My grocery budget for our family of 4 is $330 each month. This real food budget includes food, toiletries, household items as well as health & beauty products. It also includes EVERY meal, not just dinner. This post is our monthly budget accountability session, where we share what we spent on food for September 2015. You can read previous reports HERE.
We’re 6 weeks into the school year and I’ll tell you what – resisting the temptation to just buy snacks instead of making them from scratch is SO HARD!
But there’s always one driving factor that will keep me from caving.
Eggs are going up. Milk has gone up. And there were a good bit of toiletry purchases this month. Fortunately, seasonal produce and some good sales are keeping my budget in check.
Here’s what we spent on food for September, along with food prices in our area (central California)!
CSA Box #17 – $21.59
red butter lettuce
red leaf lettuce
Yes – berries are still in season here! Actually, they’re grown year-round not too far from here, so we can get them really whenever we want. Spoiled, I know!
Dehydrated the dill, roasted the Brussels sprouts, ate the apples for snacks. Froze the peppers, added the onion to the pantry and the lettuce was in smoothies!
Grocery Outlet – $38.23
mozzarella (fresh 8oz) x8, 1.49
babybel cheese x2, 1.49
ground turkey, 6.99
colby jack, 1.99
habanero jack cheese, 3.49
Like most months, I start it off with a huge list and Grocery Outlet. I can get so many items from Grocery Outlet for a fraction of what I normally pay, so I make it a point to stop there first.
Eggs and mustard are staples, cheese for homemade pizza on Fridays. I normally buy the 3-pack at Costco for $6.99-ish, but this was by far the better deal ($1.49 each = $4.47 for 3-pack).
We’re experimenting with cheese in the kids lunches, so I tried Babybel this month. Neither kid liked it, lol. Colby jack and habanero jack cheese for grilled cheeses and homemade macaroni and cheese (which was WAY good with the habanero jack).
Ground turkey for hearty spaghetti sauce.
Walmart – $11.91
super washing soda, 3.97
Borax and super washing soda are for making my own laundry detergent and for deep cleaning the dishwasher (1/2 borax + 1/2 baking soda + 1 cup vinegar). Bananas for banana chocolate chip muffins and snacks!
Safeway – $18.98
whole chickens x2, $1.99/lb
We actually went a bit out of our way to get these chickens. They weren’t organic, but no antibiotics and non-GMO, which are the main reasons I buy organic anyway. And they were a great price! I wish I had picked up two more during the sale!
Savemart – $7.17
corn x8, 2
bananas x2, 2.98
Fresh corn because the season is about to end and we LOVE fresh corn, bananas for more snacking and muffins (we make a lot of muffins now with school in session!)
Savemart – $4.99
Mr. Crumbs wanted to make sandwiches at the last minute so we bought a loaf of bread. Normally we would have made Man Bread or Rosemary Olive Oil Bread, but I don’t remember why we were short on time…
Sante Fe – $7.37
apple cider vinegar, 4.99
white onions, 1.53
Santa Fe is a new store in our area, replacing an older ethnic market. This was on our way home one day, so we purposely stopped in to get what they had on sale.
I got a gallon of apple cider vinegar – not raw – since 9 times out of 10 I’m cooking with it (which defeats the purpose of raw). Onions are a staple and cantaloupe for snacks.
Grocery Outlet – $17.12
pellegrino x2, .99
CRV x2, .10
bacon x2, 3.99
pepperoni x3, 5.97
Italian seasoning, .99
Mr. Crumbs likes sparkly water, but I wasn’t going to Costco anytime soon. Two bottles of Pellegrino for him, plus bacon, pepperoni and spices (all pantry staples).
CSA Box #18 – $21.59
green butter lettuce
black & red radishes
We made crash potatoes, used the cilantro in some new dishes, pomegranates in smoothies and ate the melons for snacks. The mushrooms went into a pasta dish and a roasted veggie dish, tomatoes into a plain spaghetti sauce (more below). Oh, and cucumbers in smoothies.
Walmart – $32.27
tortilla chips, 1.84
buffalo wing sauce, 2.18
eggs 18 ct, 5.84
Greek yogurt, 3.98
chuck roast, 11.14
rice 2lb, 2.77
I caved when I saw the tortilla chips. I haven’t bought them in awhile and the craving for salty crunchy won.
