Once a month shopping/ twice a month Sam's

This is a long, kind of boring post, but I hope it helps.
Here's what works for us:
About every 6 months I make a new menu.  I will have to change this up if our garden does well.
Our breakfast and lunches repeat every week.  For example, every Monday, breakfast is oatmeal, lunch is grilled cheese sandwiches and fruit (fresh or canned).
DH has leftovers for lunch most of the time, whether he is at home or at work.
The master list is placed inside a cabinet door, for me to check each morning, setting necessary ingredients out of the freezer.  I mark the items off the dinner menu each night, so if we switch something around, I can easily see what needs to be substitued another night.
 I plan according to our schedule; Monday's are always hard, so it's crockpot meals every Monday.  On Wednesday's we have meatloaf and mashed potatoes every other week, homemade salisbury steak, and various potatoes every other week.  Fridays are easy--Macaroni and cheese with beef added, and green beans.  Other "main corses' are only served one time per month.  Planning a new menu is an all day event.  Not only do I have to consider schedules, but also the amount of time that fresh produce will stay fresh.  I try to make less work for myself also, example:  When we have roasted chicken, I roast 2, eat one that night, and one goes in chicken and dumplings a few nights later.
 Cute kid pictures added for interest=)
From the menu, I take all recipes, and put every ingredient on the grocery list. For items that are used multiple times, like sour cream, I put the ounces out beside it, or tally marks for canned goods.  Then on the final list, I put the quantity out to the side.  For snacks, I don't write specific things down.  The list just says "snacks" and I may pick some different things each month.
It is very helpful to know how long toiletries, cleaners, laundry stuff will last at your house.  For toiletries, I put every item on the master list.  Before grocery day, I just mark items off the list, if I have a new, unopened item in the closet/pantry.  In a rush, though, I can just grab the list and go, knowing that I will have everything I need for the month.
 I type up the final list in the order that the store is arranged.  My main store is Aldi.  Later in the day, I go to Walmart to purchase anything that Aldi did not have, and to use coupons  -when I have good ones.  A word about coupons...... We did coupons on a larger scale for a while, but since the coupon shows have come out, there do not seem to be as many good deals, or coupon policies that let you stack the coupons.  SO, we only cut the coupons for items we actually use.  I do not clip to try a new cookie; that costs money that I would not have spent otherwise.  Even when I try to use some coupons, I usually find that the store brand is cheaper anyway.
I do the big Aldi and WalMart trip the day after payday.  There is a small Sam's list for that week, but DH takes care of that for me.
Payday is every 2 weeks.  We have a large Sam's list, that we buy on the 2nd payday of the month.  It helps even out our budget to have 1/2 of the grocery expenses come out of each paycheck.
So my once a month shopping is not technically once a month.  Most months, DH goes to Sam's alone, occasionally we all go.  It's a fun outing, since we are such boring folks.
 I NEVER, NEVER, NEVER return to WalMart during the month.  One great advantage of once a month shopping, is staying out of the store.  Think about it, every time you run in for just a few things, doesn't it always cost more than you intended, and you walk out with more than you intended?
 For us, there are several benefits to shopping this way: 
1--Menu/list takes all day--but then it's done for many months.
2--Time, time, time.  We cut down the weekly time spent making menu's and lists.  Also puts all shopping (for me) on one day, instead of having to work a weekly trip into our schedule.  Cuts down on DH's "babysitting" time--not that he minds; but you probably understand what I mean.
3--less money spent
4--less time in the dreaded Wal Mart--which I hate with a passion, and that is the main reason I started doing it this way!
A few days before shopping day I take my lists, check the pantry and fridge, and mark off items that I already have.  As noted in #2 above--I DO not take the kids to Aldi or WalMart.  It is just too hard, and takes too much concentration to get everything right.
A few times when DH's schedule gets crazy, we either swap grocery day, or he meets me at Aldi after work, and drives the van and kids home, leaving me with his car.
This is all pretty basic.  I hope it helps.  If you have specific questions, let me know.


  1. There is NOTHING boring about this post! I love this sort of thing!!

    I need to soak it all up because I go to Walmart AT LEAST once a week. Gah! Though I do feel like i'm getting pretty good about sticking to my list...cause I really want to get in and out ASAP. (Though I'm sure in reality I spend way more than I realize.) I think my biggest reason for going so frequently is that I find new recipes...or things I'm craving....and I can't wait. That's bad, I know.

    Anyway, this post was really helpful and I hope to pull my act together and change up my shopping habits!

    Oh, and I totally agree about the coupon thing!

  2. Anonymous9:29 PM

    I would like to add, if that is okay :), that Walmart price matches so save your adds from your local stores and take them with you and if your things on the list are better priced in the add, price match at Walmart. This has proven to be a HUGE savings to our family. Not to mention sometimes Aldi produce isnt as nice as I would like so I just take the add with me and price match it for the on sale items at Aldi. Also, shop what is in season/sale. For example, Aldi has been having huge sales on Clemintines, baby carrots, and strawberries in our area. I buy only that fruit to snack on and extra to freeze, dehydrate and or can to save money. I only buy apples when they are on sale, and I usually take the add to Walmart and price match and buy tons as I have 7 children at home of which 3 are teenage boys. Also when bananas are starting to brown and they go on sale, I freeze them for smoothies, skin on or off as well as make loads of banana bread or banana chocolate chip muffins or banana chocolate browines. Thanks for letting me share :) ~Trina

  3. Anonymous8:45 AM

    Thanks so much for posting this it is very helpful! We have a family of ten and I feel like I am constantly in the grocery store. I hope to change that using your tips. Thanks again, Melissa