Many of the articles I have seen lately mention shopping weekly as one of the best ways to keep your budget low. Today let's explore this strategy:
There are some advantages to grocery shopping weekly. When you shop weekly you have a routine of what day you shop and you can make the best use of any weekly sales that are offered at your store. Also many items like milk and fresh vegetables need to be used within about a week.
Many families get paid weekly this can make a weekly trip to the store the best option. Over the last 14 years that I have been married we have had many different pay configurations, including weekly, bi monthly, and monthly. We have also had seasons where we shopped once a month, once every two weeks, once a week, and multiple times weekly.
Every frugal family seems to have their favorite time frame to shop in. Some of my couponing friends go to a store four or more times a week. They say this is the way to get the best deal. My mother shopped once a month and said it was the best way to save money on groceries. There are just as many people out there saving money on groceries as there are "best" ways to save money on groceries.
Once a month works very well especially when you get paid once a month or if you divide your budget up so that this week's check covers these things and that week's check covers those things. The upside to shopping once a month is that less trips to the grocery store mean less impulse spending. The downside is that you can't take advantage of the weekly sales as easily and that each trip is very large and time consuming. Usually those that shop once a month will stop in for at least one quick trip during the month to grab some more milk and other perishable items.
Twice a month: This was how I first learned to shop when I was a newly wed. We got paid every other week and we would pay the bills and make a grocery trip for the payday. Advantages of shopping twice a month / every other week are that you can take advantage of twice the number of sales as with shopping monthly (though not as many as with going weekly) and the shopping trips are smaller than monthly shopping without being as often as going to the store weekly.
Weekly is actually my least favorite. While it is nice to take advantage of all the weekly sales, I don't like giving up one evening a week to plan a menu and go shopping. Some frugal shoppers love the routine of knowing that every Thursday is grocery day. If that is you, weekly shopping may be perfect for you.
Multi-time-per-week happens at my house during seasons when I am very tired or life is a little crazy. With the grocery store being less than 10 minutes down the road, sometimes it is easier for me to plan for the next three or four days and do a small shopping trip. The advantages are ease of taking advantage of sales and mark-downs as well as smaller lists and less time per trip. Less stuff bought means that it is easier to babysit the bagger, and keep him from sticking a half dozen cans in with my bag of oranges. The disadvantage is that impulse buys can add up quickly.
The best strategy seems to be the one that balances impulse buying with the size of grocery store trip you like to make. There really isn't a "best" way for all people everywhere. The best way is the one that works most efficiently for you and your family.