I would never have dreamed that this article might be needed until I heard some of Mr. Baseball’s team asking each other about the procedure as if it were brain surgery. So, I’ve written out what we told several kids with first apartment empty kitchens to fill.
1. Make an agreement or arrangement about the food. Will the foods be shared in common or purchased, labeled and used separately? Making this agreement beforehand can avoid a lot of misunderstandings in the future.
2. Make a list. If you’ve ever shopped in a grocery store before, it’s only been for refrigerated cookie dough or a bag of chips. You’re going to have to remember boring things like “butter,” “salt,” and “cereal.” Write it down or you will forget the unexciting, but necessary, items.
3. Apply for the store’s frequent shopper card. Not only does it give you significant cents off on some items, but in some cases, you get a discount on gas as well. You will also occasionally receive mailings from the store with coupons for items that you actually purchase and use.
4. Eat and eat well before you go grocery shopping. This isn’t an old wives’ tale. Or maybe it is. But it’s true, nonetheless. If you try to shop hungry, you will spend a lot more money on less healthy choices and somehow get home without 80% of what you needed.
5. Buy groceries to reflect the degree to which you actually cook, not the degree that you aspire to. In other words, if the extent of your so-called “cooking” is actually heating items in the microwave, you don’t need capers and fresh tarragon, no matter how much you’d like to cook your significant other dinner.
6. Don’t buy groceries to make a beloved dish from home if you don’t have ALL the equipment that you take for granted at home. Just because your apartment’s kitchen included a refrigerator and range doesn’t mean it’s also equipped with a cheese grater, a colander, or a meat thermometer.
7. Don’t forget the expensive, boring, but essential food storage products such as plastic bins or large zippered-bags. No matter how good that dish turned out last night, it will not last long uncovered in your refrigerator.
8. Try to avoid going to the store on the days with special sales for senior citizens or double-coupon days. It’s usually crowded and many items are absent, awaiting a restock. The crowds make you want to rush through the chore and you won’t shop as carefully as you might on a less hectic day.
9. Speaking of which, don’t try to do a week’s worth of shopping in 10 minutes. Give yourself enough time to shop carefully and compare prices.
10. Eat well and eat healthy. Now’s the time when some lifelong eating habits will be established. Make the most of the time.