There was a time when I went to the grocery store 3-4 times a week. I needed bread, or spinach, or something quick for dinner. Do you think I ever left with just the bread, the spinach, and the pizza? There was always something on sale or on clearance that was too enticing to not bring home. And, of course, I'd throw a candy car onto the conveyor belt as an occasional (read: every time) treat. Every time I went to the store, I came home with something not on the list. I won't share just how bad it revealed itself to be the month I finally sat down and looked over the bank statement. (Can you say "equaled a mortgage payment"?)
I remember the day I walked into our grocery store and realized I had just been there the day before and the day before that and the day before that. The greeter looked at me with way too much familiarity. We were one more consecutive shopping trip away from being on a first-name basis and exchanging phone numbers. "This is ridiculous," I said aloud.
Right then and there, I decided to cut my shopping trips down to one day a week. We survived.
I eventually cut it down to one day every two weeks. We survived again, and I learned how to plan for two weeks of meals out of necessity.
I cut my trips down to one day out of the month. That did not go well. No one was really excited about eating brown bananas. I went back to grocery shopping once every two weeks.
Can you cut down the frequency of your shopping trips? If you go five times a week, cut down to twice a week. If you go twice a week, go once a week.
"Oh my gosh! What if I run out of milk???"
Trust me, you will survive. Plan a different snack, use a substitution, borrow from a neighbor. And then, write "milk" on a list.
Avoiding the stores will save you so much money in the long run, not counting the money saved in gasoline use and car maintenance. And you may even get to know your neighbors.