Do You Spend More Money On Groceries When It’s Cold Out?

This is a fun thing to think about.

Stew via Flickr

Every week, usually on a Sunday, but sometimes on Mondays, I go grocery shopping. I never set a budget fot these trips because I have a number in my head that I almost never go over. It helps that I buy the same things almost every week — yogurt and bread and cheese and a leafy green; some protein and coffee; sometimes pasta; occasionally a rotisserie chicken if I’m feeling especially lazy. I’ve never spent more than $100 on a trip, unless I was resupplying my house with olive oil, toilet paper, and paper towels. The bill always hovers around $40–60 — a fine number for me, but one that feels startlingly low to others.

A friend of mine inevitably spends $100 or more at the grocery store and I’m never quite sure how. “Take me grocery shopping and teach me your ways,” he says every time. My ways are simple; I don’t think food should be expensive and I generally don’t buy ingredients that cost that much. But, I find myself inevitably spending more money in the winter months.

Maybe it’s the weather. Cold weather means I can turn my oven on for longer than two minutes and the slow cooker can come down from the top of the fridge. Ingredients for soups and stews and heartier fare cost more money, or, maybe I eat more food when I’m not sweating. Either way, my winter diet always seems to cost a little bit more. The urge to snack ratchets up when it’s cold and watermelon or grapes are not satisfactory. Cheese and bits of sweet-hot red peppers, slapped on crackers and eaten standing up in the kitchen is the best kind of snack, but those frivolities add up.

In summer, when it’s too hot to consider anything other than ice water and watermelon, I eat less food. Sometimes dinner is frozen yogurt and a very cold beverage or a handful of kale thrown in a bowl with lemon and olive oil, crunched together with my hands and eaten with some red onion and chickpeas. I skip lunch in the summer, not intentionally, but because I forget and it’s hot and then it’s suddenly dinnertime. A grocery store trip this summer once cost me $30 total and fed me for the entire week. I remember thinking I had certainly forgotten something, but I managed to eat for a week without complaint. I was never hungry and coincidentally, it was also the hottest week of the year.

Is this somethign that happens to everyone? Am I the only person that notices these things? How do you change the way you shop for food by season?

Support The Billfold

The Billfold continues to exist thanks to support from our readers. Help us continue to do our work by making a monthly pledge on Patreon or a one-time-only contribution through PayPal.