Does Cycling to the Food Store Save Money?

One of the reasons we chose where we live is the proximity to local activities within biking or walking distance.

This past summer, Chris and I ended up replacing our bikes. I bought a new bike in June when my old bike of 8 years fell apart and Chris ended up with a new bike in September due to his bike ending up beyond repair.

With two new fancy spangled bikes in our garage, we’ve had to make good use of them. And we’re happy to because they are far more comfortable and well designed with gears compared to my former beach cruiser and his department store bike.

One of the best ways we’ve been able to utilize our bikes (and our double trailer) has been food shopping. Our local grocery store, while not the best in prices unless items are on sale, is only about 1.5 miles from our house. You can’t beat a bike ride of 3 miles roundtrip on a gorgeous day to get groceries.

I usually create a shopping list from their sale flier to base our meals around for the week. I reserve a once a month shopping trip to a fancier grocery store for bulk or specialty products we like better from that chain.

And currently, we don’t have a bulk store membership and I’m on the fence if we really need one or would benefit from one this year. We had one the past 14 months, but we had planned to use it for formula they ended up not carrying and it was much further away than another bulk store.

So, while I went on occasion, I found I bought a lot of things we didn’t really want, need, or use. I am considering a Costco membership, but as of now I have found local sales to be the best bang for our buck.

Back to cycling…

By cycling to the food store, we purchase far fewer groceries (less impulse buys) and stick with our list more often than not.

If we buy extra items, we might not be able to fit them on the ride home! In addition, we save a decent amount on gas, while getting in our workout for the day.

Cycling to the food store 1x per week using this handy calculator = $1.32 savings.

Over the course of a year, let’s say 36 weeks, minus poor weather or trips to a further store = $47.52.

Just by biking, we’ve saved almost a week’s worth of food compared to driving my car to the local grocery store, or to heading further away to the fancier grocery store I tend to impulse buy at.

In addition, I can’t quantify how much I am actually saving by completely sticking to my list and weekly sale items that cycling has afforded me vs. what I might spend if I shopped at the fancier store every week. I do know when I go to the fancier store I hit my weekly budget of $125 every time. When we cycle to the store, we average around half that, usually around $40 for the week.

Chris has been doing most of the food store cycling this past summer, but he tends to impulse buy (sweets!) and that frustrates me. I felt very silly riding with the empty bike trailer this week at first (usually I just go for small trips to use my bike basket or crate), but on the way home I felt accomplished and glad I ventured out.

Where might you be able to ride your bike to skip a taking the car?