Once-A-Month Grocery Shopping List, Monthly Meal Plan, F.A.Q.

(I have an updated post located here —->> Feeding my Family of 7 for $400 per Month)

I’ve had more questions lately about once-a-month grocery shopping.  I thought I’d tackle of a few of them.  You don’t mind if we talk food savings today, do you?

  • Question One:  ”What about fresh fruits and vegetables?”

once a month grocery shopping

This is part of our fresh produce for December. Produce like carrots, cabbage, and potatoes will hold several weeks in the refrigerator.

Fruit and veggies are always a big question. Yes, we eat plenty of produce around here.   I first started once-a-month grocery shopping two years ago after reading  (affiliate link)  America’s Cheapest Family.  In the book Steve and Annette Economides share their family’s tips on shopping once-a-month.  Their suggestions are exactly how I shop for my own family.

 We eat certain fresh produce, like bananas and tomatoes, in the beginning of the month. 

Fruits and veggies such as oranges, grapefruit, potatoes, carrots, and celery can last the entire month. Then the last week we use a lot of applesauce, frozen and canned fruits/veggies.  In the summer I freeze black berries from our bushes and peaches from the orchard {you can read how we freeze peaches here.}

I also work with seasonal fruit. You can see when cantaloupe is in season we love it. In the Fall we eat apples & peaches by the bushel too.

  •  Question Two: ”How do you plan out healthy snacks?”
    This gets back to eating our certain fresh items early in the month. We have lots of Bananas and carrots sticks to snack on.  Later in the month it’ll be sugar-free jello, apple sauce, homemade yogurt and canned fruits.  These “later in the month snacks” are still very healthy.  Carrots keep several weeks in the refrigerator.  Currently @ $1.50/3.lbs  I make carrot sticks often.

    Just call it wishful thinking that I use ice cream buckets as storage containers. ;)

storing carrots

 

I buy 11-dozen eggs per month.  Eggs stay fresh in the refrigerator for a  long time.  I freeze milk {although we buy raw milk at times}.  Remember, milk often freezes during transport-that is the reason for the divets on the sides of the gallon.

  • Question Three:  ”How do you freeze bread?”  

Bread freezes remarkably well.  I’m a stocking up mad woman when it comes to bread deals.  When I find bagel packs 2/$1, I buy $20 worth.  I pick up Natures Own Bread at the Dollar Store for $1 {which Crystal Paine mentions that shes does too in her new book The Money Saving Mom’s Budget.}  I buy 10-15 loaves at a time. And the secret to freezing bread is to just put it in the freezer. When we need more bread I stick a frozen loaf or two {or bagel bag or two} in the refrigerator from the freezer.  By the next day they’re ready for use.*Sometimes, depending on how long a loaf has been frozen, I will have a heel that’s hard.  I just throw the hard heels out.  The rest of the loaf is fine.

  • Question Four:  ”Does it really save time and money, or just stress/sanity?”

Both. Really.  If I’m only going to the store once-a-month-think, twelve times per year, then I’m not spending extra money.  Truth; I just went OAM shopping Friday.  I only spent $295 for the entire month-including toiletries/household items.  I didn’t hit only discount stores or any major sales this time.  I just went to Wal-mart and shopped the store brand items.   Remember, my average grocery shopping expenses is $400 per month.  That means some months I’m closer to $500, but some months I’m hovering around $300.  Now that I’ve been OAM shopping for two-years I find that our pantry and refrigerators are never bare.  There are many items that need to be replaced monthly. But there are months in which at the end of fours weeks there’s plenty left.  There’s also times when I make myself stretch and get creative with what we have and wait until 5-6 weeks to go shopping again.

