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The Two-Week Grocery Experiment: Introduction

Since our Kroger stores have closed–and they were the source of most of my great grocery deals–I’ve been re-working my grocery shopping strategies and trying a variety of things to see what works best with the stores and deals we still have left. When there’s a will, there’s a way, right? Sometimes it just takes some creative ingenuity and thinking outside the box!

I stretched our last grocery shopping trip out to last almost 10 days, so when I went shopping this week, I actually had $75 to work with, as opposed to the usual $40. (I only had $35 left from the previous week’s grocery budget because I’d done a few transactions at CVS and picked up some ice cream on sale for a treat.)

This $75 was to last us for the next week and a half but I decided to see if I could buy enough to last us for two weeks instead. I’ve never shopped for two weeks in my life, nor have I ever spent $75 on one grocery outing (save for back in the days when I wasn’t married yet and was doing the shopping for my parents and six siblings!), but I figured I might as well try it and see what happens.

While I have yet to see if the groceries I bought do indeed last us for two weeks, I have already noticed two things:

1) I spent less time buying groceries.

I usually spend approximately 30-45 minutes planning the weekly grocery trip including going through the sale ads, matching the sales with coupons, pulling the coupons, making my lists, and writing a rough menu plan. (I often don’t write the final menu plan until I arrive home from the store as I sometimes substitute and make changes while at the store if I find an exceptional deal.)

My weekly shopping trip (usually hitting between 2-3 stores) normally takes me around 2 hours, including driving time.

Instead of doubling that time to shop for two weeks, I actually only spent around 45 minutes of preparation time and just under 3 hour of shopping time. So, I shaved off around an hour to an hour and a half of time by shopping for two weeks’ worth of groceries.

2) I was able to stockpile more than usual.

I’m not sure what it was, but something about having $75 to spend gave me more wiggle room to stock up. For example, I found loaves of bread at Aldi reduced to $0.50/loaf. On our usual $40/week plan, I likely would have bought two–twice what we normally buy for a week. Instead, I was able to afford to buy six loaves which I stuck in the freezer and will likely last us for at least five weeks.

I also bought 5-7 other items I probably would not have been able to wing in our usual budget; I’m not sure why that was but I seemed to get more bang for my buck with more money to spend. I’m still pondering that phenomenon!

And do you know how much $75 can buy at the grocery store? I felt like I’d just become independently wealthy or something when I unloaded all those groceries onto the belt at the checkout stand! In the next installment in this series, I’ll share what all I bought for $75. Stay tuned.

I’ve always said that shopping every week is likely the best way to maximize on sales and deals since store sales usually change each week. However, after noticing the time saved and my ability to stockpile more with two week’s worth of grocery money, I’m wondering if perhaps that’s not always the case. I’ll tell you how it goes and what my conclusions are in this The Two-Week Grocery Experiment series.

How often do you shop? Do you think that shopping every week is the best strategy? I’d love to hear!

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102 Comments

  • Jamie says:

    I generally do the bulk of my shopping once a month…. canned goods, pantry items, household, etc, etc…. I make a once a month trip top the bread store and stock my freezer… buns (hot dog and hamburger) poboy rolls, french loaves, bagels, tons of bread…

    I find my time is best spent with the one big trip/month… with 3 young kids I now try to do this trip without any kids…. although I have done it with 1,2, even 3 before LOL!

    I started with CVS thanks to you about 1 1/2 months ago… This is helping tremendously!! I am getting my milk for free there and now working in a once a week CVS trip…. and scouting out other awesome deals!

  • Melissa says:

    hello! i shop twice a month, which is once a paycheck for us (military). for the two of us i can get enough to last a couple weeks and only spend about $100. i need to work on saving money and coupons and stuff though. i could probably spend less if i did.

  • Melissa says:

    hello! i shop twice a month, which is once a paycheck for us (military). for the two of us i can get enough to last a couple weeks and only spend about $100. i need to work on saving money and coupons and stuff though. i could probably spend less if i did.

  • Bethany says:

    I usually shop every week under ideal circumstances BUT: I only buy what is on sale, and produce/milk. I buy enough of the sale items to last until the next sale, and a few extra. (www.hillbillyhousewife.com and http://www.frugalabundance.com have more detailed info on the “feast or famine” life) By doing this, I not only ensure I’m getting the best possible price on an item, but i always have a reserve of food in the event that for whatever reason, we need to cut the budget fast for a while.

  • Jes says:

    I’m still learning the best way to shop, but the past few months I’ve been trying something new. My husband gets paid the last work day of the month, so I’ve been doing one big grocery trip the first week of the month where I go to SAM’S and get all my meat for the whole month, plus a few other things which last all month. Then each week I end up just needing milk, cheese, eggs, fruit and bread.

    It’s been working pretty good for us, it also cuts down on time spent shopping and planning.

  • Kristie says:

    Crystal ~

    The last month I have found myself buying enough to last 2 weeks too. At first it wasn’t intentional. I had gone way over my budget to buy some meat that was on sale. Because I had already been able to stockpile quite a bit it was no big deal to skip a week of groceries.

    This has happened to me 2 times in the last month or so. I also was beginning to wonder if this would be a better way of shopping for me.

    Also, one other benefit is the savings in gas. I still run to CVS when it is worth it for me to do so.

    Anyways I had to chime in on this one since I too have noticed some of the benefits.

    Kristie
    This Side Of Eternity
    http://www.savingdollarsandsense.com

  • Iva says:

    I used to shop every two weeks because that how my husband got paid. Now, since he gets paid weekly, I’m shopping weekly. I’m finding the whole adjustment of things very difficult.

  • Mary Ann says:

    I like shopping every other week. For awhile, I shopped every week but it was just too much. And I didn’t feel like I was able to stock up as much either.

    I used to shop once a month which I do like because of the efficiency of it but I can watch sales better if I shop more often and therefore save us more money plus my husband likes that we have more variety when I shop more frequently.

  • Sarah says:

    What I try to do is a monthly trip to Aldi, a monthly trip to Walmart, and weekly trips to Kroger and CVS. Aldi and Walmart are the cheapest places I have found in my area to get the nonperishables and freezer stuff, as well as Walmart having all those other things you always need, like socks and air filters. But Kroger has the cheapest eggs and organic milk, the best qualiity produce, and the other weekly deals. We do spend more than Crystal, with about $300 a month going to those 4 stores.

  • Angela says:

    We too only shop every 2 weeks. Last April my husband changed jobs to where he is now only paid every 2 weeks. We take that day and I will spend around $100-$120 (prices are going up) for our family of 5…and that is for everything..meat,veggies, household supplies, school supplies (we homeschool) etc. We generally have coupons for eating out someplace “cheap” so this is the “twice a month” outing we have. More than likely our shopping trip will last for several hours and its either have the kids wait until 2 to eat…or use a coupon, meet my husband and have a nice lunch and grocery shopping day 🙂 I have found that we have saved loads of TIME. When we shopped every week it was hours at every shopping trip. I don’t think I spend any more time than I did before, I just only have to do it every couple of weeks. I used to do once a month shopping….that was an all day affair.

