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Grocery Geek: What We Spent in February

Want a peek into our grocery cart? Here’s how I’m grocery shopping and feeding eight people on the cheap.

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Amazing how time flies when you’re having fun — or feeling well. I’m on Day 4 of my third illness this winter. I’m ready for spring to come and for time to slow down enough for me to catch up!

Lucky for me I had all my grocery receipts in one place so pulling together this post wasn’t as difficult as it could have been. And that picture above contains nothing that I’ve purchased. I just thought the colors were pretty.

Now that I think of it, though, people must be really pressed for time if there’s SUCH a market for pre-packed fruits and veg!

Anywho, I pleased to report that this month we were almost $200 under budget! Coming after a pantry challenge that is indeed, an amazing feat. But, it was a shorter month, and I noticed we spent a similar amount last February as well. So, maybe it wasn’t as amazing as one would think.

I am tackling grocery shopping in a much different way this month. Or at least I’m trying to. As I mentioned before, I’m keeping better track of unit prices so that I can more accurately identify the best places to buy the items we regularly use.

You may notice a few more Costco and ALDI stops this month. These two stores are showing that their regular prices are the most competitive. While I still love Ralphs and Trader Joe’s for certain products, Sprouts for its produce prices, and Albertsons for its convenience, I’m trying to focus on the bottom line this year.

My priorities are quality and price. I want us to eat more plant foods and fewer processed. You’ll notice less meat and more organics in the mix as well this month. I’m not sure how it will pan out over the course of the year, but that’s my target at the moment. We’ll see how it goes.

The Grocery Geek report

For those of you new here, Grocery Geek is my regular report of how I shopped for groceries, what deals I found, and my running total of how we’re sticking to a budget for groceries.

Here’s the rundown on my shopping this week. As you read, keep in mind who and how I’m shopping:

My grocery shopping profile

To update you on my grocery geekiness:Grocery Geek: What We Spent in January

  • I’m feeding eight people, ages 53, 44, 19, 16, 14, 12, 10, and 8. Five of those people are males. They eat A LOT!
  • I’m shooting for a budget of $1200, per the USDA food cost reports the last time I added up for people of our demographics. I live in Southern California where produce is cheap, but meat and dairy are not.
  • I’m trying to feed us mostly unprocessed foods, with a few “healthier” convenience items thrown in and a junk food splurge* here and there.
  • I work at home and teach five of our kids, so I don’t have as much time for fiddling in the kitchen as I would like.
  • I no longer use coupons on a regular basis, though I do love the coupons that Ralphs offers.
  • I have at least ten grocery stores within 5.5 miles of my house. It is easy (for better or for worse) to stop at several stores to get the best deals.
  • We mostly eat at home. My husband and college age son often pack lunch and breakfast to work, but sometime have lunch out. My husband and I enjoy a date once a week. FishPapa takes one child out to “dinner with dad” once a week. We eat out as a family on average once a week.
  • BEFORE YOU JUDGE ME FOR EXTRAVAGANCE, please read this post.

What we spent in February:

Bob’s Red Mill

I had a $25 gift card to use for Bob’s Red Mill, but since shipping is free for orders over $50, I ordered enough to get the free shipping.

  • 1 case – 4 (22-ounce) bags organic dark rye flour $12.19
  • 1 case – 4 (5-lb) bags whole wheat flour $15.39
  • 3 (5 lb) bags whole wheat pastry flour $12.87
  • 1 case – 4 (29-ounce) bags green split peas $11.79
  • minus $25 gift card

Total spent $27

Sprouts

  • garlic 3/$1
  • organic apples $0.98/lb
  • 1# mushrooms $3.49
  • red bell peppers 2/$1
  • bananas $0.69/lb

Total spent $14

Costco

  • 2# sourdough bread $3.69
  • 2 loaves whole grain bread $4.59
  • dozen bagels $5.49
  • hot dog buns $2.49
  • XL avocados $5.99/5
  • 2 gallons of milk $4.59
  • chicken tenders $15.99/7 pounds
  • dry pinto beans $5.99/5#
  • organic triscuits $8.99/4 boxes
  • organic chicken stock $11.49/6 boxes
  • tomato sauce $7.99/case
  • diced tomatoes $6.49/case
  • black olives $9.59/case
  • organic tomato paste $6.79/case
  • organic frozen berries $9.99
  • Tillamook cheddar $8.99
  • Aidells Chicken sausage $13.99
  • organic frozen blueberries $19.69
  • kale salad $4.79
  • organic ground beef $19.99/4 pounds
  • English cucumbers $3.99/3
  • 24-pack organic eggs $6.49
  • almond butter $7.99
  • organic no-salt blend $7.99
  • Fage yogurt $6.39
  • honey $10.99
  • avocado oil $9.49
  • organic maple syrup $10.99
  • organic fruit leathers $11.99
  • rotisserie chicken $4.99
  • hummus singles $6.49
  • albacore tuna $12.99
  • organic strawberries $8.99
  • diced tomatoes $2.79/#10 can
  • shredded mozzarella $11.69
  • cream $9.89
  • mayonnaise $6.99