  • Question Five: “Do you really only go into the store once-a-month?”
That’s the goal.  I say *most months I only go once-a-month. Last month turkeys were marked down to 59-cents per pound.  I *may have been seen with a grocery cart full of turkeys.  And my hubby comes home with a tub of ice cream and a RedBox movie sometimes…but I’m not going to get upset with him out for that. ;)
When I do a lot of breakfast cooking, like the waffles above, I cook double and freeze half.  Here is how I bulk cook and freeze waffles.
How to Freeze Waffles
  • Question Six: “How do you meal plan for the entire month?
I’m really lazy about it.  If a slacker was going to have a meal plan than that is me.  I pick 10-15 dinners for the month.  These serve as our main lunch & dinners.  Breakfast is very simple.  My hubby usually has a day or two off during the week.  On those days he goes all out and makes pancakes, eggs, or omelets.  It’s special for all of us and a nice family time.  Besides “daddy’s home” mornings breakfast is oatmeal, bagel, fruit, hard boiled eggs, homemade yogurt smoothies, or peanut butter toast.  You can read more about my once-a-month meal planning system here.

That’s a few answers to some of the questions I’ve received.  I pray it’s encouraged you and not overwhelmed you.  If you would like to try OAM Shopping but are still unsure, may I suggest to try going every two-weeks.  Here’s an article from Money Saving Mom that shares about saving money by grocery shopping every two weeks.
How to you grocery shop?  Do you have any other OAMS questions?  Let’s discuss it in the comments.

*This post contains affiliate links.

 

 

Comments

comments

Comments

  1. Kristina Best says

    I want to say thank you for posting this. Since I read your post a while back about Freezing Milk I have been doing it. We are a family of four and we spend way to much money on food. We Love food but for some reason we can spend about the same as your family does. I think we need a bigger freezer. Also I think your Gabriel is so cute. I have a Gabriel also, I love seeing the name. :)

    • says

      A bigger freezer is helpful. We now have two refrigerators, a full freezer and a pantry. BUT, we’ve “collected” these items over the years. When we were a family of 4 we had no storage, no freezer and I didn’t know a thing about freezing. YOU are way ahead of the grocery saving game my friend! :)

  2. says

    In one of those pictures you are at SharpShopper! I miss that store. I try to go only twice a month with a larger stocking up trip every six weeks (Sam’s Club or Costco). We do buy milk during the week as we are limited on fridge and freezer space (I have two chest freezers but they stay stocked up with vegetables and meat.

    I do find a huge cost savings in buying vegetables in season (I try to buy twenty to forty pounds of something at a time and then process and freeze it in useable sizes). I try to freeze things at the point where I can just add them to a dish with no further cooking- I call then my “convenience foods”!

  3. says

    I do OAMS as well, and have written about it extensively on my blog. My system is slightly different, though: I do 75% of the budget in one monthly shopping trip, then I split the rest of the budget between the remaining weeks to pick up fresh produce at the farmers market (during the season), and at the grocery store, plus to pick up anything we went through that I didn’t restock in the big OAMS. It’s good to see other people doing OAMS!

    • says

      That’s great Anne. I love OAMS! :) In my current season with five children, two of which are aged 2 and under, I can’t do additional store trips {although I use too.} I try for all it’s worth to keep it to one trip per month. Luckily, we live next door to an orchard! In season we have our pick of fresh fruits. We live rural, and it’s a 60-mile round trip to the grocery store, which isn’t cost effective either. Love your blog and ideas!

  4. Shannon says

    Thanks so much for posting this. I read your other posts about OAMS and decided that I would give it a try. I was spending over $700 a month on food for our family of 5 because for some reason when I went to the store for milk, I would come out with a cart full of other stuff!! We live 100 miles one way to the closest walmart and the grocery store here is 10 miles away, but doesn’t have great prices. I just did my first round of shopping on the way home from our Thanksgiving trip, I didn’t plan well, but got some stuff at the store, paid about $230 and brought it home. I am happy to say that I was able to make a menu for 4 weeks with what I got at the store and what I have at home!!! Looking forward to learning more of what you have to say about OAMS!!!

