*After a couple of my friends asked me about how the month went, I remembered I needed to write an update on our totally (not so) interesting month of going cheap on groceries.
-Go HERE if you want to read my first post about challenge.
During the month of August I challenged myself to try and restrict our grocery spending to $100. We normally spend $500 or more to feed our family of 5 a mostly organic diet (this includes bulk purchases, stockpiling what I can find on sale, etc.). I knew that spending $100 was definitely going to require a different mindset. Because the pantry and freezer was fairly full I knew we could do it.
Result? We came very close. I am guessing we went just a bit over $100. My plan to use cash did not work out well for accounting purposes because I was often buying non-grocery items in the same purchases and just ended up using our card.
Here are the main areas we spent our money this month.
1) Fruit! I am guessing we spent $45 on fruit. We go through lots and I did not want to skimp in this area.
2) Eggs-We go through a good amount of eggs. I even bought the cheap ones (gasp) a couple times.
3) Milk- We don’t drink a ton, but I think I bought 2 gallons worth of organic milk last month.
4) Small items to complete some meals.
One thing that gave us a little buffer was that we had a couple things to return to Costco last month (Jeans, Burt’s Bees Baby wash, and some electronic thing I can’t remember). This provided us with a little extra wiggle room and we bought whole wheat english muffins, organic olive oil, cheese, and some other small things I am forgetting.
Two areas that I did not count towards our $100 were a small party I planned for my daughter’s (very late) birthday party, and also a couple meals we took to friends. I did not want to shy away from doing things like that because of a silly challenge. Hubs said to go for it and not count it towards the $100. So we did cheat a bit.
Overall it was totally do-able and nice to not feel the pressure to go out and spend time grocery shopping. It definitely freed up some of my schedule a bit and I was able to spend more time on Wednesday mornings (and other times) throughout the month doing other things. It was a nice change of pace. I almost feel like we could do it again for September. We still have a pretty good amount of food in the freezer and my kids would not starve, but we need more variety again.
Where did I shop this month?
3 trips to Grocery Outlet
2-3 trips to Fred Meyer
1 trip to Costco
1 trip to Roth’s (Which might have resulted in me overreacting about my husband buying prosciutto and parmesan the first week of the month…”You spent how much on what???”)
What did we eat? Roasted chicken, white bean and tarragon soup (SO GOOD), chicken tacos, pizza, lots of homemade refried black beans, rice, pizza, parmesan and basil chicken pasta, beef tacos, and more. See? We still ate good.
Meat for the above recipies included; 1 medium sized roasted chicken which we used the bones for making broth for the base of the soup. 1 pound of McK Ranch ground beef that we turned in taco meat and stretched with tiny diced zucchini and squash, and 1.5-2 pounds of chicken breasts for the pasta.
Now excuse me while I go prep for a Trader Joe’s trip.
Have you ever experimented with your grocery budget?
Costco on a Saturday morning…why not? We headed out the door and found our favorite store filled with sample hungry shoppers. People complain about Costco on Saturdays, but it is really not all that bad. After pushing a beast of a stroller through that store for years with the twins, I almost expect to not be able to navigate very smoothly. But, it was no big thing with all registers open and parking for everyone. In fact, the only thing that slowed us down on this trip…ME! The shoppers (and my husband) must have thought I was crazy snapping pictures of price tags every few feet. I heard my husband explain to one male shopper who questioned us, “She has a blog”. I am not sure if that helped explain, or confirmed the fact that I am actually crazy. Some people don’t get the “blog” thing. Some people also don’t get having 3 kids 3 and under. Call us crazy.
Here is a list of my findings. This list is not exhaustive. Also remember that Costco’s stock changes quickly. Sometimes an item will be carried for quite some time, and other times it is just making a brief appearance.
UPDATE BELOW with my findings on my most recent trip in early Jan 2013
This price list is from the Salem Oregon store. Prices and stock carried can vary by store and region. The reader tips are likely from a different store. An astrix (*) at the end of the price indicates that it is their last shipment. Stock up if it is something you love.
Organic and Natural Products roughly broken down by category and area of store
Bybee Foods Organic Frozen Petite Pea 5lbs $1.178 per lb $5.89
Bybee Foods Organic Green Beans 5lbs $1.198 per lb $5.99
Bybee Foods Organic White Cute Corn 5lbs $1.118 per lb $5.59
Firestone IQF Organic Dark Sweet Cherries 4lbs $3.173 per lb $12.69
Townsend Farms Organic Antioxidant Blend 3lb $9.69 (good price for these berries although keep in mind that some come from out of country and I am more leery of organic produce from outside of the US because of the possible lack of regulation)
Kirkland Signature 2% Organic Chocolate Milk 24/8.25 oz $14.99