Grocery Geek – January 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.

sprouts week 2 (1)

This pantry challenge and the shopping that I’m doing to supplement it are really showing me how I want my grocery shopping habits to trend post-Pantry Challenge. I really like stocking up and using fresh produce. That’s really what we need and what adds color to the plate.

Sure, I’m using up a lot of starches and protein I already had, but honestly, I feel like it’s clutter that I have to use up. Ask me again in 2 months, but I’m not sure I want to do as much of that kind of stocking up again.

Grocery Geek

Here’s the rundown on my shopping this week. 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, 43, 18, 15, 13, 11, 9, and 7. 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.
  • I work at home and teach six kids, so I don’t have as much time for fiddling in the kitchen as I would like.
  • I 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:


I went to Walmart on Sunday morning for a few household items and picked up some grocery items that I knew I didn’t want to pay more for at Sprouts (the second stop on my list). I ended up getting:

  • 2 dozen eggs $4.36/dozen
  • mayonnaise $3.98
  • sandwich bread $2.82
  • flour $5.98/5# bag
  • coffee $7.48
  • pepperoni $2.98

Total spent: $41

(I may recoup some of this via the Walmart Savings Catcher app. I started using the app last fall, and so far have $6.26 credit. Not much, but still kinda like free money.)

walmart week 2


At Sprouts (pictured above) I loaded up on lots of fresh vegetables and milk to make sure we could go a few more days in that department. I think we’re averaging 5 gallons of milk per week.

  • baby carrots $0.98
  • potatoes $2.49/5#
  • cilantro $0.50
  • cucumbers $0.68 ea
  • grape tomatoes $1.50
  • xl avocados $1.25
  • jalapenos $0.17
  • bell peppers $1.50
  • org broccoli $1.48/lb
  • org apples $4.99/3# bag
  • org power greens $3.98/large bag
  • veggie tray $4.99
  • mushrooms $1.99
  • bananas $0.69/lb
  • sparkling water $1.69

Total spent: $48

Trader Joe’s

Midweek we ran out of milk, so we stopped in for three items. I’m not sure I’ve ever walked out of Trader Joe’s with only three items!

  • 2 gallons milk @$2.99 each
  • rice $1.99

Total spent: $9

Total spent this week: $98

Total spent this month: $231

Clearly things are trending well. We are due for more coffee, produce, and dairy, and we are running low on pasta and things that my fam counts as a regular food item. Things could get interesting!

How did YOU grocery geek out this week?

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  1. We are shopping in a similar way to you I think in that I’ve bought mostly fresh produce and dairy since the New Year while using up pantry and freezer items and not readily replacing them. I have FINALLY found a homemade bread recipe that my hubby and kids like for sandwiches which means (I hope) that we’ve seen our last bag of sliced bread. All that said I haven’t really saved any money during the first half of this month. Being in a northern state means that produce is quite expensive right now – not to mention that it’s all being shipped in from halfway around the world – and so I’ve certainly felt like my pennies aren’t going too far these days. We did preserve quite a but of our garden bounty but we’ve eaten quite a bit of that already and we’ve got nearly six months to go before the garden produces again! I guess if my definition of pantry challenge is to use what we already have while still maintaining a healthy eating habit than I’m satisfied.

  2. THANKS bunches to your family for drinking that much milk!!!!!!!!!!!! I had to grocery shop this week (didnt at all last week) & was amazed how much produce we really go through, when your down to almost nothing then have to stalk up. I spent more than I wanted but realized most was fruits & veggies so didnt complain to much:)

  3. this past Wednesday I had my large once monthly grocery order delivered – yup I order from our big supermarket ONLINE. I check whats in the freezer, refrigerator and on pantry shelves, then sit down with the 14 page weekly sales flyer. I circle items I think will fit into my loose monthly menu (actually a list of at least 30 main meals) then go back and with the flyer and add what I will need (except that 1/2 of the meal list I’ll need to restock on fresh veggies, milk, fruit and dairy cheeses and yogurt. Including the $14 delivery fee, my monthly order this month was only $135 for the groceries only. I was about to go to our village market today but it was raining and I really didn’t want to walk up the hill to get there – and – honestly I didn’t need all that much. Eggs come free from my daughter’s chickens, as does all all my jam and marmalade (she owns and produces locally sourced “Eleanor’s Best”) – not only incredible to eat but I use blueberry jam as a topping on my pancakes, the ginger jam is used to baste pork chops and roast, the meyer lemon marmalade mixed with a tablespoon of ginger is used on baked chicken… well I realize that I can probably go for a second month with what I have in the freezer topped off with sale items. Next weekend I’ll have to replenish my milk and fruit but that should be it. The following week I’ll pick up milk, green veggies and salad items. I bought a 96oz box of Bisquick on sale for $5.99 so I’ll be able to use it for biscuits/pancakes/dumplings for months. I hate to make pizza dough so I’ll buy two balls from our pizza restaurant for $5 – freeze one and have pizza this coming week. Tomorrow will be a small small roast beef baked with potatoes and carrots (the last csa pickup – they’ve last so long) – and I’ll make whole wheat raspberry lemon muffins for breakfast – I’ll have those with Devon clotted cream I got for Christmas and real natural raspberry jam. Now to drag out the breadmaker for next week.

    • Sounds great! The cream and jam has me drooling! I can’t remember where you’re located, but I’m guessing it’s not US?

