I go totally Rain Man with my food and my grocery shopping. If my routine is in place, I go to "little Wallys" (Walmart neighborhood market), every Sunday afternoon. I try my best to get it all done in one trip a week. It took many years as a grown up to fine tune my grocery shopping skills. In my pre-kid days, I'd stop at the store 4 days a week and buy a box of cereal, a gossip magazine and something for dinner. I shudder to think of the money I must have wasted on impulse buys. Back then I had no idea what a reasonable price for orange juice would have been. I bet I had no problem spending $4.00 or more on a 12 pack of Diet Soda. Today, I would rather die of caffeine with drawl than spend more than $2.50 on a 12 pack of soda. Scanning the grocery store ads that arrive in the mailbox every week is not very hard to do. I don't even have to walk into the store that's having the Diet Pepsi sale, because Little Wally's will price match for me. It's almost too easy. When I get a good deal, it always tastes better. But back then I felt dirty and creeped out if I bought the "no-name brand" of anything. The words "Western Family" brought on nausea. Now that I have a family, I feel exactly the opposite. I would have long lasting buyers remorse if I walked into Fresh Market and bought everything brand name. I would probably lose sleep counting the wasted dollars in my mind. I would rather live in my fortune than eat my fortune. This is also the reason that we almost NEVER go out to dinner. You know you are a major tightwad when a dinner date with your spouse is almost is just too pricey to enjoy. The last time Dave and I went out on a dinner date, we shared a $5 foot long at Subway (we got it for free with my Subway points card) and for dessert we got two donuts at Fresh Market. The date was a night date, so the donuts were discounted as well. It was wonderful! My cheapskate husband and I are well suited for one another, so this was mutually accepted as a great date indeed. We followed it up with a trip to the Winco Grocery store where we loaded up on super cheap bags of Malt-o-Meal Mini Spooners (Frosted Mini Wheat's for those of you not in the know). Good times were had by all!
At any rate, I like to do my once weekly shopping at MY store (because I know where everything is), and usually at the same time of day. I am proud to say I have it down to a science. I know exactly what I need and I rarely stray from my mental list. This probably sucks for my family, because we rotate 7 different dinners and that's about it. I don't experiment much in the kitchen. Cooking brings me little joy. I bake pumpkin bran muffins like a pro, but that's only because I make them nearly every week. I recently started buying spaghetti squash because a good friend told me how easy they are to prepare. If she hadn't mentioned this to me, I would literally never have EVER tried it on my own.
My strict shopping works perfect for me because I need so few items for myself. I would, could and sometimes do eat the exact same menu every single day.
1. Breakfast must be Maple Brown Sugar Oatmeal, with Don Francisco Hawaiian Hazelnut coffee. I dread the mornings that Dave wants to make pancakes! I need my OATMEAL!
2. Dr. Praegers California Veggie patties (sold at that darn Costco). I am not even a vegetarian, but these are a major favorite of mine. These looked sort of gross at first, but they grew on me. I love these for lunch.
3. My T.V. time nightly snack is always Bran Flakes mixed with low-fat Walmart Blueberry yogurt. I feel not quite right if I go to bed without consuming this last meal of the day. Plus, it is crazy delicious!
I'm married to a man who wouldn't mind eating a new dinner every night, so I do try to mix it up with dinner. I think he'd get super bored if I made the exact same thing every night. He'd eat it, but I'm sure it would bother him eventually. Me on the other hand, I wouldn't mind eating oatmeal every night. I know this weird behavior is normal for a small child, I just hope I'm not totally alone in my food savant lifestyle. If you are wondering, I only eat like Rain Man. I don't have to buy my underwear at K-Mart or watch Judge Wapner at 3:00 (Underwear from Target, Bachelor whenever because it's on the DVR).