Grocery Geek Report

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Here’s my weekly report of what I spend on groceries for a family of 8. We focus on mostly whole foods, few processed items, and organics when it fits the budget.

vons nov wk 3

We go through eggs and yogurt like it’s going out of style. I know, we could raise chickens and make our own yogurt, but the property managers wouldn’t like the first, and my family doesn’t love the second. We are huge Fage fans, and I just can’t get homemade to taste the same.

FishPapa’s go-to snack at work or home is Fage with maple syrup. Have you tried that? Super yum.

Anyway, grocery shopping is a blur this week. I don’t remember where I went, what I did, or what we ate. Hmmm…. my brain must be maxing out its bandwidth. Here’s the photo diary of it all.


Ralphs is my favorite of the “regular grocery stores”. They have great mark-downs, good sales, and a decent selection of organic/more natural products. There are two stores within three miles of my house so I get my pick. Here’s what I bought:

  • pasteurized eggs  $3.69
  • cage-free eggs $3.29
  • marked down cream cheese $1.25
  • marked down fresh mozzarella $1.99
  • lettuce $0.99
  • organic celery $1.69
  • whipping cream $4.99
  • Fage $5.99

Total spent = $31

trader joe's nov wk 3

Trader Joe’s

Trader Joe’s is my spot for most meats, baked goods (if I buy them), cereal, and other packaged items. They have a GMO-free guarantee which I appreciate and pretty decent prices. Their ice-glazed frozen chicken is way tastier than grocery store chicken and it’s typically cheaper, too.

  • flour tortillas $1.99
  • corn tortillas $0.99
  • whole wheat bread $2.99
  • pasta $0.99
  • cereal $1.99
  • broccoli $1.79
  • organic bell peppers $3.99
  • ground turkey $2.99/lb
  • frozen chicken breast 2.5# for $6.99 (2.80/lb)
  • frozen vegetables $1.29 to $1.99
  • shredded cheddar $3.49
  • hot pepper sauce $1.99
  • tater tots $2.29
  • salsa verde $1.99
  • org tomato sauce $1.49
  • rice 3# for $3.29
  • baby carrots 1.5# for $1.49
  • tortellini $1.99
  • sunflower seed butter $4.99
  • mushrooms $1.69

Total spent = $96

Abundant Harvest Organics

aho nov wk 3

We have been subscribers to Abundant Harvest for three years now? Some weeks I love it; some weeks I don’t. The weather has been so weird here this year that the produce has been all over the map. This week’s selection looked good, though not great, and included things that we regularly use: pears, popcorn, apples, cabbage, spinach, watermelon radishes, sweet potatoes, lettuce, and broccoli.

Total spent = $43

Weekly total $170

Total Month to Date $1037

My target for the month is around $1000. The month is almost over; our budget is, too, obviously. A lot of the proteins I bought are still in the freezer, so I might not need to buy a lot this week other than random stuff for Thanksgiving. My mother-in-law is handling the main dish and we’re bringing sides and desserts. We need milk, eggs, and yogurt, I’m sure. Not going to sweat it, though. We haven’t eaten out much this month, so we’re good there.

How’s the grocery budget going at your house?

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  1. I have somehow managed to stay under budget this month. The prices are getting scary! My big find this week? Butter on sale at my grocery store 2/$5! You can bet I stocked up!

  2. I don’t know what homemade yogurt recipes you have tried, but there are some different ones out there. It all depends on the temperature you keep it at and the right bacteria.

    I never liked homemade yogurt either until we perfected it!

  3. Your “property managers?” Do you rent? We are thinking of never buying again when we sell this home as we have been unable to sell it for 7 years and don’t want to get “stuck” in another place like we are here. Just curious.

    • Yes, we have rented this home for about six years. We owned two homes (one for rent, one to live) in KC prior to moving back to California. We just sold the rental property and are thrilled just to be renting. We love the owners of our home and are happy to be here for awhile.

  4. I do know how to make homemade yogurt, but we prefer store bought, too. It’s not too expensive and it is healthy so we don’t usually sweat it either. Abundant Harvest makes me think of Forest Gump – “It’s like a box of chocolates – you never know what you’re going to get!” I’m glad to read that your rental situation is working out well. It doesn’t always, but when the landlords and the tenants are a good match, it can be wonderful. Thanks for sharing your grocery finds this week!

  5. Hey Fish Mama;
    In the picture from Abundant Harvest, it looks like you have a large head of Nappa Cabbage!!!!
    I am most interested in knowing how you use it??
    I am only asking as I use it to make Homemade Kimchee!!!!! 🙂
    I am just wondering, and Thank-You for all of the nice graphics and posts!!!
    Take Care 🙂

  6. So I haven’t commented in a while! Been busy and catching up on your posts (since you returned… Am loving hearing he bits and pieces of your month!) when I can. By far, you are my favorite blog indulgence. But had to report this: read a recent study of grocery prices and my state ranked as the highest in the US. Higher even than Hawaii and Alaska, which surprised me. Good ole Virginia is most expensive. Ridiculous!

    That said, I haven’t been very good about tracking lately. But I’ve been pretty good about spending. And trying to use what we have. And not going to the store until I really have to. That alone has helped curb waste and spending. 🙂

    • My sister just moved back from Virginia and would say the opposite. Ha! But, it must be based on cities. Santa Barbara is pricier than Williamsburg,

      • They based it on the cost of chicken breasts, potatoes, apples, and milk. Kind of shocking. But then again, I won’t buy any of those items at regular grocery stores unless they’re way on sale. They’re pretty expensive. I will only buy them at trader joe’s or costco. Maybe there is some merit to the study. i am also continually stunned by how pricy our produce is here. You pay SO much less. When you list out your prices I want to die of jealousy. Some of the items are triple the cost out here. most at least double. And that’s on sale. Here’s the link:

        • Oh and also, it does seem a bit off…. I was in grocery stores in Hawaii. all of these items were WAY more $$ than here. I imagine they only shopped non-sale items at the more expensive grocery stores up in my area, the DC area, where our prices are crazy (and why everyone I know favors Costco, Trader Joe’s, and sales only shopping). The rest of the state is lower for sure.

  7. We’ve been making our own yogurt with a yogurt maker that we picked up at a Thrift Store for $4.99. We all love it and think it’s just as good as the store bought one, and all natural. We also like to eat it with maple syrup (we make our own), as well as honey. But the kids enjoy it with maple syrup and almonds. Definitely good cheap eats!

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