My grocery budget is $330 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.
Today marks the end of August 2014.
If you’ve been hanging around Crumbs for a few weeks, you’ll know that we’re currently in the middle of a 30 day no spending challenge. We’re actually on day 14, to be exact, and we’re rapidly approaching the difficult phase.
Despite our current challenge, there are some shopping trips to account for. You’ll see where we shopped and what we bought below, including the one trip we’ve made during our challenge so far.
Buckle up folks, let’s get this accountability session on the road!
Whole Foods – $46.53
whole chicken x9 @1.59/lb
I don’t shop at Whole Foods often, but I signed up for their newsletter and I’m so glad I did! On the first day of our budget reset, Whole Foods had a one-day sale on Mary’s free-range air-chilled chickens – just $1.59/lb. That’s better than any deal I’ve come across on quality chicken!
I carefully picked out 9 whole chickens, aiming for 4lbs each (so that all the pieces in the freezer would be roughly the same size). Once we were home, they were chopped into breasts and legs (my chopping method) and I made a batch of concentrated chicken stock in the crock pot. Concentrated since I used six carcasses instead of two, so when I use this stock, I’m diluting it with water (chicken-flavored tomato soup = bad).
Trader Joe’s – $11.45
coconut milk, .99
I had no plans for the coconut milk when I bought it (which is against money saving rules, but oh well), but it’s nice to have on hand and TJ’s has the best price. Once our 30 days without spending money challenge began, I used it as coffee creamer when we ran out of milk. Good thing I bought it in the first place! 😉
We used one Parmesan for a double batch of risotto when hosting company, the other one for snacking with crackers at our picnic (see below), topping salads and topping pasta dishes.
Grocery Outlet – $37.65
apple wood smoked ham (nitrate-free), 1.99
tillamook cheddar cheese, 7.99
bananas 3lb x2, 1.99
corn tortilla chips, 3.29
New Zealand butter x6, .99
naval oranges, 2.50
granny smith apples, 3.99
organic brown eggs 18ct, 4.29
This trip was mainly for ingredients for this post, but we ate them too. The ham was nitrate-free and although not organic, the cheddar cheese didn’t have annatto. Bananas for snacking, butter because that’s a CRAZY good deal for grass-fed butter and oranges for smoothies (they’re the best fruit I’ve found to add extra liquid).
Apples for snacking, eggs and salt to replenish pantry staples. The blueberries were a treat for the kids, and not a bad deal for 18oz. My weakness and real food nemesis, corn tortilla chips, also came home.
Strange how cravings work… these were the best.things.ever. for about three days, and then they were just okay. Considering the price of tortilla chips in general seems to be much higher than it used to be (only $2 for 16oz a year or two ago), I should remind myself that the craving is short-lived while I’m in the store, and to save my money for something a bit more rewarding…
Costco – $82.71
gallon freezer bags, 12.59
quart freezer bags, 10.99
fresh mozzarella x3, 4.99
bananas x2, 1.39
kirkland costa rica coffee 3lb, 14.99
A very short trip for just a few things, mostly the freezer bags, in preparation for a big unloading of produce. Fresh mozzarella is for pizza and caprese salads (now that our tomato plants are producing like crazy – YEAH!), and we bought two extra packages since it was on sale. Bananas for snacking, coffee for the mornings.
Note: Costco now has freezer bags on sale this month, so I will be returning on Sunday with my receipt in order to get cash back. Did you know you could do that? If something goes on sale within 30 days of your purchase, bring your receipt in and Costco will refund the difference. Officially, we have $4.60 coming to this weekend, which will be just in time and just enough to cover the cost for more milk!
Trader Joe’s – $31.27
sourdough baguette, 2.49
sparkling lemonade, 2.99
assorted crackers, 3.49
italian combo pack meats x2, 5.49
black forest ham, 3.49
spicy hummus, 1.99
This trip was the last hurrah before we committed to the no-spending challenge. Unfortunately, we decided on the challenge the next day, otherwise there would have likely been more food if I had known at the time!
The goal was a picnic on Big Sur per Mr. Crumbs request, and he specifically asked for “cheese and crackers with proscuitto.” This was essentially a snacky dinner, and we took everything you see above, except for one package of the Italian combo meats, plus some fresh fruit from home. We ate half of this that night and saved the rest and the second package of Italian meats for a picnic in the backyard the following weekend.
There’s a little of this (hummus) and a little of that (baguette) left, but the hummus will become a smear for grilled sandwiches or wraps that I’m sure we’ll eat in the next couple weeks (unless I take it out with some carrot sticks first). The baguette will be ground up for breadcrumbs.
There’s a little bit of sparkling lemonade left too, and Mr. Crumbs is adding it to his nightly sparkling water routine.
In case you’re wondering, the reason for a special trip and special meal (that wasn’t exactly frugal) is because it’s important to me to reward my family now and then for doing their part with our frugal budget. Like serving a whole chicken at dinner, this is one way I can show my family that they’re more important than the calculator I use to tally receipts.
Grocery Outlet – $4.33
dozen jumbo eggs, 2.09
half gallon whole milk, 2.24
This trip was after the challenge started, and we paid for it because we sold a coffee grinder on Craigslist. Between these eggs and the ones we already had in the fridge, we’ve got about 8 eggs left. We’re down to 1/3 of this half gallon of milk. I made rice milk with leftover rice this week, and I’d like to use that in my coffee starting tomorrow so maybe this will last a little bit longer.
Total End of Month – $213.94
Let me assure you – the only reason this total is so low is because we haven’t spent anything for the past two weeks. That has made a HUGE difference in our grocery budget, and if anyone is even remotely considering this challenge just to save a few bucks, I highly encourage you to do so.
I’ll share more on the no-spending challenge in the next update, but I’m really thankful to see it impacting the bottom line. It’s encouraging to keep going until the end… despite seeing a WHOLE BOX of organic pickling cucumbers at The Farm (where my CSA is through) for just $10 yesterday! THAT, my friends, was SO HARD to walk away from. I had to call Mr. Crumbs and have him talk me down off the ledge… no joke!
These grocery budget accountability posts are as much for me as they are for you. When I know I have to share my shopping trips, I’m a lot less inclined to splurge or buy junk – thank you for holding me accountable every month!