Feeding your self and the family everyday and keeping up with the grocery shopping can be a logistical and financial challenge.
I am at the shops alot, and l go to a variety of different shops. This is a list if my regular shopping places that l visit on a rotational basis to keep the cupboards , fridge and freezer well stocked.
- Supa IGA (Where l purchase bits and pieces, specials and is my go to place for needing anything at short notice as it is one minute from my home)
- Woolworths (I have a few things that l buy here that l can’t get anywhere else. This includes the Macro range such as Free Range meat, Organic raw cashew nuts, organic raw sugar, organic Australian brown rice as examples. I also buy the Woolworths brand of Spelt bread and the Alpine brand Spelt and sprouted grain bread which my children eat. If l am visiting the store to buy these products l will often pick up a few other items as well).
- Coles (This store have some good fruit and vegetable specials and l get a good discount using Flybuy points. )
- Aldi (I do about half of my grocery shopping at Aldi where l buy fruit, vegetables, nuts, eggs and meat mainly. Sometimes l go to Aldi a couple of times a week and then l may not go for a few weeks. I find that l am tempted to buy some of the great non food items they have when l go there).
- The Dandenong Wholesale Fruit and Vegetable market (I go through stages where l go to this market. I have to take my daughter with me as l need a second trolley to fit everything in. It is a cultural delight and l used to buy too much just because it was there, but now am more selective. I buy fresh fish, nuts, fruits and vegetables at this market)
- Bulk Wholefoods (An online store at bulkwholefoods.com.au. I order from here about every moth or six weeks depending on what l need). I was ordering every month but have found a few local health food shops that l can pick the odd item up at if l run out. I buy mainly flours, LSA, ALmond meal, nuts, organic honey and seeds from this store. The service is wonderful and the prices are very competitive).
- Health Food Shops (I have found a few on my travels and visit them about once a month for items such as honey or the Loving Earth Brand chocolate).
- Fruit and vegetable shops (There are a few other local fruit and vegetable shops that l visit if l am at various shopping centres in the area)
Living in a major City there is so much choice and l don’t have a favourite Coles, Woolworths or Aldi, I have about three of each that l visit. I like having the variety and choice of products. I check out the pamphlets that come in the letterbox each week and that could influence me to visit one of the stores especially Aldi, but often the very healthy foods l buy are not on special.
Unpacking the shop
This can be a challenge, especially for the Aldi shop where you supply the bags. I have seen people pack their goods into bags in the store after they have paid and this is a good idea. I prefer to take the trolley to the car and have a cool box where all of the cold things go. Everything else gets piled into the back and when l get home l use my market trolley to transport the items into the house. If l am just buying a few items l try to remember to take a bag with my but if l don’t l buy one of the cheap plastic bags they have for sale.
The market shop
Coming home from the Wholesale fruit and vegetable market is wonderful as everything smells so fresh. When you are bring large quantities of fresh food into the house it is important to clean out the fridge of the old food before the new food goes in. Clean out the fruit and vegetable trays and throw out any items past their best. Now is a good time to make a casserole or soup to use up all of the older vegetables. Give the fridge a wipe down and fill it up with the new delicious food items. Don’t forget to check for past use by dates of items in the fridge, freezer and pantry and rotate the items so you are using the oldest ones first.
My fridge looks full like this most of the time and l really need a bigger fridge. I keep all of my nuts and seeds in the main part of the fridge which takes up quite a lot of space and each night l make the children’s lunches and find it a challenge to fit three lunch boxes (four if l am working into the fridge).
Paying for the groceries
I like to pay for everything on the credit or debit card so l can keep track of what l am spending. When l go to the Wholesale Fruit and Vegetable market l have to plan ahead as they only take cash and l need around $100 at least if l am buying fish, nuts, fruit and vegetables which can sometimes mean l don’t go.
It takes planning and thought to run a house even with just yourself, but when you add in a family with requirements such as food intolerances or allergies, school and work lunches, sticking to a budget, time constraints and individual family members taste preferences it is quite a juggling act. In the end you put in what you can and you work out ways to save time such as having a big freezer which serves as a reserve for busy times. Keep a shopping list to remind you of things that are running low and let all family members know about the list. I don’t like to run out of things and the one item in my house that l just can’t keep up with is bananas. They probably get eaten so quickly because l keep them on the bench and everyone in the family loves them. Every household will have certain items that seemingly need to be replaced constantly and this is where having a shop that is close by can be very handy. I find it good to have one person responsible for the shopping, but working as a team within the family with a focus on good communication is essential to promote the smooth running of the household and family harmony.