two weeks... if you want to follow along, you can find me on Instagram : @togetheract
Have an amazing weekend!