My real food 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.
With each passing month, it’s a fun challenge to see how well we can eat without spending a lot of money. We came under budget last month and I’m hoping to continue the momentum through the end of the year. Here’s how our shopping looked so far in November.
Costco – $123.57
KS diced tomatoes, 5.99
spaghetti noodles, 7.99
organic flour 25lb, 13.99
organic apples, 8.99
organic carrots, 4.79
mineral water, 8.79
kalamata olives, 7.39
biotrue contact solution, 1.49
fresh cranberries, 3.79
organic cheddar, 10.99
kerrygold butter x2, 6.79
half n half, 3.49
Most of this list was to replenish the pantry. A couple things worth mentioning…
I like buying pasta in bulk, but don’t like how often we eat it when it’s readily available. I’m considering storing the noodles in a separate pantry outside of the kitchen just to see if we go through less.
After much thought and consideration, I decided to commit to buying organic white (all-purpose) flour. I use all-purpose flour in much of my baking, although it’s always split with some sort of wheat. My hang up was being able to find unbleached flour, but not un-enriched. The only way to avoid the synthetic vitamins and minerals is to go organic. Costco was selling a variety not too long ago, but they had this one instead. It says “artisan baking flour,” but from what I can see, it’s either all-purpose or bread (and likely all-purpose). This was a decent deal that equates to $2.80 for a 5lb bag.
We’re big fans of bacon around here, but we don’t buy it often because nitrate-free bacon is EXPENSIVE. I haven’t found any on mark down lately, or even on sale, so I bought regular bacon in bulk. We can taste the difference between the two types of bacon, and definitely prefer nitrate-free, but the budget only has so much room, you know?
Fresh cranberries. I love them. Can’t get enough.
Sticking to organic cheese (except Parmesan) as been fairly easy. I count on one package a month and unless we gorge with crackers and fruit, it usually lasts us the entire time.
Tomatoes, apples, carrots, butter, olives, half & half and contact solution are replenishing stock.
Savemart – $18.62
garbanzo beans dry 1lb, 1.50
great northern beans dry 1lb, 1.39
pearl barley dry 1lb, .99
organic whole milk x2, 5.88
bananas (marked down), 2.98
Both beans are replenishing our pantry. I use these guys in soups and hummus mostly. The barley is to try a new vegetable barley soup. Milk for yogurt and kefir, marked down bananas for snacking and smoothies.
Farmers Market – $29
raw milk, 10
organic apples 5lb, 8.50
organic apples, 6
I forgot to return my old bottle so I had to pay an extra $3 for this half gallon of raw milk. The grapes were a huge splurge since $3/lb is NOT a great price. The apples averaged out to roughly $1.70/lb, which is not too much higher than Costco’s deal, so I supported locally and bought them fresh from the farmer.
Apples are listed twice because the 5lb bag is all granny smith, but the other bag was a variety of apples I had never heard of before. I chose one of all of them and the kids and I held unofficial taste testing for a few days. Much to my surprise, the lightest green apple in that picture was my favorite – tart, sweet and crisp all at the same time. Now if I only knew what kind it was….
Asian Market – $4.32
pomegranates x6, 1.50persimmons, 2.82
Our local Asian market sells CHEAP produce, but it’s not always the best quality. Pomegranates are all over the place around here and getting them for only 25¢ each is a STEAL. I bought six and plan to buy more this weekend. I’m also going to get more persimmons if I can because those things are SO STINKIN’ GOOD!
Grocery Outlet – $28.32
ocean spray 100% juice x2, 1.99
plain Greek yogurt 32oz, 3.99
small lasagne noodles, .99
small shell noodles 2lb, 1.29
organic eggs, 4.69
canned pumpkin 24oz x2, 1.59
ground cumin, .99
white vinegar gallon, 2.49
plastic drinking straws x2, .50
ground sage, .99
chili powder, .99
Italian squash x2, .33
yellow squash x2, .50
diced green chilies x2, .9
Juice is for the kids “sparkly juice” and will probably last us several months. Yogurt to make our own (STILL working on setting aside our own culture… I know, I know…). Small noodles and squashes for summer squash pasta and shells for minestrone soup. Cumin, sage and chili powder for the spice cabinet. Diced green chilis for taco night and tortilla soup. White vinegar for cleaning (we use homemade citrus cleaner)
Eggs are a staple and so are straws. I started thinking about the reusable straw idea that you guys mentioned and I’m not sure we spend enough on straws to warrant the investment. These I purchased are a bit wider and don’t bend, so I’ve been washing them and reusing them instead of throwing them away. They’re worth 1¢ each and we have 100, so mark this day and let’s see how long we go before we have to buy more.
I thought the deal on canned pumpkin was really good. It’s not a fancy brand, but pumpkin isn’t on the dirty dozen list so I’m ok with that. I love pumpkin even more than fresh cranberries, so finding a cost break is a very good thing. 😉
Savemart – $8.39
organic chicken drumsticks, 3.47
organic chicken thighs, 3.64
Mr. Crumbs had a last minute request for fried chicken, which was fine, except that we didn’t have any chicken. We swung in, picked up two packages and a couple veggies for a root vegetable saute I’ll be sharing later this month (you asked, here it comes!).
Savemart – $11.05
half n half, 2.50
ground sirloin, 4.22
ground sirloin, 4.33
A quick stop for half & half and found marked down ground sirloin from our favorite local farm. Mr. Crumbs isn’t a fan of ground meat, but I use it in spaghetti sauce and try to make it on a night when he has meetings
Amazon – $28.66
These tomatoes are our FAVORITE. We use them in tomato basil soup and in our homemade pizza sauce. They cost $4.50 per can locally, so buying in bulk off Amazon saves us over $25 each time.
Total Month to Date – $251.93
This is a littler higher than I was hoping for, especially since I don’t have any chicken in the freezer. Thanksgiving is in two weeks and we’re hosting company… so not to be pessimistic, but our streak might come to an end here soon. I was really hoping otherwise, mainly because I want to buy more raw milk. On the bright side, I just did a HUGE clean out/organization of my kitchen and found lots of “little of this” type items. Perhaps if I aim to use those up the small savings will help us in the end.