Not Shopping

I just read a big egullet post about not shopping every week.  The idea was that if you spend $100 a week on groceries, you can save that much by just eating what’s in your freezer, pantry, etc. and skipping every other week’s grocery run.  I’m not so sure I think that’s a great idea. 

I agree that it’s better to avoid having to throw out food that spoiled because you’ve purchased too much and can’t use it.  I agree that if you freeze things and never use them that you might as well just be throwing things away.    But, I see no value in depleting the larder when you still have money to buy.  So, you only shop every other week? Will you really buy only $100 worth of groceries every two weeks?  Or will it turn into $200?  If you follow this plan for six months, I’m guessing you won’t have a full freezer anymore or anything to fall back on if hard times really do come down.

I think the key is to not waste food.  I almost can’t believe that it’s me saying that.  I can’t tell you how much rotten produce I’ve thrown out over the years.  But, recently I’ve started to be more careful.  I really do want to spend less.  Given endless resources, I could easily spend $200 a week on food.  Line up the $16 a pound scallops and $21 a pound beef tenderloin for me, please.  Do I want those $4.75 a pound skinny French green beans?  Hell, yes.  Unfortunately, these are lean times and I realize I can do without that kind of thing every week.  What I am trying to do now is use primarily what I have and replace the essentials as I go. 

I sit down on Saturday morning and make a grocery list.  Since I’m trying to rotate the stock in my freezer, I focus on creating dishes that use the meats that have been in the freezer the longest.  I try to find recipes that include the produce that I still have from last week’s run to Central Market.  I like to make a big pot of stew or soup that I can take to work for lunches.  I find that by not eating out at lunch every day that I’m saving about $200 a month on that alone. 

I don’t think I’ll participate in the egullet experiment.  I want to go shopping every weekend.  I’ll just spend a little less.   I already use what I have in my freezer and pantry.  And if I don’t use it, it’ll keep.  I may be a little depressed about these depression-like times.  But, I’m not going to let it stop me from enjoying myself and grocery shopping is one of my favorite things to do.

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8 responses to “Not Shopping

  1. I have a problem with spending too much at the grocery store. What’s worse is that I find a reason to go almost every day. Since I started working in Plano my commute is significantly longer and stopping off on my way home is furthest from my mind. M has started doing the shopping and we are saving money like crazy. Unlike myself, M only buys what is on the grocery list. What a concept?!

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  2. Right on, Margie! My parents were pretty well off, but I grew up in a family of six, so every dollar counted. Many of your recent practices will indeed work quite well, as I’ve been using them most of my life. Don’t forget to box up all restaurant leftovers as well, since those make the very best lunches the following week!

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  3. I do my best grocery shopping with a meal plan rather than just a list. I also try to cook two meals at a time because I know myself well enough to know that I’m not going to cook every night!!!

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  4. My mom makes fun of my fridge because she says it is so clean. I am insane about keeping that way because we used to buy way too many groceries and it was blinding to see what we had. When it’s that exhausting, you close it and go out for dinner! So now..what comes in is used.

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  5. Good point. I think people underestimate the value of FRESH produce- shopping every 2 weeks just wouldn’t cut it in that respect.

    But yeah, meal planning is key (and something I am VERY bad about!!)

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  6. I don’t really buy much at the grocery store, but to be honest I go in there every other day to pick up an item or two. I get all my vegetables at the farmers’ market and we buy meat at Costco and stock the freezer. I’ve been on a mission to use the food that’s in the freezer. I love being able to create a meal without buying more stuff!

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  7. I think that if you could go MORE often, you could purchase things you are sure to use. Visits every other week are only going to result in speculative purchases (“I think I might use this 10 days from now”) that will spoil.

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  8. I totally agree, Ryan. Making a menu for a week is hard enough and I rarely make everything I’ve planned. I can’t imagine planning for 10 days!

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