Grocery Shopping - Wallingford,CT

Updated on May 22, 2012
L.B. asks from Berwick, ME
23 answers

How long does it take you to grocery shop? It takes me like 2 hours to get through the store.

Do you bring a list? How do you organize what you need?

Do you plan meals ahead of time? How do you decide what to make for each meal?

How much do you spend per week on groceries? I spend about $200 for a family of 4. 2 of us have Celiac disease so I do have to purchase some of the more expensive breads and flours etc...

I hate meal planning and grocery shopping!

What can I do next?

  • Add yourAnswer own comment
  • Ask your own question Add Question
  • Join the Mamapedia community Mamapedia
  • as inappropriate
  • this with your friends

So What Happened?

I don't know how you all grocery shop so fast. It takes so long just to walk through the Stop and Shop. I tried a shopping list last week and still spent 2 hours in the grocery store and ended up spending even more than usual. How do you guys stick to your budget?

Featured Answers



answers from Eugene on

I can get through the grocery store in 30-45 minutes easy. I made a pre-printed list using MS Excel. Walked through store once with pen and paper, followed my usual path through the store and lwrote down the items I buy regularly by aisle. List goes on fridge, we circle items as needed and the list is ready to go when I am. There is space for write-ins. My budget is $50 per person per week. I have food allergies and am feeding 2 teen boys. We eat pretty well for that amount.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

I shop twice a week (Monday and Friday). It takes me 45 minutes at the MOST to shop.

I go to Costco about every 6 weeks for stuff I buy there.

I make a menu for the week, and shop from a list. I always shop at the same store so I know where everything is.

My menu is based on my kids and my husbands schedules. Days he travels we eat stuff I know the kids like (spaghetti, taco's, chicken) when he's home I cook stuff he and I like (tonight I did grilled salmon and roasted asparagus). I like to cook, so I get several cooking magazines. I try to pick a new recipe a week out of one of them... We have some things we eat weekly (spaghetti and taco's) but I try to mix up the meat or noodles, or side's so it's not the same old meal every time.

I'd say a menu and list are in order to save you time.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

I live close to my favorite grocery which in in a nice upscale area and I am there daily.

I buy all my fruits and veggies fresh when I want them.

I probably spend a minimum of $150 a week by the time you add up my daily visits.

We have a family of 3. I do not coupon, I just shop smart. Time=$ to me.

1 mom found this helpful

More Answers



answers from Minneapolis on

I kinda enjoy gro shopping, but lately I am always SO afraid of the total $ that it is nerve-racking and I would rather not go at all. It takes me about 1 hour if I go to the store I know well. We have about 4 or 5 suppers that we always get the food for to have on-hand, and stuff for lunches too. I found a great list and we use it every time, I would be lost without it, even though it is usually the same stuff over and over. I try my best to stick to the list and not impulse buy. We are so broke right now. last week I sent $30 worth of groceries with my daughter to preschool to donate to the food shelf, and this week I had to borrow out of our savings to go grocery shopping for OUR family!

We spend between $180 - $200 for a family of 4 (kids ages are 5 and 1). Yes, EVERY WEEK!! I hate reading responses to this when people say they spend SO much less than I do. Where the hell are they shopping, the food shelf??

If we try to skimp on one trip, we end up stopping to get things throughout the week and then pick up 'one more thing' while we are there, so probably end up spending more $ even.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

I'm pretty sure you can pare down your time spent at the store.
I spend approx 30mins (45 mins max). I'm in. I'm out. I have a list.

I don't do coupons (took too much time unless it's super special).

I buy off brand. I buy cheap.

We used to go Costco every 2 weeks. Not since it got more expensive.
We only go there for certain major savings: diapers, specialty items, bulk
items (biscotti @ xmas time etc.).

I ALWAYS bring a list.

I shop by aisle.

You don't have to be a major meal planner. You can make it simple like: taco Tuesdays, Weiner Wed (it can be hot dogs, sausages or rice & sausage), Fish Fridays (fish for you & hubby, fish sticks for the kids), Thai Thursdays. Otherwise, I decide in morn & defrost some meat. We have some meatless nights too!

I watch the cooking shows & get ideas from there if I'm stumped.

I stock my pantry w/the essentials: bread, tortillas, canned veggies when in a pinch, fresh veggies whenever poss, noodles of all varieties, spaghetti sauce, alfredo sauce, tortellini, steak/fish/pork chops/ground beef in freezer.

