See my first post about Once a Month Shopping if you missed it.
Judging by the feedback from my last post and pictures on Instagram, y’all are super interested in Once a Month Shopping. And I know why – because after three months of doing it, I am totally hooked! You have asked lots of questions, so I am here to answer them and share an update on how it’s going.
First, let me remind you that I first learned about how to do this using the book My Grocery Budget Toolbox from my friend Anne over at Authentic Simplicity. It’s a great book for anyone looking to maintain their sanity and do the best by their grocery budget. And no, I’m not an affiliate – the book is just awesome. If you are really ready to make this change, you’ll love this book!
I’m going to answer some questions below that you’ve asked me. I hope they help and kick start you into shopping this way too!
1. Did you run out of lots of food and get hungry?
Well no – here’s a look at our fridge on the morning I left to go shopping. Did we run out of things? Yes – but we didn’t go hungry. Using this method allowed me to clean out some of my stockpile, and I imagine that will work the same way each month.
2. What did you do for fresh produce??
I used Anne’s tip and saved some money from my BIG trip so that I could have Barry run to the store when I ran out of produce – I think we ended up making two trips for bananas and lettuce. So, I only had to make the one big trip.
My method was to buy a lot of fresh produce that would last about two weeks and then use frozen items for the last part of the month – this worked GREAT! And don’t be fooled by those who say produce only lasts a short time…sure, some of it does, but some of it lasts a LONG time – think winter squash, apples, oranges, onions, and carrots.
3. Did you save money?
I saved about $25. Yeah, that’s a lot, but let me clear something up. My reasoning for this method is so that I can just shop ONCE and be done all month. I can go for the day ONE time and not have to do it again – and really, shopping for a whole month doesn’t take that much longer than a weekly shopping trip.
Also, I’m only putting groceries away ONE time, a task I really hate doing anyway. So, I’m doing this for time savings…and because getting the kids out once a week and trying to corral them at the grocery store makes me want a lobotomy.
4. Did you cheat?
Nope – I did have the opportunity to go to Trader Joes, so I didn’t pass that up. I spent some money I had squirreled away for a rainy day, so it didn’t interfere with my grocery budget. I stinkin’ love Trader Joes and their chocolate rocks.
5. How much is your grocery budget?
Our grocery budget is currently $400 a month for the four of us. This doesn’t count our rare treat of eating out – that’s part of our entertainment budget. We make do with the $400, but sometimes I use money from SMC to buy extras we like to have…stuff we don’t NEED but we ENJOY. Also, sometimes we have to bump up our food budget for the month – like when we had our pig killed and had to pay for 231 pounds of pork.
6. Where do you shop?
I shop primarily at Kroger and Sam’s Club. In the summer months, I shop at the Farmer’s Market too – I allot $100 a month for food from the Farmer’s Market. I like to get as much produce there as I can. But in the winter, ours only meets once a month and I’m a pansy and don’t like to be out in the cold.
7. How much did you spend where?
I spent $165 at Kroger and $220 at Sam’s Club, for a grand total of $365. That leaves me $35 for bananas and lettuce later in the month. I know that’s plenty.
8. What do you buy???
This one makes me laugh! 🙂 I buy produce, meat, dairy, and baking items…everything you guys are buying.
9. Will you keep doing this?
Yes!!!!! I. Love. It. Barry watches the kids for me and I get to spend some time with my mom…and I get free samples at Sam’s. What’s not to love?
10. Do you think I can do this if I don’t have an extra fridge and freezer like you?
I sure do…wanna know why? Because I have two friends that do it (Erin and Anne) and they don’t have the extra cold storage space like I do. Although I will say that if possible, an extra fridge or deep freeze is a HUGE blessing and a great idea if you have the space and extra cash – buy used.
11. Do you make your meal plan before you go?
No, I don’t. I wait until I get home – because I don’t know what I might buy. I buy what is on sale and what I find on clearance…and I don’t always know that until I get home. I plan weekly using Plan to Eat.
12. Can you give us a sample menu plan?
I don’t have a set menu plan I use. I vary mine based on what I have…and I spend a lot of time on Pinterest looking at food, so I have a zillion recipes to try – I like trying new stuff each week. 🙂
That being said, we ARE working on a menu plan feature for this website that will be a subscriber option. More on that coming soon. But we are super excited about it!
I think that’s it! If you have more questions, just leave them in the comments below and I’ll try to answer them. I’m so thankful to Anne for her book and for walking me through this new venture. I totally love it and I’m glad I started doing it. BOOM!