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Grocery Geek: What We Spent in April

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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old picture, cute kid

Hey hey hey! I’m typing this up on THE FIRST DAY OF THE MONTH. That rarely happens around here, but I had a pile of receipts on my desk and I didn’t want to have to find them again. Ha! So you get a timely update.

As I mentioned a couple weeks ago, March and April were full of illnesses and food photography and, of course, Easter. I spent more money than I would have if life had fully obeyed me.

Instead of doing a pantry challenge in July like I normally do, I’m going to be doing one in May. We will be gone most of June and there’s no reason to leave a houseful of food. So we’re going to be eating down our food storage and, hopefully, unplugging our deep freeze.

I apologize again for the dearth of photos. It just wasn’t in the cards.

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 April

Costco

  • refried beans $4.49
  • pineapple juice $5.29
  • rotisserie chickens $4.99 each
  • triscuit 4-pack $6.29
  • milk 2-gallons $4.79
  • eggs 2-dozen $6.49
  • 6-pack red bell peppers $5.99
  • avocado oil $9.49
  • almond butter $7.89
  • dozen bagels $5.49
  • sockeye salmon $28.99
  • sliced cheddar $9.69
  • hummus singles $6.49
  • romaine 6-pacl $2.99
  • XL avocado 5-pack $7.99
  • sliced sourdough 2-pound $3.69
  • chicken tenders $15.99
  • whole wheat bread 2-loaves $4.59
  • tilapia $13.99
  • bread $7.99
  • mayonnaise $6.99
  • pork shoulder $28.30 ($1.99/lb)
  • brisket $43.33 ($4.29/lb)
  • pesto $7.89
  • fruit leathers $11.99
  • deli ham $8.98
  • organic ground beef $4.99/lb
  • deli turkey breast $15,64
  • deli roast beef $9.30
  • thomas’ muffins $6.79
  • craisins $6.69

Total spent $374

Ralphs

I would not normally pay that for juice, but we were sick.

  • juice $5.49
  • jalapenos $0.99/lb
  • tomatoes $0.88/lb
  • cilantro $0.79
  • mango $0.88
  • red onion $0.88/lb
  • salad kit $3.49
  • black olives $1.29

Total spent $14

Nespresso store

(We’ve given up coffee for espresso, but it’s not costing us more! And yes, we’re recycling the pods. I did forget to add that to March’s Grocery Geek, though. Oops!)

  • sleeves of 10 espresso pods $7.50

Total spent $23

Costco

Yes, we could have made most of these things, but I was really sick and they were to take to a potluck. Figured it was better not to share cooties.

  • black olives $9.59
  • caesar salad kits – for a party $3.29
  • dinner rolls $4.49
  • izze juice $11.69

Total spent $34

Ralphs

(Until we get some meat on a certain kids’ bones, I will be buying full fat chocolate milk. Ahem. And this was obviously a trip when I would have paid less at Costco, but I needed to just get stuff and go home.)

  • chocolate milk $1.69
  • frozen vegetables $1
  • tortellini $7.79
  • cream cheese $2.49
  • yellow squash $1.84
  • green pepper $0.99
  • mushrooms $4.49
  • apples $7.57
  • grapes $2.57
  • heavy cream $4.79
  • beef broth $4.49
  • Italian sausage $5.49
  • croissants $5.99

Total spent $53

Ralphs

  • cream cheese $2.00
  • jack cheese $5.29
  • sour cream $0.79 (after coupons and sales)
  • sugar $2.99
  • chocolate milk $1.69
  • salsa $2.00
  • milk $2.49
  • orange juice $3.99
  • brown sugar $2.39
  • bay leaves $2.62
  • pasta $1.79
  • cereal $1.69
  • flour $2.50
  • cooking wine $3.19
  • vinegar $3.79
  • pepperoncini $2.49
  • olives $4.49
  • eggs $2.99
  • cheese $5.79
  • graham crackers $1.99
  • basil $3.19
  • lemons $1.38
  • oranges $0.97
  • coleslaw $1.59
  • chives $1.29
  • cilantro $0.79
  • parsley $1.49
  • spinach $3.49
  • onions $3.50
  • poblano peppers $0.93
  • tomatoes $1.67
  • carrots $1.29
  • potato $0.99
  • garlic $1.50
  • jalapeno $1.88
  • yogurt $1.79
  • organic beans $1.00
  • noosa $2.00
  • chicken breast $8.26
  • whole chickens $8.50

