Grocery Geek: June’s End

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grocerygeek-gceThe month has been a crazy one. And we’re not even doing summer camps! How can it be the end of June already? Fourth of July is next week? Someone please press pause.

Thank you.

Suffice it to say, the month of June went by in a flash and I don’t even know what we did. Well, I do:

  • three birthdays
  • two road trips
  • Father’s Day
  • houseguests
  • kids eating me out of house and home

OK, the last one isn’t entirely true, but we are eating more. The milk drinking has been getting excessive, so we’ve limited the kids to one cup per meal.

And it seems like there’s always a mess in the kitchen….

It could be that I didn’t do a big freezer cooking session this month. I think that made a big difference — in the mess and in the amount of work. While I want July to be a month to scale back, I’m definitely going to work in a freezer cooking session for the basics like waffles, pancakes, energy bars, granola, meatballs, taco meat, and pasta sauce. (Watch for the cooking plan next week.)

In the meantime, I tried to sneak through the end of the month without buying much but I wasn’t totally successful. I didn’t put the produce box on vacation in time, so we got a new box. I’m putting it on hold for two of the next three weeks so that we can save some money and eat down the freezer.

Here’s what came in this week’s box:

what's in the produce box

Abundant Harvest Organics

The box held: donut peaches, eggplant, melon, tomatoes, garlic, turnips, lettuce, watermelon, sage, hot peppers, summer squash, green beans, and apricots.

Total spent: $38

sprouts juneSprouts

I made a couple trips to Sprouts this week. Once for chips and cilantro (not pictured) and once for all this:

  • organic pears $.99/lb
  • avocados 4/$1
  • cage-free eggs $2.50
  • safe eggs $2.99
  • cucumbers $0.44
  • bell peppers $0.33
  • green onions $0.33
  • bananas $0.67/pound

Total spent: $20


I spent some fun money on ice cream, since it wasn’t grocery money it doesn’t count. πŸ˜‰ But, I also got two gallons of milk. That does count.

Total spent $12

Weekly total = $70

Monthly total= $907

It didn’t turn out horrible, especially considering that we had birthdays and all that kind of stuff going on.Β Let’s look at the year as a whole:

January $451
February $1028
March $954
April $799
May $798
June $907

Monthly average = $822.83

For those of you just tuning in, my monthly target is $800/month.

$821.83 is what we’re currently averaging. That’s what we’re spending on regular meals on average each month. We have a separate dining out budget. Toiletries and cleaning supplies don’t go toward this total, either. I don’t count the delivery charge for the produce box, either. (And sometimes when I develop recipes for cookbooks or other projects, I don’t use grocery money to do that. What if it’s a bomb?)

We’re feeding eight people, aged 4, 6, 9, 11, 12, 16, 41, and 50. We live in San Diego. And we don’t buy much in the way of processed foods. My youngest daughter is allergic to peanuts.


I’ll be starting a pantry challenge after the 4th of July. This one will be only for two weeks, as opposed to an entire month. I just don’t have it in me, but I’m hoping to cut our grocery bill down to at least $600.

If anything, I hope to examine my shopping habits a little more closely. I think I overshop and then end up wasting food. That’s my sneaky suspicion. We’ll see.

I’ll be posting daily updates, starting July 7.

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  1. You’re doing great! Teenagers are rough on a budget. However, it does get easier. As a matter of fact, lucky mommy here didn’t have to cook yesterday because the 20 year old sprung for dinner for me and his sibs for no reason other than he loves his momma (awwwwww, I done good, if I don’t say so myself.) As it is, with two grown young adults in the house, I’m now down to cooking for 2 teens and providing grazing food for the older two and spouse( they’re not nearly as expensive when they’re gone most the time.) At it’s peak though my grocery budget was $250 a week for 4 teens and a spouse. I do miss those older rapscallions though, even if they aren’t cheap. They had to work and couldn’t attend our summer family vacation(we’re hoping to make a trip again in October though so fingers crossed). Time is just a flyin’. I can’t believe my youngest baby will be 14 in August and my oldest will be 21 in 5 short days!

  2. Keep up the good work, your doing a marvellous job and factoring in the fun times too πŸ™‚
    I know what you mean cwaltz. My bills will no doubt go down drastically when my eldest two are both away at uni in September but oh how much we’ll miss the meal time banter!!

