Trying to figure out how to grocery shop less often and still always have what you need? This post can help you go every two weeks or less.
Something I’ve been hearing a lot is people are struggling to go to the grocery store less often right now. The current recommendation is every 2 weeks or even less often if possible.
I know this is hard to switch to all of a sudden if you are used to grocery shopping weekly or even more often. Grocery shopping is pretty much a habit and changing that habit overnight isn’t easy.
This first thing you need to understand is you are going to have to totally change your mindset on grocery shopping and you will have to meal plan. I know many out there really hate meal planning but it’s going to be essential when it comes to grocery shopping less often.
Don’t worry though, I’ve spent many years grocery shopping only once a month. I’m kind of a pro at staying out of the grocery stores at this point. And no I don’t have a garden or some secret that most people can’t follow. Truth is, it’s all about planning!
I do have a bit of good news for you, most people save money when they start grocery shopping less often and usually, you will have less food waste.
So pour yourself a cup of coffee or tea and get ready to take some notes to help you during this tough time.
How to Grocery Shop Less Often
Take a Home Inventory
The first thing I want you to do is to take inventory of what you already have at home. We often have more food already on hand than we think.
This will help you know how long you can go with what you have before shopping. It will also help you plan meals and need less from the store when you do go.
You can write this down in a notebook or use my meal planning printable sheets which include inventory lists. This is also a good time to clean out the fridge.
Make a Meal Plan
Now that you know what you have, see how many meals you can come up with using what you already have on hand. Pinterest is a great tool at this point to help you find creative recipes.
Once you have those meals see what you can make with the rest of the ingredients even if you do need to buy a few items to make the recipes. Make sure to write down what ingredients you will need.
I recommend making the recipes simple and include lots of family favorites. Food can be a big comfort now but also we are cooking a lot so give yourself grace.
Don’t forget to plan some snacks, breakfasts, lunches, and maybe even some fun desserts, at least for the weekends. These again should be simple but having a plan will make sure you have everything you need.
Make Your Shopping List
Now more than ever it’s important to have a well-organized list. Try to write it with a lot of detail and if at all possible in order of how you will be shopping in the store.
If you don’t know the layout of the store just be sure to group like items together. This will help you get through the store faster and more efficiently.
Be sure to talk to family members while writing your list to find out if they have things they need or want as well. You don’t want to have to rewrite the list later when they finally tell you things they need.
Decide When and Where to Shop
With your list and meal plan, you should now know when you will need to shop. Try and pick a time and day that is less busy. This makes shopping safer and less stressful. If you are high risk find out if the store has special shopping hours.
Also, look at your list and figure out what store is most likely to have all the items you need. It’s best to only need to go to one store each time.
If you are going to shop at a store that has items you can’t find at other stores consider buying a bit extra, don’t clear shelves but if you may not be back to that store for your next shop make sure you have what you need.
What To Do About Fresh Food
It’s easier to buy pantry goods infrequently. You can often have a stock of pantry items that will last you multiple months. But what about fresh items that go bad in two or fewer weeks?
This is where you need to get creative and will again be helped by having a good meal plan in place.
Different produce will go bad faster. You want to be mindful of what you are buying. Don’t buy just berries for all your fruit or just bagged lettuce for your vegetables.
Pick up produce that lasts longer like romaine hearts, apples, citrus fruit, potatoes, onions, and other produce like that. You can still buy the stuff that goes bad quickly just be sure to eat it first and then eat your other longer-lasting produce items.
Your freezer will also be your new best friend. Frozen fruits and vegetables are very good for us and will last you a very long time. Use those items when possible and also get some canned fruits and vegetables. As long as there is no added salt or sugar these items are a really good option.
With things like meat and dairy again your freezer is your friend. You can freeze most meat and dairy just fine. Also, look for the best dates and store your products properly to make sure they last as long as possible.
Hard to Find Items
It can feel like you need to go to so many stores to find everything you need right now. Really this is the time to avoid that. So try to go early in the day so shelves are freshly stocked and go to a store that usually has everything you need.
You can also fill in with some online grocery shopping. Many of those options are a bit slow right now and also struggling to stay stocked but you can check multiple options without ever leaving your house so it’s safer and easier.
These are some of my favorite online places to buy groceries and household items. I do mostly buy organic food so they do lean that way but they are often much cheaper than shopping for these items in the store. You can also add your favorites to the comments.
The first resource I want to share is a special Grocery Shopping bundle I put together to help during this tough time. It includes my meal planning printables, my Once a Month Grocery Shopping Guide, Meal Planning Guide, and this post in a simple PDF form so you can print it off and have to reference.
You can get the full bundle of items for only $5 which is what I usually charge for just the meal planning printables. I hope it helps you during this tough time!
I hope all of these tips are helpful right now. If you want even more help in this area I have some additional resources you can check out.