How Often Do You Shop?

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by susiestar, Feb 9, 2017.

  1. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    This is likely a strange question, but if you could answer I would appreciate it.

    How often do you go to the grocery store? Every day? Every 2-3 days? Every 4-5 days? Once a week? Every other week? Once a month?

    Our budget is tight. My husband is AWFUL about making sure there is money in the bank to cover the automatic withdrawals. He figures if the card works at the store, there is money. He does work hard, 2 jobs that he enjoys but it is work, and he does many of the errands. The big problem is that he goes to the store CONSTANTLY. If a day passes and he does NOT go to the grocery I am shocked. We cannot afford it, and there is always food at home, but he still goes.

    Usually he makes the trip to buy junk food and some item or items that he or Jess just HAVE to have to make dinner. Even when we have a meal fully planned and I know that all ingredients are here, there will be something that we just can't live without.

    It is incredibly expensive because my husband WON'T use lists reasonably. For me a list tells me what we need, what we want if the price is right (item is on sale or priced reasonably at that store), and I look at the clearance and sale items to see if anything we need is priced low enough to justify buying it. Often it may appear that I am buying things we don't need because they are not on the list, but in a few days/weeks, those items are highly appreciated. My husband will buy what is on the list, sometimes. He will also buy half a cart of other stuff (generally at regular price at the most expensive grocery store in town) because he thought it sounded neat. Not like something we might eat, just interesting. Like some strange flavor of frozen asparagus - no one in our home likes asparagus and whatever this flavor is (I can't recall it right now), it sounds awful on it own, much less when mixed with asparagus. The only times he uses the list are if I send one of the kids to remind him that I asked him to stick to the list please. Mostly I think my husband gets carried away and wants to impress me with his 'bargains' because he shows them to me with such pride, almost a childlike pride.

    I want to move us to shopping for groceries/household stuff a maximum of once a week rather than daily. I don't understand the daily shopping. Helping him understand that going to the store every day or two leads us to spending MUCH more than using what we have until the next shopping trip. I try to go one the shopping trips, and I think that having us all on the trips (all meaning hubby, Jess and I - Tyler is not needed at this time, for shopping. He mostly deals with other chores) means that we all understand what we have and he sees me using lists. I can ride herd on his 'deals' and work to keep things more in line.

    Does this sound reasonable? Right now I am going nuts with the constant shopping. It is just killing every attempt to save for anything and any attempt to keep a budget. No matter what saving plan or budget, hubby goes to the store for 'one or two things' and ends up blowing it all. It is driving me crazy. At least what he buys is pork rinds and vegetables that I think smell bad and taste worse. He could be spending the money on much worse things.

    Tjanks for your help with this. Oh, his shopping is also blowing all attempts to eat healthier food. Junk food is much easier to grab and eat when you spent 90 minutes after work going to stores rather than relaxing at home or cooking.
     
  2. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I get a few items every few days and so does hub. I dont buy junk food. He does for himself. Just two of us here, neither big eaters. Still food, especially healthy and organic, is expensive!!

    Neither of us has lists except in our heads.
     
  3. Lil

    Lil Well-Known Member

    This is tough. While I'm not above the occasional impulse buy, Jabber is much worse. Because he gets off work at least an hour earlier than I do, and drives right by Wal-Mart, Gerbes Supermarket, and Walgreens, he's usually the one shopping.

    But, he also recognizes the problem.

    He and I just in the last couple months have started making a concerted effort to stop spending so much on groceries. We're bad at not thinking about dinner until dinner time...then nothing is thawed out and we end up with fast food or running to the store to buy special items. Having recognized that as a real problem, we've started making weekly menus. Literally, take a calendar and write down what we're cooking. (Monday, tacos and salad. Tuesday, roast chicken, stuffing and green beans. Wednesday, chicken soup. etc.) From that list we can determined what groceries we need, make a list, and buy those things. No more cucumbers going mooshy from the salads we thought we'd make but didn't. No more "stop and grab a pizza" because we didn't thaw out chicken.

    Granted, it's a bit flexible. I was going to make chili Sunday, changed my mind to shepherd's pie (I did have all the ingredients) ended up shopping until way too late and was so hungry I was shaky from not eating, so grabbed that pizza for dinner (I was on my own) and saved the thawed burger until Monday and used it to make Shepherd's pie instead. Or I'll cook something and end up with more left-overs than planned...and so we'll scrounge and do soup and sandwiches the next day, rather than cook another meal that would be too much for us to eat.

    The weekly menu certainly does help with both of these problems. We eat much healthier, because we're cooking more and eating out less. We save money because we're cooking more and eating out less. We do try to buy once a week...but there's always some little thing that we'll end up needing. Jabber's working much harder on curbing the impulse buys when he has to stop by the store.

    Of course, one alternative that we haven't resorted to (this time...we've done it in the past to curb spending) is to set a food budget, gas budget, dining out budget...pull that out of the bank in cash, put them in envelopes, hand them out...and take away his debit card.

    There is an app called Mint, which goes with a website called mint.com. We've been using it the last two months to track spending. Maybe if you tried that, when he literally sees the big chunk of the pie chart that is his spending on food - he'd get the hint better. Worth a try.
     
