Grocery shopping is we have to do but it can be so time-consuming. It also is a large part of our budgets. One way to help save time and money is by grocery shopping once a month. It’s not as hard as it sounds.
For the first years of my marriage, I shopped every two weeks at the local Walmart. At that time we didn’t really worry that much about ingredients. I look back and can’t believe what I was eating. I knew better; I was raised on healthy food, but I was young.
My health suffered during those years. While the food wasn’t the cause it did make my issues worse. In an effort to heal my body I did a lot of research. As any formally homeschooled kid would do and good nutrition came up time and time again.
We started slowly removing the worse offenders from our diet and eating more whole foods. Around this time we also were really tired of Walmart. I don’t like their policies and honestly, the store stresses me out. It’s a sensory overload, they moved things all of the time, and the customer service was lacking.
At some point, we decided to stop shopping at Walmart and shop in a bigger town little over an hour away from us. We couldn’t manage to make this trip every two weeks so we started to try shopping once a month and I’ve been doing it ever since.
I’m not sure when but at some point, my mom (Deanna at Life with Dee) and I decided we make this trip together. We both stay at home so we could go during the day in the middle of the week. It’s nice because the stores are less busy and we don’t have to waste our weekends grocery shopping.
When people find out I grocery shop only once a month I get a lot of questions. I’ve been meaning to write this post about how to grocery shop once a month for a long time but there is a lot to share so I kept putting it off.
This post will just be an overview of once a month grocery shopping. I also have a free Once a Month Shopping guide you can download that has more details and information to help you get started. You can click here to get the guide sent to your email for free.
Why Should You Shop Once a Month
- You can buy items in bulk. Even smaller families can buy larger sizes if you only shop once a month.
- You are better prepared for illness or emergencies. If I’m sick or we are having bad weather I know I already have a very well stocked kitchen so I’m not worried about groceries.
- You can save money. The less time you are in the store the less impulse shopping you will do. You also need to be organized to shop once a month. This will help you buy what you need and not just randomly buy things.
- It saves times. My trip takes all day but that’s because my mom and I like to shop together We drive over an hour away to shop. We make a day of it and have lunch together and make other stops we may need in Oklahoma City. We live in a small town and there are a lot of things we can’t get here. However, if you are shopping in the same town doing it all at once will be longer than weekly trips but if you add all the weekly trips together, you are saving time. You also are saving your sanity!
Keys to Once a Month Grocery Shopping
- I recommend that you first organize your food spaces really well. Get rid of anything that needs to go, organize everything and make notes of what you have. Check out my grocery shopping printable pack for some great inventory printables to help you stay organized.
- Once everything is organized, plan as many meals as you can from what you have. Be sure to be saving your food budget money from the shopping trips you skip to use during your first monthly trip.
- Eat as much of what you have on hand as possible. This will help you save up for your first trip and start with a clean slate.
- PLAN! I can’t stress this enough. You want to have a menu plan for the month. I personally just plan enough meals for the month but don’t plan which days we will eat those items. This gives us flexibility but I still know we have enough food for meals all month. The menu planning sheet I include in my grocery shopping printables makes this all so much easier.
- Have some staple items for your families favorite quick meals on hand. I like to make sure we always have the ingredients for things like quesadillas and some quick pasta dishes. This is so if we have a busy day or I’m not feeling well we can throw a quick meal together. Freezer cooking is another great way to do this.
- Learn to shop sales. If you want to do this frugally you need to learn about shopping sales. Planning your menu around items that are on sale will save you a lot of money.
Frequently Asked Questions
- What about produce? How do you keep it from going bad?
First off I buy a lot of frozen produce and at the end of the month, we do more smoothies and frozen veggies. You also should buy produce that lasts longer and makes sure you are eating that later and eating the things that go bad early in the month. For example, I got myself grapes and apples for some of my fresh fruit this month. I’m going to eat the grapes now and the apples will be fine when I run out of grapes. Oranges also are a good choice for longer lasting fruit. Be sure you also store your produce correctly.
- Do you really only buy food once a month?
No, I buy around 90% of our food during my trip. I fill in locally at Aldi and a local dairy store called Braums. We can buy some extra produce if needed and milk. We also will sometimes pick up a special snack or if we decide to have people over and didn’t plan that before shopping, we like to get some organic beef from Aldi and make burgers. I also sometimes order from Thrive Market. We order somethings in bulk from Amazon Prime as well.
- How do you find room for everything?
We have a fair amount of space for food now. We have a normal size fridge, a small deep freezer, and a modest size pantry. However, at my last home I had a tiny amount of food space but with really good organization I made it work. I did after awhile making an extra hall closet into a pantry by adding Elfa shelving but even before that point, I made it work with what space I had. If space is very limited and you have a large family this may not work but think creatively to see if you can make it happen.
If you are ready to try once a month grocery shopping or even just decrease your shopping trips, I have a free downloadable guide to Once a Month Grocery shopping. There was no way I could fit all of the information in one blog post so this is the easiest way to share all of the details.
To get the free guide sign up in the box below. It will be sent to your email after you verify your email. It’s packed full of all the tips and tricks I’ve learned from the many years I’ve been grocery shopping once a month.