Grocery Geek: June, Week Two

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Want a peek into our grocery cart? Here’s how I’m grocery shopping and feeding eight people on the cheap.

Grocery Geek June, Week Two - Want a peek into our grocery cart? Here’s how I’m grocery shopping and feeding eight people on the cheap.

This week has been a double birthday/freezer cooking/knee surgery kind of week! Two kids planned all the meals for their special days. I tested out this month’s freezer cooking plan. And FishPapa has knee surgery tomorrow am.

That last thing has nothing to do with my grocery shopping — except that I might return something to Costco while he’s in surgery — but man, it does do a touch to my stress level. Whew. Your prayers are appreciated.

As for grocery shopping, I made three stops this week to accommodate all the above, hitting Costco, Trader Joe’s, and Ralphs.

Grocery Geek June, Week Two - Want a peek into our grocery cart? Here’s how I’m grocery shopping and feeding eight people on the cheap.


I dread going to Costco, but it’s necessary to appease my tight-fistedness. There are some great deals to be had there, among other reasons to shop at Costco. This week I took FOUR KIDS with me. The younger ones. Aiyiyi. That was a mite stressful. I usually take one of the boys who can lift, but this time we were on our way home from someplace else. With gas at $3.49+/gallon, every mile matters.

My girl IS a cute photo bomber, though.

Here’s what I got:

  • 2 gallons milk $4.79
  • applesauce pouches $9.69
  • black olives $8.99 for 8
  • pineapple $9.69 for 8
  • sparkling juice $13.49/case
  • sourdough bread $3.69
  • bagels $5.49/dozen
  • butter $8.99/4 pounds
  • 2.5# Tillamook cheddar $9.89
  • frozen wontons $7.19
  • potstickers $10.69
  • big bag frozen sockeye salmon $29.79
  • bag frozen mahi mani $19.99
  • shredded mozzarella $10.99
  • uncured bacon $10.59
  • organic pasta $8.49
  • organic sugar $7.99
  • baby carrots $4.49/5#
  • ginormous hunk of romano cheese $13.38
  • olive oil $15.99
  • avocado oil $9.79
  • heavy cream $9.99/half gallon
  • large deli turkey breast $14.72
  • organic eggs $6.99/2 pounds
  • kale salad $4.49
  • 4# strawberries $5.99
  • ground beef $3.79/lb

Total spent $347.30

Grocery Geek June, Week Two - Want a peek into our grocery cart? Here’s how I’m grocery shopping and feeding eight people on the cheap.

not all items pictured

Trader Joe’s

On date night, FishPapa and I cruised through Trader Joe’s for a few meats for my freezer cooking plan as well as a few other things. My regular TJ’s remodeled one aisle, supposedly to be in line with all the other locations, but I call BULL. It isn’t remotely like the one across town. That one aisle is driving me crazy.

In other Joe’s news, I swear by their frozen chicken tenders. They are consistently excellent, even when they sit in the Crock-pot for too long. On the other hand, I tried Sprouts’ chicken tenders last week; they were on sale — and also disgusting. Super tough even though I was really careful not to overcook them. I had had trouble with their chicken breasts awhile back and was curious if the tenders would fare better. They did not. I took the second package back to the store the very same day. I want my five dollars.

Here’s what I bought at TJ’s, in addition to the wonderful frozen chicken tenders.

  • shredded hash browns $1.69
  • chocolate cookies $2.79
  • speculoos cookies $3.98
  • chicken tenders $7.99/2.5#
  • tater tots $2.29
  • ground turkey $2.99/lb
  • cereal $1.99
  • pepperoni $2.99
  • sunbutter $4.99
  • marmalade $3.49
  • tomato sauce $1.49
  • organic romaine hearts $2.49
  • rice vinegar $1.99
  • sesame oil $2.69
  • organic cucumbers $2.49

Total spent $84.39

Grocery Geek June, Week Two - Want a peek into our grocery cart? Here’s how I’m grocery shopping and feeding eight people on the cheap.


I rounded out my freezer cooking shopping and had the boys pick out birthday meals at Ralphs. Since Ralphs has sales and manager specials, I can get my deal-finder fix. This week we found some great markdowns.

  • Corn Pops (bday breakfast) $3.99
  • flour $3.19
  • sun chips $3.29
  • Peets coffee $6.99
  • taco shells $0.99 markdown
  • cottage cheese $2.49
  • buttermilk $2.99
  • cilantro $0.59
  • green onions $0.99
  • jalapeños $0.49
  • ginger root $1.73
  • mushrooms $0.99 markdown
  • kettle chips $3.49
  • larabar $0.85 with coupon
  • tri-tip $5.99/pound (bday dinner – cheaper than going out)
  • deli roast beef $6.35
  • markdown bread $0.99 to $1.99
  • bagels $3
  • ice cream cones $3.29
  • horseradish $3.69
  • shrimp $13.99
  • spread cheese $3
  • sushi $6.99

Total spent $122.72

Obviously the bulk of this month’s budget was spent this week. Birthdays and freezer cooking are reasonable reasons. I am going out of town next week so I’ll need to make sure there’s easy food in the house. We’re already on our last gallon of milk. Sigh.