Total spent $336

Ralphs

  • tortilla chips $0.99
  • buttermilk $2.99
  • lasagna noodles $1.59
  • chocolate chips $1.49 to $1.99 (organic) clearance
  • chocolate baking bar $1.99 clearance
  • large Cheerios FREE after coupon
  • crushed tomatoes $1.49
  • cilantro $0.50
  • parsley $0.50
  • coleslaw mix $1.59
  • avocado $1.00
  • roma tomatoes $0.99/lb
  • red onion $1.49/lb
  • romaine $0.99
  • onions $0.99/lb
  • 10# bag potatoes $3.99
  • jalapenos $0.79/lb
  • baby carrots FREE after coupon
  • canned soup FREE after coupon
  • minus $5 off order
  • minus $5 off produce

Total spent $35

Costco

  • hummus singles $6.49
  • whole turkey breast $15.96
  • pesto $7.89
  • sourdough bread $3.69
  • kale salad $4.79
  • organic strawberries $7.99

Total spent $50

ALDI

  • red peppers $0.49
  • broccoli crowns $0.95
  • pears $1.99
  • sweet potato chips $1.99
  • organic celery hearts $1.49
  • blood oranges $3.99
  • baby carrots $0.89
  • eggs $0.54
  • 10# russet potatoes $1.95
  • kiwi $3.98/2#
  • whole wheat tortillas $2.39
  • corn tortillas $1.39
  • crushed tomatoes $0.99
  • spices $1.99
  • whole wheat spaghetti $0.99
  • organic black beans $0.89
  • organic garbanzo beans $0.89

Total spent $46

Costco

  • sunchips multipack $8.49
  • organic triscuits $8.99/4 boxes
  • Cheerios mega pack $5.99
  • organic pretzel crisps $6.89
  • grape tomatoes $5.99
  • whole grain bread $4.59
  • sourdough 2# $3.69
  • dozen bagels $5.49
  • organic gala apples $8.79
  • Hebrew National hot dogs $10.99
  • red bell pepper 6-pack $5.99
  • sliced roast beef $8.60
  • turkey breast $15.60
  • graham crackers $9.89
  • Tillamook cheddar $8.99
  • organic fruit strips $8.99
  • Fage yogurt $6.39

Total spent $158

Trader Joe’s

  • string cheese $2.99
  • kefir $2.99
  • milk $2.99

Total spent $18

Albertsons

  • frozen vegetables $0.99
  • corn tortillas $1.50
  • broccoli crowns $1.49/lb
  • red bell peppers $0.99 each
  • rainbow baby carrots $1.69

Total spent $14

Sprouts

  • whole carrots $0.77
  • red bell peppers $0.50 each
  • yellow bananas $0.69/lb
  • buttermilk $2.69
  • organic bacon $7.49
  • pita bread $4.99
  • multigrain bread $2.50
  • bottled water $0.75

Total spent $38

ALDI

  • eggs $0.54
  • whipping cream $1.99
  • sourdough bread $2.29
  • hot dog buns $0.85
  • strawberries $1.49
  • whole wheat tortillas $2.39
  • onions $1.69/2#
  • blueberries $1.99
  • feta cheese $1.99
  • kiwi $3.98/2#

Total spent $23

Ralphs

  • orange juice $2.49 WYB6
  • whole grain taco shells $1.69
  • canned beans $1.99
  • hominy $0.99
  • cilantro $0.50
  • roma tomatoes $1.49/lb
  • jalapenos $0.79/lb
  • prepacked salad $1.50 clearance
  • hot sauce $1.99
  • Simple Truth Natural ground turkey $1.27 (coupon) to $2.77 (I bought 10#)
  • uncured bacon $3.99 WYB6
  • organic turkey breast $2.99 clearance
  • minus $5 off order
  • minus $5 off meat

Total spent $56

Ralphs

  • rice $1.99
  • linguine $1.00
  • beans $1.99
  • butter $3.99
  • carrots $1.59
  • romaine $0.99
  • organic celery $1.99

Total spent $17

Trader Joe’s

  • white pasta $0.99
  • whole wheat pasta $1.49
  • milk $1.99
  • cereal $1.99
  • tea $2.49
  • string cheese $2.99
  • kefit $2.99
  • pickles $2.99
  • sunflower seed butter $4.99
  • thyme $1.99
  • kale salad $2.49
  • caesar salad $3.99

