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Grocery Geek: What We Spent in August

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

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Whew. August flew by for me. How about you? While we’re saying good bye to summer vacation, it appears that summer weather has only just begun! Today it’s 93 degrees in the house. [wipes the sweat from her brow as she types.]

School starts on Tuesday, and it promises to be a full school year. My grocery shopping this month was done in anticipation of such. I did a fair amount of freezer cooking as well as stocking of the cupboards for school lunches.

I did go a wee bit over budget, but the freezer is jam packed full. Nothing more will fit in it, so we can start eating it up, and maybe have a lower month.

Again, I’m impressed with ALDI. Last weekend I went to stock up on some things that I knew were the best deal there. I found chicken on sale for $1.40/lb., the lowest I’ve seen in years. I bought two bulk packs, not sure if we’d like it. When I sent my husband back two days later for more, the sale was over. That’ll teach me. Go back right away when you find a great deal. I’ll be hounding their ads from now on. I think I found a new favorite source of chicken!

The Grocery Geek report

For those of you new here, Grocery Geek is my regular 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

To update you on my grocery geekiness:Grocery Geek: What We Spent in January

  • I’m feeding eight people, ages 53, 44, 20, 16, 15, 13, 10, and 8. 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.
  • BEFORE YOU JUDGE ME FOR EXTRAVAGANCE, please read this post.

What we spent in August:

Costco

  • romaine 6-pack $3.29
  • 2 gallons milk $4.39
  • 3-pack pineapple juice $5.29
  • 2 dozen pack organic eggs $6.49
  • 5# shredded mozzarella $10.99
  • 6-pack red peppers $5.99
  • ginormous bag tortilla chips $3.49
  • ginormous Kirkland Greek yogurt $5.79
  • equally ginormous Fage Greek yogurt $6.39
  • sugar snap peas $4.49

Total spent $63

Sprouts

  • cauliflower $1.49/lb
  • eggplant $1.29 each
  • green bell peppers 50 cents each
  • Italian squash $0.98/lb
  • grapes $1.98/lb
  • roma tomatoes $0.99/lb
  • yellow onions (3-lb) $1.99
  • buttermilk $2.69
  • chicken breast $3.97
  • pita bread $4.99

Total spent $27

Costco

  • organic pasta $6.49
  • single hummus $6.49
  • romano cheese $9.43
  • sugar snap peas $4.49
  • cucumbers $3.29
  • Tillamook cheddar $8.99
  • 2 dozen pack organic eggs $6.49

Total spent $45

Trader Joe’s

  • milk $2.99
  • b/s chicken breasts $5.79
  • ginger paste $1.99
  • almond butter $6.99
  • shredded cheese $3.49
  • iceberg lettuce $0.99
  • shredded cabbage $1.29

Total spent $27

Sprouts

  • broccoli $1.99
  • cilantro $0.50
  • grapes $1.98/lb
  • red onions $0.99/lb
  • roma tomatoes $0.99/lb
  • baby greens $2.99
  • potatoes $1.99/lb
  • organic sweetened condensed milk $0.99 clearance
  • pearl couscous $3.79
  • mustard $1.99
  • chocolate milk $2.79
  • frozen raspberries $2.99

Total spent $33

Ralphs

  • juice $1.99 to $3.25 with sales and coupons
  • rye bread $4.49
  • LaCroix $3.33
  • frozen vegetables $1.69
  • butter $3.79
  • Cheerios $2.49
  • cheese $1.99
  • corn on the cob $2.40
  • watermelon $3.00
  • avocados $1.76
  • apples $1.29/lb
  • mangoes $0.99 each
  • red onions $0.99/lb
  • tomatoes $0.99/lb
  • cucumber $0.99/each
  • jalapenos $0.99/lb
  • honey ham $4.99
  • bratwurst $2.19 to $2.49 with sales and coupons
  • sourdough bread $2.29

Total spent $84

Sprouts

  • strawberries 3/$5.00
  • 5# potatoes $2.99
  • artisan lettuce $0.99
  • garlic 3/$0.99
  • half pt blueberries 3/$5.00
  • nectarines $0.98/lb
  • organic pink lady apples $1.48/lb
  • red bell peppers 2 for $1
  • roma tomatoes $1.49/lb
  • cherries $1.48/lb
  • sweet onions 2#/$1
  • yellow bananas $0.59/lb
  • milk $2.99
  • safe eggs $5.99
  • grass fed beef $3.99/lb
  • french bread $1.29 each
  • hamburger buns $2.99
  • Deli meats $3 to $4

