I've never been particularly good with meal planning for a long stretch (longer than a week), but I think I need to for the sake of our budget. I think it will be easier to keep within our grocery budget if the majority of our groceries are purchased on pay day.
Does anyone else do this? Do you find it's easier than buying groceries daily or weekly? Has it saved you money? What mistakes did you make (if any)? What are your top tips? Please also share your favorite 'bulk buy' recipes. TIA :)
I'm also looking for any websites you may know of that help to meal plan for an entire month.
(I should add that my kids, partner and I have a good appetite and we are a GF family).
Our babies: and a coming in July
I generally shop once a week to take advantage of sale items at the store that always has the best prices. They might not have the best prices in one week, but their sale prices are always the lowest around. However, I generally only shop for sale items (at their lowest sale prices), plus milk and produce. So if there aren't any great sale prices on staples for two or three weeks, I am only shopping for milk and produce. I only buy convenience items on rare occasions, and shop only for staples such as butter, flour, eggs, meat and poultry. We don't eat a lot of bread, but I buy that at another store that has good prices on high quality bread. So that shopping trip gets made about twice a month. I could easily go a monthe from that store though (TJs) , since everything I buy there can be frozen. So I guess I have a hybrid system. I can't imagine going a whole month without fresh fruit and veg unless I had a big garden, so I figure I may as well get the best prices on things while I am there. But I will nearly always have a month or more supply of cheese, butter, flour, condiments, tuna, salmon, chicken, eggs, etc. in my frig and freezer. But all of those items will have been purchased at very low prices. I think I have 12 lbs of butter in my freezer, which is definitely excessive... With my system, though, if I have a rough month, I can usually easily float through a month buying only produce and milk (and I generally have powder milk on hand for baking). Might sound complicated, but it just becomes second nature after a while.
There is also a variant of the monthly meal plan where you plan on serving the same general food on each day of the week: say, chicken on Sat, beef on Sun, casserole Mon, whatever. They you can easily purchase the basics but not decide what to cook until that week or even that day using things you always have on hand. That said, it took me a few years to get to a strong level of organizational efficiency in grocery shopping and food preparation. So remember that every experiment you make is a learning process. In a couple of years time, you will be a master of food husbandry.
We do a bulk shopping on the first of the month for bulk goods like flour, rice, beans, sugar, oats, etc. And then every week after that I do a perishables shopping from the perimeter of the store like milk, eggs, veggies, fruits, etc.
3 houses - 2 blocks in the old neighborhood = 1 eclectic/traditional tribe!
Grocery shopping for me is a 60 mi each way trip, so I try to go only once a month. I'm usually not completely successful and end up in town one other time in the month to pick up something else. But, I purchase a lot of the same basic supplies each month and then if I forgot something, I just do without! You'll be amazed at what you can come up with when you just can't run out to the store and get it. I freeze milk if I don't get the organic that is ultra-pasteurized and lasts about 6 weeks. I do twice a month get Bountiful Baskets which has a drop in my town (fresh fruits and veggies).
~Mama to my boys~ to a teen, a tween & a toddler and surro-mama to twins and their sister
Livin' in the sticks with my chicks and lovin' it!
2014: 4/52 projects 0/2014 things 0/52 books
I do a monthly bulk order from Azure. That is things like flour, sugar, 5 grain cereal, apples, carrots, potatoes, noodles, frozen fruit and veggies, bulk cheese and some other random things. Then I do a big run through the local grocery store. This is generally all it takes for us. Maybe an additional little run through. It has not saved me tons on my "grocery" bill but it has saved me lots because I no longer drive to town for grocery shopping once a week which is huge since I live 45 miles away and absolutely dread taking my kids with me.
I don't meal plan more than a week out- but I know what we eat for the most part.
Iowaorganic- mama to DD (1/5/06), DS1 (4/9/07), DS2 (1/22/09), DS3 (12/10/10), DD2 (7/6/12) and a new kid due in early 2014
Thank you everyone for your input! :)
I did my first bulk shop last weekend and it went really well. I only did it for the fortnight ahead, to see how we'd go. This week was fantastic as far as food was concerned. We always had fresh food on hand, no longer had to endure the dreaded daily shop and we also had our meals planned for the week, which removes a fair amount of stress when you have to feed six people 3 healthy home cooked meals every day.
Yipee I say! And I don't know why I didn't do it earlier.
Our babies: and a coming in July
Were all GF and I generally make one large run into town once a month to pick up staples from places like Winco but we just moved and now its about an hour and a half away so I will go about every 2-3 months. We tend to eat the same things every month and I can often create new dishes from my well stocked pantry. We go into the little town about half an hour from here (we live in the sticks) once a week to get produce but my hydroponic supplies came today so we can start growing all our salad and salsa type veggies which will pretty much cut out the produce run for a fraction of the cost.
So totally doable:) We've been doing this for years since there were not really any GF choices where we lived and staples were way to expensive where we lived.
|Frugality , Finances|