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Let’s Talk Groceries

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Okay, I know today’s supposed to be another Writing Tips post, but from the lack of comments on those, I can see they aren’t everyone’s most favorite . . . so we’ll put a hold on that series until after the RANSOME’S CROSSING PRE-RELEASE CONTEST ends at the end of the month and try to get some fun posts up that you’ll feel more like commenting on.

After being in Hot Springs for the past ten days and then spending all day on the road yesterday (which did include a four-hour lunch in Memphis with my wonderful colleague and fellow contemporary romance author Annalisa Daughety, who has a giveaway of her most recent release, Love is Monumental, happening on her blog right now), I needed to replenish the food stocks in my house today—especially since I’m starting the Atkins Induction phase today to remind myself of the good/healthy foods I should be eating and to start chipping away at all of the weight I’ve regained over the past several months so that I can look good and feel confident when ICRS and the ACFW conference roll around here pretty soon.

So let’s talk about grocery shopping.

What’s the grocery store you shop at most often?

What are the top five items you buy most often?

How often do you go?

Paper, plastic, or reusable?

Are you a coupon clipper/user?

Do you have a standard circuit you make around the store or do you just wander?

Do you make a list? If so, do you stick to it militantly and not buy anything not on the list—or is the list more a “guideline” than a “rule”?

Here are my answers:
What’s the grocery store you shop at most often? Kroger—simply by dint of the fact that it’s closest to my home.

What are the top five items you buy most often? Milk (for coffee); flavored, sugar-free soda water; bagged salad; eggs; meat (whatever’s on sale)

How often do you go? I’m going to try to get back to going only once a week, to buy the few items I need to fill out my meal plan for the week.

Paper, plastic, or reusable? Reusable (I even take them to Sam’s!)

Are you a coupon clipper/user? I know I should, but I’m just not as organized as my sister.

Do you have a standard circuit you make around the store or do you just wander? When I make a list, I make it in order of the way the store’s organized, starting with the produce section and then working my way around to the dairy/frozen-food section on the other end of the store. But at Publix or Sam’s, I pretty much stick to the perimeter and read the signs over the rows to see what I might need down each one.

Do you make a list? If so, do you stick to it militantly and not buy anything not on the list—or is the list more a “guideline” than a “rule”? I’ve gotten bad about going without a list—and treating the grocery store as a convenience store. In the past few months, there have been times when I’ve gone to Kroger every day—sometimes more than once a day. When a craving struck, I was there. When I was doing well on Weight Watchers, I made a list each week when I made my meal plan. I stood in the kitchen at the fridge and planned meals around what I already had and made my grocery list from what I needed to fill in the rest of the plan. Not only did it mean less wasted food, I was spending a lot less money on food—because I wasn’t making impulse purchases or buying stuff that sat around until it rotted because I never got around to eating it. So I’m definitely going back to list making!

What about you? What are your grocery store habits?

16 Comments
  1. Thursday, May 20, 2010 4:35 pm

    For the record, I love the writing tips posts. Unfortunately, I’m in a period of total writer’s block and though I read each and every one, have felt totally UNWORTHY to comment! Also, it’s been crazy busy at my house, which makes the grocery quiz quite timely. Hubby’s been talking budget cuts lately. 🙂

    What’s the grocery store you shop at most often? We have a local grocery, Conrad’s grocery, that is probably the most visited, although we hit Wal-Mart and Sam’s when we’re in a town that has them.

    What are the top five items you buy most often? Milk, cereal, pop-tarts, bread, eggs

    How often do you go? I truly dislike grocery-shopping. Here in town, everybody knows me – I’m the librarian, so more know ME than I know THEM. It’s really, really hit-and-miss and getting things when we run out of things and have TIME to go.

    Paper, plastic, or reusable? Plastic. We have dogs. ’nuff said.

    Are you a coupon clipper/user? No. Occasionally. When I remember. I’m not as organized as MY sister, either.

    Do you have a standard circuit you make around the store or do you just wander? I’m pretty much a creature of habit. I, too, TRY to put my list in order of the store, especially at my local store. At Wal-Mart and Sam’s? I inevitably end up at the front and remember something I needed at the BACK.

