Most people think that there is no way that they could ever only go to the grocery store once a month. It might seem impossible, but with a little planning and organization it is indeed possible. If times get tough and there’s nothing else you can cut from your monthly budget, then consider taking another look at your grocery bill. Many people spend much more money than necessary at the grocery store every month by making multiple trips to the store every week.
Plan Your Meals
If your goal is to make fewer trips to the grocery store, then it is very important to create a menu list.
Sit down with your family and write down all their favorite meals. Get out a monthly calendar to write on. There are many free monthly menu templates available for download online.
If you cannot think of thirty different meals, then try rotating meals so that you only have the same meal twice in one month. If your family has a favorite meal that they like to have every week, then that will make your meal planning even easier.
Make Your Grocery List
Once you have your master list, go through your pantry and see what you already have on hand.
Now create your grocery list, noting any items that you are out of and need to purchase at the grocery store.
In order to shop for the best deals in town, it is important to keep a price book. If you are only going to shop once a month, you will miss some of the weekly sales, so you want to know which stores generally carry the items you want to buy at the lowest prices. Generally warehouse stores such as Costco and Cash and Carry are good choices when stocking up, but if you check prices you might find some of the items you are looking for at better prices elsewhere.
If you are doing all your grocery shopping in one day, then make a note of which stores you want to go to. Another place worth checking out is your local bakery outlet. You can often find high quality loaves of bread, hamburger buns, hot dog buns, muffins, bagels, and more for $1 a bag or even less. Bread items can be stored in the freezer for months, so stock up when you find a good deal.
Fruits and Vegetables
You might wonder how you can enjoy fruits and vegetables when shopping only once a month. Most people who shop only once a month stock up on canned and frozen fruits and vegetables. When you go to the store, buy fresh items too and then eat those items first until they are gone. Then you can eat the frozen and canned items for the rest of the month.
If you do find some good coupons either in your local newspaper or online, then by all means stock up. Stocking your pantry or freezer is a great way to save money at the grocery store. You will find that as your freezer becomes fuller and fuller, you will have less items to buy at the grocery store, saving you even more money in future months. If you don’t have a lot of freezer space, consider investing in a chest freezer so that you can store extra items that you find on sale.
You would be surprised at how many things you can freeze. You can freeze butter, packages of bacon, even milk. Just pour out approximately 1 cup of the milk before you place the container in the freezer. Milk expands as it freezes. To thaw the milk out, place the container under cool running water until the milk is mostly thawed out and place in the refrigerator and use within a week. Shake well before serving.
It can take time to work up to shopping once a month, so start slow. Start with your monthly menu plan and go from there. Not only will you enjoy having your meals planned weeks in advance, you will be surprised at how much money you can save.
written by: Joseph Francis
Image courtesy of Vichaya Kiatying-Angsulee / FreeDigitalPhotos.net