What I spent on groceries in May (A Grocery Geek report)

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It has been a crazy month. Two birthdays, Mother’s Day, an anniversary, two visits with grandparents, and car trouble that stranded us in the dessert — all these added up to cra-zy! Thankfully, though, our grocery budget was able to weather the storms, despite more than a few splurges.

I think a lot of that was due to my baking. While I did pick up a few loaves of bread on clearance and such, I did most of our baking myself, using the sourdough starter my friend Kate sent me from Canada.

I also found some really good meat sales. Between the sale chicken and eating more beans, I think we got our protein costs down.

But, again, meal planning and ALDI prices have really helped keeping us in the black. As well as spending time with a Nanna who spoils you. What can I say?

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 March | Good Cheap Eats

  • I’m feeding eight people, ages 55, 46, 20, 17, 15, 14, 11, and 9. Five of those people are males. They eat A LOT!
  • I’m shooting for a budget of $1100 this year, trying to beat what the feds think it will cost. Per the USDA food cost reports it should cost our family $1336.20 to eat all meals at home under the “thrifty plan” for people of our demographics.
  • We 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 on groceries in May

ALDI

  • milk $2.10
  • whole milk half gallon $1.55
  • tomato sauce $0.29
  • sardines $0.99
  • eggs $0.94
  • sparkling water $0.69 after CRV

Total spent $29

Ralphs

  • flatbread $2.49
  • mushrooms $1.55
  • organic bagels on clearance $1.79
  • organic hot dogs on clearance $0.99
  • ground chicken $4.99
  • bone-in chicken breast $0.88/lb
  • bacon $3.24 after coupon
  • pepperoni $4.59

Total spent $28

Sprouts

  • 5# bag potatoes $2.94
  • 1# bag lemons $1.99
  • 2# bag clementines $2.50
  • eggplant $0.50 each
  • jalapeños $0.10 each
  • 3# organic apples $2.98
  • organic broccolette $0.98/bunch
  • red onions $0.89/lb
  • grapes $0.98/ln
  • roma tomatoes $0.50/lb
  • shishito peppers $1.98
  • sweet onion $0.98/lb
  • tortilla chips $3.99

Total spent $30

Costco

  • potstickers $6.89
  • tomato sauce $7.99
  • olive oil $14.69
  • chips multi-pack $8.89
  • diced tomatoes $9.99
  • butter $11.39
  • turkey breast $16.24
  • pita bread $3.39
  • shredded cheddar $11.99
  • organic brown rice $11.99
  • cheerios $3.99
  • greek yogurt $4.69
  • cucumbers $3.99
  • sliced sourdough $3.69
  • heavy cream $9.59
  • hummus singles $6.49
  • sharp Tillamook cheddar $8.99
  • avocado oil $9.69
  • English muffins $6.79
  • organic spinach $3.99
  • organic brown mushrooms $5.99
  • organic frozen berries $7.99
  • tortillas $3.69
  • organic cherries $7.99
  • pork tenderloin $2.99/lb
  • ground beef $3.99/lb

Total spent $270

Ralphs

  • organic sandwich bread $1.29 to $1.49 on clearance
  • bone-in chicken breast $0.88/lb

Total spent $11

Albertsons

  • eggs $2.49
  • organic celery $1.99
  • red leaf lettuce $1.69

Total spent $6

ALDI

  • crushed tomatoes $0.99
  • organic diced tomatoes $1.65
  • taco shells $0.99
  • milk $2.10
  • chips $1.99
  • lettuce $0.69
  • eggs $1.44
  • salt $0.49
  • coconut oil $3.99
  • sparkling water $0.69 after CRV

Total spent $40

Trader Joe’s (aka Vacation food)

  • bottled water $6.96
  • chocolate milk $3.99
  • sour cream $1.79
  • drinking yogurts $1.79
  • flavored yogurts $2.99
  • frozen chicken tenders $7.49
  • mocha $3.49
  • string cheese $2.99
  • gruyere $7.00
  • brie $4.40
  • salami $4.49
  • organic celery $1.99
  • baby carrots $1.49
  • organic ketchup $1.99
  • garbanzo beans $0.79
  • red wine vinegar $1.99
  • cornichons $2.69
  • hot sauce $2.99
  • ak-mak $1.99
  • almond butter $5.99
  • hatch valley salsa $2.99
  • corn tortillas $0.99
  • dried mango slices $2.99
  • cashews $7.99
  • hibiscus tea $2.49
  • raw almonds $5.99
  • pasta $0.99 to $1.49
  • Larabars $0.99
  • plantain chips $1.69
  • chips $1.99 to $2.99
  • 2# bag organic apples $2.99
  • sundried tomatoes $1.99
  • red bell peppers $0.99
  • organic banana chips $3.49

Total spent $152

Trader Joe’s (more vacation food)

  • mochi $3.49
  • ice cream $3.99
  • red bell peppers $0.99
  • zucchini $3.29
  • almond toffee $1.49
  • red onion $0.89
  • sausage $4.49
  • boneless skinless chicken breast $2.99/lb
  • chopped salad $2.99
  • seasoning $1.99
  • naan $3.69
  • kefir $2.99

