Infrequent bulk shopping is a common way for people to get groceries. Stock up on Saturday, restock on the next Saturday, and hope everything keeps well through the week. European-style shopping increases your access to fresh and inexpensive food.
Photo by Seattle Municipal Archives.
Over at the frugality-centred blog Wise Bread they've put together an argument in defence of European-style shopping. Instead of shopping once a week or once every two weeks and packing your fridge with food, you should shop every day. Rather than keep perishable food stock piled in your fridge hoping to use it while it is still fresh, you should grab fresh and often discounted food from the market every day:
When I'm buying groceries for the household, I shop almost every day. Instead of planning a menu in advance, I go to the store and look around to see what looks good. That way, I can get whatever's fresh and cheap.
Meat in particular gets marked down as it approaches its sell-by date. You can't do much with that sort of deal if you only shop once a week, because you won't want to be cooking meat a week after its sell-by date. However, since I'm going to cook it that same day, I'm perfectly happy buying something on its sell-by date - at which point it's often been marked down to a fraction of its regular price.
Indeed, just last week I made an enormous and delicious pot roast because the day I was shopping was the sell-by-date of some substantial slabs of roast meat. Had I not swung by the meat section while grabbing a few other small items I wouldn't have seen the more than half-off roast meat, and dinner that night would have been a less delicious and possibly more expensive affair.
One thing to keep in mind: Daily shopping isn't the same as the usual once a week marathon shopping people are used to. If you're only going into the market to grab some fish and some salad greens you're not spending two hours at the grocer and lugging bag after bag of groceries around.
Check out the full article for more information including how to stockpile non-perishable staples so you only need to pick up fresh food for that day's meals. Have your own experiences shopping European-style? Let's hear about them in the comments.
Buy Your Groceries European-Style [Wisebread]