How often should I be buying groceries for my son and I? What’s normal?? I feel like I’m at the grocery store all the time.

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Posted by Sarah (MONEY FORUMS: 5, Answers: 1)
Asked on January 22, 2016 1:14 am
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I used to go once a week, but once we started purchasing organic produce, I also started going to the grocery store every few days. I take 30 minutes once or twice a week to meal plan and make a shopping list. It definitely helps us to identify what we need and what we don’t need. At the same time, it helps cut down on trips, like times when I used to forget one ingredient and would need to go to the store to get that one ingredient, but ended up buying more. I also take note of staples that we may be running low – flour, milk, peanut butter – and buy those when needed, so that I don’t realize at breakfast time that we don’t have any milk left.
I have to be honest – meal planning is not easy. It’s a skill that even after doing it for so long, I still feel like I do a terrible job and ask friends for suggestions. Even so, it has definitely helped me make sure that we’re eating well, shopping decently, and making the most of our budget.

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Posted by Jessica Ozar (MONEY FORUMS: 2, Answers: 18)
Answered: February 2, 2016 10:06 pm
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I know the feeling! But I don’t think there is a right or wrong answer to grocery shopping!

For my family of 3, I find that weekly meal planning and shopping one day a week is best. For one, a weekly meal plan takes in account our schedule, such as dining out or nights when we can’t cook. Secondly, as a picky eater, the thought of planning my food more than a week out sounds like I’d have a ton of waste! I also like shopping weekly because I can see the sales ads and do some light couponing. With a little one, that’s almost essential for keeping food costs down on her favorite items like yogurt and oatmeal.

Finally, we do our best not to over shop. No extra snacks, no stocking up on something because it’s on sale (outside of meat). With a kid, especially a toddler, it’s easy to get stuck in a treat frenzy. But we stick to one treat and the rest produce that we can incorporate in a meal. When it’s out, it’s out for the week. It teaches us portion control ando budget control.

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Posted by Michelle Diamond (MONEY FORUMS: 0, Answers: 26)
Answered: January 28, 2016 10:45 am
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I’m really not a fan of grocery shopping, and I spend more when I shop more often. Maybe if I were a french lady going to the market, I wouldn’t mind so much, but grocery shopping isn’t a pleasure for me.

I try to shop just once per week, but I always buy frozen fruits and vegetables so that I can have something reasonably healthy to eat even at the end of the week. I used to go shopping at least twice per week, but I found I was spending a lot and some produce would go bad. To fix this problem, I did a “pantry challenge” where I didn’t grocery shop at all for ten days. It helped eliminate pantry/fridge/freezer clutter, we ate through some food, freed up some storage containers, and I got a better idea of what might work for my family.

I do a pantry challenge about once every 6-10 months to save money and to remind me that I can be moderately creative with food if I have to.

I guess the only other advice I would offer is be sure that you’re not grocery shopping out of fear for toddler wrath. I mean, I hate running out of yogurt or granola bars, and my son can pitch a fit with the best of them, but really, I would rather deal with 10-15 minutes of a screaming toddler than spend 45 minutes and $20 at the grocery store to prevent it.

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Posted by Hannah Rounds (MONEY FORUMS: 1, Answers: 54)
Answered: January 28, 2016 10:08 am
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I think there are a number of approaches here. I used to try and go to the grocery store once every week or two and that just didn’t work because we want to eat healthy and the produce doesn’t last. Recently we started going every three or four days. Yes, I’m there more often but I spend less and we actually eat all of the food at the house before I go back instead of produce going bad before we have time to eat it. It has been a great way to cut down on food waste since it’s just me and my daughter at home.

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Posted by Charlotte Baker (MONEY FORUMS: 0, Answers: 8)
Answered: January 28, 2016 9:26 am
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