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Managing Your Time In The Kitchen: Value Your Time

It has been a few weeks since I posted on managing your time in the kitchen. I am enjoying doing this series and I have a few more topics that I hope to cover over the next few weeks. I have really appreciated the tips and thoughts you have left as comments in this series, so thank you.

If you are new to this series you can find my other tips for managing your time here.

Today’s topic is valuing your time while grocery shopping.

When it comes to grocery shopping I think we need to not only look at the money we are spending, but we also need to look at the time we are spending.

We need to value our time.

I am not saying that you should throw out the budget and buy whatever you want, but I think it pays to step back and take a look at where we are putting both our time and our money.

When we lived in the city I had at least five grocery stores within five miles of my house. At the time we were living on a very limited income and we had a very small budget for groceries. It was worth it for me to shop multiple stores in order to get the best deal.

I currently live in the country, near a town with very little shopping options. I do most of my grocery shopping 20- 25 minutes away. It is no longer a quick run to the store, it takes me all afternoon and I don’t always have an afternoon each week to spend shopping. It usually not practical for me to go to multiple stores each week in order to shop sales. The amount I save is usually not worth the extra gas and time.

Because of this I have totally switched the way I shop. I now do a once a month shopping trip to Sam’s Club, a larger Wal-mart, and a few other stores. Then during the rest of the month I buy the things that we need like milk, eggs, produce, etc. locally. I only shop sales if I am going to be near that store on another errand or trip.

Shopping this way has saved me so much time and it works well with the stage of life I am in right now.

My way of shopping may not work for. You may live near a lot of stores and be on a very tight budget. It may be worth the time you spend grocery shopping, but it may not.

I encourage you to occasionally step back and evaluate how you are spending your time and see if it is worth it. Factor in the extra gas and the time each trip costs you. Figure out what your time is worth to you and what it is costing you.

My point is that you may need to occasionally adjust the way you shop depending on the stage of life you are in. At certain times in our life saving time is worth more than saving a few dollars.

What are your thoughts? How much of a savings is worth your time?

Lynn's Kitchen Adventures


  1. I have been realizing lately that each week I make at least two, sometimes three trips to different stores that I have coupons for. What usually ends up happening is that at each store, in addition to the sale items, I end up with a few “impulse” buys. If I add up the savings from the sales, but then take out the money wasted on those impulse purchases (candy, magazines, soda, etc.) I end up spending more than I would have if I just did my shopping at one store, regardless of what sales I may be missing at the others. Thank you for such a thought provoking post, I am definitley going to be taking a second look at my shopping strategies 🙂

    • @Liz, I have also noticed that the less frequently I shop, the more money I save. So even though I live super close to many different stores, it’s better if I try to limit how often I shop as well as the number of stores I go to each week. I keep thinking how convenient it would be to pricematch, but I’ve never tried it…yet.

    • @Liz, I completly agree with both Lynn and Liz, thanks for bringing it to my mind. I don’t save money using coupons, b/c I RARELY use what coupons are out there, unless they are store specific for bakery/deli/meat, etc… I usually shop at Super Target, BJs or Costco for groceries. I gave up our fancy FL store-Publix, because their prices were outrageous and coupons and bogos were for food our family doesn’t eat. I do add a trip to our Farmer’s Market, because it is local farmers and super close. Now I have more time in my kitchen cooking, creating, and spending time around the table. LOVE – LOVE your blog Lynn!

  2. Marcy Smith says

    I have practiced your method for years because I have the same problem of being 25-30 miles from major shopping. Fortunately, I found that there is a circutous (?) route to/from home. When I have multiple errands and grocery shopping, I check the sales online. If a sale lies within my route, I will stop for the mega sale (must offer substantial savings). Otherwise I will only stop at the store offering the most sale items on my grocery list. When needed, I carry an ice chest with ice packs for frozen items.

  3. You are exacty right. I decided some time back to get over the guilt about Sam’s. No, it’s probably not ‘saving’ me money, but it is saving me time. As a working mom of 2, my time is quite valuable, even though I only work par-time. Having said that, I don’t let all caution go to the winds, either. I still remain aware of pricing, and try to make sure that I know the best price for the items I buy regularly, so I can make an educated choice of when and where to buy. But at this time, I don’t sweat making sure that I get the absolute lowest price on everything. Time with my family and frankly, a few minutes to relax every now and then is more important to me.

  4. I just shifted my grocery shopping strategy, mostly buying large amounts of things that are “deals” and making a menu from what’s from my house. After doing this for a month, I’ve had to evaluate it to see if it’s working for us. Parts of it is, but I felt like I was shopping alot, so I’ll be tweaking this week. Thanks for offering a “bigger picture” view to contemplate!

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