Shopping Only Twice A Year

So, some of you have been wondering just how Addy manages to keep her family’s shopping trips down to only twice a year. Well, I went to visit her today and was able to ask her specifically how she does this.

First, I asked her if she has a menu for the family that she plans and stocks up for. She told me that she doesn’t really have a menu. She just goes out to her “Grocery Barn” (where she stores all of her canned goods on shelves, and meat in freezers), and just picks out stuff to cook for that day.

I asked, “But how do you know how much to can for your family?” Her reply was, “We have a saying around here ‘Get all you can, and can all you get'”. So, basically that’s what she does. Everything that comes up in her garden, and everything that she is able to barter for she cans or freezes. Then they simply eat what they have, which actually is a nice variety.

As far as toiletries and cleaning products go she does have a method. When she first began stocking up 6 months worth of stuff at a time, it took her a little while to figure out how much of something her family used. When she would buy a product (like laundry detergent or something), she would mark the date she started using it on, and make a note of how long it lasted. This way she was able to figure out about how much of everything she would need to buy to last them six months.

She would do this for stuff like toothpaste, laundry products, toilet paper, sugar, flour, etc. This is how she manages to do all of her shopping once in January, and once in July. And she buys almost everything on her list from either the Dollar General or Walmart.

I love the idea of only shopping twice a year. Can you imagine how much money that would save you, being spared of all that impulse buying?! I’m going to start marking the products that I buy and making notes of how long they last so that I, too, can begin using this method. Of course, I’ll still be on the look out for good deals throughout the year on products that I use often!

24 thoughts on “Shopping Only Twice A Year”

  1. For those w/o a milk cow, save an empty gallon milk carton, then pour half of a new milk carton in it. Mix enough powdered milk to make a gallon, and pour it into the two containers of milk you have. Children can seldom tell the difference, and if they can, just add a bit of strawberry or chocolate to it, until they get used to it plain. Eventually you can make the combo more of the powdered variety, then the store bought milk, until it’s just mixed powdered milk if that’s what you want to do. Even at half & half, you save grocery money for other items. I read that children who don’t care for the flavor of powdered milk, even if that’s all there is to drink, cannot be made to drink it. Something to think about.

  2. I am in awe of your friend Abby, and I’m just finding all of these wonderful posts and reading them! How inspirational! I am just now getting to once a month shopping, which is no where near twice a year! We also have sworn off Walmart- there is absolutly nothing there we need, that we can’t get at our local grocery store. We haven’t been in a Walmart for probably 3 years now. We haven’t missed it at all 🙂

  3. I love this idea…But I am trying to stay away from walmart cause of the impulse buying…I am going to try this but w/ other stores 🙂 Thanks

  4. I only get paid once a month. The first few days of the month, I buy what I think we will need for the next 4-5 weeks. I do shop in-between, but mostly just for milk and incidentals. It took some getting used to, but making up a list and checking it over before I go over really helps. I also do a menu plan to help make up my list.

    Any fresh meat gets eaten the first week – after that it either comes from the freezer, the pantry or we eat vegetarian. I can’t imagine shopping for six months at a time, but I did get used to doing once a month.

    I do buy weekly from the Farmer’s Market when it is running. I do not grow a garden big enough for all the food preservation that I do, so I buy enough each week not only to eat but also to preserve.

    I also keep a fairly extensive pantry – we could probably get three months from our regular pantry if we were careful. This gives me some security, especially after reading today’s post of Kendra’s husband losing his job.

  5. After a while, you get used to not going to the store.

    You eat what is fresh from the garden.

    You chose to make what you want from what you have.

    I’d love to have chickens and a cow, but for now, powdered eggs and powdered milk keep me going. I get eggs if we have the money to do so, but if I do that’s perhaps the only thing I’ll get.

    It gives one a lot more time, not standing in line, driving to the store, or shopping. I have plenty of things to do to fill that time!

  6. I just love reading about your times with Addy! I am always fascinated at what she is able to accomplish. Thanks

  7. I will be starting my first year of teaching special education kindergarten in the fall (in a very small and rural community).

    My husband and I decided that it will be too much work to keep up with going to the city every few weeks to use coupons and get the deals at Walgreens, CVS, etc. that have saved us so much money (even when you count gas and vehicle wear as part of the cost!). My goal is to stock everything that we will need to take care of our personal, health, and laundry needs for an entire year by August!