    Do you make a list? If so, do you stick to it militantly and not buy anything not on the list—or is the list more a “guideline” than a “rule”? Guidelines. My husband is so militant that I tell him, every time I send him, that if he sees anything that looks good, to feel free to veer from the list. He never does. I always think of things that aren’t on the list, after I’m there, and they’re not ALWAYS things that are bad for me.

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    • Thursday, May 20, 2010 6:46 pm

      I know the feeling about writer’s block. But never let yourself believe you’re unworthy or not called because you have writer’s block. Work through it—and follow tip #4 . . . take this time to get some reading done—fiction reading, not how-to-book reading.

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      • Thursday, May 20, 2010 8:33 pm

        Heading over to re-read tip #4! And I have been reading like CRAZY!

        Thanks, Kaye – and I just saw you’re coming to MY neck of the woods June 3 at Calvert City, KY!! I’ve already put it on my calendar.

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  2. Thursday, May 20, 2010 4:45 pm

    1. I shop most often at Albertson’s. The one near my house has fantastic customer service, so I try to stock up on whatever they have on sale every week in order to minimize trips to WalMart (mine does NOT have good customer service and the lines are forever long). Unfortunately, sometimes I need something(s) that isn’t on sale, so I get it at WalMart because they have the lowest prices in my immediate area.

    2. Top 5 items: milk, juice, bread, eggs, butter

    3. I usually shop weekly.

    4. Re-useable bags. Both Albertson’s and Target offer $.05 off your bill for every re-useable bag you use. If I use 6 bags every week (which is probably average for me), that adds up to $15.60 I’m saving every year just on bags. Plus, I hate having millions of plastic bags around the house.

    5. Coupons- yes. Heck yes. (Thanks for the shout out! :0)

    6. No time to wander. I know which items I’m getting from which store, and I go in and get them and leave.

    7. I always have 2 lists going: one is the “this is what we just ran out of and need to get” list, the other is the “this is what’s on sale at which store this week that I need to stock up on” list. I would say I stick pretty closely to the lists, but sometimes, I will see something on the shelf that I need but forgot to write down on the list, so I will, of course, get that. Other times, I will run across a really good clearance or deal on something that I need, and I will get that if it’s too good a deal to pass up. Sometimes if I’m spending less than anticipated, I’ll use the extra money to buy my kids a treat (cookies, snack crackers, etc.)

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    • Thursday, May 20, 2010 6:41 pm

      Kroger either gives cents off of the total bill or points toward gas discounts. Since I fill up at Kroger and get a 10-cent-per-gallon gas discount for every 100 points I earn (like 50 points for each prescription filled, 5 points for each reusable bag used, 1 point for each dollar spent, extra points for special sale items), I go for the gas points with the reusable bags.

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  3. Sylvia M. permalink
    Thursday, May 20, 2010 4:58 pm

    1) What’s the grocery store you shop at most often?

    Food Lion and Aldi; Sometimes we go to a food salvage grocery store where one can get name brand stuff for alot less. The boxes/cans are dented, but the stuff is fine.

    2) What are the top five items you buy most often?

    milk, bread, leaf spinach, eggs, bananas

    3) How often do you go?

    once a week

    4) Paper, plastic, or reusable?

    plastic and reusable

    5) Are you a coupon clipper/user?

    Not usually. Occasionaly I use coupons for my shampoo and conditioner, but not too often for other items.

    6) Do you have a standard circuit you make around the store or do you just wander?

    Most of the time it’s a standard circuit.

    7) Do you make a list? If so, do you stick to it militantly and not buy anything not on the list—or is the list more a “guideline” than a “rule”?

    Yes, there’s a list, but we normally stock up on the same stuff every time we go to the store. So most of the list is the stuff that we have run out of that we only buy a couple of times a month.

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  4. Lizard permalink
    Thursday, May 20, 2010 5:39 pm

    1. The large chain here in Jewel for the usual stuff. There is a small chain of stores that we will go get produce at cheaper prices and better quality than the big stores. This time of the year is great because our French market just opened up on the weekends so we go there to get local produce which is usually on the fresher and cheaper end. Walmart and Sams for the bulk shopping.

