Lessons learned at the grocery store
Yesterday I went grocery shopping. Not just every day grocery shopping. I’m talking a major trip. The last time I did one of these was April. In-between then and now, I’ve pretty much only gone to the store to pick up fresh dairy, produce and bakery items as well as a few loss leaders. I’ve rarely clipped coupons for those months, too. But with the proliferation of coupons for school items (check Coupons.com, Coupon Network by Catalina, Box Tops for Education and other Resources), I wanted to replenish our pantry stockpile.
I had the two oldest kids with me at the store (ages 8 and 9), old enough to help out and hopefully learn a few things. For instance, when you’re planning a big trip, find someone to watch your little kids! Believe me, I’ve tried it. Even on their best days, there is no way toddlers/pre-schoolers (like my 2 and 4-year old) will enjoy 2 hours in a boring old store. Besides, I have a theory that the fluorescent lights in stores makes kids (and some adults) lose the ability to make a smart decision. Yes, that’s me in Target asking my kids “Did you lose your brains?”
But older kids can help put items in the cart as well as be taught how to organize the cart (“No, kiddo, the watermelon shouldn’t go on top of the freshly baked hamburger buns”. They can hold on to coupons as you pick up items on the list. They can bend down and pick up items off the bottom shelf because Mom has bad hips . Most importantly, they can see how coupons and shopping the sales can bring the grocery bill down. Yesterday our trip saved us 52% off of regular store prices.
- Planning a major shopping trip is one thing, but not estimating how heavy the cart will be by the end can end a trip early.
- Having a kid who chooses not to eat breakfast can lead to hungry whining about 1/3 of the way through the store.
- You have to touch a product anywhere from 3 – 7 times before it’s put away. Depending on if you bag the item yourself and don’t take advantage of drive-up option at the grocery store, that’s a lot of lifting and moving. (And why I brought my helpers with me!)
- Putting the item in the cart
- Putting the item on the conveyer belt
- Bagging the item
- Placing Bag in cart
- Loading Bag into vehicle
- Unloadings bags to kitchen table/counter
- Putting the item away
- When using an inordinate amount of coupons (I had 86 yesterday!!), be kind and courteous to your cashier and especially the people who pull in behind you. ”This may take a while–I have a lot of coupons” is frequently uttered by me on trips like this.
- Three hours of “work” – one hour clipping coupons and planning and 1.5 hours in-store + travel time, can fill your pantry for months.
- Be glad that major grocery shopping trips only happen a few times a year (for us, anyway)!