The past 2 days I’ve been reading and researching once a month shopping (OAMS) to hopefully save us a ton of money that we are wasting on groceries every month. It’s a huge endeavor and one that I won’t take careless steps with.
For those that don’t know the term, once a month shopping is simply that – you do all of your grocery shopping once a month. I do foresee a couple small trips throughout the month to replenish perishable items like dairy and produce but those would be insignificant as long as I stick to what I need only.
A few of the tools that make OAMS shopping work is a Price Book and a Master Grocery List. I’ve started both this morning in Evernote where I keep my homekeeping binder. It will likely take me a few weeks to get a working document system in place. But I’m pretty excited to see how well this works.
Some of the reasons I think this will work best for us is because we only get paid once a month, buying bulk items would save us money on most things, learning sale cycles is another and learning how to manage the food we have at home would be a huge benefit for me and my domestic skills.
Today I go shopping for a 2 week trial run. I’ve made the meals list, the ingredient list I need for these meals and now I just have to go through the kitchen and mark what I have, add to the shopping list what I don’t and then put our staple items on the list. My current food budget is $150/wk ($600 a month!) which is insane for 2 people even with my food allergy. If I can get 2 weeks worth of food for under $300 this time, I know I’ll be starting to see a change for the better.
The challenges I foresee are that Master is a carnivore. He must have meat at every meal. He doesn’t like beans or eggs so meatless meals are out – for him. I’m going to learn what meat cuts are cheaper and how to prepare them so they are still tender, but until then I think I’ll have to continue to cook what I know. I’m going to portion the meats smaller. It’s not right that 2 people at a whole pound of ground beef for tacos when most people feed 4 people on that amount. We should be able to get 2 meals out of roasts I make and a whole chicken can stretch to 5 meals if I try hard enough.
Also, food waste. I am terrible at wasting food, usually vegetables and lunchmeat. So, I hope to do the smart thing and prepare the veggies after purchase and freeze what I know I won’t need the first few days. Lettuce is always a culprit so I am switching to head lettuce which lasts a lot longer than bagged, especially in my Tupperware lettuce keeper, and I’ll need to get a lettuce knife eventually to do my fine shreds that I like for taco salads. Lunchmeat can be frozen too if it’s prepackaged, but Master won’t eat that – he likes the fresh sliced deli counter meats. I prefer them too. Maybe that will have to be a small weekly trip purchase with the dairy/produce replenishing.
I’m not doing this because we are short money, I’m doing it because I’d like to save money and pay a few debts with the overage. It would feel good to be debt free as many of you probably know and understand. This is one of the ways I can move us toward that end.
Wish me luck.
UPDATE: Shopping done and I didn’t save a dime this time. I spent exactly $300. My biweekly budget. I’m hoping since I got some amazing deals on meats that the next trip will be cheaper and smaller. I may have to revisit my Master recipe list also and trim it down to more frugal meals.