Grocery Geek: December, Week 3

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Grocery Geek: December, Week 3 - A real live look at feeding 8 people healthier food on a budget.I did a lot of grocery shopping this past week. A lot. There were sales I didn’t want to miss; we were out of key items from stores that are a bit of a drive from home; and I mostly want to stay OUT of the stores next week. I have a quick run to make this weekend for the ham and rib roast for Christmas and New Year’s respectively, and of course, more MILK, but then, I hope to stay the heck home.

I’m writing next week’s posts in advance, so that I can unplug for a week. I haven’t done that in four years. Last Christmas Day I drafted a cookbook chapter. We were home and everyone was playing quietly, so I had no interruptions. Yeah, weird, I know.

All that to say, I hope to have a bonafide break, so the year end Grocery Geek report will be sometime in the following week.

Here’s this week’s report:


Grocery Geek: December, Week 3 - A real live look at feeding 8 people healthier food on a budget.

I don’t typically post my wine purchases; those come out of our luxury/spending money fund, but this wine purchase from Ralphs last week was relevant. Sterling and BV Coastal Estates offered a special deal, not only did you get 30% off a purchase of six wines, but you also got $40 off your grocery bill. How could I pass that up?

Hubs and I both enjoy a glass of wine with dinner every once in awhile. The wine totaled just a little over $40, so it seemed like a no-brainer proposition. I decided to split my savings between the grocery fund and the luxury fund, giving a $20 savings to both.

I bought a few things on sale (like sour cream, baking ingredients, and beef), the other things like milk, eggs, and coffee were because those are staples in our house.

  • nbst-free sour cream $1.50/pint
  • frozen hashbrowns (not shown) $2.49 after coupons
  • marshmallows $1.00
  • rbst-free milk $3.29
  • nut-free chocolate chips $2.99
  • flour $2.00
  • sugar $2.00
  • organic eggs $4.49 (yes, really. I’m trying to make the switch to gmo-free eggs. Ugh)
  • ground turkey $2.99
  • chuck roast $2.99/lb

Total spent on groceries, after coupons, etc = $31


Grocery Geek: December, Week 3 - A real live look at feeding 8 people healthier food on a budget.


Hubs cruised by Costco for me, so I didn’t have to do it. I can’t remember what I desperately needed, but I forgot to add cheese to the list, so that will be a problem. He only came home with one extra thing: the go-gurts. I don’t love the ingredients list, even if it is the “healthier” version, but my kids’ week was made.

  • flour tortillas $3.49/2 dozens
  • Fage $4.99
  • sourdough bread $3.39
  • English muffins $6.79
  • organic eggs $7.29/18-count (looks like Ralphs’expensive eggs were cheaper! Who knew?)
  • large nitrate/nitrite-free turkey breast $16.12
  • Hormel cooked bacon $13.39 (don’t knock it until you try it)
  • go-gurts $7.89
  • black beans $5.79/8-can pack
  • rbst-free milk $5.99/2 gallons

Total spent $101

Abundant Harvest Organics

Grocery Geek: December, Week 3 - A real live look at feeding 8 people healthier food on a budget.

This was our last box for the month. It included potatoes, green beans, LOTS of broccoli, sugar pumpkins, shallots, lettuce, Napa cabbage, cauliflower, apples, oregano, carrots, spinach, daikon radish, and arugula. I ordered an add-on of oranges.

Total spent $53


Grocery Geek: December, Week 3 - A real live look at feeding 8 people healthier food on a budget.

Sprouts is my go-to place for produce that doesn’t come in the box, plus certain items they have on sale. I grabbed this:

  • hawaiian sweet rolls $2/pkg
  • cheddar cheese $2.99/lb
  • potato chips $1.50/bag
  • larabars $1.25 each
  • clementines $3.98/5#
  • xl avocados $1.88
  • organic baby carrots $1.50
  • organic green pepper $0.79
  • organic cucumbers $0.99
  • roma tomatoes $0.88/lb
  • mushrooms $1.69
  • bananas $0.48/lb

Total spent $43

Trader Joe’s

Grocery Geek: December, Week 3 - A real live look at feeding 8 people healthier food on a budget.

We had date night over by Trader Joe’s. Since it’s not close to home, it was worth going in. Those items in the back were my Sprouts purchases, so ignore those.

  • nbst-free butter $2.79/lb
  • cocoa $2.49
  • jasmine rice $3.29
  • basmati rice $2.99
  • powdered sugar $2.99
  • tomato sauce $1.49
  • snow and snap pease $2.29/$2.49
  • salsa verde $1.99
  • slivered almonds $3.69
  • cinnamon sticks $1.99
  • harvest bread $1.99
  • crackers $2.49
  • rice cakes $2.49
  • egg nog $2.69
  • kefir $2.99 (no, I’m not going to make it)
  • fun yogurts $2.99
  • sunflower seed butter $4.99
  • Joe’s O’s $1.99
  • cliff bars $.99/each

Total spent $113

My grand total for all the groceries, whether cookbook or not, was $291.

