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food shopping once a month...

icedragonicedragon 2059 replies111 threads Senior Member
edited June 2012 in Parent Cafe
Is it possible?

I will be moving into an apartment on campus this fall (hoping for a single) and will have to cook for myself. I grew up learning how to make things streach (Ie: boil a chicken, shred it for samwiches, soups, salads, or something else, then use the stalk for soup or freeze it) and will be able to do so this fall. I could potentially buy a chuck roast (or any other large piece of meat) and portion it out into smaller ones (cuting it up into smaller portions for stirfry or what have you).

I do know that the school provides the stadard freezer on top refrigerator.

I also have to make it gluten-free, tomato-free, greese-free, and non-spicey.

I know how to shop on sales (for example i got 16 or so boxes of rice chex on a sale a while back for 1.29 a box instead of the almost 4.00 i normally pay) and such.

I also enjoy frozen veggies (spinnage is one of my favorites). I also, however, am an apple fiend, so by stashing them in the fridge I think i can make them last a bit longer (i normally eat at least one a day). Eggs, however, I dispise with a passion (i cannot eat them as a meal, they make my stomach upset ;/, but in a dish like pancakes, I do fine).

Outside of this, I also know it is a good idea to plan ahead for the month.

Thoughts? Suggestions?
edited June 2012
38 replies
Post edited by icedragon on
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Replies to: food shopping once a month...

  • VeryHappyVeryHappy 18559 replies325 threads Senior Member
    If you're going to watch the sales, you're going to need to be more flexible, since grocery stores usually change their sale items weekly.

    I find I can go quite a while without going to the grocery except for fruit, veggies, milk, and yogurt. Those items, I need to buy weekly.
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  • abasketabasket 19491 replies867 threads Senior Member
    ^^ Agree with this. I dread big grocery store visits but can manage with a big box store once a month (for canned goods, cereal, frozen items), but supplement that with regular visits to the local produce, meat store, etc. to get fresher dairy, produce, meat.

    How about 2x a month??? At least to start - then you can see if you can stretch your trips out a little longer.
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  • romanigypsyeyesromanigypsyeyes 33358 replies767 threads Senior Member
    Not going to happen. Like VH said, there are many things that need to be bought weekly. I usually do one major shopping trip once a month and smaller weekly ones for dairy, fruit, etc.
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  • annasdadannasdad 4677 replies150 threads Senior Member
    Is there an Aldi near you? High-quality food, but no national brands, very low cost, as long as you don't mind bagging your own groceries and dispensing with the frills. We spend 90% of our grocery budget there and eat very well.
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  • siliconvalleymomsiliconvalleymom 4377 replies84 threads Senior Member
    What grocery or farmer's market options will you have available to you?
    Do you have a Whole Foods or equivalent nearby for gluten-free options?
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  • abasketabasket 19491 replies867 threads Senior Member
    Also, what are your limitations to only wanting to shop once a month? Transportation? Time? Money?

    My other suggestion overall - get a crockpot. My D who is newly out on her own finds it a lifesaver in terms of having good, cheap, meals ready to eat when she gets home exhausted at the end of the day.
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  • dmd77dmd77 8597 replies66 threads Senior Member
    You haven't mentioned that high-quality, low-cost staple to college students everywhere: peanut butter (which keeps quite well). Beans are also a long-storing, low-cost form of protein, and very easy to cook if you have a crockpot.

    If you're trying to shop less often, you need to look at items you can buy in bulk which give you the maximum bang for your food dollars. Oatmeal also comes to mind (as well as the beans and peanut butter). Your freezer space is no doubt shared, and thus limited.
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  • MarianMarian 13214 replies83 threads Senior Member
    To shop only once a month, you would have to live almost exclusively on shelf-stable foods (those that do not have to be refrigerated until after the package is opened).

    This is possible, but it's difficult to do without a sophisticated understanding of both nutrition and cooking.
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  • Emaheevul07Emaheevul07 5890 replies76 threads Senior Member
    It's actually really easy to do virtually all of your grocery shopping once a month. You just have to know the strategy... it sounds like icedragon would be good at this, they already know a few of the basic concepts. Icedragon, your freezer probably isn't big enough to do the whole program, but you should research Once-A-Month-Cooking, or OAMC. They can give you some shopping techniques and you can probably figure out how best to make use of your freezer to stretch a few more complex meals. Very, very few things need to be bought fresh every week. The things that do, much can be bought frozen or shelf stable if it's ABSOLUTELY necessary not to go to the store more often. We just have the standard freezer-on-top fridge too and we manage to do quite a bit.

