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Grocery Geek Finds Butter

I feed a small army of eight. This is how I do it without going broke. We try to buy natural organic groceries when we can and still save money on food costs through wise shopping.

Trader Joe's grocery

This week signified the end of the party. My kids got back into school. My husband went back to work. And I had to confess, “Dorothy, we’re not in Europe anymore.” Our European vacation is really over.

It’s slow going getting back into a groove, especially when the month is dotted with birthdays, doctors appointments, and holiday preparations. I like to think of life in weeklong chunks. But when one week’s routine is broken, I want to throw in the towel on the whole week.

Looking at the coming six weeks that promise no routine whatsoever, I guess I better come up with a different plan! At least we’re eating….

I did do a bit more stocking up this week compared to last week, but I’ve yet to fire up the deep freeze. I’m hesitant to do so, actually. It is a 17 year old freezer and I’m not sure how energy efficient it is. Gonna need to do some testing. Also, just using the side-by-side for the moment helps me not to overbuy. Buying less saves me more. Until I’m ready to do a really big freezer cooking session, I think I’ll wait.

Finding butter on sale

grocery butter

In other news, many readers warned me that the price of butter had gone up, even at Costco. I picked up a couple packages here and there for $3.99 which is a typical non-sale price around here. My friend Amy had posted on Facebook that Dillons/Kroger had it on sale for cheap, but when I checked Ralphs/Kroger, they were calling $3.99 a sale.

Aside: this is the same store that called $8.49/pound bacon a “sale”. We’re going to need to talk, Ralphs.

So, at Walmart this week when I saw Land O’ Lakes 2-pound packs for $6.48, I snatched up all they had, which was six pounds. We don’t use margarine or peanut butter at our house, so butter is a go to, especially when there are the best chocolate chip cookies in the world to be made.

Here’s how the shopping went down since my last report:

Ralphs

Ralphs grocery

I do like Ralphs for their marked down items. They have great online coupons. They send me coupons I’ll actually use. And their sales are often really good.

Obviously, this wasn’t a super big stop, just bopped in for a few things. I bought 2% Fage on a whim last week and now I’m hooked! I liked the fat-free, but oh my! The 2% is amazing.

  • yogurt $5.99
  • butter $3.99
  • feta cheese $3.99
  • marked down breads $1.49
  • summer savory $3
  • tortilla chips $2

Total spent: $23

Trader Joe’s

Trader Joe's grocery

I went to Trader Joe’s earlier in the week and stocked up things to test out a new $70 meal plan I’ll be posting tomorrow on Life as MOM. I spent more than $70 since I feed 8 people instead of 4. Plus, we needed some breakfast and lunch stuff, too.

My husband eats cereal every day at work — his choice. But, he’s contemplating taking a load of freezer burritos to mix things up a bit.

  • cereal $1.99 to $2.69/box
  • spices $1.99/bottle
  • sweetened, condensed milk $2.99
  • shelf-stable whipping cream $1.29
  • lasagna noodles $2.29
  • flour $2.99
  • jam $2.99
  • cocoa powder $2.49
  • macaroni $0.99
  • jasmine rice $3.29
  • coconut oil $5.99
  • cashews $6.99
  • almonds $6.49
  • olive oil $7.99
  • yeast $0.99
  • sunflower oil $3.99
  • fire-roasted tomatoes $1.69
  • olives $1.49
  • shepherd’s bread $2.99
  • corn tortillas $0.99
  • flour tortillas $1.99
  • frozen organic green beans $1.99
  • salmon $6.74
  • eggs $1.99
  • milk $3.49
  • bag frozen chicken $6.99
  • organic romaine hearts $1.99
  • baby carrots $1.49
  • sour cream $1.99
  • cream cheese $1.69
  • cheddar $2.50
  • shredded cheese $3.49
  • gruyere $5.75
  • bacon $4.99
  • butter $3.99/lb
  • broccoli $1.79
  • organic bell peppers $3.99
  • organic power greens $1.99
  • mushrooms $1.69
  • onion $0.69
  • half and half $2.69
  • buttermilk $1.99
  • kefir $2.99
  • Fage $3.59
  • mozzarella $4.49
  • ground turkey $2.99/lb

Total spent = $190

Walmart

Walmart grocery

With two birthdays in the next week and the desire for chocolate chip cookies raging, I went to Walmart to restock the baking cupboard as well as pick up birthday items and fill in a few gaps in the pantry. This is when I bought the aforementioned butter. Here’s what else I got:

  • lime juice $1.98
  • pineapple juice $2.98
  • sparkling cider $2.88
  • chips $2.50 – for nachos which is proving no longer to be a cheap eat
  • masa $2.88/4 lb
  • organic sugar $3.98/3 lb
  • powdered sugar $2.18/2 lb
  • applesauce $2.47
  • jack cheese $8.42
  • brown sugar $2.00/2 lb
  • butter $6.48/2 lb
  • fate $6.48
  • marshmallow creme $1.28
  • white beans $1.98
  • diced tomatoes $1.38
  • green chiles $1.54
  • sauerkraut $2.28
  • organic applesauce $2.47
  • chocolate chips $2.48
  • organic chicken broth $1.98
  • baking soda $0.82
  • baking powered $2.14
  • dulce de leche $2.72
  • milk $3.78
  • eggs $3.24
  • flour $3.48
  • canned pumpkin $2.88

Total spent = $153

Weekly total $366

Total Month to Date $527

My target for the month is around $1000. We’ve got lots of special occasions; we’re starting with nothing since we emptied things out for our trip; I’m feeding five men/boys. If we go over a little, I’ll be okay with that, all things considered.

