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.
There seems to be a lot of trips this month, but they weren’t sporadic. Most were either at the beginning of the month or in the past couple days. Only one (with a short follow-up) was in between.
You’ll also see something new in this week’s shopping accountability. I’m working on a project behind the scenes and it requires some ingredients for experimentation. Determining what pot of money it comes out of is kinda tricky.
I wouldn’t have bought these foods if it weren’t for the project, which means it shouldn’t count towards my budget… but we’re also eating taste testing some of the results, which means it should. So I compromised: 50% of the cost of the items that have asterisks’ (*) will count towards my grocery budget and 50% won’t. 🙂 I’ve included the full cost of the item for you in case you’re comparing prices.
Costco – $123.94
quaker oats, 7.89
diced green chilis, 7.99
chocolate chips, 6.99
cottage cheese, 4.99*
biotrue contact solution, 14.49
fresh mozzarella x2, 6.99
half & half, 3.49
organic cheddar, 9.99
dried cherries, 6.99*
kerrygold x3, 6.79
granny smith apples, 6.99
My first big stock-up trip of the month. Oats, yeast, chocolate chips, mozzarella, half & half, cheddar, spinach and apples are all to replace the pantry. Last month I bought a smaller container of oats that cost less out-of-pocket, but with a new budget, I could afford the better price per ounce available at Costco.
Although we’re making more sourdough, I still make yeast breads too. The last time I bought yeast was here, back in November of 2012. Nine months for $4 isn’t too shabby!
I’m slowly trying to switch to grass-fed or organic cheeses. I buy Kerrygold’s dubliner regularly, but the nutty flavor doesn’t always go well with some of our spicy flavored dishes that crave a good, gooey melt. This cheddar is from Organic Valley and it’s pretty tasty. We’ve eaten about half of it already! The greater challenge will be the fresh mozzarella, which we’re picky about in the first place and I’ve never seen organic or grass-fed. That may have to be an exception. And maybe cheese sticks too, but I don’t buy those often and plenty of time to think on it. Baby steps.
Contact solution because it’s on sale and it’s always good to have some in the closet. Three Kerrygold butters in case they magically disappear on me like it did in February.
Plus a sample of laundry detergent. Because the membership is worth the samples alone.
Grocery Outlet – $4.59
organic, cage-free eggs
Is it me, or do we not eat a lot of eggs? This 20ct package usually gets us to week 3, and sometimes the whole month. Mr. Crumbs doesn’t like to eat eggs plain, and I don’t usually make them for breakfast. With sweets being trimmed too, I wonder if it’s odd that we don’t eat many of them. Although I know they’re REALLY good for you. Hmmm… I may have to add them in to the meal plan next month. It’s certainly not a bad deal for 23¢ per egg!
Savemart – $5.96
This trip was for something else entirely, but ended up finding several bags of bananas marked down to $1.49 each. I weighed each bag and took the four heaviest – three of the four bags weighed nearly 6lbs! This trip was right after the budget reset and we’ve eaten 2/3 of them so far. They’re officially to the point where they need to be frozen now, so we’ll continue to make smoothies from the frozen stash and have a different fruit for snacking. Still have a few mandarin oranges too!
Savemart – $4.82
bell pepper, .33
mango x3, .99
red onion, .96
We invited company over for dinner at the last minute so I picked up a few things for taco night. Two of the three mangos were saved for the next day for smoothies and snacking.
Savemart – $1.29
A quick trip by Mr. Crumbs since I forgot to get two bunches of cilantro earlier in the day. Oops!
