This is what The Big Shop looks like when I got it home. Yep...it is a lot a food (in fact, it was too much for the bags I took) but it lasts.
Why bother doing such a big shop?
1. It saves time in the long run.
Time is precious for everyone, and I know that I would rather not spend my time in a supermarket if I don't have to. It took me about 2 1/5 hours all up from start (ie getting in the car to drive down), to finish (all groceries packed away in the fridge and cupboard). This is only 2.5 hours in 3 weeks. If I average that over the three weeks, it is less than an hour a week I have spent shopping over those three weeks (I haven't added in my market shopping - fruit & vegies - which is another 2 hours all up start to finish over that time).
Part of the time savings was that I have a shopping list that I put together for my local supermarket that is done by the aisle, this really helps as I just follow the list as I walk through.
2. It saves money.
Money is precious. The less I spend on things that are then going to be just chucked away (crappy plastic), or impulse buys (those tantilising smells from the in-house bakery), and the things that I didn't really need anyway, each time I go to the supermarket, the better.
It has been proven that every time we visit the supermarket, we pick up "a little something" and it takes titanium strength to resist the powers of marketing who are so incredibly clever in their placement of the things that we don't really need next the lower priced, on-special, basic essentials. If you have a heaving trolley so full of basic essentials, it becomes physically impossible to pick up those little extras (and somewhat embarrassing at the register if you rock up with three trolleys to boot).
So, if you only have room for the essentials for your family for the 3 weeks or so, then that is all that you will buy, add in a few bits that you know your family needs and bake the rest. You have the extra little bits of time now (maybe...), or get them to do it!
3. It is great to learn how to "eat out your pantry"
We have had a load of fun working out that we still can make meals out of "nothing". I had thought that there was nothing left to make dinner with, then, we scratched around in the pantry, and found that we had enough bits to make a chickpea cottage pie. Not only was it nutritious, it is actually one of the boys favourite meals. It is great to see the pantry get right the end of what it was able to provide, and then we are able to start afresh.
4. Makes the food last longer
This round, we are curious to see how long we are able to go for. We are not going hungry, and we do think that we could probably be eating less. We know that when we were travelling last year we ate less, moved more, and felt healthier. We are all now talking about "rationing" the food, as in "making it last". This is the kids as well (I have 3 growing boys), and they want the food to last as long as it can so that the "yummy" stuff is still there at the end of the time. They are experimenting with making the meals and snacks as well as they understand what we have on offer. It probably helps that they lived it last year with no shops around for 2-3 weeks, but still, it is a great way to think, and stops us from getting too soft (in the belly), and make our food and money last longer.