Total spent $85

Trader Joe’s

Birthday girl shopping trip

  • shredded hashbrowns $1.69
  • rice vinegar $1.99
  • soy sauce $2.99
  • pepperoni $8.97
  • cereal $1.99
  • powdered sugar $2.99
  • bacon $4.99
  • GF brownie mix $3.99
  • corn tortillas $0.99
  • smoothies $3.69
  • gf pizza crusts $3.69
  • coconut milk $1.69
  • coconut cream $2.29
  • frozen mango $2.49
  • frozen pineapple $1.99
  • sunbutter $4.99
  • pickles $2.99
  • eggs $0.50
  • string cheese $2.99

Total spent $67

Sprouts

  • carrots $0.77
  • mushrooms $3.49
  • blueberries $3.98
  • cilantro 2/$1
  • garlic 3/$1
  • green onions 2/$1
  • squash $0.98/lb
  • oranges $1.49/lb
  • lemons $0.69
  • nectarines $0.98/lb
  • organic baby spinach $3.89
  • organic kale $0.88
  • organic strawberries 2/$6.00
  • organic celery $1.99
  • organic apples $1.48/lb
  • red onions $0.77/lb
  • red yams $0.98/lb
  • coleslaw mix $1.49
  • melon $2.o0
  • yellow bananas $0.59/lb
  • onions 3#/$1.99
  • black beans $1.49
  • rice noodles $2.50

Total spent $62

Costco

  • juices $15.00
  • baking potatoes $9.99
  • bread $5.79
  • burger buns $2.19
  • eggs $2.69
  • crackers $9.89
  • fruit leathers $11.99
  • tortilla chips $3.49
  • jerky $11.79
  • olive oil $14.99
  • avocado oil $7.99
  • butter $11.40
  • mayonnaise $4.99
  • cucumbers $3.29
  • 5# shredded mozzarella $10.99
  • 6-pack red peppers $5.99
  • tortillas $3.69
  • sugar snap peas $4.49
  • Tillamook cheddar $8.99
  • rotisserie chicken meat $11.99
  • torta rolls $6.49
  • breakfast sausage $13.99
  • ground beef $3.99
  • english muffins $6.79
  • sourdough $3.69
  • pita bread $2.99

Total spent $270

Trader Joe’s

  • flour tortillas $1.99
  • string cheese $2.99
  • hashbrowns $1.69
  • shredded cheddar $3.49
  • frozen chicken tenders $7.49
  • milk $2.99

Total spent $30

Costco

  • juice $5.99
  • turkey breast $11.37
  • tuna $12.99
  • rotisserie chicken $4.99
  • ham $7.85

Total spent $48

Sprouts

  • carrots $1.49
  • 5# potatoes $2.99
  • mushrooms $3.49
  • cilantro 2/$1
  • green onions 2/$1
  • half pint blueberries 3/$5
  • nectarines $0.98/lb
  • red bell peppers 2/$1
  • beans $0.89
  • tortilla chips $1.99
  • grass fed beef $3.99/lb
  • flour tortillas $3.89
  • hashbrowns $2.39

Total spent $31

Costco

  • craisins $8.89
  • oats $5.89
  • chicken breast $26.80
  • organic pasta $6.49
  • butter $11.95
  • milk $4.39
  • avocado oil $7.99
  • mushrooms $5.99
  • eggs $6.49
  • broccoli $4.49
  • snap peas $4.49
  • chicken sausage $13.89
  • heavy cream $13.89
  • bagels $5.49
  • sourdough $3.69
  • bread $6.99

Total $169

Trader Joe’s

  • milk $1.99
  • cereal $1.99
  • sunbutter $1.99
  • chai $2.49
  • cashews $7.99

Total spent $22

Ralphs

  • chili powder $0.79
  • oregano $0.79
  • cilantro 2/$1
  • jalapeno $0.13
  • habanero $0.25

Total spent $3

Costco

  • milk $4.39
  • potatoes $8.99
  • shredded cheese $12.49
  • hot dog buns $2.19
  • cheddar $8.99
  • sour cream $3.99
  • mushrooms $5.99
  • hot dogs $8.99
  • sourdough $3.69
  • turkey breast $14.96
  • ground beef $2.99/lb
  • country ribs $2.49/lb
  • rotisserie chicken $4.99

