My grocery budget is $330 each month, including food, household items and toiletries. Each week I crunch the numbers to see where I stand. Today marks the halfway point of the month.
Each new month usually entails a very detailed grocery shopping list, based off what staples need to be replenished and the meals planned for the month.
The FIVE different trips to Savemart these two weeks clearly speak otherwise.
I admit – I simply did not have my act together for this month. However in my defense, my meal plan was really the back-up plan. My grandma was visiting and opportunities to spend precious time with her puts our plans on the backburner. Most dinners are at my dad’s house. The few that aren’t are either at our house or a date night splurge.
Since Grandma was the plan, shopping was an after thought and frankly, rather haphazard. Here’s how it panned out.
Organic Black Beans 1.69/lb, 3.46
Horizons Organic Whole Grassmilk, 5.69
Organic Great Northern Beans 1.69/lb, 3.89
Organic Couscous 2.59/lb, 3.42
Organic Whole Chicken, 8.97
Organic Whole Chicken, 8.86
Organic Pumpkin Seeds 4.99/lb, 5.24
A good friend of mine had her second baby the day my grocery budget reset. Coincidentally, Whole Foods was running a special on their organic whole chickens at $1.99/lb – 70¢ cheaper per pound than my usual buy price. Whole Food is also on the way to the hospital… It was meant to be! The kids went to my step-mom’s and I pit-stopped into WF before a hospital visit to pick up the chickens.
While there, I scoped out the bulk bins. WF generally has the lowest price of peptias (pumpkin seeds) and couscous so those were a must-have considering the chances of making it back to WF this month were slim. Turns out their prices on beans are pretty good too, and the fact that they were organic was a bonus. I bought roughly 2 pounds of both black beans and white beans for various soups and recipes for the next couple months. Now that we eat beans at least once a week, I don’t mind having extras in the pantry.
A few weeks ago the ladies at church took a military wife/mom out to dinner to bid her farewell. I started chatting with another lady in our church who I didn’t know very well and wouldn’t you know – she’s a real food foodie too! Kefir, kombucha, raw milk, coconut oil… she knew EXACTLY what I was talking about! She told me about Grassmilk, a pasteurized but non-homogenized milk. She found it at WF, which is why I picked up a half-gallon, but it’s supposed to be at Trader Joe’s too for slightly less. I’ll scope it out and let ya’ll know what I find. Meanwhile, the milk was delicious. I used it mainly for drinking (had to give it a taste test!) and kefir – which is worth noting because this milk make my kefir grains nearly double in size in one week! Definitely worth the splurge.
Savemart – $12.02
Sanitas Tortilla Chips, 2
Daisy Sour Cream 24oz, 2.50
Dryer’s Grand Chocolate Ice Cream, 3
Large Hass Avocado, 1.50
Green Bell Pepper, .69
Red Bell Pepper, .69
The weekend before my grandma came in town, my dad had a free night without plans or the company of my step-mom for dinner. Mr. Crumbs and I took advantage and invited him over for dinner. It was a last minute invitation with “leftovers” written on the meal plan, and not wanting to serve my dad totally unglamorous leftovers, we decided to make chicken tacos with a quick stop at the store. We unpacked the bags in the middle of making tortillas, so there’s no picture. Everything you see was on the list specifically for dinner with the exception of one thing. Want to guess what that one thing was? Here’s a hint: Mr. Crumbs did the shopping.
Savemart – $38.15
Sparkling Water 1L x2, 1
Grandma’s Molasses, 3.99
Sunny Select (storebrand) Unbleached Bread Flour x3, 1.98
Sunny Select Unbleached All-Purpose Flour x3, 1.98
Fage 2%Yogurt, 1.79
Organic Whole Milk, 5.98
Organic Fuji Apples bag, 4.99
Bananas .79/lb, 3.79
Minneola Tangerines .99/lb, 3.24
This trip was a few days before my grandma came in town. I knew that I’d have a few hours sans-kids to take care of the bulk of my shopping while she was here, but we were low and/or out of a few things and a hold-us-over trip was needed. Water for mock Italian sodas and six packages of flour at an unbeatable price (only 10¢ more per pound than Costco, but they’re all unbleached!). Yogurt to make our own (I’ve really gotta be better about setting some aside for a starter…), milk to make yogurt and produce for snacks, lunches and smoothies. I was pleasantly surprised by the tangerines – that sweet/pucker/tang was deliciously addicting! (I ate three one day while the kids were playing at the park, lol.)
