Thursday, September 09, 2004

Clean Up on Aisle 4

Because it makes sense, I do most of the shopping these days. Grocery shopping is one of those skills we guys sort of lose upon marriage. Well, I did anyway. Granted, this assumes I ever really had grocery shopping skills to start with, which is not certain.


Once you're doing this again though, you realize the importance of the List. If you don't have a List, you're to buy all kinds of stuff and get home to discover that no matter how hard you try, potato mix, rice pilaf, and cous-cous simply don't add up to a satisfying meal. So you've spent twice what you should have, and all you get out of it are overfull shelves. And another trip to the store.

So first you need a Menu. Whether for 3 days or for 7, you need a menu of meals. Then you make your List, based on that menu, and what you know you're going to need of other stuff, like paper towels and what-not. Then you go to the store and try to stick to the List. This is hard for me. I can enter a store intent on only buying a half-gallon of milk and stagger out with three bags of chips, some cookies, breakfast cereal, toothpaste, etc. Oh, yeah, and the milk.

But as bad as it can be even with a List, doing without is much harder. Trust me on this one. Stick to your List! But don't get anal about it. I mean, if you walk down the aisle and realize you need more ziploc bags, don't leave them on the shelf just because they didn't make the List. But as much as possible, if you need to deviate from the List, deviate with stuff you know you are going to use.

While I haven't actually tried this yet, it seems to me that it would be okay to try different things if you set an amount to play with first. Say $10 or $20, or whatever your budget allows for. You can try as many non-staple non-list things as you like, as long as you don't go over your limit.

Next time, a word about organics.

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