  5. Moulton says

    I love the idea of OAM shopping! I just don’t have the space:( no pantry or extra freezer makes it difficult to shop more than 2 weeks worth for a family of 8! I do utilize a monthly meal plan, then shop two weeks at a time. It works for us….
    Thanks for sharing! I just love your blog and the encouragement I receive from it:)

    • says

      We haven’t always had the space either. When we lived in the city, in an apartment, we shopped bi-weekly. Even that is a HUGE savings. Stay out of the stores and you will save $! :)

  6. says

    This idea sounds intriguing. We have an upright freezer BUT we also have a side of beef coming in about a week and the freezer will be packed full (and overflow goes in the fridge freezer in the kitchen.) In order to really be able to do this OAMS we need to buy another freezer. We’ve been talking about buying one for a while now anyway. We spent $325 every 2 weeks for our family of 7, plus a few extra trips for more milk, more bread, produce, etc. I buy bread and freeze it but it dries out pretty badly so I don’t buy large quantities, just about 5-7 loaves at a time. I’d like to get a better system going so we can save some money!

  7. says

    I just found your blog via someone’s fb post listing you as a sponsor.. I am really enjoying what I’ve read. Thank you. :)

    I have a question for you, but it’s not exactly OAM related… feel free to disregard, if you rather! :) I have a passion for food/health/nutrition and keeping ourselves able to perform that which God has for us, and I am surprised to see both raw milk and sugar-free jello listed in your groceries. I LOVE raw milk (from healthy, appropriately-fed cows) and think it’s of great benefit. Not so much about the jello though.. :) Do you perhaps make gelatin with fruit and sweeten it with stevia? If instead you use the aspartame-sweetened, boxed stuff, I beg you to research the effects of heat on aspartame, and all that. On the other hand, do you buy raw milk because it is more readily available, and not for the nutritional benefits? I most often see raw milk as part of a ‘real/whole-food diet’ and am surprised to see it in conjunction with jello (if indeed we’re talking of the grocery-store type). If this offends at all, please forgive me.

    Thank you again for your blog… I homeschool and have four girls, and am blessed by what i’ve read here today. :)

    • says

      I’m absolutely not offended. :) I am a former full-time working momma who takes joy in cutting dollars to save money and in turn stay home. I went from spending $800-$1,200 per month on food, to now spending a fraction of that, AND being home with my children. I feel over all we eat very healthy. We don’t have standard junk food/soda. We eat as natural/whole food as possible. I’ve recently learned about the benefits of raw milk, and yes we love it! I’m sure over time {just like it took me two years to learn to cook, lol} I will continue to learn and grow in this area. For now, I’m just thankful to learn more about saving and continue to be home where I belong. Thank you so much for your thoughts and for reading!

  8. says

    I’ve been interested before about your once a month shopping idea, but didn’t think I could pull it off, but I have to say that this post is very timely! I am just sitting down and preparing my lists and coupons for tomorrow’s shopping day. In our community, the first Tuesday of the month is 15% off groceries and other stores offer discounts that day too. I have a big list planned already and am now tempted to add to it to try to make it a once a month shopping day. My only hesitation is that I have to take five of the kids with me (a friend was going to watch them and that just fell through) and the line-ups on 15% off day can be an hour or more long, so I am hesitant to add more to my list, but this post does inspire me and I am at least going to add a few more things to the list. Thank you for pushing me in the right direction.

    • says

      Sharla, you can do this! :) I’ve been OAMS with five kids and no helper. It gets “nuts” but it’s worth it to me {usually my hubby goes too, and we make it a family day}. Just get everything that is on your list for 1 week x 4. How much cheese do you need? Times that by 4. It’s just as easy to put that amount in the cart. YES, you’ll have several carts, but THAT is where having the kids with you comes in handy ;) Good luck friend!

  9. says

    I do a lot of the same things! I also heard about the Economides back before being frugal was cool. LOL I used to get their newsletter before they even published their first book.

    I make my own sugar-free applesauce, in the fall, then freeze it, in plastic Ball jelly jars. Usually lasts us about 6 months. Then buy Mott’s all natural for the rest of the year. I also, make smoothies and freeze those in the same jars.

    I think the only difference is that I use coupons. I buy large amounts of stuff when it is really cheap, instead of the standard once a month shopping. I will buy 12 things of A-1 Sauce when it’s .23 cents each. Or 50 things of salsa, free after coupon.

