Getting Closer to Grocery Shopping Once a Month

Grocery Shop Once a Month

 

 

If you had to explain grocery shopping to someone who never has done it, how would you describe it?  Would you talk about how you work hard all week only to spend a fortune on prepared food that is only slightly less expensive than the take out place down the road?  Would you say that it is a big time commitment that leaves you with sacks full of food and no real plan to use it?  If I were to describe grocery shopping I would say that its an opportunity to be creative, save money, and a challenge to see how well you can organize your food storage space.

I’ll admit that I used to stress about getting to the grocery store every week.  It would take me about an hour to get everything that I need and I would still occasionally forget something and need to make a last minute trip on my way home from work which would inevitably leave me with 10 extra things that I didn’t need.  I would cut weekend trips short if I knew our fridge was bare.  And grocery shopping on a Monday night was just such a pain and it that meant that we didn’t make lunch for Monday and both my husband and I would end up eating out that day.  When I buy my lunch at work I want it to be my choice and not a default answer to poor planning.  It took me a while to realize that instead of trying to shop for the week I could buy enough for the month.

Every day I’m amazed at both how much money we are saving on groceries and how much time I’m saving by not going grocery shopping as often.  The start of a new month gets me excited.  I’ve started doing one big shopping trip during the first week of the month.  I pick up all of my staples and replenish my pantry and fridge.  I buy all of the potatoes, onions, beans, olives, eggs, cheese and tubs of sour cream for the month.  One of my favorite parts about shopping this way is that I don’t need to remember what is getting low in the fridge or pantry since I’m not making a big grocery list every week.  If we run out of sour cream before the end of the month, we will do without.  Same thing goes for potatoes, onions and eggs.  The world isn’t going to end if you have to eat rice with your steak instead of the usual mashed potatoes.

There are a lot of ways that you can achieve a shrinking grocery bill.  You can copy someone else’s grocery list item by item and cook exactly what they cook.  But what if your family doesn’t like some of the meals on that list?  What do you do then?  That is why I think a better long term solution is to create your own list.  Of course could just copy my grocery list but unless you cook exactly what I cook – it just won’t work.  

Here are the steps that I take to maximize my grocery shopping efficiency.

  1.       Make a list of all of the groceries that you buy during the month
  2.       List how much of each item you will need to last you the entire month
  3.       Remove the items that expire quickly that cannot be frozen – like milk, salad fixings, fresh berries.  You can still buy these but only buy enough that can be used prior to expiration.
  4.       Save this list in a place that can be easily accessed.  I keep my grocery list in good docs and print it out when I do my big monthly shopping trip.
  5.       Print out this list (or keep it digital and edit the document) and take a quick inventory of your pantry, fridge and freezer
  6.       Grocery shop with the intention of only buying those items on your list during your once a month trip.
  7.       Keep track of when in the month that you run out of the items on your list.  For example:  I thought that we could get through the month with 6 cans of olives since we use them in our   salads for lunch, I forgot that we also use olives on tacos and nachos (and those are on the meal plan almost weekly).  After one month of running out 3 weeks into the month I upped our monthly amount to 8 jars.
  8.       Repeat next month.

 

Of course this method isn’t a one size fits all, but it is designed to be tailored to your own eating habits.  When you consolidate your shopping into one trip instead of spending extra time at the grocery store, you can spend your time doing the things that you want to do.  Always think of your list as a work in progress.  You should be forever tweaking the amount of what you buy or even the types of food that you eat but always make a decision for that month and stick with it.  Also, make it your mission to eat through all of your pantry and freezer fossils so that nothing goes to waste and it makes room for all of the tasty new foods that you want to try.  If you truly don’t like a food that you tried, there is no sense in allowing it to take up space – just get rid of it.  Either give it to someone who will use it or just throw it away.  Of course you should keep a good variety of fresh vegetables in your diet and use frozen when fresh is not available or too expensive.

Home Decor Projects – Yard Sailing for Deals!

I am in search of some killer deals for my house this summer.  I set a deadline for the last day of August because if I don’t give myself a deadline then years will pass and I still won’t have my living/bed room furnished.  This worked really well last year when my daughter was born in the fall, we knew when she was coming and had her bedroom good to go well before that.  We’ve been talking about getting better bedroom furniture for years now and haven’t found anything.  We currently are using a metal bed frame with no headboard and 2 small Kmart special dressers.  While this set up is functional, it is very plain.  This has been our setup for about 5 years.  I am against spending thousands on a cheap looking bedroom set from a discount furniture retailer.  I want quality furniture that will last us the rest of our lives.  This is one of the reasons that I’m looking at second hand furniture, a lot of older items are built more solid than the manufactured furniture today. Here is my list of furniture for in the bedroom:

  • 2 Large dressers with or without mirrors
  • Bed frame with headboard
  • 2 side tables
  • decor for the walls
  • New bedspread

 


Also on our list of projects is our dining/living room.  Our kitchen is a little bit bigger than our dining room.  The plan is to get rid of the giant island in the middle of the kitchen and that will give us lots of room for our table.  The current formal dining room will be changed into a main floor living room.

img_0640

This room is huge and while it worked really well for the previous owner as a dining room with her giant china cabinet, buffet, grand father clock and large table, it just doesn’t work for our family.  Right now it is a lot of wasted space.

I’m really excited about this project but have also given myself till the end of August to complete it.  I have a picture in my head of how I want this room to look.  I will need the following pieces to complete this look:

  • Large area rug
  • Matching runner for the hallway
  • Ceiling light fixture
  • 2 upholstered arm chairs
  • Entry way table about 2 feet wide
  • 2 book shelves
  • Wall mounted TV
  • Some sort of wall feature, either wall paper or reclaimed wood
  • Cream colored sofa

One thing that my husband and I can never agree on is our taste in home decor.  He likes masculine and modern pieces.  I prefer more traditional and french style fancy things.  Our current living room was mostly picked out by my husband and consists of a large black leather sofa and recliner, and a simple coffee table/side table set.  I did get to pick out the lamps and these are the pieces in this room that I consider to be more of my style.img_06431

 

The plan is to hit up thrift/consignment shops as well as tag sales on Saturdays.   I’m also searching craigslist once a week.  I found a beautiful armchair at a second hand store that I most likely will go back and buy this next weekend if it is still there.  It is a little bit steep at $125 but hopefully I can talk them down a little bit.  I’ve had a little bit of luck so far this yard sale season.

img_06441This mirror hangs on the wall separating the kitchen from the current dining room (future living room)  I am searching for a small entry way table to put under the mirror.

img_06421I picked this piece up yesterday with no real plan for it.  It is a little project piece that I plan to sand and refinish and then put back together.  The whole piece is very loose so at the very least it will be a $2 lesson in taking furniture apart and putting it back together.

The living room project is funded by proceeds from my own yard sale and things that I’ve been selling on craigslist.  So far the fund has around $700 in it.  This will be fun to see if I can stick to the budget!  I have 14 weekends till the end of August and my goal of having these rooms completed.  Wish me luck!