Today was a long day. I got a nice, early start to get to the grocery store. For the past two weeks I have begun to work on a manner of shopping that I had gotten away from: Stocking up. I used to swear by it and then things changed, finances changed, life changed and I let that change. Since the household is run on a weekly pay basis, I would divide the 4 checks up as to how things were paid. The first check usually went to a big stock-up of groceries and the last 3 checks were divided equally among what was due for the month. It was a pretty good system. But as I said, when things happen you have to adjust to them and my budget faltered under the changes.
Since then, I have been determined to get back on the right path, and today I was able to put it back in motion. With an extra check this month and holiday pay, I decided to use this good fortune to our advantage.
I took a lot of time this week doing inventory and meditating on how and what to stock up on. I know that in the beginning, my approach will have to be systematic. To get household members aboard, I have to remind them of the good that came from shopping for the month, cooking from scratch, and substituting some favorites for healthier choices. Right now I think they are all happy to see the house teeming with food.
My usual stock-up takes at least two days as I have a small car and can't bring home everything on the same day. I usually start with the meat and some perishables, then concentrate on staples and lastly paper goods, household products: ie: dish detergent, soap, deodorant, toothpaste, cleaning supplies, laundry supplies. I doggedly track down sales and stay abreast of the local markets,Target and K-Mart for sales on laundry products, cereal, and even some of the products that are a regular part of my menu. I do have a membership at Sam's club but sometimes find that I can do just as well or even sometimes better stocking up locally than I can buying in bulk. There are still some items that I depend on Sam's for like lunch supplies when school is in, but to save on gas this summer, I have turned my eye locally for bargains. It works for me.
Here are some of my shelves and my chest freezer since the stock-up:
Is it all healthy? Of course not. At least not yet. It is a process and I have to "re-introduce" things into my menu gradually. Plus, I am not so enchanted by the whole process to not be honest. I know that once I return to school next month, time will be almost non-existent. So I will have to depend on some packaged helpers. But, I'd rather throw in some meat, open some vegetables, make a salad, and a basket of nice warm bread than pull up into a fast food drive through window because I am too tired to cook completely from scratch. I do what I have to do for my personal situation.
My teenager loves to make brownies and I won't have the time to help him step by step from the kitchen the way that I would like to. So I stocked up on his favorite Betty Crocker brownies at a dollar a box. An egg and a bit of oil and he can still cook and get the feel of the kitchen. I will miss the summer months because I have really been able to feed the from scratch "itch". I will still incorporate it into my Sunday meals. I call it my "Big Sunday" and will at least have that to look forward to.
All in all it was a productive day and most importantly, it gave me the joy of rebuilding what I had been neglecting.