once a month shopping for large family series part 1 planning

Having a large family means that when it comes to food, I have to be a good planner or we are not going to eat.  I have found that the best way to purchase food inexpensively for our large family was to do our shopping once a month.  That ensures that I don’t overspend too much on the food budget.

How do I go about figuring what to do with all of the meals that I have to make each month?  It starts with this………

What I do is I sit down with my Dinner ideas master list.

I created this list out of sheer survival mode as a new mom.  There were times that I would call my friend and say , “Hey, do you have any dinner ideas because I am so exhausted I can’t even think about what to make for this week.”  Being a mom of many little ones and having all of the household duties on my shoulders, it was a tough time to get through.  My husband was busy making a living to support all of us, it was my job to figure out how to run “this ship” and do it as efficiently and frugally as possible.  I know I could of said, “Honey, would you pick up some $5 pizzas,” multiple times during the week.”  But I knew that as a help meet to my husband, my job was not to ruin us financially because I was feeling overwhelmed.  I just needed to get my head on straight and do it.

I have revamped this list many times over the past years of our marriage.  As we went towards a more homemade, less packaged foods approach, I realized some of our “old” foods weren’t going to be able to be part of our list.  Plus some of our older meals were costly when we were a small family and I knew it wouldn’t be right to keep spending when I could make other meals for a cheaper price.

When times were lean—well especially lean, during layoffs, I tried to write down all of the meals that required a prepared store bought food and learn how to make it homemade.  We have successful made our own ranch powder, taco seasoning, yogurt, steak sauce, cheese crackers, tomato soup, hummus and pita chips, and snack mix.

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Each month, I usually take about an hour on my “office day” and browse the internet for new meal ideas.  I keep this list handy when making my new monthly menu.  If we make the meal and it is a successful one with the bunch, then I add it to our Dinner ideas master list for future rotation.

Any meals that my husband or children don’t particularly care for and I can improve upon, I make a note on my copy.  I save a printed copy and put it in my household binder inside a plastic sleeve.

Okay, now that I have planned out enough of our families favorite meals, next up is how to organize them.



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19 responses to “once a month shopping for large family series part 1 planning

  1. Great ideas! Thanks for sharing. Visiting from WLW!

  2. This is such a great idea. I would love to do this but it always seemed so intimidating. Maybe I will try it now. 🙂 Thank you for inspiring me to try.
    We are here from the Deep Roots at Home Blog linkup and we are so happy to “meet” you. We (my sister and I) blog over at http://rosevinecottagegirls.blogspot.com and http://thelifeofanotsonormalamericanteenager.blogspot.com We would love to have you over to our place sometime. We will look for you on Facebook too. Blessings.

  3. Yes, planning is key. I’ve found that on the shopping trips I have not planned out our meals it doesn’t go so well financially. 🙂 And those weeks that didn’t have planned meals ended up being more stressful weeks as well. It’s interesting, how something as simple as supper can wreck havoc in your week if you let it! 🙂

  4. holly glauser

    So glad i found this!

  5. Excited to read through the series! My Husband gets a layoff in the winter, so I’m eagerly looking for ways to save money!

  6. Great ideas! Even with just my hubby and me (no kids yet), it’s SO nice when I take the time to meal-plan. Saves me a ton of time and frustration (and extra trips to the grocery store!).

  7. This is great! I think this can benefit everyone- whether their family is large or small, and no matter their budget. Planning is essential, and I think that if people can plan better (which means less waste) they would be amazed at how much they can cut their food budget!

    • Agreed whole heartily Jamie:) It is amazing how much money we waste in food consumption, it is sickening. People would probably be amazed at how much money they would have extra if they would only plan and budget their food.

  8. I found your post at Family Fun Friday. We don’t have a large family, (well, some people consider our 3 children to be a large family, compared to the average 1.2 kids 😉 ) But we live over an hour from the nearest city, so we usually only get groceries once a month too! Most blog posts seem to be about shopping weekly! So you caught my attention when you said you only shop once a month 🙂 Thank you for sharing!

    • Missy, you are welcome, I am glad that we are all able to come together to share what works best for us in our lives:) God bless Amy

  9. I love that you menu plan. I used to but somewhere along the way I got away from it. I usually plan my meals the day before or the day of (in the morning) and it’s usually based on what I have on hand.

    When I grocery shop I will think ahead and plan a few meals for the next week and buy accordingly. But I am not doing an “official” menu and I still decide the morning of what to make. That’s why I say that I don’t really menu plan. I’m just stocking my pantry and fridge with stuff we normally eat or need to cook with.

    I used to try one new recipe a week and I haven’t been doing that either. I really need to get back to my menu planning because my youngest always wants to know what’s for dinner, lol! Thanks for linking up to “Making Your Home Sing Monday!”

    • No, Thank you for hosting such an event so that we as homemakers can encourage and bless one another. Look forward to the next one:)

  10. Even though I don’t have a big family, this was SO helpful to me! I have many days where I just don’t feel like cooking or I have no idea of what to cook. This really gave me some great ideas and I’m so thankful that you shared it on my Counting Our Blessings link up! I’m going to start implementing your ideas into my life and do better on meal planning and frugality! Thank you!

    Many blessings – Julie

    • Thank you Julie, for offering such a link up, where us ladies can get together and encourage one another. I look forward to many more. God bless amy

  11. Thanks for stopping by my blog and linking up last week. I love your blog, by the way!! Great tips too!!

  12. We don’t have a large family (yet!) but I’m trying to move toward once a month shopping as well. Thanks for linking up with Thrive @ Home!

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