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So now we have our list, neatly written up and readable. We've allowed for snacks and lunches and restocking the pantry back to normal. Now you need to shop. And there are some things regarding the shopping you need to be aware of in order to do so without hemorrhaging money. Follow me over the swirl to look at some of them.

Your list is a huge component of this. Buy what is on the list. No more. I don't care how neat it looks. You have a plan and that's not on it. The exception I make is when there is a sale on of something I use regularly, and have storage room for, but you know what that is. It is not efficient to buy a case if you only eat one can a month (if that) and don't have anywhere to put it. Now, were I single, I might shop weekly, and in other ways tailor things to my needs. But I'd still use a list, and I'd still be draconian about what goes on it.

Be careful who you take with you. I love my husband dearly, but he will go and put things in the cart. I prefer to leave him in the car and shop alone. If your kids are going to whine unbearably for candy or toys, then try doing your shopping when they are elsewhere or get a sitter. It is not friendly or loving to sabotage your budget. Be firm. Give them input into the list, but once that is done, be very firm about not getting things because they look interesting. Stores count on that to suck you in and make you buy on impulse. We can't afford that at all.

Try in general to reduce your stress. I am on the autism spectrum, and Bear has PTSD. We don't like shopping when everyone else is there. I feel cramped and crowded and anxious quickly, and Bear gets stressed and miserable. Frequently we visit the stores that are open 24 hours and do that shopping at midnight. It's not full of people then. Wear comfortable clothing and for the love of all, eat before you go. It's VERY hard to stick to your list and resist the call of "I could eat that in the car...." if you are hungry.

And be aware of your needs. When I get back from Aldi's and the butcher today, Bear is going to be very stressed and tired, and will want to go in the bedroom and lie down. I am going to have a sore foot, and I'm not going to want to cook much because I won't want to stand up. I have allowed for this in my meal planning. Indeed, I may not put away the dry goods immediately. The flour and sugar and the cans of green beans and mushrooms will be just fine on the floor of the kitchen for a couple hours while my foot simmers down. I make sure I have help to lift and carry in so that I don't get too tired, and if my foot starts to twinge early, I'll save part of the list for tomorrow.

Well, having shopped, and elevated my foot, on to precooking. But that's for next time. What other shopping tips do we all have to share?

Originally posted to Alexandra Lynch on Sat Sep 07, 2013 at 07:59 AM PDT.

Also republished by Hunger in America.

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