    Angela

  • Sarah says:

    I have a two week grocery budget. My husband gets paid bi-weekly, so we put cash in the grocery envelope every two weeks, though I don’t necessarily shop once every two weeks or once a week systematically like you do.

    I really like having 2 weeks at a time because it gives me more flexibility. I know that if I find a great deal the first week, I can spend a little more. It also means that if there’s not much we need one week or no good deals, it can carry over to the next. Most of the time, though, I don’t end up grocery shopping the first week, and then do a 2 week shopping trip the second week. Even though it’s the same amount of money, I just feel so much freer having two weeks at a time.

  • Tara says:

    I used to shop four weeks at a time until I had kids and I just couldn’t do it without a big headache. So now I make a menu for every two weeks and shop for that. I usually still have to get milk, bread, a few veggies and fruits each week which I can do while the kids stay in the car with Daddy when we are out or Daddy gets them on the way home from work. And of course I go to CVS and Walgreens once a week too. I just hate taking the kids every week, especially in the summer, to the groecery stores.

  • Dani Wegman says:

    We shop once a week, mainly because, we have very little storage room in the apartment we’re in right now. And a smaller fridge. Which can barely hold a weeks groceries plus left overs.

    So once a week works for us.

  • Shawn says:

    I’d love to get feedback on this challenge after your first week — if you feel you have run out of things and how you cope. That has always been my problem. In fact, it wasn’t until I declared one shopping day a week that I started to drastically reduce my bill and not have to return to the store even once.

    You have the greatest luck of anyone I know: I mean, .50 bread at Aldi? I’ve been there weekly for months and never came across that.

  • Christine says:

    And you don’t say how far you live from the grocery store,but you are also saving gas as well!

  • Jeff says:

    My wife shops every two weeks for groceries. I do the CVS thing and go at least once a week. Right now, we are not at the $75.00 every two weeks, but the time and money savings are excellent!

  • Heather says:

    I am so happy you were able to do so well at the store for less than twice the money you usually spend.

    We’re budget newbies, so I can’t really comment where that is concerned.

    I do 2 types of shopping.

    1:
    Going for what’s cheap or free that week at drugstore/bigbox store and picking up milk/bread/whatever they have that I need. (The milk is the same or slightly more than the grocery store, but it keeps me out of the grocery store and away from more shopping temptation for the moment.
    Besides, I need filler items so all my coups will go through. I’d rather do this than buy a 24cent pencil I don’t need.

    2:
    Going to the grocery store because I need produce, meat, eggs. The food usually lasts longer than I’d planned, so I can’t say that I go on a certain day of the week or at certain intervals. I go when those things need to be replenished or if there’s a fabulous sale. And of course, I’m looking for the most reasonable prices/sales anyway.

    Otherwise, I think I’d spend more. If coupon deals are available while I’m there, I’ll pick them up. But I’m mostly there for what I have to have. And I’m there because I need things. Not because it’s shopping day.
    That’s what works for me. I don’t know how that would work for other families.

    Since, as I said, we’re still so new to budgeting,I’m still trying to figure out what we really do spend so I can set up a realistic plan.
    For now I know we spend less when I don’t feel I have to go to the store because it’s on the schedule.

    Oh… and we will be shopping farmers’ market this summer. Maybe trying Angel Food ministries, too!

    **H**

  • Tiffany says:

    I’ve tried shopping for two weeks, but we go through so much milk and other perishables…and live so far from a store….plus we have a tiny freezer. So it doesn’t work for us.

  • Mindi says:

    I shop for perishables once a week. Everything else that we eat during the week is from our stockpiles (I have a large pantry and a large separate freezer). Then I usually end up stopping in to 1-3 other grocery stores during the week to replenish the stockpiles with that store’s loss-leaders for the week. Since I plan those other visits around other errands that I need to run, I don’t consider it a time/gas waster.

  • Liz says:

    I shop after every payday (every 2 weeks).I try to stretch it even further if I can. The downside to the 2-week approach is that I almost always have to make a milk run in between grocery trips. I have 2 kids, one of whom is physically disabled, and going shopping with them is a PAIN! 🙂 So I try to do it as infrequently as possible. I also find I end up with more in my stockpile when I go less often because the $ seems to stretch further.

  • I shop every week, only because it is really hard to get produce to last for two weeks! Plus, I do like to hit the weekly sales. I do thing going once a week is far preferable to going multiples times a week, though, which is what I used to do when I wasn’t planning as well.

  • Miranda says:

    I have been shopping every two weeks since I got married 8 years ago. I have tried to go once a week but it didn’t seem to work as well. Even with meats it is cheaper when you buy in bulk. I think sticking with every two weeks I have been able to actually have extra after my $70 budget.

  • Tonya says:

    I usually do a big grocery shop run one week and the next week I go out and just get some of the better sales to stockpile. I agree, I think having that extra money does give you some room to stockpile and get the great deals.

  • Lori says:

    This is funny….I actually just went in the other direction, from every two weeks, to weekly, actually dividing my allowance in half and using half the first week and half the second. I did this b/c I was finding that my family was consuming most of what I purchased for the two week period in the first week – yikes! That was really shooting my plan!!! So I’ve been doing the split for a month or so now, and I can see that we have a steadier flow of food, as opposed to the feast and famine we were having. I guess it all boils down to doing what you have to do, right?
    Blessings!

  • Michelle says:

    I will admit that I am struggling with this very issue. I want to cut back to once every two weeks, but am afraid I will miss out on deals during the off week. Thanks for your sharing your experiment! I may have to get out of my comfort zone and give it a try.

  • karen says:

    Your points for shopping evert two weeks are definitely worth pondering. The time savings is important especially if you are very limited on time. And your point of being better able to stockpile with a larger budget is logical too. I utilize a plan of doing a bigger shopping every two weeks and a sale/loss leader only shopping on the opposite week. This lets me go to the store with a bigger budget on the first week for stockpiling of great deals (or buying in bulk), but also not miss out on amazing deals that come up on the other week. I also try to always keep $20 tucked away outside of our normal budget just in case I run into a deal that I just can’t pass up (not $20 weekly, just $20 in general that I slowly replenish if I use up).

  • Momala says:

    Over the last 20 years of my married life I have tried many different plans for grocery shopping. For the last few years I have been shopping weekly, but I just recently changed to doing my major shopping 2x a month. I changed because I found that the more often I go to the store, the more extra money I spend (it makes sense doesn’t it?) My husband gets paid on the 15th and 31st, so I take my grocery money on those days and do the bulk of my shopping. I still have to make extra trips to the store to buy more milk, eggs and produce (we go through at least 8 gallons of milk a week!)

    I think this plan is saving me time and money.

