Grocery Geek: May, Week 1

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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. 

GG May 1 (3)

Here we are the end of the first week of May! That went fast. I feel like the week was a complete blur.

I limped to the end of my Whole 3o and opted not to worry about the reentry phase. I never felt great on the Whole 30 this time around. I think my thyroid is just more powerful than food right now. I’m hoping that my levels will even out.

On the plus side, I did lose some weight, something I’ve never done on the Whole 30. In fact, last time I gained six pounds. This time I lost it. So, the Whole 30 and I are even.

I’m ready to get into the swing of the FishMama Trifecta this weekend. Planning my meals as we speak…. I’ve got quiches in the freezer from my last freezer cooking so we’ll have that for Mother’s Day Brunch with either Orange Cinnamon Rolls or Raspberry Cream Cheese Coffeecake. The jury’s still out on that.

I plan on our buying sandwiches from Board and Brew for lunch. 😉 And playing on the beach. Then we’ll have Tri-tip Steaks for dinner. What fun food are you enjoying this weekend?

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 53, 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 of our 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 and college age son often pack lunch and breakfast to work, but sometime have lunch out. My husband and I enjoy 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 past week:

GG May 1


I went to Ralphs one day over the weekend and got the basics of weekend eating at our house, including the stuff for lemon cupcakes. I was super happy to find a few things on clearance.

  • tortilla chips $2.99
  • hot dog buns $2.29
  • hamburger buns $1.29
  • cake mix $1.79
  • whipping cream $4.99
  • Peets coffee $7.99
  • milk $2.39
  • powdered sugar $2.69
  • cilantro $0.69
  • lemons $0.79
  • veggie tray $2.99 clearance
  • broccoli/carrots pack $0.89 clearance
  • organic cucumbers $1.29
  • green onions $0.99
  • sandwich bread $3.49
  • ground turkey $1.99 clearance
  • uncured pepperoni $3.99
  • hot dogs $3.49

Total spent: $62

GG May 1 (1)


Two of the teens went with me to Costco which was great. I didn’t have to push the cart. I lost my Costco card sometime during the experience and had to get a temp card while waiting at the checkstand. That took forever because for some reason they only had my Kansas driver’s license information in the system.

While I was getting my new card made, the boys took the stuff to the car which was great. I’m trying not to be too crabby that they also tossed the receipt. One told the other that it was useless. {Mother freaks out upon hearing this.}

So, I can’t tell you what I paid for stuff, except to say that this totalled $330.

Total spent: $330

GG May 1 (2)

Ralphs again

Back to Ralphs for the pork roast that was going off sale. I bought two. I also found organic eggs on a huge markdown, so that was nice.

  • cake flour $3.99
  • cake mix $1.79
  • cocoa $2.99
  • chocolate chips $3.44 to $3.99
  • avocado $0.99
  • cilantro $0.69
  • mushrooms $4.49
  • limes $0.39
  • jalapeno $0.07
  • organic eggs $2.79
  • pork roast $1.77/lb
  • uncured pepperoni $3.99

Total spent: $55

Total spent this week: $447

So, our month’s spending is front loaded, thanks to the trip to Costco. I bought a lot of breads and cheeses so that lunches would be easy. I’m hoping to do some freezer cooking next week, so I’m not sure what the bills will add up to.

How did YOUR grocery geeking go this week?

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  1. Stephanie M. says:

    I’ve never reported on the Grocery Geek but I want to start saving all receipts for each month to see how much I’m spending. I do believe it’s gown down drastically but I want to know exactly how much. So far since May 1st, I’ve been to the grocery store twice. The first time I spent $43.64. I went again this morning and spent $64.76 for a total of $108.40. It will be interesting to see what I’ve spent for the whole month.

  2. My grocery/food/cooking success for this week was a new lasagna recipe. I mixed homemade/homegrown pesto with spaghetti sauce for the sauce, then layered noodles, spinach, sauteed onions, ricotta, and mozzarella. It tastes very earthy and delicious, and not quite like your standard tomato lasagna. I like it.

    Also, I read a lot of food blogs and yours is the one that makes me want to eat at your house.

  3. Melissa says:

    I’m still plugging away getting some meals made from your freezer cookbook for my niece, who will be giving birth any time now. I plan to have some good food, too, tomorrow. Bought some Italian meats & fixings for a Greek salad @ Costco the other day. I’m hoping to get the family out to a local state park for a picnic dinner tomorrow night. Happy Mother’s Day, Jessica!

  4. Amy Schmelzer says:

    I garden and use organic methods where I can. So my deal this week isn’t exactly food, but it is for the fertilizer that I will use on my garden this summer. I went to Lowes and found organic miracle grow fertilizer for 64-cents for a 6# bag! The regular price was $10.27. I bought four bags. I think they were on clearance so they could start carrying a different brand rather than Scotts.

    I am ready to start reaping the benefits of the garden. I’ve spent over $500 this year on it and all I have harvested so far is 6 cups of rhubarb. That cash would feed us for over a month. In a month or two I will start to see the smaller grocery receipts and it will be worth it all.

  5. Alice E says:

    Bet they remember to save the grocery receipt for you next time! . Hope the thyroid issues are better soon.

    I didn’t buy much this week but dairy and produce. Some breaded fish on sale for a quick meal after medical appointment. My big bargain this week was eggs on sale for 59 cents a dozen, limit 2 during the 3-day sale. I bought two and my husband brought two home one day, so we will be eating lots of eggs.

    Not sure what we will be doing for food tomorrow. Today was vegetable soup and crust-less cranberry pie baked in a square pan. Tomorrow I’m planning to make a breakfast pizza, but no real plans after that. I may celebrate by not cooking, there is lots of soup leftover.

    Have a happy Mother’s day.

    • Thanks for your kind wishes. Your breakfast pizza sounds interesting. What do you put on it?

      • Alice E says:

        Sorry, got sidetracked and haven’t been checking email to reply sooner.

        I make breakfast pizza by lining the pan with the crust, then beating up 6 eggs and pouring into the crust. Next I add toppings such as ham, sausage, bacon, onions, peppers, mushrooms or occasionally pepperoni depending on what is handy. Finally I add cheese and bake. I usually add a mix of cheeses such as a combination of 4 cheese Mexican and either mozzarella or and Italian blend. I usually use a medium cookie/sheet pan that is about 15 x 10 inches. If you used a substantially different sized pan you would need to adjust the number of eggs.

        Years ago when I first tried it they said to use a tube of crescent rolls for the crust, but I just use regular bread dough. I usually bake it at 425 for around 15 minutes, I think. I don’t really have the instructions written out anywhere. By the time the cheese is melted and lightly browned the eggs are done. I don’t suppose any two are ever exactly alike

  6. Happy Mama Day! I am not yet sure what we’ll be having for dinner tomorrow. I also have the trifecta in May (but anniversary not celebrated since hubs death ages ago). My birthday occasionally – and this year – falls on Mother’s Day, so we’re going out to eat! We just haven’t figured out where quite yet. With an attempt to make up for the excessive spending last month, I’ve been careful of purchases this month and have kept it to a whopping $28 so far. I doubt I’ll keep that up all month, but I’m happy for now.

    If you really want your Costco receipt, they can reprint it for you when you go back. I’ve done that several times.

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