    It's a lot easier to just go to the store every week or every other week, but if that's not doable you can make do with once a month if you have a way of transporting a months worth of groceries at once.
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  • emeraldkity4emeraldkity4 34785 replies1076 threads Senior Member
    You may also have to be flexible with storage. Student kitchens may be
    quite small. Is there a reasOn you are limited to once a month shopping trips?
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  • thumper1thumper1 75155 replies3299 threads Senior Member
    How many folks are sharing that freezer space? If there others, you may find that shopping twice a month might work better so that you don't fill the freezer with your things. My kids both shopped for staples every month or so...but they got fresh veggies and fruits every week. They kept pasta and canned or jarred sauces available at all times, as well as some canned soups. I don't think you will have much success keeping some foods FRESH for a month (veggies, milk products).

    I would say...twice a month might work better than monthly.
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  • moonchildmoonchild 3266 replies30 threads Senior Member
    It sounds like you know how to make food stretch, but be sure that you are getting plenty of fresh food in your diet and not relying on boxed or processed (canned) foods. Frozen is ok, as the nurtrients aren't degraded or full of extra sodium and sugar like they are in canned and boxed. There's nothing like fresh food to maintain your health.
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  • HImomHImom 34441 replies392 threads Senior Member
    We like to be able to go the store fairly often, especially for fresh fruits & veggies. They tend to have a short shelf-life, so need to be purchased close to the date they are consumed. Leafy green veggies especially are best when purchased close to the date they are eaten & we love them--they provide lots of B vitamens which are important to good health.
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  • ellemenopeellemenope 11344 replies36 threads Senior Member
    16 boxes of rice chex? :eek:
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  • emeraldkity4emeraldkity4 34785 replies1076 threads Senior Member
    There are some things you can get that don't need to be refrigerated, unopened peanut butter, aseptic packaged tofu & soy milk, dried beans for soups etc, but especially if you are not eating most whole grains ( and actually anyway), you need to be eating fresh fruits and vegetables for fiber as well as for vitamins.
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  • moonchildmoonchild 3266 replies30 threads Senior Member
    You might consider subscribing to one of the CSA farms that deliver fresh fruits and vegetables weekly or every other week. We get an organic box from Capay Farms in Nor Cal- even though we live in SoCal- as they have a large clientele down here. You can get a small box every other month for around $25, which would mean less than $15 a week. The produce is fresh, organic, and does last a pretty long time in the refrigerator- over a week for most fruits and some of the heartier veggies. There very likely is a similar farm in that delivers in your area.
    They leave the food on your doorstep in the early morning. - It's fun, healthy, and not too expensive, imo.
    It's important to have a safe place to leave the food, however. I wouldn't trust it in my Dd's apartment complex, but my son's would be ok.
    http://www.farmfreshtoyou.com/index.php
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  • romanigypsyeyesromanigypsyeyes 33358 replies767 threads Senior Member
    Moon, I've never heard of that! You've inspired me to check it out and it seems we have a few in my area. I will definitely be trying this!
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  • Emaheevul07Emaheevul07 5890 replies76 threads Senior Member
    romani-- I assume you have that by school and not by home, right? I was just thinking that sounds SO COOL!
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  • moonchildmoonchild 3266 replies30 threads Senior Member
    If you google "CSA farms (your state)" you might find one that will deliver in your area. :)
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  • familyof3boysfamilyof3boys 1197 replies20 threads Senior Member
    In case you didn't know, bread freezes well. I always purchase our bread when it is on sale, and store the remaining loaves in the freezer. This also works for bagels...just slice them before you freeze. I pull a bread (or bagels) out as needed, and let them thaw on the counter. I usually pull out a loaf at a time, but if I lived alone, I would perhaps freeze half a loaf.

    I was at the market recently...in line behind a woman who was purchasing 1 loaf of bread that was on sale Buy 1-Get 1 Free. I pointed out that she could get another loaf free, but she replied that she wouldn't be able to use it up. I shared with her that bread freezes/thaws quite easily, but she still bought just one. :confused:
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