  • Selena says:

    I also only shop twice a month. I find that saves me gas, time and we do much better about “making do” with what we have if we only go to town twice a month. It’s definitely a win-win for our family.

  • I have recently started doing 2 weeks shopping trips as well. I am really just getting started with doing a better job of matching coupons and sales. But, even when I first started going 2 weeks and hardly used any coupons or payed attention to sales, my grocery bill dropped by about $25-$50 a week! Just by going every 2 weeks. I also saved alot of time since the extra planning and shopping time was less than an extra weekly trip. And it really works for me b/c my 2 toddlers hate grocery shopping, so now I can usually either go on the weekend, or if I have to take them, it’s only every other week. The hardest part I find is minimizing my shopping in between the 2 weeks for things like produce and milk which don’t usually last that long or I don’t have room for 2 weeks worth in my fridge. I have the force myself to only buy the necessity’s on that short trip.

  • Michele says:

    I think one would do better overall costwise by buying things they need at the lowest price possible. (Think back to the Tightwad Gazette – she had price points for each item and if she met or beat that price she would stockpile). So, yes, having more money available to buy those things when you find them is probably a better deal. However, it’s probably a bit harder to keep track of what you have. My thoughts are if you buy for a month out or longer, then you’d better have a month’s worth of menus or you might end up with a lot of bread and no cheese. I think one would need to be super organized too – keeping detailed records of of what’s in the freezer, pantry, etc. for future meals down the road.

  • Lisa says:

    I shop weekly. However I keep a separate account for stockpiling. I have X amount for needed grocery items for the week, and X amount for stockpiling. The grocery budget stays the same, but the stockpile is always in flux because that money comes from various sources which are not from fixed income. When stockpile funds are higher than normal look out! Like you I feel like a rich woman! That’s when the stockpiling really helps me cut down on the grocery account. The more I am able to stockpile, the less I spend on weekly groceries and the more I am able to put more money into the stockpile account (sometimes other accounts as well).

  • Babsi says:

    Hi! I think what you’ve found with more cash on hand that you were able to take advantage of specials that you came across and stock pile. Perhaps on a different week the sales would have been as good or Aldi wouldn’t have had the bread at a discount. Perhaps it would be advantageous to have small sum available for extra deals? I have a very hard time walking away from discounted deals I would normally buy anyway and in your example, you were able to feed your family bread for 5 weeks instead of just 1.
    As for only shopping only once every two weeks, I would hesitate because there may be sales I would want to take advantage of. Also, I would be at the store anyway for fresh fruits and veggies.
    I’m looking forward to the rest of your post.
    Thanks for all you do!
    Babsi

  • Angie says:

    I have always heard people say that shopping every 2 weeks is a great plan. The problem I’ve never been able to get past is with produce. I wouldn’t have any fresh produce at the end of the 2-week cycle. I like to have fresh fruit on hand for the kids. I’d love to hear people’s advice on this part.

  • Amy Miller says:

    I shop every week (usually every Monday morning) and spend roughly $75 per week for a family of four. I used to make my menus a week in advance and make my purchases at the store. Now, I find myself buying the sales and making do with what I have at home. I think this week, I will actually try to make a menu plan! When my dh and I were first married (15 years ago) I would take $100 and it would last for one month. I would shop once a month! My, how times have changed!

  • Carrie says:

    I completely agree! Before I discovered moneysavingmom.com I was spending a fortune on groceries. Once I started using coupons and shopping sales, I was able to get our grocery bill under $60-$70, but that was only if I shopped for two weeks at the same time (and if I stopped letting my husband buy a DVD every time we went to Wal-Mart!). I’ve also had a few weeks where I spent $50 one week and $10 the next for fillers and sales!

  • i too try to grocery shop every other week b/c the best store for us gives $10 off a $50 purchase every other week. we have no double coupon place that works better than that.

  • Crystal says:

    I have tried both ways and have yet to decide which is best. It does save you alot of time and gas, but two of the biggest problems I have run into occasionally are #1 I do miss some really good sales and #2 My kids end up eating more “snacks” than they normally would and I find myself trying to hide some items to make sure the groceries will last 2 weeks!

  • Kristen says:

    I definitely don’t grocery shop every week. I typically shop every other week or in some cases every 3 weeks. Until our son was born I would actually only grocery shop once a month! Can you believe it??

    I find that if I get a great sale week it will likely be that way across a few stores. When I stock up we are more than able to get through 20 days with what we have in the pantry. Sure, I’ll grab a gallon of milk (but that goes with my CVS trips so I don’t even really count that) or an extra head of lettuce since that usually doesn’t last that long. But for the most part I can’t “afford” the time each week to hit the grocery stores. I still work full time and so the weekends are dedicated to family time. I’d much rather be playing than grocery shopping… So that’s how we do it!

  • Mary says:

    I try to only shop every two weeks (basically because I loathe grocery shopping and putting it all away, etc) if they have an exceptional sale I may go once a week but not too often. It has become a game to me to see how long I can go in between grocery trips. My dh will stop and pick up milk or whatever if we run out so that helps out and we have our local meat market and veggie store within biking distance for me and the kids.

  • Joy says:

    I shop every two weeks. It does give you more freedom to stock up on purchases. At this point in our lives we don’t really need to go any more often than that.

    If there’s a great sale or something I may stop in just to purchase those items. It doesn’t really cost much more in gas as I incorporate it into another trip that I’m already making (such as CVS).

  • Andrea says:

    I shop weekly. I only stop at a store if there is at least 5 sale items I think are really good. Otherwise, I skip it and may not go back for weeks – which saves my time and money.

    I think shopping every week allows more opportunity to stockpile sales, but I’m not sure if it’s the best strategy – it just works for us. I do think it’s good to challenge yourself constantly by trying to shave time off from your trip, being even more efficient in driving and shopping, and trying to spend a little less (where possible). Mixing things up occassionally can give you a different perspective, like you’ve shared, and your grocery trip can become a lesson to learn from!

  • Mandy says:

    I just found your blog and LOVE it! I’m a homeschooler, teach Financial peace and have always considered myself thrifty and I just started couponing.

    Until now, to keep grocery expences down, I’ve shopped every 2 weeks with a menu at Walmart only, this resulted in about $300/month for my family of 5. That’s not too shabby. I’ve only been shopping with deals and coupons for a month or so and am still spending the same but getting SO MUCH MORE! I’m hoping in the next month to start reducing the budget and get it down to $200/month which will likely break down to about $75 for a “big shop” every other week and $25 on the off weeks to stock pile great deals and restock parishables.

    Thanks for working so hard to teach others!
    Mandy

  • Jan says:

    I usually shop weekly- but about once a month I just pick up milk and bread and cat litter because I have stocked up enough. How do you get by with milk for 2 weeks? I have never seen 50 cent bread either! not even at the bread outlet store- they sell it for $1 which is a good deal here.

