Shopping To Save Time and Money

I shop once a month. Why?

1. I spend less. (How many times do you go into the grocery store for just an item, and leave with five? Multiply that by how many times you shop in a month…that’s a lot of extras.)

2. It takes less time. We live an hour from town. Two hours plus standing in line, means it’s a day lost for other things.

3. This was the big one when I had little ones…it doesn’t mess up their schedule. (As a mom, you know what shopping does to nap time, nursing, potty-training, school time for little ones…)


Stock up on basics, i.e. sugar, flour, cereal, noodles. Every month I have a list for every store where I shop. I go to Smart and Final (a restaurant supplier for #10 cans of fruit, vegetables, sauces, dried beans, rice, bulk seasonings, trash bags, cleaners…). We have Costco here. (Maybe you have Sam’s Club, same basic idea.) I have a list. Costco rearranges things. If I can’t find the item, I don’t get it. Wasting time searching the entire store does not save me time. I shop at Wineco for those cheaper items, cake mixes, puddings, cereals, fresh vegetables. I might go to Walmart another day [it’s closer to us and allows me time to take the younger boys to the dollar store (their highlight of shopping day)].

If I know that I need shampoo, I get conditioner. If I know I need one, I get two. That way I don’t have to ‘remember’ it for another month.

If I forget something, I go without. Do you know how creative you can get without something that you think is essential? (I do not get creative with laundry soap, but I have never forgotten to get it…but if I did…eeek. I’d probably make a special trip.)

I don’t have to buy milk, but when we were using 10 gallons/week, I had to make a special trip to town once a week for milk. (I also spent more money.)

How do I fit 10 gallons of milk in my refrigerator? When our last frig died. We purchased a refrigerator only—no freezer. Its cost was on the high end, but it fit 10 gallons plus my other groceries, i.e. 10 dozen eggs, vegetables…

How do I have fresh vegetables throughout the month? I don’t. We splurge with salads at the beginning of the month when I’ve shopped. (Cabbage lasts longer than lettuce for tacos, but the boys enjoy it less…I buy lettuce.) By the third week, we have canned or frozen vegetables.

Make a list throughout the month. Include special days, i.e. birthday meals are special for us. I make a note to remind me this time I need to get…

I stock up on bread and freeze it. (I can’t keep up with homemade bread with homeschooling.) Not fresh, but works.


I shop early. Almost when the stores open. I start fresh. I can move better. The lines aren’t long. And I’m home in time to put it all away and prepare a meal before my husband returns. Also do not shop on week-ends. Traffic is bad. Lines are long. Stores are busy…

Don’t shop when hungry. Your cart will be full of extras.

Teach your children not to beg. (It may be cute for a dog, but not for a child.) Ask what meals they would like before you shop. Include those things on your lists. In the store, those impulsive requests, consider for next time. When I’m shopping, I can’t think. I stick to my list, it keeps me focused. Too many interruptions from my helpers mean an automatic ‘no.’

You may look at all this and say, “I like to shop. I don’t mind the time and money to make sure my family has fresh, good tasting things all the time.” I’m jealous. I just don’t have the time to stand in line four times a month while I know I could be doing something I enjoy more—like eating it.


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I love this Sonya, much like what we do, but you have it fine tuned!! I am going to add it your tricks! I loved your decluttering article too! Much love!

I write about what you---
women, wives and moms---
about your family, faith and future.
I write about what's hard, what helps and what heals.
I show you how it's done. And not done.
I hold your hand as you find what matters to the Savior.
And let go of those things that mattered to you, but not to Him.
I write about what Him.
               Sonya Contreras

Author of Biblical fiction, married to my best friend, and challenged by eight sons’ growing pains as I write about what matters.

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