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Tuesday, November 3, 2020

Holiday Grocery Shopping Before the Mad Rush

I read an article on WKRK's website yesterday that suggested some groceries (and other items) may be in short supply this fall. Included in the list were holiday baking ingredients, canned goods, frozen meals, and pasta (plus the expected cleaning supplies, toilet paper, and paper towels).

For those in the US, the article suggested that grocery shopping for Thanksgiving might best be done before November 15, as traditional Thanksgiving foods would be in high demand from mid-November on. I suspect that Christmas and Hanukkah baking supplies, such as flour, sugar, butter, spices, nuts and nut pastes, canned pumpkin, dried and candied fruit, leavening agents, colored sprinkles, chocolate, and cocoa powder might also sell to shelf-depletion levels before Thanksgiving for the value-priced brands. I had a Walmart curbside pickup scheduled for this morning. After reading this article, I thought now would be a good time to go through my holiday baking plans and put the ingredients that I needed on my list for today's order. (I added confectioner's sugar and a couple of cans of mixed nuts -- not a lot of extra items, but these ingredients would be missed this holiday baking season. Obviously, I chose the least expensive brands of both items and was pleased that they were in stock today.)

If you haven't tried curbside pickup due to not wanting someone else to select your produce items, what I've been doing is scheduling a pickup for the bulk of my order then gone into the store for the few fresh produce items that I wanted -- a hybrid approach. This works well for me. I choose a pickup time that is in the earliest grouping, shop in person for my fresh produce as quickly as I can, then go back out to the parking lot to receive the rest of my order. This morning I was in the store for less than 10 minutes, including self-checkout. If I had done the entire shop in-person, I would have spent about an hour to shop for 3 weeks worth of groceries and encountered many more other shoppers and employees in the process.

Anyway, I thought I'd share what I'd read in this brief article. I hope your week is off to a great start, friends!


  1. While I don't usually due curbside pickup, I am in and out of the stores quickly. It certainly helps if you are familiar with the store and it's a time of day when there aren't many people in there.

    We aren't big bakers here, but we usually do bake somethings to give as gifts for Christmas. I guess I should check the supplies, but I think we have a lot of the baking ingredients left from when we stocked up at the beginning of the shutdown.

    1. Hi Live and Learn,
      That's good that you can be so quick with your shopping. I agree, it helps if you know the layout of the store and shop at an off hour. When I do shop in-person, I make my list out in the order that I would find it in that store. That speeds things up considerably, too.

      I've been slowly adding to my baking supplies, so I didn't need a whole lot. I have some basic items that we make every Christmas, and I knew I wouldn't want to disappoint my family. Everyone has their favorite item, and I aim to please.

      Have a lovely day, Live and Learn.

  2. Great idea Lili. I am going to my daughter's for Thanksgiving, she is so excited it is her first time cooking a turkey. Only 6 of us in our bubble. Unfortunately won't
    see the rest of the family but we all need to stay safe. I will still buy a turkey breast or two and stock up on any items on sale for the holidays. Next time I'll do as you do and pick up our own produce. We go early anyway but better to be careful.

    1. Hi Cheryl,
      Your Thanksgiving plans with your daughter sound wonderful. I can imagine her excitement over being the hostess for her first major holiday. Good plan to pick up some holiday deals, even if you won't be cooking the Thanksgiving dinner this year.
      Thanks for mentioning your plans for the turkey breasts. When I place my next Walmart order, I may add a turkey breast or two (if there are any left at that point) to use for Christmas dinner and have for sandwich meat.

      I hope you're enjoying a beautiful autumn day today, Cheryl.

  3. Interesting. I did add a two-pack of baking powder to my cart on my Sam's run this morning. Went to the commissary for a couple turkeys yesterday as it's the lowest price I've seen in years, honestly, probably since moving to Oklahoma 23+ years ago. They have some sort of price-control thing on meat here which I don't totally understand, but the cheapest I remember buying turkey for was .50 a lb on clearance after Thanksgiving at Wmart. I guess the commissary is immune to that, being on federal property, though in the past, prices on turkeys have been higher there than at places in town. Kind of mind boggling but I was happy to get a couple at great prices for a change. One for the upcoming holiday, and a second to have later.

    Back during the spring, when things were locked down here, we actually had pretty good luck with the produce picked when doing curbside. But prices are better at Aldi for most produce, so I'm back to shopping there for much of it. Surprisingly, the commissary is WAY higher on that stuff, with a pretty limited selection, to boot. Oh, well.

    1. Hi Cat,
      That's interesting about the price variations between the commissary and your area's mainstream stores. I'm so glad for you to have picked up a couple of turkeys, there and at a great price. Those will be enjoyed for many meals, even with a large family/growing kids.

      The produce on curbside pickup has been hit or miss for me. They have done a great job with bananas, cabbage, and tangerines but only so-so for items like celery and lettuce (more fragile or time-sensitive, maybe?). I don't fault the employee who is doing my shopping. It's just this particular Walmart has a small produce section and often has items that look past their prime. If I'm shopping in-person, I can sift through the aging-looking produce and find the best-condition items. Anyway, a hybrid approach has allowed me to select the items that I'm more picky about.

      Have a great day, Cat!

  4. I've noticed that our Meijer has been stocking the baking aisle much like how it is typically stocked during the holiday shopping period, since early in October, which is about a month sooner than usual. You are right, I need to make sure I have enough to get me through Christmas while there is still plenty in the stores.

    I've been focusing more on purchasing Christmas gifts. There are a few items that I want to get which need to be shipped and I'm sure that there will be a mad rush for things in December. I think I've ordered what I need and several items have already been sent. I'm also working on my gifts which I will need to mail--I want them to arrive in plenty of time!

    I think all of us Frugalistas will be fine--after all, planning and shopping early is nothing new to us!

    1. Hi Kris,
      Good for you for getting those Christmas gifts. I read that record numbers of people will be shopping online for gifts this year, and the advise is to shop early. I'll need to follow your lead and get cracking on my gift shopping.

      I think you're right, most of us here tend to stock up early for our cooking/baking supplies. That's a good thing for us.

      I hope you're enjoying a beautiful fall afternoon, Kris.


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