Make, Do and Mend

The cyber-diary of what this homemaker makes, does and sometimes mends.
My motto is "if you do stuff, stuff gets done"

Saturday, September 15, 2012

My method for monthly shopping

Here is the method that works best for keeping my kitchen stocked and family feed.  I have different stores available to me than you do and I am sure we have different budgets and food preferences.  So some of this might interest you but it might not carry over at all to your home.  

I don't much like the grocery stores in my town and prefer the stores in Oklahoma City- about an hours drive.  I like to shop at Crest Foods, where the cheese came from, mostly for sales and good deals.
I really like Sprouts for very fresh produce at low prices.  They have nice meat and some good bulk items too- I pretty much only buy from their weekly sale list though as their regular prices are high.  
Aldis is also on the list- I like their baking items,  husband loves their chips, and sometimes they have good deals on produce.  
Last is Sams, a big warehouse store where everything is good and comes in huge amounts.  

Once we get to Oklahoma City,  these 4 stores are all pretty close together.  
My husband is not perfect but he is really good sport about driving me around, loading the groceries and will even backtrack if I decide to need to re-visit a store.  He knows I am spending his paychecks just as wisely as possible.  

The one thing everyone asks about, when they hear someone shops once a month,  is what about fresh produce?   Well,  I do like to do the bulk of my shopping once a month and I think we probably eat more produce than average.  

First,  I buy the very freshest produce I can find.  From past experience,  I know the produce from Sprouts and Sams is fresher and lasts longer than produce I buy in my town.  

Second,  we eat things in order.  I know the bananas and grapes won't last all month so we eat those first and have apples and oranges later in the month.  

Third,  I pack the produce as air tight as possible before I put it in the fridge. 

that 6 pack of romaine heads from Sams gets put in zipper bags and sealed up with as much air as possible squeezed out.
These will keep for up to 3 weeks like this,

the bulk organic greens bought at Sprouts for $1.99 /pound are sealed up in a plastic container
I know these have a shorter shelf life than the romaine so  these will get eaten first.
We had half of them in last nights salad.  

I am also a big fan of Tupperware Fridgesmart containers.
I have about 6 of them and keep most all the salad veggies in them.
This one holds celery and green onions.
I also stored the tomatoes, bell peppers, mushrooms and some of the grapes in them this trip.

Tupperware is expensive,  I got some of mine on Ebay in a lot that was not too high.  I even found one at a thrift store.

When I don't have the right size Fridgesmart container,  I use any plastic container or bag that will hold the produce.
I really think sealing produce up from air prolongs the shelf life.  

Eggs- can you tell their are brown, blue and white ones in that dish?  They don't come from the store but from friends who have a few chickens.  $2 a dozen!

Milk - one store in my town puts half gallons on sale about once a month.  I buy 6 or 8 and freeze them,  after I open each one and pour about an inch into a pitcher.  The milk needs a little room to expand when froze.  

Baked goods - I make most of those from scratch at home.  

I have a smallish chest freezer.  It is currently packed though it is not always this full.  
I did not buy any meat this trip because I have found some great sales locally on chicken and ground beef, roasts and sausage.  

I buy big bags of frozen veggies and sometimes fruit to supplement the fresh produce.  
I read the local sales ads when the come out each week.  If their are really good deals or things we need,  I buy them locally.  

I do stop at Walmart and Walgreens to use coupons maybe twice a month.  

With the big shopping trip,  I don't have to shop again for a month if I can't.
 Normally I do supplement fresh and sale items if convenient.  

If you are wondering how many people I feed - well,  a lot!
Just my husband and I live here but I have grandchildren here about 3 days a week. 
Their parents join us for meals  often as does our single son.
My parents visit us an average of 1 week every month or so.
And when my parents are here visiting,  my brothers usually come for a short time and our children visit more frequently so they can see their grandparents and uncles. 

How much do I spend?  It really varies.  
In a very good month  - maybe $400-$500 for the month.
It is usually quite a bit higher though.  $700.  
For all that we bought this week,  I spent about $250 but that did not include any meat, milk or the eggs.  

We have a pretty big stockpile and could probably live on just what we have for 3-4 months without much difficulty, maybe longer.  

