Monday, August 8, 2011

MY BIGGEST MONEY SUCK (other than gas and online shopping…)

Groceries are the biggest money killer to me. Of. All. Time.

I have a sick fascination with grocery stores. I love them. I love grocery shopping. I love making elaborate meal plans and I love making up the list!

Flip side: I hate cooking. I am lazy as shit when it comes to cooking and even when real effort is put in, the results are still average at best.

This is what living away from home for four months with access to a car and proximity to Sobeys and Superstore has taught me: I am a grocery hoarder. I hoard groceries! I buy groceries usually once a week, slamming away an avg. of $50 each time. I don’t know why it took me an entire 3 months to realize this behavior. It started when I began recording how many times I visited grocery stores.

Mind boggling!

This is my mentality: Hmm, I feel like making tacos tonight! Yumm!

Reality: I hit the store, buy all the supplies + whatever other groceries I see that spark my interest + anything that is on sale especially that sparks my interest + I am fairly certain there is already food prepared in the fridge that I should consume to stop it from going bad. (phew)

Every week I throw out food. Every week.  And I feel really bad about it. And not just because I know there are millions of people who could have benefited from what I've allowed go to waste but because it literally feels like I'm throwing money into the garbage. Then I also still want to be healthy (ish), so I'm not only eating cereal and KD (which never go bad...cept you kinda need milk for both of them) therefore I will keep buying fruit and veggies. Veggies and fruit are expensive. Meat? More expensive.

Currently in my fridge I have to dispose of a plastic container of tuna/egg mixture, a plastic container of cooked chicken, full feta cheese, bag of carrot sticks, possibly my lettuce bag and my (almost full) milk. This is a typical amount of food I throw out (when I get the guts to actually open the plastic containers and empty the contents…it’s usually pretty I like to put it off.)

What I have learned: 
  • Stick to the outskirts of the store: meat, veggies, fruit and bread. This is the bulk of what I live on and what goes bad the quickest and needs replacing. Anything on the inner is really just crappy filler. DELICIOUS crappy filler, but crappy filler non-the-less. Keep it out of your line of sight and chances are you won’t buy it. If you truly want something special: drink mix, kraft dinner, etc. make a special trip but just for that. When you are a single person feeding only yourself there’s really no reason you shouldn’t be able to push your cart through the 15 items or less checkout every time.
  • Bring in a list and ONLY buy what’s on the list. SALES BE DAMNED.
  • DO NOT buy something just because it is good for you if you don’t like it. Ex: I bought a box of blueberries last week. I HATE blueberries?! And I bought them why??? Because they are supposed to be good for your memory or some bullshit. But really cuz they were on sale and strategically placed directly in front of the doors when I entered and my basket was empty.
  • Eat the food you have. SUCK IT UP, YOU MONEY AND FOOD WASTER!

Does anyone else feel like this ever?! PLEASE if you have any, give me tips!


Robyn M. said...

I hear you.. Except I would go into a panic before things expired and eat it all so as not to waste. Probs because I am nuts. First of all definitely don't buy things you don't like, thats actually the best part about living on your own. NEVER EATING BROCOLLI EVER!

Also a good way to stay healthy but cheap is to buy frozen fruits and vegs especially for one person.

The other hard part is not buying enough food for alot of people, think about how much you'll actually eat and buy thats much. Its better to buy one little thing of milk for a week then let it go to waste.

Really I have no idea how not to waste completely(especially without pet, they are the best guilt free garbage)

samboy said...

I've been there before, but tough times have called for stricter shopping.

When I need to be strict I do my food shopping online, buying only what I need. That way I dont get sucked in by the shiny deals and special offers. I dont see delicious cakes, so I don't buy them.

Can you order your groceries in?

Maybe try leaving your card at home and taking say $20 cash with you. That way you can't spend more than you have.

Do you have a freezer at home? Buy frozen veggies and meat. Cheaper, often healthier and it can't go bad in the fridge

Good luck, its a tough habit to break!x

m. said...

I did this when I first moved into an apartment. You are not alone. It's hard to get into a groove.

Before going out to get groceries, make a rough list of meals for the week and what groceries you will need. Don't buy anything that isn't on the list. Lists are fun so you shouldn't have any problem. It's also fun to cross off the stuff as you go through the store. Makes me feel like a real grownup! If you want, choose a designated grocery night.

Biggest thing that will help with spoiled food: prepare your fruits and veggies as soon as you get home from buying them. Wash and cut them up and put them in tupperware/ ziploc bags. Then you are more likely to eat them because you can just grab and go, and they will last longer.

One last thing that I do is make a list of things I could make with the ingredients I have and post it on my fridge. It reminds me so I don't forget about the things in the back of the fridge, or in case I'm blanking and can't think of anything to make.

Good luck!

a. said...

i think I would love to order groceries in but I LOVE the grocery store. My hubby jokes that our grocery shopping trips are dates, sadly its true.
I enjoy making a lists and looking at flyers and then planning meals (but sometimes you dont feel like cooking that meal or something comes up so its good to have healthy quick meals to make as well)

If fruit or veggies may go bad before you eat them all, try freezing them, sliced frozen peaches are delicious - slice and place on wax paper on a baking sheet and once frozen put them all in a baggie and its a good go to snack in summer.

I try to stay to the outskirts of the store as well and we buy our meat from a meat market that has better quality and prices. Also farmers market is great for produce. yummy!

we buy items on sale that we will use, like crackers and sauces, cereals that dont go bad. I almost always have a backup whatever in the cupboard so when 1 is out, i have to remind hubby to check before he buys it.

PS- i wanna go grocery shopping right now.

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