Friday, April 11, 2008

How often do you shop?

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?


  1. I have always been a fan of once a week shopping.

    Lately I am thinking that I need to condense all my errands and miscellaneous shopping trips into one day.

  2. I shop once a month. Our stores are about 20 miles away so it makes sense to do it in one trip.

    When I make menus, I start with a master list of all the things we like and make the menues from that list. That way I'm not racking my brain trying to think of things.

    Our menu is really just a suggestion, not a rule. I know that I have the stuff to make everything on the menu. The only times I really stick to it are on Sundays when I make something in the crock pot, and Saturday when we usually have leftovers.

    I do shop the sales when I do my shopping, and hit more than one store for the best deals. Our freezer is full because we've had surplus that hasn't been used for whatever reason. I like the feeling that I could go for one month without doing any shopping and we'd still be ok.

    I'll occasionally pick up something that's on sale at one of the stores if we happen to have to go "to town", but that's rare.

    I love doing my shopping once a month and don't think I'd go back to once a week, even if I could!


  3. We have been doing once a month except for produce for quite a while now. (Forced into it because we just don't have enough energy for a full weekly shopping trip.) It's worked really well. I tend to rotate through approximately the same menus monthly; usually things like seasonal produce can fit into whatever general menu idea I had. (For instance, if it's chicken and rice, the sides or extra veggies in it can easily change.) That makes it easier to expect what will be needed for a month.

  4. I actually hate once a week shopping. I'll buy the bulk stuff and make my own from scratch. By the time I go shopping again I'm ready to buy more of the fruits & veggies that we need. I do a lot of Sam's Club shopping. When summer comes around we grow most of our own veggies. This year I want to add a few berry bushes.