Welcome back to this series on grocery shopping for a large family while staying on budget. Be sure and check out my posts on Sam’s Club and Aldi. Walmart is one of the main stores where we live so that’s a frequent stop for me. I buy groceries, personal care products, first-aid items, pet care, home and cleaning products, office supplies, and occasionally clothing at Walmart.
There’s both Walmart Supercenters (What we call “big” Walmart.) and Neighborhood Markets near us. I shop at either depending on what I need to buy and which I’m closest to at the time. You can’t deny that it’s really convenient to be able to buy milk, socks, and aquarium filters at the same store!
Monthly Stock-up Trip to Walmart
At the beginning of the month I do a big stock-up trip to Walmart. I buy items for our food storage, personal care items, any home or cleaning products we need, and things to restock our first-aid kit.
For our food storage I purchase a month’s supply of flour, sugar, salt, and condiments. These items are labeled with the date when I get home and stored in our pantry behind older packages. This rotation makes sure products are used before they expire. The dates also help me monitor how quickly we are using that product so I can adjust our food storage.
Fresh Food Shopping
Most of my trips to Walmart are quick stops during the week for produce, dairy, meat, and school lunch items. These trips alternate with Aldi depending on where I am in town that day and how much time I have.
The main way I stay on budget with shopping is that I’m primarily buying ingredients to cook from scratch. The only convenience items I regularly buy are tortillias, bread for school lunches, chips, and granola bars.
Building the skills to cook on a daily basis and bake is one of the best ways to reduce your grocery budget. It is a big investment of time and energy to learn these skills and practice them but the benefits can be huge. You will save money and have healthier meals for your family.
Produce is the main thing I’m buying on weekly trips and the cost can really add up on that. I try to buy only what I know we can and will eat in the next few days. Before I do another shopping trip I look at what’s left and figure out how to use anything that needs to go. I’ll roast a big batch of vegetables, make applesauce from soft apples, or freeze ripe bananas for smoothies. Not wasting food is a sure way to save money!
Above you can see what I bought on a few of my trips to Walmart. We eat a lot of fresh produce as you can see. I’ve been baking the chicken and slicing it for sandwiches since lunch meat has gotten so expensive. A few of my kids prefer wraps and others like sandwiches so I keep tortillas and bread on hand. My son packs a lunch every day for work and we have homeschool co-ops a couple days a week and I keep things in stock for those.
For several years my kids have made their own breakfast and lunch every day. I cook our supper and sometimes there are leftovers. They like certain things for the meals they cook so I try to make sure I have plenty of that. Yogurt and granola are favorites for breakfast and I keep plenty of that ready to go.
Grocery shopping takes a lot of our time, energy, budget, and mental space. I’ve spent years coming up with systems and methods to streamline this part of my job. It’s helpful for me to see it as a rhythm in homemaking instead of a chore that is “done”. With the prices of everything increasing steadily it’s important that you find the best ways to use your money. Buying what you really need, know you will use, and then making sure you use it will help you meet your budget.