Domestic Discussions – Grocery Shopping Habits

I asked five friends if they would be willing to participate in a blog I was writing about grocery shopping habits and they all said yes! I sent them 12 questions that I thought would be the most interesting to know about their shopping habits. As you will read all of the answers are useful and very telling in an unprecedented time to feed our families. When I told my mother about the blog I was working on she said she wanted to participate too lol. So below are the questions and answers from six different women, some from across the country. Enjoy!

Shannon – Family of 4

1. How often do you shop? I shop about once per week to every other week.
2. Do you cook mostly at home? How often would you say that you eat out? We attempt to cook 5 nights a week if not more.  This becomes harder when kids are playing sports and schedules are chaotic.  
3. Do you prefer name brand items, off brand items or a combination of both? It depends on the item. I prefer brand name for many things.  Such as ketchup, mayo, Oreos, etc.  
4. Do you shop with a list? We use a shared app called any list.  Anyone can add to the list.  I use that list to shop from. 
5. Who does the grocery shopping in your house? Do you go alone or do you have help? We use Instacart most of the time through Wegmans or Tops.  I usually am the one who puts the order through.  Otherwise if we go in person we both go. 
6. Do you have a shopping strategy each time you shop like coupons, sales fliers, shopping multiple stores? I shop for convenience to save my time.  I use the shoppers club but I don’t shop flyers or coupons.  
7. Do you shop online, use grocery shopping services like Instacart or meal subscriptions? We use Instacart.  
8. About how much do you spend each shopping trip? 250
9. Does your shopping change with the seasons like in the summer local farmers markets or gardens?We try to buy local in the summer but we also camp a lot and buy more stuff near camp from locals.

10. What kind of grocery stores do you frequent? Large name brand stores, big bulk stores like Bj’s, smaller mom and pop stores? We use any of them but I love Wegmans.  When we lived in Wisconsin we had great stores there that I miss.
11. Do you plan your weekly meals? We plan Sunday through Thursday and then leave Friday and Saturday open.
12. Do you do any food prep? I try to.  If I make something like lasagna then I make more than one and freeze.  I also do this with soups, Mexican meatloaf and chili. 

Jen – Family of 4

1.How often do you shop? Usually one big shop day a week, but milk and eggs, oj as needed (I have two teenage growing boys)

2. Do you cook mostly at home? How often would you say that you eat out? 98% cooking done at home. We rarely eat out, unless going out with friends, and maybe special occasions.

3. Do you prefer name brand items, off brand items or a combination of both? A combination of both- must have Campbells soups, black label bacon, ocean spray, natures made, but it doesn’t matter with sugar or broth. Totally depends on product, and I will try off brands and then make decision

4. Do you shop with a list? Yes, all the time, helps me remember what I’m there for

5. Who does the grocery shopping in your house? Do you go alone or do you have help? I’m the primary shopper, if someone goes with me they throw extras in my cart, and I have problems saying NO

6. Do you have a shopping strategy each time you shop like coupons, sales fliers, shopping multiple stores? Still clip coupons, circle items on flier, shop at multiple store (all on the same day). Many groceries I find are cheaper at Walmart, unless I have coupons for Tops. Also hit BJs for large items like paper towels, vitamins and use app for coupons

7. Do you shop online, use grocery shopping services like Insta-cart or meal subscriptions? No

8. About how much do you spend each shopping trip? Usually around $200-$275 and $40-$60 if we stop a extra time.  Notice prices are really going up as of late

9. Does your shopping change with the seasons like in the summer local farmers markets or gardens? Yes, enjoy farmers markets, we also get a deer every year, and purchase local beef

10. What kind of grocery stores do you frequent? Large name brand stores, big bulk stores like Bj’s, smaller mom and pop stores? Tops, Walmart, BJs  mainly (all near each other – so can hit them all in one day) If drive near Wegmans we get fish and enjoy the bakery bread

11. Do you plan your weekly meals? I usually know 5 or 6 meals and one day leftovers

12. Do you do any food prep? Not really, unless I’m making soup or putting something in crockpot in morning.

Rebecca – Family of 3

1. How often do you shop? I typically do a large grocery shop about every three weeks, this will be to stock up on the staples such as spices I may be running out of, butter, canned goods like crushed tomatoes, chili beans, and condiments, rice, pasta, baking supplies… along with the daily items such as yogurt, produce, meats, cheeses, coffee… then I may or may not need to make a small trip back in two weeks to purchase other items. Sometimes if a recipe calls for an item I don’t have or if I simply just ran out of something.

