Tips for Grocery Shopping for One
Written by Jacqueline Lively

Friday, October 12th, 2018

Grocery shopping for one can be a hassle. Not only can food be expensive, but you'd be surprised how much effort it takes to strategically plan meals for one person without sacrificing variety or wasting food.

In an effort to save money and reduce waste, here are some tips I've learned that can make it a little easier:

  • Buy Non-Perishables in Bulk

When buying in larger quantities, there are usually some cost savings. However, this is not always practical since not everyone can consume 4 litres of milk alone before it expires. Instead, buy your staples and non-perishables (like rice and dry pasta) in large quantities, since you know you'll use them before they expire. Limit the quantities you buy for everything else to only what you'll use until your next grocery shopping trip.

  • More Isn't Always Better

While multi-buy or buy-one-get-one-free sales may be tempting, they can result in unused items going to waste. Instead, try to buy only what you need. The next time you see a "4 for $5" sale, read the sign to check if you need to buy all the items to get the sale price, since some stores don't actually require this. You can also ask the cashier to check before they scan the product.

  • Beware of Individual Packaging

Individually pre-packaged food can be a lifesaver in the morning when all you have time to do is grab something and head out the door. I do it sometimes, but I'm working on avoiding it. Why? Not only do these options usually cost more than un-packaged food, but they create extra waste that can be avoided.

  • Divide and Freeze Leftovers

Most recipes create more than one serving. And like a lot of people, I don't necessarily enjoy having to eat the same thing multiple times in a row (except for spaghetti, which I can eat all day, every day). So instead, I divide up my leftovers into single portions and put them into freezer-safe containers to be enjoyed at a later time. These make for quick and easy lunches or dinners, further solving the problem of opting for individually packaged food.

  • Share With Your Friends and Family

Create a meal exchange with your friends and family. A meal exchange is where members alternate preparing meals for the group on a rotating basis. Not only will you get a break from cooking, you'll get a chance to try new recipes.

  • Stick to a List

When it comes to grocery shopping, the most effective way to avoid wasting food and money is to be mindful of your purchases. With a little pre-planning and changes to purchasing habits over time, you can make a difference for your wallet and the planet.

Grocery shopping for one has its own unique set of challenges to watch out for. Now that I've gotten in the habit of shopping for myself, I've saved money and become less wasteful.

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