WFMW: grocery shopping with toddlers

My husband is amazing. He can single-handedly run a full grocery trip, managing three kids in as many carts. Okay, so he needs both hands, but the point is, he can do it. I can't. One gigantic stroller is about all my puny little muscles can handle, and I just don't have the stamina to keep the kids contained long enough for a full week's shopping.

The one thing the wunder-hubband cannot do is read a shopping list. Or maybe it's that I can't write one. We each have our own opinion on the matter, and frankly, the discussions just aren't that productive. But having him watch the wuggies while I do the shopping isn't terribly productive, either. Weekends are so much better spent together as a family, or letting one of us spend a few precious hours doing something other than wuggy-wrangling and housework.

Anyway, I've finally hit on a solution. Each week, I scour the various grocery mailers, and plan my menu around the week's loss leaders for each store. Then I do my shopping in bits an pieces, going to a different store each day. So maybe on Monday I'll go to Ralphs to buy meat, and on Tuesday I'll go to Farmer Boys for produce and eggs, and on Wednesday I'll go to Stater Brother's for general staples. Or whatever. I don't ever have to buy anything for more than the lowest advertised price, and better still, I don't ever have to buy more than will fit in my stroller. I never have to stay beyond the point where the wuggies get squirrely, and I have a great motivation to get out of the house more often. Which is important for everyone's sanity, but it's hard to do!

An unexpected benefit of this system has been less food waste. Food doesn't spend as long sitting in the fridge, and so I'm less likely to make silly mistakes like planning on the chicken breasts for supper 3 days after they expire. I can also adjust things as I go, according to how far the food stretches. Which can vary a lot, when you're feeding three toddlers, who eat like horses one day, robins the next.

Works for me!


Heidi said...

Sounds like a good solution to fit your needs.

Margaret said...

Great tip. I did this when my ex husband was unemployed (and wanted to do nothing but sleep all day). I went thru each of the fliers, told him to what I needed from where (after I compared to the penny how much stuff cost) and each day he did a bit of different shopping. Never thought of expanding it out to every day life!