Grocery Geek: May, Week 2

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

Grocery Geek: May, Week 2 | Good Cheap Eats

The FishMama Trifecta is in full swing! On Sunday, we celebrated Mother’s Day with a day at the beach. This weekend, my husband and I are celebrating our 22nd anniversary with a day at the beach. 😉

Next week, FishBoy11-almost-12 will be celebrating his birthday, and the week after that is my birthday. Whew! It’s a big month for us.

I’ve always loved May!

As such, I haven’t felt too bad that we’re also celebrating with food. We don’t get out much, we drive old cars, and our debts are paid. 

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

Grocery Geek: May, Week 2 | Good Cheap EatsTo 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:

Grocery Geek: May, Week 2 | Good Cheap Eats


On Sunday morning FishChick7 and I went to the store. It was just for a few things, like bottled water and juices to take to the beach, but it kinda morphed into a few more things. I’m a sucker for Ralphs grocery sales.

You’ll notice a handful of FREE items as well as high dollar coupons, thanks to Ralphs customer loyalty programs.

  • hashbrowns $2.99
  • frozen vegetables $1.49 (hopefully these won’t get recalled!)
  • Milano cookies $1.99 (for a recipe)
  • bottled water $5.19 after CRV
  • sorbet $1.99 to $2.99 after sales and coupon
  • whipping cream $4.99
  • sour cream $2.49
  • tortillas chips $1.99
  • Peets coffee $4.49 to $6.99 after sales and coupons
  • bread FREE
  • tarragon $3.49
  • Cheerios FREE
  • sweetened condensed milk $1.59
  • cranberry juice 6 pack $4.29 (for the beach)
  • bottled juices $2.49
  • buttermilk $2.99
  • milk $2.29
  • cucumbers 2/$1
  • broccoli $0.99/lb
  • romaine hearts $3.79
  • baby carrots FREE
  • potatoes $3.99/10#
  • romas $0.99/lb
  • Lindt truffle bar FREE
  • -$10 off $100 order
  • -$2 off $10 produce

Total spent: $87

Grocery Geek: May, Week 2 | Good Cheap Eats

Trader Joe’s

Some things are just a better value at Trader Joe’s. So on our way home from the beach we stopped to top off my list.

  • cereal $2.99
  • sparkling water $0.99
  • frozen chicken tenders $7.49
  • plantain chips $1.69
  • mustard $1.69
  • rice crackers $2.69
  • corn tortillas $0.99
  • cream cheese $1.69
  • apples $2.69/2#
  • sunflower butter $4.99
  • Brie $4.30
  • sesame oil $2.69
  • oat bran $2.79
  • ground turkey $2.99/#

Total spent: $91

Grocery Geek: May, Week 2 | Good Cheap Eats


It wouldn’t be a normal week without a return trip to Ralphs. This time I scored on some markdowns.

  • milk $2.19
  • gala apples $0.99/#
  • personal watermelon $1.88
  • bananas $0.69 to $0.89 (conventional and organic)
  • kashi cereal $1.99 clearance
  • organic frozen berries $3.49
  • organic bread $1.99 clearance
  • salami $5.49
  • rondele cheese $4.99
  • hummus $2.49
  • clearance bread $0.99
  • truffle bars $1.00

Total spent: $41

Grocery Geek: May, Week 2 | Good Cheap Eats


I don’t shop at Walmart too often these days. It seems like a black hole to me. I get lost and buy too much, but we needed to replenish some baking supplies, and that’s the best place for that when there aren’t sales.

I did stock up on smores supplies, too. It’s almost summer!

  • chocolate bars $3
  • brown sugar $1.98
  • chocolate chips $2.98
  • sure jell $4.44 (making jam next week!)
  • cake mix $1.17
  • marshmallows $1.96
  • sugar $2.38
  • graham crackers $3
  • flour $5.98

Total spent: $39

Total spent this week: $258

Total spent this month to date: $705

So, we’re halfway through the month and we’ve spent over half our groceries. With so many celebrations, we may go over, or not. I did some freezer cooking this week and have an extra 4 meals in the freezer. Not a ton, but I tripled dinner two nights this week and that makes a difference. I also have the stuff to make another four freezer meals, but I ran out of time this week.

I’m thinking we’ll be okay.

How did YOUR grocery geeking go this week?

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  1. Stephanie M. says:

    I’ve only been to the grocery store twice in May so the amount I’ve spent so far still sits the same as week one: $108.40. I am determined not to go to the store and impulse buy which is something I’ve become very good at over the years. It used to be that every time my husband got paid (15th and 30th), the first thing I did was run to the store, stock up on all kinds of things I didn’t need, stuff my freezer and pantry and then after a while, be stuck with so much stuff I don’t know what to do with. I will be needing to get a few things though in the next few days but only what I NEED.

  2. Alice E says:

    I found some bargains this week. Mayonnaise and cheese on a buy 8 save $8 deal and a good buy on some boneless ham I had the store slice a half inch thick. I will freeze this in packages of 2 slices so I have it for breakfasts, casseroles, soups and whatever for the two of us. With grocery expenditures for the month at 132.26 I’m still well below the thrifty plan for families of 2. But, I have a pantry and freezer and though I’ve been using them down I am in much better shape that way than you are after the tenting. I think you are doing very well! Give yourself a big pat on the back and enjoy the celebrating this month!

  3. I’d been afraid to look since I knew we’d made a few small splurges. It isn’t as bad as I thought it might be – 65% of the monthly budget at only 50% of the month – so I’m not too concerned. The problem with a small budget is that any small splurges can have big percentage impacts even if it isn’t really a lot of money spent. I am confident it will all average out.

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