Attacking the Grocery Shopping!

It could be the wonky shopping trolley, the temper tantrum throwing children or the ridiculous price of groceries, there is a lot to loathe about grocery shopping.  But I am afraid I am one of those weird people that actually enjoy shopping. Any kind of shopping.  Yep even for pumpkin, pasta and washing powder.  

Yesterday I posted this Instagram photo on the My Pigeon Pair Facebook page…

Armed with my reusable shopping bags, my weapon of choice (a clipboard holding my menu plan and shopping list) and fuelled by a mega mocha caramel latte, I attacked the grocery shopping in Mumma on a mission style.  

This is how I shop.

1. List Lover. I ALWAYS SHOP WITH A LIST AND A PLAN.  If you take nothing else away form this blog post PLEASE take this.  It saves you money, time and gives you the confidence to speed through the shops knowing that you are prepared and can get exactly what you need!  I have posted more about my Meal Plan and Shopping List HERE.  basically

  • On one side I write my seven meals for the week.  
  • Next to each meal I write the ingredients I will need
  • On the right side I have a standard list of items that I need to buy every week that I highlight if I need them and then tick off as I go.
2. Lets get Local. Yes thats say local not loco, all though there have been many times that I have shopped with children that I think I may be crazy!  I ALWAYS SHOP LOCALLY. I am a creature of habit and find it much easier to shop at the shops I know and love.  I am especially spoilt as I have  Aldi, Woolworths, Big W and a Dollar Store all at the same shopping centre less than 3 minutes from my house.  Why Local?  
  • I know where everything is located in the store (Saves time)
  • I know which stores offers which products I need and at the cheapest price (Saves Money)
  • I like to support my local businesses!  Even if it is the big chain stores I like being able to get to know the deli lady (Yes I am strange.)
3. Love it.  I make it enjoyable.   I am usually shopping with at least one child in tow.  Unfortunately it is usually the same child that hates shopping, sitting in trolleys, or listening to her mother.  So I make a game of it, I enjoy a coffee whilst we shop, I ask her to find me items and yes occasionally you will find my trolley abandoned as I run through the aisles trying to catch her, but hey whats a Mum to do! We shop once a week, so I may as well enjoy it!
So my plan of attack is;
  1. Go armed with everything you need. My List is attached to a clipboard with a pen (the clipboard pictured above is one I amde myself using a plain clipboard and adding some scrapbooking paper.  The board is good as it gives me somewhere to right and lean up against.  I also use the list to write down prices to compare at different stores. Take snacks and drinks for children!
  2. I take these great bags (pictured above) to sort my shopping as I go.  They attach to the outside of your trolley with velcro.  I use one for fresh/meat items and one for dry goods.
  3. I go to Aldi first.  It is by far the cheapest so I get as much as I can from there.  Generally it is longlife, dry goods (like biscuits, pasta, side dishes, spices, sauces, tea, coffee)  Baby things (Nappies and wipes) Dairy (Milk, Custard Yoghurt, Cheese) Essentials (Bread, Baking, Eggs).
  4. I then shop at Woolworths for meat and fresh produce.  It is not cheaper than Aldi but I like the variety!
  5. I then go to Big W or a Dollar Store for Cleaning goods, office supplies etc. (See the Meal Planning 101 post about my monthly shopping)
Questions from you;
Why don’t supermarkets have supervised play areas??? Now that would be a blessing for all parents!!! Jaqui.
I know that especially during school holidays some shopping centres do offer a supervised play area!  Ok so don’t hate me BUT….Our local shopping centre as well as great shops  has a fantastic playground!  I use it as bribery to get the kids to behave whilst I do the shopping.  Nag me for something? No playground!
When you see reduced meat at the supermarket I am struggling to work out what the price per kilo would be at the reduced price. Any ideas on how to work it out?? Jenny
It depends if it is priced with just a reduced sticker?  Just take the price and divide it by the number of grams/kilos.  This should give you a price per gram/kilo that is easier to compare to other similar products.
What order do you fill your trolley? Any tips on a quicker way to get in and out without walking every aisle & not missing something? Jessica
Using my separating bags I dont really need to worry too much about the order!  The best way to save time and aisles is to follow point one and two above!  Take a list.  Only buy what is on the list.  Shop where you know the aisles you can avoid.
How do you learn to like grocery shopping? I dislike it with a passion! Sharna
Coffee makes everything better!  Or turn it into a game (I know that sounds childish) but I actually enjoy trying to save money and find the best deals.  As a working Mum I also see it as time with my kids!  
Even though you pay a delivery fee, is online delivered shopping better, more efficient & actually a saving? Or is it better to get in there & just do it! Gabby
I have used online shopping before.  Especially when I had a newborn, was sick, recovering from an operation or had a big a party to cater (nothing like someone else carrying 20 bottles of softdrink for you!) But for my day to day shopping I prefer to do it myself. Why?
  1. I do most my shopping at Aldi and they don’t deliver
  2. I like to see what is reduced in price.
  3. I like the variety of seeing many different products.
  4. I like to have my products when I want them, I can’t wait around at home waiting for them to be delivered!  I am usually at the shops to get something else anyway! I may as well get the groceries!
BUT I love that when you shop online you can see how much you are spending whilst you are shopping. As the little list calculates your total it is easy to see what you do or don’t really need.  I think this could save you money.  Also if you do it regularly you can save your previous shopping lists.  This could save time!  I think it really is a personal preference!
Do you use a paper list, or an iPhone app? Is so, which apps would you recommend? Oh, and how do you formulate your list? Do you have standard items that you start with every time? Lisa
I use a paper list.  I am a traditionalist.  You can find my shopping list HERE.  I do love the woolworths app and had a little too much fun scanning things in my pantry! BUT you cant scan everything!  I like to have my meal plan with me as well so paper works best for me!  I have both meal items and standard itmes on my list.
What is the best time to shop to get things like reduced meats and bakery items, and how do you get through the shop without a million people wanting to stop for a chat??? I always see someone I know… Jacqui
Finding reduced items is like finding a needle in a haystack!  Because shops are now generally open 12 hours a day, 7 days a week there is no one time they reduce items!  I have recently discovered though at my local woolworths that there is a reduced items section near the yoghurt in the fridge section!  It had cheese, custard, yoghurt, deli meats etc all reduced because they were close to expiry.   As for stopping for a chat…..NO IDEA!  My middle name is “have a chat” so when you figure that one out let me know!
What do you do when things don’t go to plan. This week I planned the whole week of meals and did my grocery shop. While I was shopping my little one got her hand caught in the door and off to the hospital my husband when (no dinner) then my oldest got gastro (again no dinner), hubby ended up working late each night (no dinner). I have all of this food in the fridge and no one is eating!! Kimberley
If it is meat…I freeze everything and only get out (in the morning) what I need that night.  Life happens you can never be prepared for the unexpected! Get creative turn old bananas into banana cake, vegies and eggs into quiches and frittatas that can be frozen.  When it rains it pours and it sounds like you had a bad food week flood!
So now armed with your plan of attack and shopping tactics, go forward and shop.  
But just not today as it is Friday the 13th.  
Shoppers today beware as you will be destined for wonky trolleys, tantruming toddlers and children that use the aisles as there own private obstacle course or even worse toilet. Don’t laugh. True Story.  Don’t say I didn’t warn you!


