For Frugal Friday, I've decided to re-evaluate our shopping routine. With gas prices skyrocketing (they're $1.25/litre here as of today!), I've been starting to question whether it is cost effective to grocery shop weekly, or if it makes more sense to do the bulk of my shopping once a month. The store I love to shop at (it has a great selection of organic and vegetarian-friendly foods, and a good selection of natural & organic household/personal care products) is on the other side of town. We have a couple of smaller grocery stores that are very close by (one is almost across the street!) where I could get my fresh stuff weekly, but they have a minimal selection of organic foods. And in the summer months I like to take full advantage of in-season produce, so I often don't know what we'll be eating that week until we hit our local farmers' market.
I used to justify shopping weekly because it allowed me to take full advantage of that week's sale flyers. But since we've switched to mainly organic and whole foods, I find the sale flyers don't really apply to us anyway. Very rarely does any of that stuff go on sale.
However, the thought of planning a month's worth of meals at a time is rather daunting to me! It comforts me to know that if we run out of something, it will only be a few days until our next grocery trip. It would take a good deal more planning to know how much of each item I would need to last us a whole month. And I'm also concerned that buying in bulk will actually cause me to spend more. When I shop weekly I seem to be able to make use of every scrap left in my fridge, by incorporating any left-overs into the following week's meals. I wonder if it would be more difficult to do this with monthly shopping.
Another factor that plays into my decision is the fact that we refill our budget envelopes once a month, which makes me think maybe we should shop accordingly.
So how often do you shop?