Grocery Geek: May, Week Two

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After a lot of shopping last week, I shifted down a gear for groceries this week.

sprouts grocery may two

That? Is $20.65 worth of groceries. I read the fine print on Sprouts’ weekly ad. The great prices on berries and melon are good only for the weekend. Ever been snookered on a 72-hour sale and miss the good stuff? I was not about to let that happen this week.

I restrained myself a lot while grocery shopping this week. You know how some people really like to go clothes shopping? Yeah, that’s not me. Food shopping on the other hand, is hard for me to resist. The above groceries: eggs, berries, melons, lettuce, bananas, and mushrooms, were all that was on my list for Sprouts. I had to put at least two things back that weren’t on my list.

Grocery mania is what I have, I think. But, I didn’t go so crazy this week. Check it out:

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 my grocery shopping went this week:

May Week 2 Grocery Shopping

ralphs may two


The sales at Ralphs end on Tuesday nights. Last week when I went there, they didn’t have the pork butt I wanted. Their pork roasts were on sale for 50% off. I went back Tuesday night and got a nice one for pulled pork this weekend. I picked up just a few basics while I was there:

  • milk $2.55
  • tomatoes $0.76 (99 cents/pound)
  • cilantro $0.59
  • pork butt $15.78 (1.99/pound)

Total spent at Ralphs = $19.68

grocery outlet may two

Grocery Outlet

I’ve been on the hunt for Nabisco Chocolate Wafers (affiliate link). Those suckers are incredibly hard to find any time that isn’t Christmas time. They go great in ice box cakes, though. I was hoping that Grocery Outlet would have them, so when I was in the neighborhood, I stopped. No luck!

But, I did find some other good deals while I was there. I confess, I didn’t “need” these things, but they were SUCH good deals on fun food, I chose not to pass them up.

  • Aidells salami $1.99/package
  • organic honey grahams $0.99/box (These are over $4 elsewhere; conventional are at least $2.50. I would have stocked up but the sell-by date is 6/5/15.)
  • organic chocolate bunnies $1.49
  • Rondele $1.99

Total spent at Grocery Outlet = $9.93

sprouts grocery may two


I had marked my calendar for the 72-hour sale so I didn’t miss it.

  • melons $0.88 each
  • blueberries $0.88 each
  • cage-free eggs $2.50/dozen
  • organic romaine $1.69
  • bananas $0.69/pound
  • mushrooms $1.69

Total spent at Sprouts = $20.65

grocerygeek-gceObviously, this is a lot less shopping than last week. We’ve been enjoying freezer meals for lunches and my meal plan from last week worked out really well. There’s still a fair amount of good stuff left in the fridge and freezers, though not a ton of proteins, something that my teen boys really require. (I’ve read that extra protein helps kids’ self-control, so I’m cool with that.

Total spent this week = $50.26

Total spent so far this month = $521.56

I’ll be sharing next week’s meal plan in the newsletter again this weekend. Sign up here if you haven’t already.

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  1. Kathleen L. says:

    Super envious at the prices of some of your produce:)))

  2. Roberta says:

    Interesting about the protein/self-control link. Do you happen to remember where you read that?

    Also, any more tips on sourcing quality, relatively inexpensive protein would be appreciated. We have a nearly 11-yr.-old boy who is also an avid swimmer. He’s not at the eating-like-a-horde-of-locusts stage yet, but I know it’s just around the corner. (We live a bit north of you–LA County/San Gabriel Valley–so we have similar stores/prices.)

    • Kim in AZ says:

      We have 3 teenage boys and one thing that helps my budget protein wise is bulk meat ordering with Zaycon Foods ( I’ve got 80 pounds of boneless skinless chicken breast coming next week for $1.69 per pound. We will grill it for a main dish, chop for on salads or in casseroles (enchiladas, pot pie, haystacks), use on chicken sandwiches, stovetop fajitas and soups. Their quality is almost organic and I love the price. 🙂

    • I shared it on Facebook a month or two ago. It talked about helping boys’ behaviors through nutrition.

      The best tasting and best quality I’ve found is at Trader Joe’s. I really like getting their bags of frozen chicken pieces in the ziptop bag.

      • Roberta says:

        We’re not on Facebook; would you mind sharing your original source?

        We do have a TJ’s fairly close by. I buy nuts and seeds there, but haven’t bought any meat as of yet.

        Thanks for the info. I always enjoy reading your posts.

  3. karen b says:

    wished we could get produce for that price!!!!!!!!!!! not even in the summer is produce that cheap anywhere! a heads up on the snacks…..FREEZER………… of course only if there’s room we always try to save room for extras like that in our freezer 🙂

  4. LeslieT says:

    Walmart should carry those chocolate wafer cookies. I’ve also found them at Safeway/Vons.

  5. My grocery store carries those wafer cookies year round but the trick is they keep them with the ice cream toppings.

  6. juneeee says:

    Jessica ~Your shopping trips look very frugal, good job! Lately i have challenged myself to see how little i can get out of the grocery store, that mindset really helps me. I bought a 1/4 of a grass fed beef, ultimately i will end up with about 120 lbs at approx. $6.41 per pound, i am anxious to get it and im very happy with the price. I also get the produce box, which the combination of those 2 reaaeaelly helped my grocery expenses. Next im trying 1/2 pork. clean chicken is available for 1.98 per pound so that’s affordable.

  7. The grocery geek in me loves this segment! I’m glad you’re able to get such good prices. Where I live in South Florida that $20 trip to Sprouts would cost me approximately $36 even on sale. Have a great day!

    • Erika, I know what you mean … you’d think we’d get some local produce fairly cheap but I haven’t seen it yet 🙁 Stopped buying produce at Publix and Winn Dixie as it’s just not fresh stuff and the prices are pretty steep lately … been supplementing with Whole Foods (yikes, but if you stay focused it’s not so very bad) and then the produce store out west once every 10 days or so. Aldis can fill in occasionally too (never had a bad avocado from there!)

  8. Crystal says:

    I know its not anywhere near as convenient, but I do know you like homemade things as well(though turning the oven on to make an icebox cake is kind of weird), here is a recipe for homemade chocolate wafers. I have made them when I couldnt find the Nabisco ones, or didnt want to pay the high sticker price for them!
    I am sure you could come up with your own recipe and maybe you already have one, but if not, this one is good!

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