  • rachel says:

    well I hit three stores– target, walmart, and publix, so I usually do three trips a week… if I only have time for one.. it’s publix 🙂

  • Hannelore says:

    I shop every week for five reasons:
    My kitchen is SMALL
    We’re a family of 7
    We use alot of produce
    We like variety
    It’s easier financially
    I would like to be able to shop twice a month in terms of just being able to stay out of the hustle and bustle of the marketplace, but it is still necessary to get fresh items like dairy, bread, produce etc. At this point we have a budget of $150 a week which includes all household items. To double that in one lump sum would require some adjustment. I like going once a week to see what new things are on sale because we like variety. And my kitchen is small/I have no pantry space/my family goes through alot of food. I do think it can be helpful (even for smaller families) to get an extra freezer/fridge in order to stock up on things on sale. An upright is very user- friendly. Sometimes these can be bought used for as little as $50. In our case someone who was down-sizing gave it to us. Thanks for these questions-it actually helped me clarify why I do it this way. I started with 2 reasons and changed it to 5. Wow, you grew up in a family of eight? Boy would I like to talk to your mom for advice….and you as well.

  • Laura says:

    I get the grocery/household money ($180 for 3 people, including toiletries, household items, etc.) at the beginning of each of each month. I have a separate wallet for this money, which is very handy.

    I shop each week, picking up all the good deals. In addition, I go to the bread store one week and get enough for the month, I go to Save A Lot one week to stock up on things we might need, etc. This routine works really well for us.

  • JessieLeigh says:

    I shop for our family of four once a month. We budget $200 for this one trip, but it is rare that I spend more than $150. The “leftover” cash goes in an envelope to supplement fresh milk, eggs, and produce over the month. We live a LONG way from town, so I pick up those perishable essentials either when we’ve had to drive there anyway or, in a real pinch, I could ask my husband to pick something up on his way home from work. Truth be told, though, I’m always so anxious to see him, I would hate to delay him with that kind of errand!

  • Donielle says:

    With all the nice summer weather and having so many more things to do, like tend to my garden, I’ve also started to see if I could go 2 weeks between trips. I get our milk (raw) and eggs from a farm right down the road, so I don’t really need to stock those items and can pick them up whenever. I’ve started trying to buy enough to get me to 2 weeks and my biggest problem so far is the produce. I try to buy some things that we’ll need to eat right away and some for the next week, but we just tend to run out. Still figuring it out, but I think it’s saving me time, and money as well!

  • Ellen Trunnell says:

    At the beginning of each month I do one large grocery shopping for most of the non perishables (meat etc). Then I keep a list on the fridge of what meals I have the ingredients for. I often have 14 meals listed (plus I know I can always make grilled cheese or panckaes if one of those won’t work forme). THen I go a couple more times a month to get stuff like milk and juice that I can’t buy for a whole month. When I go on those smaller trips, I pick up any sales stuff that I can use the next month. I do not save the money like you do (although I could if I worked at it more), but I work part-time with kids and the less time shopping is worth some of the money to me.

  • sara m. says:

    Wait a minute – you’re telling us you’ve never ever spent $75 at the grocery store before? My average was $100 a week for 3 kids and 2 adults, until it got too expensive & I had to do a major budget crunch. Of course, that was without planning my menu ahead of time or using coupons. But still, we try to keep it at $50 a week now, but often end up closer to $60 or $70 if my husband shops with me :o) Keep in mind I have 2 boys…

    Another thing – I didn’t realize you bought packaged bread at all. Here I’ve been feeling guilty for feeding my kids bagged bread for the past week as we remodel the kitchen & cannot make bread! Now I feel better, thanks!

    **************
    Money Saving Mom here:

    I think the most we’ve spent was a little over $50 one or two weeks when I was pregnant. When I’m in the first few months of pregnancy and terrible sick, my hubby takes over the grocery shopping and we up our budget to buy more convenience foods.

    Call us crazy, I know, but we lived on so little when we were first married that $50 for a week of groceries was a huge splurge, we were often getting by on $20-$25/week back then. 🙂

    And yes, I’m no supermom so please do not feel guilty for doing what works for you or what you’ve gotta do! 🙂 We buy all of our sandwich bread–somewhat for convenience, somewhat because we like it better.

    Glad I could make you feel better. 🙂

  • Rachel says:

    Before I started “couponing” and looking for sales & deals, my grocery budget was $85/week and I would go several times in one week. Now, due to rising gas prices, I limit my store visits to every 2 weeks. By using my coupons & combining them with sales, I’ve not spent over $75 for 2 weeks worth yet. People don’t understand how “do-able” it really is. My husband will often ask me “Do you need me to stop by the store on the way home from work?” I love telling him “no” – somedays I would like to say “yes”, but we are learning to cook/eat what we have in our refrig/freezer/pantry at the moment. Love your blog – so many helpful tips!!!

  • I do a main shopping trip every two weeks (when the paycheck comes in) but try to save a reasonable portion of my grocery money for the in-between week. Only shopping twice a month doesn’t work for us because:

    * We have a small apartment fridge!

    * Lettuce, etc, don’t generally keep fresh for a whole two weeks.

    * We’re hospitable on the fly which means running out of fresh ingredients faster than expected.

    * At this stage in life, I can spare the extra hour in order to snag deals. 🙂

  • Gauntlets says:

    Hi there!

    I shop every two weeks, too, with the intent of saving time and money. It works, just like you said. Additionally, we have three kids so far, and I found that weekly shopping trips just aren’t an option–too much time taken up and too much stress.

    We spend $75 a week on our grocery bill here in Ruralsville Nowhere (I’m amazed by how much stuff costs out here in Affiliated Foods land, as compared to how much cheaper things seemed when we lived in a city). Sometimes I manage to squeeze out a few deals and then use the extra cash to splurge for the kids: coloring books and the like.

    Thanks for your site. It’s been good to find a community of frugal thinkers. I need a base of inspiration. 🙂

  • Valerie says:

    It seems like my natural rhythm is every other week with occasional pick-ups of produce and milk in between. My husband usually picks up the extras so I don’t have to waste the extra gas — he’s already in town. I do make a menu for two weeks (at least — sometimes by the month). Missing sales isn’t really that big of a deal. If it really is a great deal on something we would use, I will make an extra stop that week. All in all, I find I spend less time planning and actually shopping this way.

  • Jen says:

    I try and do 2-3 weeks at a time. But usually need to shop for fresh veggies and milk once a week so they stay fresh and we have fridge room. I find if I shop less often I tend to spend less money. 🙂

  • Jen says:

    We are a family of five, soon to be six, and I shop each week. It sounds crazy, but I enjoy my time at the store. We homeschool and I involve my kids in the process of meal planning, couponing and shopping. I hand my oldest the list and she checks off the items as we shop. My middle child keeps track of the coupons and recently, we started letting the kids budget a little money themselves on snacks and treats. They love to search through the coupons to see if they can find a treat that fits into their budget ($1.00). We live in a smaller city and close to stores so I don’t mind getting out.

