Since graduating from college and living mostly with my fiancé, I have been doing most of the grocery shopping. She works 36 hours a week, while I have more free time to run errands. Figuring out an effective way to grocery shop has been a process for me. I have shopped without lists, with lists, without many ideas, and with too many ideas. It has been an experiment to say the least. At the end of 6 months going through the grocery shopping routine, I have learned a few techniques that work.
More Visits, Less Groceries
This was a new idea for me. In college, I would buy the exact same groceries every two weeks: milk, cheese, noodles, beef, etc. I probably repeated a shopping list once or twice. Now, my fiancé and I would be traveling back and forth between two places often (home and the city she works). This meant an increase in the frequency of grocery shopping trips was a must. I now go about once a week, sometimes twice if I find I wanted something I didn’t have on the list originally. Frequent shopping has allowed for less wasted food and an easier time carrying items into the apartment.
David’s Note: This is a perfect example of how you should really do what works for you. Most people will tell you that you can save more money by going to the supermarket less frequently because of gas costs and the increased potential of buying what you really don’t need. But obviously, if making fewer trips meant buying way too much food that ends up in the garbage can, then by all means, go as often as you need to.
My fiancé and I started this one about a month after we moved into our new apartment. In the past I typically cooked easy meals and repeated them often. I realized this may get old with two people, so I decided to branch out, but finding worthwhile recipes is difficult in an online world full of options. We put our heads together and started searching for recipes we would like. We used sites and applications, such as:
Each of these offers their own unique advantages. Using a specific set of sites offered continuity for meals and an easy way to find past meals we enjoyed. By planning out each meal throughout the week, I have been able to buy the right kind and amount of groceries on each trip.
Buy Enough for Leftovers
With my fiancé working 12 hour shifts, she needs to pack a meal each time she goes to work. This is typically the leftover food from something we ate the night or afternoon before. By cooking twice as much as necessary for one meal, we can save a few dollars a day. She doesn’t have to purchase food at the cafeteria and I don’t have to cook anything new. Leftovers are simple savers of time and money.
What Works for You?
How do you shop for your groceries? Using these three techniques, my fiancé and I have been able to eat delicious meals without wasting food, time or money. Of course, these are just a few examples I learned over the past half year and I am still an inexperienced shopper. I would love to hear how other people approach grocery shopping.