Total spent $60

Albertsons

  • blueberries $2.77
  • kiwi $3.99
  • red bell peppers $0.79

Total spent $9

Costco

  • chicken tenders $15.99
  • tortillas $3.69
  • ground beef $19.89
  • breakfast sausage $7.79
  • milk 2 gallons $4.59
  • English cucumbers 3-pack $3.99
  • mushrooms $5.99
  • power greens $4.99
  • XL avocados $6.49/5
  • wontons $9.69
  • romaine 6-pack $2.99
  • potstickers $10.69
  • butter $10.99
  • snap peas $5.79

Total spent $114

Total spent in February $1015

 

Here’s looking at 2017 as a whole:

  • January $356
  • February $1015

So far our monthly average for the year is $685.50 which of course is amazing…. and misleading, since we are only two months down and one of those months was a pantry challenge month. But, still. I’d say we’re trending well.

How was YOUR grocery shopping this month?

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Comments

  1. My grocery shopping for February totalled $137.60. My average for January and February is $85.80.(I only spent $34 in January!). My budget is $450 a month for 2 adults and 3 teen boys. I don’t buy organic but I don’t buy alot of boxed meals
    I am still in the pantry challenge and have been using meat and veggies in my freezer and pantry. We do garden and we supported a produce stand by buying and processing alot of produce.
    March could be a scary month as my pantry is starting to really show alot of bare spots

  2. Flowers at aldi treat me well – lasting 2-3 WEEKS!

  3. My budget goal is $200 but up to $225 is acceptable to me. I still refer to him as the kid but he’s 22 so that is for 2 adults. I was recently bemoaning the fact that I’m still in the PC and yet my Feb purchases were $250. That still bugs me. However, I had to replace some oils and I bought a bunch of fresh produce to go with the pantry and freezer items I’m working on, so I know it will all work out when the year is averaged. I’m at $322 since Jan 1.

  4. I love reading the Grocery Geek posts. And I am dying to know what you are going to do with the rye flour> -I love whole grain rye bread, and I am so disappointed that I cannot find a loaf within 30 miles of my house. I purchased some dark rye flour online, and have been looking for a good recipe.

  5. Gosh, hope you feel better soon, once and for all. Seems that everyone is going through a 3rd relapse … I’m knocking on wood as I’ve been lucky so far 😉 Glad to see that you’ve been visiting Aldi again! And Costco, of course! I’ve not tallied up for the month yet as I’ve got family in town but it will certainly be interesting since we hosted the daughters wedding reception at the house and had full food selections which I am including in the month for simplicity AND the fact that it’s still feeding a lot of us!
    Feel better soon Jessica!

  6. Weird question…..the Ling, Ling potstickers from Costco, have you been able to cook them without them sticking to the pan? I love them and have tried for several years to make them without them sticking to the pan; I’ve had very little success.

  7. I have never tracked our food spending before so I don’t have a “budget” per se. My guess is for the two of us it has been around $75 a week? Either way, this is my first year keeping track purely out of curiosity. Food prices around the country vary drastically [5 avocados for $6.49? Yowza!] so I enjoyed this post. We eat breakfast and dinner at home 5/7 days a week and lunch varies between leftovers and going out. Plus, a dinner or lunch/brunch out on the weekend. January I spent $232 and February was $192…so far I’m happy with those numbers.

    • Yes, food prices do vary. With the exception of Hawaii, I’ve found that it tends to even out. Produce might be really cheap here but we pay for meat and dairy. Elsewhere, it’s the reverse.

  8. Organic celery is 5.99-6.99 a pound here in TX. I can’t believe your getting it so cheap!

  9. I kind of completely blew my budget for February. We had friends in town, then the kids were sick, blah blah.
    It really is those little trips that add up.
    I am at $981 right now and I’m glad it’s a new month. Lol

  10. Nice job eating all that produce – Hopefully that will help with immunities and any deficiencies so you can get well again!

    We had a very average month at $730 for the four of us. We did do an overnight trip and spent around $80 on food but had budgeted separately for that. Other than the two meals out for our trip and one dinner at my parents’ house, we ate all meals at home.

    I’m also really glad to say goodbye to February! New England winter means we still potentially have two months left of cold and snow but at least it’s not so dark all the time now.

  11. I’m a fellow grocery geek!! After reading your post, I’m going to track our various items we purchase as well. Sometimes I feel like I could win big on the Price Is Right because I know the cost of so many things 🙂 you are an inspiration. We’re just a family of 4, 2 adults a 3 year old toddler and a 6 month old baby and we’re shooting to keep our groceries under $400. I’m definitely going to read on!

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