  • Leslie says:

    I normally shop every two or even three to four weeks and stock up on things I can and that are on sale. Our normal grocery store is H-E-B, but I’ve also been going to Randalls every week to pick up a few things that I can get for cheap since they are the only ones that double and triple coupons. I have started to go do the CVS thing every week to get other things I can for CHEAP! I don’t have kids, yet, and just shop for me and my boyfriend (we’re 25 & 26), so we don’t go through a lot of stuff too quickly. Our downfall is that we get tired of cooking every day and will either order pizza or go out to eat for some meals. Any tips to not get tired of eating at home? We’re going to start trying new recipes, but anything else? My boyfriend works and is pretty good about taking his meals for lunch every day as well. I’m unfortunately still unemployed after being laid off from my job in December, and hence why I am trying to do everything we can to save money. I love your site and it definitely gives me a chance to find good deals and new ways to save a buck!! Thanks so much!

  • I am like Tonya above–I found that when I shop for two weeks my boys eat all the “goody” stuff and then the next week everyone is whining for some snack foods. I went to shopping once a week and sticking better to my budget after reading your ebooks–I wont go back to two weeks–despite gas prices–I know I spend more money and I dont get the best deals for my money.

    It is strange, but when more is lying around I feel we tend to consume it at a faster rate. Sort of like using the large bottle of conditioner–you tend to plop more in your hand then when it is nearly empty and you are being a bit more careful with the squirt amount in your hand–strange but true!

    You will definately have to know how it last for your family–that will be interesting.

  • Thank you for this series! I am excited to see the next installment. I have always shopped every week, but currently am battling morning sickness something terrible. It would be wonderful if I could shop for two weeks at a time and still feel like I was being “frugal!”

  • Robin says:

    Food Lion and Save-a-lot are the closest stores to my home (15 minutes) Walmart and CVS are 1/2 hour from home. These are the stores I shop at weekly, on our way to or from church. Kroger, Costco, and Sharp Shopper (a close-out grocery) are 1/2 hour from home in the other direction. I shop at these every 2-4 weeks depending on my pantry “needs” and any other trips that may be scheduled, like doctor appointments for my elderly family members. I would love to shop weekly at Kroger and Sharp Shopper, but with gas prices I am trying to do as little running as I can.

  • Michelle says:

    I have found that while I shop every week—the items purchased are not necessarily earmarked for that specific week. I have worked very hard to gather a very large stockpile of grocery and health and beauty items…so weekly shopping provides perishables AND new or replacement stockpile items. I have found that if I determine a monthly budget and only shop for items that are a remarkable deal –I actually do not spend my budgeted allowance. Then, I have the option to splurge–or–roll those “extra” funds into the following month’s budget. Because I maintain a stockpile of meats and pantry items—my menus are typically built around the weekly perishables deals.

  • Marin says:

    I shop every other week at the military commissary for the bulk of our groceries. It is 30 minutes away so I do that because of the gas factor ($16.20 round trip!). I shop the Publix BOGO sales each week to stock up on things we use all the time while they’re on sale.

  • Erin says:

    My husband gets paid twice a month. I typically shop once a week (at least for milk and veggies. We go through about 5 gallons of milk a week). BUT, I budget for 2 weeks.

    Example, he gets paid and I set aside x amount for groceries for 2 weeks. I don’t always spend exactly half each week. I might spend 60% the first week and the rest the 2nd or vice versa. Budgeting for 2 weeks gives me the flexibility to spend the money when I need it to stockpile. The amount I stockpile each week isn’t always the same because of different sales. So my budget gives me some flexibility for that.

  • Jenny says:

    We shop every two weeks – a holdover from the many years when I was paid biweekly. Life’s busy enough that I try to keep the grocery runs to a minimum – so I take advantage of the good deals, and we eat whatever was on sale for the next couple of weeks (at the moment we’re working our way through the chicken breast and ground turkey in the freezer). I fill in with dairy and fresh produce through the week.

  • Nita says:

    Wow. So many comments. Cool. I’m a stockpile shopper. I shop weekly for all the sale items & FAR items. All the stuff that’s a really good deal. When chicken breasts were .99/lb. last month, we put 4 packs in the freezer. When Kroger did a 3-day sale that included whole chickens at .59/lb., we ended up with 12 of them. Same goes for non-perishables.

    It’s like playing the stockmarket. Only with better results. Buy low; eat high.

    Then all my menus start with the stockpile. We’re having barbequed chicken & fried corn for supper tonight. The chicken is from that batch of .59/lb. birds. The barbeque sauce cost .12 after coupon last week. And the corn was .59 after coupon 2 weeks ago. Tomorrow, we’re having pork & broccoli stirfry. The pork came from the freezer, stashed there after a sale 3 months ago at .99/lb. The broccoli was on sale this week at .89/lb. And the rice is from a batch that was on sale 2 months ago .69 for 3 lb. bags.

    My weekly shopping lists are probably 75% sale & coupon items for the stockpile, 20% fresh veggies, & 5% need items.

  • Ginny says:

    For June I’m working on my grocery spending. We spend a lot, probably at least $100 a week average. I’m a really funny eater though, so I usually can’t take advantage of all the coupons, etc. I have to pay more attention to what you right, I’d love to cut my bill down! I know my dad needs help as well. He sees all the deals I get at CVS, etc & wants to know why I can’t do that with grocery, lol. He refuses to use coupons though, so I can’t help him if he won’t change that!

    Oh & shopping, I find that I do better with larger shopping trips. The last month or so I’ve only been doing really small trips & it seemed like I spent more then when I do big trips.

  • Kimberly says:

    We shop every other week. I find it to be more productive and I dread the trip anyway. My son is 19 months and still has two naps AND daddy comes home for lunch, so time is usually tight before I have a fussy little one.

  • Ruth says:

    You’ve never shopped for more than a week at a time? That is unthinkable for me, I guess because we live so far from everything. = D I normally shop for a month at a time.

  • Dana says:

    I shop once a month for the main part of our groceries. I save a little back each month in case I find a really good deal when I go to get the fresh veggies and/or fruit each week. We live about 25 minutes from “town” so driving in for one or two items is not practical, or frugal. My daughter and I pray before we go into each store, asking to be guided to what the Lord would have us to buy–including deals, of course! If I have to go into town during the rest of the month, I’ll check the ads online and will usually stop at Kroger’s to see if there are any good markdowns that weren’t advertised.

  • Tara says:

    Our shopping varies due to the events surrounding the weeks and months (travel, weeknight church activities, sickness, etc.) but we typically make one big shopping trip to restock the pantry (usually Super Walmart), and then scope out weekly circulars and buy meat and other items that are killer deals.

    If we still need an ingredient or two (or run out of milk or produce or whatever), I’ll swing by the local chain on the way home from work and pick it up. Just takes a few minutes and wastes no gas.

