If you have never tried once a month grocery shopping, February is the perfect month to start! With just 28 days, if you are already accustomed to shopping every other week, once a month shopping for this month will not feel like much of a stretch. Here are some tips to get started:
- Leave the Kids at Home — Do not attempt to schlep the kids to the grocery store for a once a month trip. Ask a trusted neighbor, or hire a babysitter for a few hours, if needed. You will save enough money to make it worthwhile to hire a babysitter.
- Plan Your Menu — Match sale ads and coupons to plan your monthly menu around those items. See my related post Frugal Meal Planning 101 for more information.
- Go Shopping with a List — Only buy items on your list. If you pick up any items that are not on the list, place them in the front basket of your cart. Before you check out, review the items in the basket, choose one, and put the other items back on the shelf.
- Buy Meat in Bulk — Many grocery stores feature “loss leaders” and you may be able to purchase meat in bulk at deeply discounted prices. Set aside 1 week’s worth and freeze the rest in family-meal-sized portions.
- Stock the Pantry — Keep a well-stocked pantry with budget-friendly foods purchased at the lowest possible price. Some examples are rice, potatoes, beans, and canned tuna.
- Stock the Freezer — You may find it cheaper to purchase fresh produce (in season) and freeze it yourself. Keeping meat in the freezer will ensure it will stay good for the entire month.
- Use Fresh Produce in the Order it Will Perish First — Some fruits and vegetables stay fresher longer than others. Try to use up bananas, grapes, cucumbers, and strawberries during the first week or two. Apples, oranges, carrots, potatoes, onions, and even eggs can generally last one month if stored properly.
- What About Milk? — Milk is the only exception where I ask my husband to pick some up at the store about half way through the month. However, it may be worth purchasing a few gallons of organic ultra-pasteurized milk since this will last a full month.