Again, you don't HAVE to meal plan but it does make things easier. Sometimes I get an idea when I watch the cooking shows in the morning & make "spin-off" or just get a hankerin' for something during the day. Do it that way if you hate planning.

As far as groc shopping, always have a list w/you, make sure you have essentials at home always: cereal, bread, eggs, milk, pasta, sauce, bread crumbs, tortillas, spices, pizza ingredients, froz chicken, froz ground beef.

I USUALLY make: tacos, spaghetti, hamburgers, steak.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Kansas City on

We keep a list on the fridge and write things down when we run out. Before we go to the store we check the bathrooms for the toilet paper situation, etc. It usually takes us about an hour, but my husband and I tend to loiter in the transformers/superhero toy aisle, and the craft area.

We're a family of 3 and we generally spend about a hundred, unless we have to get extras or a lot of detergents or whatever.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Santa Barbara on

Somehow I have lucked out and my 18 year old daughter does most of the grocery shopping for the two of us!! She is a Freshman in college but chose a university close by so I guess she does live here.

She just went yesterday and certainly had a list. She mentioned when she came home that the total cost seemed very low at $120 (for the week), we don't use coupons. She does have a debit card of mine, I don't actually make her pay for it.

Our trips to PetSmart though are a doozy...every two weeks at $160/visit.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

We are just DH, DD and myself. We shop every weekend. I buy all regular stuff at Target, and get produce from a local supermarket. It takes us a total of 90 minutes to finish both.

I always spend 10 minutes on Thursday nights before going to bed, and write down a list of groceries and stuff needed for the next week. I have a regular checklist of all the usual items and I mentally run through a normal day - morning, b'fast, lunch, dinner, baby, house-hold, cleaning, etc. It helps me remember each regular items in a sequence.

Re meal planning, I always have a basic list of items - breads, pastas, sauces, cereals, rices, beans, spices, condiments, snacks, dairy, cheeses, produce (we're vegetarians, so no meat!) - which I plan and also shop aisle-wise. Makes it easier to not forget something, and spend less time shopping. I find different recipes to use all the stuff to make different flavors and dishes.
Once in a while, as I am shopping, a new/non-regular item suddenly gives me an idea, and I pick it up. If I buy impulse items, I make sure I use them within the next 2-3 days, before the inspiration dies! :)

We spend about $100 on the 3 of us, on an average per week.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Miami on

It takes me about 2 1/2 hours to shop, less time IF I have no kiddos with me (I have 4...ages: 12, 9, 5, and 12 months). When my school aged kiddos are in school, I have the baby with me. I wear her in a carrier so that she can nurse while I shop.

I plan all of my meals (10 days worth, which always yields leftovers and sometimes another meal for the next day). I write them down in a "menu" type format so that each day I can pick and choose what to make for that day. I buy ONLY what I need for the meals I plan, that way I have nothing extra to waste and nothing rots until the next time I shop. I shop every two weeks, when my husband gets paid. We eat at church once a week during the 2 week shopping frame, so that is why I only plan 10 days of meals. When I have a ton of perishable produce items, I plan on making those meals first. I know my grocery store very well so my grocery list is set up according to how the store is laid out. I just went shopping and my groceries for 2 weeks cost me $415.00. We are a family of 6. I buy things on sale, I use coupons and I buy organic whenever I can.

How do I decide what to make? I scour the internet for recipe ideas, I have a ton of printed recipes that I have organized in big 3-ring binders I bought from Office Max, and I have recipe books. I love to cook, I love trying new things, and I am all about healthy cooking. I try to make homemade things as opposed to processed foods. I created my "menu" on a spreadsheet but you can do it on regular paper. I like to be neat and organized that way and I put the source (cookbook name and page) under each meal idea.

I honestly do not like meal planning or grocery shopping but this method I use has been extremely helpful and effective for me for the past 20 years that I've been doing it this way.

When I find recipes online, I print them out and place them in clear protective covers. I bought dividers for my binder and have them labeled : chicken, beef, turkey, seafood, side dishes, appetizers, vegetarian, etc. and I have all of my recipes organized in this fashion. I have one binder just for desserts (cakes, cookies, etc.) and that one is just about full!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Albuquerque on

I am an extreme couponer.

