How Do You Grocery Shop? What Works For You?

I have decided that I need to change the way I grocery shop.  I have been thinking a lot about this, so I decided to do a post on it.  I am curious how all of you fit grocery shopping into your schedule. What works for you?

For the last five years I have done my main grocery shopping on my girls’ piano days.  The piano teacher lived about 25 minutes from our house, but she lived near in an area near several stores.  So, I would grocery shop during and after lessons.  This worked great I could get what I needed and also take advantage of any sales that I wanted to.

The problem now is that our piano teacher retired.  We found a new piano teacher that we really like and she actually lives closer to us.  This is nice, but we don’t have much for grocery shopping close to us.  We have a Walmart super center and a pretty small grocery store.  I don’t mind buying a few items from these stores, but because we are a smaller town the prices are quite a bit higher.  So, I no longer will be able to fit my shopping trips in on piano day.

My other problem is that this year will be the first year I have three kids taking piano lessons.  So, it will take up most of one afternoon.  Our new teacher also requires a separate group theory class.  I think my kids will enjoy this class, but that means an extra day each week to be gone.  Between the two things we will be gone two afternoons each week.

The other thing that I have to fit into my schedule is shopping and errands for my husband’s office. I go to Sam’s and the office supply store at least once a month, sometimes more, for supplies. I usually try to fit in an extra stop or two when I do this. But in the past have not done much regular grocery shopping on these days.

I have been trying to figure out how I can fit my grocery shopping  into my schedule.  I am not sure where to fit it in, but I know it has to fit somewhere.  I know something has to change because I can no longer do my main shopping on piano day. I also know that I do now want to be gone from home another afternoon each week in order to do weekly grocery shopping.

So, here is the plan that I am going to try.  I am going to try it for the next month or two and see how it goes.  I am going to switch to monthly shopping.  I plan on doing my main shopping when I run errands for the business. I figure I can do a big shopping day and get the majority of the items I need. Then I can shop weekly at the  Walmart supercenter that is near me for items like bread, milk, and produce. I plan on having two shopping list that I work off of. One for my weekly items and one for my monthly items. This way if we run out of something that we need right away I can get it. But if it is something that can wait, it will go on my monthly list. I think this will keep things more simple.

This is going to be hard for me.  I am going to struggle to adjust.  I know that.  I won’t be able to shop many sales.  I may have to pay more for my produce and dairy products if I shop locally.  I may end up spending a little more on my groceries.  I am going to work at not spending more, but I may have to.

I am also going to have to plan better.  I will need to stock up on things so that they last all month.  I will have to figure out how much flour, pasta, etc we will need because I won’t be shopping weekly. All these things are going to take adjusting to, but I think it will work best at this time for our family.

Since I have been thinking about all of this, I am wondering how you shop?  Do you shop weekly, twice a month, monthly, or as needed?  Do you live close to stores and is it convenient to run out and get something like milk? Or are you like me and live in the country and have limited stores near you?  I am really curious what works for you?

Lynn's Kitchen Adventures


  1. I try and do all my shopping on either Saturday or Sunday. That is usually when my hubby can help and there is just no way I could shop with 3 kids. NO WAY!

    I don’t like running out for just milk, although it does happen on occasion. We live very close to just about every grocery store with the exception of Harris Teeter. We have about 10 grocery stores within a 5 mile radius but only go to about 2. I like knowing where everything is in the store. It makes the trip quicker.

    Harris Teeter is about a 45 minute trip for us. Not worth the drive unless of course they are having triple coupons AND an awesome sale. I can really stock up there!

  2. Hi. Just stopping by from WFMW. Great post :)

  3. laura carpenter says:

    please check with your local walmart. ours will price match with other grocery stores, everything except percentage off (like 50% off product) or buy one get one free. this should be a big help to you when you cannot go farther out to the stores with better sales.

  4. Laura, our Walmart does price match ads. However I have found that they do not have the selection that a bigger Walmart has. So often the size or exact item is not an item my Walmart stocks. So, for some things I do price match at Walmart, but it doesn’t work all the time. Also, I have four Walmart’s within 20 miles of me. Besides that I only have two other grocery stores and they are local chains. So my ads that I even have to match with are lacking. It makes it more difficult.

