The evil grocery store

February 18, 2013

Since living on my own, I have had a brutal war with grocery shopping.  Without a doubt, I always seem to be on the losing end of that war.  Grocery stores across Edmonton are laughing at me the minute I walk through the door.  Am I the only one that feels grocery shopping takes way more effort and work than it actually should? I'm assuming so, because I am 23 and still haven't mastered it.

It's funny; every week I walk into Save-On Foods with a smile on my face and a feeling of hope that I will finally get enough food to last me, plus throw nothing away. So finally, in my journey to become a millionaire, I said enough is enough. Time to buckle down and finally see exactly how much money I am wasting every shopping trip.

On average, I spend about $110.00 every week and a half on groceries. So, let's break that down:

$110 x 32 shopping trips per year approx = $3520.00

You don't even have to say it; that number is WAY higher than it should be for a 20 something female living on her own with no roommates. I was astonished when I saw that.  But, that being said, it is completely my fault it's that high.  I tend to buy gluten free/healthy/organic foods for the most part, which are without a doubt more expensive then most other foods. At the same time, I am hugely unorganized when it comes to grocery shopping and I have nobody else to blame.  I am not changing my eating habits though, I just need to re-adjust my spending and be way more organized when it comes to giving my local grocery store money.

With that number in hand, I then calculated a rough estimate of what I throw away in that same time period, which I already know is hard for me to write.  I throw away about $30.00 of food before my next shopping trip, just due to the fact that it goes bad in that week and a half.

$30 x 32 shopping trips per year approx = $960.00

I can't even believe that number! I might as well throw that money from my balcony, which essentially is what I'm doing.  That's horrible and I need to kick that habit ASAP.  No wonder I'm not a millionaire yet...

While wallowing in my sadness, I came up with a few ways to help curb this trend, for me at least, hopefully they help others as well.

1) Never go to the grocery store hungry - I know everyone always says this, I just need to follow the advice. I normally always go after work, before I've had a chance to eat dinner.  When you're hungry, the whole store looks like a giant chocolate bar, which I can't resist.

2) Plan out your meals for the week - I have never done this, which tops my list of reasons why I'm throwing away so much money. Buying random food items isn't going to help you during the week when you are making meals. You are without a doubt going to miss something or not use something.

3) Make a list and stick to it - This is in the same family as number 2. Again, I never go with a list, which means I end up either buying way to much food, or I miss many things that I thought I've made a mental note of.  It also made me discover my memory isn't the greatest. Gotta love teaching yourself a lesson.

4) Designate one day a week to cook and prep your weeks meals - Now because of my 60+ hour work weeks (I wish I was exaggerating that number) I always get caught not having meals made. Thus, I eat out and don't use the food I have in my fridge.  From now on, Sunday is my cooking day. Doesn't matter what other plans I have that day, I need to dedicate the time to prep my meals, so I not only eat healthier but am able to use up all my food. With this, I will be in my kitchen, drinking wine, blasting music and cooking up a storm every sunday. No questions!

5) Coupons, coupons, coupons - I was hesitant to put this recommendation in.  Because coupons can hurt you in they aren't dealt with properly.  I used to be the person that picked up a flyer of coupons and said "OH I could use this, this, this and this." But that is wrong on so many levels. That prompts you to buy things you might not actually need and you can end up spending more money without creating any savings.  My advice is, make your grocery list, plan all your meals, then once that is done, consult your coupon flyer and see if any of the items you are getting have a coupon. If they do, bonus! If not, don't buy something you really don't need just for a deal. My boyfriend was the one that brought this to my attention. How right he is!

I plan on going grocery shopping tomorrow since my fridge is bare right now, I'll blog about my first organized and planned shopping trip.  Fingers crossed I don't have to throw anything away for once. Although, my fingers don't need to be crossed if I'm prepared.  Time to finally win the grocery shopping war.


  1. It's all about PERIMETER SHOPPING. Studies conducted by a variety of consumer agencies have repeatedly confirmed that the perimeter of the grocery store is filled with both the healthiest and the freshest food. Avoiding the center aisles will save you calories and will also save you money. Perimeter shopping is the easiest way for a shopper to ensure that she is making healthy food choices while maintaining diversity in your diet.

    1. Yes, I have heard that! Very good advice! Definitely going to try that when I'm at the store next.

  2. ^ TOTALLY AGREE with anonymous #1. It was ridiculously beneficial when I did a detox just to avoid the zigzag aisles and just powershop in a circle right back to the checkouts.

    Fresh veg, Fresh meat, bulk aisle for rice/pastas. boom, dinner. yum.

    note: this rule doesn't apply to the liquor store. liquor store budget : on sale wine for yogging & maybe an extra bottle if its a SUPER good deal. :)

    1. It is a really good idea! Haha that never applies to a liquor store!