Grocery Geeking Out: TP, and Coffee, and Oranges – Oh My!

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It appears that as soon as I decide I’m gonna get back into “deal shopping” and try to rebuild a stockpile, that these sales magically come out of the woodwork that weren’t there before. I have a hard time keeping myself away.

My shopping this week involved some basics to accommodate my week’s meal plan as well as some stockpiling.

CVS: I did the toilet paper/gift card deal one more time, rolling my gift card from the earlier trip. Spent another $20 out of pocket for three large packages of TP and one package of paper towels.

Trader Joes:  I hit up Trader Joe’s for some basics. TJ’s is not the cheapest, but as I’ve mentioned before, it does have some “healthier” items for reasonable prices. Grocery geek fail, though. I didn’t notice how EXPENSIVE the Polenta Provencale was until after everything was said and done. At $3.59/package, it was a pricey convenience splurge that I probably won’t make again. I guess I’ll need to learn how to make it myself. (Gulp)

I spent $78 at Trader Joe’s.

Ralphs: Our produce box has been light on snackable fruit, so I stopped at Ralphs for the organic apples @ 79cents/pound. Since I was also doing freezer cooking that day, I picked up a bag of sugar – $2.99! But, the organic sugar at TJ’s was even more expensive. While at Ralphs, I found out that our favorite coffee was on sale — and I knew I had coupons at home.

I did some internet searching and found out Ralphs started a Mega event early. Score!

So, I went back the next day:

Yes, I bought nine packs of coffee. Turns out, I did the very same thing last year. See? For the very same price. Weird.

The deal last year and this year was to buy any 10 of certain items and get $5 back. I bought 20 items this week:

  • coffee – $7.99/12 oz package
  • sparkling apple cider to make these babies or just have for birthdays and the holidays- $1.99
  • juice drinks to stuff stockings with – $0.49
  • sugar – $2.49

I also got 2 more gallons of water to add to our emergency stash. Total spent at Ralphs for both trips: $91

Produce Box: This is proving to be a heavier week for groceries as I ordered extras for the produce box before I knew I was going to stock up on coffee and TJ’s splurges. We’ve got ten pounds of oranges (not pictured) for juicing and a bunch of chocolate mint to make mint syrup. Included in the weekly box were persimmons, pomegranates, bok choy, lettuce, green beans, kale, kohlrabi, eggplant, chiles, bell peppers, melon, squash, mint, turnips, and cherry tomatoes. I paid $44.80 for all the produce.

Total spent this week $234!

I blame the coffee. Without the coffee, I would be right on target. That said, I’ll need to pay really close attention to how I spend in the coming weeks. Could be hard since Thanksgiving sales will be coming. So, we may be eating out less in order to feed my grocery geek habit.

Creative thinking led me to set our produce box “on vacation” for an extra week this month. I’ll still get a box next week, and then there will be two weeks off. We have enough produce frozen, and I can supplement with grocery sales “as needed,” to get us through, but that is an extra $70 or so dollars back in the kitty for the month.

The most important thing is that we didn’t spend money we don’t have. We will just have to move previously allocated funds from something else to make the numbers all jive in the end.

Do you keep a regular weekly grocery budget or do you have wiggle room?

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  1. I hear you on the trader joe’s thing – I just learned how to make a teriyaki sauce acceptable to the whole fam in order to stop buying it frozen there LOL

    Time well spent!

  2. Homemade teriyake sauce? Is there one on this site? That is something we use almost weekly! I have a famiy of 8 and our food budget is about $150 a week. We have Aldi and we don’t eat organic. There are alot of snacks bought though. With 5 growing boys and a little princess it seems somedays they are always eating. LOL Thanks for great posts! I love your site!

  3. I’d say that’s awesome for all that produce!

    We have a household of 9 and my food budget is ….well….low LOL. And after hubby’s dr visit yesterday, they’re putting him on a strict low fat, high fiber diet so meni planning is going to be even more fun now,Whee!

  4. You can, totally, make the polenta! Being from the South, I didn’t realize that polenta was really just a fancy name for grits, but it is. I use white or yellow cornmeal or even just instant grits and make various flavors. Sometimes creamy, sometimes I allow to sit in the ridge and cut out with a biscuit cutter and brown on both sides. The possibilities are endless with flavor combinations.

