Now – you’ve probably seen the title, may be confused, and asking yourself can you really only grocery shop once a month? Well, the short answer is, yes – you really can do only once a month grocery shopping. Buying groceries are one of those annoying tasks that most people loathe. Studies have shown that most people spend up to 9 hours a month on grocery shopping. That is a crazy amount of time to spend on something as mundane as buying food!
Are you a parent that works full-time and wants to spend time with family on the weekend? Are you an on-the-go type of person that wants to spend all the time possible getting the most out of life? Or are you a student that misses your mom buying your groceries for you? Then the once a month grocery plan is probably for you!
Luckily for you, this handy article is going to tell you everything you need to know about grocery shopping once a month. It will outline why you should switch to saving a massive amount of time and doing your grocery trip once a month, tips to make it run super smooth, and then answering some FAQS at the end.
Why You Should Go Grocery Shopping Only Once a Month
When you first see the title of this article, it might seem like it is something that’s too good to be true. How can you possibly buy fresh produce that keeps for a month? Well, there are a few things you can do to make them last, but you might also have to venture out more than once a month to get your fresh fruits and veggies. It really depends how fresh you like your produce, but this article is all about limiting the time in the shops.
Below is a conclusive list of why you should grocery shop once a month and all the benefits it can have in your family!
Firstly, the big obvious reason: it saves a heck of a lot of time. The last thing you want to be doing on your day off is trekking around the store. For most of us, it’s one of the most boring tasks that we dread every week. Try once a month and eradicate this dreaded weekly chore.
Secondly, let’s be honest- it never takes only an hour. There are lots of components involved in preparing to go grocery shopping – there’s the actual shopping and then coming home and putting everything away. You probably anticipate it will take around an hour but in reality, it probably goes something like this…
- 20 minutes to check what you have and to make a list
- 5 minutes to gather all the reusable bags
- 20 minutes to drive to the store
- 1 hour walking around and paying for groceries
- 20 minutes drive home
- 20 minutes to put all the groceries away
That is a pretty realistic time schedule of how long it takes to grocery shop. That’s a whopping 2 hours and 25 minutes every week to complete a boring task. We are absolutely sure that you have better things to be doing.
However, you might be thinking: I just go on short runs to the shop but when people in your house hear you’re popping to the shop, you know they’re gonna ask you to get a lot of extra things. The grocery run is never just a run, it always turns into ‘oh can you grab this for me?’ and before you know it, you’re doing another weekly shop.
All the above has just shown that it never takes just 45 minutes to do your grocery shop. By going at the end of the month, you can completely cut down on unnecessary time wasted by doing groceries. It is extremely efficient and you’ll have so much more extra time to relax after a hard week at work…
This might seem like an impossible benefit. How could you be spending less money if you’re buying the same amount of food every month? But maybe ask yourself, are you? When buying your groceries once a month, you don’t have room for all those unnecessary purchases. You cut down on produce you don’t need by only having the room for goods you do need.
Groceries can really add up. Most people get paid once a month, so it’s difficult to monitor what you’re spending against your monthly income. By shopping once a month, it means you can create a grocery budget. That means it’s easy to tweak and adjust your spending, according to your income. This is a super simple way to save money.
Also, think about the gas you will be saving by not having to drive an extra 3 times a month to the grocery store! This alone could really be the reason why you cut down your grocery shop.
I am sure we all have made the mistake of going shopping on an empty stomach. Our eyes are bigger than our belly and we end up buying far too much food.
There are obvious health benefits to only shopping once a month, including that you don’t buy those yummy but probably unhealthy treats you see on the way around the store. Grocery shopping once a month means you are forced to plan and select the foods that will last longer. Although a pack of 6 donuts looks amazing whilst you’re in the store, you know they won’t last long. Opting for something healthier like granola bars will help you stay on the healthy road.
Top 10 Tips For Once a Month Grocery Shopping
So by this point in the article, you’ve probably read the benefits and you’ll be thinking sign me up! But you might still be unsure of how to make this work for you and your family. It is definitely something that you have to get into the practice of and to work out how best it can work for you. Below, are a list of our top 10 tips for once a month grocery shopping.
1) The freezer is your best friend
Once a month grocery shopping might only work for you if you have a big freezer with lots of space. We’ve already stated that you might have to nip out a few times to restock your supply of fresh produce. However, there is a way to get around it, and the answer is the big and cold storage block sitting in your kitchen.
The freezer will really become your best friend. You can freeze just about anything – if you’re unsure about what can be frozen, you can always check the packaging. Freezing fresh produce will make it last the whole month, along with meat and fish.
Here’s a tip for you: frozen produce, especially fruit is actually super delicious. You can make ice cream out of frozen bananas and frozen grapes are extremely good. If you are worried that through this once a month shop you won’t get your 5 a day, then you can think again!
