My grocery budget is $300 each month for a family of four – two adults and two kids. This real food budget includes food, toiletries, household items as well as health & beauty products.
It’s the half-way mark of the month and that can only mean one thing: we’re counting the crumbs.
While our meals have been based largely on what I already had in the house, it was slim pickin’s in the freezer (two dinners worth of pork chops), no bread and very little fruits and vegetables at the start of the month. I’ve been working extra hard to keep spending in check while still maintaining some non-pasta sanity. Here’s how the balance sheet looks so far:
The first stop of the month was to Grocery Outlet. It was a short and sweet trip: a loaf of bread and two green bell peppers for week 1.
Grocery Outlet – $1.99
The second stop was to Savemart for chicken leg quarters. They were on sale for $0.79/lb and I needed some for weeks 2, 3 and 4.
I made an unexpected second trip to Savemart last weekend when Mr. Crumbs requested tiramisu for his birthday dessert. I didn’t have a single ingredient for the recipe in the house (except eggs and sugar) and I figured that the price of these items wouldn’t vary much from store to store. I picked up mascarpone cheese, Ghirardelli chocolate (couldn’t skimp on the birthday chocolate!), Italian sponge cake cookies, heavy cream and marsala wine.
Savemart – $40.84
I had only a few items on the basics list for Target: paper muffin cups, brown sugar, sprinkles (yes, they ARE a necessity), snack baggies and paper towels.
Target – $21.47
Costco and I have a love/hate relationship. I LOVE going there and getting a lot of what I want, but I hate that the total always seems to be so high. Even if I only get two things! The first of three trips (yes, three, and I know it’s only been two weeks) was for the “normal” stuff: canned chicken, apples, fresh mozzarella, dried mangos/cherries, butter, strawberries, dried cranberries, quinoa (going to see how well it works in place of couscous) and chicken broth. The second trip was for more dried cranberries and apples because Mr. Crumbs is having a different type of salad this month. The most recent trip was for almonds and strawberries – I forgot almonds on the second trip and the kids ate all the strawberries from the first.
Costco – $109.06
Remember how I love Trader Joe’s? I picked up a few items during my recognizance mission and spent less out of pocket than I was anticipating. Yeah!! I got coconut milk (splurging for coconut rice on week 3), crimson tea (Mother’s Day gift), polenta (week 4), feta (week 2), tortilla chips, hummus (both a treat for mommy), bananas, dried mangos, organic chocolate (another Mother’s Day gift), sunflower seeds, parmesan and gouda (lunches and who can pass up yummy cheese?!). By the way, you can see the prices for each item on my new Trader Joe’s price sheet.
Trader Joe’s – $32.84
CVS was short and sweet, simply to use up bucks that were about to expire. I bought tampons (TMI?) and paid only tax.
CVS – $0.32
I was out of pepitas (going fast in our salads!) and Safeway has the best price on those. Fortunately, they’re on the way home from Mr. Crumbs’ work so the kids and I made a quick stop yesterday and picked up a pound or so.
Safeway – $5.63
Finally, I did a big trip to Rite Aid this week. Just like CVS, my UP’s were set to expire, but they had some great deals going on this week: lots of razors, visine, shaving cream, lots of dishwasher soap, shampoo/conditioner and lots of nail polish.
Rite Aid – $35.01
Grand total so far for the month: $247.16
There are two weeks left of the month and only a few items left on my list for the remaining meals. The fridge is looking empty (except for the two remaining pieces of tiramisu – YUM!), but the pantry is plenty full. Mr. Crumbs knows I’m trying really hard to come in at or under budget, so it’s a team effort to pull it off this month!
Have you counted your crumbs yet this month? How are your numbers looking?