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.
When the grocery budget resets each month, I usually have one of two frames of mind.
a) there’s a lot to buy this month, so I need to be extra careful
b) this month should be a breeze, but I should still watch the pennies
My mind leaned towards B this month, but there was this gut feeling that “every penny counted.” I made a conscious effort to save ever dollar I could, starting with the very first trip… even though there weren’t any “huge” expenses to be concerned about.
Somewhere along the way though, my radar went wacky. Here’s how the shopping went.
Savemart – $17.90
Barilla Whole Grain Pasta x3, 1
Organic Whole Milk, 5.98
Half & Half, 2.39
Organic Chicken Drumsticks, 2.54 (marked down)
Harris Ranch Ground Beef 1lb, 3.99 (marked down)
First stop of the month, picking up and replenishing staples in the pantry. Pasta for spaghetti, milk for kefir and yogurt, half & half because the price was $1 less than Costco’s. Ground beef for spaghetti sauce, and you can imagine my delight when I found it marked down (even though I was mentally prepared to pay $5/lb). The organic drumsticks were marked down too, and the price per ounce came out to less than Trader Joe’s price.
Farmer’s Market – $18
Red Leaf Lettuce, 1.50
Green Cabbage, 1.50
Raw Milk, 7
Yellow & Green Squash, 2.90
Broccoli x2, 1.10
Dozen Eggs, 4
There are some really great deals to be found at the farmer’s market. There was an entire table of at least 8 different types of summer squash, priced for mixing and matching (hence the summer squash pasta on the menu last week). Lettuce for salads and cabbage to help stretch the lettuce since it’ll not go mushy quite as fast. Broccoli for beef & broccoli.
As we were meandering around the market, my eyes came across a farmer selling plants – which I ordinarily ignore. However, it was a dozen of multi-colored beauties that caught my eye. He was selling farm fresh eggs for $4/dozen! I asked him about their feeding and he has two mobile coops, in which he alternates weeks spending free time outside. The other is given supplemental feed when they’re not hunting and pecking.
Is this good? I don’t know. All I know is that the last discussion about eggs being cooked before I even bought them got me all heeby jeeby about store eggs. I definitely still need to research, but the eggs were multi-colored (light brown, dark brown, green, white and even a slight blue one) and that’s how the eggs were when I got them from a co-worker back in my corporate cubicle days, so I thought it was a good thing! Anyone have any thoughts on this? Does the egg debacle drive anyone else slightly nutty?
Darn eggs. Geez.
Trader Joe’s – $41.44
Sliced Pepperoni, 2.99
Coconut Milk x2, .99
Sunflower Seeds, 1.99
Coconut Oil x2, 5.99
Bacon Ends & Pieces x2, 2.99
Curry Powder, 1.99
Organic Tri-Color Bell Peppers x2, 3.99
Pepperoni for pizza night, coconut milk for coconut rice and the lentil recipe and seeds for trail mix. Coconut oil is a pantry staple (when I didn’t know Tropical Traditions was having a BOGOF sale…), bacon for breakfasts, parmesan for snacks and soup. Curry powder for a new recipe and bell peppers for dinners and spaghetti sauce. Ho hum trip. Nothing out of the ordinary.
Whole Foods – $18.84
Organic Pumpkin Seeds @ 4.49/lb, 8.89
Organic Garam Masala @21.99/lb, 1.10
Ground Cardamom @ 33.99/lb, 2.72
Organic Turmeric @12.99/lb, .78
Organic Garbanzo Beans @ 2.39/lb, 5.40
Bag Refund, (-.05)
I’ve been craving hummus like a mad woman, but once we realized that Costco’s garbanzo beans produced methane gas instead of harmless carbon dioxide, I vowed to buy raw and cook them myself. Oddly, I still haven’t cooked any of these up .
A variety of seasonings for recipes I’ve been wanting to try, including the red lentil recipe on the bi-weekly menu and cardamom in granola and muffins.
