Simplicity by Choice

Off-Grid Living & Self-Reliance

Monthly Grocery Supply Runs February 28, 2013

I have written about this topic before but often have questions hitting my email over it. As food prices continue to rise faster than people’s incomes, the topic seems to be hitting a nerve with more people.

We are a single income family. In today’s financial times, it is not always an easy thing to accomplish. To make it work, we have chosen to scale back on excess. One huge area of excess is trips to the store. Each time that we go to the store, we are setting ourselves up for impulsive purchases. There is also the fuel and other costs associated with trips to the store. One way we reduced this was to do a monthly shopping trip as often as possible.

When I first began doing this, I felt overwhelmed. The very idea of buying a month’s supply of groceries all at once seemed like a horrendous task. I quickly found that I was wrong. While it does take more planning, the actual shopping was far easier than the weekly or bi-weekly shopping.

To make the shopping trip successful, it required that I plan out a month’s worth of meals. Like most families, we have certain foods that we eat on a regular basis. Using a sheet of paper, I brainstormed with my husband and listed all of our favorite meals. We even included a few that we enjoy, but do not make very often. Using this list, I made up weekly menus. I wrote out a list of 7 meals, with the grocery list for those meals included. To make up a monthly menu, I simply choose 4 weekly menus.

Compiling a list of groceries for the monthly menu is very easy. I transfer the grocery list for each weekly menu onto a sheet of paper. Often, I find that I can use the same ingredients for more than one meal, such as seasonings. The advantage to this type of shopping is that I am able to take advantage of bulk purchase discounts. Instead of buying 5 single pound packages of ground beef, I can buy the “family pack” size and break it down into portions needed for the month’s meals. If you have a freezer, the breaking down of bulk meat purchases is easy. Just have on hand a roll of freezer paper. I always pre-cook the meat until it is nearly done, then home can it into portions that will be used for each meal.

There are always a few items that you cannot purchase a month in advance. Fresh produce is a good example. This is where I either utilize what we grow or a local farmer’s market. Try to eat foods in season and you can buy it for less than the off season prices.

One issue that we found needed to be addressed rather quickly in our monthly shopping adventure is that you must be consistent. If you buy corn chips for use with a taco soup recipe, don’t use them for a snack prior to when you planned to have the meal. Intead, have a shelf or pantry area where the family can find their snacks or open use items. This will eliminate the frustration of having to replace items needed for upcoming meals. Remember, the idea is to limit the number of trips to the store!

In upcoming posts, I will share specific details on sample menus that I have done. Hopefully it will cut down on any confusion. Unfortunately, to explain it all in one blog post would take more space than what many want to read. LOL


5 Responses to “Monthly Grocery Supply Runs”

  1. Have you ever tried a service like Amazon for groceries? I have not but have heard of people who do. Saving on gas is nice, and they seem to have decent prices on other things. Thanks for this post, I am looking forward to the next part of the puzzle as meal planning is not my forte.

    • I haven’t tried Amazon for groceries. I am a “cook from scratch” type of person. I actually do most of my shopping at places like Sam’s Club where I can buy bulk amounts at a discount. I save a great deal this way. Most drastic example is buying dry active yeast at Sam’s Club. A twin pack of 2 (1 lb each) packages of Fleischmann’s dry active yeast costs about $4.00 at Sam’s. That same volume of yeast from a grocery store would cost about $198.00 – meaning that I save $194 a year by buying in bulk.

      I am putting together the next installment for the blog. Hope that it will help.

  2. Dorena Says:

    I did this method for a couple of months and was doing great. I thought I was saving money. Then I read some other blog posts that they base their weekly meals off the sales flyer for even more savings. So I went back to weekly shopping. Have you noticed if you spend more or less?

    • We don’t use coupons but I do take advantage of a good sale IF it is for something I planned to buy anyways. One example was when a store had milk on sale for $1.99/gallon recently. I had already planned to buy milk, so simply bought from that store at the much lower price. Coupons don’t work for us as they are most often for brands that we don’t use due to their higher price. I have found that most coupons are for convenience type foods, which we don’t use. By getting the most raw ingredients, such as flour & eggs to make my own pasta, I save a large percentage from what we used to spend each month. When I have had to buy on a weekly basis, I am spending more. The stores closest to our homestead are very pricey. It is a sad situation for many. There are 3 small towns in a 30 mile radius from our homestead. Two of those have only 1 small grocery store each. The third has 2 stores. To have real savings, I have to travel nearly 80 miles once a month to a large city to get the savings. It is surprizing but I actually still save more doing that even when fuel cost is added.

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