Dadhacker - Productivity at the Grocery Store!

I don't know how you split the chores up in your family, but one of mine, is doing the weekly grocery shop. There I was thinking chores would end when I left home! My recent addition to the family has taught me that is definitely not the case! Anyway, I had a cool tip that makes this simple, and saves both time and money - a smart little app and some helpful preparation (from my wife - its a team game after all).

My wife maintains a rotating menu planner that we try to stick to as much as we can. There is a reasonable amount of variety in this, but not so much that it makes things complicated. I think we have a plan for about a fortnight, and then we start repeating. There are a few weekly duplicates. I am not much of a cook, so when I take my turn in the kitchen, it tends to be spaghetti bolognaise and pizza! Alan Henry has more cool tips on creating menu plans that is worth looking at.

I think it is the preparation behind the weekly shop and subsequent cooking that is the key to productivity. I read recently about the percentage of food that households waste every year; it is both staggering and appalling. Unfortunately, we were contributing our fair share to this total. The menu planner is saving us money, both by not buying the food in the first place, but also by having a plan for each day, you tend not to be caught without food in the house so you don't reach for the phone to order takeaway. Don't get me wrong, we are not completely rigid. Before my wife writes the list, she looks in our diaries (thank you Google calendar) and checks when we have plans to go to dinner with friends, have guests over or go and visit family. All of that stuff can be factored in, and whilst this does take a little time and forward thinking, it does not feel like a lot of effort to reduce the waste and spending. A side benefit of planning food in advance, is it makes it simple to plan to eat healthier food, and once it is in the plan, it is straightforward to deliver.

So where does that leave me doing my chore. Well, my wife and I both use a cool app called outofmilk (available on both android and iOS). My wife writes the shopping list in the app on her phone, and it will sync the list with the app on my phone. It also does a variety of cool other things like remembering the items and prices each time we use it, the order of the aisles in our local store and flagging coupons (in certain regions). By the time I end up going shopping, it is easy to find the items as they are all in the right order. I miss fewer things, and don't end up going around the store three times as there was something on the end of the list, that was right at the front of the store. All this makes for a much simpler and stress free shop that does not break the bank. You also tend to pick up less crazy impulse offers that you didn't need.

Whilst this feels like a pretty slick process; a chore is still a chore. However, there are significant benefits that mean we are in a much better place: wasting less, reducing the grocery bill, eating healthier, avoiding arguing over why the fridge is empty and who is meant to be cooking. A little planning and a smart app can go a long way to healthy eating, productivity and money saving at the grocery store.

If you are looking for even more short cuts to eating healthily at home and automating more of the legwork, Thorin klosowski wrote a comprehensive article on just that!

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