    Since we’re both working full time, we fit in grocery shop whenever we can. Not my idea situation because we are both drained by the end of the work day, and who wants to brave crowded stores on Saturday? I would LOVE an entire day off to run these errands, clean house, etc. Just waiting for that season of life! We manage fair enough now, though.

  • Hi, Crystal! I am an avid fan and usually just read everyone else’s comments, but today I will share. We’re on the Dave Ramsey envelope plan so my grocery “envelope (technically, it’s a separate debit card for groceries only)” gets funds put into it twice a month. I’ve done well, bi-weekly except for the month of March when my hubby got three paychecks instead of the usual two. I was shopping bi-weekly, but was supposed to be remembering that it was for the month, not just every two weeks. Well, we barely made it through that two week period where I didn’t get to go shopping again. So, in April I tried having the entire $225 for the month all at once and did one huge grocery trip. I think I ended up having enough for a month plus and all I had to do was get the usual milk, bread, and eggs in between. It works, it really does, but it takes major planning and rearranging when some other type of meat is on sale that wasn’t advertised or something. I went back to 2 weeks last week and already it is an adjustment, but we knew we were having company and schedules just never seem to follow the planned menu planning when others are around. So, we are still deciding what we should ‘go with’ but I am def. a fan of the two weeks or longer in between trips–sure, I miss a few sales here and there, but I also get really good deals knowing I can buy a larger quantity of something and separate it myself like gr. beef or something. I have to admit this, though: I’ve never frozen my bread and didn’t know it was such a common way to save your bread. Do you let it thaw, or what? I’m curious and would love to know how to store my extra bread properly. Any advice would be appreciated!:-)

  • Oh, and I should also mention that we moved to WI 11 months ago and we have no Krogers or Randall’s or any place that has great deals! We have Pick-N-Save and Wal-Mart so I have to do most shopping at Wal-mart and scour the P-N-S adds for an occasional deal. I moved from IN so you can imagine the price shock I had. That’s why we’re $225 a month with the two of us and our toddler. Diapers/toiletries are a separate budget line though I only have $5 left over after buying diapers and wipes each month so the grocery money buys all of that, too–unless I get the good deals at Walgreens. No CVS near enough for the gas, either!:-(

  • Susanne* says:

    Crystal,

    I think you hit on a key concept, having that “wiggle” room to purchase sale items and stock up. Especially on items and brands that may not have coupons to match with sales.

    For us, we are looking to extend our grocery visits to save on the cost of gas. But I do like to pick up fresh fruits & veggies weekly. An easy and fun outing with farmers markets during the late spring, summer and fall.

  • Celina Hoffman says:

    I had asked my husband one day whether or not we should continue with our $50.00/wk. budget because the only things we were bringing home was enough to last us for 1 week. Shopping for groceries for 1 week really doesn’t work all that well for our family becuase my husband and I both like to stock pile. We’ve always gotten more “bang for our buck”. For instance the other week our vons had sirloin steaks for .99cents per pound. Well my husband stocked up on that and asked the butcher to ground some of it up as well. He spent about $20.00 on that meat but that will last us for the next month. If we would have stuck to our usual $50./wk. there’s no way we would have been able to buy that much meat and still buy the rest of what we needed and we really wouldn’t be saving on our “bottom line”. (we decided $50.0/wk. because we’re in CA) Yes, we have found it is better to spend a little more and shop for 2wks. at a time. Plus it saves a little on gas as well. When you only have to go to the store every other week.

    In Him,
    Celina Hoffman

  • Cynthia says:

    When I became a SAHM 18 months ago, I found that I would spend about $100 a week for groceries every week or $130 if I went every other week. It still doesn’t make a lot of sense to me, but my DH’s job changed to an every other Friday payday, so I just do the grocery shopping when he gets paid. I set aside a little for the freebies and nearly free sales on the weeks between that I just can’t pass up.

    So far now with the encouragement of this and other blogs, we’re at $150 for each two week cycle (except for diapers – no CVS near us 😉 I’m working on the high-priced items in our diet, but so far I haven’t found a less expensive alternative for our gluten-free items. The least expensive gluten-free bread is $3.70/loaf! Ouch! 🙂

  • Rebecca R. says:

    We are a family of 9–my husband and I, then our 7 children–eldest will be 10 yrs. old in a month or so, down to the youngest 3 being 2 yr. old twins and a 7 1/2 week old baby. Of course, this means I have 3 in diapers right now, and I DO use disposable diapers at this point in time. I hope to potty train the twins this summer when I don’t have homeschooling in my days! Our typical budget is $100 per week for everything–food, household needs, stationery needs, etc. I used to try doing it for $80-$90 some weeks, but now am pretty much spending the $100 a week as I am trying to stockpile things to establish a “6 month pantry” for emergencies. Of course, the contents of my “pantry” are lopsided, as I primarily stock up on what I can get cheaply–thus, I have LOTS of Muir Glen tomatoes! LOL I shop once a week, although have sometimes gone a week and a half. When I have I still use all of the budget money alloted, but never really took notice if I got “more for my money” or not. It is tough to go longer than a week with our family, as I usually buy 5 gallons of milk a week (which fills our fridge), along with fresh produce, etc. I could put some milk in our chest freezer, but it is usually fairly full with meat purchased on sale, and bread gotten at the local outlet for $1/loaf. It is more rare that the whole grain breads are on the $1 rack, so if they have much there, I usually take all they have! This is what works for us!

  • I really believe that shopping every two weeks is more efficient (in both time and cost) than every week.

    My basic method is that the for the first week’s menu, I plan based on what I already have (freezer, pantry) and what I feel interested in making, and write my list accordingly.

    Then, when I go to the store, I buy my list (and I also make substitutions if something I planned is too expensive, etc.), but I also buy more than my list. I buy what I find on sale, the produce that is cheap because it is seasonal and abundant, etc.

    The following week, I should then have enough in my house to last another full week, and so I meal plan according to what I already have. This enables me to really make good use of what I have, not allow any waste, get my fridge cleaned out, and practice forced frugality and creativity!

    I have also found that when I split my budget into weekly amounts, I just can’t stockpile or maximize it in the same way. I like to go to my natural meat deli only once a month, for instance, as well as shop at my bulk health foods co-op once a month, so budgeting monthly and then splitting the remainder (after my co-op order, etc.) into two weeks, leaving just a bit extra for forgotten items or a quick trip to pick up an item or two.

  • Lesley says:

    I shop once a week, but one week is always bigger then the other week. I like to catch the sales at Rite Aid and Walgreens, so those are my weekly trips. I try to go to Shaws twice a month, it just depends on whats on sale.