Walmart – $4.31
white wine vinegar x2, 1.83*
snack bags, 2.48
The white wine vinegar was for this post (and because I really wanted to make my own vinegar, lol). Snack bags for mini-bags of trail mix. I should probably get on Mr. Crumbs again to bring those bags home so we can re-use them…
There was something out of the ordinary with this trip though. I tried to price the whole chickens to a nearby grocery store who was having a sale for 88¢/lb. I told the cashier and apparently Walmart’s computer system doesn’t recognize the per price match… even though their store policy does. So they gave me a whole chicken for 88¢. Pretty neat, eh? This is actually the third time this has happened – the other two were both watermelons. Kinda makes me want to price match per pound a bit more though… ESPECIALLY if it’s meat. 😉
Savemart – $13.25
organic whole milk x2, 6.18
One whole gallon of milk, plus another half gallon was immediately turned into yogurt when we got home that day. I had put it off for way.too.long. and it was part of my work smarter mission for this month to make enough to get us through the entire month at one time (6 quarts). Salt because I used the last of what we had for a homeschool project. Ever make salt dough maps? Quite fun! But salty. Both kids took taste tests of the dough when they thought I wasn’t looking and the look on their faces? Priceless!
Grocery Outlet – $9.37
cranberry juice, 1.99
mango x12, 4
larabar x3, .59*
Cranberry juice for “sparkly juice” – a bit of juice mixed with mineral water, a reward of sorts for the kids. Pepperoni for pizza, LOTS of mangos for snacking, smoothies and dehydrating.
Whole Foods – $4
dried pineapple rings, 2.06*
mini chocolate chips, 4.99*
dried ginger, .96*
This whole trip was for experimenting items. I hate to keep you in the dark, and I really wish I could give ya’ll more information about this awesome project, but not yet. But soon!
Trader Joe’s – $15.84
parmesan cheese, 6.17
sunflower seeds, 1.99*
coconut oil, 5.99*
fresh figs, 3.79*
milk chocolate bar, 2.29
dark chocolate bar, 1.49
Parmesan cheese is for summer squash pasta and snacking. A few things for recipe development plus chocolate for these awesome chocolate chip cookies. There’s no “plan” to make them, but it’s nice to be able to say ‘yes’ when Mr. Crumbs makes the request. It’s like winning the “best wife” award for not really doing anything out of the ordinary!
Walmart – $3.94
garbanzo beans, .36
whole wheat penne, 1
unbleached all-purpose flour, 2.58
This trip was for ingredients to make a friend dinner, which comes out of a different budget. While there though, I picked up a few things for ourselves. Garbanzo beans for hummus (I also want to see if I can de-gas store-bought beans… that should be a fun experiment!) Penne for summer squash pasta and flour for the pantry. We’re officially using 50% wheat in ALL bread items, including Mr. Crumb’s beloved pizza dough and quick biscuits, but we still use AP for dusting and the other half of the flour in recipes (actually, I make it bread flour by adding vital wheat gluten). Slowly making our way to 100% wheat folks!
Fresh from D’Vine – $2.35
organic summer squash and zucchini 2.12lb, 4.01
organic spinach, 6.35
The day before this Groupon expired, I remembered that I still had one left. Whew! Picked up squash that we were eating for dinner that night anyway, plus more spinach for smoothies. The Groupon was for $10 off, so I was able to pay using the few bucks and change I rarely keep in my wallet.
Nob Hill – $29.98
organic whole milk, 5.98
zico coconut water 1L x12, 2
Holy yellow picture batman! 😉
Nob Hill/Raley’s is having an AWESOME sale on coconut water this week – $2 for a one liter! That’s the second best price I’ve ever seen on this, losing only to ONE encounter at Grocery Outlet several months ago ($1.50 for a 1L). I tallied up our grocery budget before I left the house and knew I had wiggle room, so I bought 12 liters to get us through the next 3-5 months maybe. Hopefully longer if we stop with those test recipes. 😉 Plus more milk for kefir.
Total – $223.64
Other than SUPER cheap chicken, it’s been a rather boring month in the food department. Actually, I should say that making a very simple meal plan has been a life saver to the budget! We haven’t had to buy any meat yet, so I know that expense may be coming, but we’re still looking good so far for the rest of the month.