A long time ago, I don't even remember how long it's been, Lee created a 2-week menu based on foods we like that the kids will eat too (for the most part). We have one menu for summer/warm weather, and another for winter/cold weather. It really just revolves around the use of the oven for cooking, as we don't have air conditioning right now. And more salads in summer too.
In any case, it's two weeks of family dinners. Then Lee figured out how much of everything was needed to eat for two weeks, and he created a shopping list. The list has EVERYTHING necessary, so the first thing you do after printing the list is go through the pantry and fridge & eliminate things you don't need to buy on this trip (condiments, baking supplies, etc.). This does save us from running out of flour suddenly, and you also notice if you're getting low & should be looking for bargains.
Trevor helped me check what we already had, and then Diana joined me for the actual shopping. My arm is still healing, so I needed a helper for lifting and moving things. Usually we start at Grocery Outlet, which is exactly what it's called. There are often off-brands, but there are also Canadian and European items available for a lot less than if we got them at Safeway, for instance. We usually stick with brands we know anyway.
After Grocery Outlet, we go to the big warehouse-style store here called Sherm's Thunderbird. It's only in Southern Oregon, and they also have very good prices, but more in line with the typical grocery store. If there's anything still missing from our list, we'll go to Fred Meyer (again, NW store) or Safeway. Usually we're done after Sherm's.
Today, Grocery Outlet actually had 90% of the list. Diana & I were in the store, with Diana reading the list from the clipboard (it's in a spreadsheet format) and I was getting the items. A lady walks by, and does a double take to see the list. "Wow! That's really organized!!" she says.
I answered with, "That's for our two-week menu that my husband created. It's about $200 for a family of five for 2-3 weeks. You always have what you need on hand, and it really saves a lot of money."
She responds, "I've always wanted to do that and have never gotten around to it. I don't suppose you'd be willing to email me that?"
I'm like, "Sure - give me your email address. I'll send you the menu and the list. No problem!"
She wrote her info down & was really happy.
Wait'll she finds out it's a low-cal vegetarian menu - I forgot to mention that! Oops!