Once a month shopping

Once a month grocery shopping via www.clairekcreations.com

Once a month grocery shopping via www.clairekcreations.com

A bit of a different post for me today…As you probably already know, I’m big on a few things and on top of everything is happy and healthy. I try and assess everything by these two – if it doesn’t make us happy or healthy then it doesn’t warrant attention.

One thing that doesn’t make me happy is attempting to grocery shop with two kids. It is quite the opposite. Occasional trips to the farmers markets as a family or just with one child – good, sometimes rather pleasant, ducking into the shops to get one or two items with the two of them – try to avoid but ok if needs be, big shops with the two of them – avoid at all cost unless I want to have a meltdown in the middle of the supermarket. As my mum says ‘you got to know your limitations’ and I know I don’t do grocery shopping with the two kids if I can at all help it.

So how do I grocery shop? Well I grocery shop once a month. When I first heard of once-a-month shopping I thought it was a ludicrous idea but 6 months in and I am a convert. Once a month, or every 5 weeks if I can stretch it just a little bit further, I do one big shop for all our staples.

For me this means firstly visiting Aldi. That night I go to Woolies online and order all the things I couldn’t get at Aldi and that’s it.

Once a month shopping via www.clairekcreations.com

There are a few exceptions. This doesn’t include:

  • Fruit and vege
  • Eggs
  • Meat
  • Yoghurt and milk

Fruit and vege:

For the last month I’ve been buying our fruit and vege through Spray Free Farmacy. They source a set box of spray-free, locally grown produce direct from the farmers and the box varies depending on the seasons and what’s available each week.

I am loving buying from them. Having a little something different every week has forced me to be a bit more creative with our meals and step away from the usual meals we have on rotation (they haven’t been totally shelved just not quite as often).

They also have eggs and local honey so I get me eggs from them too.

Meat:

I try to do one big shop of meat once a month and chop it all up, portion it and freeze it so come cooking time, I just grab what I need for a meal. Regulars for us include:

  • Whole chickens – we have roast chook for dinner about once a fortnight. I shred up all the leftovers to use for curries, stir-fries, soups (anything you use chicken in really) and sandwiches then make a big batch of chicken stock (or bone broth if I have beef bones).
  • Chicken breast – for bbq, shredding up for the above if supplies run low, fajitas – anything you use chopped chicken in really. I’m not a fan of thigh so for us it’s usually breast.
  • Chicken thigh – this is for Coop (and Ollie when I can get him to eat chicken)
  • Chicken mince – for sang choi bao, meatballs etc
  • Chopped beef (chuck/blade) – for the slow cooker
  • Premium beef mince – for anything from bolognaise to mince wellington
  • Big pieces of beef for the slow cooker – blade, chuck and brisket usually but I did try neck the other day and it was delicious – I cook this a few different ways and shred it all up for the freezer
  • Bacon – I use bacon to add flavour to all sorts of recipes and in my regular zucchini slice and cheats carbonara

Beef

This one I’m still trying to figure out. I used to buy our beef from Bonnie Beef but they’re out of production at the moment. I’m yet to find a place I can buy meat from a small farm where you don’t have to buy half a beast.

Give me a few years when these boys of mine are bigger and I’ll probably have to buy it like that but until then, I don’t need quite as much. I have been varying between The Meat-ting Place (one of the only organic butchers in Brisbane), local farmers markets and local butchers if they have hormone and antibiotic free and free-range.

Chicken and Pork

Since trying Marlee May meat a few weeks ago I think these guys will be our favourite chicken and pork suppliers. I talked about why I like them in this post.

Yoghurt and milk

This is the one thing other than fruit and vege that I can’t get once a month. Usually one of us will run into our local supermarket on the way home from a weekend outing and grab a bottle of Barambah milk and a tub of their natural yoghurt.

I have told a lot of people about my once-a-month shopping and the most common question I get is ‘but don’t you forget things?’

The short answer is yes, the long answer is not all that much and usually I can survive.

This is how I make sure I don’t forget anything:

  1. When I started I went through the pantry, fridge, freezer, laundry and bathroom and wrote down every single item that we purchase (even if it’s once in a blue moon!)
    1. I separated the items into categories like ‘baking’, ‘cleaning’, ‘bathroom’ etc – whatever seemed to make sense.
    2. Divide all the items between the categories.
    3. Working out quantities is hard but if you can give it a month and try and monitor how much you use of each item then that would be a great idea. I didn’t – I just guessed and have been adjusting quantities as I go.
  2. Check the next month’s calendar
    1. Is there anything on that I need to make food for? Are we entertaining at any stage? Are there any special occasions coming up?
      1. If so, I write a separate list for that month of the extra things. It requires a bit of thinking/squeezing my brain but I haven’t failed yet.
  3. I use an app called ShopShop and whenever I run out of something or read a recipe I’d like to try but don’t have all the ingredients for, I add things to the app.
  4. A day or two before big shop day, I go through my big spreadsheet and the pantry, fridge, freezer, laundry and bathroom and write down everything that we need.
  5. After the Aldi shop I check one more time that I haven’t missed adding something to the list.

Sure it’s not foolproof but it is working for us and when it comes to life with kids, I have learned that finding something that works for you is the key. 

Menu planning would make this method even better but I can’t quite get that organised.

What about you? How do you shop? Would you be interested in seeing my master list?

 

6 Comments

  • Marissa

    Reply Reply April 15, 2016

    This is amazing! I have 3 young boys and work 4 days wk, so my time is limited. I would love to see your master list!

    • Claire

      Reply Reply April 17, 2016

      Wow Marissa 3 young boys! I bet your time is limited! I’ll send you an email asap.

  • Hotly Spiced

    Reply Reply May 3, 2016

    You do sound super organised. I recently did one massive shop at Costco and I was amazed at how stocking up on all the essentials was able to make my life so much easier xx

  • Jasmine

    Reply Reply September 23, 2016

    What a clever idea to have a master list! Would love to see it!

    • Claire

      Reply Reply September 24, 2016

      It makes it so much easier Jasmine! I will send it through.

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