So,  that is how we do it!  

is it anything like how you plan and shop?  


  1. Oh Rhonda your pantry is fabulous! What do you have for the cute edging on your shelves? Thanks, Angela

  2. Great post Rhonda. Have you rested up yet?:) I just finished repackaging meat I brought yesterday. There has been some great sales lately.
    Have a wonderful week end.

  3. So glad my kitchen is not the only kitchen to look like that on shopping day;-) Since moving here, I am enjoying shopping mainly once a month. My son now joins me and is learning a lot. I have a Super Target/WalMart to shop for the staples, and our local Staters for other stuff, though they are a bit pricey...I just mainly get their lost leaders. Sometimes I can get great deals on breads there. Still not making our bread, someday. Our local farm stand is great for cheese. locally made, but lately their produce seems to be spoiling after a few days, even in the fridge.

    As it is apple season around here, we are eating tons of apples, your apple butter, and apple pie. Apples are the only fruit the men folk eat, I eat all the other fruits.

    We thought we bought a big for us chest freezer, but are now thinking we should have gone larger. Have been stocking up on meats when on sale. Our local store is walking distance so that helps with gas.

    I love your new blog and look forward to your tips. I did sign up the the Staples rewards, and was able to get double the amount for ink and recycling the ink.

    blessings, jill

  4. I used to shop more once a month and am now trying to get back to it! It just makes more sense to fill the car when we are out anyways rather than turn right around and buy the same thing again the next week! Still trying to work out the budget so we can do it all at once--working towards that! I'm also replenishing and building our stockpile; it's dwindled a lot over the past year or so and especially with moving!

    Spinach lasts a lot longer than the spring mix greens so that's what I usually buy on our once a month trip to Sam's. Our last box lasted about 3 weeks! Then we buy other lettuce in smaller amounts otherwise.

  5. I am a once a month shopper also! I pretty much do it the way you do. The exception for me is that I do the bulk of my shopping at Walmart. I take the ads and do price matching. I also hit Sam's about every two to three months for bulk items.

    You have a nice pantry. The shelf fringe is very cute!

  6. I do bulk shopping too and appreciate your tips on bulk buying milk and produce!

  7. Rhonda, Like the look of the new blog, was able to get on computer tonight for a bit am online through J's friends I phone conected to my computer, so a few blogs was in order.

  8. I still shop once a week and we only have two grocery stores besides Walmart. One grocery store is not a chain and the other is Ingles. I usually try to buy what is on sale and want to start building a bit of stockpile, but we need to find some room for it first. I love this post as it gives so many good tips!

  9. I have never been able to get a handle on once a month shopping. I wish I could. I need you to live closer so you could help me! I do love your pantry.

  10. I am so impressed!! I shop once a week but have been trying to stretch to every two weeks and it's been hard. We do eat a lot of fresh produce. I have one of those tupperware containers and I always check the thriftstore since I've found quite a few tupperware products there.

    Love your pantry!

  11. oops forgot to ask how you organize your chest freezer. We have one but I find things get lost in it. I try to group like items in really large storage bags but that's really not working that well for me. Any ideas?

  12. I don't really have a plan for shopping. I go to Meijer once/week to get everything we need for that week. I used to also shop at Aldi, but I don't anymore. All I'd buy there is a little bit of produce and maybe some milk, so it's not worth it for me to go to a separate store just for those few items. I don't buy any of their regular stock items anymore, as we only eat natural peanut butter, homemade salad dressing, whole grains, etc. We don't eat any frozen meals or boxed or canned goods with high sodium and/or artificial ingredients.

  13. PS - I love your pantry! Is that in your kitchen? Oh, and you had asked on my blog how many plants I have. I now have about 15-17 in the house now.

  14. What a great pantry. I have shopped once a month but currently I am shopping loss leaders and sales weekly.

  15. Doncha just love a well-stocked pantry! I like to just open the door and look!

  16. I do not enjoy shopping much so going as little as possible and being as efficient as possible is a GOOD THING. I like hearing how you do it...I am taking notes!!!!

  17. I want this pantry. I'm starting to stockpile with sales but I need shelves...or a fantastic pantry like that.


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