There are a few "rules" I keep when grocery shopping in order to not over buy and to make this chore a pleasant one. Tonight I added to this list.
1. Make a detailed list. Write it down when you are out, and have a detailed menu ready to make sure you get what you need. Don't have your 6 year old write a few things down while you are changing diapers, tying shoes, and making sure everyone went potty.
2. Don't go to the store on a whim just because grilled cheese and tomato soup with goldfish crackers sounds good. Look in the refrigerator, cause there might be some leftover chicken wings there, and you sure would not want to find that out after dragging your kids to the store in the freezing rain.
3. Never, never go to the store when you are hungry. If you do, you might pass by the Twinkies section and think about how good they sound. Then you might buy them.
4. Apparently, 5:30pm on a Sunday night is not a good time to go, since that is when everyone else wants to go. Monday afternoons aren't really good either.
5.Just stick to your list and allow 3 "extra" items you might have missed. This will help you avoid walking down the isle and pulling things off the shelf that you might need, which results in a much larger total and many more bags to carry in the freezing rain.
6 (This is the revised part)Never, never, never ever take 4 children to the store on a Sunday night in the freezing rain! Call for delivery, eat your leftovers, eat oatmeal cookies for goodness sakes! But don't go! They will ask to buy all kinds of extra stuff, and you will probably give in just to keep them quiet, you will apologize at least 20 times on their behalf, and when it is all said and done, the tomato soup and grilled cheese are just not worth the effort. Neither are the Twinkies. (But I will enjoy one later.)
On a more serious note: I do like to take ONE child with me when I go to the grocery store. Depending on their stage in life, they can help pick out a few items, cross off your list, learn about prices, foods, and it results in some great bonding time.
I would love to hear any other tips to add to the list!