Grocery Geek: $160.20 MTD

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A Pantry Challenge can help you reduce your grocery spending. We are down a significant amount this month thanks to eating what we have.
After I organized our freezer last weekend, I realized that we could and should probably continue this challenge into February.

I cringe when I open the kitchen freezer, the one in the refrigerator. It is full of all kinds of odds and ends that I’ve just stuffed in their on a whim so that it doesn’t go to waste: heels of bread, overripe bananas, a small container of cream that would have spoiled while we were on vacation. There’s no way I could transfer food from the deep freeze to the fridge freezer in order to thaw out the big guy.

So, we continue shopping our kitchen first.

As such, I pretty much stayed out of the stores this week. I made one run to Trader Joe’s for basics and picked up our produce order. I also grabbed a bag of tortillas in Walmart one day and two pounds of butter in Target on another. Other than that, we’ve been good with what we had.

And aside from date night and a Costco pizza, we ate every meal at home. Whoohoo!

So, here’s the grocery geek adventures of the week:

Trader Joe’s & Target

Just as it was a major feat to go into Costco and stick to a list, so it was with my trip to Trader Joe’s! Man, they have good stuff. But, I used great restraint. The only “splurge-like purchase” was the sharp cheddar cracker cuts. We do have cheese at home, but I forgot to get sharp at Costco last week. And I like sharp.

‘Nuf said.

Savvy shoppers will note that the butter is not Trader Joe’s, but Target brand. Yes, I went to Target on the same day for freezer organizing supplies and their butter was cheaper than TJ’s. ($2.50/pound for hormone-free)

Anyways, we added to our pantry: pasta,  bread, bagels, yogurt, eggs, butter, celery, green onions, buttermilk, cheddar cheese, sunbutter, tomato sauce, vitamins, crumpets, and chips. All told $45 spent, including the butter.

Almost all these things are gone right now.

Abundant Harvest Organics & Walmart

I picked up our produce box and was pleased to find all kinds of fun things, including more pomegranates, beets, pears, carrots, potatoes, leeks, lettuce, choy, rosemary, chard, lemons, spinach, a butternut squash, and a ginormous rutabaga.

I have LOTS of squash to deal with still, prompting me to consider putting it on hold for next week. But, last time I did that we missed all kinds of one-time things. So, I caved. What if I miss avocados? Surely those are coming.

I spent $37.80 on produce and another $3 for tortillas = $40.80

This week = $95.80

Last week = $64.40

Total this month = $160.20

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  1. I’ve got to do something…we were looking at grocery expenses last night and we’re hovering at around $1000 monthly…ummmmm…what??? And the amount of food I throw away is horrific. Sometimes because I just overbought, sometimes because my husband duplicated a purchase of something we already had (hence, overbought) but most often because the kids turn their nose up at what’s on their plate at dinner. I don’t want to be a short order cook and make multiple meals, but I also don’t want to be stuck eating chicken nuggets for the sake of making something the kids will eat and not have waste. It’s a dance that needs to be carefully choreographed….

    • @cristyr,
      Do your kids snack? If you cut out all snacks/juice/milk (thoughout the day) and only offer meals that are healthy, the kids will eventually eat :O)
      Lots of kids fill up on snacks and that is how hey survive by not eating healthy foods at meal times.

    • @cristyr, It will be hard at first, but I have had good success at not being a short order cook by simply offering several healthy things at each meal, not allowing anything else to replace it. Everything has to be tried for three bites and if dinner isn’t eaten much, then that becomes the only snack later on. If it is eaten, another snack is OK before bed.

  2. I have a great butternut squash soup recipe. Very eash: cut up one squash, one large onion, one apple and put in big pot with stock. Boil about 30 minutes (until everything is soft). Puree and add curry powder to taste. If you want really thick soup you could add two squashes. My husband and I love it and eat it all the time.

  3. Got any good squash recipes for a newbie to squash?

  4. We’re also working on a pantry challenge. It’s amazing what we have in the freezer! Can you share more about your freezer organization?

  5. Deborah Jennings says:

    I have an easy recipe for making Tortillas in the bread machine. Anyone interested?

  6. I had loads of squash from our garden this past summer. I sliced them and blanced them then stuck them in the freezer. I just used up 2 bags this past week by making a delicious squash casserole {no cream soup either}. The squash cooked up beautifully…so if you don’t want to puree it all…that’s another option.

    Jealous of your produce box…ours are so expensive around here. But I am doing the happy dance that a Trader Joe’s will be opening in our area this year!

  7. I had to do a pretty major shopping last weekend because we were pretty much out of everything…which I didn’t think would happen. BUT it made me MUCH more conscious of what I was buying and meal planning. And I am pretty sure I can make everything I bought stretch until the end of the month (or pretty darn close to it)

  8. I am curious about others grocery budgets. do you just include food items? How about bath and beauty, paper products, Over counter meds?
    Want to revamp mine. Thanks! Kerry

  9. Deborah Jennings says:

    Here is the site where I got the recipe for the Tortillas in the bread machine;
    It is under Dough heading. Enjoy!

  10. dancing kitchen says:

    Hey…just to put a bug in your bonnet…I love the savings when I go to Grocery Outlet…I find very good organic products. I’m in Oceanside, but I’m sure there are others further south.

  11. We just did our big shopping for the month. Weekly we pick up fresh fruit, bread, eggs, and milk. I had a nice haul this month (Saturday was shopping day). Spent 232.21, saved 116.88 (34% of bill). Toothpaste was free, every item I purchased I had a coupon and/or it was a sale item. This is shopping for 4 people and included vitamins and shampoo this time around.

    We buy our meat/fish every six months at Costco. I separate and freeze everything.

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