But I think we’re doing okay for a wild and crazy household. 🙂

Total spent this week $554.41

Total spent this month to date: $815.37

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  1. I must say I feel a wee bit better looking at your month to date total. I’ve spent nearly as much this month as well (10 of us). My budget is about the same as yours. I have less big boys than you do at the top but I know my time is coming. Prayers for Fish Papa.

  2. Melissa says:

    Just said a prayer for your DH! Surgery is scary!

    You have me officially hooked on those TJ chicken tenders! We love them too! Have you tried the frozen breasts or thighs? I’m wondering if they are as tasty.

    • They are fine. My people don’t love dark meat; the thighs were an accidental purchase. The breasts are weird sizes and there aren’t very many. With so many people of varying appetites, the tenders are perfect for our family.

  3. I’m going to have to try those tenders – don’t buy the organic ones as they’re as you say tough – blech

    Prayers for fp – as for that photobomber – too adorable

    • Where do you find the organic ones?

      • our tjs has them in the organic fresh section . . . pricey and not very good imo – we buy the b/s thighs a lot there – the costco organic chicken is always smelling about to go off to me – but west coast vs east coast has different everything!

  4. Kathy in Illinois says:

    Praying for FishPapa’s surgery to go well and for a speedy recovery.
    God bless, Kathy in Illinois

  5. Jessica S says:

    Have you noticed the price increase on Eggs in your area yet? How will that effect your shopping cooking?

    • We did when the California law was passed. Are you elsewhere? Maybe the trickle down is finally happening. Organic is $3.50 at Costco, but regular is $3.50 elsewhere.

      • Jessica S says:

        I am in NE Ohio, with the recent blow out of bird flu and the slaughter of millions of birds.. the price of eggs has been shooting up like crazy! We have 4 chickens ( new endeavor this year) and 1 has started laying.. still haphazardly so I still purchase eggs… We have a local grocery outlet and I think people caught wind of the PA Amish eggs they had and they were cleaned out recently!

  6. Kara Owen says:

    Your TJ charges you for being speechless? That doesn’t seem right 😉 I’m guessing autocorrect doesn’t like those delicious speculoos cookies 🙂

    • Ha! Yes, autocorrect is rarely my friend.

    • Haaahaaaa I was thinking speechless stress and sarcasm all go hand in hand 😉 your costco stops are starting to look like mine lately. As to the eggs we are noticing about a dollar increase per dozen. Thankfull I have 4.5 dozen …. AND we have a TJs young up within 2 miles of house and its on my way home from work!I can’t wait!

  7. Prayers for your dh and prayers for the guidance of the doctors involved. Did you post a menu to go with your shopping lists? I may have missed it. We also live in southern Ca so I can relate to raising a family on a budget. Thanks for sharing.

  8. Kathleen L. says:

    Prayers for your dear husband, Fishpapa. May his recovery be speedy, and your stress, minimal:))

  9. It sounds like the surgery was this morning, so here’s hoping it all went well and he recovers quickly. Prayers for fast, efficient healing!

    In the grocery dept, it is almost embarrassing. I bought milk and cream today. Sum total for the month to date… $29.44. And that includes the $1 bag of candy the kid bought this week. That does not count the one fast food meal we had (last night, actually, as it was already after 10PM and I was hungry and not willing to start cooking that late and no leftovers in the fridge) or the one girl’s night out with some friends. Even if I include those expenses, I’m still under the halfway mark, so I’m pleased. I pulled a few things out of the freezer tonight so there will be some heat-and-eat meals in the fridge for the next few days to avoid any additional splurges.

  10. Jessica,
    Prayers for FP for a speedy, uncomplicated recovery and peace and patience for your heart.
    I chuckled a tad because I think the eggs were $6.99/2 dozen not 2 pounds? Also the cookies you bought at TJs, Speculos? Your list says ‘speechless’. Unless these are actually what you meant to type than disregard this comment. : )
    In any case what do you use the Avocado oil for? Hope boys had good birthdays!

  11. Kristine says:

    Why don’t you buy Peets at Costco? They just had it on sale 2 pounds for $12.99 and the grocery store is only 12 ounces rather than a full pound. The cost comes out to 53 an ounce at Costco full price.

  12. Ashley C. says:

    Wowza. There’s seven of us and we spend $350 a month including formula and diapers for two. We eat tons of veggies though so it helps that we tend a garden and have four chickens.

  13. I absolutely understand, but did you catch the part that I’m feeding EIGHT people? Our budget is based on what the government would pay us for a family our size and ages if we were on assistance programs. $1170 for a family of 8 for a month is cheap.

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