It takes me 1-2 hours to shop, I go once a week, and I spend roughly $40 a week to feed the whole family and cover household items.

I always bring a list and coupons with me.

I get organized by first looking in my pantry for what is low or missing, then I look at the weekly sales ads to see what is on sale, then I see if I have a coupon for any of those items.

This doesn't take long, especially when it is done consistently each week.

Keep a list on the fridge so that when you use something up, you can write it down right away so it is not forgetten.

I have a Mamapedia post about couponing on my profile if you want to learn more about that. There is no need for you to spend $200 a week on groceries. You earned that money. That money could be going to so many better places than to the store. College fund, retirement fund, vacation fund. You don't have to spend that money!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Syracuse on

I spend between 6-700/month on groceries for a family of 4.

I generally have a list but I don't meal plan. I have a few recipes that I make but generally we eat pretty "boring" which to me is healthy and cheaper. A typical dinner is a lean meat like chicken, potato sliced into fries and baked, a vegetable. I buy spices to season things.

I buy what's on sale and in season when it comes to fruit/veggies. If a brand of bread is on sale, I buy 4-5 loaves and freeze it. If meat is on sale, I'll stock up.

I don't use coupons because often they're for items I wouldn't normally want/buy.

I try to buy always buy the store brand or the sale brand when it comes to snacks, chips, etc.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Wausau on

I enjoy grocery shopping, so I tend to take my time wandering through the store. I spend between $400-$500 a month for a family of 4, no special diet needs. I tend to do one big shopping trip every 6 weeks or so for staples. For things like milk, bread and other perishables, I have my husband stop after work becuase the grocery store is directly on his way home.

One thing that was a great money saver was buying a share of a locally raised cow. Excellent organic beef at $2/lb. Beef prices have been double or more that amount in the store lately.

My shopping habits may change in the next few months because our usual grocery is building a new store within a half-mile of my house. I envision having a little pull cart that holds a couple of bags, or a basket for my bike.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

I have a stock of standard things I keep in my home, and I just know what needs to be purchased, but for specialized items I bring a list - like if I am trying a new recipe or product or happen to have cupons. Since I keep things fairly standard I can get it done quickly - takes about 40min in Sam's Club and about 30 in the reg grocery and about 10-20 in the ethnic mart. I have a budget of 500/mo and tend to get it all done at once.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from New York on

I couldn't imagine 2 hours in the grocery store.

Hubby does most of the grocery shopping. This morning he left the house at 6:50 am, dropped the kids off at school, drove over 5 miles to the grocery store and was home before 8:00 when I left for work. He spend around $75. We also do a biweekly stop at BJ's, keep a stocked pantry, and a full freezer.

Yes, I make a list for him. The list is made in the order of the layout of the store. Veggies at the top of the list, canned goods, meats, and dairy items at the end. We do not stick to the list. If we see something we need or that's on sale, we purchase it.

Our weekly shopping is based on the weekly circular, we plan our meals around what's on sale. Shoprite has sausage on sale, so that's a meal. They also have london broil on sale, that's another meal. What to have with it? We purchased veggies for a salad, there's frozen veggies in the freezer. We could have potatoes, rice or pasta all of which are in the pantry.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

I only take about 20 minutes to get through the grocery store. That, and about an hour at the farmers market on Saturday. (That's more for fun, rather then it actually needing to take that long.) I plan my meals weekly. (On Sunday.) We eat meals with meat 3 dinners per week, and the remaining 4 meatless. I have a rotation of about 20 dinners we love, that we rotate. We aren't picky and don't need much more variety then that. I do try to cook 2-3 brand new meals per month. There are some meals we eat every week. Tacos and Parmesan chicken usually are weekly. Yes, I bring a list. I write the list out, according to the store layout. I spend $30-50 a week for our family of 3, plus $20-40 a week at the farmers market. We average $250-350 a month on groceries. (That's food groceries. Toiletries and cleaning supplies are $60 a month.)

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

I grocery shop with a list once a week. I usually organize what is needed by what we're out of and what meals I plan on making that week. We spend under $200/week for a family of 4 that includes diapers, wipes, all cleaning, toiletries and household products. It takes us about an hour total and most of that time is actually standing in line. Sometimes we're in and out in under 45 minutes but it all depends on how busy the store is at the time.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Austin on

I am a divorced empty nester. I spend $300 a month.



answers from Bellingham on

My husband shops once a week. We have a family of five, and spend around $120 per week. It takes him around one hour. He always shops with a list.

