Home→Food 101, Healthy Eating, The Recessionista→Saving Money On Groceries: Go Weekly!

Saving Money On Groceries: Go Weekly!

How often do you go grocery shopping? Do you tend to go every other day, picking up what you’re cooking for the night? Do you just grab something cooked from the store and eat it there? Or, do you go every two weeks when payday comes?

Regardless of which one you choose, they’re all wrong to me. Hey, I’m just keepin’ it real.

It’s hard enough to eat clean – buying mainly produce and deli – without breaking the bank. If you grocery shop for clean eating every other night, what are you leaving to rot and waste at home? (And for crying out loud, how much gas are you wasting?) If you’re buying cooked dinners from the deli in the grocery, how much money are you spending per plate per night? (And for goodness sake, how much trash are you accumulating?)

And if you’re going grocery shopping every two weeks, I’m almost certain that you’re buying an influx of processed foods. What else is going to keep that well for two weeks without eventually beginning to wilt? (And as I previously outlined, just how much money are you wasting buying pre-prepared foods, instead of ingredients to create your own good stuff?)

I’m sayin’. There has to be a sensible solution, right? Right?

Right! My answer is to pick one day – usually a nice, lazy, comfy Sunday – and go grocery shopping. Wake up that morning, spend a good 15 minutes thinking about what you’ll eat this week, what you’ll need, sketch out a list, scratch out the

[processed foods and] stuff you’ve already got plenty of in your fridge already and get moving!

Why weekly?

For starters, it allows you to avoid your produce rotting. If you dedicate one day to grocery shopping and food prep, you can spend the rest of the week cooking from your fridge, your cabinets and your pantry. It allows you to “shop” from your own reserves. This way, you prevent wasting your money on stuff you “can’t eat” because it doesn’t look quite as fresh as it did when you got it.

Secondly, you have to make a list. How is it that we go grocery shopping, spend an arm/a leg/a first born and still… wind up staring at the fridge for five minutes repeating to ourselves, “I have nothing to cook.” Oh, no. Not only do you have plenty of ingredients and not pre-prepared foods that you may or may not have a taste for – for example, instead of buying garlic cheese bread in a box, why not pick up a baguette from the grocery bakery, some garlic powder, cheese and use your butter/oil? – but you have options. A pre-packaged box doesn’t give you options. At all. Ever. That same garlic powder, cheese and oil could be used on bread, macaroni, leafy greens and rice. Options.

Shopping this way forces you to think about exactly what you’re going to realistically eat in a week. For example – I know I’ll need a big container of oatmeal and various types of fruit for breakfast. I know I’ll need bread, peanut butter, apples, strawberries and bananas for lunch. I also know I’ll need lots of rice, veggies/veggie blends, leafy greens, herbs, spices and the like for dinner. In my head, when I do this planning, I’m sketching out my week. I’ll even have a few magazines or good recipe websites on hand to look at what I can accomplish with my potential ingredient list.

Lastly, it re-emphasizes portion control. If you know you’re only going through that whole ordeal one time and you’re adamant about not breaking your rule (and your rule is imposed by someone worth respecting – yourself), then you’ll exercise portion control to ensure that you don’t break your promise to yourself.

For those of you who only go grocery shopping 2x a month, why not split up what you usually purchase and put the other half “under the mattress?” If you’re afraid of that money “turning into shoe money,” then I can’t help ya. Exercise a little restraint. That’s grocery money… not “free money.”

Get into the habit of eating what’s in your house, and stop letting commercials and cravings run you. I’ll never forget the day my Sorority sister and I went grocery shopping together. With all those groceries in the car, I said to her, “You wanna go to Checkers/Rally’s? I’m starving.” She surely did look at me like I had a booger on my face and said, “Didn’t we just go to the grocery store? Any particular reason why you aren’t hungry for what you just bought?”

That’s not exactly what she said. I think I cleaned it up a little bit.

Not like it wasn’t bad enough that just the sight and smell of the fast food joint made me wanna levitate out of the car and into the Checkers’ drive-thru to inhale some fries, but I would’ve easily spent $6 there. $6 is a week and a half worth of frozen veggies! Y’all playin’!

