Monthly Grocery Shopping

Recently a blog reader asked this question: I saw you mentioned doing monthly grocery shopping. Can you give more details? Have you always done this? Do you meal plan?

Our monthly grocery shopping is done at Sams and Costco. We shop at our local grocery store, which is a Kroger affiliated store, weekly.

For monthly shopping, I have a master shopping list where I have all the items from that particular store that I might want to purchase. Then during the month when I know I will need an item, I mark it on that month’s copy of the master list. Before the monthly shopping, I take the list and go through the pantry, fridge, and freezer to see what our supply is of each item. The master list also indicates how many of each item I want to have on hand. That way when I count what I have, I know how many more to purchase.

Because we live 45 minutes from Sams and Costco, we have done that monthly shopping for many years. Our meal planning is on a weekly basis and more affects our weekly grocery shopping. The monthly shopping keeps us supplied with the basics we use all the time. 

I’d love to hear how you organize your shopping and lists to be efficient and economical. I am sure we can learn from each other.

Trusting in Jesus,

“And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first
begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth.
Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood” 
(Revelation 1:5

14 thoughts on “Monthly Grocery Shopping”

  1. That’s really interesting that you shop at both Sam’s and Costco. The last time I went to Sam’s there was very little that I was interested in buying (it seemed overall like things were less healthy). Just curious, what do you still buy there? We will possibly be on home assignment soon and I’m trying to figure out the most economical way to shop in the US. I know a lot of people shop at Aldi, too.

    We do have Costco here in France, but it’s actually more expensive in almost everything. My problem is that it is so much more convenient to grab the pre-packaged fruit and veggies, whereas at the grocery stores here we have to wait in line to have everything weighed before we can purchase it. Another issue for me is time. Costco is fairly far away and takes so long to get through that I often don’t have time to go to the normal store as well. Do you purchase everything at Sam’s/Costco for that week or do you go to Kroger as well as Costco in the same week, for example?

    I’m looking forward to reading more comments on this post as our grocery bill has skyrocketed recently because I’ve been trying to stay out of stores (because of the virus) and just buying things more because it’s convenient. We can only live like that for so long though and I’m ready to get back to saving some money. 🙂

    1. Sams Club is closer to us by 15 – 20 minutes and I can do online orders for pick up so it saves us time. We could just go to one or the other. We prefer Costco, but the convenience of Sams Club keeps us shopping there. With the Covid-19 things, we have done a couple of pick ups from Sams Club, but we haven’t gone into Kansas City for Costco.

      When we do our big Sams/Costco shopping, we will also go to Dillons (Kroger brand store) and Aldi. That might be partly because the local shopping trip I do with my mom after we have lunch out together (before the virus started). We get our fresh fruits and veggies at our local stores and also milk and eggs and a few other things.

  2. We have a similar grocery plan and it greatly helps to keep costs down and to ensure we are stocked up on essentials. I feed a family of 5 adults, with 3 active young adults who have hearty appetites. Our monthly trips to Costco or GFS are for staple items: flour, rice, pasta, larger quantities of meats that I break up into meal sized portions to freeze. Weekly trips are for the perishable items: produce, dairy, bread, and canned items. I menu plan a week’s worth of meals and shop to the plan. This really eliminates impulse buying. Occasionally, I will do some freezer cooking to have extra meals handy in a pinch like lasagne, meatballs, enchiladas, chicken stock (for soup). Recently, we’ve been making your homemade tortilla recipe for our Mexican inspired meals. They are delicious! Thanks!

    1. Yes, that sounds much like what we do. We buy beef from an Amish farmer a couple of hours away, but now that Steve and I aren’t eating it, we will probably get it from Costco as well. We still have quite a bit of beeg left from last year. We buy chicken from Costco. Those tortillas are a staple here. Sarah makes them on Sunday for our burrito lunch and makes enough to last through the week. I am glad you are enjoying them. Our granddaughters usually learn to make them, too, since they like to help Sarah. Abby (12) and Bethany (9) can do them by themselves and now Ruthanne (6) and Lydia (5) are helping, but won’t be independent on them for a while.