He makes a vague meal plan, and we try to buy fruit in season and meat that is reduced for quick sale (then we freeze it). A lot of our meals are now 'creative'. For example, on Saturday we had roast lamb with roast potato, pumpkin, carrot, onion and peas. I did a lot of veggies as there were great specials on at the store. The next day I made a really yummy roast vegetable soup with the leftovers. We'll eat that later this week with home baked bread. Many times we get two meals out of one.

My brother and his family seem to live on chilli served up in different ways. They make a big pot at the beginning of the week, and then just keep eating it.



answers from New York on

How long does it take you to grocery shop? 2-3 hours depending on if I can find everything or need to ask a store clerk to bring more out or get a raincheck, that I usually forget I have. I got to multiple stores, because some stores have better sales on certain things or better meats or better produce. We do not have one store that is good at everything; eventhough, one of the big chain stores here is supposed to be "one stop shopping." Their fruit and meats are horrid.

Do you bring a list? Yes...Do I pay attention to it...I try to, but always miss one item.

How do you organize what you need? I try to put the list in the same order as the isles in the supermarket. I also write on the top of the flyer, so I don't loose my list and know which store to buy what at. When unloading the cart at the check-out, I put heavy stuff first so it winds up on the bottom of the cart and all the cold and frozen stuff together, all the meats together, all the produce together...It drives MIL nuts.

Do you plan meals ahead of time? I like spontinuity, but MIL has our son's menu already planned. It's the same every week...Sun. = hamburgers, Mon = salmon, Tues.=bacon....Boring!

How do you decide what to make for each meal? What ever is in the fridge and cupboards. I like to get creative. If I think of something that morning or the night before, I take it out of the freezer.

How much do you spend per week on groceries? $90-$120 depending on if I need to buy meat/fish or not or if paper towels/toilet paper/kleenx is on sale. MIL buys her own food, so it's just for 3 people. We don't eat cereal, so that's a plus. Cereal is soooooo expensive.



answers from Washington DC on

2 hours and $200? No wonder you hate it! :)

Are you trying to shop with two young children? That could explain why it's taking you so long. Is there anyway you could go when they're not with you? Are you talking $200 a WEEK?

I spend about 45 minutes max WITH my son or 30 minutes without him every week. I do make a list, and look through the coupons in the weekly mailer for our grocery store before we go.

I don't plan meals ahead, necessarily, but there are a few things we really like, so I try to always have those ingredients on hand. Otherwise, our dinners are primarily chicken or fish, rice and veggies, so I always have those in the freezer plus a couple of frozen pizzas, pasta, yogurt, and sandwich stuff.

We're usually on a two week cycle... so one week I stock up and spend $70-$100. Then next week it's just to pick up milk, produce and bread, so under $30. I try to keep us at $200 or less for the month (family of 3).

Is there a Trader Joe's near you? The stores are MUCH smaller and there are MANY MANY gluten free options as well as semi-prepared meals etc. They are typically LESS expensive than Safeway and the like and you can certainly get out in less than 2 hours.



answers from Albany on

I go once a week. And my family knows that, and if we run out (except for things like milk or ALL produce), I don't go in between (or send hubby either!). I average $200/week for our family of 4 also (two boys, 7 and 9). It's generally an hour round trip (we're about 10 minutes from the store) BUT I can go "off peak", so I'm not fighting crowds, just reading labels.
I have a fairly stock list, and only do planning when we have a special event (or friends/family coming). Otherwise, I have a rotation of about 8 or 10 meals that I cook each week...



answers from New York on

It takes me over an hour to do my grocery shopping. Sometimes, I do bring a list and bring a pen or pencil to scratch off what i have bought.

Yes, I plan meals ahead of time so I know what to buy. Also, I go to my pantry and search in the fridge what I lack.

I spend about $100 for a week for myself and my husband, and we go out to dine perhaps once a week.


answers from Washington DC on

for me, it takes me about an hour. I go once a week and I have a calendar up that has all our dinners for the week planned out. I make the list from that plus a few extras that we need and then I am usually good about sticking to it. We spend around $120 to $150 a week for our family of 4.

For Updates and Special Promotions
Follow Us

Related Questions