Grocery Geek: Without a Snappy Title

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grocerygeek-gce I wish I had some snappy title for this grocery geek report, but I don’t. We were gone over the weekend and came home to an almost-empty fridge. I made two runs for supplies, and probably overbought.

I realized during the meal planning twitter chat last week that I do that. Lynn and Laura said that they only buy what’s on their meal plan. I buy what we need plus “some”. Thinking about that strategy and rethinking it. No conclusions yet, though.

I do know that meal planning and grocery shopping need to be things that I get more comfortable delegating to my older children and husband. I’m somewhat of a control freak. Yes, really. I need to grow there.*

Here’s how the shopping went down this week:


ralphs june mid

Though this trip was peppered with great deals and clearance finds, it still added up. Milk and chicken will do that to you. For the curious, here’s the breakdown:

  • conventional eggs $1.99
  • canned tomatoes $2.50 (pricey, but needed)
  • milk $2.99/gallon
  • bananas $0.69/pound
  • mushrooms $1.99
  • cilantro $0.49
  • organic romaine $3.99/3 heads
  • organic arugula $0.99
  • raspberries $0.99
  • organic kale $0.99
  • honeydew melon $0.99/pound
  • organic mint $0.79
  • organic garbanzo beans $1.00
  • organic half and half $2.00
  • boneless, skinless chicken breast $2.47/pound
  • clearance rolls $1.49

Total spent $53

Trader Joe’s

trader joe's mid june

At Trader Joe’s I restocked our bread, cereal, crackers, snacks, and coconut milk, nuts, and a few condiments. While I want to move us away from processed foods in general, I feel good about buying the ones that Trader Joe’s offers. Plus, it’s summer. Even the cook needs a break. Cooking for 8 people is exhausting. (See paragraph 3*.)

Total spent $72

Abundant Harvest Organics

 aho mid june

The produce box had some fun stuff in it. The nectarines are fabulous! You can hop over here to see what I plan to do with all this: potatoes, onions, daikon radish, carrots, green beans, zucchini, lettuce, basil, savory, summer squash, nectarines, donut peaches, and tomatoes.

Total spent: $38

Weekly total: $163

MTD total: $837

Well, yes, Dorothy, I think I did overbuy this week. That comes from using my debit card instead of cash. And forgetting to put the produce box on hold. So, there we are, a tad over and there are still eight days left in the month. We’ve got money from other categories to move around, but I’m feeling the big planning fail. Sigh.

It’s been a crazy month though, so I’m not going to beat myself up. Pantry challenge might start a little earlier at our house, though. 😉

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  1. Thank you for keeping it real. We all have months that making the plan, buying for the plan and then cooking out of that plan don’t work out as well as we had hoped. Don’t beat yourself up. You’re doing well. I’m trying to extend grace to myself in this area, too. This week I allowed myself to buy bread and buns and granola without guilt because I just need a little break.

  2. Melissa says:

    I understand the control freak thing. I recently listened to a veteran homeschool mom say that by age 17 her girls were planning their family’s menu & doing most all the grocery shopping & most of the cooking. Gulp. I just haven’t been willing to let go of the reigns enough to give my girls much of a chance at this. I’m going to have to let go of the reigns some this year, especially with baby #8 due in a month. Plus I plan on doing a huge freezer meal session before baby comes. Using your book of course. People gotta eat whether the cook feels like cooking or not.

    • Jessica says:

      I did that for my parents. I actually think my boys would love that, ESP if they got control over planning. Then my bill would go WAY up. Lol

      • Give the oldest the reins AND the budget for a week. Heck, you might even challenge him to go under budget by offering him a portion of what you have leftover at the end of the month.

        One of the ways I was able to get my older two to shop at thrift stores when they were teens was by giving them a list of what they needed and a budget and then allowing them to keep the excess from that budget for whatever they wanted. (Note to self: I need to do that with my unfrugal 16 year old THIS year)

        • Jessica says:

          That’s a great suggestion. I might try that once I get the average down next month with the pantry challenge.

  3. Harriet says:

    With two gone on a discipleship trip this week, I only spent $28 last weekend on groceries. Yesterday, however, I spent about $90. They will be home today and with baseball over, we will be eating planned meals again. (BTW, hubs and I did eat out TWICE while they were gone, SHOCKER!).

    I probably do my meal plans opposite of what you all do. I make my grocery list off the things on sale and things I regularly buy with coupons that are on sale. Then, I make my menu around that. That is, of course, with the exception of milk, eggs, bread, lettuce, etc. Those things are always a weekly purchase.

    Milk here is $4 a gallon and yours is $2.99. Hmmmm. Gasoline here is $3.16 (yesterday). Yours cheaper than that too? I will be hurt if it is 🙂

    • Jessica says:

      Oh, gas is in the low $4s. Blech.

      Glad you got out! How’s your husband doing?

      • Harriet says:

        Hubs is “hanging like a loose tooth” as he likes to say. Second chemo doesn’t show positive signs of attacking the bad cells. Mutation test next month 🙁 Then, possible chemo change…..again. Thanks for remembering and asking!

  4. Can I ask what your general plan is going to be as your kids grow and eat more?

    Also, I like to play “where’s waldo” with your food pictures – oh, I spy nectarines! That’s romaine! I recognize that cereal!

    • Jessica says:

      Ha! Love the Waldo thing. I’ll try to take better pics then.

      Plan is to increase our income so we can feed these people in the manner to which they’ve become accustomed. Lol. Or eat more rice and beans.

