Grocery Shopping: Once a Week or Once a Month?

A reader recently wrote in with the following question: 

“I am currently spending about $400 per month to feed my family of five.  I go grocery shopping once a week so I can try to get the deals each week to try to lower my overall spending.  However, I don’t have much time to shop a lot of stores.  I find grocery shopping itself rather annoying, so I just go to one store once a week and buy the best deals. 

“I have read that some people go grocery shopping only once a month.  We do have room to store a month’s worth of groceries, and I would love the time saving of only shopping once a month, but then I worry I will not be able to get the best deals and my grocery bill will be higher.”

I myself generally shop once a week at two different stores to try to maximize my savings, but it is time consuming.  I have never grocery shopped only once per month, but I can see where that would be a huge time saver.

So, I am going to turn this over to you, my readers.  What works for you?  Do you grocery shop once a month or once a week?  What advice would you give this reader?

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Comments

  1. I only get paid once a month – so I try to make a menu and buy once a month. It is hard….. I am like you I would rather shop once a week or every two weeks.

  2. I shop every week, I can’t imagine only going once a month, we rely very heavily on fresh produce. I will usually do one big bulk shop a month to Costco, but that doesn’t replace our regular grocery shopping. I don’t want to meal plan that far in advance either, I like to be able to cook what I’m in the mood for!

  3. Our oldest goes to sunday school every sunday and so we have an hour to burn waiting for him it to get over, so we go grocery shopping. We could probably shop for most things on a monthly trip, but we’d still have to go at least every other week or so for some of the essentials like milk.

    As far as the deals go, in our little town, we only have 2 stores. They’re pretty competitive and the prices tend to be rather close. We keep an eye on prices and will wait to buy anything that isn’t at least a slightly good deal, and that isn’t a necessity.

  4. I go grocery shopping twice a month. We get paid twice a month and I center the shopping around the pay days and I will make a tentative menu. I roughly spend about $100.00 week for a family of 4 – that’s what it comes out too. Plus by going every two weeks that is about the time we run out of milk, bread, stuff like that so I don’t have to make more trips to the store. I find the more trips I make the more un-necessary items I want to buy.

  5. We buy our beef, pork, and chicken in bulk. I do one big grocery shopping once a month at Whole Foods. Each week…I do a Target run for milk, bread, and fresh produce. I don’t even want to mention what we spend on groceries. I do plan a menu…but don’t plan it for particular days. I plan entrees, sides, snacks, and desserts and choose what I cook by what we are in the mood for off our menu list. It works for us.

  6. I go grocery shopping every week but we have our budget split bi-weekly due to my husbands pay schedule. I go to two stores and as needed for meat and diapers.
    I actually have a tip for how to make shopping more enjoyable. I go later in the evenings on my own and wear headphones. I usually listen tio podcasts or audio books but even music would make it more relaxing and going later I avoid the crowds and find the checkers to be a little nicer.

    • Great idea. Then grocery shopping becomes your own little escape. Hopefully the reader who asked will utilize this suggestion!

  7. We grocery shop twice a month, every two weeks. We meal plan for time in between. We find it saves us time and money since our shop is very focused on what we need for our recipes for the next two weeks.

  8. We shop once a week. Once a month would be a time saver (a huge one) but we cannot come up with a meal plan for a whole month. We try to have a balanced plan for a week and it is not easy. When I think about planning meals for the whole month, it just overwhelms me. And what about fruit and veggies? I like them fresh and not frozen.

    • You don’t actually need to plan 30 days worth of meals. I found that 15-16 will do it. There will be nights you eat out or have sandwiches, frozen pizza, leftovers or eat at a friend or relative’s house. You can also plan a quick run to the store once a week or so to grab milk and fresh produce.

  9. I’ve shopped different ways at different times to meet my family’s schedule and budget needs for that particular time. I’ve always planned our meals, when I had a family of 4 I would go once a week and spend about $50-$60. When I added my third child I started doing OAMC (once a month cooking). When I did that I would only go once a month and spend around $200. I did have to go back to get milk and other things that I might need during the remainder of the month and I also might pick up a sale item here and there. The past couple of years I’ve had a hard time keeping a handle on my grocery budget with growing kids and a crazy schedule. I was going to the grocery store every week or two, not cooking for the freezer and while I was still saving a lot of money with my coupons I was still spending around $400 a month. The past 6 months I’ve been getting a handle on all spending at my house and have brought my grocery budget down to $50 a week by going to two or more stores a week to combine my coupons with sale items. I’m planning my menu (breakfast, lunch and supper) around what’s on sale or already in my freezer and pantry. I still cook for the freezer but instead of for the whole month in one or two days I just double recipes and freeze extras when I have time to do a little cooking.

  10. I just finished the biggest part of my grocery shopping online – I ordered from AngelfoodMinistries.com. They have several offerings you can choose from. I spent $62 plus a little tax and in return I will have:

    1 2 lb. Hamubrger Steaks (4 x 8 oz.)
    1 2 lb. IQF Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast Fillets
    1 2 lb. Macaroni & Beef Dinner Entrée
    1 2 lb. Breaded Chicken Breast Chunks
    1 1.5 lb. Fully Cooked Salisbury Steak
    1 1.5 lb. (avg.) Tyson Natural Chicken Breast Tenderloins
    1 1 lb. Boneless Pork Chops (4 x 4 oz.)
    1 1 lb. 80/20 Ground Beef
    1 1 lb. Bake or Fry Crunchy Fish Bites
    1 1 lb. Smoked Sausage
    1 2 lb. Cream of Broccoli Soup
    1 2 lb. Tomato Basil Soup
    1 24 oz. Natural Cut French Fries
    1 1 lb. Corn
    1 1 lb. Green Beans
    1 1 lb. Sugar Snap Peas & Carrots
    1 15 oz. Diced Tomatoes
    1 1 lb. Kidney Beans
    1 Chili Seasoning Mix
    1 8 oz. Buttermilk Biscuit Mix
    1 7 oz. Apple Cinnamon Muffin Mix
    1 10 ct. Instant Oatmeal (2 x 5 ct boxes)
    1 32 oz. 2 % Shelf Stable Milk
    1 Dozen Eggs
    1 8 oz. Chocolate Chip Cookie Mix
    and
    1 4 lb. Black Angus Sirloin Steaks (8 x 8 oz.)
    I will pick it all up next Saturday at the host site. I have been ordering from this organization for over a year and never gotten anything that I just didnt like.

    Because the items in the boxes change from one month to another, my menu plan changes from month to month. I do stop in at the grocery for milk, the occasional fresh veggies or frozen ones to round out the menu. Sometimes I find a good deal in the day old deli bread isle, or pot roast marked way down. Any fresh meat I try to divide up into meal sizes, and cook if feasable (like hamburger, or chicken breasts).

    • I love Angel Food. We used to order it quite a bit, but now that two out of five of us have a milk intolerance, it doesn’t really make sense to order the food. I agree it is a great alternative to grocery stores, and very reasonable.

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