    Thanks for sharing all your knowledge! I need to freeze waffles…that I’ve never done! =)

    Many blessings to your family! =)

  10. Moulton says

    Oh yeah, I freeze pancakes too:) sometimes choc chip ones or banana ones! There so good, just pop them in the microwave and wa lah

  11. says

    I don’t have a lot of storage space, so I shop once a week, although my current goal is to get to shopping every other week (I menu plan two weeks out anyway).

    I just wanted to suggest that you save those hard loaf heels! They’re great for bread pudding. I know most people think of it as a dessert, but I make bread pudding with less sugar (and sometimes a chopped up apple or two) for breakfast a couple times a month. It’s delicious, fairly healthy, frugal, and feels like a treat.

      • says

        I save bread heels, too, but for another reason–breadcrumbs. My husband loves meatballs and to make breadcrumbs I just throw some dry bread, right out of the freezer, in a blender. I make homemade bread as often as I can (two loaves about once a week is enough since it’s just the two of us), so even my breadcrumbs are ‘homemade’.

        Thanks so much for these ideas. As it is I do major grocery shopping about once every two weeks with pick-ups for milk/produce/eggs in between. I don’t have a big fridge and my freezer is quite small so storing things is a bit of a difficulty. But these tips will definitely come in handy when we have a bigger family and more food storage. :) Thanks!

      • says

        Sure! Like Jaimie Ramsey, I use bread crumbs for other stuff too. I keep a plastic bag in my freezer for crumbs and stale bread. Here’s the recipe. It’s so easy to scale it up for your family size! And I love that it’s cheap and relatively healthy–no worse than pancakes, at least.

        Bread Pudding (any old recipe will do, just cut down on the sugar to make it good for breakfast)
        This recipe is adapted from The Prudence Penny Regional Cook Book (1957).

        Serves 4

        2 slices bread (or a similar quantity of crumbs, muffins, biscuits, etc.)
        1 pint milk
        2 eggs
        2 T brown sugar (or whatever you have on hand)

        Cut up the bread into crouton-size pieces or crumble it up–whatever’s easier–and put it in your baking dish. I just mix it all up in the baking dish (a pie pan will do). I don’t even bother to grease the dish first. Pour your milk into a measuring cup, and beat in the eggs. Then mix in the sugar. Pour the mixture over the bread. Stir it all a little in the pan, so the custard coats the bread. Carefully, put the pan in the oven (it WILL want to slosh), and bake at 350 for about 45 minutes.

        Tips: If you have little people who want breakfast the moment YOU are up, make this ahead the night before.
        For better nutrition, add in a chopped apple, raisins, or other fruit.
        For more flavor, sprinkle in some cinnamon.
        Tastes delicious with maple syrup!

        This is the kind of stuff I write about over on my blog. Little tips and tricks for cooking and homemaking and recipes that I find. Come on by!

        Rachel

  12. says

    This is so inspiring! I would really like to try this as I am not a fan of crowded grocery stores, and less stops has to mean less spending…So excited to have found your blog!

    • says

      That’s right Margo. I can do ANYTHING for oneday! It’s just ONE day of running the stores. Think, that’s only 12 trips per year instead of 52!!! :) For our family we make it a marathon day. The hubby helps with kids and carts, we eat out, and make it fun {of course we pass out when we get home}!

  13. says

    I used to go shopping once a month then 3 children came in quick succession, I think I need to get back to this. Oy, so much to do so little time. We have some extra $$ right now, I think I’ll start keeping an eye out for a used deep freezer.

  14. Tiffany says

    I am the mom who goes to the store twice a week! Ok I have a problem. I actually do not like to go to the store, but I like to go for all the sales. So I only buy what is on sale (except if I am making a recipe for a get together) and then we make meals around the sales. But I spend about $400 for 5 of us. So maybe I need to try this OAM shopping. It will be so hard for me though. I appreciate the blog and will try and break my habit! Any suggestions for kids who are super picky about fruit/veggies. I find that I spend a lot of money on fresh fruits/veggies that I know they will eat even if they are not on sale because I want them to eat healthy. My daughter does not like any can or frozen fruit. She also will not eat applesauce…so it limits me. I want her to eat healthy, but I want to save time/money/energy!
    Also one more question…where do you find ground sausage for $1 a lb?