    Here’s a recipe I made and told my Southern family and friends, they were just “Gussied up Grits”

    We do keep a grocery budget. I teach piano/voice lessons (just a few this year). So, our grocery, going-out-to-eat and anything “extra” comes from whatever I make. This year, our grocery budget for a family of 4 is about $350-400/month. This includes going out to eat, household supplies, weekly food and stockpiling.

  5. We have a very tight budget and little wiggle room. I try to shop monthly with a mid month follow up shop for fresh produce and more milk. If I stay out of the stores I stay on budget easier. I do look at the ads weekly though for good stock up bargains but it takes a lot of resolve to go in and buy just those items and get out of there. Looks like you got a lot of great stuff!

  6. Hey there,
    I usually get a bountiful basket for produce in Vegas but we are finally coming home after 6 years in Sin City…San Diego here I come. I would love to know where you get your produce baskets from?? I was a Henry’s/sprouts junkie when I lived there. Can’t want to be back!

  7. Arena Thompson says:

    Wish I lived where you did, wow! 78 cents/lb for organic apples? I’ve seen that price that low once for non-organic. Usually it’s $1.00 a lb for non-organic. Almost $2.00/lb for organic. High cost of living makes it hard to stick to budget some weeks. Have also heard that grocery costs are supposed to increase 15% in the next year.

  8. I love these posts! I don’t usually budget for groceries, which I really need to start doing. We have started taking advantage of sale ads, and using our Costco Membership to stock up on paper goods, dish and laundry soap, etc.
    Hope you have a great weekend!

  9. About the sparkling cider – you may want to check out your Costco too. I was just at our Costco in Seattle and they were $7.29 for 4 bottles.

  10. Hey Mama! Saw your recipe for the Apple Cider Floats a couple of weeks ago, and I’ll be making them for the first time tomorrow night, when we have my brother and his family over for dinner tomorrow…They look fabulous!

  11. Thanks so much!! Love to chat sometime and see if the SD bloggers do anything like the vegas ones do, email me sometime!! Love the blog! PS Those of you in Nevada, Arizona, and a couple other places Bountiful baskets is Awesome, 16.50 for 2 big baskets of fruit and veggies!

  12. Polenta is pretty easy but it does take some babysitting. It probably can be frozen although I haven’t tried it. I should as I have a great recipe for baked polenta with marinara sauce and cheese. The tube stuff is just so expensive so I stopped buying it.

    I have a monthly grocery budget which I adjust based on the month. Farmer’s Market season and the holidays are larger whereas winter months like January I allot a smaller amount. Groceries come out of my teaching income rather than my husband’s paycheck so when students pay me for each semester I dump the money into a separate account and withdraw cash every few weeks. Budgeting several months at a time alerts me to potential short falls. This semester I’m short $86 for January so I’ll have to pull that from someplace else. I don’t include coffee or any alcohol we might buy in the grocery budget because those funds come from elsewhere. Major food expenses like our CSA (we pay half in January to reserve our membership and the other half in July) and our yearly insane poultry purchase also aren’t included in our regular grocery budget. Every once in awhile I go over budget and might pull some money out of my spending cash or the income I haven’t assigned a purpose.

    I’m very loyal to our local coffee roasters but am very curious about Peet’s. Might put a few pounds of that on my Christmas List. 🙂

  13. Hi Jessica,
    I love you site and I love Peet’s coffee too. Just wondering where you get your Peet’s coupons? I saw the ones for the light roast a few weeks ago (the coffee in the light brown bag) but only Target carries that kind of Peet’s. The other grocery stores in my city (Walmart, Savemart and Foods Co) only carry the Peet’s in the dark brown bag. Just curious about where to find those Peet’s coupons. Thanks!

    • My store carries all the colored bags. So, I used two $3 off light roast (which really isn’t all that light) and two $1.50 coupons that I got off

  14. Persimmons! Please tell me what you are planning for those. We have some from bountiful baskets, and I am not sure how best to use them. I tried to eat one raw, but It had a weird mouth feel, almost dry in the mouth. Hard to explain! But i want to use them and not be wasteful..

    Thanks as usual for sharing! I love your blogs!

  15. ah, that looks yummy! Got a pomegranate in our basket as well!

  16. Polenta is super easy to make yourself! You can do it!

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