How I Grocery Shop (Once a Month)-Old Way

Okay, when people hear me say that I grocery shop once a month, I get that glazed over look and the response: "Oh, well I couldn't afford that." Then when I tell them that I only spend $140 a month on groceries, I get this response: "WHAT?! HOW?" So here is my tips & tricks for grocery shopping once a month and on a tight budget.

  1. Set a Budget
  2. Figure Out Where to Buy
  3. Pick Your Day
  4. Make a Meal Plan
  5. Check your Stock
  6. Make a Grocery List
  7. Watch Your Spending
  8. Use Cash

Set a Budget
  • This is THE most important part to successful grocery shopping, especially if you're doing it once a month. You need to know how much a month you can and will spend on your groceries. You should more or less spend $100 per person, per month. This includes toiletries, diapers, etc. So, I guess our family really spends $200 for all of that, but for food, we spend $140. Every. Month. You will need to make a budget of all of your bills, and go off that. Some people can spend a little more, and some will need to spend a little less, like me. 
Figure Out Where To Buy
  • My family shops at a few places. For more than 90% of our groceries, we shop at Aldi. People can say what they want about the place. I love Aldi. I can get so much more from Aldi than I can buying all Walmart brand, price matching, and couponing. As far as things like soda and juice: I shop Walmart or Meijer, depending on price. Diapers: if I have coupons, I'll get Huggies brand wherever it is cheaper, if not, I get Target brand. I also incorporate some Sam's Club in there, for parties and such, or when Meijer has 10 for $10 items. Toiletries, I do use coupons and just get them from the cheapest place I can. So, pick where you will, but try to only go to these places in the day you have set up for your shopping. & Stay focused. Multiple stores means multiple temptations. 
Pick Your Day
  • My husband and I get paid bi-weekly. We pay our car payment at the first of the month and our house payment in the middle of the month. These are our two biggest bills. Since the car payment is a lot less, we grocery shop at the first of the month. If you get paid weekly, or the week doesn't really concern you, just pick a day or week where you have less going on, but always pick the same week of each month. This is an all day occurrence. My last trip took 4 hours with a 1.5 year old in tow. However; just think, after this, I am done for the month! If you can, bring your husband with you, or better yet, leave em all at home!! The more focus, the easier and less stressful it is!

Make a Meal Plan
  • Find recipes you like. Pinterest is great for finding new recipes. I also enjoy using Fridge Food. You put what you have in your fridge and it gives you recipes to use. I have found a lot that I make every month.  Something else you can do is theme days. Like Mondays is Mexican, etc. This will really help your budget go farther and your day easier!
Check Your Stock
  • Once you have made your meal plan, you need to check your pantries and fridge to see what you have. You don't want to buy things you already have and essentially don't need. This also reminds you what you have so you can rotate your stock and utilize all the food you already have. 
Make a Grocery List
  • Once you've done all that, you'll need a grocery list. Be sure you make it based off your meal plan. Also, don't forget about snacks and other things. My kiddo eats oatmeal, cheerios, juice, milk, crackers, frequently. At first, I bought a box or two. Now I know, he needs 2 boxes of oatmeal a month, one box of cheerios, etc. Just don't go overboard, but do remember it is a month's worth. 
Watch Your Spending
  • How? I use a calculator. I move through my list and add up the prices. That way, I won't be surprised in the check out line. Over your budget? Put back the things that aren't on your list or part of your meal plan, that is if you were doing a little impulse shipping as well. Can you maybe go without for the month? Maybe you don't need that bottle of wine this time?
Use Cash
  • Until I started doing this, I used my debit card. You know, that back-up plan in case you over spend. Don't do it. I promise, you will spend less if you know that you'll have to put items back after they have already been rung in if you run out of money.
Now see, that isn't so bad. Remember, practice makes perfect! I have been at this for over a year and I still mess up. Just last month, I went over about $5 and had to use my fun money to cover the rest. How do you grocery shop? Have any other helpful tips?


  1. Replies
    1. Thank you, Heather! It takes a lot of practice and preparation, but it allows me to be a SAHM, so it's well worth it! Thanks for stopping by!

  2. Great tips. I used to do a much better job with my shopping. Really need to get back into the swing of things. Thanks for the great and very timely post.

    1. Thank you, Robin! That happened/happens to me also! That is why I quit couponing and moved to this! Thank you for the kind words and for stopping by!