2. Do you cook mostly at home? How often would you say that you eat out? We typically only eat out, or get take-out about 2x per month.

3. Do you prefer name brand items, off brand items or a combination of both? I buy a variety of brand items. If I prefer a particular brand item, I’ll pay the extra for it, otherwise I buy off-brand to save the added expense.

4. Do you shop with a list? I keep a list on my refrigerator at home and as I run out of items, or think of something we may want to try, we write it down. I don’t stick to only the list while shopping, only that these items I don’t want to forget, but I generally purchase the same items each big shopping trip.

5. Who does the grocery shopping in your house? Do you go alone or do you have help? I do the shopping for my household because I’m the sole cook in the house and I prefer to go alone as whenever I have someone with me, I always stray from the usual items and may spend more than anticipated.

6. Do you have a shopping strategy each time you shop like coupons, sales fliers, shopping multiple stores? I do have a particular store that I do my bulk (large) shopping in, Market Basket, but this isn’t always the case. I’ll often stop at SHAWS because it’s closer to home, and will very occasionally stop at a health food store for particular items or a special purchase, I’ll also make the very occasional shop at ALDI, just for a change. I live roughly 12 minutes from SHAWS and roughly 22 minutes from Market Basket. Market Basket usually gives me the better deals.

7. Do you shop online, use grocery shopping services like Insta-cart or meal subscriptions?I do not purchase groceries on line.

8. About how much do you spend each shopping trip? For my large shopping trip, I spend anywhere from $350-$425. When I stop at stores in between the “big shop”, I can spend anywhere from $40-$200, depending on what I want/need.

9. Does your shopping change with the seasons like in the summer local farmers markets or gardens?I definitely buy way less produce in the summer months because of gardening and local farms. I also cook different meals depending on the season.

10. What kind of grocery stores do you frequent? Large name brand stores, big bulk stores like Bj’s, smaller mom and pop stores? See answer #6

11. Do you plan your weekly meals? I do not typically plan a weekly meal schedule, but will plan the night before based on what I have in the fridge/cabinets.

12. Do you do any food prep? The only time I do any meal prepping is for the holidays, or say, if something needs to marinate overnight.

Danielle – Family of 4

1. How often do you shop? I usually do a large grocery trip for 2 weeks worth then shop for perishables as needed (weekly/couple times per week)

2. Do you cook mostly at home? How often would you say that you eat out? Yes, we eat mostly at home and going out to eat as a treat or special occasion

3. Do you prefer name brand items, off brand items or a combination of both? I don’t mind off brands, and usually buy a store brand option if possible

4. Do you shop with a list? Yes 

5. Who does the grocery shopping in your house? Do you go alone or do you have help?  I typically do the shopping alone, once in a while my boys will be with me

6. Do you have a shopping strategy each time you shop like coupons, sales fliers, shopping multiple stores? I do shop multiple stores, starting with Aldi and finishing at Wegmans for things I can’t find at Aldi. I don’t use a lot of coupons, because I mainly buy off brand items. 

7. Do you shop online, use grocery shopping services like Instacart or meal subscriptions? I do buy some cleaning products online through Grove Collaborative, but mainly my shopping is in store 

8. About how much do you spend each shopping trip? It’s gone up, I just spent $350, but it was for a couple weeks worth of groceries (minus perishables) and some non typical purchases like a large quantity of garbage bags and plastic cups.

9. Does your shopping change with the seasons like in the summer local farmers markets or gardens?Yes, my bill will typically go down in the summer/fall  because I garden and shop at farmers markets

10. What kind of grocery stores do you frequent? Large name brand stores, big bulk stores like Bj’s, smaller mom and pop stores? Majority of my shopping is at Aldi then Wegmans, once in a while, BJs.  Sometimes I go to smaller mom and pop stores for things like olive oil, cheeses, etc.

11. Do you plan your weekly meals? Rarely, when I do I find it so much easier. This is an area I’d like to be more consistent with. 