    • says

      We have a grocery outlet called “Sharp Shopper” that is a God send. They have locations in PA & VA. It’s there that I can find sausage for $1/lb. Since they are an “outlet” I don’t always know what they’ll have, so I stock up like a mad woman on things like sausage, bagels and broccoli.

      Please don’t let OAMS be a pressure for you. :) I have to shop this way b/c I can’t run to the store every week. $400 for 5 is still good considering what many people spend on groceries. I do know though that you will save if you’re not at the store. Even cutting back by $50 would be a nice goal.

      Two of my children attempt to be picky at times. That’s why I usually have a couple of different snacks to choose from…bananas or carrots, jello or apples, pears or celery sticks. I know it’s a delicate balance of having them eat healthy, make smart choices, and sometimes being “o.k. kid…if you’re hungry you’ll eat this….if not dinner will be served in 2-hours.” :)

  15. Tiffany says

    Thanks for responding to my first comment. Here are a couple of more questions about OAM shopping. Do you read the sale adds when you know you will be shopping? Do you use coupons? Do you shop at more than one store for the OAM?

    Thanks again and Merry Christmas!
    Tiffany

    • says

      I don’t read sale ads or use coupons. :-) I do buy the store brand of most items. I usually shop at 3 stores; our discount grocery store, the dollar store (for Natures Own bread) and I finish up at Wal-mart. Something new that I’d like to try is OAM cooking. It’s always intrigued me…maybe in the new year ;) I never mind your questions sweetie. Have a good day!

  16. says

    Oh I love this post! I have done once a month cooking and have fallen behind and I wrestled with many of the questions you have answered here! You have gained a new follower :)
    So glad I clicked on your post from the blog hop!
    When you get a chance, come visit me :)

  17. says

    I just realized that I don’t really know how much we eat in a month. I’ve just never thought about it, because we shop weekly. So this post has inspired me to do a food challenge (and blog about it). I’m not going shopping (except for milk, eggs, and *maybe a little produce) until I run out of food to make balanced meals with. I just put up my first post here:

    http://trialanderrorhomeec.blogspot.com/2011/12/mpm-new-challenge.html

    And I’ll be posting updates every week. My fridge and freezer are pretty stocked right now, so I may just be able to make it to the end of the month. Wish me luck!

    • says

      Rachel, it’s a great idea for you to find out what you’re spending on groceries monthly. I think your series sounds wonderful. For me, even in seasons when I can spend more, by keeping a tight rein on my food budget; it keeps me creative. :) Good luck with your challenge!

      • says

        I know precisely how much I spend, and it is a tight budget, I just don’t have a very good feel for what quantity of food it represents. My last grocery challenge blog series was actually blogging through a month when we only had $100 to spend on food for the four of us. Before kids, I could feed the two of us on half that, but now I go through dairy products and eggs at a much faster rate.

        Usually, I keep my pantry pretty well-stocked with staples, and I only buy meat once a month or so, depending on sales, sometimes less. Of course, how much I buy in a week also depends on prices, so it fluctuates pretty significantly. Between those realities, I only really get a picture of how much fruit, milk, and eggs we go through in a week. I usually buy more vegetables than I need for that time, depending on the sales. I also usually buy rice, beans, baking supplies, etc. based on sales rather than on need, so I don’t really know how long it takes us to go through those. That’s the information I’m looking for.

        Anyway, I hope you swing by. Thanks for the encouragement! I’m a new reader, but I really enjoy your blog!

  18. says

    My family isn’t as big but I could still benefit from once a month shopping- at least for most of our needs. It feels ridiculous to be running to the store every couple days or so. Thanks for the suggestions (and for including my Super hero doll clothes post in your ebook ;)

  19. Sharon says

    I have heard that the less number of times you go to the store, the less you’ll spend. Right now I cannot imagine only going once a month. My toddler and I love to get out and I am a big couponer, so we usually hit multiple stores each week and only buy what’s on sale and what we have a coupon for at each store. But, it would be interesting to try and cut back to going once every two weeks and see how it goes. I do stock up on our “must haves” (like milk for my daughter) so I don’t have to make a special trip to the store just for one thing. Thanks for this post. I’m gonna talk to my husband about it.

