Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Once A Month Grocery Shopping


Do you hate grocery shopping? (Um, yes I do. If you like it, that's ok!)

Do you want to save time and effort? Do you want to save money and be frugal? Would you like to look into your pantry and see all the food you have to make a meal without thinking about it?

Of course you would!

Something I have been doing the last three months is doing my major grocery shopping only once a month. This has been such a blessing to me in the way of freeing up my time, being more organized, and creating less stress. I have been saving money because I am not in the grocery store every week and making impulse purchases every time I am there. I feel good knowing that I have at least a month's worth of groceries at home in case of emergencies.

I usually end with more than a month's worth of groceries because I plan for thirty days of meals, grab and go breakfasts during the week, and breakfast and lunches on the weekends. And y'all? We never eat that much and that often at home. We end up eating at a ball game almost once a week. If I am down to just one kid at home, we eat simpler meals like eggs and toast or leftovers.

Once a month grocery shopping is overwhelming at first unless you plan for it. The first thing I did with my planning is write down all the meals we like to eat. I made a list for lunches and suppers and a list for breakfasts with the thought that these can and will be used interchangeably. I went through my cookbooks and binders and wrote down my list. Some day I will get my list typed and I will share that list with you.

Once I had my lists ready, I made my grocery list. There are several ways one could do this. You can print off a master grocery list and make a list from there. You can make your own master grocery list. I don't use a master grocery list, but I can definitely see the benefit of using one! I start a list almost right after I make my once a month grocery trip. I write down what we ran out of, what we need more of, what I would like to have more on hand of, what I need to stockpile, and so on. Then I add to the list the ingredients for the meals I want to make for the month.

At this point, one would benefit from organizing the grocery list to the layout of the grocery store so one could get through the store faster and more efficiently. I will get to this point some day. Sigh.

Time to go to the store! I try to make this fun because, again, I really dislike grocery shopping. I have brought my children along because extra hands make the work easier, especially if you are shopping at Aldi's. I have brought a friend along and we made it into a girls' night out! One could take their spouse or significant other along and make it into a date night. Having someone else along makes the time go faster and gives me someone to bounce ideas off of.

Most of the time, my once a month grocery trip spans two stores. I like Aldi's because of the money I save there, but they do not carry everything on my list. I usually end up at Fresh Connections, Fareway, or Hy-Vee to finish off the grocery shopping. I know of people who go to Aldi's or the store of their preference and then just order the rest of their groceries online at places like Vitacost or Amazon.

I do usually end up making a small trip to the grocery store in the middle of the month for milk and produce. I will also go back to the grocery store if the store is having a super fabulous special going on and I want to take advantage of the deal. Lately, that hasn't been happening as much.

Once a month grocery shopping does take some planning in other ways. I always try to keep on hand the ingredients to make bars and cakes in case we are called upon to provide bars or a cake. We have gotten very good at making brownies and pumpkin bars from scratch. I also try to keep the ingredients to make a fruit salad in case we need a salad for anything. Keeping those ingredients on hand will keep you from running to the store and will save you money because you will not be using gas and you will be less likely to make impulse purchases while at the store.

Doing the once a month grocery shopping will take a few months to get the hang of it. I actually started this five months, but I struggled the first two months until I got my lists in order and became organized about shopping. I also had to get an understanding of what we used every month in the staples like flour, sugar, rice and oats so I could stay on top always having those things on hand. We make a lot of food from scratch so keeping the staples on hand is extremely important.

My hope is to help you simplify your life and free up your time so you can spend more of it doing things that you love and need to do to survive. I believe once a month grocery shopping is one of these things!

Thanks for reading! Have a great day!

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