12. Do you do any food prep? Another area I’d like to better with. I hardly prep (I assume you mean for weekly/monthly meals and not nightly meal prep)  I do prep for nightly meals vs buying pre chopped veggies etc

Kathy – Family of 2

1. How often do you shop? Usually once a week.

2. Do you cook mostly at home? How often would you say that you eat out? At home, we have eaten out twice in the past six months.

3. Do you prefer name brand items, off brand items or a combination of both? A combination. There are very few items that we select by brand.

4. Do you shop with a list? Always!

5. Who does the grocery shopping in your house? Do you go alone or do you have help? DH does all the stocking of the pantry, but we make the weekly list together and often go together.

6. Do you have a shopping strategy each time you shop like coupons, sales fliers, shopping multiple stores? We primarily shop the deals of the week, but periodically do a pantry stocking run to top off beans, flour, etc.

7. Do you shop online, use grocery shopping services like Instacart or meal subscriptions? Never

8. About how much do you spend each shopping trip? Weekly shopping runs between $30 and $60, stocking up trips more like $100-$150.

9. Does your shopping change with the seasons like in the summer local farmers markets or gardens? Not a whole lot.

10. What kind of grocery stores do you frequent? Large name brand stores, big bulk stores like Bj’s, smaller mom and pop stores? We have Safeway and Walmart. We try to buy beef and pork on the hoof from local producers.

11. Do you plan your weekly meals? I have a general plan, but DH prefers to wing it, so I suggest things based on what needs to be used up in the fridge or freezer.

12. Do you do any food prep? I use left over roasts for a variety of second meals that go in the freezer, and we freeze left over enchilada sauce, and soups for a second go. I have sloppy joes, green chile beef, meatloaf, tamales and bierocks in the freezer right now for quick and easy meals. We have a big garden, raising enough of something to last for an entire year or two, so we eat from the pantry. We buy meat that is on sale and can it or freeze it for use later. We usually keep chickens, though we have none at the moment. 

Marcia – Family of 1

1. How often do you shop? – I go a couple of times a week for things I need. I like to stock up for winter months though.

2. Do you cook mostly at home? How often would you say that you eat out? I cook mostly at home but like to eat out a few times a months to get together with friends.

3. Do you prefer name brand items, off brand items or a combination of both? I buy a combination of both. Items like butter, sour cream and milk I buy off brands but I prefer Hellman’s mayo and Kraft salad dressing and Del Monte creamed corn, it’s the best!

4. Do you shop with a list? Most of the time, yes

5. Who does the grocery shopping in your house? Do you go alone or do you have help? just me

6. Do you have a shopping strategy each time you shop like coupons, sales fliers, shopping multiple stores? I like to shop multiple stores and use their ads

7. Do you shop online, use grocery shopping services like Instacart or meal subscriptions? No

8. About how much do you spend each shopping trip? about $35

9. Does your shopping change with the seasons like in the summer local farmers markets or gardens? Yes I like shopping farmers markets and between our gardens here at home.

10. What kind of grocery stores do you frequent? Large name brand stores, big bulk stores like Bj’s, smaller mom and pop stores?  A little of everything. I shop large stores, bulk stores and mom and pop stores.

11. Do you plan your weekly meals? I plan a couple times of week. I’ll start out the week knowing what I will have the first few days of the week, then I will shop again mid week and plan the rest of my meals for the last part of the week.

12. Do you do any food prep? Yes

I found everyone’s answers extremely interesting! The most interesting to me was the fact that pretty much all of the ladies said they rarely ate out and most did not shop online.

Thank you Shannon, Jen, Rebecca, Danielle, Kathy and Marcia for taking the time to answer all of these questions about your shopping habits.

What did you think about the questions and answers? I would love to hear your feedback.

I had fun with this blog post and plan on doing another Domestic Discussion Series post soon. What other topics would you be interested in?

Thanks for reading and have a great week! -MM

Published by marymargaretripley

I am a professional Bakery Manager at a privately owned grocery store. I also owned my own bakery for over four years. I have been baking for 15+ years professionally. I also teach canning and preserving classes and have been gardening since I was 5 years old. I live in Western, NY with my husband, teenage son, Bernie the Cat and Muffins the Hamster.

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