Why our grocery expenses doubled – or – how to avoid doubling your grocery bill on the road

Why our grocery expenses doubled – or – how to avoid doubling your grocery bill on the road

I’m a Road Warrior – a contributing writer for RV Miles! This is an excerpt from an article originally posted on Dec 22. You can read the post in its entirety here!

We’re a week+ back on the road after the holidays and I’m looking at how we’re going to cut back on our grocery bill this leg of the trip. In case you missed it, here are my excuses for why our grocery bill DOUBLED living the #RVLife. 

Justifications and Excuses

The Kids: Well, obviously our three kids are growing – it must be them! Some nights our boys will tear through two and three servings of food, so leftovers are rare to come by. Our three year old is actually starting to eat meals and snacks like a proper person. So, part of the problem is that we’re buying more to fill growing bellies.

The Experience (good): We’ve been places we’ve never been, trying foods from different regions, visited friends and family we never see. We used to eat out occasionally, but now we make a point to go out at least once a week so we can try the local fare. And, again the kids are actually eating meals now, so that adds up. We mostly eat out for lunch so prices are a little lower and we don’t add multiple drinks to our tab. Apparently that’s not really helping.

The Experience (not so good): There are some days when we end up eating out when we didn’t intend to – like when the RV is in the shop overnight! I’ve learned to prepare (check out how I prep for a shop day here), but the past three months really hit us hard with three shop visits (two unplanned).

The Limited Options: Sometimes we shop for the week in a glorified gas station where a dozen eggs are $4 – and I’m not talking about the organic, free range kind. It seems like in those stores, everything costs a dollar extra.

Maybe Regional Differences? The past three months we’ve been traveling down the West Coast. Maybe it’s true that everything – even toilet paper – just costs more in California.

My old money saver tricks haven’t translated. When it comes down to it, I think that this has had the greatest impact on our spending.

  • No garden: We’re moving all the time, we can’t garden and grow our own herbs and vegetables. We’ve tried a few small containers for herbs, but haven’t had much success.
  • No space: Before we hit the road, I would shop at Costco once a month and then supplement weekly at the local grocery store. We’ve debated the benefits of buying in bulk but it really comes down to storage. Where do we put 24 rolls of paper towels and 36 rolls of toilet paper? We hardly have room for the large grocery store mayo jar – where in the world would we put a 5 pound tub?
  • No batching: I used to a lot of batching for family dinners to save time and money. I’d make two batches of a slow cooker meal, cooking one that day and freezing the second batch in a bag for later that month. I’d coordinate slow cooker meal swaps once a quarter and fill my freezer with meals ready to go. Our RV freezer is the size of a shoe box. There is no room for bags of meals ready to go – and, going back to the Costco thing, it’s sometimes hard to even find freezer space for larger portions of meat or seafood.

To read more about how I figured out our expenses trend and how I plan to address it, read the post in its entirety here!! I’m a Road Warrior – a contributing writer for RV Miles! This is an excerpt from an article originally posted on Dec 22. 

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