My grocery budget is $300 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. I started this week with $211.11 left of my $300 monthly budget including food, household items and toiletries. Each week I crunch the numbers to see where I stand. Today marks the end of week two. You can read about week one here.
A good friend of mine and loyal reader Stacie (*waves* hi Stacie!) was so kind to email me last week to remind me that Costco had issued a coupon for coconut water for the month of July. Since last week’s Crumbs didn’t include a trip to Costco (and there usually is), she wanted to make sure that I had a chance to take advantage of the deal, if I wanted to, before the coupon expired.
Isn’t she so sweet?!
Her note left me with a couple thoughts: 1) to tell you guys about the coconut deal at Costco (and another store) in case you also have a husband who goes through it quite rapidly, and 2) I completely forgot to write about my trip to Coscto last week!
We need to rewind just a bit to make sure the numbers are accurate so this first Costco trip is really from last week. The rest are from this week, and I think they’re all here. Feel free to send me an email though if you think I missed one – it wouldn’t be the first time (and probably won’t be the last).
Costco – $19.96
Almonds – 10.69
Apples – 6.49
Bananas x2 – 2.78
If I had a list of items I always buy from Costco, almonds would be on it. Their granny smith apples are always crunchy and juicy and their bananas are a decent price. All three items are eaten regularly around here in breakfasts and lunches.
Target – $1.76
Coffee Filters – 1.39
French’s Mustard – .37
We ran out of mustard last month when I made homemade bbq sauce. I wasn’t going to buy any with the pantry challenge this month, but there was a sneaky feeling in my gut that I’d either need to make more bbq sauce this month or a batch of Greek dressing – both of which require mustard. I figured the $.37 was worth keeping my sanity.
In retrospect, I probably could have skipped the coffee filters. It was again one of those if.I.don’t.buy.it.now.I’ll.probably.forget.next.time.and.then.it’ll.be.too.late type of purchases. Plus it was on a temporary price cut. And I don’t have a French press. And they were brown.
And I’m full of excuses!
Seriously, we have half of one “nest” of coffee filters left (you know how round coffee filters come all nested together, with 3 or 4 “nests” in each package? Well I have one nest left.) There are probably more filters left in this one nest than days left in my pantry challenge, but I don’t think it would be a good idea to toe the line of the morning coffee routine. Just the thought of not having coffee sounds dangerous. And you can’t just undo those nests to count them and then put them away like it never happened. Those things are like Rubix Cubes – they only fit one (right) way. Start moving filters around, take some out, put some back, and you’re in trouble.
The cool thing though about these coffee filters is that they’re brown. Easily amused, I know, but when I saw these next to the white ones I got curious… Why exactly are they different? Strangely, the thought to look had never occurred to me before. Turns out the brown ones are unbleached and the white ones are bleached. I haven’t looked up the percentage of bleach or the bleaching process involved with either filter, but after doing research for buttermilk bread the answer in my head was simple: no one should be eating nor drinking bleach. This includes the coffee grinds and water that we drink daily, so the brown ones went into my basket.
Grocery Outlet – $17.92
Broccoli x2 – .99
Yellow Bell Pepper x2 – 1
Mango x6 – 2
Coconut Water x2 – 2.98
Bananas x2 – 3.98
Cauliflower – .99
Spinach – 1.99
Blueberries – 3.99
This stop was mainly for fresh produce for the next week or two. The mangos and blueberries (18oz) were cheap. The rest of the produce was fair market price, but did you catch the deal on the coconut water?! $1.49 each! That’s $2.20 less than what I usually pay! It’s practically free!!
Let me tell you guys, it was SO, SO HARD to not put every single one of those liters of coconut water into my cart. There were actually six or so in my basket at one point, but I put four back and told myself that if we ran out, I now knew where to go for the lowest priced coconut water.
So if you’re in the market for coconut water, or have been wanting to try it and live near a Grocery Outlet, it’s worth making a quick stop to see if they have some!
Savemart – 14.39
cookies & cream ice cream – 2.99
bell peppers – .50
bartlett pears – 1.18
Wine – 8.98
Despite being on a pantry challenge, Mr. Crumbs isn’t wavering on a few of his “staples” – ice cream being one of them. This trip was primarily for the ice cream, but a bell pepper for pizza night, pears for snacks (one can only eat so many bananas) and a bottle of win.
Savemart – 18.10
Avocados x5 – 5
Cilantro – .25
Onion – .72
Chicken Thighs @ .79/lb – 12.13
I don’t remember if this was the say day as the other Savemart trip, but this purchase was made completely by Mr. Crumbs made for his impromptu party last weekend. Some of the chicken was put into the freezer for a future meal as well.
Dollar Tree – $7
Garlic powder – 1
Crushed Red Pepper – 1
Nutmeg – 1
Italian Seasoning – 1
Basil – 1
Paprika – 1
Sea Salt – 1
No joke, but I literally ran out of all of these spices at the same time. I used up the garlic powder when I made salsa, the crushed red pepper on pizza night, nutmeg into the nutella banana muffins, Italian seasoning into the squash recipe, basil in dinner rolls, paprika in spicy chicken rub and sea salt on everything else! Spices are a must-have, even during a pantry challenge (at least in my book).
Costco – $22.26
Flax Seed – 6.79
Celery – 2.99
Carrots – 4.49
Oranges – 7.99
We’re down to the last tablespoon or so of ground flax and that’s a breakfast and lunch staple as well. Celery, carrots and oranges are mainly for Mr. Crumb’s smoothies and these were organic and cheaper than the farmer’s market. It’s also nice to have lots of carrots on hand when we need a veggie for dinner.
Current August Pantry Challenge Total – $190.28
When I started this challenge I seriously thought I could easily not spend half of the grocery budget. What I’m realizing though is that the a good portion of the food we eat is fresh produce. In fact, produce has accounted for 36% of the grocery budget so far this month. A more realistic view would be saving around 20-25% off the budget during a pantry challenge, or $60-75.
There are a few things that we probably could have skipped this week, but barely scraping by was not one of my goals for this challenge. So I’m going to keep up with the plan. Still trying to eat the randomness and inspire creativity in the recipe book. If the grocery budget is less than usual, I’m considering it a bonus, and this is by far the lowest I’ve ever been during week 2!