Saturday, 25 June 2011
Is shopping once a week the best way to save money?
Whenever a conversation about budget eating comes up, it almost always comes down to how often you shop.
My view has always been that doing a large weekly shop is potentially wasteful as you never know exactly how the week is going to pan out. I prefer to shop just before the weekend for what we're going to eat over the next three or four days then take stock once I see how much I've got left in the fridge or the storecupboard and when I know what our movements are for the coming week.
It's easy for me admittedly because there are only two of us at home now, I live in a town where the shops are open 'til late and I work from home. But I still think that buying food 7 days ahead can result in buying more than you need.
Against that you might argue that the more times you go to the shops the more likely you are to be tempted. And that if you're on a tight budget you need to cost things carefully and that's more easily achieved in one shopping expedition. There's also for many the cost of getting to the shops.
What may be worthwhile, either way, is costing exactly what you spend in a week as Linda of With Knife and Fork revealed she'd done recently on Twitter. (The answer was £7-10 a day for two. And she wrote down everything, including teabags!) And then try shopping an alternative way. If you go to the shops regularly try a weekly shop. If you do a big shop try two or three smaller ones as I do. See if there are savings to be made.
You might also try and have what I've previously described on the blog as a No Food Shopping Day - a day when you live off what you have in the storecupboard, freezer and fridge. I suspect a lot of us could manage for the best part of a week like that, essentials like milk and fresh fruit and veg apart - and even then you probably have frozen veggies you could use up.
What have you found is the most economical way to shop?