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Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Once A Month Shopping

Last month I decided to tackle "Once a month grocery shopping".  After spending a month researching blogs, books and articles, I wanted to try and see what it would be like to shop for the entire month in one day.
I focused on my three main stores I shop at: Costco, Win-Co and Safeway.  I also bought fruit from a farm stand to make strawberry jam.  The first thing I did was plan a menu for the month.  I planned each dinner for the month of June (main dish and sides).  I then came up with a list of snack food, breakfasts, lunches and school lunch items.  I made a detailed list for each store and then off I went. At the end of the three stores, I spent 573.00 dollars.  I saved all my lists and reciepts in a notebook so I can reference for future months.  I also wanted to track how quickly we use specific items like dishwasher tabs, cleaning wipes, fruit snacks etc.
This is what my kitchen looked like when I came home.  Crazy to put all that away.  But nice to have it all and to have a plan.  
One of the things I tried was buying a large package of hamburger; dividing and cooking it to freeze for later meals.  This has been genius for me and allowed me a lot of freedom in meal preparation at night. I browned all the hamburger meat I would need for the month and then divided it up into freezer bags and labeled them.
The next day I went and prepared 4 pans of enchiladas that we would be eating throughout the month. Two pans were chicken enchiladas and two pans were beef enchiladas.  I covered with foil when finished and out to the garage freezer they went.  When ready to make dinner, I pulled it out of the freezer and popped them into a 350 degree oven for 60 minutes.  I also cooked and froze two large lasagnas too.
Chicken enchiladas.
Beef enchiladas.
I also had fun this past month making strawberry jam!  

I processed two flats of strawberries and came out with a lot of jam.  It's one of Mark's favorites!!
I have to say we stuck with the menu about 80%.  There is always things that come up and you just role with it.  I think the most difficult part of the whole once a month shopping was coming up with the money to shop all in one day, especially when you get paid twice a month.  I think for our family looking to find a balance in twice a month shopping will be more beneficial for planning.  I am very glad that I tried this and feel that it was a success.  I am always looking for ways to save money and this was a strategy that proved successful!

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