I Used the “3 in 1” Grocery Shopping Method and Cut My Budget in Half — Here’s How It Works

published May 5, 2024
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As someone who loves to cook and bake, shrinkflation and rising prices have really put a strain on my family’s grocery budget. We recently did some quick math and realized my husband and I had been racking up a $200 bill for our two-person household each week. We needed to be a little more strategic in our spending.

Credit: Taylor Kocher

After moving from Los Angeles, California, to Boston, Massachusetts, in February, we decided to change the way we shop. We set up a “3 in 1” shopping schedule, consisting of three separate grocery runs on average each week — one larger shop, where my husband or I (or both!) pick up groceries for the first half of the week, and one or two small- to medium-sized shops to fill in what we need for the remainder of our meals.

We also set a maximum weekly budget of $150. (We typically eat a meal or two out on the weekends, so we really try to keep our spending in check during the week.) In the three months since we adopted this new strategy, we cut our weekly spending essentially in half and already saved hundreds. Here’s how.

Credit: Taylor Kocher

How I Save Hundreds with the “3-Day” Grocery Shopping Method

Having a set schedule with multiple shops has given us more discipline and flexibility in our weekly shops. If we’re both free on the weekend, we’ll go to the store together and do a slightly larger trip to cover the early part of the week. Then he or I will make a second trip mid-week and, depending on weekend plans, we may make a third trip before the weekend.

Credit: Taylor Kocher

We’ve also gotten better about using what we have and taking advantage of rotating sales. We now eat strictly vegetarian meals at home, so we have a lot more fresh produce on our shopping list. We found it to be a little challenging to get through it all — especially with my slightly inconsistent work schedule. With more frequent trips, we buy only what we need for a few days at a time and as close to the day we’ll eat them as possible. If something unexpected comes up, we can more easily adjust our meal plan for the week.

Credit: Taylor Kocher

We also see if any staples are newly discounted or if digital coupons have been added in the app. (They change daily!) If it’s something I know we use often, like cereal, frozen french fries, and granola bars, I’ll grab that as well for Future Us. Otherwise, I hold off until we actually need it. We also seek out the store-brand products (unless I’ve already tried it and know I’m not a fan) and shop in bulk for items we go through quickly, like sour cream.

All things considered, we’ve been able to curb our spending to $70 for the larger trip, and $30 to $40 for those smaller trips — combined. That adds up to at least $90 dollars a week, which is half of what we were spending when we lived in LA! And in case you’re wondering, the answer is yes — we still buy a few “just for fun” groceries each trip.

What grocery shopping strategies are helping you keep your budget in check? Tell us about it in the comments below.