(My kitchen fridge only looks this bare a couple of times per year, from late January through most of February. It does make for easy cleaning of the inside of the fridge! Don't worry, there's still plenty of food in the garage fridge, freezers and pantry.)
When January rolls around, my grocery shopping makes a major shift away from the stock-up pattern of fall and holiday season shopping. I just don't find a lot of great deal in January. So, I coast on what's in the pantry, fridge and freezer.
Several of the grocery purchases that I make in early January, are made not in grocery stores, but while clearance shopping or miscellaneous other shopping, like at the drug store, or fabric and crafts store. Those stops don't "feel" like regular grocery shopping. And the grocery stops that I do make have far fewer purchases than in the stock-up months.
When I do make those grocery stops, I try to plan ahead, so I don't need to go back to that particular store, any time soon. As when I buy bananas at Trader Joe's. Over half of our bananas are eaten by way of smoothie. And both fresh and frozen bananas work well in smoothies. So, in winter, when I'm most apt to buy bananas, (as no fresh fruit is coming from our garden), I buy twice as many bananas as I believe we can eat fresh, with the intention of freezing half. Once perfectly ripe, I peel and halve the bananas, and place all of the halves into shallow freezer containers. They break apart easily, so I can use just one half at a time, when making breakfast or lunch smoothies. Doing all of this stretches the time span between my trips to Trader Joe's, to match up better with my Cash & Carry twice-monthly shopping (about how often I actually make it to Cash & Carry in January and February).
As for spending less in January than other months, here's what I've spent the past few years for January groceries. In 2013, I spent $137.35. In 2014, I spent $119.29. And in 2015, I spent $93.87 for January groceries. This year, for the month of January, I'm on track to spend about $145 to $150 (while higher than previous years for January, it's about $20 to $30 lower than my monthly average of $171 for 2015).
So, besides saving money and time, what does this mean for me and my budget? Well, it means that I can bank some cash for future months of grocery spending, so those big stock-up months won't hurt so much when I see those totals. It also gives me more freedom to really stock-up when I find rock bottom prices on favorite items.
And the bonus for buying less in January and February -- my pantry and freezer become much more manageable in their organization.
Do you also find that you shop far less in January, than the rest of the year? Or do you typically shop for about the same amount every week?