Saturday, September 26, 2009

Grocery Shopping with 3 kids

A month ago, a dad of 2 little boys asked "How do you grocery shop with 3 kids?"
I replied, "Well, I just do. I have to. But, it is definitely tricky at times."

I look back now and go "wow. Grocery shopping with one was so much easier!" I shopped with lots of coupons and went to multiple stores whenever I needed to. Went into little stores even.

Then I had two. I still went to regular grocery stores once in a while, but not very often. My shopping started to shift. I started shopping at BJ's and Costco because they have bigger carts. I shopped at Target for a few staples at good prices because the aisles aren't crowded and they're easy to get around. And my trips to Trader Joe's became once a month to once every other month. I still went to a regular grocery store but maybe once a month.

Now, I have three. When Eli was in an infant car seat, it was tricky. It takes up so much room! Thankfully, that time isn't that long. And BJ's has the shelf under the carts so I always had to use that with the girls up front. But, now Eli is bigger.

So, I shop at Aldi's each week. Sami usually ends up in the back of the cart and Eli up front. Autumn walks. Sami and Autumn together play a little too much and end up falling in that store. During the summer I shop at my little farmer's market and go see the bee lady, the apple (orchard) lady, and the vegetable man. I put Eli in his stroller and the girls stick with me. Everyone knows them so they help me keep an eye on them as I get what I need. I still shop at Target, but with homeschooling, it's becoming 1-2 x a month. And I shop at Trader Joe's, where both girls have to walk, 1x a month. They do have a storytime once a week, so I think I'm going to try and start going then =) It will cut down on the chaos a little. I also go to BJ's and Costco. They both carry a few different things and I like them both. BJ's is great because you can use regular coupons there and still buy the larger packages. I go 1 x a month with the kids to food Lion to get Tortillas. We go in, we go out. =)

It's been interesting because Autumn has piano lessons now and so I am faced with 30 minutes with Sami and Eli and nothing to do. We have started to go to the Giant nearby and I let them walk. We practice walking and counting. I think I'm going to use this time to pick up a package of chicken or a roast or meat that I don't buy at the other stores and take advantage of whatever is on sale. It gives us a place to go and it isn't as stressful as regular grocery shopping would be in the store with all 3.

But, aside from the balancing act of juggling 3 kids in a store, there is another reason I don't shop at regular grocery stores much. They're really expensive. I've been really surprised. I buy rice at Walmart and the same package is 2x the price at Giant. I shop at Aldis and buy Graham Crackers which are 2x the price at a regular grocery store. I love remembering prices so there are different things that I buy at each place.

At BJ's: Pampers, bananas, baked beans, mac and cheese, lunch meat, yogurt, milk, half and half, deodorant, spices, laundry soap, coupon items, orange juice, listerine, pasta
At Costco: Dog Food (their dog food is all natural), cheese, milk, meet, steak (special occasion =) ), Izzes, spices, bananas, fruit, raisins, ground beef, dish soap and detergent, chocolate chips
Aldis: Canned goods, graham crackers, flour/sugar, vegetables and fruits, chicken, plain yogurt, cream cheese
Walmart: CalRose Rice
Target: Peanut butter, cereal, yogurt, sour cream, toiletries
Panera: Bagels--I buy the big pack (18) have them sliced and freeze them.
Trader Joe's: Coffee, Spaghetti Sauce
Lohr's: the orchard nearby sells McCutcheon's jam and jellies which are made with fruit juice or sugar instead of corn syrup
Amish Market: wheat to grind, bulk spices

I'm sure there are a few things I've missed, but it surprises me how simple my list is, but I think I make a lot more stops than I realized! =) I just try not to make them as often anymore and stock up more.

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