Grocery Geek: February Rocks On

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Grocery Geek: February Rocks On - How one mom feeds a family of 8 on a budget.The weekend came and went last week and I didn’t have time to post my Grocery Geek report. So, here’s two weeks for the price of one. Since I didn’t do much shopping since last week, it felt like we lived at the Hubbards’ house today. I cleaned out the pantry and fridge earlier today. When FishPapa came home, he said he could hear an echo in the kitchen.

Tonight after our dinner date, we cruised by Ye Olde Trader Joe’s for a refill. I’m working on some new printable meal plans to share over on Life as MOM as well as recipes for Cookbook #4. That means I bought a lot of stuff. Including three gallons of milk. Yikes! The kids are taking bets on how long that milk will last. I say we’ll need more by Tuesday.

Anywho, here’s the Grocery Geek report for the bulk of February:

Grocery Geek: February Rocks On - How one mom feeds a family of 8 on a budget.


At Walmart I picked up the odds and ends I can’t get at great prices elsewhere (rice and water chestnuts? Apparently) as well as the milk, eggs, and cream we needed.

Total spent: $15

Grocery Geek: February Rocks On - How one mom feeds a family of 8 on a budget.


At Sprouts I grabbed a weird conglomeration of items. I’m not even sure why. I think so we could have some fun snacky foods.

Total spent: $42

Grocery Geek: February Rocks On - How one mom feeds a family of 8 on a budget.


Abundant Harvest Organics

Despite our drought conditions, the box looked beautiful. I even got 20 pounds of apples and 10 pounds of oranges. The apples were mostly gone within the week — without baking anything. I just cannot buy enough apples.

I need to get in a better practice of prepping things to freeze on Wednesdays when the box comes. All too often, I have good intentions, but those don’t get the crisper drawer emptied. I want to work on that….

Total spent: $74

Grocery Geek: February Rocks On - How one mom feeds a family of 8 on a budget.

 Trader Joe’s

The day I went to Trader Joe’s was a not-so-good, horrible, very bad day. I was too tired to take a picture, so the girls lined up the groceries and did their best. I didn’t ask. They volunteered. Pretty cute all the same.

This trip involved quite a few ingredients for recipe testing. My parents came last weekend, so I had guinea pigs to test on.

Total spent: $140

Grocery Geek: February Rocks On - How one mom feeds a family of 8 on a budget.


I went to Ralphs on a Friday afternoon, looking to grab fast food for our weekend lunches with my parents. The deli department did not disappoint as there were lots of great Columbus meats marked down to $2.50 a package with plenty of time to eat them before the “best by” date.

Total spent: $64

Grocery Geek: February Rocks On - How one mom feeds a family of 8 on a budget.

My dad’s tree

My dad came on Saturday morning lugging two big boxes of lemons. He picked over 100 Meyer lemons off his 40+ year old tree. I juiced most of them. Look:

Grocery Geek: February Rocks On - How one mom feeds a family of 8 on a budget.This is about 2/3 of the juice that went into our freezer this weekend. Yay for lemonade!

Total spent: $0

Grocery Geek: February Rocks On - How one mom feeds a family of 8 on a budget.Trader Joe’s

And here’s our aforementioned date night haul from Trader Joe’s. I’m doing lots of recipe testing this weekend, so I threw in a lot of stuff.

Total spent: $172

Two weeks totalled: $507

Monthly spending to date: $723

I feel like we’ve been living pretty high on the hog, so the fact that we’re under the $900 budgeted is a good thing. I’ve got a ton of recipes that need testing, so hopefully $900 is a doable figure.

For those just tuning in, this is the post each week where I report real live grocery numbers. According to the most recent food cost data from the USDA says we should be spending between $1211 (thrifty) and $2422 (liberal) for a family of our size and composition. My current target is $900 for meals prepared and eaten at home. My husband eats some meals out for lunches on work days. We eat one meal out for date night as a couple. And our family eats about one meal out per week.

We are accommodating one child’s nut allergies as well as one mom’s aversion to processed foods. It’s an interesting mix.

Since I’m currently working on another cookbook, there are some ingredients that I buy that I wouldn’t necessarily be buying this particular week. I typically buy things at rock-bottom prices and stock up. But because recipe development calls for a more generous pantry, I have to supplement from time to time. I’m reporting most of those purchases in this weekly post so it does jack up our monthly spending a little bit.

That’s the grocery geek report!

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  1. I love the fact that you reuse the Talenti containers. I love them! My kids get so embarrassed when I send them to school with something in one of those containers but they are the perfect size and the lids fit tight. Great grocery posts! Thanks!

  2. Wow book #4! I only know of one 🙁

  3. Can you tell me what it is you like about Trader Joes? We have one here but never visited.

    • I really like their guarantee that they won’t use junky ingredients in their store brand items. The prices are very reasonable for that type of quality. And it’s usually just a fun place to shop.

  4. Wow, so amazing you can feed that many people and develop recipes for that low of a price. I’m very jealous. I wasn’t able to get any of the apples with my delivery this week (I get mine delivered on Tuesdays to my work site). I need to get my lemons off of my tree this weekend and zest and juice. That little tree really puts out the lemons!

  5. We can’t keep apples in this house either! Glad to know it’s not just my kids. 🙂 I bought 2 boxes of apples from Sprouts last year and only made one batch of applesauce! How they ate 60 lbs of apples……I will never know!

  6. I love this blog, as you know. I love the pantry challenge, which I hope you know as well. But today I love the fact that your kitchen looks like you live and eat there! So real and welcoming. (I am a little leery of people who only post Southern Charm type perfect-kitchen pictures. Do they really cook their own food?) 🙂
    Have a great weekend!

    • Ha! You don’t know how much this made me laugh. These are the “cleaned up” pics! LOL Thanks for your encouragement, Harriet.

      • Today I made 9 freezer meals. My kitchen looked like I cooked for the whole army. There wasn’t a clean knife or bowl or slotted spoon in the house. I would have died had someone come over to visit Tim or (especially) took a picture!

  7. I live in Oregon and have been following the drought conditions in both states. Quite a bit of the produce I purchase comes from California. I would be interested in what you are seeing or hearing regarding prices and quality. I realize you get most of your produce from a CSA. I think I will be looking for more local options instead of the store.

    • I’m doing about half and half produce box versus store. Last week’s box looked great, so maybe the Central Valley is doing okay. I know San Diego and Santa Barbara are both really dry, though.

  8. I never knew that USDA link existed. I’m glad you posted it because now I don’t feel nearly so bad with what I was spending to feed my family of four that have dairy and gluten intolerance. We are just over the thrifty, which makes me happy! We eat tons at home too. I wouldn’t say we go out once a week as a family, but at least a couple times a month. I just discovered your site, so now I know what I’ll be doing today..:)


  1. […] had a nice visit with my parents. You can check out the gold they brought us from their backyard here. It took half a day to juice all those lemons, but it was totally worth […]

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