Costco – $118.00
Almonds 3lb, 12.99
Organic Fuji Apples, 7.29
Oranges 13lb, 7.99
Organic Whole Chickens 2pk, 24.53
Tomato Sauce 109oz, 2.49
Dried Figs, 9.49
Cashews 2.5lb, 14.99
Organic Baby Kale, 4.29
Kerrygold Butter x2, 6.79
Fresh Mozzarella, 6.99
Daisy Sour Cream, 3.99
Most of these items are pantry staples too. Notice that I bought chickens here instead of Trader Joe’s… that was me trying to save a buck or two in that “penny pinching” frame of mind. Two more packages of Kerrygold butter brings my stash to 4 in the freezer (as of today, it was higher when we shopped but we’ve done some baking and smothering since then). Apples, oranges, bananas and kale for smoothies and snacks. I opted for figs instead of dried coconut for our trail mix this month because the figs were nearly half the cost (in that the bag was twice as big). They’re not as trail-mix-friendly as the coconuts, but they’re far more fun to eat. Absolutely perfect for the 4pm sweet craving, and they’re SUPER rich in fiber. Bonus!
Target – $13.88
Pretzels x2, 3.19
Red Onion, .09 (used coupon)
Dried Dill, 3.99
Nestle Cocoa, 2.44
Pineapple, .98 (price matched & used coupon)
Pretzels for snacking, requested by Mr. Crumbs. I had two coupons for fresh produce, so I bought a red onion for pineapple salsa and a pineapple… also for pineapple salsa. Cocoa and dill to replenish the pantry.
Grocery Outlet – $31.63
Dried Rosemary, 2.99
Dried Parsley, 1.99
Greek Yogurt 4pk x2, .99
Roasted Diced Green Chilies x4, .33
Organic Pomegranate Cranberry Juice x2, 1.29
Organic Cream Cheese, 1.59
Coconut Water 11oz x24, .79
Spices for the pantry, green chilies because they were out of chili verde salsa. I’m looking forward to later in the summer when tomatillos are at the farmer’s market!
Greek yogurt for yogurt, juice for mock Italian sodas and cream cheese because I thought I’d be making cheesecake (and as it turned out, I made the best one ever!). The price on these small coconut waters was better than any other price at the moment, equating to $2.37/L. I bought 24, stocking up for a few months.
Savemart – $5.98
More milk for yogurt and kefir. Nothing exciting here.
Savemart – $26.84
Bob’s Red Mill Organic Rye Flour, 3.79
Vanilla Beans, 14.99
Cream Cheese x3, 2.19
Bag of Bananas, 1.49 (marked down)
I’m working on a sourdough starter and Nourishing Traditions recommends starting with rye. Cream cheese and vanilla beans for the cheesecake (although I plan to buy some online for a MUCH better price this coming week). A big bag of marked down bananas for snacks and smoothies.
Groupon – $15
Well this isn’t a grocery purchase you see often! Mr. Crumbs and I had a date night last week and I scoped out Groupon earlier in the day. There wasn’t anything good for dining in our area, but there was a deal for a local farm stand. Spend $15 for three $10 vouchers – essentially half off local produce. It was an out of the ordinary purchase, but one that I thought would pay off.
Fresh from D’Vine – $11.49
Organic Fuji Apples 1.99/lb, 5.45
Plums & Apriums @ 2.68/lb, 8.39
Organic Strawberries Pint x2, 5
Grapefruit x3, 1
This is the stand that the Groupon was for. I thought I could use more than one voucher per visit (so I had planned on only paying $1.49 out of pocket), but you can’t. That’s ok though, they’ll come in handy.
We bought organic apples, fresh tomatoes, a mixture of plums and apriums from a local farmer who practices organic methods (but isn’t certified) and organic strawberries. Everything has been absolutely delicious!
Total Month to Date – $319
Wow. That’s a nice, even, HIGH number.
That leaves me with $11 for the rest of the month. All week I’ve had a sinking feeling this would be the case. I’ve been mentally preparing myself, thinking of what we do have rather than what we don’t to get us through the next couple weeks. The power of positive thinking, ya know?
- The two chickens from Costco? Carved up, but we’ve only eaten 1 breast and tender.
- Enough pasta for three nights of spaghetti, and enough sauce for close to five.
- Haven’t touched the bacon.
- Enough pumpkin seeds to last us at least another 4 weeks, but possibly 6.
- Two pints of coconut oil? Unopened.
- Pantry filled with beans.
- Still plenty of dried fruit and figs for trail mix.
I have lots of small items too in the pantry that I can use to create meals. I also still have two $10 vouchers to the farm stand, plus a $10 gift card to Target as an Ebates reward. (Read more about Ebates.)
If I include the vouchers and gift cards, I have $41 left for the month. The kicker?
Mr. Crumbs’ parents are coming in town for the last week of the month. YIKES!