What Is on Your Grocery List?

Updated on March 18, 2012
K.H. asks from Denton, TX
9 answers

Hello Mamas,

I am in need to redoing how I buy groceries. I am finding that we eat out ALOT. And we want to stop that and save some money. When I go grocery shopping it seems I always buy the same stuff. I am needing some advise on changing my list up. Although I make a list I usually forget it at home, so it seems I spend way too much at the grocery store too. I have a husband and two small children. The 4 yr old is very very picky and the littler one will eat anything. Any advice on what is on your list or websites I can go to?

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answers from Peoria on

I usually go through the sale ads once a week and make the list based on that. I try to store meat in the freezer and plan meals around these two things. It helps to save money.

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answers from Seattle on

I have a VERY standard grocery list. I have a tight, limited, cash budget... but I cook a gazillion different things. Heck, with just bacon and eggs as the base, you can make a whole month's worth of different dishes (quiche, pasta carbonarra, omelets, devilled eggs, blts, salads, the list goes on... which I know... because I once had 10 lbs of bacon, 12 dozen eggs, and no other protein one month when my student loan check was 6 weeks late). LOL...That was NOT a heart healthy month! ANYHOW... here's my "list" for a standard month:

30 half gallons of milk
1 pint of cream
2lbs of butter
3lbs of soft cheese (brie & smoked gouda & shredded mex)
1/2lb of parm reg
5 big containers of greek honey yogurt (GreekGods)
1 tub of cottage cheese
1 tub of sour cream

Bread / Carb
2 loaves of bread
2 loaves of challah
4 packs of frozen croissants
(trader joes, defrosts and proofs overnight, bake in the morning)
3 boxes of wheat pasta
1 box of rice pasta (somen noodles)
1 packet of tortillas
1lb of bulgar wheat
1lb of middle eastern cous cous (the big ones)
1lb of sushi rice
1lb of basmati rice
1 box of pancake mix (oddly, around here, it's cheaper than flour + etc.)
1 bag of panko crubs
1 bag of tatertots

- 15 bags of frozen veg (including cooking veg, like stoplight peppers and leeks)
- 10lbs of potatoes
- 5lbs of baby carrots
- 2 heads of celery
- 4 heads of broccoli (my son's 2nd favorite)
- 1 cabbage (my son's favorite)
- 5lbs of onions (sweet and yellow and white)
- 8 bunches of greens
- 2lbs of baby spinach
- 1 lb of mushrooms
- 3 heads of garlic
- as many tomatoes as the budget can stand
- various 'what's for dinner' veg (like peppers for stuffed peppers or philly cheesesteak)

- apx 12 bananas
- 10lbs of mikans (little oranges, like cuties)
- 8 kiwis
- 2 mangos
- 4 avocados
- 8 fuji apples
- various "what's in season" (grapes, cherries, etc.)

- 2 2lb bags of frozen shrimp
- 2 1lb bags of frozen scallops
- 1 5lb bag of frozen chicken thighs
- "what's on sale" (chicken, turkey, beef, pork, fish... including ground)
- 4 sausages
- 12 dozen eggs
- 2lbs of bacon
- 1lb of gyro meat (from a local halal shop)
- couple lbs of legumes of various types

Ready Made
- 2 bags of orange chicken (trader joes)
- 4 boxes of palak paneer
- 2 bags of fried rice

Always have on hand:
- Cilantro
- Basil
- Parsley
((fresh for all of the above))
- Olive oil
- Garlic
- tinned soup
- tinned tomatoes & tomato paste
Lots and Lots and Lots of dried herbs and spices (over 100)

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Honolulu on

Gotta love Riley J's list
Similar to mine and really listed well.

Just adding:
Also love getting the veggies from Costco. Things like Asparagus and Artichokes and eggplant.
Lots of things can be made from these items as well.

I also buy or make Teriyaki sauce. Most kids like this or anyone and it can be used with any meats or veggies as a stir fry.

I have 1 picky son, and the rest of the family eats mostly everything... from ordinary to exotic.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Las Vegas on

I find that when going to the grocery store, it helps to have meal plans in mind and a list IN HAND........ E,g, I know that one night this week we will have a Lavash Wraps.. In it, I want to include specific veggies and or some smoked turkey. Therefore, I know just what to look for when I shop. Also, I know for sure that I want a GREEN veggie or two each night for dinner, so I will buy about 4 night's worth of those.. (knowing ahead of time what my family likes) Additionally, whatever fruit is in season (I only buy seasonal fruit/veggies) as it's always cheaper... I have found that if I don't plan when I go to the store, I end up with things I don't always use.. I make it a point to NOT waste that which we buy..

I think that if when you go to the store that if you do it with a planned approach, you can find bargains. Additionally, although things might seem more expensive, I think that depends on how you look at it.. By that I mean, ok sure you can get a burger at a fast food place cheap.. BUT.. what kind of quality are you getting.. those joints now sell salads.. but again, what kind of quality are you getting... so while it might be cheaper on the front-end, you end up by perhaps paying with ill health in the long-run.. Also keep in mind, when you cook... you may have left-overs and those can be used for lunches.. hence, making your money go even farther..

good luck in whatever you decide to do..

