How Often Do YOU Grocery Shop?
A recent post on Everyday Family by fellow blogger Stef Daniel caught my eye. The title: Confession: I HATE Grocery Shopping.
I have also grown a bit weary with the whole shopping/coupon clipping/menu planning ‘thing.’ As moms and dads all over the world know, once you have kids, time is RARE! Be honest: When was the last time you felt you had half an hour to actually SIT ON THE COUCH and STARE AT THE TELEVISION (yes, I’m yelling here!) without having to do something ELSE at the same time, like clip coupons, fold clothes, or clip and paint your toenails (because when else are you going to do it and they are as long as talons at this point?!)?
So when I spend my evening clipping and planning and I get to the store and my bill STILL hits $100 or more, I get a little cranky.
And when I grocery shop on Monday but by Saturday my fruit is bad, or I have to run back out to get stuff for the weekend, or I forgot ONE THING at the store that I MUST HAVE for the meal, I get a little cranky. (Okay. A lot cranky.)
So I’ve changed a few things this year. I am going to the store twice per week for smaller trips rather than once a week for a large trip. I know they say this is NOT the way to see savings, but I have actually cut back on our bill by about $15 per week. It may not seem like much, but when you add that up I’m saving $60 per month!
Why do I think this is happening? I feel my savings are occurring for the following reasons:
I am making an effort to clear out everything I buy. This means if I don’t think we will eat it within the month, I don’t buy it. Yes, it may seem like a great idea to buy eighteen pounds of chicken at $1.99 per pound, but guess what? We can only eat chicken so much per week before we get sick of it; and if I stockpile too much, it will take forever to eat it down; and then before we eat it down, I buy more. Vicious money spending cycle! Now I buy what I know we can eat within one month.
I buy fruits and vegetables for four days at the most, so they don’t go bad. This has been a big issue with our shopping trips. We eat a lot of fresh fruits and veggies. If I try to buy for an entire week, half of what I get goes bad, particularly fruit.
We eat what I buy! Imagine this! In the middle of coupon frenzy I would stockpile just to see savings; but if you buy it and don’t eat it, guess what? You aren’t saving money! So now when I menu plan, I actually USE what I bought for the week. We are down to just a few backups of pasta, sauce, mayo, ketchup . . . because we are eating what I purchase.
And here are the five main rules I follow for visiting the store twice weekly. I:
- Don’t drive out of the way to get to the store. I make two scheduled trips: one on Monday, one on Thursday or Friday. I schedule it for days I will be on that side of town so I don’t have to waste gas going in.
- Don’t pass up great stockpiling deals . . . unless I already have more than one or two. Here’s the thing with stockpiling and savings: it only works if you are going to USE WHAT YOU HAVE. Now I only buy one to two back-ups, period, even if it IS difficult to pass up an $.84 jar of BBQ sauce!
- Continue to menu plan. It’s difficult to save money on groceries without menu planning, so I continue to do this for the week. Then on each trip I figure out if I need anything else for the meals I will make.
- Continue to shop sales and use coupons. Though I am going twice per week on smaller trips, I continue to shop the sales and use coupons to save.
- Don’t grab stuff not on your list. I still only buy what I have planned to buy (okay, minus a few bonus purchases from time to time, like a yummy treat I didn’t expect!). Sticking to a list is important for savings, especially if you only want to buy on sale with coupons.
How often do you grocery shop? Do you use a list and coupons each time?