Afternoon Grocery Shopping Can Bust Your Budget
I knew it was a bad idea even as I backed out of the driveway. I was heading to the grocery store late on a Saturday afternoon to do our usual shopping for the upcoming week. My fears were confirmed as I pulled into a jam packed parking lot.
We had done everything we normally do to stay on budget with our groceries:
- Plan our menu for the week
- Make a detailed list of food items needed for the menu
- Identify needed household items
Today was different because I normally do the shopping early Saturday morning before most of the world wakes up and gets going for the day. The contrast between the two times of day was startling. I was used to a store with few customers but at this time of the day going up and down the isles was like navigating an obstacle course. I also rarely encounter the store being out of an item, but today there were at least half a dozen items that I found an empty slot on the shelve where the product was supposed to be.
This means that I was in for the dreaded reshop.
A Reshop is that extra trip you have to make to the grocery store because you either forgot, or the store was out of a crucial item. There are two problems with the reshop:
- You have to take the time to go to the grocery store again
- There’s the temptation to buy more items when you visit the store again
When I returned to the store Monday to retrieve the needed items, I encountered both of these issues. I had to take time out of my day for the second trip, AND the sum total of both trips ($54 + $90 = $144) exceeded our weekly grocery shopping budget for the week ($125).
The key to being most efficient with your time and money is to go shopping when customers are scarce, and the stores are stocked.
We do the majority of our grocery and household item shopping at Walmart, so the shelves are usually stocked very early in the morning. I know this because I’ve visited the store very early on just about every day of the week to pick something up before work and see boxes of product on the floor waiting to be put on the shelves.
I almost always do our grocery shopping early on Saturday morning simply because I’m an early riser, the rest of my family is still sleeping, and I know the grocery store wasn’t busy. However this week I learned that going grocery shopping early in the morning can actually help me stay on point with our grocery budget.
What time of day do you go grocery shopping? Have you ever encountered the â€œreshop?â€
Brought to you courtesy of Brock
Brock is a software engineer by day and personal finance blogger at night. He is a fitness junkie and enjoys grilling and smoking meat. Married with two children, Brock strives to improve his skills as a husband and father, and is always on the lookout to stretch his family’s budget as far as he can.
I wish I could shop like that. Our budget for the three of us $80/wk. I may have mentioned once or a thousand times that my son has food allergies that prohibits most packaged foods. (Corn, rice, soy, and nuts.) We avoid other things due to my growing knowledge of our tainted food supply. It seems like I am shopping all the time. I work full time, with a 45-minute commute each way through generic suburbia, which means that I daily pass by or come within close proximity to many places that I shop. So twice a week on my way home I shop at Trader Joes, on Friday night on my way home I stop at our local (weekends only) Amish store, and sometimes on my lunch hour I go to Aldi’s or Walmart. Each place has specific items on my list, either exclusively or at the best price. I also have rotating subscribtions at Amazon.
I can not shop in crowds. It’s too frustrating.
Brock – this is a great tip! I’ve never considered the time of day and how that would impact the experience. You’re probably also losing 30mins+ of your day that you could be doing something else like relaxing or working on some other way to make money 🙂
Thanks for the great idea, very actionable!
Bryce @ Save and Conquer says
Good tip on grocery shopping, or really any kind of shopping, for that matter. Go when there are fewer customers. That can make a real big difference at stores like Costco that turn into mad houses at lunch time, in the evening, and especially on the weekends.
Tahnya Kristina says
I walk by two grocery stores on my way home from work and I am always tempted to stop and pick something up for dinner even though I know I have ingredients at home to cook a meal. Also the 3 o’clock Starbucks cravings are killing my budget.
@Cathie – your grocery shopping sounds exahausting, LOL! You gotta do what you gotta do, though. There have been weeks where I didn’t have time to shop AT ALL on the weekend and I had to stop on the way home from work every day. I shudder to think at how much I spent on groceries that week.
@moneyahoy – It can break your budget, AND as you mentioned waste time – and we should never, ever, discount the price of our time. I go full speed all week, and I need the weekend to unwind. The less time I have to spend navigating stores the better! Thanks for reading!
@Bryce – the only thing about Costco is you’d miss out on all the great samples. 🙂
@Tahnya – It’s one thing to drive by grocery stores…but to WALK right by them? That takes some will power – more power to you!
Daisy @ Prairie Eco Thrifter says
I hate the dreaded re-shop. We try to go around 5 on Sundays and for some reason our local grocery store is well stocked and pretty dead at that time. We almost always forget something even though we keep a list.
That’s awesome that it’s well stocked at that time, Daisy…..I usually have good luck Sunday’s as well – way better than Saturdays. 🙂