Thursday, September 13, 2012

Day 67: How to grocery shop without having a meltdown

Yes, it happens to me. As much as I like planning, and go in to the stores with a list, grocery shopping has caused me to have a few emotional moments...sniffing back tears while filling up my water jugs...feeling the stress rise as I compete with the other shoppers for the line that's 3 buggies back instead of 7 buggies back....stuff like that.

Today, however, was a different story. I finished feeling great, and was without stress and tears. So here are my tips for making it through the stores and checkout without falling apart in the process:

1. Start the day out in prayer and thanksgiving. Seriously. This makes THE BIGGEST difference in my shopping day. Asking God for help and thanking Him for His abundant blessings changes my attitude and makes everyone else seem nicer.

2. Have a plan, and stick to it. I make a meal plan on my google calendar (click the words to see it), and then write out my grocery list. I divide my list into four categories: Proteins, Carbs, Fruits/Veggies, and Other. I try to stick to what we've decided are necessities, because when I start adding treats, I go over budget.

3. Shop early, and don't be in a hurry. I used to try to go as fast as I could through the stores, in order to avoid extra food temptation, and so I could get home and put the groceries away. Shopping at the same time as the grandparents and parents with young children means that aisles are clogged and people don't move quickly. The experience is much more enjoyable if I'm not trying to get around the 90-year-old lady trying to decide between Raisin Bran and regular bran cereal.

4. Bring and/or buy a drink and snack. This not only helps avoid other (not on the list) food temptations, but also makes being patient a lot easier. I bought a snack size bag of peanuts at the checkout at Aldi, and then got a giant water at Sonic:

5. Limit shopping to one or two stores. Sometimes I go to the farmer's market when it is open, but I limit my routine stores to Aldi and Walmart.  Aldi is cheap so I go there first, and then I go to Walmart to get whatever we need that I can't get at Aldi.

6. Use cash to buy things. This may not be the case for everyone, but I easily overspend when I use my debit card. I still struggle to stay in budget with cash-last week I used money from the spending envelope to buy the rest of our groceries. However, using cash makes me more conscientious about how I'm spending our money, and helps me to say no more often.

7. Be thankful. Again, reminding myself to be thankful for what God has given us makes a huge difference. Walmart lines are super long, and being thankful that I can afford the groceries I'm buying is a much better solution than losing my cool about being that 7th person in line. Plus, by the time I get to the checkout counter, I'm a much nicer person to the cashier.

So that's how I made it through today! By God's grace, I enjoyed the trip and walked out with a smile.

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