I received a question from a reader asking me about my typical weekly shopping list and how I plan in such a way that just the right amount of food is bought.
I don't think there's such a thing as a "typical" week in our household, because the situation is dynamic and changing constantly - for example during the last month, when my husband and I had to spend quite a lot of time away from home, it naturally meant we needed to take that into consideration and buy less food so that it wouldn't be wasted. Of course there are the few basic items such as bread, milk, eggs, and challah and wine for Shabbat, but overall I have to make a new plan for every week ahead.
My husband normally does the shopping (it's easier and cheaper if he does it on his way from work, than if I do it in the little - and very expensive - store in our area) on Thursday night, and during the day I write a shopping list and email it to my husband. In order to do that effectively, I think of what I would like to cook for Shabbat and during the week (even though Shabbat leftovers usually take us at least until Tuesday). I also check out the supplies I have at home and see what is running low, and plan accordingly.
My husband might buy something that isn't on the list if there's a very good deal for it. Also, with the prices of basic foods, even such as rice and grains, soaring throughout the world, we recently began stockpiling and bought a large amount of different products that can be stored for a long time (such as rice, beans, some canned food). It will carry us through at least a few months of not having to buy those, plus it will save us time because it's more convenient to buy and store a large amount at once than do it bit by bit every time I need a jar of canned peas.
For more information on stockpiling, check out this excellent post by Rhonda Jean, and also this post .
If you want to buy the right amount of food - not too much so it won't go to waste, and not too little so you won't have to run to the store several times a week - the best way I can think of doing it would be to plan a detailed menu and think, realistically, of what you will serve and what and how much every member of your family might eat. It will save you a lot of money and headache in the long run. It's not too bad to learn from mistakes, either - when you see that, for example, you ran out of milk early in the week, you might want to take a note to buy more milk next time.
It's also very important to see what you already have. An unorganized storage system when you don't know what goes where might eventually cost you money, like it happened to me last week when I forgot I already have cucumbers and bought some more. This sad story ended in throwing away a pile of cucumbers that went bad - a lesson for me to be more organized.