  4. Jabberwockey

    Jabberwockey Well-Known Member

    Agreed. While I acknowledged that I am an impulse buyer, I didn't know just how bad it was until we sat down and figured it up. Kind of hard to deny it when its in black and white right in front of you.

    And you've never taken away my debit card!! Although the cash in the envelope does work well
     
  5. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    I sound like your husband Susie, except I do not buy junk food. But I feel like I shop all the time. I would say food shopping, though, really, is once a week. But I shop at 3 or 4 markets mainly. A year ago I bought a freezer with the idea of economizing. It has just made the whole thing worse. Because I heap on. Stuff gets old.

    M does not like leftovers, but will eat side dishes for a second day. Most of the time I can give the leftovers to the dogs but not always. And I do end up throwing out some food, which I hate to do both on economic and moral grounds.

    All of my spending is unconscious and uncontrolled. I do no meal planning, and seldom make lists. I do not know how it got to this point. I would really like to be accountable, conscious and to feel in control. But there are so many aspects of my life that have gotten to this point, it is hard to know where to start.

    I think what I would like to do is to clean out the freezer little by little by stopping the buying of things that would go into the freezer, and little by little using or throwing out what is there.

    I think I have entirely too much foodstuffs. I was never hungry as a child. Nor was I poor as a child. I did struggle as an adult, during a long period.

    But somehow I got a poverty mindset where I associated stuff with well-being. Maybe that is what your husband feels. And perhaps, it is the idea of indulging himself. I mean, he works so hard. The sense that he deserves to treat himself. He does. Maybe there is the possibility of helping him to identify other treats and indulgences that may not be self-defeating and destructive to the budget.

    I think we as a culture are trained to think of acquisition and consumption as rewards, when they really are not.

    I am writing this to myself. I am the WORST at this.
     
  6. Lil

    Lil Well-Known Member

    LOL...No. But then again it wasn't necessary. You followed the "cash" rule. Susie may not be so lucky. ;)
     
  7. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    What is the "cash rule?" I missed it.

    Do you set give yourselves a certain amount each week or month, in cash, which you can spend as you wish, but no more? This makes sense to me.
     
  8. Lil

    Lil Well-Known Member

    Yes, it's the envelope method. Obviously, bills get paid out of your checking account. But then you set a budget of (for example) $500 for food, $150 for earing out, $200 gas and misc. personal spending, etc. You take that money out of the bank in cash and put it in labeled envelopes. Spend ONLY the cash. When that $500 envelope is empty, you're done buying food until the next budget period. Makes you buy necessities FIRST and not spend on impulse items, because you don't want to run out of money!

    Actually, Jabber was the one who introduced me to that method and we did it for quite a while. It makes you very aware of your spending. My problem with that was we'd each get $150 for gasoline and "mad-money" - but he'd end the pay period with $50 and I'd spend it on necessities like groceries because I'd run by the store without the food money envelope and pick up stuff for both of us...or I'd give some to my son...or some other thing that would be for "us" but not budgeted. So he would have savings building up of "his" money and I would be a pauper. That was annoying.
     
  9. GoingNorth

    GoingNorth Crazy Cat Lady

    I shop every week to 10 days. I use 2 shopping services. Peapod for perishables, spices, etc., and Amazon Pantry for the rest. That is supplemented by occasional trips out to local stores for things I missed on orders, fruit and veggies in season, specialty items I can get cheaper than I can from Peapod, etc.

    I very rarely order food in, or eat out.
     
  10. AppleCori

    AppleCori Well-Known Member

    I shop once a month at Aldis for the things I usually buy there, and once per week I shop the sales at the local grocery store.

    I know people that shop for a few things every few days, and that method works well for them. I would probably do that if it was just me. Or I might order online, like GN does. I really like that idea.

    Having to be really careful to use up my fresh stuff before it spoils is one draw back to this once-per-week method.

    I stock up on non-perishables that are on sale each week, and try to only buy items on sale, to stretch my dollars. Doesn't always work, though.

    Hubby likes to put all our expenses on the credit card and pay it off every month, to get the rewards. I think I would do better with the envelope system that I used to use back before we were together. It kept me on a strict budget.

    The majority of my recipes are things I make often, so I always have those ingredients on hand, and I don't need to make too many extra trips to the grocery. We grill out a lot, weather permitting, and eat lots of salads.
     
  11. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    Lil. Do clothes and shoes come out of the $200 monthly? Where do smaller type home expenses come out of? Like a new tea kettle, to replace a lawn mower or microwave for example? Towels or a new lamp?

    I am asking this because I do not know what is reasonable to budget for these categories. I have terrible money issues. A lack of consciousness or control. I have either felt too poor to buy paper towels, or unconscious. I have never budgeted. I want to.

    Thank you. Can you reference where I could learn about this system? I will google it.
     
