Skip to main content

"Cycling" Can Help Cut Grocery Costs!

Feb 15, 2024 11:11AM ● By Debra Caffrey

I wish I could alleviate what inflation is doing to our grocery bills, and even I, a seasoned savvy shopper and meal planner feel frustrated at the high costs of things these days! But what I can control in the face of high prices is how my household plans for, cooks, and utilizes what we spend our money on. That’s truly the ticket to maintaining control over our grocery budget.

            So how can we do this? The philosophy I live by revolves around the concept of “cycling” when it comes to meal planning, shopping, and eating. It may just be a term I coined, but it is the heartbeat of how my kitchen runs and how I can control what we spend, save, and waste. Simply put, grocery cycling means that you meal plan thoroughly for a certain amount of time, shop for that period, and then, most importantly, commit to “eating through” what you have in the house until the next “cycle” begins without cheating. Within that cycle, you can be flexible and move meals around, and you can certainly go out to eat if you want, but you stay committed to not shopping again at all until the next cycle begins.

            Here are a few benefits of meal plan/grocery shopping cycling:

·       Shopping less frequently is more time efficient. By going to the store as infrequently as possible, you are saving all that time you spend running to grab something every other day. Infrequent shopping need not equate with rigidity; you’ll still have plenty!

·       Even though it may seem like you spend more at once, you are actually saving money in the long run by committing to a cycle-shop because you are reducing the impulse purchases and utilizing what’s at home.

·       You avoid lots of food waste (which is also like throwing money in the trash) by committing to eating up what you’ve already bought and making do with what you have. It can force creativity and increase gratitude, yet if you’ve shopped correctly, you won’t feel deprived at all.

·       You develop recognizable patterns and predictable behavior around food and eating habits when you get used to cycling, and that makes it easier to meal plan in the long run. For instance, it becomes easier to know when your family needs a certain item or is likely to run out of a snack when you have this type of reliable system in place. This also helps you figure out what quantities to get, which ultimately will save you from overbuying and overspending.


Finally, cycling relies upon and hones your organization. Who doesn’t want that? Life is busy and often unpredictable, but the very act of meal planning for a stretch of time and utilizing food from that plan actually makes it easier to be flexible when life throws curveballs. All successful businesses are so because of having systems in place, and your kitchen is no different. Try it out!

Get Our Newsletters
* indicates required
FredParent eletters
Read Our Digital Issue
From Our Partners