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Topic: Shopping for the month and menu planning.

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Subject: Shopping for the month and menu planning.
Date Posted: 1/9/2009 6:11 PM ET
Member Since: 7/24/2007
Posts: 2,825
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I recently read that doing the entire months grocery shopping on one day will help save you money. The trick is to plan out one month of meals ahead of time.

If you plan well enough you should be able to cut costs by using leftover ingredients from one meal in the meal the next day. Like pot rost with carrots and potatoes one night and vegetable beef soup the next. 

I have been working on my menu for a couple of days and am doing fairly well. I think the hardest part for me will be not forgetting anything. Like the sour cream or the one can of Cream of Chicken soup or something.

I have also gone ahead and included all of the household items; Laundry supplies, shampoo, toothpaste, cleansers, pet food, etc. If I am only going once a month, I don't want to be running out of the essentials. 

I will also have to make sure I know where I will be going before hand. It won't save me money if I'm driving all over the country just to get the best deal on carrots or whatever.

So, does anyone else do this? Or have any input on this?

One thought I have is this won't work unless you have room to store everything. I plan on buying most things at Costco, but I have the room and a Foodsaver, so I can buy 16 porkchops and re-package them when I get home.

Date Posted: 1/9/2009 8:43 PM ET
Member Since: 6/11/2006
Posts: 12,826
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i been going to market every three weeks for big shopping and seem to work.i live alone.

Date Posted: 1/10/2009 9:47 AM ET
Member Since: 4/26/2006
Posts: 3,201
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The only problem I see with it is that you aren't able to take advantage of the store's sales every week. I find I save quite a bit of money by watching the loss leaders weekly. And Costco is not always the cheapest on everything.

That being said, I'm not organized enough to do it for a month. I used to plan a weeks menus at a time but have not done t hat either in a long time.

Date Posted: 1/10/2009 2:37 PM ET
Member Since: 1/15/2006
Posts: 2,239
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I only go shopping for major things once a month. I do have to run back a few times in a month or milk, bread, eggs and fresh produce. Other then that its not a big deal. I hate shopping to begin with it drives me insane! The more I can stay out of a store the better I am.

Date Posted: 1/10/2009 2:46 PM ET
Member Since: 7/24/2007
Posts: 2,825
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I think the point is to limit the trips to the store, so you don't end up buying thing impulsively.  I think if it works better for you to do it twice a month or once a week, then go for it. But I have been the person going to the store for milk, and come home with $50 worth of other things. This is what I would like to eliminate.

Date Posted: 1/11/2009 5:26 PM ET
Member Since: 5/13/2008
Posts: 497
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Wow -- I can't imagine getting down to once a month! I go once a week for big shopping, and then usually once again for milk & produce. We've recently started menu planning, and that has been really helpful. I don't know if it's saving us much money, but it's really saving us stress at the end of the day.

I think one thing to watch out for is that you don't go too crazy that one day and get so much stuff that you end up with 25 cans of beans at home. Or that you totally blow your budget b/c yout hink that you won't be going back again.

Let us know how it goes!

Date Posted: 1/11/2009 8:44 PM ET
Member Since: 5/10/2005
Posts: 2,372
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My mother did this, but in a slightly different way.

She didn't plan out all the meals for the month. However, she had a core set of meals she cooked.   Things that went into those dishes were staples and always kept on hand.   Our pantry was always quite full of cans and such.  It went on the list if it was down to one or two items.  This would include root veggies & hearty fruits (apples, mainly, but sometimes grapes though they tended not to last the entire month).

About once a month was the Big grocery trip where she restocked the pantry and freezer.  If something was on sale she bought doubles.   She'd decide what to cook closer to the actual cooking day, but she knew she had on hand a long list of staples that cooked most of her meals.

During the month my dad would stop by the store on his way home for milk and the occassional extra item Mom needed.   Usually once a week, but often nothing but milk.

Date Posted: 1/12/2009 1:47 PM ET
Member Since: 1/15/2006
Posts: 2,239
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This is the problem I have, I spend way to much when I have to go back, I've learned that if I carry a $20 with me, and know that bread is $ 3.45, eggs is $4.99 (18 count) and milk is $3.75 a gallon. And I normally grab 2 gallons.

Keeps me from spending alot more then what I want.... And I get out of there quicker....

Date Posted: 1/13/2009 2:33 PM ET
Member Since: 6/26/2005
Posts: 3,449
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Great idea, Cheri. I have the same problem. Now ,I know what to do.

Aimee, I have also gone to the store for "just a few things" and spent $45 dollars.I am trying to work on my meal planning,like have meals planned for 10 nights ( I am starting with 10) but I almost always forget something that I need. A few days ago, I got my favorite cookbooks and looked for some tasty recipes and made a shopping list to go along.

We'll see how it goes.

Last Edited on: 1/14/09 10:57 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 1/13/2009 5:52 PM ET
Member Since: 5/10/2007
Posts: 5,526
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I usually do 1 big shopping trip a month and then smaller trips the other weeks for perishables, loss leader sales and the like.  it seems to work well for me

Date Posted: 1/14/2009 10:31 AM ET
Member Since: 6/29/2005
Posts: 2,225
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Pantry is the word. Stock up on staples and keep a list when you use the last can or box of something then write it down.

Sales maybe???  Look at the item, is it a sale or did they mark that item up last week or month and now it is back to the real price. They call that a sale!!!  I work in retail beleve me they have many ways to get your money out of your pocket. If it is on sale and you have a coupon Now it on sale!! Be careful where you shop, what they want you to buy or something that is going out of date... Check out the date and see if it is a real sale.  Break down the price per meal and see it you are saving or the store is saving.....You work hard for your money don't just give it away because they say SALE... Think twice before buying something. Do you NEED it or Want it???? That helps me put it back on the shelf.

Make a master list of items that you should have on hand at all times. Then make a list of goodies-things that you don't need but would like. Then items that are perishable.  They help you get things in order. Yes it takes time but in the long run you are saving money and time.

Date Posted: 1/14/2009 11:36 AM ET
Member Since: 9/30/2006
Posts: 7,027
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Great ideas Erin!  I also like Kayote's info about what her Mom did, there are certain meals I make each month.  I do plan menus and shop from that list, but I also find I like to have a little wiggle room and make something that may not be on this week's list, so that idea would work out.

I generally look through 4 weekly circulars between grocery stores and drug stores.  If there is something on sale (and it is a real sale!) I will stock up a bit.  Like, buy it when it is on sale, not when you run out of it.  I also do coupons and really look to use them with the items on sale.  To keep myself out of stores I don't need to be in, I also decide looking at my list for a particular store, if what I have on the list makes it worth my while to go to that store this week. If not, I'll skip it. 

Date Posted: 1/30/2009 7:29 AM ET
Member Since: 11/18/2006
Posts: 249
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I have also done "Once a month cooking!" When the ground beef is in sale...I brown 4 or 6 lbs and make taco meat. I have about 8 meals that I quadruple and freeze. It is SO wonderful for those get home from work..piano..basketball practice sort of days!

One of our favorites is Egg rolls. I make just the insides and freeze them. Then when it's eatin' time...I thaw the insides and THEN roll them in the wrapper. Good to go!