My grocery budget for a family of 4 is $330 each month. This real food budget includes food, toiletries, household items as well as health & beauty products. This post is our monthly budget accountability session, where we share what we spend on food. Today marks the end of April 2015. You can read previous Counting Crumbs reports HERE.
“Why hellooooooooo there budget accountability session? Where have you been these past few months, playing hookie?”
Yes, I’m sure the long-time readers have noticed that my monthly budget accountability sessions have been sparse for 2015. I promise I’m not avoiding the budget, in case the idea crossed your mind. But we have been going through life seasons (some planned, some not) that have ultimately affected our grocery budget and our monthly grocery budget check-ups.
Allow me to explain…
The last “What We Spent on Food” shared was for January. Life was “normal.”
Then in February we embarked on a fiscal fast, which meant no grocery shopping. We bought a few things, and you can see the re-cap for those in this post. Life was somewhat normal… unless you consider not spending money for a month weird, and then it wasn’t normal.
Just after the calendar flipped to March, the Crumbs clan packed up and left the country. We were gone for a total of 16 days and spent vacation money, not grocery money. Still though, we only ate out twice that whole time and cooked all the other meals… no too shabby!
The last days of March and the first couple weeks of April are a blur. Long story short, a dear family member became very ill and lost her battle with cancer. We spent these few weeks taking care of her and her family at their house and the hospital, and then serving the out-of-town friends and family that came for the services.
Between take-out for lunch at the hospital and dinner prepared by visiting family at home, there was very little grocery shopping in our own house. It essentially boiled down to two online orders – one through Amazon (coffee, oats, ketchup and cashews) and used Swagbucks to pay for it and another through Tropical Traditions (olive oil, honey, dark chocolate) and used gift certificates to pay for that one. There was also two trips to the farmers market (pictured below). And that’s it. Without much grocery shopping to report and the family in mourning, there simply wasn’t a “What We Spent on Food” for March.
We’re now closing April and adjusting to the “new normal,” which ultimately includes shopping for food.
I’ll admit (and warn) that I didn’t keep good track of the numbers. Quite frankly, my mind has been elsewhere. I have no idea how they’ll turn out and I’m literally adding them up as I share what we bought… but that’s how it goes sometimes! Fortunately, we’re finally starting to get back up on our feet and adjusting to new routines.
I sincerely appreciate all the prayers and well wishes you have sent me and my family during this time. I have read every single email and note, and we consider ourselves blessed to have your love and support!
With that said, here’s what we spent on food for April 2015.
Note: Since I wasn’t tracking our spending very well this month and wasn’t working off a solid meal plan, our organic decisions on produce and dairy are hit/miss. The markets weren’t convenient so I just went for the cheaper option all around at the grocery store in order to minimize the budget damage in the end.
Savemart – 18.95
sourdough bread, 4.99
canned tomatoes x2, 1.99
chicken stock, 1.99
sliced cheese x2, 2.50
This was the first night I ate and cooked dinner at my own home in several weeks. My daughter requested tomato sauce soup and grilled cheese, and after being in and out of the hospital for a week without any meltdowns, we happily obliged her request.
Grocery Outlet – 6.45
cream cheese x3, 1.49
oranges x2, .99
I made no-bake strawberry cheese with the cream cheese and oranges were for snacking. I honestly don’t remember where we got the strawberries from…
Costco – $93.43
whole chicken x2, 13.52
whole chicken x2, 23.01
diced tomatoes, 5.99
butter x2, 6.99
Greek yogurt, 6.89
bell peppers, 6.49
Our first big shopping trip of April which is partially for “normal” eating, and partially replenishing the pantry after being out of town. We had family over for dinner a couple of times, so we bought four whole chickens. Diced tomatoes, butter and mozzarella for the pantry. Apples, bananas and yogurt for snacking. Bell peppers for salads and other dinners.
Savemart – $2.89
corn x4, 2
We took what we had on hand, supplemented with corn and cilantro for a taco night. I also made homemade flour tortillas.
Grocery Outlet – 38.40
tuna x4, .79
AP flour x2, 2.49
bacon x2, 2.99
mozzarella x3, 1.49
Dried spices, tuna and flour for the pantry. Eggs, bacon and milk are staples. Asparagus, broccoli and yams for dinners; honeydew for snacking. Mozzarella because it was a good deal (and we haven’t been able to find our preferred brand) and Parmesan for snacking and meals.
Costco – 108.57
pork ribs, 33.80
red potatoes, 5.29
bananas x2, 1.39
peanut butter, 10.99
pepper jack cheese, 6.89
A second trip to Costco a week later and this one includes lots of fresh produce. It took us a couple weeks to gauge how much produce to buy versus how much time we were at home to eat it, but we finally found the rhythm here. Coffee, peanut butter and sugar are staples; when I asked Mr. Crumbs what he’d like to see on the menu this month, he chose ribs (there’s 3 racks in a package).
Savemart – $10.85
I hurt my back pretty bad moving bags of dirty in our new urban square foot garden a couple weeks ago, and we were completely out of ibuprofen. I coupled this essential oils and a heating pad for pain relief (and I’m doing better!).
Costco – 76.13
whole chicken x2, 25.20
tomato sauce, 2.59
bell pepper, 5.99
chocolate chips, 7.79
roast beef, 9.41
Ordinarily we’re fine with just two chickens each month, but since we’re cooking more often for other people, we picked up two more. Mr. Crumbs asked for homemade spaghetti for his birthday dinner, so the tomato sauce and noodles were for that. More produce for snacking and meals, chocolate chips for the occasional dessert and roast beef for French dip sandwiches that ARE on this month’s meal plan!
What We Spent on Food April 2015 – $355.67
Well, I must say I’m kinda relieved that we’re so close to our regular budget!
This month (and March) were DEFINITELY not normal, but sticking to our three basic rules has kept our budget us relatively in check:
- eat what you already have
- buy just what you need
- don’t let anything go to waste
As for May, I’m starting off with a solid meal plan. I’m using this month’s Frugal Real Food Meal Plan and adjusting to fit our current schedule and commitments.
Also starting mid-May is our local CSA! I’m excited to see what comes in our box each week, and a little curious what meals we’ll make with the new-to-us foods.