  20. says

    Brilliant! Never even occurred to me that I could do all my shopping in one big trip. I am not a great planner but have had to become one. We went from 1 child to 4 little blessings over night 2 years ago through adoption! We were used to eating out at least once or twice a week, easy trips to the store with just the 3 of us, easy meal planning to suit our tastes (we ate lots of nachos).
    Now we have pickier palattes, 3 young children who did not know how to behave in a grocery store (and are still learning) plus a teen who just rolls her eyes at them, me quitting my job to homeschool said urchins (1/2 the money yet God does amazing things to make it stretch), and me learning how to cook for the first time in 17 years of marriage…what a learning experience. I will be reading every inch of your blog!!! Thanks for sharing! Now I’m off to clip coupons….

    • says

      Katie, it’s great to hear that you’re now learning to cook after 17-years of marriage. I only started learning how to cook during these past few years. It’s funny, homeschooling and staying home full-time pull a lot of creativity out of a mom! :)

  21. brandyce thompson says

    I have recently started using this site for all sorts of things! We are a homeschooling family and I come here for encouragement! I do, however, have a question! I am a couponer… i hit the grocery store bi-weekly and try to stock up. i was wondering if you post your shopping list as well as your monthly menu planner! we are a family of 6, but i know that our family won’t be getting any larger…well, maybe a dog or something, but no more babies :( i had ridiculous expectations for being a homeschooling family and how it would make life perfect, yeah, still waiting on that one! if i could get this OAMS thing mastered though, it would make life a lot easier! Also, just wanted to say thanks for being so willing to share your family with ours! I am learning so much!

    • says

      Brandyce, my intention is to post our monthly meal plan and shopping list. We’ve had about 4 major travels in the lat 6-weeks, so I’m out of my groove at the moment. I hope to share another monthly menu soon. :)

  22. Mary Ann Shepard says

    We have been doing a monthly menu plan and once a month shopping now for about 2 yrs. We changed due to my husbands job. He gets paid once a month and I found it easier to pay all the bills do the shopping and not have to worry about what would happen the week before pay day. It has taken some getting use to and we have a few people who think we are beyond crazy. The only thing we don’t have room to store/freeze enough of is milk so that does get budgeted to be bought about 3x a month. We have also found a veggie/fruit co-op we have joined and thought that is a 2x monthly cost it is so much cheaper than if we were buying from the store and we are supporting local farmers. I wish I could say my budget is as good as yours. We have tried numerous ways to reduce it and have it to about $400 a month on months we don’t have to replenish a ton. Other months we can see about $600. However, I tried to remind myself that is not bad for feeding a family of 6 right now it is about $100 per person per month. Thanks for the ideas and it is great to see others doing this. It does take time and organization we have one whole day set aside every month to do the pantry/freezer/menu and lists plus all the shopping.

  23. Sara says

    Since I read your post, I’ve been freezing milk and finding that I really can go to the store less! It’s hard to resist the sale ads, but being so far away from the store (45min) makes it a little easier. I’ve always done OAMC, price matching, and a bit of couponing, but going to the store less is what makes the most difference for me. We are down to $400 a month for a family of 4. That includes paper, personal, cat, and dog food! That is a huge improvement for us! Thanks so much for this post, love your blog!!

  24. says

    Thank you for this very encouraging article.

    I have avoided OAMS for years now because my DH got paid weekly not monthly and it seemed more complicated. But I recently was sick for almost 3 weeks and the grocery money had piled up to a sizable sum.

    I decided to give it a try.

    I spent about $350 for 4 of us. That included A LOT of junk food. If I don’t have it at home DH will go down to the convenience store and get it when he has the craving for sweets. I didn’t spend much less than I normally would. (my monthly budget is $400) but I got LOTS MORE FOOD for my dollars.

    I shopped the last day of the month which meant prices were lower. And I have saved myself 3 more 40-mile round trips in the next 3 weeks. Our WINCO changes the prices weekly which is very aggravating. Tillimuk 2lb brick of cheese can be 5.99 one week and 8.50 the next. I did do a basic menu (figured 1 week multiplied by 3 ). I forgot some things like beans. So next week when I drive to the big town for a Dr apt I will stop buy and buy 8 cans of kidney beans. I can wait, because if I buy them here in our little town I will pay over $1 per can instead of 60 cents. I just cant justify the difference. And you can see how that would impact and entire month of groceries!

