Once-A-Month Grocery Shopping List, Monthly Meal Plan, F.A.Q.

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(I have an updated post located here —->> Feeding my Family of 7 for $400 per Month)

*Double Update: I wrote this article in 2011 when my oldest was only 11 etc. Now fast forward almost 7 years later and our grocery budget has doubled. We’re now a family of nine (almost 10) with teenagers, a growing herd of children, and more. Be sure to check out my updated large family grocery shopping posts

I’ve had more questions lately about once-a-month grocery shopping.  I thought I’d tackle of a few of them.  You don’t mind if we talk food savings today, do you?

  • Question One:  “What about fresh fruits and vegetables?”

 

This is part of our fresh produce for December. Produce like carrots, cabbage, and potatoes will hold several weeks in the refrigerator.

Fruit and veggies are always a big question. Yes, we eat plenty of produce around here.   I first started once-a-month grocery shopping two years ago and have been thrilled with the results!

 We eat certain fresh produce, like bananas and tomatoes, in the beginning of the month. 

Fruits and veggies such as oranges, grapefruit, potatoes, carrots, and celery can last the entire month. Then the last week we use a lot of applesauce, frozen and canned fruits/veggies.  In the summer I freeze blackberries from our bushes and peaches from the orchard.

I also work with seasonal fruit. You can see when cantaloupe is in season we love it. In the Fall we eat apples & peaches by the bushel too.

  •  Question Two: “How do you plan out healthy snacks?”
    This gets back to eating our certain fresh items early in the month. We have lots of Bananas and carrots sticks to snack on.  Later in the month, it’ll be sugar-free jello, apple sauce, homemade yogurt and canned fruits.  These “later in the month snacks” are still very healthy.  Carrots keep several weeks in the refrigerator.  Currently @ $1.50/3.lbs  I make carrot sticks often.

    Just call it wishful thinking that I use ice cream buckets as storage containers. 😉

 

 

I buy 11-dozen eggs per month.  Eggs stay fresh in the refrigerator for a  long time.  I freeze milk {although we buy raw milk at times}.  Remember, milk often freezes during transport that is the reason for the divots on the sides of the gallon.

  • Question Three:  “How do you freeze bread?”  

Bread freezes remarkably well.  I’m a stocking up mad woman when it comes to bread deals.  When I find bagel packs 2/$1, I buy $20 worth.  I pick up Natures Own Bread at the Dollar Store for $1 {which Crystal Paine mentions that she’s does too in her new book The Money Saving Mom’s Budget.}  I buy 10-15 loaves at a time. And the secret to freezing bread is to just put it in the freezer. When we need more bread I stick a frozen loaf or two {or bagel bag or two} in the refrigerator from the freezer.  By the next day, they’re ready for use.*Sometimes, depending on how long a loaf has been frozen, I will have a heel that’s hard.  I just throw the hard heels out.  The rest of the loaf is fine.

  • Question Four:  “Does it really save time and money, or just stress/sanity?”

Both. Really.  If I’m only going to the store once-a-month-think, twelve times per year, then I’m not spending extra money.  Truth; I just went OAM shopping Friday.  I only spent $295 for the entire month including toiletries/household items.  I didn’t hit only discount stores or any major sales this time.  I just went to Wal-mart and shopped the store brand items.   Remember, my average grocery shopping expenses is $400 per month.  That means some months I’m closer to $500, but some months I’m hovering around $300.  Now that I’ve been OAM shopping for two years I find that our pantry and refrigerators are never bare.  There are many items that need to be replaced monthly. But there are months in which at the end of fours weeks there’s plenty left.  There’s also times when I make myself stretch and get creative with what we have and wait until 5-6 weeks to go shopping again.

  • Question Five: “Do you really only go into the store once-a-month?”
That’s the goal.  I say *most months I only go once-a-month. Last month turkeys were marked down to 59-cents per pound.  I *may have been seen with a grocery cart full of turkeys.  And my hubby comes home with a tub of ice cream and a RedBox movie sometimes…but I’m not going to get upset with him out for that. 😉
 
When I do a lot of breakfast cooking, like the waffles above, I cook double and freeze half.  Here is how I bulk cook and freeze waffles.
 
 
 
  • Question Six: “How do you meal plan for the entire month?
I’m really lazy about it.  If a slacker was going to have a meal plan then that is me.  I pick 10-15 dinners for the month.  These serve as our main lunch & dinners.  Breakfast is very simple.  My hubby usually has a day or two off during the week.  On those days he goes all out and makes pancakes, eggs, or omelets.  It’s special for all of us and a nice family time.  Besides “daddy’s home” mornings breakfast is oatmeal, bagel, fruit, hard boiled eggs, homemade yogurt smoothies, or peanut butter toast.  You can read more about my once-a-month meal planning system here.

That’s a few answers to some of the questions I’ve received.  I pray it’s encouraged you and not overwhelmed you.  If you would like to try OAM Shopping but are still unsure, may I suggest to try going every two-weeks.  Here’s an article from Money Saving Mom that shares about saving money by grocery shopping every two weeks.
 
 
How to you grocery shop?  Do you have any other OAMS questions?  Let’s discuss it in the comments.

 

 

 

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