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Comments

  1. Yes! The price of butter has definitely gone up. But now that it’s holiday baking season, I am hoping to be able to stock up.

    BTW, does your Costco carry organic unsalted butter? Mine only has salted organic butter, which I find really peculiar (and irritating since I only buy unsalted). Just curious. Thanks!

  2. Is Dillion’s the same as Ralph’s out here in Cali? I see blogs post Dillion’s deals that always bum me out since we don’t have one.

    Also, I did notice that butter is down a little at Costco. But I’m hearing dairy products are going up, probably due to our CA drought.

    • Dillons and Ralphs are both owned by Kroger, so there will be similar sales, but not similar prices. I haven’t been to Costco since we got back. It’s kryptonite to me. Need to send my husband. He obeys the list better than I do. 🙂

      • Haha. Opposite here. My husband is always asking “can we get this?” I’ve made it a rule we can get one fun thing not planned. (As long as it isn’t a tv or something!). Then I’m not a meaning saying no. And I plan for it, so we are t REALLY breaking budget! 🙂

  3. midwest g'ma says:

    Do you know about a gadget called Kill-a-watt? You plug it into an outlet, then plug your freezer (for example) into the gadget and let it run for a few hours and then go back and get a reading of how many kilowatts were used. I’ve had one for several years, and it is quite nice to be able to know for sure what’s going on with the electricity! I think amazon still carries them, and it’s the sort of thing that will last for a good long time, and can be loaned around to family and friends as we all try to become more responsible with our energy use.

    • Yes, I bought one years ago, but have yet to get a good reading on it. I always forget when I plugged it in, etc. Sheepish grin. Need to dig it out again. Thanks for the reminder!

      • midwest g'ma says:

        If it is the same as mine – also a few years old – the button clear on the right hand side actually is designed as a toggle switch which tells you how many kilowatts have been used, press again, and it tells you how long it has been plugged in. You do have to read it while it is still plugged in, as unplugging it resets it to zero. Good luck, kiddo! And thank you for all you share here. Lots of good info.

  4. Thanks for posting the link to your vacation recap! I loved hearing about London. I am an anglophile, not sure why, but maybe cuz I mostly read horse books growing up and several of them were set in England. I still favor British authors, old and new, and British TV shows and movies. I have only ever been to London for 3 days as a side shoot of a trip to Ireland, so I need to plan a British vacation!

  5. Jennifer Blacker says:

    I see KA Flour on the conveyor belt. I recently broke down and bought a 25 pound bag from their website (free shipping). It’s more than paid for itself. Much cheaper than buying the smaller bags and the way you cook it’ll never go bad. I believe it was only 25 bucks. I just keep it in a large bucket in the pantry and refill my smaller flour container with it.

  6. Can you show the Life as MOM address/url somewhere on this website so your followers can just click on it in the future. Thanks.

  7. We make our own yogurt (that yogurt maker I got as a present has more than paid for itself!) and one time I made 2%, and the hubby was like, “Um, this isn’t right,” so I had to go back to whole milk. It is waaaaaay creamier and delicious. But I wish I only had to buy the one type of milk – whole milk is more expensive than 2% here. (And we’ve tried, but skim just doesn’t fly for us.)

  8. I am wondering what your Costco price for butter is in CA. I paid $9.99 for 4lbs of butter at Costco this week. This is a much better price than our grocery stores. Of course, a gallon of milk is still $3.19 at Costco—the best price around. Also, I was glad they had their big bag of chocolate chips on sale. I can’t believe how much the small bags have gone up in price. (And you have to have chocolate chips!) Hoping to try the new recipe you posted soon.

  9. I just started buying Fage because it’s the only Greek yogurt at my Walmart that isn’t fat free. I didn’t want to make an extra stop just for yogurt — even if it is Cabot’s Greek, which is 10% fat. I feed really little people this yogurt, so fat is my friend.

  10. Just stocked up on lol butter from Kroger..2.50.lb..made me so happy..would have got more..but they were out..might price match at Wal-Mart..am still hoping for an even lower price:-)

  11. Butter prices have gone up tremendously here in the Northeast. We used to pay $9.99 for 4 lbs. of unsalted butter at BJs Wholesale. I usually buy a bunch then keep in freezer until needed. I broke my own rule lately of marking off what you take out of the freezer and we ran out of butter. Bjs now sells the 4 pack for $13.99. ugh couldn’t bring myself to get it. I watching sales carefully.

  12. At Kroger here in Central IL yesterday, LOL butter was 2.99/pound and was also part of the buy 10 get $5 sale, so it worked out to 2.49 if you stocked up on that and bacon, which I most certainly did! I get the Hormel nitrate/nitrite free bacon, which was $4.99 (or adjusted to $4.49). I was happy to find those prices!

  13. Bathesinmilk says:

    Trader Joe’s has consistently better prices than most other shops. Worth a check as your TJs may vary. Also TJs pound plus chocolate bars are usually top shelf European chocolate (at a much lower price). I have noticed that Fage yogurt is a better deal by the smaller 7 oz container than the larger sizes….so at a $1.00/7 ounces it is much better than other sizes. We add our own jams or flavors…

  14. Check your butter more then just cream and salt. butter was on sale this week for 2.49 a lb.

    • This post is from awhile ago. I’m not exactly sure why it’s showing up in the feed. You’re not the first to comment recently. Thanks! Yes, I stocked up at Ralphs last week. 🙂

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