    This post is very encouraging! It’s exciting to hear that others are successful with bulk shopping for their personal, health, and laundry needs.

    If you’re interested, I will be posting some about my progress and storage plans at my blog:

  8. I just thought of an interesting question. I wonder if her parents were as frugal as she is, so did she learn it as a child, or has she just developed her own way of doing things as an adult?

  9. I really miss hearing stories of Addy. I sure wish you would talk more about her like you used to. Keep up the nice work on your blog. I wish you and your family best regards.
    Sharp Shepherd

  10. I’m glad you did another Addy post. She is a rare sort of person in these times and I’m glad we’re all learning a thing or two from her through your posts. By the way, how does she feel about you writing about her??

    • Laurie,

      That’s a great question. When I wrote my first post about meeting Addy, I had no idea how popular it would be. I couldn’t believe the response and people’s curiosity to hear more. After I’d written two or three posts about my visits with her, it occurred to me that I really need to tell her that I was writing about her if I was going to continue. I wasn’t sure how she would take it at first, and I was completely prepared to not write anymore if she gave any sign of disapproval.

      I decided I’d print off my posts and let her read them, and all of the responses from people. I knew she had no idea what a “blog” is. On that next visit, I casually mentioned (while picking blueberries) that I have a blog (and I explained what that is) and told her that I had written about all what I had been learning from her and that tons of people are fascinated by her. At first I could sense that she was uneasy, so I went on to assure her that I only wrote her first name, never her last name, never named her children or husband, and never tell where we live. I assured her that her privacy would remain the same. I think she was afraid all kinds of people would start showing up at her house bugging her.

      After she read my articles she was amused. I think she enjoys reading what I take from our visits. Ever since then, I have always printed off anything I’ve written about her (and my other homesteading adventures) for her to read, since she doesn’t have the internet. So, she was cool with me writing about her as long as her privacy remains, which is why I do not post any pictures of her or her family.

      Anyways, that was a long answer! But thanks for asking 🙂

  11. Thanks Kendra for asking Addy about this topic. I think most of us are equipped to be able to do this but old habits die hard. It is just so easy to run into town for this or that and end up spending a lot more than you intended to. I know I am going to work on making less trips into town and buying more of the things I need to stock up on.

  12. I would love to be able to do this as well, but confess, I too fall in the “I don’t have enough room” camp. My family currently lives in an apartment, as we are still waiting to hear on wether our offer on the house comes through. I would definately be interested in trying to do this when I have enough space though.

    Kendra’s comment about how much money you could save really hits home with Myself and the Wife. We always say how we can’t walk into Wal-Mart without leaving $60 poorer. I too, however, am an ardent believer in the dollar store bargain. I get 13 trashbags for $1 and often just dump the trash in the dumpster while saving the bag for the next load. 🙂

  13. I ENJOY GOING TO THE GROCERY STORE EVERY WEEK, i ALWAYS HAVE. i STILL STAY ON BUDGET THOUGH. I wouldent be interested in this. I dont have the room either, but this lady has got to be some talented organizer! I wonder how much time she puts into prepareing , I guess alot.

  14. This is an interesting concept. I would love to be able to do this, but I do not have the room to store what I have, let alone six months or even twelve months worth!

    • Jessica-

      Addy has it to where all of the beds in her house are high enough off the ground that she is able to store the plastic buckets full of stuff underneath. Her husband has also built shelves in closets, the laundry room, the bathroom to help store these things. It does take some room to store 6 mos worth of stuff (especially the toilet paper), but if you get creative you may find more room that you thought you had! Keep in mind, Addy lives in a single wide trailer (with 4 other people); their home is humble, but somehow she manages. Good luck!

  15. The twice a year or once a year shopping is my goal also!! I actually just blogged about my shopping habits yesterday. I cannot stand shopping of any sort! Last summer I started marking all my stuff with the start dates to help me keep track of things. Another I thing I found that helps is to have a calendar where you can mark how many loads of laundry you do, when I change my contacts, etc. I keep a calendar inside the cabinets of my laundry room and one in the bathroom for this purpose. Keep us up to date on your progress! It helps encourage the rest of us!


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