When we had our first child, we would simply have him join us with the Ergo carrier and then later riding in the front of the cart. When we had our second child, it became a little more work to get everyone ready to go out, shop, and move children in and out of carseats multiple times in sometimes unpleasant weather conditions. And so, we then changed how we approached weekly grocery shopping.
We decided to continue to shop on Sunday afternoons since that continues to be the most convenient occasion. However, we now have one person shop while the other person stays home while the children take their afternoon naps. Doing it this way allows each of us to have some time alone, something that is vital for strong introverts like ourselves. (We live at a distance from all family. We don't have babysitters or any other childcare. Consequently, if there is to be any little "break" for personal refreshment we have to create those moments. Weekly grocery shopping has become that opportunity).
Ideally, we create a menu plan on Saturdays so that planning is one less task to be completed on Sundays. However, many times we are planning during lunch or as soon as the children fall asleep for their afternoon nap on Sundays. We'll always create a list based upon our menu plan and what we lack in our pantry for that plan. We currently do not purchase extra items, as this may put a strain on our finances or storage capacity of our bookshelf pantry.
And so, we don't shop based on sales, rain check potentials, coupons, social media offers etc. I've found that these avenues typically require a lot of time investment to locate and clip coupon follow/subscribe for the deal. Furthermore, the vast majority of applicable products are packaged/processed foods. There are very few of these that we consume to make the effort worthwhile. Saving money is a valuable goal, but so is preserving my time and energy.
I prefer to organize my list based on category (produce, dairy, meat etc.). I find it most efficient to write items according to how I approach them in the store. For instance, I walk the perimeter of the store first and then weave between the shelves back to my original starting place. So, my list is organized by produce, meats, some dairy, and then shelf items. I do not care for wasting time and energy maneuvering back and forth through a crowd to circle the store multiple times for items. I have even made notes on my list of specific aisles items are in so that I can pick up those items in the order their stored in the store. (Shopping is not my thing, at all! However, my desire to give my husband an opportunity for alone time is greater and so therefore I try to make my shopping trip as efficient and pleasant as possible for myself).
In order for David and I to each have an opportunity for alone time, we alternate shopping weeks. (This also preserves my sanity for having to shop in a crowd!). So, I shop one week while he stays at home, and then he'll shop the following week while I stay at home. It's really a wonderful system, especially when you have few to no resources to create opportunities for alone time (or maybe just time to work on a project or task that is best done without little ones "helping").
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