  • Shannon says:

    I shop once a month, and also feel like I get more bang for my buck. It also takes the same amount of time to go to Sam’s every week or once a month. I let each child chose ONE item to share with the family, and I don’t get tempted by impulse buys. I was spending more money and more time going to Food Lion every week versus Sam’s once a month. I buy my meat in bulk and divide it when I get home into smaller meal sized portions. We are feeding four boys here, one is 11 and eats constantly. Our grocery bill is only 350 a month. And that is EVERYTHING… food, toiletries, and paper goods. I also freeze chips, and bread. 6-8 loaves of bread, 4 gallons Sunny D, 4 gallons of milk, 2 Tropicana, etc. I can’t depend on sales, but I know the price stays the same at Sam’s and I don’t have to clip coupons because they don’t take them.

  • Lori says:

    I do shop every week, but we have a weird budget because my husband gives me a set monthly amount – so I can spend a lot one week, and very little the next. Sometimes I have a big “stock up” week when something we use goes on sale. And I am able to spend more money on that because of how our budget is set up. Shopping this way, however, doesn’t really cut down on the time I spend with planning or on my actual trips to the stores.

    I have been having REAL trouble finding deals on meat lately. When I finally do, I am going to stock up BIG TIME, and I should have no problem finding the money to do that.

    The big thing for me right now is menu planning. I’m stubbornly resisting it. But I think this is the next step for me in getting the grocery budget down… either that or figuring out how to HIDE THE FOOD that I am trying to stock. People keep finding it!!!

  • Mary-Ann says:

    I only shop once a month. I did my big shop yesterday at Walmart and spent $150.51!!! I did so well yesterday that I may have enough for maybe 5 weeks instead of my usual 4 weeks. Last weeks sale at CVS with the Spaghetti Sauce, Mayo, and Mustard really helped my budget this month! I always go with my sister and it took us approx 3 hours from start to finish which isn’t bad considering we had stacks of coupons and a 2 year old!!

  • robin says:

    I actually shop almost EVERY DAY. Stocking up does not work well in our house with two toddlers and two hungry teenagers and two adults, the kids and the man tend to eat the stored food, so it ends up costing more, not less. It’s not extra driving, I drive to take DD#1 to sports practice and stop at the store that is within a block of that facility.

    I do stock up on dry beans, cereal if it’s under $1, oatmeal, rice, and pasta when they are cheap. And on anything that is free. But fruit/vegetable we just buy something for today, or occasionally a fish if we are having one. (We don’t eat meat, our chickens give us eggs, and I make bread once a week, so we don’t buy those.)

    I was actually going to put “stocking up” on your thread about “what doesn’t work for you”, LOL!

  • Jenn T. says:

    For several years I shopped once for the month but for the last year I tried once a week shopping. I felt like was always at the store and always planning a menu. So I have been trying every two weeks as well.

    And since I loved being able to check out deals each week at Kroger we do a quick run on our off weeks to get milk, bread, lettuce (I always get them marked down there) and any other fabulous deals. Saving just a few dollars for this “run” usually goes pretty far. When planning my menu I usually plan to use canned or frozen fruit and veggies for the last part of this week just incase I don’t find that fabulous deal.

  • Abigail says:

    I have been trying to stretch out my trips to every other week (I can only go on weekends) and it does save a lot of money, I find myself getting a lot more creative too.

    BUT I cannot imagine your budget. I spent $125 this past weekend and managed to carry all of the groceries into the house in one trip. That really bothered me so I am going to try harder to shop sales. It is hard because we live in a small condo and don’t have much room to stockpile when things go on sale 🙁

  • Cireena says:

    For those who are having trouble with keeping produce more than 1 week, I have started using Debby Meyers Green bags, that are now available at CVS, and they work GREAT! You just need to keep an eye on the moisture buildup in the bag, and if you do that, the produce lasts at least 2 times as long as usual.

  • Kristy says:

    I shop once a month…yep, that is right, once a month. I make a list, make the hour trip to the nearest (descent) grocery store and stock up! The only think I pick up throughout the month is things like apples and lettuce for lunches. And those I pick up at the local store when I cash hubby’s check! And my grocery budget is just now at $200…it was at $150 for years…we have 2 adults, 2 children and a baby on formula…..

  • Lea Ann says:

    I shop Kroger every Monday morning with toddler right after Little Gym (because both are not close to my neighborhood). Old days, I spent $130 per week (no deals or coupons) at Tom Thumb for family of 4. Now spend between $35 and $65 per week at Kroger for $150-$200 worth of groceries. I only buy items that are on sale AND I have a coupon for. My house is stockpiled (after 3 months) to the point where I am doing a month abstinence from grocery buying altogether for all of June (except for my $10 of fresh fruit from Fiesta Grocery weekly). I hit CVS maybe once every other week. Walgreens once every other week. Only for “FREE” stuff in both cases. And I only visit Tom Thumb now for “FREE” stuff (my way of paying them back). I never go to the close WalMart because they do not accept internet coupons.

  • Kristine says:

    I tried shopping every two weeks but have stopped. It was just too much to come up with a two week meal plan. Somehow two one-week plans seem more manageable.

    I ended up going out once a week anyway to get milk or produce, so it wasn’t saving me a trip to the store.

    So we go grocery shopping early on Saturday morning, and my husband and son come with, so it’s a little bit of time we all spend together. Even if it’s spent trying to keep the boy from smooshing the hot dog buns and figuring out which mustard really is the best buy 🙂

  • lisa says:

    I tried shopping every week for awhile, but found I was spending less when I wrote a two week menu plan and bought 2 weeks worth of groceries. It also takes only a little bit longer to plan and buy two weeks worth of groceries instead of taking the time to plan and buy one week at a time. i do usually have to make one more quick trip during the week when I am running errands to buy milk (we go through 6 gallons a week and my fridge can only hold 3 at a time)and I will also buy fresh fruit or veggies at this time.

  • Brittany says:

    I shop every other week. Not only does it save me on time and gas, but it also seems to help me save money. When I switched from shopping weekly , I found that I was only spending about $10 more, but was getting food for two weeks instead of one. On the most recent trip I spent less than $60 for 2 weeks to feed a family of four. Stockpiling on non-perishables when they’re a great deal really helps cut my cost as well.

  • CC says:

    Every two weeks at grocery store. One time per month at Costco.

  • Suze says:

    I do shop every week. I have tried to shop 2x a month and also tried to do a big stock up at the beginning of the month but, for some reason it didn’t work for us. It seemed that the food just dissapeared.

    I have been trying to stock up over the past week or so and I have done a good job. I wanted to make sure that I have snack foods as my kids will be out of school and in daycare all day.

  • Julie says:

    I shop twice a month. I used to do once a month, but now that I am doing more couponing again and trying to work in deals I see on your site, I find that 2 time saves me more money than once a month shopping. I tried every week when I first started reading your blog but the extra time and sometimes even money were not worth it to me.

  • Gretchen says:

    Until I started couponing I was only going to the grocery every 2-4 weeks. I had organic produce and milk delivered to me by a local service. I am going to be doing this again soon. So I only went to the grocery every few weeks for staples. I am still trying to decide if couponing works for me or not, but I am not giving up yet. I also do a Master Meal List.