    Next I would like to include OAM cooking. But I will need to get a deep freeze for that.

    The most noticeable change I had to made was storage. I had no pantry before. I cleared about a cabinet of lesser-used items and am using it for extra storage. Those lesser used items are gonna have to be in the garage for now.

    I THINK the best time to shop at WINCO is the last week of the month. I would be interested to know if someone has another opinion on the matter.

  25. Shirley says

    My daughter told me that you can freeze avocados! Buy them when they’re on sale, freeze them, put them in the refrigerator to thaw (thaw about half way) & use in recipes as usual. Guacamole & avocado enchiladas come to mind.

    Also read that fresh berries will last MUCH longer if washed/rinsed in a white vinegar/water wash & dried *before* putting in ‘frig. Tried it & it WORKED great! (It takes a little longer since have to do small amounts but I use my salad spinner to dry them.)
    Thx for all your tips!

  26. Roseanna says

    About the bread, we keep the end slices and any hard pieces in gallon bags in the freezer, when we have two bags full, we make croutons for soups and salads. Thaw the bags of hard bread and cut to the size you like. Put them all in a big bowl and spray with cooking spray (we use canola) and then season as you like (we use garlic powder and onion powder). Toss them around, respray and reseason if needed. Then throw those little guys on a baking sheet and broil them until they are the color you like, usually turning them once keeps the color uniform.

    This works great for the parts of the frozen bread that seem freezer burned or soggy as well. We store them in a big plastic container and they literally keep for months! I hate waste, so anything we can reuse is always delightful for me. LOVE your site by the way…God bless!

  27. says

    hey there! i appreciate your advice so much! i have a couple questions as i look through your menu/what you buy. i notice you eat the same meals for a few days at a time sometimes, and my husband would never have it;) he can’t even handle eating left overs. what would you do there?

    also, i think my kids must eat a ton more! lol. we would go through a box of crackers, a bunch of bananas, a 2 lb strawberries and a several cheese slices everyday if i let them.

    i am also curious how you budget your household supplies like tp, shampoos, etc. do you get that at the same time but it is a seperate ‘allottment’? thank you!

    • says

      Mandy,

      I do make large meals. I’ve tried to make smaller and for some reason it doesn’t work well for me. I always say that I’m destined for 10 kids ;) I do change up the meals a bit each time. My husband is very good able eating leftovers. So, I think you may need to make your man some dinner every night ;) As far as the kid snacks I have lots of items ready. Hard boiled eggs, carrots, celery, and tons of oranges. Popcorn is also a filling snack that I make at home. I make it on my stove top in a big pot.

      One thing that helps is in addition to the list that you read we’re never completely out when I go to the store. With the OAMS I find that I end up stalking up on items, so that helps. We also have 2 freezers.

      We use cloth diapers for 80% of our diaper usage; that saves a ton on household expenses. We also make cloth napkins out of old kitchen towels and wash cloths. We use about another $60 for household items. Hope that helps a little!

  28. Laura says

    Thank you so much for this amazing post! Found you thru your guest post on Money Saving Mom and just read all your info on monthly shopping. I am so excited to do this. We, too, are trying to be the best stewards with what the Lord has given us. My husband is a youth pastor and I’m a stay at home mom. To say money’s tight would be an understatement, but the Lord has always provided! What a blessing to be at home with my kids! I could just feel the Holy Spirit as I read your post on the cost of kids. Such truth about not focusing on keeping up w/ the Joneses! How that gets us in trouble and makes us believe the lie that we can’t afford kids, or anything for that matter. So, question: wondering if you believe it’s best to buy bulk items at the cheapest, largest quantity (and assuming that we will use it/store it all before it goes bad) or buy smaller amounts (like 5 Ib. vs. 25 Ib. amounts) that cost a bit more. Wondering more so about how it would affect a budget to pay so much money upfront versus still buying bulk but just paying and getting less upfront. Thanks for your heart for God and the family!

