Grocery Geek, February 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.

Walmart Feb 2

Well, it’s been a doozy of a week. FishChick7 fell ill on Friday night. She was out of commission all day Saturday. Her brother fell on Sunday. Her sister on Monday night. Since then, we’ve been dropping like flies. I’m thankful that it’s not the stomach flu, but it still stinks nonetheless.

I had a great meal plan on Sunday morning and did all the shopping for it, but meal times have been weird and sparse. There’s always been one or two people (or more) who’ve completely lost their appetite thanks to this virus.

I guess I’m in good shape for next week’s meal planning. Ha!

Grocery Geek

Grocer Geek is my weekly report of how I shopped for groceries, what deals I found, and my running total of how we’re sticking to a budget for groceries.

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

grocerygeek-gceTo 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 five 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:


The girls and I went to Walmart on Sunday and picked up the basics that I didn’t want to haul to Costco for or pay too much for at Sprouts. I love it that Walmart carries the Wild Oats label so we can get organics for a little bit cheaper. They also have improved their meats and cheeses selection as well.

To hedge my bets at Walmart, I also use the free Walmart Savings Catcher app to get a better price (if possible) on anything I buy there. So far I have accumulated $7.36 credit from past purchases. If you shop at Walmart, download the app!

  • organic diced tomatoes $1.76
  • organic kidney beans $0.92
  • organic tomato sauce $1.08
  • milk $2.88
  • buttermilk $2.47
  • yogurt $3.43
  • uncured salami $3.86
  • uncured bacon $4.48
  • rbst-free jack cheese $3.93
  • rbst-free mozzarella $2.98
  • chili powder $0.88
  • sandwich bread $2.82 to $3.98
  • 10# bag of flour $5.98

Total spent: $60

Sprouts Feb 2


Our next stop was Sprouts where we get a lot of our produce and healthier items. Sometimes they have good meat sales, but their chicken is really bad quality so I won’t buy it, no matter how low the price.

I’ve been buying the La Croix water bottles for my husband to take to work. They aren’t cheap-cheap, but they’re a nice way for me to pamper him and for him to keep hydrated on the job. He prefers the liter bottles, so let me know if you know a great place to stock up on them.

  • baby carrots $0.98
  • russet potatoes 5# $1.50
  • cilantro $0.33
  • 2 # clementines $2.50
  • green bell peppers $0.77
  • green onions $0.33
  • XL avocados $1.25
  • wonton wrappers $1.99
  • limes $0.20 each
  • organic spring mix $5.99
  • grapefruit $0.33
  • red and white onions $1.29/lb (They’ve had cheaper brown onions, but the quality has been crap)
  • roma tomatoes $0.48/lb
  • oranges $0.68/lb
  • mushrooms $2.49
  • bananas $0.69/lb
  • rice crackers $2.49
  • egg noodles $3.99
  • water chestnuts $0.99
  • sparkling waters $1.49
  • 18-ct eggs $4.39
  • orange juice $2.99
  • xtra lean ground beef $3.99/lb
  • orange chicken $7.49

Total spent: $93


FishPapa was home sick with us, but he was a trooper and ran FishBoy18 to the train while I slept in and then he stopped at Ralphs for juice for all us sickies. He also read my mind and stopped at the French bakery for baguette. Talk about Husband of the Year!

Since we didn’t plan a juice stop, it was a pricey juice stop, but we stayed hydrated, so there’s that!

  • gallon orange juice $3.99
  • organic apple juice $3.99
  • 100% juice Ocean Sprays $3.79

Total spent: $20

Total spent this week $173

Total spent MTD: $498

So, that’s our week, and the month to date. Seeing as we’re almost halfway through a short month, we should be able to stay under budget. Particularly so, since we STILL won’t be restocking the pantry. The termite tent might not happen until mid-late March, so we’re running on minimum supplies until then.

And in all honestly, the fridge freezer still needs some work. There are random grains and baked goods that I need to deal with in there.

How did the grocery shopping go for YOU this week?

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  1. I splurged on some salmon this week (tonight, actually!), but have otherwise been behaving myself in the continuing pantry challenge, so my monthly total is only up to $45. Woot woot!

  2. You really got grapefruit for 33 cents? Amazing! Even here in Florida where we also grow them, they’re still close to $1 each in the stores.