Total spent $152

ALDI

  • sparkling water $0.59
  • crushed tomatoes $0.99
  • spready cheese $2.79
  • hot dogs $3.89 (Costco was cheaper)
  • brats from Germany $3.99
  • sugar $1.89
  • ham $7.15
  • brown sugar $1.29
  • black beans $0.89
  • pinto beans $0.89
  • cilantro $0.48
  • red peppers $0.75/each
  • frozen quinoa entree $2.49
  • frozen strawberries $1.89
  • frozen blueberries $1.89
  • eggs $0.54/dozen
  • cucumbers $0.98
  • taco shells $0.99
  • cabbage $0.48/lb
  • shredded cheese $2.59
  • 80 tortillas $2.29
  • kiwi $2.99
  • organic tomato sauce $0.69
  • green onions $0.99
  • jalapeno peppers $0.68/lb
  • tostada shells $0.99
  • applesauce $1.89
  • green chiles $0.55
  • raspberry jam $2.49
  • pineapple slices $0.95
  • cream cheese $1.29
  • sour cream $1.29
  • cookies $1.89
  • onions $0.50/lb
  • lemons $2.99
  • bananas $0.39/lb
  • chicken breast $1.40 (wish I had bought more, but I wasn’t sure we’d love it like we did)
  • canned salmon $2.49
  • sugar cones $1.49
  • crackers $1.69
  • sparkling water case $2.49
  • ground beef $2.99/lb
  • milk $2.29
  • macaroni $1.69

Total spent $187

Total spent in August: $1405

  • January $356
  • February $1015
  • March $1336
  • April $1347
  • May $390
  • June $1200
  • July $1354
  • August $1405

Total spent YTD: $8403

Monthly average $1,050.38

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Comments

  1. I am impressed by how much food you money bought! Bless you for sharing. If the freezer is full, then your money has been invested in food for the future as well. I wish that Aldi, Sprouts and Trader Joes were closer, none of them are within 5 miles of me. With just two of us, we don’t use enough produce for me to go the extra distance for sprouts, usually. I just settle for what is closer and on sale. I. too, have stocked up some in the last month or so and the freezers are pretty full. Now, to start using it up.

    Don’t feel too bad about the chicken, I have learned as I’m sure you have to not stock up until I know we’ll like something. I have done so a time or two and lived to regret it as I tried to find a way to use and not waste something we really didn’t like.

    • ALDI and Trader Joe’s are both more than five miles away, so I plan my shopping with other errands, otherwise it isn’t worth it. The Ralphs and Sprouts stops are more often because I don’t want to drive. Those are closer to home.

  2. I have really enjoyed your blog, this post especially. I live in Virginia and it’s very interesting to me to compare the prices in our area to yours. I guess I am a fellow “grocery geek” . Unfortunately, the closest Aldi is a little over an hour from my home and the closest Trader Joe’s is a little over an hour and a half away. ( We live in a rural area so our local grocery stores are still 25-30 minutes away.) Thank you for taking the time to post your monthly spending. As I continue to work on our grocery budget, this gives me an idea of how to track spending and also ideas for meal ingredients.

    • Yeah, ALDI and TJ’s would not be worth your while at all. When I go see my inlaws also in a rural area, I find that their local stores have some great sales. You just have to be strategic wherever you live.

  3. I agree with you on Aldi and meat … we buy a few small packages and then dang, wish we had bought more! Stock up when the chicken tenders go on sale for $1.99 a pound! I stopped by boneless skinless thighs anywhere else but Aldis. $1.99 beats the $2.99 and up for crummy deboning and skinning whereas I’ve always been happy with Aldi. Question … why do you buy the Kirkland Greek yogurt AND FAGE? The Boy swears they taste the same so he saves his money and buys the twin pack of Kirkland. Just curious 🙂

    • I went back the next week and they had it at $1.89/lb which is still less than I’ve been paying elsewhere, so I guess that’s their regular price. yay!

      As for yogurt: That’s my husband’s doing. I have no idea why he buys both. I don’t think they taste the same, but it isn’t a huge difference. Our Costco doesn’t sell it as twin packs, so the price difference is almost negligible. 60 cents more for Fage but the Fage container is a little bigger?

  4. Here in AZ our local Walmart will do price matching on the prices other stores offer on their circulars. This alone has saved me a ton of money. I try to buy mostly the cheapest and healthiest items for sale. When I can get deals for under a dollar I will buy them in bulk. I don’t know what CA has, but try to see if your local grocer does price matching.

    • I’m not sure if ours does it in person anymore. They directed me to use the app a few years ago and so that’s what I do. I remember living in Kansas, they refused to price match with ALDI.Regardless, it’s a great option! Thanks for reminding us!

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