Frugal Friday- Once a Month Cooking

  I asked one of my favorite people in all the blogosphere to guest post for me on the benefits of cooking “once a month”. She has a great blog dedicated to helping people navigate ways to maximize your time and money in the kitchen. So without further ado…..

One of the greatest challenges in our family’s budget has got to be the grocery and dining out portion. After all, we have to eat so it seems justified to go over in that area of our budget, right? The thing is, on careful evaluation of our spending habits in these two areas it became clear that the justifying needed to stop and the discipline needed to begin! That’s when I started once a month cooking (also referred to as bulk cooking, freezer cooking, power cooking and oamc).

By building menus based on what is on sale and cooking an entire month’s worth of meals in one day our family has managed to save hundreds of dollars on our grocery and eating out budgets. And it is not too difficult to understand how.

First of all, by planning ahead and shopping weekly sales I am able to save money on the staple items in my monthly menu. I am also buying in large quantities so I end up saving by bulk purchasing as well. For a family of four, bulk purchasing doesn’t make sense if we can’t use up all of the items in a timely manner. However, when you are cooking in large quantities you can use up these goods, saving money and reducing waste.

Second, because a majority of my menu items for the month are already ready and waiting for me in the freezer, I don’t have to go to the grocery store as often. Staying out of the grocery store on a weekly basis means that I am less inclined to make impulse purchases. Most of my purchases are for milk, bread and produce items.

Once a month cooking also keeps us from eating out as often. It is really difficult to justify frivolous trips to the nearest restaurant when I can simply put in a home-cooked freezer meal and have dinner done quickly. The dinners all have labels on them too so no excuses for hubby either. Getting a freezer meal out and making it is just as easy as picking up the phone to dial the local pizza delivery man.

Bottom line, how much do we save? How much do we spend? The Once A Month Mom menus are designed to feed 2 families of 4 a total of 8-10 breakfasts, 8-10 lunches and 16 dinners. I usually set aside $300 to purchase all of the ingredients needed in a given month, that means $150 for a family of four for about 35 meals. That equals less than $5 an entree for a family of four. We then spend only a little at the grocery store throughout the month for the staples. And we have a set amount for eating out that is much more manageable.

But don’t just take my word for it, back in February many readers participated in the February Cook Off and they saved lots of money too! You can read their stories and their savings to see how their families did it! You don’t need a stand alone freezer or even a culinary degree to get started. Simply stop by Once A Month Mom and take a look at the April 2010 menu. All of the resources you will need are right there waiting on you! Start saving on your grocery and eating out budgets!


  1. Thank you for the guest post. We always spent too much on groceries. Just recently have we started to try to cut back on “easy” food and buying stuff to cook from scratch instead since it is cheaper. However we still find ourselves falling back on the easy stuff and the restaurants. I am off to check out your blog and the links you shared in this post.
    .-= Nolie´s last blog ..Little Man’s Bedroom Antics =-.

  2. I try to be pretty frugal, but I have GOT to get on the ball with all this planning; that really is the difference. Love it!!
    .-= Hillary @ The Other Mama´s last blog ..The Bigger the Boys =-.

  3. Hi there! Niki here, dropping in from over at Free 2 Be Frugal. I really enjoyed your Frugal Friday post…it is all in the planning!

    Stop by and see me sometime.


  4. This is such a great idea! I’ve noticed lately that our grocery store/ eating out spending is getting way out of hand, but I just thought it was inevitable. I think I am going to try this. It seems like it will save money and a lot of time during the week. Thanks for the guest post!
    .-= Kim´s last blog ..I Kind of Suck (But I Think That’s Okay) =-.

  5. Sherry says:

    I did a huge session with Amy from Finer Things in Life in March. It was a lot of fun! :D
    .-= Sherry´s last blog ..Enjoy A Family Walk =-.

  6. I do a version of once a month cooking – it works for us. I’m pretty frugal when it comes to eating. I figure, I rather spend my money on fun stuff like food and entertainment, so I really shop deals when it comes to food.
    .-= designHer Momma´s last blog ..Bye Bye Soggy Bottom Birdie =-.

  7. I did this before and I sort of keep meaning to do it again. But I don’t ever want what’s in my freezer, I like variety, and I like to cook too much to do this! Instead I just do my meal planning and major grocery shopping every two weeks with very few trips in between, if any. And I do prepare major staples (like chicken stock) in advance and freeze, and I do things I can use as leftovers. I also make bulk purchases. It does help save a lot!! If I didn’t like to cook quite so much I’d make up pans of my favorites and freeze them. And occasionally if I make bulk purchases (like a 20-lb. turkey a couple weeks ago) I end up doing that anyway!
    .-= Kate´s last blog ..Artificial Baby Milk: What’s In It? =-.

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