  • Kara B says:

    My husband gets paid every two weeks – and I prefer not to make any more trips into the store than I have to (I almost always shop with my four children along) – so we usually shop every two weeks. When I take the time to organize and plan out our menus for the next two weeks (before I go to the store) then it works really well. I plan the meals that require more fresh produce at the beginning of the time period and use more frozen vegetables towards the end of the two weeks. I have four young children (homeschooling the two oldest) and whenever we go grocery shopping it takes most of a day (since we try to combine all our errands into one day – saves on gas and time). So I’m happy to go as infrequently as possible! Occasionally I’ll stop at CVS (or another store if the deals are exceptional) on the week in between if the deals are really good and we are heading into town for some other reason (especially if I can leave the kids in the car with their dad!) – but we try to limit those extra trips into town as it is 20-25 minutes away. Also, I usually save a little of the food money to get essential things like milk later in the two week period if needed – we do have a tiny grocery store close to our house and also a gas station – however, they are usually much more expensive and so they are used for “emergency” situations only.

    Looking forward to hearing your thoughts on how the two week plan works for you!

  • Anne-Marie says:

    I’ve always done a “big” shopping trip on a weekly basis. It’s my break from household routine, and I enjoy it! As the kids get older, it can be a challenge, and it’s never much fun to take all of them, but I can usually have the teenagers babysit the youngest ones, and the middle children are big helpers in the store (we have 8 children). My power shopping day used to be Saturday, but now it’s on payday!

    Aside from all that, fridge space is limited, and we go through lots of milk and produce, so weekly trips are necessary. We fill in during the week on milk and other things if we run out. As gas prices rise, I’m thinking it would be wise to keep dry milk on hand rather than having to make an extra trip because of running out unexpectedly. DH fills in on certain bulk items at Costco on a weekly basis if there is a need.

  • Michelle O says:

    Hi, Crystal,

    I live in Wichita, Ks and frequently shop at Dillons, which is owned by Kroger. Do you know of any blogs or sites that give deals from Kroger each week? Thanks for all of the deals from other stores!

  • Kelly says:

    I have a .99 cent store around the corner from my home that I check weekly for produce, milk , eggs, and lunchmeat . What they have changes week to week and I typically spend $23.00 to $30.00 . I will stockpile Sarah Lee bread when they have it. On my last trip for example I spent $28.00 and purchased 30 fresh fruit and vegetables,1 jar Hienz pickle relish, 1 jar dijon mustard, 6 Yoplait yogurts,1 quart 2% milk ( I dilute this with water when it gets a third down ), 1 dozen AA eggs, 4 6 pk. pillsbury crescent rolls, two pie shells, 1 old london melba toast. Everything but the milk will last for two weeks and make a lot of really healthy meals. I am feeding three adults .I buy meat when I need it on sale or clearance at the grocery store and stockpile. Right now I have a lot of chicken and sausage, but am running low on ground meat , pork , and beef. So I will check the ads for those items and when I am out will stop and pick some up.If I go to the regular grocery and shop the sales every week I end up with too much food on hand and I spend more. I have cut my grocery bill by a third shopping this way , and yes I also coupon.

  • Mavis says:

    I’ve been a wife and mom for over 19 years and I’ve shopped so many different ways it’s unbelieveable. I currently shop once a month for the “big trip” and then stop in once a week or or once every two weeks to pick up fresh veggies and fruit or the sale items that I shouldn’t pass up. This is not an every week thing because sometimes we’ll eat our canned fruits or veggies.

    Our menu is pretty simple most of the time and I don’t usually plan that around what’s on sale…I plan it from what’s in my pantry and freezer.

    I keep an eye on what’s on sale and if it’s worth the stop I’ll pick up those things usually on my way back home from church on Sundays.

    One thing about milk….we have found that our family has gotten used to powdered milk. The trick is in the mixing, check out my blog to learn more. Whole milk from the store is still tops but we don’t buy much of it because we drink more water.

    We are also trying to cut out high-fructose corn syrup and hydrogenated oils because they simply aren’t healthy for us. This cuts out a lot of the pre-packaged foods that a lot of companies are trying to sell us for crazy high prices. We cook almost everything from scratch which doesn’t take that much time.

    Sorry the post is so long. 🙂

  • Michelle says:

    I take out cash for my monthly grocery budget once a month. However, I do shopping trips every two weeks and plan my menus two weeks at a time. My Kroger always has very fresh milk, so I can always get enough milk to last two weeks before it goes bad. As for produce, I try to strategically plan recipes that call for fresh produce during the first week and use frozen veggies during the second week. Lots of fruits will keep well for two weeks (apples, grapes, citrus). So during the first week we eat the berries, bananas, canteloupe, etc. that spoils quickly. We save the apples, etc. for the second week. This is just a general strategy, so that's not to say that we never eat apples during week one! Also I use spinach for my salad greens rather than lettuce because I've found that it stays fresher longer and it has so many nutrients! And if it starts to look wilted, you don't have to throw it out like lettuce. Instead microwave it for a couple of minutes and pop it in the freezer to use the next time you need frozen spinach for a recipe!

    In my pre-frugal grocery days, I calculated one time that I spent an average of $50 for every 30 minutes I spent inside the grocery store even when I took a shopping list with me every time!

  • Calee says:

    Reading your blog has been such an eye opener for me. I did my first CVS run this week and am starting to consciously try and spend less on groceries. That said, I have a long way to go– I was spending about $120 per week at Trader Joes (for me, DH and my 1 year old) and another $100 per month at Target on diapers etc.

    There’s no way I could shop every two weeks just because I’m always looking for an excuse to get out of the house and we live very close to all the stores. Now that I’m working on this, I spend about $25 per week at the local Persian market on fresh produce, fish, milk and pita. Then I figure Costco gets about $100 per month for meat, pantry snacks and other stuff. I’ll still need to hit TJs every 2-3 weeks for things I can’t get at the Persian market (like Soy corndogs and anything pork) but you’ve really motivated me to spend less!

    Sorry- here’s my tip for making produce last longer– I bought some of those as seen on tv produce bags after my parents said they worked. Before I was wasting a lot, now I have half a honey dew sitting in a bag from 3 weeks ago and its still good.

    They’re 10 bucks but oh so worth it if you want to shop less frequently or cut down on spoilage!

  • Christina says:

    I’m amazed you haven’t tried this before b/c it really can save you time and money (on gas and food) providing you have the freezer and pantry space. Meat is much cheaper when you buy a larger quantity. Many stores show the price and the price/unit so you can quickly see if you’re getting a better deal buying a larger amount. Even simple things like a bag of dried beans can last 3 or 4 recipes for much less than the cost of 1 can(and healthier too). Just be careful with the freshness dates so things don’t go bad before you get to use them.

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