Savemart – $2.45
Pork Back Fat 2.3lb, 2.45
Materials for a science experiment. Really! This is how it turned out.
CVS – $7
Gevalia Coffee x2
Definitely not the best price in town on coffee, but I had store bucks that were expiring and our coffee stash was low.
World Market – $3.99
Mediterranean Sesame Tahini
“HELP! Get me out of World Market! I can’t stop wanting everything I see! LOL!”
That was the text I sent a friend while shopping for tahini (for homemade hummus). I knew there was a reason why I didn’t shop there often – everything is too cute! Fortunately I made it out without zero-ing out our bank account. It took restraint though. Serious restraint. Note to self to send the husband next time who seems to be immune to all the cute-ness inside.
Costco – $100.95
Mineral Water, 8.79
KS Chocolate Chips 56oz, 6.99
KS Extra Virgin Olive Oil 2L, 11.49
President Crumbled Feta 24oz, 6.99
Fage 0% 35oz, 4.89
Half & Half 1/2gal, 3.39
Garbanzo Beans 109oz, 3.49
Parthenon Kalamata Olives 53oz, 7.39
California Sun Dried Tomatoes 34oz, 7.99
Bananas x2, 1.39
KS Organic Butter 2lb x2, 7.59
Earthbound Farms Organic Celery 4 hearts, 2.99
English Cucumbers 3pk, 3.89
Taylor Farms Organic Baby Kale 1.5lbs, 4.49
Organic Granny Smith Apples, 7.99
Ah, the big Costco trip of the month. Glancing at the list on the fridge, I knew this would be an expensive trip. The list was long and each item was priced in the $6 and $8 sweet spot.
Mineral water, chocolate chips, olive oil, half & half, bananas, butter, celery, kale and apples are all staples in our house and we completely out of most of them (including chocolate – EEK!). Feta, olives, tomatoes and cucumbers were for the Greek night planned on the menu. This was the night we hosted dinner, so bulk was needed to accommodate all the couscous I knew we’d be eating.
I ran out of time to make yogurt, and then strain it for Greek yogurt (for tzatziki), so I ended up buying the Fage. The garbanzo beans were for homemade hummus. I could have soaked and made my own, but time was against me (again) and believe it or not, Costco’s price on canned beans beat out the price of dried beans elsewhere. I bagged up the leftover beans and have enough for four (or five?) meals. Definitely going the canned route for these beans again.
Savemart – $1.75
Russet Potatoes x4
Why I thought I didn’t need to buy potatoes at Costco while I was there when they were on the menu for that night’s dinner, I don’t know. Clearly a brain fart – baked potato soup does required potatoes, right?
Grocery Outlet – $6.76
Horizons Organic Unsalted Butter 1lb x2, 2.99
Elbow Pasta x2, .39
A new Grocery Outlet opened up near Costco and I swung in during the trip without kids. Elbow pasta was on my list, but the butter was a surprise find! It’s pretty tasty too, closer to Kerrygold than any other brand I’ve tried (and very yellow too). At $3/lb, I held back at only two. The fact that I had just picked up two pounds at Costco helped a bit too.
Savemart – $1.99
A trip yesterday for the tomato basil soup on the menu. A very delicious recipe if you haven’t tried it already. Basil is kinda like the potatoes – required.
Total Month to Date – $214.84
So far, so good. We’re well stocked on lots of things, but a trip for produce and milk will definitely be needed. I’ve noticed that when I say “we’re set for the month” I usually end up going over, so I’m not saying that this time in case I’ve been jinxing myself this whole time. Instead I’ll close with “we’ll see what happens.” A statement that teeters between optimism and pessimism, so maybe that will bring luck!