    2. Milk, bread, pop, banana’s, cereal

    3. weekly- Jewel & produce, every 2/3 weeks Walmart and/or Sams

    4. try for re-usable, but it doesn’t always happen

    5. I try to use coupons, but no every week – I love getting the circular on-line now for the stores – I don’t always get a paper so that is very helpful

    6. circuit

    7. guideline list

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    • Thursday, May 20, 2010 6:45 pm

      Our main farmers’ market here in Nashville, downtown, spent several days under water two weeks ago during the flooding, but they just announced that the outdoor “sheds” for the farmers’ market have reopened for regular business hours—unfortunately, the indoor market area remains closed, meaning no access to the butcher’s shop and other specialty food item shops that are usually inside. So I’m looking forward to doing most of my produce shopping there during the week (no way would I go on the weekend—too crowded!) and getting locally grown fruits and veggies.

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  5. Jennifer Elerick permalink
    Thursday, May 20, 2010 7:45 pm

    I am not a writer, so sorry I just don’t feel like I have anything to add to it. But I do buy groceries quite often so here goes.
    What’s the grocery store you shop at most often? I have 4 kids and buy groceries every week. I go to Aldis and Walmart. I hit up Riesbecks during their meatsales. I think Riesbecks is just around our area so don’t be suprised if you have never heard of it.

    What are the top five items you buy most often? I always buy bread, milk, pop, salad, and juice. There are of course many more items bought each week. I usually only make a list of the things I think I will forget to get. Right now we have alot of meat from a cow we bought part of. So we are good on ground meat, roasts ect…

    How often do you go? Once a week.

    Paper, plastic, or reusable? plastic and reusable. I use reusable at Aldis, but at Walmart I get plastic.

    Are you a coupon clipper/user? No. I probably should be, but things are so much cheaper at Aldis and I am just not organized enough to use them at Walmart.

    Do you have a standard circuit you make around the store or do you just wander? I go straight thru Aldis. There isn’t much other way to go. I am random at Walmart. I do usually start at the personal items like toothpaste first at Walmart if I need any of that.

    Do you make a list? If so, do you stick to it militantly and not buy anything not on the list—or is the list more a “guideline” than a “rule”?
    I usually only make a list of the things I really need and get the same general things each week otherwise.

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  6. Friday, May 21, 2010 1:42 am

    I SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO wish we had an Aldi. There isn’t one in my whole state. There isn’t even a place on their web site where you can write to beg them to build one in your state. So sad.

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  7. Friday, May 21, 2010 8:14 am

    What’s the grocery store you shop at most often? Meijer (I’m in Michigan)

    What are the top five items you buy most often? (Bread, milk, meat, produce, cereal)

    How often do you go? Once a week

    Paper, plastic, or reusable? Combination of reusable and plastic

    Are you a coupon clipper/user? Yes! I save $25 on average every week using coupons

    Do you have a standard circuit you make around the store or do you just wander? I follow the same path around the store every time.

    Do you make a list? If so, do you stick to it militantly and not buy anything not on the list—or is the list more a “guideline” than a “rule”? I always make a list. I use the ZipList app on my iPod. Usually I will get things that aren’t on the list, but I always make sure to get the things that are on it.

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  8. Michelle permalink
    Friday, May 21, 2010 9:06 am

    What’s the grocery store you shop at most often? Kroger, it’s also the closest to me. I also like Meijer though (I’m in Kentucky)

    What are the top five items you buy most often? Diet soda, Bananas, Meat (whatever is on sale), pasta, and tomato sauce

    How often do you go? 1-2 weekly

    Paper, plastic, or reusable? Plastic, I use them for so many different things

    Are you a coupon clipper/user? I’m starting to become one.

    Do you have a standard circuit you make around the store or do you just wander? I’m definitely a creature of habit. I start in the produce section, then go through bakery/deli sampling whatever I can along the way, then it’s meats, then canned goods, dairy, pharmacy, and finally frozen foods, pop and bread.

    Do you make a list? If so, do you stick to it militantly and not buy anything not on the list—or is the list more a “guideline” than a “rule”? I’m not very good at making lists. However the times I have, I stuck to the list.

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  9. Friday, May 21, 2010 11:00 am

    First, for the record, I too LOVE the writing tips. I’ve starred them all in Google Reader and bookmarked them. Sometimes lack of comment means simply that we’re taking it all in and digesting it, I think.

    I mostly shop at Wal-mart. I know, I know… My sister reads me the riot act every time this comes up, about how they’re not a responsible employer, unfair business practices, etc. But I’m on a fairly tight budget and I truly get the best buys there. I supplement at Sweetbay where I can get variety and a few healthier options not found at the big box store.