      • Actually I live in a tiny village on the banks of the Hudson River in NY – across from West Point. Our village has a small shop that has everything you could possibly want – its packed to the ceiling with wonderful household goods, children’s toys you can’t find anywhere else (got my granddaughter a story dice – you roll the dice and make up a story using the pictures that turn up) – and four or so shelves of imported British food items – the woman who owns it is Welsh and she imports British food items and all the different Cadbury chocolates you could ever want. Real lemon curd, Flake bars, dark chocolate digestive biscuits, marmite, canned beans for “beans on toast” – and at Christmas she imports small jars of Devon Double Clotted Cream. So if you want the best jams and marmalades in the world, come to our little corner of the world and get small batch hand made, locally sourced, over the moon taste of Eleanor’s Best, but try to get some clotted cream to spread on your scones or biscuits.

  4. I did my grocery shopping today and purchased milk, eggs, cheese, ground beef, chicken breasts and lots of fresh produce. I didn’t even walk down the center aisles of the store. I didn’t want to be tempted.

  5. Jessica, you might look into buying a milk cow, lol! Growing kids sure can drink down the milk 🙂

    The only groceries we bought this week was a gallon of milk. DH bought 7-up while at the store because the stomach flu is going around and he wanted to be prepared in case we get sick. That doesn’t come out of the grocery budget (I don’t drink soda anymore and he has one only occasionally if we’re entertaining). The freezers are going down but the pantry still has a lot in it. I really want to clean out and reorganize the pantry soon but I have a feeling it will have to wait until President’s Day.

  6. Over Thanksgiving, my sister supplied us with a veggie tray for all the meals, and my children LOVED it! I was kinda shocked that they asked for seconds, thirds, or even more – it’s not like I hadn’t served cold veggies before. Now I offer a variety (I think that was the ticket) of cold veggies, especially at lunch time, and watch them gobble it up! However, it is more expensive so I’m a bit picky about WHICH veggies I get on a weekly budget (the bag of peppers you have pictured would go for $5 here). Buying at a club store really helps, I just don’t get a big variety that way so we get it eaten before it goes bad. I”m not actually doing the pantry challenge though; I’m stocking up my pantry for when baby arrives 🙂

  7. Heather M says:

    This week we did well, spending $43 on fresh produce, dairy, bread, breakfast and lunch staples for my son (creature of habit, we were out of a few key things), pretzels, etc. I had hoped to keep this week under $50, and then I found out today i needed to bring fresh fruit to a dinner tomorrow. The citrus, apples, and bananas we have just won’t do. So I ran out to buy a variety of berries and a pineapple. $15. So a total of $58 for the week. The month total so far is $127. I think that’s great for us. And the menfolk have to clue we’re doing a Pantry Challenge. They’re eating really well and we are keeping costs down. Win for all!

  8. Hi Jessica ~ we’ve eaten a few new recipes, I made lasagna? I usually buy stouffers…..I’ve been eating the veggies I froze from our happy box last fall. It’s all good !

    The sunshine in your pics felt warm just seeing it! I’ve always thought of San Diego as that beautiful city in southern ca. I live in Dayton oh haha

  9. Tastycook says:

    After my breakfast out on Friday, I hit the local grocery store. I didn’t need much and only spent $23. That included 4 blocks of cheese that we didn’t need but it was on sale at a really good price and I know it won’t go to waste.

    I will need to buy some milk and perhaps some fresh veggies. My selection in the freezer is quite limited – carrots, green beans, leeks, peas and corn.

  10. Sooo- Here’s my scenario yesterday: I had some pulled pork left in the freezer. I had recalled a recipe with a pork roast, a red sauce and pasta and I decided to recreate it using the pulled pork, a can of crushed tomatoes, garlic, shallots (out of onions) and spices. It turned out very good. The problem is that now I have 2 containers of this concoction to put in the freezer! I guess that happens more times than I realize since there’s only the 2 of us. No wonder I never seem to get ever empty the freezer completely!

  11. I too thank your family for drinking so much milk! Isn’t amazing how fast the gallons go down???

  12. Vanessa B says:

    I blew my budget this week when I was sent to the grocery store for party food because we decided to host for a playoff game. I was sucked in by sales and stocked up on a few items which should give us plenty of food for the up coming week. I spent $170 this week, $14.50 last week. We had 10 people over for Chili and chips and stuff, my dad gave me $30 toward the party food. $154.50 for 2 weeks is still technically under budget slightly. We have had extra dinner guests several times this week also. I know I will need eggs and milk later next week, if I can keep my spending under $20 I’ll be a happy camper.

  13. michelle porter says:

    I wanted to stick to $30 a week for this month. Last week was $29. This week was $65. Oops!!! In My defense I bought 6 pounds of ground beef and a 11 pound spiral sliced ham plus 2 pounds of bacon. Eggs were 99¢ a dozens I bought 4 dozen. We have already used 1 dozens plusore.I should have probably bought more. Also bought bags of frozen veggies and some fresh fruits plus more. I have to buy meats when they are that price. Meat is killing me.

  14. Davina Gilroy says:

    We are eating out of our pantry and freezer this month and have only had to buy fruit and veggies. We have plenty of meat since we are Zaycon customers.We get eggs from my friends chickens so not alot will be spent this month.Davina

  15. Except for the coffee and the kid’s queso dip, everything bought was fresh produce. However, the coffee and dip was kinda pricey. 🙁 Our total for the month is $60.

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