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WyattsMommy09 10-16-2012 10:37 PM

Once a Month groceries?
Anyone do this? Does it save money?

How do you keep fresh fruits or veggies to snack on? Or how do you keep them from spoiling?

I'm looking into it, as we drive 26 miles to shop on post which is cheaper, and gas is over $4.50...

Also how do you stick to and make a month long menu?

Any advice is greatly appreciated!

AfWife8405 10-17-2012 01:17 AM

Re: Once a Month groceries?
I shop bimonthly, so I can share my tips for that and maybe some will still apply and be helpful.

- We buy fresh produce and have frozen veggie & fruits for when we run out. (I really like making smoothies with the Cascadia Farm organic berries.)

- We buy our bananas at Costco in 3lb bags. I buy one bag that is ready to eat, another that is close to being ripe and another that is completely green. Those will last us about 2-3 weeks. I use half a banana in my daily protein shakes and freeze the other half of the banana for when the fresh run out.

- Regarding dairy: My Hubby & Kids drink Coconut Milk and I drink Almond Milk - they tend to have long expiration dates and I buy enough to last until the next shopping trip. I enjoy organic cottage cheese, but that only lasts a short time after purchase. :/

- Freeze loaves of bread and defrost as needed.

jbug_4 10-17-2012 04:54 AM

Re: Once a Month groceries?
We still buy produce weekly as part of something else though. Like I take dd to school or ds to the doc, its not a trip just to the grocery store. Milk we have a chest freezer so we freeze it except for dd's. She drinks soy which has a long expiration date.

We use a lot of frozen veggies. During the summer we grow a lot of our own, same for berries. We buy frozen veggies in bulk when needed. And I will buy frozen strawberries but that is the only fruit I like once frozen. We keep fresh carrots, potatoes, onions, garlic, sweet potatoes, they all have long storage possibilities. Things like zuc, mushrooms, lettuce, spinach, tomatoes, etc you can get maybe 2 weeks out of if your lucky so we buy those as needed. We also buy stuff on sale and freeze. Red peppers are a great example of this- I slice some and chop some so that can be used later for fajitias and sweet and sour. I also make freezer meals with ingredients that will go bad.

I have to get dd ready for school so I don't have any more time, but as far as sticking to the menu- we don't. You have a months worth of food in the house so you can mix it up at anytime you want. You have to stick to wants on it for the month, but you don't have to stick to specific days. As long as you have variety with in the month you won't get bored and you will be able to stick with it.

Dani_Phen 10-17-2012 05:54 AM

Re: Once a Month groceries?
In my experience, it does save money but it also can cause more money to be spent depending.

I had been doing once a month shopping and I'd go through and have my hubby pick out (from my list of recipes to try/old recipes) meals that he would like to try. I'd have him pick out as many as he liked (kids can do the same...makes them feel important in a way). I picked out atleast 5 crockpot meals each month and put them on the list, 5-10 quick and easy meals for our busy evenings. I would go through and write down on a sheet "Meals for month of ...." and hang it on the fridge. I made sure I had 20-25 meals written down (I only need enough because we eat at family's 1-2 times every weekend). I would go through and make sure I had all the ingredients needed for those meals and write on a grocery list what ingredients I needed to buy.

We go to the store once a week for milk because we drink around 5 gallons a week. We get any fresh produce we like (Ds loves bananas for breakfast and grapes) when we get milk. I've heard that you can buy a ton of milk and freeze it for the month but I think it changes the taste. Meals with fresh veggies can me made closer to the beginning of the month and frozen veggies used for meals closer to the end of the month.

Each sunday/monday I will pick out meals for that week according to our schedule and write down on a sheet...this week looks like
Meals for week of october 14-20
Monday- Farm (eating at in laws)
Tuesday- Tuna Noodle casserole (easy meal b/c I have bible study)
Wednesday- Grilled Pork Chops, Mac and cheese, veggie (fairly easy since we have dr's appts)
Thursday- Gram and Pappys (visiting and eating with them)
Friday- Liver and onions (:yuck: hubby's meal)

And so on...then I scratch off what meals I made from the list of meals for the month.

That works well but lately with our schedules being extra busy I've been going once a week or bi-weekly. Hope that helps!!!

Marianna1988 10-17-2012 10:36 AM

Re: Once a Month groceries?

Originally Posted by WyattsMommy09 (Post 15822128)
Anyone do this? Does it save money?

How do you keep fresh fruits or veggies to snack on? Or how do you keep them from spoiling?

I'm looking into it, as we drive 26 miles to shop on post which is cheaper, and gas is over $4.50...

Also how do you stick to and make a month long menu?

Any advice is greatly appreciated!

Find the stores in your area and watch the sales (couponing blogs will tell you the best deals, and where to find coupons to match up if any are available). We only live about 10 miles from post, and I rarely ever shop there. I have a grocery store one block away that always has great deals. In my state, there is no tax on most food (some junk foods do have tax, like soda). So any money saving I would get at the commissary is negated with the 5% surcharge they have and the gas for a round trip.

Bellaroo 10-17-2012 10:41 AM

Re: Once a Month groceries?
I've tried it many times and until this month it has not saved me any money.

Typically I would pick up milk and fresh produce part way through the month (because no matter how hard I try, bananas won't last a month :)) but I'm seem to lose all discipline and a $20 quick trip because a $60 nightmare.

If you can discipline yourself to stay out of the closer stores and to only buy what you need if you do go in than shopping monthly can work amazingly well. If you can't you will probably end up spending more.

peaches330 10-17-2012 11:20 AM

Re: Once a Month groceries?
We also have a long trip to the bigger stores and I do once a month shopping. I still buy produce and dairy throughout the month at the mom and pop type store down the road. I usually end up going about once every week or so. I just make sure not to buy a ton of random stuff there and just go in with a list and stick to it. I'm not sure I'll be able to continue the once a month stuff with my new car though as I've lost a lot of trunk space. I'm thinking of switching to bi-monthly and doing a separate big trip for stuff like meat at Costco and stocking up for a few months. That will probably cut a lot of the trips to the local store down as well.

ambieone 10-17-2012 11:35 AM

Re: Once a Month groceries?
I used to shop once a month when we lived off base. It worked out really well for us because the "regular" grocery stores are so overpriced that it still was cheaper to drive the 20miles to base. I would get fresh fruits and veggies at the "regular" stores when they were on sale. We don't meal plan, I just would get what I needed to make our regular recipes.

redsonja 10-17-2012 03:36 PM

Re: Once a Month groceries?
When you buy your produce, make sure you get a large variety. Then order them for eating in terms of how long they last. Eat the berries first, the bananas second, the apples and oranges will last the longest, and when those are gone you go for your frozen/canned fruit. I have found that it works extremely well in making it a month that way. Fall is a great time for once a month shopping for veggies as squashes tend to last for a VERY long time. I will buy corn, green beans, cucumbers, tomatos, avocados, lettuce, and then a buttload of different squashes. I eat the cukes, tomatos, and avocados first, then the green beans, then the corn, and finally the squashes before going to the frozen/canned. It works really well. As for dairy, just freeze the milk (make sure you drink some off the top as it will expand) and when it thaws, just shake it really well. Tastes just the same.

threekstrio 10-17-2012 05:07 PM

Re: Once a Month groceries?
this is a great thread! Would anyone be willing to share your grocery list/how many you were feeding/ and how much you spent each month doing this??

tia!! :)

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