  5. I have several grocery stores close to me, though I shop at the ones farther away (unless its one or two small items).

    We started shopping the sales a year or so ago, so most of the time when we go to the store the collection of things we get are rather random (10 boxes of pasta, produce, 15 lbs of x meat, milk, 6 boxes of cereal). We end up buying many food every 3 or so months. For the first few months shopping that way was more expensive, but its actually less expensive because we can buy pasta when its 50 cents a pound, and meat at half price, etc. now.

    We pretty much follow the idea that a well stocked pantry is ideal, and sometimes we will even go a few weeks without buying anything except milk and produce if the sales aren’t very good. (I look up all the sales flyers online before I plan shopping for the week)

  6. I think that you will find that you actually will save money, by going only once a month. Although I have heard a rumor that some markets rotate what is on sale monthly, so you would do good to not shop the same week every month (like certain brands are on sale the first week, something else the second week, etc.) So if you were able to really stock u pon things that were on sale, and then only buy what you need for things that aren’t on sale, you would still get the benefit.
    We often just get our produce and things locally, for the same reason as you. It isn’t that much more, they still often have something on sale, we save a bit of gas, but we have to be careful to ONLY buy those few things.

  7. grocery shopping I agree takes a bit of time and is a chore all by itself

  8. I do a big trip to Costco once a month and stock up on foods in bulk. Most I get for less then at the regular stores, even when it’s on sale. I even find some months I still have plenty of food left that I can skip a trip. I did invest in a vacuum sealer, but I feel it has already paid for itself. It’s about 20 minutes away, but we make an evening of it and eat dinner from their little food court. Even that is cheap! I do go occasionally to another grocery store near by for things I can’t get at Costco. Try checking Walgreens, CVS, or Target for milk. It’s $1.99 for us at the grocery store, and also at some of the other stores as well.

  9. I like to have a really well stocked pantry. Like Rebecca, I’ll buy large quantities of staples when they’re on sale. I still go grocery shopping about once a week for perishables. But, if finances are tight, or I don’t have time to shop, I can eat out of my pantry and freezer for a long time!

  10. I may be leaving an area with several really good stores to return to my small hometown with one Walmart Superstore and one small regional chain grocery store. The closest good shopping area is 50 miles away. I plan to try to monthly shopping, as well–hitting Sam’s and whatever store there has good sales that week, then filling in with the local store. Our small regional chain does have some good sales, I’ll take advantage of those, but it’s definitely going to be more of a challenge to stay “frugal” in a small town.

  11. Can you cut out/reduce office suppliy shopping by having OfficeMax/Staples deliver? We used to get everything delivered for free or a $5 fee. Both stores also have rewards programs.

    I grew up in the middle of nowhere and we shopped less than once a month. There were lots of potatoes and frozen veggies but I never felt any deprivation. I think the key is a monthly menu plan and not getting hung up on “if I just had fresh basil/mushrooms/whatever”

    Keep us posted on your plans!

  12. Karen, we are checking into doing some of our supplies through a store like office max or staples and having them delivered. I am going to compare prices and see. In the past the office stores have been more expensive on the items we buy on a regular basis. So, I have only bought the things there that I can’t get at Sam’s.I am hoping though that we can start doing some supplies that way.

  13. I do weekly or every 10 days grocery shopping. We live about 10 miles from the nearest grocery stores. Our family only has one car. I make my weekly plan for visiting and errands and appointments. The day we go into town is a full day. We drop my husband off at work and do everything we do between 8 & 5. I do grocery shopping last, and take a cooler. The other thing I have been doing for the last 6 months or so, is ordering from a co-op. I get flour, oatmeal, dried fruits, nuts, frozen goods and various other things once a month.

  14. I appreciate the post and all the comments! Since I’ve only been married 2 weeks, and back from our honeymoon for one, I’m learning about all this! We only have one vehicle, and I don’t know my way around yet, so the last two Saturdays, we’ve gone grocery shopping together on Saturday morning. I’s fun. I love being married! :)

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