  1. You sound very similar to me in the way that you shop. I always take a list with my menu plan in mind and scout out the best deals available. Sometimes i get lucky with reduced items..especially meat. I freeze my meat and bread and buy milk in bulk to save those small trips in between the big trips. I use shopping as a challenge and set myself a limit as to how much i want to spend that shop.
    I used to online shop as well with a newborn it was much easier but since i live 5mins away from the local woolies, the delivery fee was not worth it. Plus as you said, you miss out on the reduced items and specials.
    Wish we had Aldi though in Adelaide. I hear so much about it.

  2. I love your tips thanks 🙂 My biggest problem is that I shop once a month as I only go into my nearest town then. I do have a list but no meal plan as it is almost impossible to plan a whole months worth of meals, baking and lunches!!! I have a rough list of what I want to cook though!
    I would recommend that people use a shopping list as a guide, buy in bulk where possible and shop as little as possible- my MONTHLY shopping bill for 4 people (BIG EATERS TOO!) is about 350$- I also spend about 50$ on fresh fruit/vege that I need halfway though BUT I mostly buy frozen or longlasting F & V to save money- and I get home grown bits and pieces too. 🙂 I belive the more planning nd prep you put into you shop- the more money you can save in the long run!!!!
    Pip- My Life of Chaos

  3. Larissa, you’d love our new Woolies, the trolleys have cup holders! There’s only one place to buy coffee at the little shopping centre and I don’t like their’s so it’s wasted on me. Unfortunately there is no playground, but since it is only a few minutes from home and the butcher (with great local meat) is open till 7pm most nights, I go after dinner by myself. I menu plan and shop fortnightly but usually have a few left over lots of meat each week as some things I buy in bulk – mince, sausages, steak.
    I love your shopping bags – I have one similar one that is currently sitting in my sewing cupboard waiting to be fixed. It clips over the edge of the trolley though. I use it and 2 cold chill bags usually when I go to Aldi every month or so. I use the little green bags that fold up to nothing at Woolies. So much easier to handle than those awful green bags – I put them in my car as soon as I finish unpacking them and they take up no room.

  4. Hi, i feel that i saw you visited my website thus i got here to “return the favor”.I am attempting to in finding things to enhance my site!I suppose its good enough to use some of your ideas!!


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