Once a Month Grocery Shopping – Update

I am the only one that did not know jello powder expires?!  I had no idea until I tackled my cupboards to prep for my first once a month grocery shopping trip!  If you are new here, you can read about more about why I am taking on this once a month grocery shopping experiment here before you read on for my Once a Month Grocery Shopping – Update

I felt like those woman on Extreme Couponing, but without the coupons! To make this work it took me a lot of prep, both mentally and hands-on, but now that I comfortable with the whole idea AND way more organized I know next month will much easier.

First, I had to tackle my disorganized cupboards!  That is where I found 6 boxes of expired jello powder, 2 bottles of expired salad dressing (never opened), out dated Kraft Dinner, things in little baggies that I have no idea what they were, and many other things long past their due dates!

Here are the afters!


The pantry!  Much better now that I know what is in there!  I am going to try to find some slide out drawers to make it easier to get to the stuff at the back.  This is one deep pantry!


And, the lazy Susan.  We don’t eat a lot of canned goods.  Just a few soups for recipes and some canned San Marzano tomatoes.  I would guess I threw out half of what was in here before!  Another way I was wasting my money.

It turns out I didn’t even need to use the space above the microwave this time.  I will save half that space for future shopping trips and use the other half for storage.

I also have a VERY full freezer and refrigerator!

The plan Tuesday night was to shop at Costco, Bulk Barn and we chose Food Basics as the grocery store with the best overall deals this week.  When I walked into Costco and knew I would be handing over a big pile of money, I have to admit I was a bit panicked and I to talk myself into putting things in my cart!  At Bulk Barn I stocked up on spices, dry milk powder, some nuts and dried fruit.  Food Basics overall went well, but I did learn that they don’t stock several things I needed.  Hence we required a trip to one more grocery store, which we did on the way home from work on Wednesday, but this time I went in with my list and stuck to it!  Total time shopped for all stores was 2 hours 45 minutes and that includes travel time between stores and a quick stop at Golf Town!

The budget for the month is $600 and that is for a family of 4 adults.  My girls do buy things that only they would eat and I would not normally buy.  I also warned them that  when the things they requested would be good things to buy this month are gone, they are gone and I will not be restocking!  Even after tucking away $100 for trips to the Farmers Market we are still under budget!!  Groceries came to 459.66 + $100 for market trips = 559.66!  $40 under budget!!  Prior to this experiment, I would blow that budget by some $400 a month!


(Bulk Barn receipt got composted before I could put it aside!)

As far as meal planning goes, I hit my pinterest boards and started utilizing recipes I had pinned and pinned a few others as well.  I printed all the recipes I plan to use this month.  You can follow my pinterest food board here!  I also pulled out some of my favorite cookbooks and listed and earmarked the recipes I want to use.  All the recipes are in a handy spot in the kitchen and will be used in no particular order.  That way, when someone asks the dreaded question “What’s for dinner”?  I can tell them to look at the recipes, choose one they like, and start making it!  Saturdays will be homemade pizza day each week and Sunday will be a bigger dinner where we can sit, relax and enjoy before the work week begins again!  I also planned ahead for any baking I will be doing this month, much of which involves seasonal fruit which I will be getting a the market.

I have also started a new pinterest board for August, to help make meal planning next month a bit easier.

I purchased a variety of things for lunches, and will also rely on left overs.  Breakfasts are easy around here and consist of cereal, toast, smoothies and bacon and eggs on the weekend!

So, overall I am feeling much better about feeding my family this month.  I can hardly believe I don’t have to visit a grocery store again this month.  When the food circulars arrived with the paper last night they went straight to the recycle bin.  I didn’t even look at them.  If I had, I would have found reason to visit one of the stores to get the deals and my plan would be out the window!

What I learned so far is how flippin cheap flour is at Costco….I mean 12.99 for a 20 kilo bag…that is 44 pounds of flour!  Holy Hannah!  And pecans…the price of the bag works out about $5 a pound.  Wow!  I had been paying about $14 a pound at bulk barn.  And my guilty pleasure…home décor magazines  30% off!  I also learned that for me, planning meals too strictly will not work but that doesn’t mean I can’t find a plan that works for me.  I learned that organizing your cupboards make life so much easier and less stressful.  And, I learned that jello powder does expire!  Who knew!!??

So, that is my Once a Month Grocery Shopping – update!  What do you think so far?  I would love for you to leave me a comment.  They really do make my day!

Enjoy your weekend!  I will be busy baking up some lemony goodness to feature on Monday!  Hope to see you back.




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  1. I’ve been toying around with the idea of once-a-month grocery shopping, but I haven’t actually tried it yet. Sounds like it’s working for you!

    And yes, Jello powder expires. I just found some in our pantry the other day. We ended up using it to make scented play dough…lol.

  2. I’m impressed. I swear the uK Costco isn’t as good as the US one though, we don’t seem to get the same good deals as you guys. We just went over today to stock up on cereal and toilet rolls!
    So what are you doing about perishables like milk? Or have you bulk bought that and frozen it?

    1. Thanks for stopping by Clare! I am in Canada, but our Costco prices and selection are fairly similar to those in the US! As far as milk goes, I bought enough to last about two to three weeks and will restock on one of my weekly Farmers Market trips. I will also replenish my perishables such as fruit, veggies and eggs at the market! I hadn’t thought of freezing milk. Might have to give that a try!

  3. Curious to know how you stored so much flour Heather? I am thinking about getting a big rubbermade container and lining it with a big plastic bag.

  4. We have the smallest pantry. I am always having to tackle that. I know since we started meal planning we have been saving. I also had to get used to cooking smaller as the older kids have left home and my youngest hates leftovers. I wish our Costco wasn’t so far away I’d go more often.

  5. I should really consider doing this. Even when it’s just my husband and me, we always spend way too much on groceries. So much is wasted, because we let things expire. Thanks so much. You offered some great tips.

    1. Wasting money and time is what prompted me to try this experiment. With food costs constantly rising I knew it was time we tried something 🙂

  6. I was following and glad to hear it worked. I think if you really focus you can do it. $600.00 is our budget too and we always go over. Its the days that I go without a list I get into trouble.

  7. Maureen, I love to follow along with how you are doing… I am a household of 1, so won’t be shopping at Costco once a month, but I did venture to Superstore and found the prices and selection to be really good (including much better ice cream ;)). I am considering doing a little version of your challenge on my own !

    And as for the flour, when I baked a lot of cupcakes, I would buy the bags of flour at Costco.. I think back then, 2-3 years ago it was less than $8 for the 10kg. The 20kg is one heck of a deal then!!