On January 1, I handed over grocery buying responsibilities to Rom. He is fine with cooking, and likes to grocery shop with me. But I always felt he didn’t know what food was in the house, or where things were stored, or when they needed to be replenished, or how much they cost. So, with a bit of trepidation on my part, I handed over the grocery “envelope” of $500 a month, and put him on a forced learning plan.
When it was my job, I had a system. We did a meal plan for the whole month. We grocery shopped weekly, and swapped meals around within that week. I would check the sales flyers and know when to stock up on basics. On my own, I would make a loop of 4 stores where I consistently got the best prices (No Frills, Bulk Barn, Costco and the local produce market). Whatever was remaining on our list, we’d buy together at Sobey’s. Early last year, Rom was cooking one meal a week (sometimes lasting more than one day), plus a weekend lunch. By the end of the year he was cooking half of our meals. We were both good about avoiding food waste.
Now you might think, why mess with a good thing? But Rom was always asking me questions and requiring my assistance and it made me feel like his supervisor! It would be better to train trust him with food prep, so each of us could have full nights off from kitchen duty. We have an agreement: whoever cooks, also does the dishes, cleans up, and packages up leftovers. That way the other can completely relax. Also, our styles are completely different and we don’t necessarily like taking over the other’s mess! (I rinse everything as I go and set it aside, while Rom soaks the food off bowls and pots in soapy water, which has to be drained later – I would rather use elbow grease!)
Rom decided he would combine grocery shopping with his weekly visits to Wal-Mart. I had never bought food there before and I was skeptical. Their selection is limited compared to Sobey’s or Superstore. But, because it fits into Rom’s usual shopping routine, he has stuck with it. I did exert my will by bringing him to Costco and making him get a spouse card on my account! So now we go there maybe once a month. I think he likes it because of being able to browse the electronics. As for No Frills, Bulk Barn and the produce market, they are off Rom’s beaten path so he doesn’t go to them. Nor does he check the flyers and look for specials.
You might think our grocery costs have gone way up – but no, they are the same! And the reason is, Rom goes grocery shopping exactly once a week. If anything is missed, he makes do and waits until the next week. Every day he takes the bus home from work, then stays in. He never pops out to buy “just a few things,” so he is always under budget. I might have developed elaborate systems to save money, but I was often in a grocery store every other day! It has been good for me not to give in to cravings throughout the week.
I knew Rom got the hang of it last week when he saw kidney beans for $1.89 at Sobey’s and said, “Those are only 77 cents at Wal-Mart!”
Would you ever relinquish being the household mastermind? What would happen – or has happened?
It has been all healthy snacks this year except for Easter candy pre-bought for next weekend 🙂
BTW, for newcomers to the blog, we are a family of 2 adults, vegetarian but not vegan, and we prepare 3 meals a day at home including brown bag lunches, and pay all in Canadian dollars!