Monday, June 17, 2013

Habit and the grocery list

I once read A poem titles "Who am I". It stuck me at the time and it strikes me now. Of course I had to google it and find it.

Who am I?

I am your constant companion. 
I am your greatest helper or heaviest burden. 
I will push you onward or drag you down to 
I am completely at your command. 
Half of the things you do you might as well turn 
over to me and I will do them - quickly and 
I am easily managed - you must be firm with me. 
Show me exactly how you want something done 
and after a few lessons, I will do it automatically. 
I am the servant of great people, 
and alas, of all failures as well. 
Those who are great, I have made great. 
Those who are failures, I have made failures. 
I am not a machine though 
I work with the precision of a machine 
plus the intelligence of a person. 
You may run me for profit or run me for ruin - 
it makes no difference to me. 
Take me, train me, be firm with me, and 
I will place the world at your feet. 
Be easy with me and I will destroy you. 
Who am I? I am Habit

So what exactly does this have to do with groceries you may be asking yourself after reading the title of this post. Well I will tell you. If there is nothing else that is habitual in our lives it's the need to eat and buy food. We need to eat and we need to eat regularly  This can become an automatic routine or a great burden. I have tried to follow a meal plan and depending on life circumstances I do quite well. However right now, we ar ein flux. It'shard to tell week to week what people can eat, so doing a monthly meal plan- or even two weeks can be hard. In stead I make sure we have the food we can eat on hand and  then I know I can make meals out of those foods. For now it works.
 However, in order to make it less of a burden and start to work on my own grocery habits I have this awesome spread sheet that a dear friend made for me. It's an excel spread sheet that calculates the price of groceries. This way I list the 3 grocery stores I usually go to, each item that I do buy (over time) and the typical price. Then I can decide on a meal plan (or not) and I can see what I usually have on the list (either from last time or a saved list). I can adjust it according to my budget. I consult my cabinets and I know what I need to stock up on and what can wait for another week. Since I'm doing this on the computer before I'm in the store, I an be pretty confident that, I know what we have and that if I follow the list I will stay on budget. All I need to do is adjust the # of each item and not only does my grocery list change, but my store total and total food budget change. It's FABULOUS!  I can plan easily what I want to spend. I typically save $20 for the kids to choose healthy food that are in season. they each get one pick and so do I. It keep us (the parents) rewarding their good food choices and it also helps to keep the food budget more from spiraling out of control!
I hope to be able to share this table soon. I haven't yet figured out the best way to share documents that aren't cumbersome, so I will check out some options and try to get the file up. In the meantime, sleep well and be happy, you have choices in this world! What a marvelous thing

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