Monday, July 2, 2012

Menu Planning and Shopping for a Month

In my attempt to learn to live more frugally, to plan ahead and to waste less time and fewer resources, I've begun to work on making one large grocery shopping trip each month. This month is the fourth month I'm doing this and I feel like I'm maybe, sorta, kinda, getting the hang of this.

The first few months I went shopping without a solid plan. Because we do the majority of our shopping at a discount store I'm never sure exactly what is going to be there. So it was hard for me to come up with a good plan for making sure I had everything I needed. As I've become a bit more familiar with the store, and through trial and error, I began to form a plan. 

Last week I sat down and made a menu, taking into account our picnic days, park days, and weekends and the meals the kids are cooking. I went through my Food and Drink Pinterest board and included a few recipes from there. I then went through the menu and wrote down how many meals I needed different kinds of meats for, what needed special ingredients, and all the staples - flour, sugar, coffee, frozen vegetables, frozen fruit for smoothies, etc. There were some meals where I simply wrote down "meat" and I'll see what's available when I get there. But I know how many "meats" I need and that they need to go in the slow cooker or over for Sunday dinner. For cereal I simply wrote down how many boxes or bags I need and checked to see what was available when I got there. Items I was pretty sure I could get at the discount store I wrote on one list, and what I knew I would have to go to Wal-mart for I wrote on the other. The two stores are very close to each other and I had planned to simply stop at Wal-mart on my home from Sharp Shopper to pick up the last few items. But we ended up deciding that I would come back later for the rest because the kids were getting so tired and hungry.

Putting away our groceries.

Of course, we'll still need to go back for milk and fresh fruit and veggies, but hopefully that will be all. 

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  1. I would like to work my way into monthly grocery shopping. Your menu looks great for this week. I am definitely going to try the crockpot potatoes with bacon and cheese. I quit buying the au gratin/scalloped potatoes in a box and have been looking for a substitute.


  2. Wow! You are so impressively organized to be able to do that! I would love to reach that level one day. :)

  3. Wow, that is great! I go every other week, but I think monthly would be even better!

  4. Thanks for this. I've been thinking of switching to at least meal planning monthly, and then shopping every other week. I'm interested to hear how this works for you throughout the month - what do you do with unexpected invitations to dinner, or unexpected guests for a meal?