Some shop every day, while others shop for the whole month in one fell swoop.

Polka Dot/Thinkstock

If you're like many families these days, your schedule probably leaves you with less free time than you would prefer. The many obligations of running a household take a lot of time, and fitting everything in can be a real challenge. Supplying your family with healthful food options is a big part of managing a household and determining how many times per month you should grocery shop really comes down to two things. First, what is your grocery shopping goal? And second, what works best for your life?

If you're looking to save money and, ultimately, time, then you might want to consider a shopping schedule of one of two times per month. To accomplish this, you need to be really good at planning out your meals and you need to have a good stock of pantry staples for times when you're caught with your pants down, so to speak. You also have to be comfortable eating frozen or canned vegetables and fruits for a portion of the month. Most people who utilize the once-a-month plan eat fresh fruits and veggies in the first week, and wind up freezing certain items like milk and bread. Although the trip to the store will take longer, shopping less frequently definitely saves you time in the long run. You'll also be saving money, as studies have shown that quick trips to the store lead to impulse buying.

The second question may be the most important: What works best for your life? While once- or twice-per-month shopping trips have been proven to save time and money, not everyone's life can accommodate it. If you're adamant about having fresh fruits and vegetables in your diet, then a once-per-week trip is more realistic. If you can live with a mix of fresh and frozen or canned, then try twice a month. If your schedule is erratic and your time is short, you may fall victim to shopping several times per week, or even a daily "quick trip" to the store. You'll definitely be spending more time making trips, and likely spending more money than you should. So, even if you're busy and have a hard time making time for a larger shopping trip, try to keep your store visits down to no more than twice a week.