Grocery Geek: End of the Month Assessment

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I was sweating it a little one night at the grocery store, hoping that I could keep my end of the month purchases under my limit.

The freezer is still full of meals to carry us into next month, but we were out of milk and other basics. So, I did go a tad over. But the monthly spending is all averaging out for the year, so we’re good.

Trader Joe’s

Earlier in the week, I went to Trader Joe’s. We had a birthday and a trip to Disneyland planned back to back. That means snacks and not just “making do.” Suffice it to say, I could have planned better earlier in the month. Anyway, I sent hubs and the boy and this is what they came back with. The cereal was not on the list, but that was the only superfluous thing. I think they did quite well.

Total spent at Trader Joe’s: $30


Vons has finally got my attention with their Just for U program. I am amazed at some of the very decent deals they are offering. It takes a little tricky work to go online each week, click on the discounts I want, and then email myself the list. However, it’s much less work than clipping coupons, so I’m pretty happy.

I love it that they offer $3 off a produce purchase of $10. That is a nice way to get your veggies for cheap.

The breakdown:
milk $2.50
crackers $2.50
coffee $8.99
cilantro $0.33
18 eggs $1.95
organic half and half $2.99 (they were all out of the brand I could get Just for U at $2.45)
avocados $0.88
organic bananas $0.59/lb
organic apples $1.89/lb

On that trip I also bought a package of protein powder at Sprouts for my big guys.

Total spent $52, bringing my May total to $820.

Looking at the big picture

So far this year, our grocery expenses have bounced all around! But since we buy things in one month to use in the next month, it makes sense to average our spending over the course of a year.

January = $442

February = $800

March = $1142

April = $615

May = $820

Average monthly spending for 2012: $764

See? It all works out. We are still under budget for the year. And here’s to better planning next month!

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  1. I can’t help but compare your average spending to mine for my family of 6. I’m curious if your spending is for food type groceries only or if you are also including toiletries, cleaning supplies and pet food in the average $764.

    • Jessica says:

      @Jill, I don’t buy a lot of toiletries, and we don’t have any pets. But, yes, this includes all laundry, paper products, cleaning supplies, and toiletries. I typically buy a lot of each of those items at one time and stockpile them. And I use baking soda and vinegar for cleaning. It’s cheaper and just as good.

  2. Harriet says:

    Milk is only $2.50? WOW. Here it is over $3 everywhere.

  3. I think you’re doing a great job! You inspired me to sit down and take a look at what I have spent on groceries this year. For our family of 5, my average is about $613 per month. Once we get all of our debt paid off, I want to increase it some to buy more organic produce and that type of stuff. Thank you for the inspiration! I really, really enjoy your blog. ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. Milk is under $3 at Costco, but that’s it in my neck of the woods (Nebraska).

  5. Wow…every time you post the prices of individual products, my jaw drops…off the top of my head, it’s just under $4 for 18 eggs (regular, not organic), a jug of milk costs about $4.25, avocados run closer to $1.50 each, regular bananas are about 74ยข a pound…and that’s the more inexpensive places…I apparently need to move to the other side of the 49th parallel!

    • Jessica says:

      Well, gas and land aren’t so cheap here! LOL!

      • Gas and land aren’t cheap here either…I live in Vancouver (our housing prices will make you cry…) and gas hit $1.50 a litre this past weekend (about $5.69 a gallon without the CAD-USD conversion – I think they’re pretty close to par right now)

        We just suck it up and save wherever we can – we have to eat!

        • @Shannon, Shannon, you are not that far from USA, I’m in Kingston, Ontario and about 2-3 times a year I go to USA for grocery shopping. I have spotted a grocery store (1 hour from my home) and I look on internet for the discount. When they are really good, I go and grab specially meat. It was worth the trip just for the chicken breasts and I put fuel in the car and I’m saving!

  6. I have to thank you for putting your grocery budget out for all to see each month. I was so caught up in couponing for so long that I completely lost track of what I was actually buying. Once I started changing the food my family of 4 eats, I really struggled to keep it under $400/mo buying mostly organic/grass fed foods. Even though my budget allowed it, I had a guilt about me because of all of the couponing sites I had been visiting for so long showing $50-$100/wk as a “realistic” goal. It’s nice to read a family’s journey to healthful eating with a reasonable budget for your family size.

    • Jessica says:

      I’ve been there! It is hard to adjust to a different budget. $800 feels like a lot to me, but we’re eating a lot better than we were and the kids are much bigger now, too. Thanks for your encouragement. It can be hard to put it all out there.

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