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. Each week I crunch the numbers to see where I stand. Today marks the end of week one.
This pantry challenge stuff is awesome! Well, at least for my pocketbook, lol. First week numbers haven’t been this low in a LONG time… but it doesn’t hurt that we’ve been eating at my parents house all week and they keep passing over their too-ripe fruit! The details on our menu will come Sunday since today is all about the numbers!
Something else kinda interesting about this week’s shopping trip – this is what we did for our date! We went out to dinner too, but having the opportunity to leisurely browse and not be in a rush to get out of a store (or receive dirty looks from fellow Trader Joe patrons when my kids linger around the crackers) was something I couldn’t pass up, and Mr. Crumbs didn’t seem to mind either!
Trader Joe’s – $54.84
Coconut Water x2 – 7.38
Coconut Oil – 5.99
Sunflower seeds – 1.99
Parmesan – 5.52
Almond Milk x2 – 3.38
Gallon Organic Milk – 5.99
Chocolate Bar – 1.49
Kefir x2 – 5.98
Kerrygold Butter – 2.99
Bananas – 2.28
Mushrooms – 1.69
Spinach x2 – 3.98
Apples – 2.99
Pineapple – 2.99
Bag Fee – .20
Great Deal: Some of the items that regularly end up in my cart are great deals in my book – coconut oil and sunflower seeds for our seed salads; parmesan and mushrooms for squash and pesto risotto; almond milk, kefir and bananas for smoothies. You know, the usual.
Decent Deal: Coconut water, butter, spinach, apples, pineapple. I hate paying such a high price for coconut water, but I may have found a slightly better option (see below). If even this was a few dimes more, it’s still a decent deal considering prices elsewhere. The butter is grass fed and I’ve been wanting to try it. Because it’s my first time buying it, I don’t know if it’s a good or bad deal – so it ended up in the middle. Spinach isn’t a bad deal, nor the apples or pineapples. For a per-gallon price, the organic milk was decent (to make my own kefir). I believe two gallons run just over $10 at Costco, so this is a good option considering we don’t buy milk regularly.
Not So Great Deal: Argh! Bag fee again! I totally spaced on bringing our own bags, but have since resolved the issue. I went through the house and found all of the reusable bags we own, folded them nicely into a reusable bag and stashed them in the trunk. Now there are 8 bags ready for me. With luck, I can even use them to bag my own produce!
Farmer’s Market – $7.68
Since scoring 15 lbs of strawberries for $6 a few weeks ago, I’m completely sold on the farmer’s market. Mr. Crumbs is also wanting to buy food locally as much as possible. Our market is partially a tourist spot, so be sure to read any labels that are on the food – some of their peaches had a “grown in Mexico” sticker on them.
Ginger Root – .25
Cucumbers – 1
Peaches – 1.99
Yellow Squash – 1.93
Eggplant – 1.49
zucchini – 1.02
Great Deal: ginger root and cucumbers. Want to add a bit of spice to your smoothies? Peel and dice the ginger and add one tablespoon to whatever blend you’ve chosen – viola! Instant spice and deliciousness! (By the way, I’ve tried ginger with every fruit I’ve already mentioned and verified that it does indeed taste good.)
Decent Deal: Peaches, squash, zucchini, eggplant. The eggplant was a flat price but the others were just under $1 per pound, which is what I aim for.
Not So Great Deal: None, other than the farmer’s market isn’t offering plastic bags either. We ended up carrying our produce back to the car and unloading it ourselves instead of paying $1 for a reusable bag. I’m starting to wonder if it’s a county ordinance or something like that going on?
Whole Foods – $4.39
Since we were alone, this was a perfect opportunity to check out Whole Foods and price compare on some items that we regularly buy. Turns out they carry pepitas at the same price that Safeway offered them (notice the past tense there). A small bag just shy of a pound made its way into my hands.
In other related news, Whole Foods carries Almond Breeze almond milk for $1.99 and there are coupons for $1/2 regularly. This would make it $1.49 for a quart and save $.20 over Trader Joe’s. I do want to review the ingredient list to make sure there’s nothing weird or crazy before I commit, but it’s nice to see a smaller price, even if it’s slight.
They also carry Zico coconut water for $3.79, just slightly higher than Trader Joe’s, but it was on sale for 2/$6!! I could have bought a case and save another 10% making them only $2.70 each!
But I didn’t. Two liters were already in the car from Trader Joe’s and I exercised restraint. It is a pantry challenge, after all.
But I learned my lesson. I’m going to start paying attention to the sales at Whole Foods and swing in when they have something on sale that we would normally pay full price for. I’ve already printed off coupons for Organic Valley butter and I’m excited to make the switch and save! Anyone know of a good coupon-matchup site or blog for Whole Foods?
Cultures for Health – $21.98
The investment for making my own kefir has been initiated. I purchased milk kefir grains this week and expect to start the process sometime next week.
Current August Pantry Challenge Total – $88.89
This is WAY lower than what I usually spend at this time each month and there is still a lot of food in the house. We’re slowly chipping away at the pantry, fridge and freezer without letting anything spoil which is definitely keeping the numbers down!
Seeing the numbers so low kinda makes me want to splurge and buy some super crazy expensive cut of beef!