  3. Laurie in CA says:

    Sandi, our citrus in CA prices have been very good for the consumer (the weather conditions were very favorable this year).

    Well, I have a self-imposed ceiling of not spending ore than $50 for the rest of the month. That will put me $100 under budget for February and still have quite a bit of protein left in the freezer for March. Our new Sprouts opens next week. It is about 1 1/4 from me. It will be so much more convenient than the other one which is a 12 minute drive and in a much more congested area.

    Jessica, do you shop at a Wal Mart Super Store or a Wal Mart neighborhood store? I just can’t stand shopping at our local Super Store (even though it is less than two years old). The clientele at the Super Store are so rude and will just about mow you down. I’m willing to spend a few dollars more if need be and shop loss leaders at other stores to save.

  4. I’m up in Los Angeles and our Sprouts had poor quality brown onions (for cheap) too. 🙁

  5. I am trying to stay around $25 a week this month and so far so good. We have 5 teenage foster boys in our home and they can pack away the food. This is the third day of a five day break from school and the bread, milk and cereal supplies are dwindling quickly. We will need milk and bread today but I won’t buy cereal till next week because I will make muffins and pancakes for breakfast the next two days and then they will be back to eating breakfast and lunch at school again. Off to Aldi I go–have a great week everyone!

  6. I’ve been reading your blog for a while and I’m astounded by the prices you pay! Even at the Sprouts here (which is a 25 minute drive for me) grapefruit is a dollar or more each. For my family of three it’s not reasonable to buy in bulk, as the food will go bad. It is difficult to keep a small budget. Thanks for posting prices!

  7. What kind of flour did you buy in a 10 pound bag at wal mart? I can’t find a bag of unbleched AP in a bag larger than 5# and a decent price.

    I hope everyone is feeling well by now!

  8. Brandette W. says:

    I just wanted to post a word of caution to anyone who does use the Walmart Savings Catcher app. I have used it for about a year and over time had gotten back well over $100. I loved that! But, a few weeks ago I had a situation where my Walmart account was hacked, but it was hacked through the Savings Catcher app log-in. I do not have a regular Walmart online account. The hackers got into my account, changed my password and the email address associated to this account so that I could not get back in. They then proceeded to spend every penny of a large gift card I had saved. I lost it all. Of course, they did all of this very late at night and there was no way of me knowing…hello sleep.

    All of this to say, per what I was told by Walmart’s Tier 2 team and from my extensive online research, hackers have been easily cracking and getting into Walmart Savings Catcher accounts. This has been happening for a few years now, Walmart has not done anything to beef up the security protocol of their log-in site for the Savings Catcher, even though this is a very well known fraud avenue that hackers are easily gaining access to.

    I just wanted to put the word out there for others who may not know about the prevalence of this. I had no idea and happily used my Savings Catcher app all the time. I had a secure password, I thought I did everything right. Just be careful if you use this app and have a login. DO NOT store any gift cards, credit cards, or save up your savings catcher credits for very long.

    • Thanks for the tip. I’ve got $14 accrued so far on the app, and think of this comment every time it goes a little bit higher. Plus, my account was reset by Walmart because of a breach. Bummer.

      • Brandette W. says:

        You are VERY welcome. I was so sad when I lost my gift card money, it was a lot I had saved up. I didn’t want it to happen to anyone else, if I could help in some way.

        Just stay vigilant and use the savings often. I permanently deleted my account and no longer use the savings app. It wasn’t worth the stress for me, besides I mainly shop at Costco & Aldi now with Walmart thrown in occasionally for things not found elsewhere.

        Interesting that you account was reset by Walmart because of a breach.

  9. If you don’t mind sharing, what do you mean by the Sprouts’ chicken being bad quality? Bad experiences specific to your store, or is it something more?

    We have been on an unexpected strict budget in recent months, and in our area, Sprouts has the best sale prices for chicken. But I do try to keep health issues in mind when I shop too.

    Thanks for all the helpful tips and recipes; I have learned lots from your website!

    • It’s always tough and on the “crunchy” side. It could be the supplier for San Diego? I returned the last package I bought and just stopped buying it there. It’s the best price, but we don’t like it. :/

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