Total spent $45

Ralphs

  • romaine $1.29
  • avocado $2.99
  • power greens $1.49 on clearance
  • cilantro $0.50
  • bananas $0.59/lb
  • jalapeños $0.99/lb
  • watermelon $1.50
  • melon $1.50
  • organic mushrooms $2.49
  • carrots $1.59
  • strawberries $2.50
  • organic white bread $1.29 on clearance
  • face $2.50
  • boneless skinless chicken breast $1.49
  • salmon $6.99/lb

Total spent $43

Sprouts

  • strawberries $2.50
  • mushrooms $3.49
  • 3# bag onions $1.99
  • grape tomatoes $0.99
  • blueberries $1.25
  • zucchini $1.29/lb
  • jumbo avocado $1.66
  • organic broccoli $1.48/lb
  • opal apples $0.88/lb
  • organic celery $1.49
  • red bell peppers $0.88 each
  • red yams $0.88/lb
  • shishito peppers $1.98
  • teas $4.99 to $6.49
  • organic spreadable honey $5.99
  • canned beans $0.89
  • cage free eggs $3.99
  • Crio Bru $4.99 on clearance
  • peas $1.99
  • organic hashbrowns $2.99

Total spent $77

Ralphs

  • boneless chicken breast $1.49/lb
  • water chestnuts $0.99
  • green onions 2/$0.99
  • baby carrots $1.99
  • baby carrots FREE
  • organic baby spinach $4.99
  • Nappa cabbage $1.92
  • pepperoni $2.99

Total spent $30

ALDI

  • eggs $0.94
  • cilantro $0.29
  • iceberg $0.95
  • chicken breast $1.89
  • frozen veggies $0.79 to $1.59
  • pepperoni $2.19
  • cottage cheese $1.99
  • sour cream $1.29
  • milk $2.10
  • chips $1.99
  • jalapeños $0.99
  • diced tomatoes $0.65
  • tomato paste $0.39

Total spent $51

Ralphs

  • sodas $1.35
  • chips $3.99
  • cheerios free after coupon
  • buttermilk $2.99
  • sugar $2.99
  • larabar free after coupon
  • truffle bar free after coupon

Total spent $18

Sprouts

  • 2# strawberries $1.98
  • hot house cucumber $1.50
  • jumbo avocado $1.88
  • opal apples $0.98/lb
  • organic baby spinach $4.99
  • organic broccoli $1.99/lb
  • whole mushrooms $3.49
  • red bell peppers $0.33
  • shishito peppers $1.98
  • bananas $0.59/lb
  • xtra lean ground beef $3.99/lb

Total spent $50

Ralphs

  • milk $2.39

Total spent $5

Trader Joe’s

  • strong cheese $2.99
  • frozen chicken tenders $7.49
  • ice cream $3.79
  • bacon $4.99
  • gruyere $8.81
  • salsa $2.99
  • cashews $6.99
  • almonds $5.99
  • frozen mango $2.99
  • frozen strawberries $1.99
  • coconut milk $1.29
  • black beans $0.79
  • cereal $2.49

Total spent $73

ALDI

  • eggs $0.94
  • bottled water $3.19 after CRV
  • milk $2.10
  • strawberries $0.85
  • diced green chiles $0.59
  • mini cucumbers $1.95
  • cauliflower $2.29
  • dried black beans $2.49
  • flour tortillas $1.59
  • 10# potatoes $0.88
  • sour cream $1.29
  • ciabatta rolls $2.89

Total spent $36

Total spent in May $994

Spent in 2018:

  • January: $490
  • February: $1084
  • March: $1224
  • April: $1009
  • May: $994

Total spent YTD: $4801

That’s an average of $960/month!

So far so good!

About Jessica Fisher

I believe great meals don't have to be complicated or expensive. There's a better way, and it won't take all afternoon.

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Comments

  1. Jillbert says:

    I’m a grocery geek, too, so I love these posts. I think it’s notable what you do NOT buy as much as what you do. I don’t see junk food or sugary drinks. I’m sure your careful purchases of basics — meat, veg, cheese, etc. and cooking at home allow you to manage your food costs so well and eat gourmet. Bravo!

  2. Ah the monthly Grocery Geek report! One of my favorites.
    You did an awesome job with all you had going on and with the extra spent for your trips etc.
    Our May total was $116.94. I stopped shopping May 20th in anticipation of our vacation and we left the fridge and pantry pretty empty. It will take some money to restock but by being under budget every month this year the money is already there!
    We are already ready for home cooked food! Eating out every meal really adds up. Thank goodness for free breakfasts 5 out of 7 days. That helps a little and the hotel does have a lot of variety.

  3. Alice E says:

    I, too, love these posts. You do an amazing job of managing everything. I’m in relaxed and not tracking mode still since surgery in April. The need to switch my diet to very low-fat for now, interrupted my general reliance on the pantry for items bought on sale and required some additional purchases. But we are still keeping costs fairly low and coping well. I envy your access to lower priced produce, but cope pretty well by purchasing frozen on sale, especially for veg. My sympathy for the car breakdown, those are always a pain and this sounds like it was at the worst time in the worst place!

  4. The only good thing about it being June is the Grocery Geek Report! Thanks for sharing Jessica!

  5. Roberta says:

    We came in at $242.09 for May ($240.45 monthly avg.) for our family of three. So far, so good!

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