My daughter and I get up early Sunday morning, have breakfast, then hit the grocery stores together. Aside from the occasional hand-swatting (“No, you better not reach for the Booberry… and unless you have a job, you can’t get it.“) and begging for samples, we make it fun. We get home, I do my prep work of chopping and sorting the veggies, and that’s it for the week. It’s literally like making my own “pre-prepared foods.” Give it a shot and see how it works for you!

Other posts in the series:

By | 2017-06-10T11:46:49+00:00 October 11th, 2012|Food 101, Healthy Eating, The Recessionista|23 Comments

About the Author:

The proud leader of the #bgg2wlarmy, Erika Nicole Kendall writes health, fitness, nutrition, body image and beauty, and more here at #bgg2wl. After losing over 150lbs, Kendall became a personal trainer certified in fitness nutrition, women's fitness, and weight loss from the National Academy of Sports Medicine, and crtified in sports nutrition by Precision Nutrition. She now lives in New York with her husband and children, and is working on her 6th and 7th certifications because lol why not.

23 Comments

  1. Elita @ Blacktating May 18, 2010 at 11:20 AM - Reply

    How does anyone go less than once per week? I buy tons of fruits, veggies and fresh milk and I am back in the store by Thursday to buy more produce EVERY week. My son drinks milk like it’s going out of style and I eat at least 3 servings of fruit and 3 of veg every day.

    • Erika May 18, 2010 at 1:11 PM - Reply

      I used to have the bad habit of not preparing, and that would cause me to go to the grocery during the week, too. But I love grocery shopping so much that I will blink and mistakenly buy stuff I KNOW I’own need… causing me to spend almost an extra $40 a week. THAT right there was a mess… I just cannot deal with that. LOL

  2. Reecie May 18, 2010 at 10:47 AM - Reply

    loved this! I remember when we used to talk about grocery shopping way back on PP, I was a die hard every 1-2 times a month shopper. I have now become a weekly one in the past year or so. I had to incorporate more fresh fruits and fresh veggies (even though mostly I buy those frozen–no more canned!) which required me to go more often. Thats the only reason really–for the fruits and veggies. and I always have a list, because in my mind I kinda plan my meals (or options for meals) for the week before I go. My freezer stays packed–since I live alone I freeze a lot for later, but this is a good method–no matter how much I loathe grocery shopping.

    good post.

    • Erika May 18, 2010 at 11:02 AM - Reply

      Yes, yes, yes!

      And long live the frozen veggies! LOL!

      Thanks for commenting. 🙂

  3. Therese May 18, 2010 at 11:47 AM - Reply

    I have to go once a week–I can’t buy fresh food for more than that because it will go bad. But I usually buy meat every 2 weeks because I can freeze that. Also I may stop by another store every 2 weeks that carries some other things that I like. I have to shop at 3 different stores because there is no one store that carries EVERYTHING that I buy. I use PeaPod for my basics, Whole Foods for organic nuts and other items to make trail mix–I have to make my own because I am allergic to certain kinds of nuts and do not eat other ingredient usually featured in trail mix that you buy, and there is a store across the street from me that carries the only ice cream that I can eat.

    I don’t mind shopping several times per month because I LOVE grocery shopping! I love exploring the markets to see what new things they may have this week or next week and figuring out new ways to prepare food!

    • Erika May 18, 2010 at 1:12 PM - Reply

      It’s so nice to find someone that actually loves grocery shopping like I do! It’s such an awful thing. As long as it’s only fruits and veggies, though, I think I”m good.

      I think. LOL!

  4. Thembi May 18, 2010 at 12:48 PM - Reply

    I know this is random but take a look at your refrigerator settings and if youre a homeowner consider getting a better fridge. When I lived alone in a cheap one bedroom my food spoiled before I could eat it, but at my parents house I’ve kept vegetables fresh in their state of the art fridge for weeks. Just saying, if you’re about to buy a new fridge don’t skimp!

    • Erika May 18, 2010 at 1:13 PM - Reply

      Hmmm… now THERE is an interesting thought. Wowzers. Proper appliances to help keep food longer!

