I thought I would share a bit more about our once a month shopping and what works for us. I have several things that make this work for us. I have three main places where I shop once a month and other places that I use for “we’re out of” run-ins.
GNC: GNC is where I purchase all our supplements, including mine for RA plus all our enzymes. Due to the food allergies in our house and Rachel’s neurological issues these are necessities and equivalent to purchasing prescriptions but without insurance covering the cost. Therefore I purchase them during the first week of the month which is GNC’s Gold Card week–which saves me 20% automatically on my whole order. I don’t shop at a company owned GNC but at a private, family owned GNC. The owners know me and my kids and will often order exactly what I need so it is on hand when I get there. They are also very helpful when I have a question unlike the other GNC’s in our area which are all company owned and have no control over their stock. Because what I purchase is all GNC brand they usually have those items on sale meaning that more often than not I get what I need for 40 to 60% off instead of just the 20% off. Since our regular bill there comes to about $300 a month without sales this is a big savings. (I also stock up on the things I know we will need when there is an extra good sale.)
Sam’s Club (and before Sam’s club it was Aldi): This is when I get our main groceries. I stock up on paper products (as I mentioned we have a house with too much space and plenty of dual purpose furniture so stashing is not a big deal.) I also fill our deep freeze with frozen veggies and bread products. There are also a few frozen restaurant style foods I pick up–like egg rolls–which keeps us from going out to eat.) Produce comes from here as well since we tend to eat a lot of fresh when we have it–those five pound bags don’t last long. When that is gone we eat frozen until I get back to the store. We have a “when we’re out, we’re out” policy for many items that I consider treats. Making fruit a treat is a good thing. Eggs, soy milk, and bread also fall into this category. We try to use up most foods BEFORE the next trip (other than crackers and that sort of thing which have a long shelf life.) Meals can get pretty creative when we start getting low on things. 🙂
Before we joined Sam’s Club I went to Aldi–there are certain items I will have to get there when we run out because my kids like their Fit & Trim brand of several things and if I am in need of small items then that is where I will go.
By shopping here once a month I save about $200 on our main groceries and another $200 or so just because I am staying home in instead of “running in”.
Frankferd Farms: This is our local wholesale natural and organic foods warehouse. Foods are sold in bulk with very little packaging and you wait in the warehouse while they load it into your car. This is where I get my 25# bag of organic, unbleached white whole wheat flour for $10, my 10# bag of organic spiral noodles for $7, my 1# bag of yeast for $2, and the list goes on. I get all our baking needs here as well as specialty foods for Rachel. It often costs me less to get organic versions of bulk foods here than it would to get regular versions at the local grocery store. I do not buy many prepackaged foods here unless they are on sale because the prepared foods are much more expensive. It cost me $100 for what would cost roughly $500 at our local grocery store.
Finally, I occasionally make less than wise purchases. With so many food allergies in the house I occasionally pick up a brand we find that someone is allergic to or we discover an allergy after purchasing the item. Occasionally we find that I picked up a brand that someone used to like and lo longer does. In some cases we eat it anyway but if something looks like it is going to be sitting around for months and no one touches I find it is time for a trip to the food cupboard. We pack up everything that no one easts for whatever reason (the unopened packages) and drop them off so they will benefit someone else. This way we free up space and are helping others out. Since my kids like to occasionally do a food run for the food cupboard anyway we don’t really consider this a loss.