My Story: Once-A-Month Grocery Shopping
contributed by Judith
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I have discovered that grocery shopping once a month is one major way of saving money. Particularly in combination with other activities, monthly shopping can save a heap of money.
This was a gradual process for me. When I decided to make the move, I was shopping weekly because I had a very small freezer. Now I have a good-sized chest freezer. I started by dropping back to visiting the supermarket once every two weeks. Even though I allowed a budget of double what I had previously spent each week, I found that I seldom needed to spend that much. Shopping less often certainly reduced the impulse purchases. It seemed relatively easy to work out how much of each item I needed to last me two weeks. Some things were already packaged in quantities that would last me longer so I wasn't buying every item each shopping trip.
Once I was ready to take the leap to shopping just once a month, I was very lucky to discover a new supermarket. It not only had a lot more product choices than the one I had shopped at for more than ten years, but also had a lot of regular major bargains. This meant that I was able to inexpensively stock up on the fillers such as rice, pasta, bread, and canned goods. Now, I always have the makings of a meal in my cupboards or my freezer. I refuse to go to a supermarket or corner store for just one thing.
Although the simple change to monthly shopping has saved me money on its own, other additional activities have increased the savings:
- I cook up my own pet food from bargain-priced bulk frozen meat, rice, and vegetables from the garden. Mixed with inexpensive dry food, this feeds my dogs and cats.
- I grow most of my own fruit and vegetables.
- Eventually, I plan to do all my own baking and this will mean that I will buy ingredients such as flour.
- I live on a five-acre small farm and am progressing towards producing my own eggs, dairy products, and eventually meat.
I found it very empowering to only have to go to a supermarket once a month. Supermarket shopping previously was not enjoyable, but now I feel more in control of the whole process of provisioning myself.
The whole challenge of shopping less often can get quite addictive and some people might be tempted to try to shop even less often than once a month. However, I find that it suits me best to shop monthly.
"My Story" is a regular feature of The Dollar Stretcher. If you have a story that could help save time or money please send it by mailto:MyStory@stretcher.com.
Take the Next Step
- Once you trim the grocery budget, don't waste that extra money! Consider opening a savings account to start an emergency fund or save for some other financial goal.
- Continue to look for new ways to trim food costs. Visit our food & groceries section each week to get tips for keeping more of your hard-earned dollars in your pocket.
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