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Fort Collins on

I make a weekly menu of lunches and dinners we plan to have during the week. I try to base it off things we already have in the house. Ex, if we have a lot of pasta, we will definitely be having pasta 1-2x. I make sandwiches twice a week for lunch (deli meat once, pb&j once). We plan to eat out or take-out 1x per week, we also eat leftovers 1-2x per week. I also make note of any commitments we have outside of the house during the week, as that can influence meals. We don't always stick to the plan, but try. It gives us somewhere to start, at least. We've learned to be realistic and stick to old favs we can make w/o a recipe for most nights. We have also learned that we are usually not up for cooking much on

Anyhow...after the menu is made, i make a grocery list of what we need (checking for items that may already be in the house). Sometimes I have a few strange items in the house and don't know what to do with them...so I check All Recipes online for ideas. I only make 1, maybe 2 "new" recipes a week. Sometimes none.

I keep plenty of snack/breakfast choices around too and restock as necessary.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Philadelphia on

I always have Annie's Mac & Cheese on hand. The kids love it (I do too) and it's natural. I can cut up fresh peppers or whatever veggies they like and they eat them raw with dinner. When warm weather comes, which you have luckily, I will cut up watermelon too. Now for prepared foods, which I am very picky about, as per Hungry Girl's (Food Network) reccommendations on her daily email, I have tried the Bertolli soups in the freezer section. You just add a cup of water and heat it and that's it. We (including my husband) love the chicken minestrone. It is chock full of veggies like spinach, tomatoe, squash, zuccini, beans and chicken. I also like the Healthy Choice Roasted Turkey with stuffing, green beans and cobbler. It's healthy and delicious. My next try is the Kashi steamers. I got the Spinach and Artichoke Pasta. I hope I like it. Another thing I like to do is buy Naan bread and use it as pizza crust. I always have homemade sauce (san marzano canned tomatoes with garlic and some onion is all I do) and some shredded cheese. I sometimes put leftovers on my pizza, but the kids stay plain. You can add veggies and/or a salad for grown ups.

Frozen shrimp are another go to. You can top a salad. You can make scampi (Ina Garton has a simple recipe online) in a jiff. I also like to make clams and spagetti since all I do is saute some onion or shallot along with garlic in olive oil, then I add some wine or clam juice and add two cans of chopped clams. I add 2 tblspn butter, a cup of the pasta water, chopped fresh parsley, add the pasta and it's done.

I find that if I have things like this, although a little more costly, I can avoid take out when I'm beat or fatigued from 1st Trimester pregnancy ~ like now. I hope this is helpful.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from New York on

Two Sundays ago, I made a huge pot of chili w/ a touch of grass-fed beef and loads of beans and a few veggies. We ate it on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday for dinner. On Sunday, we ate the chili over white organic rice (I keep a bag on hand). On Monday, we ate it over Tinkyada brown rice noodles (I always have them). On Tuesday, I served it with home-made french fries--I used 1/2 bag of Natures Promise Organic potatoes.

Last Sunday, my husband made a big pot of tomato sauce. Pasta on Sunday eve. Home-made baked eggplant parm on Monday and Tuesday nights. Steamed broccoli on the side.

I will make a big salad every night to serve w/ all the meals.

My kids have a snack after school---With the left-over potatoes, I bake them in the oven and serve them w/ broccoli for an after school treat. The next day, they will have finish the bag of rice noodles...Cook them and mix in steamed broccoli and a few T. of olive oil

This system has helped me. It takes so much time to prepare dinners---- this method has saved me TIME and $.



answers from Provo on

2 things we do to cut down our grocery bill...1) I try to use beans in the place of meat for several dishes a week - it's healthy too :) We'll use beans in fajitas, taco salad, or rice and veggies. And 2) we participate in a produce co-op (bountiful baskets or harvest marker)...you need to be a little flexible because you never really know what you're going to get until you pick up on Saturday morning...but it is sooo much cheaper compared to what you would by in a store!!

ETA: allrecipes.com is an excellent website...I figure if a couple hundred people rate a recipe as 4-5 starts, it can't be too bad :) Generally I'm right!



answers from Washington DC on

Things that may help:

Consider delivery. Unusually the charge is minimal but how much you should tip varies. It will keep you from impulse buys in the store.

We keep a running list on our fridge to try to remember things like mustard and eggs. Sometimes we write NO x to remember that we stocked up before.

I use the scanner thingy to keep track of how much I spend on a trip. I also take a moment to compare price per quantity of like items. We use store brand flushable wipes because they are cheaper than Kandoo or the Cottonelle versions.

We shop weekly. What's on sale is typically what we make into dinners for the week.

We stock up on things like pasta and certain canned items (soups, some veg, beans for chili, coconut milk for curry).

We like chili and stir fry or curry, so we always have those spice mixes on hand. Same with taco kits.
We use shredded cheese a lot, so we usually get a big bag (you can freeze it if it's a good buy).
We also usually pick up a pound of salted and unsalted butter, a gallon or two of milk, a large container of oj, a dozen eggs, some yogurt, half and half and a loaf of bread as needed.

Here's just one site with recipes. There are many. Google for "inexpensive" or "quick" meals and see what suits you.


Once you get the hang of it, it can be tastier and more economical to eat in than dine out. During dinner, the kids might be doing HW while the food cooks, something that is harder to do in a restaurant. More effective use of family time.

And consider a crock pot. Nothing better after a long day than to walk in with dinner ready. Some quick brown rice or some nice crusty bread -mmm!

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