Here are the 5 key ways we save each month (some I have gone into detail with previous posts and some I will share soon)…
1. Once a month shopping
2. Making our cleaning products
3. Growing a square foot garden
4. Thrift shopping
5. Making beauty products
Today I will go more in depth as to how we “once a month shop”. After doing some research and practicing for a couple months I was able to cut our grocery bill in half. Now for food, cleaning and diapers/wipes we are able to spend about 500 dollars. While this system may not work for everyone it has worked wonders for us and enabled me to quit my job to stay home. I know that with some extra effort we could probably cut this even more and I am working on figuring that out – I will keep you updated once that happens!
Here’s how it works…
– we shop one day a month (usually a Saturday and as close to the first of the month as possible) and it typically takes about 4-5 hours there/back. We most often bring the kids with us!
– we stick to 3 stores (Costco, Trader Joes and another grocery store such as Whole Foods or Albertsons)
– we buy in bulk as much as possible. For example at Costco we get chicken, beef, fruits, some veggies, sugar, bread, tortillas, butter, milk, cream, cheese, paper towels, toilet paper, etc…
– we buy other organic or high quality items at Trader Joes such as Cereal, lunch meat, fruit, veggies, Bronners Soap, shampoo/conditioner, etc…
– then at the other store we fill in the gaps with whatever we could not find at the previous two stores.
– we come home and unload – cook, chop, and freeze. We cook all our meats and freeze them in portions (so they will last throughout the month). We also chop/freeze some of our fruits and veggies (if not already frozen) so that they will last all month. This step helps tremendously with time… When you need to make a meal you have everything ready and it just needs to be thrown into a crockpot or defrosted.
Some helpful tips
– having a second refrigerator in the garage has been nice – when shopping once a month it gets crowded. Having only one refrigerator would still be possible – just take extra orgnization.
– we shred our cheese ourselves (it is cheaper than buying shredded)
– eat fruit and veggies that are not frozen and will spoil quickly first. Apples and oranges will last a long time so we eat those later in the month.
– we use Greek yogurt for everything – not really… but almost! We use it for yogurt, sour cream, dressing and pasta sauces.
– we eat many eggs, beans, etc for other sources of protein.
– I make our granola, cookies, pancake mixes, etc… from scratch
– we don’t buy snacks… nothing other than fruits, nuts and the occasional cereal to snack on.
– we meal plan! This piece is important. This allows you to strategize how you will stretch those groceries throughout the month!
I was overwhelmed at first by the idea of once a month shopping, but now I wouldn’t trade it. Before I was going to the grocery store 1-2 times a week and like I said spending twice as much! Now I have more time and money! Our meals are planned and they taste better because I am planning and changing it up.
Here are my goals this year to bring this budget down even more…
– make my own bread (this could cut our budget down by about 20 dollars)
– once #2 is ready for potty training this year we will save around 60 dollars a month!
-continue to research what veggies/fruits to buy organic or not.
I’ll keep you updated as I learn more and will continue to post the ways we save! Next post I will share what our meal plans and grocery lists look. I hope this helps if you are looking for ways to cut down your budget! Again it is a work in progress but this way of living has helped our little family tremendously!
Thanks for stopping by!