How to Grocery Shop for a Month: A Simple 6-Step Process

Cassandra Smet
by Cassandra Smet

Today, I’m going to show you how to grocery shop for a month. I'll show the step-by-step process: how to make a grocery list, how to family meal plan, how to do Aldi and Walmart hauls, plus how to store all the food. Let's get started!

Cleaning out the fridge before grocery shopping

1. Clean out your fridge and pantry

When I'm about to go grocery shopping I need every ounce of fridge room because I only have one fridge. Make room for all the new stuff. Get rid of expired or old food.

Making a meal plan before grocery shopping

2. Make a meal plan

Before I go shopping I'm just making my meal plan. I just grab a piece of paper and list it 1 through 30 or however many days there are in that month. I'll write out as many meals as I can think of and then I'll turn to Pinterest for ideas or old meal plans. 

Monthly grocery shopping list

3. Make a grocery list

The last thing I still have to do before I do my shopping is make a grocery list. I just section off my meat, my cheese, and anything else that I need multiples of. Then I make a section just for special items. Anything special that the kids request will be any special kind of ice cream or any special kind of snack. 

Toilet paper, shampoo, conditioner, razors, things like that, that we're not always out of, I make a section for that. So I'm just going to write everything down so it's easy for me to remember what I need and what I don't when I'm grocery shopping.

I’ll have two pieces of paper: one with the meal plan and another with my grocery list for other items I need to buy.

How to grocery shop for a month on a budget

4. Grocery shop in-store and online

I prefer to shop at Aldi in-store and Walmart online. So, I use the Walmart online grocery app and put in my Walmart order.

I like to do this for a couple of reasons: It keeps me within budget because I can see my running total and I can always delete things, or add things in later. 

I like to put in my initial Walmart order before I go grocery shopping at Aldi. That way, if I go shopping at Aldi and their produce doesn't look good or something that I was planning on them having and they don't, I can always go back and add that to my Walmart order. 

I usually like to schedule my Walmart order to be picked up, like, the day after I go to Aldi because I can't do it all in one trip. I have to do them on two separate days. 

So, when I go to Aldi to do my once-a-month shopping, I have both my lists in my purse, plus the Walmart order.  

Average grocery shopping cost per month

My Walmart order came to right around $300, and that's a lot more than I wanted it to be.

As my kids are growing, my grocery budget is quickly increasing. It seems like every month we need more and we ran out of a lot of things this month, like toilet paper. I need more stain remover for laundry, which is kind of expensive. 

Those big purchase items that you always need, shampoo, conditioner, all that stuff we ran out of. So a lot of big-ticket items this month. Probably $150 of that was just my big ticket items.

I also have some cleaning supplies that I need to go and get, but that is a different run for a different day. That also comes out of this budget, though.

So I'm going over this month but our average grocery shopping cost per month is about $150-$200 if I’m not out of bigger ticket items. Next month I should be under budget. So there's always an ebb and flow. It just kind of is how it is.

Putting food away

5. Put everything away

Putting away the food is the thing that takes the longest and the most energy. This month, I didn't have anything that I needed to break down, but if I had meat that I had to break down and freeze, I would put it in my fridge and do it the next day.

For my pantry stuff, I'll take anything out of a box that I can, like the big box of fruit snacks you see there. I'll open that and dump that out in a bin we have in our pantry for our kids. 

I'm putting all my freezer stuff back into those Aldi bags because I have to carry those bags down into our basement to throw into my chest freezer.

How to grocery shop for a month

6. Pick up the Walmart order

For the Walmart order, I'm doing the same thing that I did with my Aldi haul: throwing that stuff right back in those bags and carrying them down into the basement to store on shelves or in freezers.

How to grocery shop for a month

That’s it for how I do our once-a-month grocery shopping. Two lists, two stores, and put it all away. How often do you go grocery shopping? Comment below with any tips you have for making grocery shopping easier!

Join the conversation
2 of 6 comments
  • Jacque Jacque on Nov 27, 2022

    I like Shirley's Ideas of checking for sales. This is my method. I stop a little more than once a month, but I start by checking the weekly sales to see if there is a good sale and good digital coupon. If there is nothing I need then i skip that week at the store. There are somethings i buy at BJ's or Sam's because can get with an instant savings or coupon. I also check out discount stores that may have pantry items, but check the sell by dates. Sometimes there are deals but sometimes these are higher than a sale price at the grocery store.

  • DesertRose DesertRose on Nov 27, 2022

    We used to live in a small town where prices were high so once a month we went 60 miles to a larger town to shop for everything including groceries. We found we could buy milk for the month and freeze it. When we thawed out a gallon at a time we shook it once to remix the milk and cream that separated in the freezing process. Also we kept the butter in the freezer in a basket and at a glance I knew how much butter we needed if any. Also, we kept staples on hand like flour, beans, sugar, oatmeal, rice and canned tomatoes etc. We found by shopping once a month we were able to cut way back on our grocery budget. We had 3 small children and I made all their snacks like celery with peanut butter and/or raisins ("ants on a log"), muffins with fruit, home made cocoa in an ice cream bucket with a scoop for them to be able to heat water in a mug in the microwave and one scoop of the cocoa mix. This included mini marshmallows. We hunted our meat in season and cut up and froze it ourselves (we cut off all the bone). We ate canned fruit more than I liked but did get a large bag or two of apples and oranges once a month. I baked and froze our pumpkins for muffins and toasted the seeds for the kids for a treat. You can save a lot by mixing and making your own treats, meals, and drinks such as cocoa. I did that and worked full time too. I was young and had the energy in those days.