  5. LaToya May 18, 2010 at 3:48 PM - Reply

    I shop at Costco every two weeks. It’s great because I can get a great deal on fruits, vegetables, and fish in bulk. They’re typically fresher than at the grocery store, so they last a little longer. Also, shopping there helps me cut down on impulse buying. At the grocery store I am tempted to buy a tiny cake that will wreck my diet, but I am never tempted to buy a cake the size of my car tire from Costco.

  6. Rita May 19, 2010 at 3:29 AM - Reply

    I’m so happy you’re doing this series. I’m the type to hit the grocery store every other night yet I hate grocery shopping. I’m notorious for my fresh veggieis and have since been living off deli food as well but this week I was disgusted when I actually read the nutrituous facts on the deli food. Not to mention it didn’t satify my taste buds. (I might as well have gotten the box, processed version!) Then on monday I found myself in the grocery store looking like a lost child. I randomly ventured over to the fresh produce section but couldnt figure out what to buy. So I’ve since set down and drafted notebook of recipes to try (yours included of course) so that I go to the grocery store this week with ingredients in mind. Now I’m excited to go the store this weekend.

    So thanks so much Erika for addressing this issue, its just in time, lol.

  7. Carmen May 20, 2010 at 10:48 AM - Reply

    So I started a comment about how I obtain my groceries and 150 words in I realized that it is a convoluted mix that includes the following: quarterly bulk meat and cheese shopping at a market in 3 hours from me because it’s cheap, fresh, and generally sourced from some place with responsible farming practices; local seafood shopping when its on sale; veggies from my garden and a few farms nearby; and biweekly trips to Fresh Market and Piggly Wiggly for filler items like bread, milk, and pantry staples. Yes I said it. I love my local Pig. They are franchised so they can carry things like mushrooms from a local producer or eggs from some monks in the lowcountry or even peach cobbler from a local restaurant. And there’s a DreamDinners in there where I can really get lazy about my food prep if I want. Go PIG.

  8. Tiffany December 15, 2010 at 11:03 AM - Reply

    WELL I DEFINITLEY NEED TO MAKE SOME CHANGES WITH THIS. I DON’T LIKE GOING TO THE GROCERY STORE AND THE SAD PART IS I TYPICALLY GO WITH MY HUSBAND ONCE A MONTH. I HAVE BEEN GOING IN ON A WEEKLY BASIS TO GET MORE FRUITS AND VEGGIES, BUT I NEED TO DEFINITLEY EXICUTE THIS BY PLANNING. MY HUSBAND GOD LOVE HIM PREFERS THAT I GO TO THE GROCERY STORE WITH HIM. HE IS A GREAT HELP, BUT I KNOW WITH HOW WE HAVE PREVIOUSLY BEEN DOING IT IS GOING TO BE HECK CONVINCING HIM TO GO WITH ME EVERY WEEK. I GET PAID ONCE A MONTH!!! WHICH SUCKS! BLAME THE STATE OF FLORIDA!! I AM GOING TO HAVE TO HAVE A DETAILED TALK WITH HIM ABOUT HOW WE CAN GO ONCE A WEEK AND STILL STAY WITHIN THE BUDGET WE HAVE. THE ONE MONTH THAT I WAS GOING ONCE A MONTH WE SPENT WAY OVER OUR BUDGET. I AM A WORK IN PROGRESS! PRAY FOR ME LADIES! I AM GOING TO TALK TO HUBBY!

  9. Rae @ Rainbows and Dragonflies January 16, 2011 at 11:32 AM - Reply

    It depends on how you shop and consume your food. If you’re a coupon shopper who stocks up on food you’ll shop on a certain schedule. If you’re a freezer cooker than you probably shop once a month and then make your meals at one time to store in the freezer. I think it all comes down to shopping effectively for healthy foods while reducing waste.

  10. Chyretta January 16, 2011 at 12:08 PM - Reply

    Wow!!! I have been a two week shopper for years…I do buy a lot of fresh fruit and veggies and your right some, I don’t get around to using in time…Thank you for the suggestion I was heading for my bi-weekly excursion tomorrow..thanks to this timely article I will revise my list and give the weekly shopping a try…unlike many,…I love going to the grocery store…love trying new veggies and fruits and I love to cook for my family.

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