Frugal Living Tip: Shop Less, Save More

Some money-saving ideas are complicated or require an obvious sacrifice. Others have the advantage of making your life simpler by saving you time while they save you cash.

According to a recent story on, you can save nearly $200 per month on average simply by limiting the frequency of your grocery shopping trips to once per week.

The reasoning here is that up to [two-thirds] of grocery purchases are unplanned impulse buys—things you don’t really need but caught your eye. Cut down on grocery trips and you’ll cut down on the number of times you’re exposed to these unnecessary temptations.

Presumably, you’ll also save even more money if you shop less frequently by using less gasoline on trips to the store and reducing wear and tear on your car—plus saving time, which lowers your opportunity costs. endorses the idea of reducing impulse buys and saving money by shopping for groceries less often, suggesting that the ideal frequency may be twice per month or even monthly grocery trips.

But this seems a little extreme. After all, you’ll probably need to make a grocery run at least once per week to replenish your supply of the most healthy kinds of foods (fruit, vegetables, milk) with brief shelf lives.

Besides, if you only go shopping occasionally, you may find yourself ready to make dinner and faced with a bare pantry or missing a few essential ingredients. In that case, you may decide it’s easier to just go out to dinner or order a delivery, which could end up costing much more in the long run than if you stocked up regularly on weekly trips to the store.

Whether you shop once per week or prefer to pick up some fresh groceries a few times per week, another way to limit impulse buys is to use the old-fashioned grocery list, checking off items as you make your way through the store. With a little discipline, you’ll make sure to bring home the things you need, saving cash and calories.

If you prefer a more high-tech approach, you won’t be surprised to learn that there are several grocery list apps available for the iPhone.

How often do you like to shop for groceries? Do you think you could save money by shopping less frequently? Do you have a strategy in the grocery store for avoiding frivolous impulse buys and bringing home the necessities?

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