    Top 5 items? — Milk, Hi-C drink, oatmeal, detergent, and frozen ground turkey.

    I waste a lot of gas because it seems like every other day. Not that frequently but more than twice a week because even with a list, we seem to forget things or something unexpected comes up.

    Plastic because that’s what they offer. I would be cool with paper. Reusable is not an option most of the time because those bags are really small and I would need too many of them.

    No coupons.

    No need to wander. I’m there so much I know exactly what’s on every aisle. When they reorganized recently, it threw me off…for about two weeks.

    Definitely a list. I stick pretty close to it but am not militant about it. I’m good for grabbing something I forgot to write down or didn’t think of.

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  10. Traci Myers permalink
    Friday, May 21, 2010 2:39 pm

    I use reusable bags but forget them half the time and have a go back to the car and get them.
    I write a list but not in any store layout order, but i don’t wander in the store, my eyes wander on my list. I try to stick to it because I can only handle about 20 minutes in the store before my eyes glass over and I start to mumble, get me out of here now. I get the coupons from City Market/Kroger at check out and then forget to bring them back with me, I check my pile every so often and toss out the dated ones, silly! I try to only go once a week, my husband gets sent for the oh no, I forgot moments. He always comes back with cookies and coke, it is my punishment for sending him, lol! Happy shopping!

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  11. Audrey permalink
    Saturday, May 22, 2010 5:04 pm

    What’s the grocery store you shop at most often? Meijer (but sometimes Kroger or Wal-Mart as they are all within a 5 mile radius of my house)

    What are the top five items you buy most often? Raumen, Kilbesa, Bacon, Eggs, Milk

    How often do you go? Once or twice a week

    Paper, plastic, or reusable? Plastic

    Are you a coupon clipper/user? Rare, but we were when i was growing up.

    Do you have a standard circuit you make around the store or do you just wander? Mostly wander

    Do you make a list? If so, do you stick to it militantly and not buy anything not on the list—or is the list more a “guideline” than a “rule”? List – Yes. But we also add things not on the list if we see something good or new that we want to try. (example – maple donuts are my weakness, i get them when i can and yet they are never on the list because no one else thinks to buy them for me when i’m not with them)

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  12. Monday, May 24, 2010 2:26 pm

    I finally got Ransome’s Honor from daughter and I LOVED it! I can’t wait to get my hands on Ransome’s Crossing, though I fear we will have a tussle over who gets it first. Thank you so much for letting Claire and I spend some time with you while you were in Little Rock for the book signing. We loved it!

    I love your writing tips as well and try to think about them and apply when I can. You’ve even challenged me to get some of those stories back out and rework them… Maybe someday I can do something more with them.

    Hmmm, groceries. I can honestly say I can’t stand shopping, grocery or otherwise. My husband should feel happy about that, but I’m sure he’s not.

    What’s the grocery store you shop at most often? Price Cutter, Sams, and Aldis

    What are the top five items you buy most often? Milk, fruit, cereal, carnation instant breakfast (I know, we’re REALLY healthy here), flour

    How often do you go? Once a week for milk and stuff, but I try to keep it at every 2 weeks.

    Paper, plastic, or reusable? Reusable all the way, unless I forget my bags.

    Are you a coupon clipper/user? I do use coupons, but I only use the ones that we need. I don’t clip or go out of my way to use them if it is something we don’t need.

    Do you have a standard circuit you make around the store or do you just wander? I start at the same end of the store and make my rounds, unless I’m just running in for a gallon of milk or bread.

    Do you make a list? If so, do you stick to it militantly and not buy anything not on the list—or is the list more a “guideline” than a “rule”? My family knows that we’re supposed to write “it” on the list or it doesn’t get purchased. This helps cut down on “want” purchases, though we do pick up items that we know we’ve run out of. I taught the kids that if they asked for something last minute (whether it’s a drink at the soda shop or whatever at the store) than it was an automatic “No”. They even trained our youngest this rule and it has been a lifesaver on tantrums and begging. I have been know to treat them occasionally if they were great or really helped out, so I’m not a total drill Sargent. This also helps Honey to cut down on his wandering “I’m hungry and everything looks good” buying sprees. I love to use Grocery Gadget on my iPhone and this really helps me keep track of prices, coupons, and helps me compare prices of different stores I use.

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