Our foodgroove

We’ve done it. It’s been just about a year and I’ve managed to cut our food budget by about 30 percent, eat out less, and eat decent food more.  Phew! I think a year of it counts as an actual pattern, right?

So, a little over a year ago, I got a Costco membership from my delightful sister, BIL and nieces as a birthday gift.  The first time I went I did what I always do in grocery stores–I bought a bunch of random crap and continued to have nothing to eat.  I quickly saw that I could find myself penniless (but well stocked in fruit gummies and toilet paper) if I kept down that road.

So I actually, seriously took a look at which food (and related–I included toilet paper and cleaning supplies in the list) items I buy over and over and over again. There were only about 30 of these.  I then resolved to buy only these things at Costco, spread them out over the year and see what happened.

Now I go to Costco once a month for a big buy.  At that time, about half of the things I buy are things we will go through in a month’s time (milk, Diet Coke, bread, cheese, fruit, veggies), and the other half are things that I rotate through (I buy a case of red beans one month, a case of black the next, a case of chicken stock the next, etc. etc.) This leaves me with a pantry stocked with most of my go-to items. I can cover a good 80% of our meals on this.  The key is to not get sidetracked by the cool samples and fun new products. We can not afford fun new products in a gigantic size–not financially, and not in terms of freezer space.

I then go to one other grocery store about 2 weeks later–sometimes it’s Costco again, but usually it is a regular store- to get the smaller quantity items and whatever we might have run out of.

This keeps me out of the grocery stores, where I tend to make lots of impulse buys that either go bad or that languish on my shelves.  I have about 10 main recipes for dinner.  We go through those 10 menus in the first 2 weeks, and then most of the new recipes that I try will be in the second half of the month, after I’ve restocked from the smaller store, or if I’m not into it, I just recycle the same menus.

We’ve been eating out usually one night a week, and then have leftovers one night a week, so I’m cooking 5 nights a week–almost exclusively with the crock pot, because I’m fancy like that.

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5 thoughts on “Our foodgroove

  1. It’s not that organized, really. I just don’t have much creativity in cooking. We eat a lot of italian things. I should clarify that I don’t think Costco is saving me all that much money. I think not going to the grocery store as often is saving me money. I’m just a lost puppy in there. Even with a list, I come home with 90 bajillion random things. It helps that there just is no room for most of the random things I encounter at Costco….as cool as a 96 ounce jar of salsa might be…..

  2. Yeah, mama! Nice work. I am reading a fun book titled “Zero Waste Home” and am feeling inspired to clean up our act. Some of the strategies the author mentioned are the exact same solutions you came upon e.g. rotating through staples rather than collecting a bunch, menu-planning, avoiding impulse purchases, etc.

    xoxo, tiff

  3. Thanks, Tiff. I wish I could say it was an environmental choice on my part. I have finally learned that I don’t menu plan. Can’t teach an old dog, you know. But just figuring out that most of my recipes involve the same few ingredients helps.

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