  3. Susan T says:

    I am looking forward to doing the pantry challenge with you. I just need the encouragement so definitely give us the dates soon so I can get ready for it!

  4. It was my husband who declared that we will be doing a pantry challenge in July. He emailed me at work to tell me that there was no room in our two fridges or freezers so it was time to stop shopping and start using some of it up.

  5. I’m always excited to see your Pantry Challenges! I have two children(girls) and they eat us out of house and home as well! lol

  6. I think I’ll join you in a two week pantry challenge. My son just got diagnosed with a host of food intolerances. I already have plenty, so that’s thrown our grocery budget for a loop. I’m going to start researching ways to buy gluten free grains and flours in bulk and cheaper than at the store. Hopefully that will help! Is your youngest over her egg allergy?

    • Jessica says:

      A doctor at Christmas cleared her of eggs. He said her test scores never warranted her not eating them. That was interesting.

  7. I’m in for a two week pantry challenge, especially because we are leaving for vacation on July 20th so would like to have less food around. The garden is producing lettuce, kale, peas, raspberries and strawberries right now so that has encouraged me to use that rather than buying other fruits and veg.

  8. I am trying not to buy anything for the pantry. Only meat, veggies, fruit and potatoes. Rice, pickles and mayo are the only pantry items I have bought recently. Oh! And cereal. It was BOGOF today and I had $1 coupons πŸ™‚ I don’t buy a lot of cereal. We are sorta tired of muffins, waffles and pancakes though. Spent $29 today and saved $35 so I was happy. Groceries for less than 1/2 price is good here.

  9. Jessica B says:

    Avocados for .25 cents each? I can’t imagine I’d bother ever eating anything else!!! I’m excited when I see them for $1. I’m in on a pantry challenge. It’s time to defrost.

  10. Julie H says:

    Still debating if we’ll do the Pantry challenge this go around. I need to cut back on our grocery bill but I am also stockpiling to gear up for baby #3 this fall and don’t want to deplete what we have. I know I NEED to do some freezer cooking, so we’ll see. Regardless, I’ll be following your posts even if I don’t participate.

  11. I found that we drink less milk if I put glasses of milk and of water on the table. The milk goes first, but the water is there to drink if someone is thirsty.

    I’m up for the pantry challenge, although I’ve recently been planning our meals to use up some of the pantry items. I need to clean some things out of the freezer before I can do a freezer challenge, though.

    I spend way too much on food right now but my daughter is starting college in 7 short weeks (I have no idea how she go to be old enough to go to college, but her birth certificate says she is). She will be a 9 hour drive away, so she won’t be here except for Thanksgiving, Christmas/winter break, maybe spring break, and next summer starting in mid-May. I’m going to miss her terribly, but since I am single and will be feeding just me (and the cats), it will be interesting to see the effect on the grocery bill AND the utility and heating oil use. We are paying for school with current income and a pretty good scholarship, so I’m not sure I can afford to eat anyway! πŸ™‚

  12. Lee Anne says:

    I love the idea of a shorter challenge – I usually Peter out by the end of the month anyway :).

  13. I would have joined in the pantry challenge, but we got caught in the midwest storms and lost power for 2+ days. So I have to start over πŸ™ BUT the good news is that I have a clean freezer that is defrosted and now I can start fresh. (I would have tried to save things, but I was out of town and large grilling sessions were NOT going to happen with the hubs and two littles on their own.) It’s a bummer, but at least we only lost power and not our shelter!

  14. Heather M says:

    Well, I didn’t track spending, but think actually grocery spending wasn’t horrid. It was all the takeout that killed us. ended June last week with a $200 Costco stock-up. And, except for fresh and necessary(like for parties/bbq’s when we need to contribute something we don’t have), I’m starting my version of the pantry challenge today and plan to go through Aug.2. Then we’re off on vacation for pretty much the whole month. Our version has to include fresh items, and anything we run out of. I can’t just eat canned/frozen fuit/veggies, Just use them as supplements. Especially in the summer. But, I’ll combine fresh with canned/frozen all the time, like in soup, stir-fry, etc. So I’ll get things cleaned out. I also plan to try some new things. New recipes. Maybe try bread, using the bread machine to make dough. I always get scared of bread. Don’t really know why. I guess I’m afraid I’ll mess up the yeast/rising process. I actually have time this month to try. So I will. Looking forward to the daily updates, even if it’s only for 2 weeks. Love that you’re doing it again.

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