Shopping Monthly

Occasionally we are asked logistical questions about life with a large family, I thought I’d share one of our tips. For the last four years we have been shopping monthly. Let me hasten to assure you that we still visit the green grocer weekly where we purchase, fruit, vegetables, bread and milk; but the supermarkets are visited monthly.

Why do we do it? Mainly we save time, to me that is the biggest factor. We also find it more economical. I am not a shopper by nature and love the fact that I only have to go monthly. At first it was like planning a major expedition. But after four years it is now natural.

First we went from weekly to fortnightly, then we trialled every three weeks for a time until we graduated to monthly. This gave us time to adjust our savings, learn which items were perhaps needed more and to simply give ourselves time to adjust to the sheer volume.

PC who is more organised than I has designed an excel spreadsheet. One column has the grocery items and another has blank boxes. I simply check my pantry the night before, note how many items I need or not, and mark the amount in the box. I love this as it reduces the amount of planning and thinking I need to do. (Vital that;) Recently I have updated the items to correspond with the grocery aisles. This makes for a far quicker smoother shop.

We shop at two supermarkets as the bulk, no frills, little service, supermarket, does save money and at the bigger supermarket. The best time to shop is either first thing in the morning at 7.30am or after 6pm when there are no crowds. This also ensures a much faster shop.

Unpacking when we get home is a major feat but with ‘all hands on deck’ it makes the task easier. The pantry and freezer are organised with items grouped together. The best part is it is another month until we shop again.

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8 Responses

  1. last year I did a big cook once a month to get all our main meals in the freezer. It saved us a lot of money and time. I now have a similar list to you with all our main meals and the ingredients they need. I type up the list, look in the pantry at what we already have and then go shopping. I get the vegetables from our green grocer and some kangaroo mince from the kangaroo factory in town. Everything else is bought at Coles. I cook all the meals over 3/4 days and then we have everything ready for the month.

  2. I have wondered about cooking and freezing. Kangaroo Meat?? What does it taste like?

  3. I honestly cannot tell the difference in many of our meals to using beef mince. We started using it because Tom’s dietitian recommended it since the fat content is so low. We try and watch his fat intake. Also having the factory here, we pay only $3.00 a kg.

  4. I’m curious as to how many trollys you use and how many helpers you have Erin?

    I would love to shop monthy, but haven’t gotten around to the logistics required to actually do it!

  5. Two trolleys and just one helper works best … any more helpers than that and it becomes another logistical feat to not miss anything, run over anybody or pick up double quantities!! (Helpers over 9yo are most appreciated, but its often the 4yo & 2yo that 'loves to help')

  6. Thanks for this!! Grocery shopping has become a huge challenge lately, and I really should try and shop monthly where possible! =)

    Now, I wonder if I could talk my hubby into making me a spreadsheet!

  7. Well if he hasn’t time, I’m happy to send you mine and you can just change your items, or I can send you a blank one.

  8. Erin, thank you for sharing all this. It is helpful to see what you do and how you overcome shopping expenses.

    ~Cinnamon

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