    • says

      Laura, I buy oatmeal and brown rice in 15-25 lb bags. It saves a lot and I only have to buy them every 2-3 months. I’ve never found stores like Costco or Sam’s Club to be a big savings as far as buying in bulk there. I do most of my shopping at my local Wal-mart and our lovely discount grocery store. I hit the discount grocery store first, and fill in all the gaps at Wal-mart. I’m so glad that you found me and I found you! Blessings friend :)

  29. Libby says

    How do you manage to gather so much food in one trip? I have a family of 7 and barely make it out of the store with one cart once a week, so I’m trying to figure out the logistics of gathering all that food and getting out of the store.

    • says

      My two older boys each push a cart, and so do I if need be. We usually fill 2 carts at Sharp Shopper and 2 carts at Wal-mart. We have a large 12 passenger van also. We take out all that we possibly can, sometimes the very back seat too. I hope that helps!

  30. Margaret says

    I have a family of 10, and what age the kids are makes a huge difference. Three of my kids are adults, four are teenagers, and my youngest is just a little under that. I just don’t think I could do this once a month….but it is worth a try every other! Thank you for the idea. :)

  31. SArah Butcher says

    ( I spend 175-200 for groceries cleaners laundry soaps and stuff for the kids every other week and I get WIC too we have 3 small kids and us) I love your ideas however I wouldn’r survive eating the “cheap” breasd as we are Gluten free and cow milk free(goats milk is about triple price) and peanut free due to food allergies! I need to cust back on costs but I rarely eat breads due to cost tho it would surely save my sanity and I’m at a loss because we eat LOTS of produce and 1 week a month wouldn’t even come close to working here. Do you have any resources for gluten dairy and peanut free cheapness??? You are wonderful BTW!

  32. Robin B says

    how do you freeze milk? i’ve been trying for months and have failed miserably. it always ends up being sour

  33. Liz says

    I linked over from Money Saving Mom. I love you site. We freeze our bread as well. If the heels are too dry to use or if the rest of the loaf gets to dry, we use it to make bread crumbs instead of buying them pre-made. My husband seasons them and bakes them in the oven and we break them up. Just a thought to help use everything and not waste.

      • Alicia says

        Another cool thing to do with hard bread and those pesky heels that no one seems to want to eat is to store them in their own Ziploc bag until you have enough to make a quiche or omelette bake.

  34. Kari says

    I’m interest in this idea, but I tired one month to buy grocieries for 2 weeks and it just made my kids and husband think they could eat more, since we had it…how do you get things to last, till you need them in your meal plan with out the family eating it all before then?
    Those darn growing kids, just think they need to eat all the time!

  35. Kim C. says

    I am in Alaska and we have a family of eight, 6 hungry boys. Looking through your price/grocery list, everything here would be at least double the price. We currently spend $1200 a month on food. I’ve been searching for a way to get our cost down but nothing seems to apply to Alaska prices. I’ve tried coupons but most of those are for boxed foods which we don’t eat. Any ideas????

  36. Melissa K says

    Jamerrill, I love the logistics of the once a month shopping, but no matter how hard I try, I just cannot seem to get it right. I think a lot of it has to do with the way we need to eat and choose to eat. We are gluten free, dairy free, egg-free and try to eliminate toxins as much as possible (my husband and our son have severe allergies). Which means we eat organic as much as possible (as much as the budget will allow), no dyes or artificial ingredients (we make most of our food from scratch, no boxed meals here) and it’s already so much planning that I cannot even pretend to understand how it could ever be possible to only do this once a month and to actually save money. We spend on our family of 4…….. are you ready for this………. I’m almost too embarrassed to tell you the number………………….. $1100/month!!!!!
    Do you have ANY tips???? Any at all that may be helpful to lowering our food bill and get me less trips to the grocery store??? Right now, I am going once a week…. just in order to keep things from spoiling…. organic fruits/veggies go bad quickly and we don’t eat canned fruits/veggies due to the bpa in the lining of the cans.
    I’m going broke and nuts…. can anyone help?

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