I’m a fan of the Urban Homestead Journal. Jules Dervaes and his three adult children homestead in the middle of Pasadena, California. They grow 6,000 pounds of produce on their one-tenth-acre garden, raise chickens, ducks and goats, and use only 6.5 kwh of electricity per day, thanks to the solar panels and energy conservation techniques. The Dervaes family inspired me to go to the store once a month instead of every week, and boy, it has served us well for the past two years! Eddy and I used to go to the store every week. Now, we go once every 4 weeks. We use less gas and have more time on hand.
Once-A-Month shopping has also cut our grocery bill. Eddy and I used to spend about $30-40 at Whole Foods and about $20 at Kroger every week. After the CEO of Whole Foods wrote an op-ed against the health care reform, we stopped going to Whole Food altogether. Now, we spend about $20-30 each at Kroger and Sam’s Oriental Store every month. By shopping once a month, we have cut our monthly grocery bill by $160 or more!
Here is how you go to the store just once a month. Make a list of all the stores you visit every week. Under each store, list items you buy from them. Calculate how much of each item you use per week and multiply by four.
Look over your list to see if you can make do without any of them or make from scratch. We stopped buying wine because we brew beer at home. We haven’t bought eggs or bread for over two years because we keep chickens and ducks and we bake bread.
Buy in bulk whenever you can. Eddy and I buy rice from Della Gourmet Rice and flour and grains from War Eagle Mill. We get together a group of friends, place a HUGE order, and split it. Some times, we even get bulk discounts since we order in large quantities! Best of all, since we buy so much each time, we only have to order from them once every 6 months or so. Besure to have a space in your freezer if you do this!
Eddy and I still go to farmers’ markets when in season and buy from online food clubs every week. Our life, however, has gotten much simpler now that we go to stores once a month. If Once-A-Month shopping seems daunting, start by shopping once every 2 weeks. You will be amazed at money and time saved.