Twice a Month Grocery Shopping: First Month’s Results

Last month I wrote a post about my new aspirations for grocery shopping less, utilizing more of what was already in our house, and hopefully saving time and money in the process. Here‘s the original post if you missed it!

So, a month in, I’m really pleasantly surprised with how not-overwhelming and cost-efficient it is to only grocery shop twice a month! As I mentioned before, I was previously spending about $70-80 on my “main” shopping trip each week, and then usually around $10-20 on little side trips throughout the week to get something we were out of, or something we were craving. In the three times I’ve shopped for two weeks at a time, I’ve spent between $100-$120 and so I’m really happy with that! I feel like meal planning for two weeks at a time has helped me notice bad patterns in our eating that might not be as noticeable if I were to just kind of fly by the seat of my pants. We also just naturally buy less junk food, because, let’s be honest, you’re probably going to buy one or two not-so-great things each time you do a bigger shopping trip, but if I’m only doing a larger haul twice a month that’s not soooooo bad, right? Girl’s gotta have her candy.

Full disclosure though, I haven’t been perfect at not running to the store for other things. For example, we got together with some friends for dinner spur-of-the-moment once, and I definitely ran to buy the ingredients for that. And we ran out of eggs last week and I totally bought more because we use those constantly. So I’m figuring it out and it’s a work in progress! 🙂

I also just have a general sense of satisfaction over wasting less food. I just read that the average American family wastes $1365-$2275 annually on uneaten, spoiled food–and based on our family’s past habits, I’d believe it! Not to mention it puts a strain on environmental resources. I’ve definitely noticed that over the last month, I’ve become better at using what we already have in the fridge, even if it’s not what I necessarily want right then. So yeah, the last few days before I shop aren’t the biggest party (not that we are going hungry….I am reasonable…..but, like, if I want bagels I don’t go buy a dozen bagels right then. Even though I really want to).

Shopping also doesn’t take as long as I would have thought–even though I’m buying food for double the length of time, it doesn’t take twice as long to shop. Still, I’d recommend leaving small children at home if at all possible….this is what happened the last time I took Ella with me:

Car-cart abandoned promptly when we discovered it contained no restraining device.

So it goes without saying that I LOVE not having to drag her to the store as often! Saturday is usually my shopping day, and it’s great to wake up every other Saturday and not dread dragging her through the busy aisles (as I’m typing this I’m wondering why I don’t switch to another day?….).

The very hardest part of this system is the meal planning! It just seems like such a daunting task and figuring out what’s for dinner is always such a chore–I love cooking, and I don’t really mind shopping, but planning is a pain. It’s just that nothing sounds good, and I get bored of the same meals over and over, so I definitely take a while figuring out what we are going to be eating for the next two weeks. I set aside time after Ella has gone to bed, get the laptop (for Pinterest, duh) and my cookbooks, and just go to town browsing. I try to avoid too many of the same kind of meat for dinner (like, not all beef dishes, or chicken, etc.) as well as a few meatless things. My all-time favorite recipe site is Mel’s Kitchen Cafe–seriously I don’t think I’ve ever tried a dish I haven’t liked! And, the Paprika app is the best for saving recipes that I love and will make again.

For lunches we usually just do sandwiches, leftovers, or pasta, and breakfast is usually cereal, toast, or scrambled eggs unless I’m feeling fancy, so that part is pretty easy to plan for. We usually do Costco once a month and I get the requisite Cheez-its, dried fruit, and fruit snacks for her royal tiny highness.

So, I hope this little report has been helpful! To sum it up, yes, shopping less frequently definitely takes some more effort and discipline but it’s awesome to not have to deal with it as often, and it’s saving us money and sanity!

  • How great. I've never been very good at grocery shopping. Maybe I should take a page from your book!
    Morgan |

  • What did you do about milk and produce?

  • So for milk, I do admittedly just go buy another jug if we run out. We don't go through tons of milk, though, so sometimes one just will last us for over a week. And then for produce I just try to buy enough to last two weeks! We eat the stuff that will spoil fast first, and then stuff like apples, oranges, and broccoli towards the end.