In the course of my lifetime, I’ve gone through a lot of phases in my shopping habits. The one I had going on for years before I married and started trying to get back to some form of structure was that I would go to the store every day to get some items to make food (or more likely get something pre-made), sometimes multiple times a day because we as humans tend to eat more than once a day.
Since then we have found the amazing habit of doing our shopping (well, typically it’s the lovely Mr. Vana that goes to the store and hauls the goodies home, which I am thankful for) in 4-day cycles. This means that every four days I make a list, send my beloved out into the wild to hunt, and we end up with four days worth of everything we could possibly need.
How has it improved our lives then?
It goes without saying that making your shopping list pre-emptively and following through will help you budget your trips to the store. You will know beforehand what you will buy, what kind of meals you will be making, and hopefully, you’ve even checked out how you can maybe manage the costs of some things (in which I’m still slacking).
It is also important to note that being someone who lacks motivation as a standard, having the food in the fridge will make it way less likely that I would ask my husband to opt for eating take-out. You don’t even want to know what our food expenses were before we established some ground guidelines for ourselves!
Here in the Vana household, we don’t tend to drink or smoke, but when we started doing this method and looked back on our receipts for the first year of living together… It was an utter ice-cream tsunami! This brings us to the next point:
2. Cravings Control
For me personally, this is a continuous struggle. One of the coping mechanisms I adopted during the years for my mood swings and anxiety was eating. Snacks, chocolate, fruit, cheese, everything under the rainbow would become prey to my need to feel at least a tiny bit better. This was also enhanced by the irregular shopping and eating, and so, whenever I would go to the store something snuck into my basket that I didn’t actually need.
Having a pre-made shopping list and sticking to the cycles has given me way more control over this bad habit of mine, and together with my husband’s diligent support, we have both cut our snacking to a fraction of what they were. These days, when we have these extra items in our basket, it is because we chose to do so, instead of random cravings leading us astray in the store!
3. Routine and Structure
For me as someone with BPD, it is super helpful to have patterns and routines in my daily life to make it more predictable. It brings security and structure, and with that less stress overall.
Since I know that this happens every four days, I can prepare for it and plan my days accordingly. This is something I have struggled with for a very long time, and now that I’m set in this pattern I find it easier to cope and to go on about other things as well!
I also have the knowledge that within those four days I will have a perfect opportunity to clean the fridge without having to take out all the items and pray to the cool-gods to keep my butter from melting as I am doing it. If only I took advantage of that last day more!
This routine teaches me discipline as well since even if I don’t feel up to it, I will make the food that we have in the fridge as I mentioned earlier. Remember friends, eating at home is way less costly than having pre-made!
4. Less Travel
Since we moved to the city center, we have our store literally at our feet. But before that, the trip to a store would require a car. And with cars come expenses. Related to the topic at hand, the gas expenses of going back and forth daily just isn’t very efficient. I wonder if some days in the past it meant using more money on gas than the actual shopping, going to the store every day.
Having a plan of attack for the errand of groceries will help you keep your travel costs down for sure!
And as per usual, it soothes my borderline mind, not having to run around all the time and instead use my time on something other than traveling back and forth.
The final joy of a shopping routine is that we get to have a Scrap-day!
What is this magical day, you might ask?
Well, this day is the last day of the cycle, and we get to put together all the glorious things that we didn’t use for the other days. In essence, it is much like a mini feast every four days!
And why do we do it?
Simply because it is a fun way to get rid of anything that is about to come to the end of its life, to clear the fridge, and start fresh for the next cycle.
Who wouldn’t want to have a little celebration of life in the middle of the week, reminding us that everything is actually going quite well in it!
What is your shopping routine? Leave a comment below!