Thursday, October 11, 2012

Once A Month Grocery Shopping

I've talked many, many times about small town living. We live in a rural town with under 1,000 people. The nearest Walmart (and not even a Supercenter) is a 40 minute drive. The only semi-decent (doesn't charge you an arm and a leg and would actually HAVE a variety of food) is the same distance. I get so frustrated shopping there, week after week.

So I decided to change it!

Last week my family and I drove 2 hours to a Supercenter Walmart. And shopped for a month!

It was well worth it and I believe will even save money.

We took a couple of big ice chests and bought dry ice and everything made it home safely.

It was a challenge to compile the grocery list, but I am an expert list maker and I worked on it over a period of days.

Image courtesy of

1. Make a master list and divide it into sections. One section was of things that I could order in bulk- such as dried beans or certain foods from stores like Another section was items that I usually bought monthly- toilet paper, shampoo, dog food. None of these sections actually had food that I would need to my meals.

2. Create a meal plan. I sat down and brainstormed different meals- breakfast, lunch, dinner. I wrote, and wrote, and wrote. And when I would think of a meal, I added it. This helped me create a meal plan for a month without being stuck.

3. Figure out any "special" days in the coming month. I'm holding a jewelry party later this month and would need to provide some refreshments. Ladies' Bible study and youth group nights would need to have simple (easy) meals. I checked to see if there were any scheduled potlucks at church. I made a note of all these "special" meals.

4. Write down your scheduled meals for the coming month- keeping it divided into breakfast, lunch, dinner. I did not buy a meal for every single day because I took into account leftovers and the fact that we would most likely eat out at least once or twice in the month.

5. Create the grocery list. Make sure it's organized. I even color-coded it! Dairy was all in a section to itself, and a different color, so it was easy to see while I was at the dairy section. Same went for the meats, the baking, and the produce. Everything else was kept black. I first figured out what meat I would need for each meal and then went from there. If it makes it easier, add the ingredients for all your dinners, and then go back and add for your lunches. Be sure you add "extras". Do you like tortilla chips and salsa with tacos? Do you need to pick up sour cream for the chili?

6. Make sure you are stocked up on any condiments. Nothing like planning for sandwiches and then realizing you don't have any mustard.

7. Will you be baking? Make sure you are stocked up on flour, sugar, baking soda, and baking powder. Most of our breakfast items are things I bake- cinnamon rolls, biscuits, waffles, etc... If you aren't going to buy pre-packaged cookies and brownies, do you have items like chocolate chips on your list?

Be sure you think of everything! This is why I work on my list for several days. When I think of something, I can add it!

Once you're done with your list, check and then double-check.

Take a deep breath and hit the store!

Image courtesy of  /

We had two filled baskets by the time we were done. It helped that my list was divided and my husband was there to help. We both agreed that it was well worth it.

A few tips
Buy your meat from a local market. We don't have a place around that we can buy chickens from, but our beef will be purchased on a "as needed" basis from the local meat market. If I had the ability to do that with chicken, I would.

We don't drink much milk, and as much as I have tried to, I can't find raw milk. The gas station carries gallons of milk and the cost isn't that much difference from the grocery store- especially if we have to drive 40 minutes to get to it. When I need milk for baking or drinking, we will just grab a gallon from our local gas station.

Veggies and Fruit- Don't go overboard. It is wiser to buy what you know you'll eat, before they go bad, instead of stocking up for an entire month. We did pick up some bananas and apples, as well as some veggies, and when we run out we will decide what to do. In some cases, running to town for a few items will not be as stressful (or expensive) as mass weekly shopping!

It's hunting season and I'm hopeful that we'll be able to fill our freezer with venison and wild turkey. That will also make a difference in my grocery shopping. The fact that I bake my own bread, tortilla shells, and many breakfast items also make a difference.

Buy online.
Mountain Rose Herbs
Eden Foods

I receive no compensation for mentioning the above websites, but they are great websites! You can buy food, teas, or items to MAKE your own healthcare/natural products. The more that you can buy from the comfort of your own home, the better!

Bulk Herb Store is one of my favorite stores! I have bought ground organic cinnamon, elderberries, marshmallow root, peppermint tea and more! They have super fast shipping, too! It is an affiliated link.

Are you a once a month shopper? Share your tips and tricks!

Linked with: Hearts 4 Home Thursdays


Jasmine said...

Great post! I'm single but it can be expensive buying groceries just for 1 individual. Going to take your advice and try to start planning meals and buying groceries once a month instead of weekly/biweekly. Thank you :)

Lisa Keva said...

Great post - I'll be sharing. I'm not a Once a month shopper, but, I'm a Once a Month Cooker :-)

If you are interested, more info is here:

SewJacki said...

Yep, we shop once a month and love it! Have been doing it since November 2011. We usually take our kids shopping with us which is why we only go once a month. I push a cart and my husband pushes a cart. We have a master grocery list that we have saved in the computer...its all fancy with functions (its an excel spreadsheet). We know what sort of things we want on hand every month, we take inventory before we shop and know how much to get of what! We also shop at a bulk store for pastas and spices/seasonings but that is every two months. We have saved so much money switching to this system.


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