Once a month shopping is something everyone seems to be talking about lately. I get it; It's an awesome idea. Here's my problem with the posts I've been seeing...they say they do it but don't tell how. I feel like screaming at my computer, "Where are the dang details, people!" Look y'all, I'm a few peas short of a casserole and need to have my hand held through this process. Don't tell me you do it...tell me how to do it! Sorry I'm ranting, but I'm so mad I'm foaming like a rabid dog (Not really! I promise I've had my shots!). Anyway this lack of details has driven me to write my own series on the subject. Folks, prepare to have your hand held because I'm about to break it down like a break dancer!
This 1st post in this series is going to discuss why you should grocery shop once a month. It is also going to discuss how long certain fruits and veggies will last. This will help give you an idea of how to plan those foods for the month. I'm also going to include...print...wait for it...ables! You read that right! I'm going to give you links to printables that will make this task easier.
Why Shop Once A Month: Honestly, there are 500 reasons to shop once a month but to keep from rambling I'm only going to give you 2. The first reason is to save money. How many people go into the store and absolutely do not venture off the grocery list? If you are one of these people, big props to you on some major self control! I, on the other hand, do not possess this virtue. I buy junk on my list then see something in someone else's buggy and think, "Hey, I need me some of that!" Basically, I plan to spend $80 but then spend $180. Going once a month will eliminate impulse buying therefore saving me money. You can't buy junk you don't need if you don't go to the store (newton's law of saving money). The second reason is that my time is precious. I have to beautiful boys. I don't want to spend every Saturday or Sunday grocery shopping when I could be rasslin' with my little loves. Kids don't stay little long. Do you really want to say you missed time with them because you were grocery shopping every weekend? If you pick one Saturday and do your shopping for the month, you have 3 Saturdays to enjoy.
Tools For Once A Month Shopping: To pull this off I've got to get organized...y'all have to get organized. This is where the printables come in to play. I've said in previous posts I didn't like being tied to a plan, but I've got to bite the bullet for this. We're (me & you) are going to need printables to help take stock of the freezer and pantry before we shop. This will help you because at meal planning time you can incorporate those items into your meals. You will save money buy using what you have already got and not buying more. I got my freezer and pantry printables from http://organizedhome.com/printable/household-notebook/pantry-inventory. You will also need a calendar to list out your meals. I found the awesome one pictured below at http://www.usingtimewisely.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/Monthly-Menu-Planner.pdf. This printable is a 31 day calendar that breaks the days down into breakfast, lunch, and dinner. After we have taken inventory and planned, we have got to make a grocery list. If you want to write it out on a piece if paper that's a-okay with me. I, on the other hand, am going to use this handy dandy printable that breaks the list down by department. You can get it here: http://cornerstoneconfessions.com/2012/07/grocery-shopping-list-printable.html. I am also including one more printable. I am going to do my shopping at 2 stores. Sam's is where I like to buy meat, & Kroger is where I like to get everything else. I will be using this printable pictured below to help me keep track of what to buy where. You can get it here: http://thepeacefulmom.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/Multiple-Store-Shopping-List-BW.pdf.
Plan Of Action: The 1st thing to do is take stock of what we've got. I plan on trying to spend as little as possible. Using items from the pantry and freezer will make this possible. The 2nd thing I think we should do is set a budget. No point in planning steak meals for a month if you've only got ramen noodle money! My weekly grocery budget is $80 (I usually go over!) Keeping that in mind, I'm going to set my monthly grocery budget at $320. This amount is for food only. I am going to add another $100 for animals and kids supplies. I will post those exact items tomorrow. Now that the budget is set, look at the sale adds to help plan meals. I'm going to do my shopping at the 2 stores mentioned above because I can get good quality products for low prices. I figure since I'm only going to shop once a month it won't kill me to make a trip to multiple places in one day. Remember, you've still got 3 Saturdays to do whatever you want! Ok my friends, the leg work is almost done! It is time to plan and make a grocery list. Use your printables, look through Pinterest, look through cookbooks, plan some tasty meals! My plan is to plan 15 breakfasts, 15 lunches, & 15 dinners, I'm going to take the 15 meals in each category and double them. The thought of planning 30 different meals seriously freaked me out. The saying is eat an elephant a bite at a time! To me 30 days of meal planning & shopping at once is an elephant. Only planning 15 meals and then doubling is my way of eating that elephant a bite at a time.
Tomorrow I am going to post my meal plan and my shopping list. All meals will be THM approved! I will color code them by fuel type to help y'all & me out. I'm also going to be so awesome as to include the store price for each item on the shopping list. The 3rd post in this series will be THM friendly freezer meals with recipes. The 4th will be freezer friendly THM recipes that aren't crockpot related.
*Sorry I was so long winded with this. I just really wanted to break thing down and make it manageable. I promise I will not be such a windbag in my next posts! Thank you for sticking with me through this lengthy post.
*Just realized that after being such a windbag I forgot to discuss shelf life of fruits and veggies! I'll add that in tomorrow!