I’m back…..this time with tips for making once a month grocery shopping work for you and your family. Again, I am not claiming to be some kind of expert in this area, just someone who’s tried it and liked it. I have lots of fine tuning to do yet, but I believe there is a real learning curve with this concept. With that being said, here are my personal tips for once a month grocery shopping:
*Go alone. Yes, I realize this isn’t too feasible for some of you. However, if you can snatch a few hours to yourself, take advantage. I am not one of those people who claim to just love hauling their kids with them everywhere. Knowing myself, I have realized that I shop much smarter and can focus more if I am by my lonesome. You can get it done so much faster too!
*Time it well. While shopping just once a month for a majority of your groceries does save money, you do have to lay out more $$$ in one go. Time it so you’re not going on a week where your finances feel extremely slim.
*Know what you use. Have a good idea of what your family goes through in one month. I did a little experiment this summer to see how much of certain items we use in a month. Am I a big nerd? Yes I am, but I also got a good feel for what we consume in a month’s time.
*Keep a master list. Post it on your fridge, bulletin board, wherever. Keep a running list of what you’ve run out of, than add to it what you anticipate using this next month. Literally go through every pantry shelf, freezer, refrigerator, and see what needs replenished. I also stock up on our paper goods, trash bags, etc on my grocery run, so take a look at those as well.
*Meal plan. I have never done a post on meal planning, but this is something I’ve really depended on as my kids get bigger and busier. Granted, I don’t plan out for the whole month, which would be even more helpful. (I usually do a week at a time.) Looking ahead for the whole month would really help with amounts of what’s needed.
*Buy in bulk. Large amounts don’t always yield the best deal, but sometimes they truly are a good deal–especially if it’s something you know you’ll use. Last month I went ahead and bought a huge bag of flour just because I knew I’d be baking more often this fall.
*Do your homework. Have your coupons ready with possible match-ups for the stores you want to hit. Know what’s on sale that week and any loss-leader items you may want to stock up on.
*Hit multiple stores. I don’t get all crazy with this and usually just go to two. It all depends on where you live and your store preferences.
*Unload and put away the same day. No, you may not feel like it. However, when you get home, just get it over with and put everything away where it belongs. If anything needs divided up into smaller packages or cut up, now is the time.
And last but certainly not least….
*Go easy on yourself. As I mentioned earlier, there is a learning curve with this and it takes time to fine-tune what works for your own family. I still do a “milk run” and have ended up going for a couple things that I thought we truly needed before my next grocery run. (Like butter–this family wasn’t going to do without real butter! We’re not that hard core.) Maybe you want to even start by going to the store every other week and work from there.