Total spent $142

Costco

  • milk $4.49
  • olive oil $14.99
  • spring mix $3.79
  • Tillamook cheddar $8.99
  • avocado oil $9.49
  • asiago cheese $7.62
  • tortillas $3.69
  • dozen bagels $5.49
  • sourdough $3.69
  • avocados $7.99

Total spent $80

Ralphs

  • chocolate milk $1.69
  • tortilla chips $1.77
  • bananas $0.69/lb
  • raspberries $3.99
  • bluberries $3.49
  • yogurt $0.69 to $1.29

Total spent $25

Costco

  • celery sticks $2.99
  • red potatoes $5.79
  • heavy cream $9.89
  • romaine 6-pack $2.99

Total spent $22

Costco

(for Easter weekend with family)

  • carrots $4.79
  • cucumbers $3.99
  • marinated tri-tip that wasn’t worth it $20.62
  • kale salad $4.79
  • organic ground beef $4.99/lb
  • brats $8.49
  • noosa yogurt $8.79
  • dinner rolls $4.49
  • doritos $4.99
  • hot dogs $10.99
  • hot dog buns $2.19
  • hamburger buns $2.19

Total spent $94

Walgreens

  • more juice $2.50

Total spent $5

Trader Joe’s

  • almonds $5.99
  • pasta $1.99
  • spaghetti $1.49
  • cereal $2.79
  • ground beef $3.99
  • kefir $2.99
  • yogurt $2.99
  • cherries $2.49
  • sparkling water $1.09
  • milk $1.99
  • sunflower seed butter $4.99
  • ketchup $1.99
  • canned beans $0.79
  • string cheese $2.99
  • pumpkin seeds $6.99
  • blue cheese $2.73
  • feta cheese $2.99
  • jalapeno $1.49
  • hatch valley salsa $2.79
  • cilantro $0.99
  • brown mushrooms $1.79
  • kale $2.49
  • romas $1.16
  • asparagus $2.49
  • green onions $0.99
  • baby spinach $1.99
  • bell peppers $3.29
  • basil $3.49

Total spent $100

Ralphs

  • chicken breast $10.26
  • canned beans $0.79 for the ginormous cans
  • deli ham $4.99
  • salami $6.24
  • deli beef $12.11
  • herbed cheese $3.99
  • sourdough bread $1.49
  • baguette $1.49

Total $50

Costco

  • milk $4.49
  • pineapple juice $5.29
  • 2-dozen eggs $6.49
  • mushrooms $5.49
  • rotisserie chickens $4.99
  • avocado oil $7.99
  • bagels $5.49
  • 6-pack bell peppers $5.99
  • deli roast beef $9.09
  • avocados $7.99
  • hot dog buns $2.19
  • sourdough bread $3.69
  • noosa yogurt $8.79
  • mahi mahi $24.89
  • hamburger buns $2.19
  • organic ground beef $4.99/lb
  • fage greek yogurt $6.39
  • butter $9.99

Total spent $182

Trader Joe’s

  • shrimp $9.99
  • peppers $1.99
  • broccoli $1.49
  • blueberries $2.49
  • kefir $2.99
  • raspberries $2.79
  • buttermilk $1.99
  • green beans $1.99
  • vinegar $1.99
  • vegetable brpth $1.99
  • beans $0.79 to $0.99
  • pineapple tidbits $1.99
  • lemons $1.69
  • mushrooms $1.79
  • onions $1.18
  • cruciferous blend $1.99
  • sausage $3.99
  • ground turkey $5.47
  • cashews $7.99
  • whipping cream $1.29
  • dill $1.79
  • romas $0.87
  • cereal $1.99
  • basil plant $3.99
  • carrots $0.99
  • cornichons $2.69
  • pickles $2.99
  • peppers $2.49
  • leeks $2.99
  • grape tomatoes $2.49
  • apples $4.99
  • water $8.76/case

