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.
Farmer’s Market – $21
1/2 gallon raw milk, 3.5*
large bag organic “jam berries,” 10
apples and quinces, 5
When the grocery budget reset for this month, I went ahead and bought the half gallon of raw milk for the month. Ideally, I’d like to buy more, but this is what the budget allows at the moment. We used the milk to make butter and buttermilk (posts coming soon!) and cottage cheese… well, sort of cottage cheese. Meh. I don’t really want to talk about it right now.
The jam berries were a splurge. We ate most of them within the first couple days, halved the ones firm enough to dehydrate and pureed the rest. You’d think we were going through berry withdrawals ’round these parts… every single berry was gone (including the puree) within a week!
The apples are quines are variations of fruit I had never tried before. I turned it all into a pie (minus the some eaten as a snack along the way) and it was pretty good! I think I added too much flour in the fruit mix, and should make a crumble topping instead next time, but we still ate it all!
Trader Joe’s – $16.45
coconut oil, 5.99
coconut oil, 3*
white whole wheat flour, 2.99
sunflower seeds, 1.99
almond meal 1lb, 2.50*
Sunflower seeds and coconut oil are staples (still waiting on Tropical Traditions to offer BOGO with free shipping!). Whole wheat flour for baking (I honestly couldn’t remember if I needed it or not, but picked up a bag just in case since TJ’s isn’t super close.) Almond meal for gluten-free recipe experiments (a SUPER delicious fall treat coming very soon!)
Costco – $138.03
organic baby kale, 4.29
misto (w/bonus salt & pepper grinders), 15.99
fresh garlic, 3.79
tomato sauce, 2.49
organic extra virgin olive oil, 13.99
sun dried tomatoes, 7.99
natural peanut butter, 10.99
uncooked tortillas, 5.99
organic monterey jack cheese 2lb, 10.99
kerrygold butter x3, 6.79
organic apples, 4.40*
Lots of staples in this trip… kale for smoothies, garlic, tomato sauce for spaghetti sauce, olive oil, sun dried tomatoes for couscous, vanilla for baking, peanut butter, feta also for couscous, monterey jack for snacking, apples for recipes and snacking and butter because who in their right mind doesn’t love butter?! 😉
Now, for the good stuff. The misto is on sale this month (as I mentioned in last week’s deals & steals post). One of you lovely readers suggested to me quite some time ago that I no longer purchase cooking spray and invest in a Misto instead… welp, I finally did it! I haven’t opened the package yet, but it’ll happen very soon since I just tossed my last bit of Pam yesterday. Thank you dear reader(s) for suggesting this wonderful idea. Quick question – what oil do YOU put in it?
Craisins are also on sale and I always pick up a bag (or two) if I can. Another wonderful reader suggested trying out the uncooked tortillas from Costco… so I did, and HOLY SMOKES! Those things are GOOD! Making corn tortillas isn’t a big deal for us, but making homemade flour tortillas isn’t always as convenient. I’d like it to be, but this is the season I’m in for now. The only “iffy” thing in the ingredient list is canola oil, but there truly can’t be much per tortilla, and we eat so well the rest of the time (do you ever see candy or processed snacks [except for the occasional tortilla chip ;)] listed?), that this is an excellent compromise for us at the moment. Definitely give them a try if you can. We’ve had an impromptu taco night because Mr. Crumbs liked them so much. Thanks to you dear reader(s) for suggesting these too!
Savemart – $21.79
fage total x3, 1.79
organic whole milk x2, 5.49
nitrate-free bacon, 5.44
Single yogurts as a starter for a batch of yogurt. I literally poured one whole gallon of milk into the pot and made four quarts of yogurt at one time. I slightly modified my method, to see if it was any easier. It was, but I’d like to document it for you guys so you can see what I mean (words won’t cut that one justice). Expect an updated yogurt making post in our dairy series. The second gallon of milk is for kefir and cooking/baking.
Nitrate-free bacon was a treat for Mr. Crumbs. I had originally planned on making him bacon and waffles one Saturday morning, but I ended up making bacon wrapped shrimp for dinner instead. Can you say double yum?! That was definitely an expensive meat dish ($21), but we paired it with a much more frugal coconut rice and green beans. It fed the four of us dinner, plus two servings of lunch. Even though it cost more than our usual dinners, it was still WAY cheaper than a dinner for four and lunch for two would cost!
Savemart – $4.17
tortilla chips, 2
mini-pumpkins x2, .69
Tortilla chips and cilantro for our first taco night (the one that was planned). Each kid got to choose a mini-pumpkin to decorate the kitchen table with this season. A frugal and fun way we celebrate the fall. 🙂
Costco – $66.84
mineral water, 8.79
multigrain tortilla chips, 3.99
half & half, 3.49
pork sirloin roasts 7.5lb, 12.01
organic chicken drumsticks, 11
organic apples, 8.59
Oranges, apples, half & half and onions were to replenish our stock. More craisins because they’re on sale and tortilla chips because they were on display and offering samples… and they were good… and had better ingredients that the ones I end up buying last minute at the grocery store.
Two deals I definitely want to mention is the pork sirloin roasts. These were priced at $1.99/lb with a $2 coupon off at the register, making these about $1.60/lb. I know some grocery stores offer a slightly better price (for example, Savemart has pork sirloin at $1.49/lb this week), but Costco is known for their high quality meat. I don’t anything about Savemart’s “Mastercut” brand, but I’ve read bad things about Safeway’s “Rancher’s Reserve,” so I’m going with Costco on this one.
Another deal is the organic chicken drumsticks at Costco. The lowest price I’ve seen on drumsticks is $1.99, which is the everyday price at TJ’s and a sale price at Savemart. Costco had them for $1.89/lb! I know it’s only 10¢, but every dollar counts! (Plus they’re pre-packaged into 6 or so, plenty for us for dinner and 2-3 lunches.)
Total Month to Date – $275.97
That’s a bit more than I typically aim for at the half way mark, but I’m holding onto hope that we’ll still come in under budget. I’ll be out of town for part of next week at the Allume blogging conference, and there’s plenty of food to get the other 3/4 of the family through until I get back. I am secretly crossing my fingers though that they don’t eat EVERYTHING in the house, lol.