  5. Some months you’re under, some you’re over
    That said I think you need to add something ot your figuring above – snacks matter, and the more kids you have the more you need snacks [which I personally don’t add to the meal plan, ever] and when there are teenaged boy in the game – holy CATS! There’s just gotta be food around
    I only have ONE teenaged boy and can’t believe how fast food is suddenly flying out of my kitchen!

    • Jessica says:

      Yep, exactly. I bought the snacks so we could avoid the $8 corn dogs at places like Sea World. $8! Ridiculous.

  6. I think you do amazing well for feeding eight people! Three meals a day of good wholesome foods adds up. The prices sure have not gone down. I am having my 11 yo son help this summer with the cooking. He has not done much up to this point, so I am trying to fix that. So far he is loving it. Love Grocery Geek by the way!

  7. I think you are doing well. We have a small “splurge” budget, I regularly re-work it into our grocery budget. We just love good food in this house:)

  8. I have a hard time sticking to the list and yet also getting good deals that were not advertised. I can’t pass up chicken for 79 cents a pound 🙂 But then, when I get the good deals, I tend to go over budget…. it’s a never ending cycle I need to learn to break!

  9. This week, we bought… nothing. Until today when I picked up a gallon of milk. Thanks to severe overspending last month, the YTD grocery expenditures told me it was the end of June all the way back at the beginning of the month, so I’ve been very careful about purchasing only absolute necessities. It turns out, I haven’t actually NEEDED much this month. I doubt I’ll actually need much next month, either. Hopefully we’ll have some of this other stuff cleared out by then to even have a place to put anything new!

    • Jessica says:

      I don’t think I could buy nothing. We go through so much milk, I’d have to buy that.

      • You have 8, I only had 2 this week. Big difference! 🙂 The previous gallon of milk lasted a week. It actually usually lasts longer than that, but we were on a chocolate milk kick so it disappeared a little faster.

        • Jessica says:

          True. Hubs put the kabosh on excessive milk drinking. We’d need a whole herd of cows to keep us in business.

  10. Charyse says:

    Tomorrow afternoon is our big shopping trip…I try not to go as often because when I’m at Wal-Mart or Fred Meyer, something *fun* always catches my eye, either on the way in or out or wandering to the bathroom. Not everyone has that problem but I know I do so going less frequently and getting more at one time works for us. Thankfully, we can get local milk at the mini mart down the street and produce from the farmer’s market, or I’d be in trouble!

    We’ve been attempting to allot $100 a person per month…two parents, one five year old girl…most months we have epic failure, but are slowly starting to see improvement. Grocery Geek keeps me grounded!

  11. I went to the store tonight. I had a list but it didn’t relate to a meal plan (epic fail). Spent $122. Mostly basics but also included some ready made items to load into a cooler in the AM for a day-long outing w/friends to the lake/boating. Probably spent $25 on those items. Total was $122 and when I got to the car I told my 17 year old that I didn’t feel like I had anything to get me through the week. She said she didn’t think we bought very much….this is what happens when I don’t meal plan. And speaking of meal plans, I find it incredibly difficult to do during the summer months. Seems that we’re on the fly so many nights that I feel like I don’t have time to do a meal between getting home at 5:30 and having to be somewhere shortly thereafter.

    • Jessica says:

      I know how that goes. On our car ride home last night, right at dinner time, we brainstormed those easier meals to keep on hand in the pantry or freezer. We ended up having grilled cheese last night. Today, I made a list of the things to stock up on.

  12. Heather M says:

    June has been such a bust w/grocery spending & eating out/take-out, due to so many factors (I think I wrote about some of it in an earlier grocery geek post). But this week wasn’t so bad. I had planned meals that required shopping, but we ended up with so many leftovers from last week’s yummy dinners and other things happening(hubby w/evening work events, daughter at graduation parties, etc), I didn’t shop at all until yesterday. I only had to pick up green salad and potato salad fixings, chips, salsa, etc. We BBQ’d with friends last night and our contribution was the sides. They did main dish and dessert. Spent $27 at Trader Joe’s on the stuff, and we had extra that will help out this week. Plus we ate leftover salads as our sides to fish dinner tonight. Pretty awesome. I’ll need a Costco restock trip this week, but otherwise, will be only purchasing fresh items from here on out until August, when we head out of town for most of the month. Guess this means I’m starting my version of the pantry challenge. Which, Jessica, I can hardly wait for again. I was so inspired earlier this year with the last challenge. Thanks!

  13. Cheri A says:

    Count me in as one who loves to read Grocery Geek every week. I love how you keep it real, and it keeps me inspired to meal plan and try to keep things on track here. I’m feeding two teens, one with multiple food allergies, and two adults. One teen is a ravenous boy who never gets enough. 🙂

    • Jessica says:

      The checker at the store thought I was a nut taking pictures of the counter. Glad to know I was taking one for the team. 🙂

  14. Food budget?

    Screw the budget.

    This month has just been so…so…FUBAR I cannot even see straight. My grandpa passed away on Memorial day, so we had a lot of last minute eating outs with family or entertaining family who visited, our anniversary happened shortly after that, and then last week? My 5 (almost 6!) year old got diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. Hospital stays, new meds, insulin, etc…total game changer. I never want to eat out again after last week. blech. It just doesn’t compare with what I can make.

    That being said, I spent $90 at Aldi this past Sunday. I almost threw up…but with counting carbs now, we need LOTS of green veggies for my little dude to fill up up. I don’t forsee any HUGE diet changes, but I am seeing us go through a LOT MORE lunch meat and string cheese (high in protein, negligible carbs).

    *sigh* Just going to fly by the seat of my pants in July and see how we do.

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