It is also super handy when you’ve got leftovers and are not sure what to deal with them. However, pop it in a container and freeze it! Freezer meals aren’t as bad as the rep they get, especially if they have been previously homemade!
2) Meal planning
If you want to tackle once a month grocery shopping, then you need to plan meals. This will make everything so much easier when you’re about to go on your shopping trip.
Planning your meals is actually super important for many reasons. Firstly, it will save you time. If you know what you’re having for meals each night, it will save time dithering about what to make. A tip from us: buy a cheap chalkboard from Walmart and place somewhere in your kitchen. Write down the days of the week and what’s for nightly meals next to them. This means that everyone knows what they’re going to get and it makes it easier for the head chef!
Secondly, it also means that you know what goes off, meaning that you can tailor your eating to make sure that nothing goes to waste! This is essential when wanting to save money because it means that you are using up everything you are buying.
Lastly, it just makes everything super easy when you’re making your grocery shopping plan and budget. Meal plans are a super-easy way of just cutting down the work for yourself.
3) Write a grocery list
Lists. They are pretty essential to any organized person. Hacks like lists really make the grocery haul once in a one month period much easier. You need to make a list if you’re going to try monthly grocery shopping trips.
When shopping, especially for say, a family of 4, you’re going to have a lot of stuff to get. And you definitely do not want to forget anything, god forbid your child’s favorite peanut butter! Making a list, whether electronically or physically, will make sure that you never forget anything.
With meal planning, this means that you clearly know the ingredients you need. By writing a shopping list, it means that you are much less likely to forget anything for your recipes. Overall, they are great ways to stay more organized.
4) Research recipes
I am sure that there’s been a point in your life where you have totally run out of ideas for meals. It’s pretty boring eating the same old food all the time and sometimes you want to spice it up; quite literally.
Researching recipes is a great way to make the once a month grocery shopping work for you. Researching will give you loads of new ideas. In the first week of trying this, you will be surprised at how many ideas you have for dinner. It just makes everything a little bit easier. When it comes to later in the month, you will be sure to still have fresh and new ideas.
5) Batch cook
Batch cooking – it seems really overwhelming! However, this is a great way to try once a month grocery shopping and. make it super easy. Batch cooking does require a lot of planning, but over time, you’ll be super glad you tried it. The satisfaction of being able to heat up a frozen meal that you’ve previously cooked will save so much time and energy. When you have a few little hungry mouths to feed, this will feel like a godsend, leaving you more time to spend with the kids when they get home from school.
You can tailor your grocery list accordingly and then buy a lot of ingredients for your batch cook. You could even make enough meals in the week to last you the entire month!
This again is where your freezer comes in super handy. By freezing any extra meals you make, you can save time cooking and going to the grocery stores.
6) Know your staples
If you’re thinking about going to the grocery store only once per month, you might be thinking that your grocery list will be massive, especially when cooking for a family. This will probably be true, so it’s best that you get to know your staples.
Staples will be food that you buy every single time you go shopping; things like like, fruit, veg, certain kinds of meat, or sweet treats. By knowing your staples, it allows you to budget because you know what you are definitely going to buy. It will also save you time when walking around the store, as you get to know where everything is.
As well as having individual staples, it’s a good idea to have staple recipes. These are meals that you always have the ingredients for and are easy to throw together without much planning. Keeping dry food that has a super long use-by date in, such as pasta and rice is a really good idea in case something happens. If you suddenly come down as ill, you know that they’ll always be food, even if you miss your once a month slot.
7) Create a stockpile
Do you have that extra space in your kitchen or a little closet under the stairs that gets filled with junk? Maybe it’s time to change it into a pantry. If you have space, creating a stockpile in your house is a great idea. Buying things when they’re on a deal in the store may seem unnecessary, but if it will last a long time then it’s worth keeping in!
If 2020 has taught us anything, then it’s that we never know what is around the corner. Knowing that you have food in your house to last you for a while in case anything happens will give you that valuable peace of mind.
That just-in-case pile is also great for if you somehow fall ill and miss your slot for shopping. You won’t even need to go to the store – you can shop from your stockpile! Although we encourage planning, you can’t always plan for everything. That’s why it’s best to be prepared and definitely better to be safe than sorry.
8) Sell and use buy dates
This is a super important tip when wanting to only go to the grocery store once a month. It’s imperative to look at the sell and use by dates when shopping, so you know when things will go bad. Stores usually hide food with a longer use-by date at the back of the shelf, so it’s sometimes worth having a little rustle around to try and find the best one – you can see it as an adventure!
When you get home from the store and you’re writing the meal plan for the month, it is useful to know the use-by date of everything so you can ensure that nothing goes to waste. The key here is making sure that you get the most out of your money!
9) Stick to a date
Modern life is busy. Whether you work full time, have a family to raise, or even both, you really want to minimize time doing the boring adult things. Once a month grocery shopping is designed to save you the most time. Going to the store once out of an entire month may seem impossible, but we promise that you can do it!
