There's a lot to be said about what we leave on the shelves. For example, $2 buys a lot of oatmeal and a fair amount of frozen veggies, but only one box of Saturday cereal. Since we're coming out of winter, I'm hoping to convince the Giant Obnoxious Ones that Saturday Cereal stays on the shelf. I bow to the power of Comfort Foods (witness my sugar spree this week) and am myself powerless in the face of hormonal sugar/salt rampages and actually eat Pork Rinds much more frequently than I care to admit. HOWEVER.
Leaving chips, cookies, danish, tinned pasta, seasonal treats and so forth on the shelf at the supermarket is a Really Good Idea, because dayum, that crap's ezPENsive, yo. I bought sugar last week, in order to make an Easter treat for Gomez's family. His Aunt Jean used to make no-bake cookies that are sugar, chocolate and quick oats, and his sisters LOVE them. They require two cups of sugar per batch. But usually, I don't buy sugar. I don't usually buy lunchmeat. Bacon is a special purchase, as are bread (that's right, I don't have bread in the house as a 'staple'), ice cream, bagels and fruit. Yes, I like fruit, and it's nice for the kids to have fruit in their lunch coolers. But I've had fruit go bad. I'd rather have the family say to me, Hey, could we have some fruit? than say to myself, Aha- so that's why those wee flies have invaded the kitchen. Doing without for a day or two doesn't kill anyone, and a week is shorter than it used to be. Okay, maybe it just SEEMS shorter than it used to be.
I don't buy paper towels or paper napkins unless there's a special reason for them. I use dishcloths, cloth napkins and washrags for just about everything that Most People need paper towels. We have garbage day and recycle day once a week each in my neighborhood, and I hate HATE purchasing something that is DESIGNED to be thrown away in the trash (don't get me started on garbage bags), so I do it as little as possible. No, they don't count as groceries, and wouldn't even if I were buying them, but consider what you might save by not buying paper towels, or at least not buying them as often.
I don't always buy milk. I like to have half & half for my coffee, but if I don't, I don't. One carton generally gets me through two weeks, or almost. I've had the "other half" of a gallon of milk go bad often enough that I'll check with the kids to see if they want milk this week. For cooking, I keep a can of evaporated milk on the shelf- nobody notices the replacement when I make mac & cheese. Cheddar cheese is kind of a staple, but I don't always buy Swiss or other sorts. I don't buy eggs every week- since I buy 3 dozen at a time, I shouldn't need to- and I don't buy muffin mixes anymore, since the bug incident.
I also don't buy bottled drinks. When I do, I buy glass bottles so that I can reuse them, sometimes mixing my own iced coffee, lemonade or fruit-tea drinks. I don't buy fruit juice unless Wednesday pleads for apple juice, but since the apple juice I bought last week went off before it was gone, it will probably be awhile before I buy it again.
Packaged snacks (oops, typed 'snakes' first; packaged snakes? hmm.) are an on-again, off-again basis. I do like to keep granola bars and boxes of raisins around, but pretzels, chips, and things that come in 'one serving' packages tend to remain on the shelves. It irks me to purchase an over-abundance of packaging, so I'd rather buy a large bag of pretzels and put them in little reusable containers for lunches. We make popcorn in our stovetop Whirly-Pop when we want munchies with a movie. Super-cheap, and no weird chemical pretend butter stuff.
I try to not buy cookies. Cinnamon graham crackers are wonderful and substitute nicely, and at $1.80 or so a box beat the heck out of the $3.69 Oreo cookies, pricewise. I do buy brownie mix and use it to make cookies sometimes. Also shortbread, but I did that so often this winter that I won't do it anymore until the guest pounds that have accumulated on my sit-upon have vacated my trousers.
Wednesday: Salmon Cakes & green beans
Thursday: Hot Dogs w/The Works
Friday: Red Beans & Rice or Yams, Corn & Black Beans
Sunday: Lasagne Crisp
Tuesday: Cheesy Beef Casserole or Beans & Rice
Happy Hour Cupcakes $6
Hot dog buns $2
Hamburger buns $2
Burgers or burger meat $9
tomatoes, lettuce, catsup $6
saurkraut (shaddap, SpellCheck) $3
croissant rolls in a tube $3
Ricotta cheese $4
Mozzerella cheese (again, shaddap) $3
cheddar cheese $6
sausage roll $5
This 'wish list' idea of mine is so that if I have some wiggle room in my grocery budget, I can purchase some of the 'want' items without them technically being impulse buys. But if I don't have room in the budget, I'll leave things on the shelf.