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Groceries....Buy when needed or stock up?
Old 12-14-2013, 12:10 PM   #1
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Groceries....Buy when needed or stock up?

Regarding groceries...( food, meat, pet supplies, paper products, cleaning supplies...in general, everything considered "groceries"...)

Do you tend to "stock up" or, purchase as you need stuff?

I recently spent a gloomy morning inventorying my cupboards, fridge and freezer, and am going to use up EVERYTHING I have before I buy new. I also did the bathroom supplies ( way too much there too!!!!!)

I hope to only have to purchase milk and OJ, and, for the always hungry two cats, cat food/litter.

Otherwise, I am determined to use everything I have up!!!

Today I swept my large driveway of snow, which it will need again, from the looks of it....I did it for exercise.......

Before I went out, I put some chicken in the oven to bake, and for veggies, I opened a bag of frozen "broccoli and cauliflower florets".

The bag said "best if used by January 2012"!!!! Which means it was buried in my freezer since fall of 2011!!!!!! They were a tad freezer burnt.....

They were OK, after boiling, draining, adding butter and spices, but that is part of the reason I plan to use up everything.

I put all my canned and jarred foods on a small table in my garage so I can see what I have before I go shopping.

No more "Stocking up" for me...

I have three grocery stores within a two miles.....so I can get stuff fresh if needed!!!!!

I figure if I get too snowed in, for a week or more, I can eat one of the cats ( JOKING!!!!) or live off the "fat" of the land.....!!!!!!!!!

I figure I can live til end of January 2014 with what I have in the freezer, jarred and cans of food.

How bout you?
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Old 12-14-2013, 12:20 PM   #2
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When we lived in a house, I used to stock up. But now that we live in a smaller apartment, there is not much room for that. I keep enough canned food in the "pantry" for a couple of weeks, just in case. Otherwise I buy as needed.
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Old 12-14-2013, 12:23 PM   #3
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One of the joys of ER is the ability to shop when you feel like it and take the time to find the best fresh produce and lowest prices. I also have the time to be more creative in my cooking. So I find that the freezer is no longer filled with three year old food, there are no mouldy vegetables in the fridge, waste has been almost eliminated, and things usually get used up before they reach their best before date. About once a month I systematically use up any frozen leftovers, which usually postpones the need for a grocery shopping run by 2-3 days.

Stocking up is something that I do for nonperishables such as toilet paper and toothpaste, and then I buy it only when it is on sale. But if we lived in a country where high inflation was the norm, e.g India, Brazil or Argentina, it would make sense to stock up on nonperishables, to the extent that storage space is available. The same goes for people who live in remote areas.
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Old 12-14-2013, 12:23 PM   #4
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I'm trying to shift from stocking up to buying more as I need it. I got in the habit of stocking up when I had 2 boys at home and never got away from it.

I recently inventoried my freezer and pantry and have enough to keep me fed for a long while. I'll just fill in the fresh fruits and veggies as needed.
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Old 12-14-2013, 12:30 PM   #5
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A couple of weeks ago I purged my pantry of out-dated items and am trying to be more cognizant of what I have. I live within a mile or two of 3 large grocery chains, a specialty food store and several mega pharmacies that sell all kinds of boxed, canned and refrigerated items. Very little chance I will starve to death ever. During winter I keep some extra items like canned soup, sardines, nuts, dried fruits around but it has been years since I recall not being able to get out and shop due to snow for more than about a 12 hour stretch.

I do keep a flat or two of bottled spring water for emergencies and I don't think I will ever run out of toilet paper or paper towels.
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Old 12-14-2013, 12:38 PM   #6
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The natural disasters such as Katrina, earthquakes and other such things have taught me that I (we) should plan on being able to survive on our own for at least two weeks in the event of one. So, I keep a stock of canned foods, fuel for my camping stove and gallons of water.
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Old 12-14-2013, 12:41 PM   #7
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DW monitors sales and coupons like a hawk. When something we use often, particularly non-perishables, is on sales and/or has great coupons, we will stock up. We have enough shelf space in our basement and root cellar to manage it. We don't go overboard, experience has shown us long how certain things will last, so we stock up accordingly.

It becomes useful particularly now with all the storms going through, we don't need to worry about running out and stocking up because it is already in place.
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Old 12-14-2013, 12:43 PM   #8
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The timing of this post is great. DW and I have recently been discussing this. We buy nonpershiables and meats in bulk and on sale. Fruits and veggies as needed. The past couple months been bringing down the inventory to clean out old and prepare for being gone for the winter. We also are trying hit our annual food budget. It looks like we will make it as past two months spent less than half of normal. With time to shop overall are normal expenses are going down freeing up more for travel .
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Old 12-14-2013, 12:57 PM   #9
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We pretty much buy as needed. Items like toilet paper and kitchen rolls we'll buy large packages of, and store in the garage.

We used to keep well supplied with gallons of water, canned goods etc in case of hurricanes, but now that we are retired we are mostly out of State during hurricane season, and even if we are here when one is heading our way we'll take the opportunity to get of town and take an unplanned vacation.
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Old 12-14-2013, 01:02 PM   #10
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I've been a stocker-upper and have also found some out of date perishables, so I'm in the mode to use things up now. I've always figured it paid to get 2-for-1s and 30% off, but not so much if I toss stuff.
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Old 12-14-2013, 01:02 PM   #11
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Except for milk, eggs and an occasional spice everything I buy is either on sale or from Aldi. I try to keep my grocery bill down.

