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 end of the month. You can read about the halfway point here, where I spent $224 of my budget.
At the halfway mark of the month I had roughly $100 left to spend. I thought my only expense was going to be meat, but BOY was I wrong! I had forgotten that we had company coming in town. And that I would be needing ingredients for more recipe experimentation. Yikes! Here’s how the shopping went for the remainder of the month.
Savemart – $5.90
limes x10, 1
organic chicken drumsticks, 2.02**
French baguette, .99
This was another “oops I forgot that” trip from two weeks ago. The limes are for Mr. Crumbs sparkling waters, the pears were for oatmeal baked pears that I took to a fellowship meal (I swapped pears for peaches) and the French baguette? Well, that has a story.
A neighboring city has a free, outdoor concert series on the beach every summer. With Mr. Crumbs being furloughed, we’ve been enjoying his days off and spending every Friday at the beach. Well, three weeks ago we were parked on our blanket, listening to the band while happily eating our burritos from a local Mexican restaurant. I look behind us and there is this fairly large group – two families or so – who were clearly in the area vacationing. You become a pro and picking out the tourists after living in a vacation area for a while.
Their entire blanket was FILLED with Trader Joe’s brand items, but it was as close to real food as a vacationer could get while living among hotel room amenities. Fresh grapes, blocks of cheese, sliced meats, rice chips, etc. Well they had this super long baguette that everyone kept took large chunks off of and smearing with cheese. We bring our own snacks too, usually homemade raisins, dried peaches, bags of trail mix and mandarin oranges (we only have 6 left after this huge delivery). But guys, let me tell you. Not only was I super impressed that this family bypassed the typical greasy-bagged-food that we saw WAY too often at the beach, but I was coveting their bread and cheese – despite holding a delicious burrito in my hand AND all of our fruit!
So fast forward to the next week (now two weeks ago) where I’m at the grocery store for last the minute limes and pears mentioned above. I scan the typical mark down isles – score nicely on organic chicken drumsticks, by the way – and find a delicious baguette, eerily similar to the one I saw at the beach the week before, marked down to one dollar. I simply couldn’t resist! I bought the bread (baked on site) and my husband and I dove in head first with a block of blue cheese still in the fridge from this trip.
In the end, the bread never made it to the beach, but it was thoroughly enjoyed anyway!!
Savemart – 36.16
whole grain rotini x2, 1.29
reusable bag, .25
reuseable bag credit, -.10
bananas 36lbs, 5.96
organic whole chicken, 7.45**
organic whole chicken, 7.78**
hot italian sausage, 2.99**
boneless pork chops, 4.79**
No joke, this trip was purely for the pasta and onions. The kids and I even walked and I bought our own bag! I should know better though to drive on Thursdays and Mondays – the two days grocery stores most often mark down their foods.
While walking my route for mark downs, I found 6 bags of marked down bananas for $1.49 each. Each bag weighed 6lbs, so that’s 36lbs of bananas for only 17¢ per pound. The cashier purposely didn’t ring up two bags (gotta love small towns!), so that helped trim three bucks off the bottom line. I meant to only four bags too, but realized when I got home that I forgot to put two bags back after weighing them.
I also found marked down, whole organic chickens. I don’t remember the actual price per pound, but I know it was less than $1.99 because I can get it for that when they’re on sale. So anytime they’re less, I buy one or two packages.
Hot Italian sausage was marked down, the preferred sausage for my homemade spaghetti sauce. There was also a package of pork chops, which we were wanting to fry up the near future anyway.
There were so many good deals, I had to buy another reusable bag to carry them home – and it STILL wasn’t enough! One normal bag, one giant bag, and two plastic bags later we’re walking the half mile home with me carrying over 50lbs of food. It was a VERY long half mile, let me tell you, but well worth the savings off my grocery budget. We needed the meat and bananas are always a staple.
Savemart – $24.72
pickled jalepenos, 1.19
couscous x4, 8
sparkling blood orange juice, 1.50
half & half, 3.99
organic romaine, 2.69
organic chicken thighs, 5.21*
The pickled jalepenos were for homemade salsa, couscous because Mr. Crumbs requested Greek couscous one night for dinner. I’ve had a hard time finding a good deal on couscous lately, since the only decent deal is at Whole Foods and it’s really not that decent. I think next time I’ll go with Bob’s Red Mill couscous on Amazon because it costs half as much as Whole Foods.
Half and half for coffee, lettuce for salads and another marked down package of chicken. Woo-hoo!
Parsnip and turnip for a root veggie dish that my step-mom makes that I was trying to replicate. I thought it was delicious, but my husband wasn’t impressed. I’ll have to ask her what her secret ingredient is, besides butter.
The sparkling juice was an impulse buy – fewer artificial ingredients and a much better price than soda. The kids and I had fun and toasted with it for dinner that night.
Costco – $67.12
sparkling water, 8.79
Kirkland Coffee 3lb, 14.69
granny smith apples, 6.99
organic spinach, 1.75**
cottage cheese, 2.50**
chia seeds, 7.00**
hemp seeds, 7.45**
There’s no picture for this trip or the Savemart trip below because I was locked up in the office when my dear, sweet sister-in-law and brother-in-law went to Costco to buy more than a few needed ingredients for recipe testing. They braved the hottest tourist spot in the area, PLUS Costco with two kids that aren’t even their own – aren’t they awesome?!
Sparkling water for Mr. Crumbs, coffee is a staple, apples for snacking and smoothies. Everything else listed is for recipe experimentation. I seriously would not have bought any of that if it weren’t for this book I’m writing, but since we eat the experiments, I can’t with good conscious not include some of it in the grocery budget. So I’m splitting the cost in half.
Savemart – $15.84
libby pumpkin x3, 4.49**
simply orange juice, 2.15**
organic milk, 2.94**
The second trip by my in-laws and everything here is for testing too. I sure do hope this book sells – I need to replenish my grocery budget!
Total End of Month – $373.38
YIKES! I’m over by $43! I know it was the last Costco and Savemart trip. Oh well. At least we’re getting some snacks out of it, right? Fortunately, this should the last round of testing needed. Not all of these will get replaced later on, and at least I won’t need everything at the same time!
I’m pleasantly surprised by the amount of marked down meat I’ve been able to find lately. If this keeps happening, we’ll be able to enjoy it a bit more often!