Grocery Geek, End of May

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Want a peek into our grocery cart? Here’s how we’re feeding eight people on the cheap.

costco end may

So, surprisingly, I didn’t really go anywhere this week. Well, I did. I went lots of places: twice to the park, twice to the chiropractor, once to the hair salon, to physical therapy, out to dinner, etc. I just didn’t go many places that sell groceries. And I’m actually kinda happy about that.

My back has been wigging out on me, so there was no way I wanted to push a shopping cart or carry bags. FishPapa did the Costco run. You can tell it was the lazy mom’s week. Or the hurt mom. Or the smart mom. We’re having sandwiches and eggs all week!

It kinda turned out that way, actually. I kinda ignored my meal plan for the week.

The plus side of this is that we stayed under budget this month, so Yay! 

As you read, keep in mind who and how I’m shopping:

My grocery shopping profile

To update you on my grocery geekiness:

  • I’m feeding eight people, ages 52, 42, 17, 14, 12, 10, 8, and 6. Five of those people are males. They eat A LOT!
  • I’m shooting for a budget of $1200, per the USDA food cost reports the last time I added up for people of our demographics. I live in Southern California where produce is cheap, but meat and dairy are not.
  • I’m trying to feed us mostly unprocessed foods, with a few “healthier” convenience items thrown in and a junk food splurge* here and there.
  • work at home and teach six kids, so I don’t have as much time for fiddling in the kitchen as I would like.
  • no longer use coupons on a regular basis, though I do love the coupons that Ralphs offers.
  • I have at least ten grocery stores within 5.5 miles of my house. It is easy (for better or for worse) to stop at several stores to get the best deals.
  • We mostly eat at home. My husband often packs lunch and breakfast to work, but sometimes has lunch out. We eat out for a date once a week. FishPapa takes one child out to “dinner with dad” once a week. We eat out as a family on average once a week.

Obviously, your mileage may vary. But, I’m constantly amazed at how well we eat without spending a crazy amount of money.

Here’s how the shopping went down this week:

Costco, pictured above

  • organic eggs $3.50/dozen
  • milk $2.40/gallon
  • cheddar $9.89
  • tuna $14.49/8 cans
  • organic heavy cream $9.99 (That is a huge increase! But still cheaper per unit compared to the small containers at the store. We don’t do cool whip or non-dairy creamers.)
  • oregano $4.19
  • sliced sourdough $3.69/2# loaf
  • large deli turkey breast $15.44
  • wheat bread $4.59/2 loaves

Total spent at Costco $91.80

ralphs end may


I wasn’t planning to make another stop at the store for the week, but I decided not to go out to eat for my birthday. My restaurant of choice would have been Cheesecake Factory, but I know that my kids order dumb stuff there. Corn dogs? I’m not paying $8 for corn dogs that you might not eat. I had almost convinced one child to order steak, but then I came to my senses.

Trimmed tri-tip was on sale at Ralphs, so I stopped there on my way home from errands and got the fixing for a steak dinner. And some chocolate for my office.

My husband was already home baking my Chocolate Cheesecake!

  • olives $2.49 for our aperitif
  • tomatoes $0.88/pound
  • organic romaine $1.99
  • raspberries $1.50
  • strawberries $1.50
  • mushrooms $0.89
  • baking potatoes $2.99
  • tri-tip was $5.99/lb = $16.41 (That would have been dinner for one at Cheesecake Factory!)
  • Lindt chocolate $1.00

Total spent at Ralphs = $31.94

(I think that shows a $100 profit over CF. Ahem.)

So, eating at home and not buying the produce box this month really brought our totals well under budget!

Weekly expenses: $123.74

May grocery expenses: $941.35

I’m feeling good about this month. The freezer, however, is almost bare, as is the pantry, at least of easy to fix items. We’ll squeak through the weekend without another trip to the store, but I imagine next week is due for a big stock up. Good thing it’s a new month!

How’s your grocery geeking going?

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  1. Victoria says:

    Out of curiosity, what will you do with what’s left of this month’s grocery budget?

    • It just stays in our general account when we’re not gung-ho saving. But next month Operation Saving for England starts, so I’ll probably redirect future funds to that savings account.

  2. I’ve been trying to spread my grocery shopping trips out. I’m operating on the idea that not being in the store saves gas money and stupid tax (those random “good deal” items that get thrown in the cart). Even though we didn’t do an official pantry challenge last month, that’s what I ended up doing. We ate all the meat in the house except for 1lb of bacon, a few turkey sausages, and 2 hot dogs! The good news is, I’ve been buying better. There was very little that was wasted this round. Yay us. 🙂 When I made it to the grocery store I stuck to the produce, meat, and dairy sections and only went into the middle of the store for olives and husbands Mountain Dew. 🙂

  3. Courtney says:

    Happy birthday!

  4. I’m so sorry about your back!

    I have been going through eggs like mad but my grocery budget is still BUSTED this month [my first full month doing low carb – ouch]

    But thankful eggs are at least cheap 🙂

    This weekend is a study weekend for the kids so much of time time will be spent cobbling together a meal plan that covers both the kids and lc me without breaking the bank – wish me luck LOL

  5. Happy birthday! Good job on you grocery budget! I am happy to announce I spent $1030 in May which includes $110 enrollment fee for Costco and my happy box about $100 for a month. I am feeding 5, my husband and I are old, the boys are 18, 16 & 14 and they eat a lot tooooo! But school is out, praise the Lord!

    Happy Summer ~

  6. And a husband who stays home and makes you cheesecake?! WINNER! 🙂

  7. I’m curious if you’ve found another CSA or produce supplier. I put my AH on hold for four weeks as we were gone a lot. Today’s box was really good. I like the fact that now they let you do add on only if you want and you can choose what you want to get.

    Sometimes if our schedule only allows for a quick sandwich and piece of fruit for dinner, we need to give ourselves Grace and be content that we have full stomachs. I don’t imagine you have a whole lot of leftovers with your hungry crew.

  8. A Very Happy Birthday To You!!

  9. Happy Birthday! And sorry about your back. I wish I could send my husband to shop but I haven’t gotten him trained yet.

    I started reading your blog just the past week or so. I am already seeing savings. I have calculated our weekly grocery budget at $146.30 for a family of four. The past two weeks, I hit 97 and 109 give or take a buck or two. And for the first time ever, I asked for a raincheck. I organized my freezer and I have been making a meal plan and sticking with it. I did a bunch of freezer cooking over the holiday weekend and it made dinner time so much easier. Your recipes are simple but tasty. Thank you for helping me reclaim dinner time.

  10. I’m trying to figure out what is going on with the Costco cream too! Here in Arizona we have really inexpensive milk prices, but I was still buying cream now and then @ $7.99. I saw the price at $8.49 a week or two ago, then $9.99 last week. For me–too expensive. I hope the price comes back down to around $8. Do you like the taste of canned milk enough to use a drop of that in your coffee instead of cream?

    Happy birthday!

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