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.
I don’t want to be glum. I want to be a positive person. But looking at these numbers is making me feel defeated and it’s only one week into the month.
Mr Crumbs gave me a brand new blender for my birthday and we use it to make smoothies daily. But a by-product of these awesome smoothies is the bill for the produce that goes into the blender.
Mr. Crumbs and I are trying to eat more fruits and vegetables. One night a week is a meatless dinner and we typically drink smoothies for breakfast. Fruits are the first choice given for a kid’s snack and we often serve two vegetables at dinner instead of the traditional one. I’ve even been known to triple the vegetables in stir-frys.
If 50% of what we eat is going to be fruits and vegetables, then 50% of my budget needs to be allocated for fruits and vegetables.
That was the reality that hit when I started adding up the numbers this week. It’s the end of week 1 and I’m dangerously close to blowing the budget already.
Safeway – $7
Safeway had 3lb flat of strawberries on sale for $5 last week. I sent Mr. Crumbs to the store with my Safeway card, had him buy two flats and I saved $3 for purchasing $10 worth of produce (a coupon that I loaded to my Safeway card). This makes each pound only $1.16, which beats any other price around.
Trader Joe’s – $47.19
We’re making our own ice cream this week and also needed to replenish a few staples for our pantry.
Here’s a breakdown of the prices:
Bananas x12 – 2.28
12oz Baby Spinach – 1.99
Mango & Yogurt Gummies – 1.99 (treat for the kids)
Coconut Milk x3 – 2.97
Almond Milk x2 – 3.38
Sunflower Seeds – 1.99
Coconut Oil x2 – 11.98
Chocolate Syrup – 3.49 (a hefty price, but a huge treat)
Half & Half – 1.79
Heavy Cream – 2.69
Cream Cheese x2 – 3.38
Half Gallon Milk – 1.99
Plain Yogurt – 2.99
Buttermilk – 1.29
Kefir – 2.99
Great Deals: bananas, spinach, coconut milk, almond milk, sunflower seeds, coconut oil, buttermilk
Decent Deals: heavy cream, cream cheese, milk, yogurt
No So Great Deals: half & half (I’ll probably get that at Costco next time), chocolate syrup
I have no doubt that everything we bought will be consumed. The bananas, spinach and mango gummies have already been devoured. The kefir, yogurt, half & half and buttermilk are halfway gone. The milk and cream are going into ice cream this weekend. Are we wasting food? Not at all! But I’m hoping that in the end, the cost of “making our own” outweighs store-bought. The test will be whether or not Mr. Crumbs runs out to buy a jug of Breyer’s…
Safeway – $34.67
Remember that $3 coupon on my Safeway card? Well it can be used every day, so we went back to Safeway and bought all of our smaller random produce items there to save a little bit more. I also saw a personalized price of $1.99/lb of all natural, skinless, boneless chicken breast… OH YEAH BABY! I stocked up and bought three packages (all they had out) since this is HALF the price we normally pay.
Chicken breast – 36.78
Cucumbers x2 – 1.58
Zucchini – .79
Corn x6 – 1
Eggplant – .99
Yellow onions – 2.52
Yellow squash – .98
Celery – 2.97
Walnuts – 4.99
The chicken breasts definitely ate up a significant part of my budget, especially since I hadn’t planned on buying any at all this month. The upside is that we ended up with almost twice as much meat for the same price we’d pay at Costco (our go-to store when there’s not a sale). I had a personalized price on walnuts and just about everything else as well. Notice most of these items are produce…
Costco – $112.34
Still more produce and stocking up again on pantry staples. We were too early in the day for free samples this time. 🙁
15lb oranges – 7.99
Lemons – 5.79
Canned pineapple – 9.79
Peanut butter – 11.99
Wheat thins – 6.79
Stacy’s Pita chips – 3.79 (these are FANTASTIC and an AMAZING price)
Fresh mozzarella cheese x2 – 13.98
Grape tomatoes – 4.99
Tortilla chips – 3.59
Sweet mini peppers – 3.59
Dried mango/cherries – 7.99
Pesto – 7.99
Craisins – 4.79 (another AMAZING price)
Great Deals: oranges, pita chips, craisins
Decent Deals: lemons, peanut butter, cheese, tomatoes, peppers, pesto, tortilla chips
Not So Great Deals: pineapple
I was not happy with the price of pineapple. It took us MONTHS to go through the last 8 cans… that was until we started smoothie-mania. If we keep adding this fruit to our smoothies, I’m going to have to find an alternate fruit. The wheat thins are a donation for church. The peanut butter and pesto will last us well beyond this month. The pita chips are almost gone (oops) but everything else should come close to getting us through the entire month. I’d REALLY like to get another package (or two) of Craisins since Costco as a $3 coupon in their circular, but I’m going to have to weigh my wants vs. needs first.
Dollar Tree – $3.10
Straws, frozen spinach, frozen broccoli and lemon juice. Short and sweet and saved me a trip to Target (where I’m almost certain I’d end up spending more… and probably not on things we needed).
Grocery Outlet – $24.72
I think I bought the biggest watermelon on the face of the earth this week.
Pretend you don’t see the dirty microwave. Isn’t that sucker huge?! I got sucked into other produce deals while there too:
Spinach – 1.99 (we’d already gone through the bag from TJ)
Pepitas x2– 5.98
Watermelon – 3.99
Green bell pepper x2 – 1
Mango x4 – 2
Blueberries – 4.99
Velveeta – 2.49 (must-have for the Girl’s birthday dinner!)
Cantaloupe – .99
Limeade – 1.29
Pineapple – 1.99
Great Deals: pepitas, watermelon, bell pepper, mango, cantaloupe, limeade
Decent Deals: spinach, blueberries, velveeta, pineapple
Not So Great Deals: none
I can’t skimp on the macaroni and cheese, but this block of processed goodness will last us a couple months since we don’t use much. We’re trying limeade as a frugal alternative to margarita mix (since one jug of that costs close to $5 at Target). Safeway was my go-to for pepitas at only $4.99/lb, but they aren’t carrying them anymore so GO wins with my next lowest price. Trader Joe’s has the best price on spinach and the next time I go I’ll pick up two packages there. The rest is produce, average priced in my opinion.
Safeway – $7.65
I made a super quick stop to exchange some produce and totally got sucked into the s’mores display. Seriously. I picked up the new produce to exchange, walked past the chocolate and marshmallows (with both kids diligently following behind me) and after picking up a package of hot dog buns (I know, not the best idea, but dinner dogs were switched to lunch dogs at the last minute) I immediately marched back to the display and gave the 6-pack of chocolate to the Girl and the marshmallows to the Boy while carrying the graham crackers myself. At least I used a tear-pad coupon for $1 off when I buy all three, right?
I’m such a sucker, lol.
Total – $236.67
Ok. So it’s not as bad as I originally thought. Here’s what I’m thinking. The produce we have on hand should get us through next week, including our smoothie mania. The “maybe” items I had on my list will simply have to wait until next month. Since we’re well stocked on meat, the only items we’d really need to replenish would be some dairy and more produce. If I can hold off on making those purchases until next weekend, I should be able to stay in the black. And if I can’t wait, I can drown my sorrows in s’mores!