  12. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    Since I began canning 2 years ago, I don't go to the grocery store nearly as often. It also dropped drastically when Pat moved out. Right now Belle, Wyatt & Charlie are living with us (temporary fix LOL) and they do most of the grocery shopping anyway. They are BAD about impulse buys and expensive things. For instance, frozen Jimmy Dean breakfast bowls and pizza rolls... But no milk.

    However, all that said, I go about every two weeks. I do some couponing, but not a lot. Milk, eggs, produce, cheese are staples - plus cheap frozen dinners for my lunch (and Bill's too). Once a month we go to Sam's Club and get meat and yogurt.

    I adore fresh veggies and will stock up and can what I am able to - but some things, like broccoli, just don't lend themselves to canning. Those, I buy frozen, store brand. We have a Fresh Thyme near us and I get super cheap green beans, apples, etc. so we always have something I can "put up". This is how I keep it from going bad. I eat a LOT of oranges and apples, Bill likes pears and plums and grapes, and Rose loves bananas. Fortunately, all of those are actually pretty cheap.

    Bill is BAD about impulse buys - of everything, not just groceries. We finally just decided either I go, or we go together... He only rarely goes to the store anymore.
     
  13. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    Annie. Or others. How much do you budget a week or month for food? How large is your family?

    Thank you.
     
  14. Lil

    Lil Well-Known Member

    Well, That would work for me because I buy clothes once in a blue moon and shoes even less often, so I don't really know. LOL I'd imagine that, if you buy often enough you need to budget $50 a month for clothes, you could. But, you don't get rid of your checking account after all, so things that are new household items, like lawn mowers and towels and lamps, you don't really "budget" for with envelopes. The idea is you leave some money in the account or move it to savings so you could use that for big ticket or unexpected items. The envelopes stop the indiscriminate spending. You don't eat out for lunch, you take it to work from home, when you only have so much to spend on eating out...for example. You don't buy a dozen candy bars at the grocery store, or some exotic cheese you just have a wild hair to try and may not even like, when you know you have a set amount of food money.

    It helps that I'm extremely cheap. LOL Really, I never spend money on myself. I wear undies until they fall apart and have been known to sew them up. I save chicken bones and make my own broth, even though canned broth is cheap. I just started saving vegetable trimmings to make veggie stock. We save plastic containers that food comes in for lunch boxes. While my coworkers are all eating out almost daily - I bring lunch. I don't even get my hair cut until I just can't stand it anymore. Maybe 4 times a year? Cheap...not frugal...miserly CHEAP!
     
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  15. AppleCori

    AppleCori Well-Known Member

    I love the 50/20/30 Guidelines at LifeVest.

    These are the goals:

    50%(or less) of your take-home income goes to fixed costs: housing, utilities, transportation, insurance, loans, payments, gym memberships, monthly prescriptions, minimum credit card payments--anything that you must pay every month.

    20%: paying down debt (beyond minimum payments), retirement savings, emergency fund

    30%: Flexible spending--food, clothing, toiletries, vacations, fun stuff, gifts, etc.
     
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2017
  16. AppleCori

    AppleCori Well-Known Member

    A new lawnmower or a water heater or other big-ticket item would come out of your emergency fund.

    I dont have a specific amount for clothing in my budget. I buy what we need. I just make sure the credit card stays below a certain amount that we have set. I don't like shopping and don't buy stuff I dont need (usually).

    We spend around $300-$400 per month on groceries, $200 on toiletries and personal needs, maybe $50-$100 on clothing (just a guess, but I have a growing daughter who I love to dress nicely).
     
  17. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    Apple. How many in your household, adults and children?

    Thanks. I am finding this all so helpful.
     
  18. AppleCori

    AppleCori Well-Known Member

    Myself, hubby and our 12-year-old until recently.

    My 21-year-old step-son (who is in college) has recently moved back home, so I may need to adjust my budget a bit.
     
  19. Tanya M

    Tanya M Living with an attitude of gratitude Staff Member

    I go once a month to the butcher for all of our meat and then I go weekly or every other week to Aldi's and another grocery store for everything else. I'm pretty good about staying within our budget but only because I follow the list.

    I know there are apps that people use for grocery shopping that will alert you when you are going over budget.
     
  20. Nomad

    Nomad Well-Known Member

    I use to go once a week to buy groceries.
    During that time, I was more budget conscious and probably food conscious as well.
    Now, I go approximately twice a week.
    I think we are going twice a week now because in the past I would plan for several days up to a full week of meals and even plan for going out to eat twice a week within that plan.
    Now, I only plan for about half a week at a time.
    This post made me think. We actually do use an overall budget, but when it comes to food, we don't seem to follow it much at all... right this second...I can't recall what my food budget is!

    Note:
    We keep a white board in our laundry room. As I run out of grocery/kitchen items, I write it down on the white board. I do take a list with me before going to the grocery store. I write down the items on the white board and other items I need for a recipe, for example. If I'm really rushing, I take a photo of the white board before leaving the house. Also, if something is a significant bargain, I do take advantage of those. Buy on get one free laundry detergent, I buy a lot of and store in our garage (for example). I do my best to avoid buying junk food. I will buy apples, carrots and celery. On occasion, I'll buy almonds. Even less often, sugar free chocolate pudding.