The Little Red Owl

DIY ideas for home, health, & life

once a month grocery shopping

Well, Husband and I took the plunge. This past Sunday we did ALL of our grocery shopping for the rest of February and ALL of March. WhooHoo-Once a Month Grocery Shopping!

Why go grocery shopping only once a month?

1. I HATE grocery shopping, I think this is b/c I work full time and I have to go to the grocery stores when everyone else is there. Once I am not working full-time I am sure I will not hate grocery shopping (at least not as much)

2. It SAVES:  we will save money in gas, we will save money on impulse buys every week, and it saves TIME! the most important savings of all if you ask me.

How did you plan this trip?

I started off by going through my cook books and recipe binder and finding recipes I knew Husband and I both like, I mark each one.

cookbooks and recipe binder

I then handed over those books and the binder to Husband and let him choose which recipes to serve this coming month.

I keep a laminated monthly calendar on the refrigerator to plan out meals-so we grabbed that calendar and got to work:

monthly meal calendar

1. I marked off everyday we will be out of town, out to eat (friends, family, or restaurant) and one night a week to have leftovers (if I don’t plan for leftovers, I forget about them).

2. I wrote down a recipe name and book page number in each day slot on the calendar to make the recipes easy to find on the days we need them. I tried to mix up chicken, beef, pork, and veggie meals.

Next, Husband went through all the recipes and read me what ingredients were going to be needed, we assessed what we have on hand and then made a list of the items we needed to buy. This was not hard, but did take the most time.

Next, off to the grocery store.

Aldi logo

By far, my favorite grocery store is Aldi. If you have not given Aldi a try-I urge you to. The food is awesome, so inexpensive, AND high quality. See this previous post for more Aldi bragging :)

Husband and I do the majority of our grocery shopping at Aldi and then supplement with Meijer and Dollar Tree.

meijer

dollar tree

How much money did you spend and how does that compare to a normal once a week grocery budget?

Husband and I took out our normal weekly grocery budgeted amount of cash and times that by 5 for the 5 weeks of shopping we were planning (we have totally converted to cash only for expenses-it is so convenient and it saves us money everyday by cutting down unwanted and unneeded spending).

Our weekly grocery budget is $60.00, so we took out a total of $300.00 for 5 weeks.

Money bag and cash

(image source)

At Aldi (our first stop and were we purchased the most at one time) our bill was surprising $100.00, well $99.67 to be exact-but you know. We get milk, baking supplies, juice, lemonade, snack foods, chicken, salad, bread, peppers, celery, apples, carrots, garlic, non-perishables, plastic freezer bags, cheese, and more.

At Dollar Tree we spent only $8.00 (toilet paper, tissues, and Q-tips).

At Meijer we get random odds and ends that we do not purchase at Aldi or are not available at Aldi (fresh sliced lunch meat, cottage cheese -Husband is not a fan of Aldi brand, bread baguettes-for homemade croutons, toothpaste-I use Crest only b/c I am ridiculous, onions and cilantro-Aldi’s produce wasn’t up to snuff this week :( ). We spent $60.00 at Meijer.

I also stop at Larosa’s (a local Italian Restaurant) and buy a bag of their awesome pizza sauce. The sauce lasts me about 10-14 months (depending on how often we eat homemade pizza) and only cost $7.99! Woot! I simply divide the sauce into leftover containers in the proportions needed and freeze them! The sauce takes almost no time to thaw and the pepperoni and cheese are the same way. Homemade pizza is great on a lazy evening or weekend.

That is a grand total of $176.00 out of $300.00 budget!

Keep in mind that weekly Husband or I will have to stop and pick up some salad and some random produce for the week (since lettuce, romaine, and spinach do not freeze) but that should be an additional total of only $5.00-$10.00 per week.

Also, we only had to buy 1 bag of chicken this week to supplement the meat portion our meals. We recently purchased a cow and pig with some co-workers and our chest freezer is PACKED with delicious meats!

Since this was our first attempt at Once-a-Month Grocery shopping I am sure some items will come up that I had forgotten about and we might have to make a small trip to the store-but I feel good about this and I am excited to see how the month goes.

I am hoping to be able to cut our grocery bill down to $40.00 a month (at least until our freezer is depleted) but I am going to wait for now and see how March goes.

How long did the shopping take?

The 5 week grocery shopping only took about 2.5 hours. This is actually not that much longer than normal. Since we stuck to our list strictly and did not doddle the trip seems super quick!

How do you keep everything good for a whole month?

When we arrive home from the big shopping day we freeze the items we know will need or should be frozen, pack the pantry with non-perishables, onions, garlic, and potatoes (our pantry is cool and this stuff stays good FOREVER).

my pantry 1

my pantry 2

my pantry 3

Next I pull out anything that might need cooked up, sliced up, or repackaged and get to work. This doesn’t take long and it saves time for the future-very worth it!

Did you know MILK CAN BE PUT IN THE FREEZER? It can, we bought 4 gallons of milk for $1.99 each (always at Aldi) and froze all 4. Turns out those indentations on the side of milk cartons are to allow for expanding when the milk is frozen! Awesome!

Also, I hear lunch meat freezes well, so we froze about 4 pounds of lunch meat-I will let you guys know how that goes.

refrigerator freezer

my chest freezer

frozen foods

Each evening we simply look at the meals calendar on the refrigerator and see what’s coming up. Pull out anything frozen and get ready to eat our next delicious meal!

That is Once-A-Month Grocery Shopping in a nutshell.

How do you grocery shop? Do you go alone? Where do you shop?

Are you interested in trying Once-a-Month Grocery Shopping?

I would LOVE to hear from you all!

once a month grocery shopping

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3 thoughts on “Once a Month Grocery Shopping

  1. Grandma says:

    Yeah, Sunday must be the big shopping day cause on the way to church we see the parking lot all full. I remember my dad would not even buy gas for the car on Sunday, or pay bills to friends on that day.
    But I hope it all works out for you with the groceries you bought. Will you be up to it the next time you have to do it? I don’t like to grocery shop either. We were driving around Thurs and decided since we were so close we got the things that were on sale at Biggs $5 and went to Krogers, $40, but had rewards of $20 to help out and because it was the last day for double coupons. So on Fri.
    we went to Meijer’s $22, and Aldi’s $40. The bill totaled under 40. and I said, well we hadn’t been there for awhile but after all we went to other stores. So that was $87 for “the week?” I found out I bought a couple of things I already had! I’m hoping we can go for quite a while on this.
    It’s so nice to have someone with you to help out. We didn’t make up menu’s, but I do have some in mind. And it was good that we didn’t have to drive so far and included stores in two days. I rested after lunch (that we carried home from O’Charlie’s the night before) for almost 2 hrs. but reading important stuff – about how to eat right. Ha Ha. It’s a hard day!

  2. Very smart thinking! Do you have a Trader Joes where you are? The food is great and prices are much better than reg stores. I’m very thrifty too (most of the time). BTW if you don’t mind me asking, I really love your T, F, P sign up buttons. Could you tell me where you got them? I’m having someone put them in for me cos I don’t know if I can do it on my own. Thank you!

    1. Amy says:

      Thanks for the comment, sorry for the delay in responding: the comment went to spam for some reason :)
      I do have a Trader Joe’s near but I do not get there as often as I like.
      Here is a link to the buttons I used: http://www.greatfun4kidsblog.com/2011/09/blog-tips-your-own-social-media-buttons.html

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