WFMW: Once a Month Shopping
Doodle to come later–I hope.
You can find more Works for me Wednesday’s at Rocks in my Dryer.
I’m one of those people who cannot enter a store with my kids without exiting with a whole bunch of “we’re out of this, Mommy” type items and dropping $50, at least. And since my kids go everywhere with me, leaving the house gets expensive. No, I don’t give into their every want or even need–but when we are shopping on a weekly basis I end up at the store constantly.
When my kids were younger I was very organized with my shopping, I used coupons and a budget and only bought what was on my list. The problem is I spent so much time agonizing over it that my husband pointed out that since my time is worth at least $10 an hour (he figured it out) we were wasting money. And since we were wasting money with my constant “I have to run out and get this” moments and my love of running in more than one place “since I am out anyway” I needed a better, more time saving solution.
My family is pretty consistent in what they will and will not eat. We go in large cycles where certain foods get added or eliminated but with the limited food list we maintain I have a pretty good feel of what we use in a month. About 6 months ago I went back to shopping once a month for the majority of our groceries. I already shop once a month for our prescriptions and supplements so it was pretty natural. I don’t have lists of how much money it saves us, because my brain doesn’t work that way, but we have seen a difference, especially with Rachel making her own all natural, preservative free foods instead of me buying prepackaged foods. This means that my big run to Frankferd Farms (our local wholesale warehouse) today will be down to the basics–a 25# bag of flour, honey, maple syrup, raw sugar, a 10# bag of noodles–things that if I bought them in the regular grocery store would cost me 5 times the amount and which we have plenty of room to store. My big trip to Sam’s Club yesterday included all the makings for our favorite meals plus about 3 months worth of paper products. The fact that I won’t have to “just run in the store” and drop $25 to $50 because we were also out of soy milk and whatever else will save us a lot in the long run.
Note: We have plenty of storage space, too much in fact, and don’t do meal menus–my family has a list of favorites that they make themselves when they are hungry and I have a few meals I make throughout the week. This means that I don’t spend a lot of time figuring out “what do I make today that everyone will eat”–in our house this is a necessity. We have a nice list of food intolerances and allergies that varies from person to person and we like to keep our schedule very, very loose. In our house meal planning is a time sink and a money waster. If it works for you, great. It doesn’t work in our everybody is home all day family.
Once a month sounds great! How do you handle fresh fruits and vegetables?
That is a great plan. I think there is definitely more than one way to be frugal. And it is so nice that you have all the storage space. If I buy one big thing of TP and one big thing of paper towels, I can’t find enough space to put them. So I go the route of buying one small pack every couple weeks with a coupon.
Well, for fruits and veggies–most of the veggies we use are frozen except for onions and we have a deep freeze for those. For fruits we go in spurts of huge quantities for fruit (you know those huge packages from Sam’s Club–we use them in two weeks. So one smaller run out in the third week for fruits, salad, and milk does the trick.
I have to go to the grocery store with a list in hand and only buy things on my list or else I walk around aimlessly for hours trying to remember what we need. I did just that last night at Target for 2 hours and came out with nothing I needed.
I like this. I’m not a big meal planner either, but I do go in spurts on that. Where I live, I don’t have a lot of options other than Costco for bulk shopping. I used to belong to Azure, a food co-op, and did the once a month big items, like 25 lbs of oats or flour or whatever… I may join again when we’re resettled. However, I DO need to work on our food budget, but I realize that I can’t change my basic personality of not being uber-organized. I NEVER will be so I may as well accept it! So, total meal planning on a long-term consistent basis is not in my future, but I think it would help me to always be stocked up on the basic items I use frequently.
I have been thinking about going to a monthly shopping trip except for things like bread and milk. I may have to look into this more. We do go to Sams to get our paper products and some of our canned goods. But, if I could get my act together, it could save a lot of money!