With sale items I've always been the "stock up" type. My problem however was that sometimes I went overboard. Its going to take a LONG time to use the 30 cans of 32oz tomato sauce in the pantry, and I'm halfway through the 21 cans of chunk chicken that I moved in August !

I have much less storage / pantry space now, but still more than I really need. The "stock up" monster doesn't need to be fully tamed but I do need to be more aware of what I already have.

I did the "use everything I have" exercise before we downsized in August. It didn't work I simply had too much food and could have easily survived for 3 or 4 months without going to a grocery store except for milk and eggs.
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Old 12-14-2013, 01:05 PM   #12
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We stock up. Me more so than DW. I've got quite the stash of walnuts, tp, and coffee right now.
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Old 12-14-2013, 01:10 PM   #13
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I buy as needed, although I do try to both stock up on non-perishables and empty my freezer just before hurricane season. So, I eat a lot of frozen foods in the spring, and a lot of canned foods in the late fall, as I shift into and out of hurricane season mode.

My house doesn't really have a pantry closet or pantry for storing food. However I solved that problem by buying a large piece of furniture that provides plenty of additional kitchen cabinet space.
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Old 12-14-2013, 02:44 PM   #14
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Our grocery shopping is currently evolving as we recently achieved empty nest-dom. Also, DH took over the grocery shopping a few months ago, which I LOVE.

I was the main shopper all of our married lives and after he retired I asked if he'd like to do it and he declined. Over the summer he said he'd like to try it and we both like the change. I was buying way too much as I was stocking up at sales and got in the habit of buying the same things every week.

I still go through the weekly ad flyers and we both make the list as we use things up.

Now that it's just us two I am cooking smaller and simpler. We still have leftovers which I try to use as the basis for another meal. I also keep things on hand for when one or both of the sons stop by and conveniently can stay for dinner!

So in answer to your original question, I was a stock up type of shopper and DH shops just to replace the stuff that's gone. He goes weekly but every 3rd or 4th week we don't need much except a few fresh items.
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Old 12-14-2013, 02:52 PM   #15
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Grocery shop once a week. I never stock up on perishables of course (fruit, veggies, dairy, some proteins), but when I see any non-perishable item we use regularly at a good price or on sale, I always stock up on those items. And I always tend to buy the lowest unit cost package (usually largest size but not always) practical for us. So a combination for me I guess...
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Old 12-14-2013, 02:58 PM   #16
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Interesting responses......

Since I am single and retired, and I do like to cook, I find that I also like to buy things when I'm out in the grocery store, for "future use"...

I have decided to use all up what I have on hand, just to see how far it will go...which I think is pretty far...

Then I will buy what I need as I go along..

At least this is the plan for 2014.

When I was younger, I used to equate a lot of food on hand with well being....now it just seems like lots of stuff that is waiting to be consumed....or go stale.

And...I also noticed that 50+ years of good eating has made it possible that I could be snowed in for three weeks and I would still come out OK!!!!!

I totally understand the hurricane preparedness.....Im glad I don't have to consider that.....where I live, it's just periodic snowstorms, ( like today in NW PA)...and since I live on a PA state road, as long as the schools have to open, the road gets plowed.

In the 13 years I've lived here, I have NEVER not been able to get out.

Trouble is, I enjoy looking at the flyers, and I do enjoy shopping for food....

O well-could be worse!!!!
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Old 12-14-2013, 02:58 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sue J View Post
Also, DH took over the grocery shopping a few months ago, which I LOVE.
WOW! Hot dogs, beans and craft beer.
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Old 12-14-2013, 02:59 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lcountz View Post
Trouble is, I enjoy looking at the flyers, and I do enjoy shopping for food....
Trader Joe's Fearless Flyer is my downfall.
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Old 12-14-2013, 03:08 PM   #19
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We are stocker-uppers. When there is stuff on sale at silly low prices I buy with both hands. Due to grocery store promotional pricing, I now have 8 turkeys in my basement freezer awaiting my attention. They will get smoked, parted out, and last year for the first time I ground one or two up to make homemade sausage (which was excellent). At 59 cents a pound, I could not resist. We have a vegetarian and picky eaters in the house, so we go through a lot of beans/refries. Accordingly, I buy locally gown pintos by the 50# sack, and next year when I have more free time I will buy smaller sacks of black and mayacoba beans from the same producer to add some variety.

I do similar with nonperishables to the extent possible. With a family of 4 it is hard to stock a meaningful amount of TP, paper towels and the like, but we try. A trip to the homebrew supply shop is relatively rare and usually results in a bill of at least $150 since buying in bulk is rewarded by much lower prices. I probably have a 5 year supply of shotshells and .22 ammunition for small game hunting as well, since I saw deals and it doesn't go bad.

This excludes SHTF supplies. That stuff I bought in bulk and sealed to last a decade or more.
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Old 12-14-2013, 03:17 PM   #20
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We do a little of both. Grocery shop frequently and stock up on things we use that are on sale/good deal and put those on the shelf or in the freezer. Occasionally we'll realize the pantry and freezer are full and consciously hold back shopping and use up things in the pantry and freezer.
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