Apr 18, 2011

Loathing doesn't even begin to cover it

I was talking to Kyla last night, and had her cracking up. Why? I was telling her of my hatred of a weekly chore. Some people loathe laundry, others detest dishes. I abhor going to the grocery store.
It's such a hassle - there's so much prep work! I flip through cookbooks to try and see what meals we'll have for the week. We shop one week at a time (we used to shop for two weeks at a time but we couldn't eat food fast enough before it would go bad), so I usually plan at least five dinners for one shopping trip. I flip through cookbooks and try to determine what would be good, healthy, and not take forever to make. I also look at Ben's work schedule to see what weeknights might be hectic so I can opt for a crock pot meal that day.

Once I choose a recipe I write it on our menu sheet (otherwise known as a sheet of notebook paper), then write down all the ingredients to buy on my shopping list. I also check our kitchen at this point to make sure we're not buying things we already have, and verify on the recipe that it makes enough for us to have leftovers for lunches. I repeat this at least five times (one for each dinner planned).

Next I survey what we need in the kitchen - more baking ingredients (flour, sugar, etc), how low we are on breakfast options, or if we need more snacks. I check the bathroom to see if we need anything replaced there - toilet paper, shampoo, soap, etc. - and then finally check with the mister to make sure I haven't missed anything. Oh, did I mention I also make sure this fits within our weekly grocery budget?

This is all before I even leave for the store.

Once I get to the store I have it down to a science. My list is divided up into categories and they're in the order in which I find them throughout the store. (For instance, produce, and then breads and meats are at the top because those are the first sections I walk into). How long it takes me to shop depends on how long I've procrastinated on going to the store. I drag my feet so much about going that nine times out of ten I'm either there late at night (less people, but also a bad time if the store hasn't re-stocked some of their items), or in the middle of a day on the weekend (when there are tons of people that take their time moving out of the way and make me want to ram them with my cart).

I cross things off my list as I go, and I add up prices so I can stay within our budget and have a good idea of what the final price will be when I check out. I bring it all home, unload it...then do it all over again a week later. Ugh. Ben goes with me when I make him he can, but normally the best times to go don't coordinate well with his work schedule.

I guess it's not so much the grocery store itself I hate, it's all the work that goes into getting there. However, I don't see any of that changing, because we're on a budget and this is a system we've honed since we've been married and it's one we know works.

So until we're rich and can pay someone to do all this for us, I guess I'll just keep complaining about it.

Do you like going to the grocery store? Do you plan meals and shop with a list? And do you call it a grocery store or something else? (A friend of mine always refers to it as "the market.") Any suggestions to help me love it hate it less?

(Photo: The Library of Congress)


Gracie said...

That's exactly how I shop. I rather enjoy the prep, but I am not a fan of the actual grocery shopping. There is a lovely store here, Rouse's, that literally never has a line. That makes it better, but it's a 15 minute drive. So I'm wasting time either way I guess!

Lisa from Lisa's Yarns said...

I don't mind going to the grocery store... I used to really enjoy it when I had more time to wander the aisles, but that isn't really the case anymore. I have a similar approach to shopping in terms of meal planning & making a list from the recipe(s) I selected. During the week, I keep a running list of what i need to buy as I run out of it, which makes it less cumbersome to come up with a list the morning that I go to the store. So that seems to help! But I live alone, so I know exactly what I ran out of that week so it's not like I will be surprised to find that I am out of eggs or sugar or whatever...

Now that summer is approaching, my schedule shifts from a once a week shopping trip on a weekend to shopping during the week since i am usually gone on the weekends!

Kathleen said...

Oh goodness, I'm the same way except that I don't have the planning down like you do! Thankfully my husband loves running errands, so unless I need specialty items he's usually more than willing to brave the grocery store for me in exchange for doing his laundry. :)

Kelly (She Wears a Red Sox Cap) said...

I absolutely hate the grocery store too so I am with you. I have to admit that my shopping is not as well planned as you, and I tend to plan only a few meals a week and then eat leftovers the rest of the time. Yet somehow I always manage to spend way too much money at the grocery store. Eric and I usually go together, but recently we've realized we can make it cheaper if only one of us goes (last people to throw random non-list items in, I guess?) and so we are not going together as often now.

The Many Thoughts of a Reader said...

I don't mind the pre-prep work because I get excited about th emoney I am saving. On Sundays, I clip coupons and then check out the ad sales and then plan our meals. Then I go to the grocery store during the week, during the day with less people but more old people. So it's a lose lose haha.

Mandy said...

But you have such a fun store to shop in! Honestly I could blow my whole budget in the damn cheese and bread section of Wegmans. I normally go through the grocery store circulars to see whats on sale, make a list of what I might want to make, and then check the kitchen/freezer. I don't really mind grocery shopping.

EmbellishedbyEmily said...

Haha! I love going to the grocery. Any shopping is fine with me, really. My only issue is when Peter sends me out to pick up something for him (since he does 99% of the cooking in our household) and I am left to improvise because they are out of a particular item. Talk about a nervous breakdown! Who ever knew there could be so many different kinds of peppers! I've learned when in doubt, give him a call.

I saw this featured recently on a blog: www.e-mealz.com -- Basically you pick out a recipe and they send you a complete printable checklist of everything you will need categorized by the sections of the store you will find it in. Sounds pretty awesome, if you ask me. Almost made me want to cook a meal for Peter for once. Almost.

Nora said...

It depends on my mood. Some days I love it. Other days I despise it.

Having lists or recipes, well that doesn't really help me enjoy it one way or the other.

I guess i'm a wishy-washy grocery shopper :)

Amber said...

I have trouble fitting in the time to go, Eric and I almost ALWAYS go together so it's a matter of finding a time that fits both of our schedules.

Sadly, I'm a poor, poor meal planner and that approach has never worked for me. We tend to stock up on a lot of the SAME things every week. Boring, I know.

I LOVE grocery shopping in the summers when I can go to the Farmers Market once a week, though :)

Brittany said...

This cracks me up! All that stuff you mentioned is all the reasons i LOVE grocery planning + going to the store. I love planning our meals and well I guess I get super, weirdly excited about food!

Hey, maybe you could have your groceries delivered! I hear there are services that do that. You would still have to do the planning part, though.

I hate putting away laundry. Hate it.

Melly said...

i actually love grocery shopping, but the budget thing has made me start to loathe it. i operate the same way you do, except i leave out checking with my hubby to see if he needs anything - he usually does and it is always not needed and pushes our budget to the limit!!

Stephany said...

Oh, my gosh! I am the same way. I hate, hate, hate grocery shopping and especially meal planning. It's just so hard!! I wish I had a better system for it. Or a personal chef.

Ashlee said...

I have good grocery store days and bad grocery store days. Truth be told, I find grocery shopping extremely relaxing when I don't have a list and just take my time walking leisurely through the aisles. But 9 times out of 10, I have a list....maybe the list is the problem!

ashleyTIA said...

First I should say shame on you - most of the world would kill to have Wegmans, Whole Foods, and TJ's at their finger tips like we do, but then I would be a huge hypocrite! I don't like it either. ;)

My one tip would be to shop with a friend. I enjoy it so much more and then you can turn it into a coffee date or get the vegan chocolate chip cookies from Whole Foods. :)

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