Get Organised: A Shopping Routine

A good shopping routine will save you money, time and energy. If you can plan what you will eat each week with meal planning, and then have a simple ‘set and forget’ process for grocery shopping – think of the time this will save. No more last minute runs to the shop, changing the evening meal at the last minute because you’ve run out of some key ingredient – no more fuss and fluster. Just calm, relaxed serving up of a wholesome, homemade dinner, every night of the week.

How do we do this?

By establishing systems and processes in our house to make these things happen.

The Empowered Cook shares the importance of a good shopping routing - including how to set up a grocery shopping routine in your household.

I spoke about having an organised pantry here – this really must be your first step. So if you haven’t yet done that – go read that post and check it out.

I also posted about the importance of a shopping list. That is the next step – have an organised pantry and then keep it that way by having a really great shopping list process.

This post is all about the next step: establishing a regular shopping routine.

I’ll start by taking you through our routine. This isn’t to direct you to follow our routine – because while this works really well for us, it won’t necessarily work well for you. I share this in the hope of inspiring and motivating you – but also so that you can see what I mean by a shopping routine.

In our house, we have a couple of different routines around grocery shopping. They are:

Weekly Routines

This is such a great service – and I highly recommend it. If they don’t deliver in your area – then google and find another service! It makes life so much easier. The produce is always super fresh – and we pretty much have a standing order each week. We also buy all of our meat from here. Again, it is super fresh – and will often have Use By dates of a week or more. This is a bonus for us – as it means I can store the meat in the fridge until we use it that week. We also make use of this service for a loaf of bread and milk each week.

  • Once a week we shop at Aldi

This is where we pick up the bulk of our groceries that aren’t fresh produce. Aldi is cheap. That is the main reason we shop there. They also have a surprisingly great range of organic products – something that I was not expecting. They even stock raw cacao and cacao nibs people! I struggle to find those in the big supermarkets usually.

Fortnightly Routine

  • Once a fortnight we shop at the big supermarket chains

This is mainly to buy set products that we prefer over the Aldi brand. There are just some things that we don’t compromise on! Mind you, that list is much shorter than when we first starting shopping at Aldi. Seriously the price difference is too substantial to stick with products from the two big chains. 

Monthly Routine

Once a month or so – I also buy some health food items online. This can vary and will depend on what I’m cooking or what I think we need to introduce into our diet. So it could be hemp seeds, flaxseed oil or apple cider vinegar for example. 

What about toiletries and cleaning products, I hear you ask?

Well, we don’t buy cleaning products. We make these ourselves – so we only need the pure ingredients: lux soap flakes, borax, washing soda, vinegar, castile soap. I combine these with essential oils – and voila! – cleaning products done. The recipes I use are available here:

Laundry Powder or Laundry Liquid – Down to Earth

Hand Soap – Live Simply

Floor Cleaner – Live Simply

Multi-Purpose Spray – Live Simply

Bathroom Cleaner – Live Simply

In terms of toiletries – like deodorant, toothpaste, etc – I will either get these from the supermarket – or I buy online from Shop Naturally or another site. I mostly use natural products – and I choose these for our little one too, but there are some things we’re yet to give up on – so we still need to visit the major supermarkets for those.

As I mentioned in this post, I have a really well stocked pantry – and this includes toiletries. So I don’t need to buy these very often. And because I make cleaning products – this is also true for those.

Grocery Budget

The bulk of our grocery budget each week goes on food. And when I say food – I mean food. We don’t buy packaged goods – we buy ingredients primarily. I have found this to be such a money saver! Fruit and vegetables are actually incredibly cheap – and if you combine this with some good quality grains, legumes and a small amount of meat – you really can buy good health for your family.

Shopping this way does of course mean that we need to invest time each week for things like ingredient prep, and meal planning, and of course, cooking. BUT – it means that I know what we are eating. I can pronounce all the ingredients. And I know that I am nourishing my family with good health. And not spending a fortune doing it.

How do you create a shopping routine in your household?

Firstly – think about what you do now.

What works? And what doesn’t? If you are shopping weekly now and yet you get to mid-week and you have run out of fresh fruit – there might be some tweaks needed.

Secondly – think about your income frequency.

Do you get paid weekly, fortnightly, monthly? I find this to be pretty important. We both get paid fortnightly – but on opposite weeks – so in effect, we have income weekly. This means that we can budget groceries into both weeks. Yes – it all adds up in the end – but sometimes it is easier to match your shopping routine to the payment cycle.

Thirdly – think about meal planning and writing a shopping list.

Being able to have a good solid shopping routine is dependent on you instilling these two practices in your household. Meal Planning doesn’t have to be complicated – it can simply be a scrap of paper with dinners written down. Even a mental plan is better than no plan!

And a shopping list is similar – keep a list somewhere visible. When you notice you need something – write it on the list! This will make shopping for what you need, rather than what you think you need, so much easier.

Lastly – trial and error.

It will take time to work out your best routine. You’ll need to be flexible and adaptable. Try one thing, and then change it to another if it doesn’t work. This is what we have done over the years. We’ve had to change as our lives have changed – and we’ve had to adapt. But we’ve always had some sort of routine or system that brings food into the house, and that gets dinner on the table.

 

What do you think? Do you have a routine already? Or will you need a refresh? I’d love to hear about it! Please share your routines (and what you’d like to change) in the comments below.

 

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