Month to date total: $627

According to theย USDA Food Cost Report for the yearโ€™s average, the thrifty plan to feed our particular family, considering age and sex of each, should cost $1455.30. My target is $800. We should be able to fall under that amount for the month.

As you know, the Pantry Challenge is coming up next month. I’ll be honest, I’m not really looking forward to it. I also don’t have a ginormous stockpile. But, I organized the big freezer this week, and I know we could go a few weeks with what we have, so it could be okay.

I’ll be sharing about the Pantry Challenge near the end of the month, so stay tuned.





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  1. Aren’t those Costco eggs a 24 count package rather than 18? Btw, these posts are definitely geeky fun. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • I’m pretty sure it was an 18-pack, but I’ll have to ask my kids. We moved the eggs to smaller cartons because I don’t like those big cartons. Big kid just said you were right. Okay, Costco is a little cheaper. ๐Ÿ˜‰

      Yes, TOTALLY geeky.

  2. G’day! Costco is on its way to Adelaide, true!
    Can’t wait and always enjoy reading how you can economize with scrimping too!
    Cheers! Joanne

  3. Have you tried making Lara Bars? They’re super easy. I’ve been making them for awhile since my hubs has a nut allergy and there really aren’t any varieties he can eat so I make them with sunflower seeds and pepitas. I buy a giant tub of dates at Costco. One of these days I’ll have to figure out the cost breakdown, but I’m pretty sure it’s more cost-effective, I love those bars but they tend to be pricey. Have you tried the seasonal snickerdoodle flavor, it’s really good!

  4. I look forward to the pantry/freezer challenge next month. I have stocked up on seasonal things for baking that have been on sale. I needed to do that! I made homemade rolls for foodie gifts this season. I put a lot of flour and butter to use b/c it was on sale so often. I hope I have stocked enough to last me well into the new year.
    Sure wish I could stockpile Clementine’s! We go through those like crazy when they are in season. They are never less than $6 for 5# here.
    Thanks for the Geeky posts. We enjoy them.

  5. I have not been keeping track at all this month. But I know I haven’t been out of control in the food spending so I’m not worried. In fact, trying to keep it to a minimum this last part of the month, since we are headed out of town for 6 days after Christmas. No need for food to go bad. And the only food out has been at parties or the teen w/friends at Chipotle, so from her spending budget. Pretty good, all in all.

    I am really looking forward to Pantry Challenge. However, I’m on a major weight loss journey I started on Sept. 7 and will be still purchasing whatever healthy food is required, so a modified version for sure. But we have plenty in the freezer and cupboards so it won’t be awful spending. I’ve been cooking a ton (yes, because of the weight loss… getting healthy and creative in the kitchen!) and look forward to the challenge of cupboard food and trying to only purchase reasonably priced produce. Luckily I have Trader Joe’s nearby, which helps with the prepped lettuces. The only way I’m surviving. And yes, I’ve lost a lot of weight: 45 pounds in 15 weeks. I’m watching everything I eat very carefully and working out hard 6 days a week (with a trainer once a week), meaning at least 90 minutes most days, with one day/wk a little less and often closer to two hours. I’ve never worked out this hard in my life and I’m seeing the results in serious tone/muscle development (but not the ugly kind, just good ones) and even my skin is healthier in appearance! So worth the huge effort and time it’s taking.

    Merry Christmas to all!! And, a BIG thank you to you, Jessica, for your wonderful blogs and forum for us to interact.

  6. I wouldn’t be able to afford the eggs at that price unless I made a separate budget! I agree with the bacon … I got hooked back when ir only cost $8 …. but its great to have on have on hand. We need the pantry challenge now that Sonny Boy came home with his pantry items ๐Ÿ˜‰ glad to see GG is back!

    • Yeah, I know. I’m going to see what I can do. We eat so many eggs, that it seems like that should be a better quality item. You know? Like if you eat something seldomly, then its quality shouldn’t matter.

  7. I don’t even want to add up how much I spent at the grocery this month! I know it has to be over $1000. There are 5 of us. 3 of that being 3 kids 5 and under. They devour fresh fruit and yogurt! Can I blame my high TN food tax? Hehe…I am looking forward to the Pantry Challenge next month. I really want to build my pantry with bulk ingredients. Like 25lb of flour, 20 lbs oats, etc. Happy New Year!

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