Total spent $117

Sprouts

  • cilantro $0.50
  • peppers $0.50 each
  • yams $1.29/lb
  • banans $0.69/lb
  • chocolate milk $2.79
  • pepper jack cheese $2.24
  • pretzel hoagies $3.99
  • tortillas $3.99

Total spent $32

Total spent in April – $1347

  • January $356
  • February $1015
  • March $1336
  • April $1347

Total spent in 2017 – $4054

Monthly average in 2017 – $1,013.50

My next Grocery Geek report, Lord willing, will be a Pantry Challenge for the month of May.

 

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Comments

  1. Laura T says:

    I’d say well done mama! Sick kiddos plus sick mama and papa equals chaos around these parts too. Four our family of four I spent $1100 this past month! A birthday and Easter added to that but still…

    Glad to hear you’re all on the mend:) pantry challenge in May – here we come!

  2. Pantry challenge in May! I’m still doing the one from January and still have meat and veggies to use up. So I.m in!
    One of my favorite locally on grocery stores had rump roast on sale for $1.99lb with a limit of 10lbs. I checked the freezers and I only had one and used it Sunday. I stopped yesterday and today and got 6.
    We are very low on ground beef so I am picking that up tomorrow. I work part time for Omaha Steaks and I can get 80/20 fresh for between $1.90-$2.20. I will split the 30 lbs with my DIL. I’ll be making some meatloaves, your meatballs, patties and some taco meat.
    The fridge is pretty bare but hopefully I’ll be able to get by with half my regular budget of $450 this month!

  3. I have been sporadically doing the pantry challenge from Jan. I’ll work at it harder along with you all in May. My freezers are better but the pantry needs help!

  4. I was wondering if you would be posting daily (or every couple days’) updates? One of the things that motivates me the most during pantry challenges is reading the daily menus. I already shopped on May 1st, which should last for a week, but I will try to stretch it for 2 weeks.

    • I probably won’t this time around. I’ve got less than three weeks before we leave and I like A CHICKEN WITH ITS HEAD CUT OFF. 😉 I may post every once in awhile on Instagram, but likely won’t have menus to share. It’s crazy time here as I have a cookbook deadline before we go.

  5. I’m still plugging away faithfully on the Jan thru ??? challenge, LOL. so I’m joining you by default on the May one. Monthly average is not quite as low as I’d like, but the majority of that is due to healthy fresh produce. I’m still under the lower goal I have, plus the freezers and dry goods areas have a little bit of free space, so all is positive and I’m still plugging away.

  6. Katie C. says:

    One of the weeks I was feeling guilty for buying a Costco cooked chicken (we had done a TON of yard work) but I spoke to a woman in line while waiting to check out. She said that while the price might be the same as some grocery stores, the Costco chicken is bigger! She was right ? It made me feel a bit less guilty.

  7. I asked this last month and a few times before. I am wondering which categorie in the usda price of food you look at and strive towards! Thrifty, low cost, moderate or liberal..I am thinking you must be at one of the lower ends like thrifty or low cost but I do not know? i am just curios? There is such a large range in the usda levels. I think you do a great job feeding your family well!

  8. Does the chocolate milk really help? We’ve got a (too) little one as well.

    • Well, this child has never liked milk for drinking or for cereal. He’ll drink full fat chocolate milk, though, and that has a load of calories. It’s not the most nutritious long term, but seriously, he is almost as thin as a not-ill person could be. He’s also 14 and ornery at times, so it’s something I can “treat” him to that is loaded with calories.

  9. I believe I’ve said it before but want to say it again…Thank You! I know these posts take lots of time to put together and I really appreciate the detailed breakdown. I have gotten away from tracking my grocery spending and this motivates me to get back to it.

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