One of the best things to do is to pick a date and stick to it. You might be busy during the week with work and then on the weekends have to run the kids to all sort of clubs – you definitely do not have time to take a trip to Aldi every weekend. That’s why it’s important that you find a date that works for you.
Maybe once a month the kids go to your parents, or maybe there’s just one rare date where you don’t have anything to do. When you pick a date and stick to it, you know exactly how much food you need until you can go again. Knowing a specific date that you shop every month makes things easier for everyone.
This also has health benefits for you and your family, because say you only buy a few treats per month, they know they can’t eat everything before the month is up because they will literally no more until a certain date…
10) Planning is crucial
If it already hasn’t been made clear by the other tips on this list, planning is super important in this whole process. It might seem like a lot of effort to pull off, but once you get into a routine of it, it will become super easy. The benefits to this idea are really worth the little bit of effort at the beginning to get it going.
You’re not usually an organized person? We can combat that! You don’t need a fancy planner or journal like everyone tries to sell you, just a pen and paper or the notes section of your phone will do! Firstly, just choose a day that you’ll be able to commit to once each month. That way, you know exactly when you’re going to grace the store with your presence!
As we have previously mentioned, lists are super valuable when it comes to something like this. List ingredients, meals, and your grocery budget, to ensure you’re not forgetting anything.
Meal planning will be a lifesaver when it comes to this. You need to know what you’re having when, to ensure that you get the most out of it. You definitely don’t want to waste any food and certainly not money.
Hopefully, we have shown you that it really is not that difficult to do your shopping trip only once a month. All you’ve got to have is a bit of patience to get going and then a pen and paper – it really is as simple as that! There are so many pros to this method, all that will add to your quality of life. That may seem like a drastic thing to say, but it is totally true. There are lots of little things that we can do to make everyday life a little easier.
We do admit that it will take a little bit of getting used to, but hopefully, the benefits of doing this outweigh the effort of prep. We are absolutely sure that once you get started, you’ll forget that you ever went shopping once a week.
Does once a month grocery shopping save money?
As shown previously, this method does in fact save you money. However, here is a quick recap!
This method of shopping can save you money through not having the space to buy the unnecessary extras which end up adding up. The things you see when walking around the aisles and think oooh that would be good to try! However, before you know it, your trolley is totally full and you still haven’t gotten half the produce you needed. By going shopping once a month, you have less space for the extras, therefore, saving you money.
Secondly, you also save money by not using as much gas. Gas is pretty expensive nowadays and can easily add up if you’re popping to get groceries a few times a week. Obviously, by only going once per month, this cuts all the extra trips down, meaning that you aren’t spending that extra cash.
How many times a month should you go grocery shopping?
There’s no right or wrong answer as to how many times you should go grocery shopping a month. This is because it will depend on a lot of factors, such as how big your family is, how much produce you consume, how close you live to the shop, how much storage space you have, etc.
Although in this article we have shown you the many benefits to only going food shopping once per month, it might not be for everyone and that is okay! There really is no right or wrong answer, and it’s about the best way that works for you and your family.
How do I start a food shop for a month?
Thinking about only going to the store once per month can first appear really daunting. However, once you get into the routine of it, it will become second nature. We recommend to maybe start thinking about going it once a month before you actually commit to it. That way, you can keep track of what you’re buying regularly, which will then become staples for your monthly shop.
Thinking about cutting down visiting the shop only once a month before you commit to it also allows you to assess how much you’re spending and what goes to waste. When you’re doing a big shop, especially when in a family, you aren’t going to have a lot of excess space. This means anything that is not essential or that definitely will be eaten, has got to go.
Meal planning is pretty essential to starting this process. You really need to know what you need and for when so you’re super covered for the entire month. This might seem like a really overwhelming process, but that’s why the top 10 tips up above will come in super handy.
The last bit of advice from us about how to start is, well, just to start! You might not get it right the first time and that’s totally okay. It might take a bit of practice and a bit of getting used to. And on your first try, you will probably find yourself popping back to the store for those last two meals you totally forgot about. But that is totally fine. This is a process and it takes time to fully fall into. But with the right enthusiasm and commitment, it’ll soon become the best thing you ever did.
How much food do you need for a month?
How much food you need for a month will totally depend on how many people you live with. This can also depend on everyone’s diet too. Beginning to plan how much food you need for a month can seem overwhelming at first, but it’s actually pretty easy. Take your receipt from your last shop and work out how many of those you’d need to fulfill a month. For example, if you go to the store every two weeks, then times that by two. However, if you go once a week, then times it by four.
You can easily work out how much food you need for a month but this will vary between households. It also might start to change depending on whether you beginning to meal plan, as you will probably find that you need less.
If you are worried about money, it is actually pretty easy to shop for groceries on a budget. Stores like Aldi offer a lot cheaper alternatives to branded food, so that might be something to try!