Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Results are in!

Once a Month Shopping Results

You may remember that this past month was a new way of grocery shopping for our family.  An experiment to test the 'ole theory "the less you shop, the less you spend."  Now I know that is true for clothes, etc., but wasn't sure about food.  So here's what happened:

I began by making a complete pantry and fridge list of ALL we have and use, from canned mushrooms down to spices.  I included how many I thought we would need to get us through the month, knowing we would probably have to adjust for a few months, and then how many I needed to buy to bring it up to that number.
2 Ketchup, Need 1
2 Oil, Need 1
4 Butter, Need 3

Then I made a month's menu of meals and added any additional ingredients to my master list.  My additions were pretty slim, as I am trying to cook with whole foods and from scratch as much as possible and stay away from processed food.  (another random experiment of ours)  I mostly added meats honestly!  The plan was then to do ONE BIG SHOP for ALL the items we needed to get through the month, and one mini shop half way through the month to pick up perishables.  It panned out this way:

Meat- $116.69 (we shopped at the commissary)
2 Cheater trips-$8.75

TOTAL- $500.65

Let me explain, OK, give you my excuses, for the cheater trips...  They were a result of me underestimating our needs and DID mean I spent more.  The first run was because I forgot we only had one gallon of milk in the fridge and only bought two more rather than the three we needed.  When I went in to get the needed milk, I also bought ice cream, hence the additional spending.  But hey, I was the mommy hero for that day! ;)  The second trip was for toilet paper.  Seriously!  But in my defense, I think we would have had enough if we had also had more tissues on hand.  We have all been suffering from seasonal allergies and have independently supported the Kleenex industry!  Once we ran out, however, everyone turned to the TP.  Hence, not enough TP!  And no, I did not just come home with that, so again, spent more than needed. 
So yes it seems that the more trips you take to the grocery store, the more you end up spending.  At least, that is the case for me.  Can you really just run in for one thing and come out with just that one thing?

A few other things I learned:
This total is higher than our normal month.  Reason being, I really stocked the pantry with basics.  I anticipate next month being a lot less.
Shopping for a month takes a while.  This is NOT a quick trip. 
We underestimate what we use in a month.  My master chart is being adjusted in more than a few areas!
CP and I drink way too many soft drinks.  I know, I know, they are bad for you.  We are working on it.
It is amazing how creative one can be when one is determined NOT to run to the store to pick up a "needed" ingredient just because you would then have to admit to the blogging world that you really messed up.  I would give you examples, but hey, that would be embarrassing.
At the beginning of the month, wow, your fridge  (and possibly your pantry) will look stuffed.  At the end, not so much.  Just forge ahead and do not panic.  If you keep a pretty supplied pantry with the basics and eat according to the menu you created, you will be fine.

Be forewarned, it does feel funny at first not popping over to the grocery store all of the time, but I was able to get over myself and actually enjoy the freedom.  Now that I have a master pantry list (let me know if you want a copy), each month I will update what we need, make out a new menu, add any extras we need and shop away.

So yes, I will do it again.  How about you?  Are you a once a month shopper?


  1. I for one would love a copy of your master pantry list. Congratulations on making it through the first month. I go to the store weekly and it is too much and it stresses me out, big time. Seriously though, I need to sit down and plan out a monthly menu and just do it. Which commissary did you go to?

  2. I Too would love a copy of your master pantry list!! and maybe a meal list you love?:) I have GOT to try this!! I would love to be down to $500/month!! (or better yet, $300 like y'all did for May!:) Any extra tips?? wish we lived closer!


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