Wing sauce for this awesome pizza, eggs and rice are staples and I stopped buying brown sugar and now make my own with molasses instead.
Savemart – $4.99
salt & vinegar potato chips, 3
pretzel rods, 1.99
What Mr. Crumbs buys when he wants crunch for a road trip. I’m okay with the pretzels, on the fence with the chips. Ingredients aren’t the best (but could be much worse), but it’s the fact that they’re so addicting! He always seems to want more when he eats them in the first place… not sure what’s causing that, and how I feel about it…
Savemart – $6.08
This was a trip for more sparkly water. We chose three 4-packs that were supposed to be $1.67 each (3/$5). But then you include CRV and tax and BAM. You just paid an extra buck. Not cool.
Grocery Outlet – $23.89
butter x2, 2.99
The produce is all organic, but the milk is not. Salt is a staple and Parmesan because I was trying out a new recipe. The butter was last minute, but it was a whole pound of organic butter for just $2.99 each! I wish I had bought more, but wasn’t sure how much money I had left in the budget. But that’s an awesome deal, don’t you think?!
Grocery Outlet – $9.46
red potatoes, 1.50
frozen broc/cauliflower, 2.99
cream cheese, 1.49
chocolate chips, 1.49
I needed potatoes to round out a few meals, frozen veggies for another meal I wanted to try out (which didn’t happen because I made this instead), cheddar because the kids requested cheddar in their lunches.
My receipt says “cream cheese rf” but I really don’t remember buying cream cheese. ?? Chocolate chips because oatmeal chocolate chip cookies aren’t the same without them!
Walmart – $14.45
carpet cleaner, 11.97
We’ve been cleaning the carpets. I’m borrowing the machine from a friend, and since I’ve never made my own carpet cleaner before (although I have a recipe), I didn’t want to take chances with her machine. With my luck, I’d break it. So I bought some and more vinegar to replenish what I used when cleaning the dishwasher.
Savemart – $9.77
Monterey jack cheese, 2.79
I wasn’t feeling well so Mr. Crumbs made dinner… but he needed these items for his famous grilled cheese and tomato soup. 🙂
CSA Box #19 – $21.59
red leaf lettuce
green leaf lettuce
I roasted beets for smoothies, blanched greens for freezer, demolished bread in paninis for dinner one night and then froze the peppers and basil. Everything else replaced the pantry and the zucchini went into a stir-fry!
The Farm – $15.80
We get our CSA box from The Farm and they had day-old strawberries for $10/half flat and apples for $1/lb. I get 10% off in their store so my total was even less for 6 baskets of strawberries and 3.4lbs of apples!
CSA Box #20 – $21.59
1 romaine lettuce
1 bunch rainbow carrots
1 bunch curly parsley
6 braeburn apples
2 lbs mixed beefsteak and salad tomatoes
2 lbs Beauregard yams
1 bunch broccoli
We took the lettuce to my dad’s for dinner, snacked on the apples and had the broccoli in a meal this past week. The carrots went into smoothies and we cooked the tomatoes into simple tomato sauce – which then became pizza sauce, tomato basil soup and a sauce for spaghetti.
The Farm – $14
I stocked up on more $.90/lb apples!!
Monthly Total for September 2015 – $316.76
Wow – so my strategies for last month are still working! That’s pretty neat!
The one thing I’m noticing is that we eat a lot of cheese. It would be worth my while looking again at the prices at Grocery Outlet versus Costco, and paying more attention to sales and such. 90% of the time we shred the cheese, so buying in bulk and shredding and storing in smaller portions would be the smart way to go.
Something else I’ve noticed is that 2 chickens aren’t quite cutting it enough for us anymore. Next month (October) will be my first to try buying 3 chickens, and re-arranging other things so that we can make it all fit. Wish me luck!
Taking advantage of marked down produce (bananas) and seasonal apples helped tremendously too. Notice that was by far the majority of the fruit we ate! I’ll keep this up for October and plan to put away some apples for later in the winter too.
One last note – I think it would beneficial to tally up my grocery spending to-date just before I walk into the store. That way I know exactly how much I have left to spend. Thoughts?
How did you do on your grocery budget in September?
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