  3. Hi Teri, I appreciate hearing about your grocery shopping planning. I shop for our family of 8, myself and my husband and our 6 children ranging in age from 9-18. I have an “inventory” sheet that I print out every Wednesday and I take a thorough inventory of our freezer, refrigerator and pantry. I make as much of a meal plan for the coming week as I can from what we already have in stock. I then scour the circular ad for our local grocery store, also a Kroger affiliate. I make a list based on loss leaders and any items I may have coupons for. Fortunately we live close to Costco, so I shop there 1-2x/month for certain items that I know I can not get a better deal on anywhere else (carton egg whites, some produce, peanut butter, some paper goods, some health items, etc). I keep close track of my expenditures each week, knowing what my “average” amount is..that way if I stock up on a meat or staples sale one week, I will focus on spending less the following week so as to keep our spending in check. I make my grocery list on the back of my inventory sheet, so that if I see a sale on something, I have quick access to knowing how much (if any) of an unplanned item I should purchase. I am reminded of the Proverbs 27:23 and “knowing the condition of your flocks and herds”. While we do not shepherd sheep for income, I see my grocery budget and planning as my “flocks and herds”. It is a process I enjoy very much, and I love to teach my children about it, too. Some of my teen boys are not as interested, but they do know how to look for a good deal.

    1. Thank you for sharing what you are doing Heidi. You have a good system for tracking what you need and taking advantage of good sales plus making use of what Costco has that is more economical than the grocery store. And you are involving your children!

  4. We’re a household of 3: Mom, Adult Son, and 16-year-old daughter. We only plan dinners.
    My daughter usually cooks dinner and I’ll do the dishes because my son is usually working evenings. I do our regular grocery shopping once a week at our local Save-On Foods (Alberta) but my son & daughter are responsible for the grocery list. I’ll do a Costco run when we need to stock up.

  5. Our main shop is done weekly, my husband and I have used the same store for years, as we like the reward vouchers and coupons, before lockdown I used to go on a Monday whilst my husband was at work and our eldest who’s 5 was at primary school, ( me and our youngest who’s 8 months used to stop in the cafe for a refreshing drink afterwards ) Now, for safety, either my husband or I go on an evening or early morning so we don’t have to take either of our two girls.
    We stick to roughly the same list that we write throughout the week, depending on what meals my husband fancies during the week, I am lucky enough to be a housewife so we save cost cooking from scratch, I’m doubly lucky as my husband will lovingly eat everything I prepare, even my culinary disasters, ha!
    Also, as I walk around the store I look at the reduced sections in the fridge and freezer to see if there are any good deals I can use. Our fruit/ veg/ milk and bread is topped up at local shops during the week if needed.

    1. I am sure you miss your shopping outing with the baby. And it sounds like you go prepared with your list, are frugal with your cooking, and watchful in the store for sales.

  6. With two children under 2 I’ve really simplified my shopping routine! I used to shop at 3 stores, now I only do one Aldi run every 2 weeks and meal plan for those 14 days. I even get diapers and household items there. We tend to eat the perishables the first week (fresh salmon, salads, deli meats, bananas, berries…). The second week we’ll eat more frozen veggies or root vegetables, pantry items and meats that I kept in the freezer. I find that milk and eggs usually last 2 weeks (I search for the latest expiration date in the back of the shelf), but I always have almond milk as a backup which we enjoy. For fruit I store apples and mandarines in the fridge and those easily last 2 weeks as well.
    This has worked great for us and saved us considerable money.

    1. That’s a great plan, Laura, very creative, well planned and implemented. What a time saver to shop at one store every two weeks! That should be an inspiration to others. Before the virus, I stopped at Aldi most weeks. Grocery shopping day was the day my mom and I went out to eat together, then Aldi, and then Dillons (Kroger brand store). Because we eat a lot of salads, we tend to buy the greens for them at Dillons, but I sure like tomatoes from Aldi! And we get our almond milk from there too and other fruits and veggies that are on sale.

      1. The time you and your children spend with your Mom has been an inspiration to us. What a lovely weekly “date” with her. Blessings

        1. And we have missed it with the virus. My mom put herself in isolation before our country gave us stay-at-home orders, but she is now comfortable with going out to pick something up and then sitting in the car to eat. Last week we went to the dog park. This week we will go to the cemetery and put flowers on my dad’s grave.

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