This Simple Change Has Slashed My Grocery Bills by $20 a Week -- Despite Inflation

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KEY POINTS

  • Inflation is forcing many consumers to spend more on food.
  • By adjusting the way I grocery shop, I'm able to spend less even with higher supermarket prices.


It was a necessary change given rising costs.

As a mom of young children with a full-time job, I have limited time to cook during the week. In the past, my solution to my family's food-related needs was to swing by the supermarket on my way back from dropping my kids off at school (I actually pass the grocery store on my walking route, so it's super convenient), pop in, and pick up ingredients for that night's meal.

In fact, up until recently, I used to go to the supermarket three or four times a week to buy a day or two's worth of groceries. Since I was visiting the store on foot, I had to limit myself to what I bought to ensure I could carry it home. Plus, to be honest, I found it difficult to focus on more than one day at a time from a food-related perspective.

But when grocery prices started rising last year, I realized that I'd probably need to change that system and adopt a new food-buying strategy. For the past couple of months, instead of shopping multiple times a week, I've tried limiting myself to one big shopping trip. And it's actually lowered my grocery spending substantially.

Being more organized pays off

Like many working moms, I'm perpetually busy and frazzled during the work week, so I'm not always that inspired to sit down and plan out meals -- or at least I wasn't so inspired to do that until recently. But last year, I started noticing our supermarket bills were getting out of hand. And while part of that has to do with inflation, part of it was that I wasn't shopping for food efficiently.

As such, I've adopted a new approach that works better from a savings perspective. These days, my husband and I map out our meals and food purchases in advance and do one large grocery run a week. By taking this approach, we're able to buy more bulk items and avoid impulse purchases at the supermarket. And so far, it's saving us about $20 a week -- even with food costs being so high.

Now this isn't to say we never have to pop back into the store to restock during the week. We might, for example, buy veggies and fruit when we do a big shopping trip on a Monday, only to have to replenish some of those items by Thursday or Friday. But our main shopping run is now a once-a-week occurrence, and because we've been good about sticking to our lists rather than purchasing items on a whim, we've managed to eke out savings.

A good habit to uphold

I used to think that popping into the supermarket several times a week would save me time compared to spending a solid hour loading up on a week's worth of food. But actually, I've found that this new method saves me time. By sticking to a list, I'm really focused during that lengthier grocery run, so all told, I'm spending less time shopping for food than I used to.

Just as importantly, it's nice to approach the week knowing what meals I'll be putting on the table rather than just winging it. And when my kids ask what's for dinner on the way to school, it's nice to have an answer for them that isn't "I don't know."

These days, my family, like many families, is facing higher living expenses across the board. That's limited our ability to add to our savings and has caused us to rethink our budget. By changing my approach to grocery shopping, I've managed to reduce our spending modestly. And even though $20 a week isn't a life-changing amount, it's been helpful in offsetting the cost of our other bills that have risen.

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