Provisioning Backwards

Life Aboard

Provisioning Backwards

Shop the Sales then Create the Menus

by m/v Ocean Spirit



Provisioning Backwards

We used to sit down and plan meals in advance, make out our grocery list, and then go shopping. Now that we're aboard, things are not like before. Today, instead of starting out with a list of our favorite meals, we begin our provisioning with in-store sales.

If you shop the sales already, you're familiar with all the "reduced" sections, the "buy one get one free" specials, and the store brands. Now ask yourself, what would my grocery cart and my grocery bill look like if I only bought sales items? What would our dinners be like?

It may take time adjusting to a new shopping style. But, you'll certainly find plenty of food you like on sale.

The best sale days are most likely on the weekend. We've been in stores that didn't have sales on Thursdays, but they were practically giving the store away on Fridays.

Strategy We've Learned
If you start with the fresh vegetables, meats, fish, poultry, and dairy, you'll have some main ingredients. Choose only items that you like to eat. Continue to shop along the wall edges of the store.

Now that you've gathered the "basic ingredients" its time to hit the inner aisles. Scan all the sale flags, decide if you will eat it, and grab it if it sounds good. Don't spend time debating what to do with it. As you add to the cart, you'll start to see meals come together before your eyes. Remember, you probably have some pantry items onboard already.

About Coupons
Coupon clipping is a saver, but only for items that you'll actually use. Avoid questionable items that might be used someday. There's no savings by keeping a jar of jam sitting around for a year. Save coupons for useful products that never seem to go on sale. If you're not committed to a brand, buy the product offered by the coupon, but only if the coupon makes it less expensive than what you usually use.

Now Creativity Comes into Play
Once onboard with your provisions, the collection may seem overwhelming because you don't have a menu to follow. Make separate piles for your veggies, your meats, cheese and dairy, and one for the inner aisle goods.
Look in the pantry for any rice, noodles, or potatoes. Can you see where this is going?  Pick an item off each pile, review your choices, and there you are. Your dinner menu is made.   Now don't you feel smart?