The first fight David and I had as a married couple took place in a grocery store. A Shopper's Food Warehouse, to be specific. We had been out returning wedding gifts post-honeymoon when we decided that we'd stop at the store to pick up some food since we had been gone for two weeks. We didn't make it through the fruits and vegetables before I was in tears, and David was frustrated beyond words. We didn't realize while we were dating or engaged that we are not naturally compatible grocery shoppers. David likes to meander around looking for seasonal items and crafting meals in his head. I'm more task-oriented. I want the basic necessities to get us through the week - what do we need for lunch? dinner? snacks? And most importantly, do we have cereal and milk in the house?
Before either one of us lost our cool (or walked out of the store ready to just throw in the towel), we took a seat in the store's cafe and tried to figure out how to make THIS - grocery shopping - work. The decisions we made in the Shoppers on that March evening have shaped our marriage, as well as our shopping habits and budgeting.
In the cafe, we designed a menu for the week - what we'd eat for lunch and dinner each day as well as what David would prepare on Friday mornings when the guys come over for breakfast. From the menu we crafted a shopping list. Knowing what we needed to buy made grocery shopping with David a pleasant experience.
Since March 2006, we have put together a menu and grocery list for each week. We have a stack of menus and shopping lists that we can use to craft future menus. Additionally, we got a subscription to EVERYDAY FOOD to help us come up with new menu ideas and eat more seasonal items.
I grocery shopped yesterday (with my weekly menu and list in tow), and it was quite successful. Because I bought only what we needed and knew what we needed before walking into the store, I did a complete shop in less than half an hour and spent only $51. This means that David and I will eat 15 meals (one a piece for lunch and dinner and him on Friday for breakfast) for $51. That is an average of $3.40 per meal. Not bad... Eating one lunch out during the week would be at least double that price (everything is expensive in DC!). And don't think that we're just eating ramon noodles and spaghetti-Ohs! We have a wonderful menu planned for this week. (See below...)
I'm proud of our shopping habits and the money we are saving. More importantly, I'm glad that our marriage survived the awful events that took place in the Shoppers Food Warehouse.
Menu for this week:
Monday: (lunch) portabella sandwich, yogurt, and fruit, (dinner) pesto pasta with 'chicken' and green beans
Tuesday: (lunch) green salad with tomato, avacado, and onion with a veggie burger, (dinner) curried lentils over rice
Wednesday: (lunch) PB&J sandwich, yogurt, and fruit, (dinner) mushroom melt sandwiches
Thursday: (lunch) grilled cheese and green salad, (dinner) tomato/cucumber salad in yogurt served with crackers
Friday: (breakfast) scrambled eggs and hash browns, (lunch) black beans and rice, (dinner) southwestern corn chowder
Saturday: (lunch) tofu, rice, and broccoli, (dinner) veggie burgers and fries
Sunday: (pre-church breakfast) oatmeal and 'sausage'