Grocery Mission: Mission Impossible?

My grocery mission has been ongoing for several years, and I think (thanks to google and other helpful blogs) I finally broke through this week with an actual plan of action that makes sense to me. I have tried the "menu planning" prior to grocery shopping - which has left me with a few problems: 
A) I DREAD SHOPPING because it has become such a time consuming task. I have to sit down plan out a menu, THEN I can make my list - THEN I can run to the grocery store. I know it doesn't sound like a time consuming task but when you have a day that you literally have 5 minutes to stop and think and plan - it is. 
B) I spend more money. I know you hear all the time go to the store with a list, plan a menu it is more affordable. If I go in there with a specific menu list I am missing out on a lot of sale opportunities - and there usually isn't any room for play with my budget and list so I cannot just throw something unplanned in my cart no matter how good a deal it is. 
C) If something happens and I cannot make it to the grocery store on my "scheduled" grocery day - I am in trouble because I have nothing to throw together to make a complete meal. 
So I have toyed with the idea for some time now of once a month shopping - now I know I will have to go more frequently to grab fresh produce and dairy, but I want to do the majority in one foul swoop. I must admit though the thought of once a month shopping is quite an overwhelming thought for me, I am left with where do I begin? Menu Planning for once a month shopping is a daunting task. I have toyed with the idea of not only once a month shopping but once a month cooking - again OVERWHELMING! I do have a Facebook friend who sent me an email and broke things down for me, thank you Paulette! You are an angel! I have steered back away (kinda) from once a month cooking, but thanks to some tips from Paulette I can and will most likely make "multiple" meals at a time when the opportunity arises. 
I am sure you are wondering what my breakthrough is then.... it is pantry shopping. I have run through the pantry and made a list of all my "must haves" googled (see told you I am an addict) what other peoples "must haves" are and read other peoples blogs about their "must haves" and I think I am on to something. I think that  if I am shopping to keep a well stocked pantry - at any given time I should be able to open the pantry and throw something together, whether it be a meal that I need to add extra to for an unexpected guest, or possibly a dessert I want to surprise the family with, or to take with us somewhere we have been invited to or just because the girls and I feel like getting our baking groove on. 
Again with this mission and any other mission baby steps is key, so going to the store and stocking up the pantry for a month is probably not going to happen, I have read to spend an additional 10% of your grocery budget to put towards adding bulk to your pantry, maybe that means an extra bag of flour, or a bigger box of spaghetti than what you would normally buy. Eventually it will be stocked and you can start saving some money. AND speaking of saving money, be careful when shopping at stores promising to save you a lot. Sometimes you would be surprised at how little if any you are actually saving. I am also currently working on price list for some of my pantry "must haves" and doing side by side comparisons, so far my findings are surprising even myself. Once my list is complete I will share that with you all too. 
Have a great weekend and remember to be thankful for the little things, the little things are usually full of the biggest blessings!
Many Blessings!
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