What I spent on groceries in September

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

Howdy! Howdy! The Grocery Geek is back! And in full force! If you are on my email list, you probably already received my September ramble. If not, here’s the scoop: Two weeks ago we decided to make some changes to our total budget; we’re acting like we’re in debt, so we can save some more money each month.

Kinda exciting when it’s really not critical. It becomes kinda like a game! So, we’re living like it’s 2008 and working toward spending only what we need to spend.

If you’ve been following along with the Grocery Geek report, you know that last month, I did a big Ma Ingalls stock-up as if San Diego was going to get snowed in and I’d lose access to the 23 stores in a 10-mile radius. Part of that is the farmer DNA in me, part just because the deals were so amazing.

This month I focused on using up what we had, which included a freezer full of freezer meals, as well as shopping sales and clearance. I scored big time AND, as you’ll see, got our 2019 monthly average for groceries well below our target.

October will be another refill the freezer month, but I think we’ll do okay, particularly if I shop the sales right.

Of note: As I was going over my receipts, I found two errors from Ralphs that I didn’t catch at the time. My bad. I’m taking back one item (that was supposed to be a Free Friday item) and going to ask them if they’ll refund a double charge, even though it’s been a week. We’ll see what they say. It’s very handy to take photos of your groceries, LOL!

Anyway, here we are…

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, 21, 17, 16, 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 most recent USDA food cost reports it should cost our family $1346.60 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 September:

ALDI

  • sugar $1.89
  • organic diced tomatoes $1.65
  • organic ground ginger $1.99
  • mustard $1.75
  • onions $1.35
  • cilantro $0.33
  • cottage cheese $1.99
  • chips $1.99 to $2.49
  • crushed tomatoes $0.99
  • canned garbanzo beans $0.69
  • crushed red pepper $0.99
  • chili pepper paste $2.99
  • organic ketchup $1.59
  • green tea $0.99
  • cookies $1.99 to $2.29
  • organic sandwich bread $4.29
  • b/s chicken breast $1.49/lb

Total spent $67

ALDI

  • shredded frozen potatoes $1.69
  • water bottles $2.99 plus CRV
  • salsa verde $1.79
  • diced green chiles $0.59
  • eggs $0.95/dozen

Total spent $20

Sprouts

  • strawberries$2.50
  • grapes $0.77/lb
  • jalapeños 8/$1
  • organic baby carrots $0.98/lb
  • organic celery $0.98
  • organic apples $0.98/lb
  • mushrooms $1.99
  • red bell peppers $0.88
  • shredded carrots $1.99
  • bananas $0.59/lb
  • clearance potato chips $1.99

Total spent $28

Ralphs

  • Mission chips $1.69/large bag
  • Italian rolls FREE with purchase of sausages
  • penne $0.99/lb
  • Life cereal $0.99/box
  • Ding Dongs $2.79 (I was binge-watching The Closer)
  • Peatos $2.50 (supposed to have been free Friday download, will take back)
  • pasta $0.79
  • yogurt packs $0.99 to $1.99
  • xl large fage $5.99
  • individual yogurts $0.49 manager’s special
  • sausage $3.50/lb
  • organic chicken hot dogs $1.29 manager’s special
  • Boursin $2.49 manager’s special
  • mentos gum FREE with coupon

Total spent $49

Sprouts

  • lemons 2/$1
  • limes 3/$1
  • apples $0.98/lb
  • bananas $0.59/lb
  • organic lemon juice $4.49
  • raspberry zinger tea $3.50

Total spent $18

Sprouts

  • clementines $2.98/2#
  • sushi $5 each
  • cranberry juice $2.99

Total spent $16

Ralphs

  • hot dog buns $1.00 manager’s special
  • hamburger buns $0.49 manager’s special
  • buttermilk $3.19
  • mozzarella $3.39
  • eggs $2.59
  • milk $2.49
  • broccoli $1.99/lb
  • strawberries $1.99
  • carrots $0.99
  • kale salad kit $2.50 manager’s special
  • organic sandwich bread $0.79 manager’s special plus coupon
  • sour cream $1.99
  • Face yogurt $1.79 to $1.99 manager’s special
  • individual yogurts $0.49 manager’s special
  • chocolate milk $2.99
  • ham $1.24 to $1.99 sales plus coupons
  • uncured hot dogs $2.79
  • sourdough bread $0.49 manager’s special

Total spent $54

Sprouts

  • baby carrots $0.88
  • 5# russet potatoes $1.99
  • grapes $0.68/lb
  • cilantro $0.50
  • tomatoes $0.88/lb
  • grape tomatoes $2.50
  • cucumbers $0.88
  • zucchini $1.29/lb
  • jalapeños 8 for $1
  • XL avocados $2.00
  • apples $0.88/lb
  • mushrooms $3.99
  • red bell pepper $1.50
  • red onions $1.29/lb
  • coleslaw mix $1.49
  • bananas $0.48/lb
  • milk $2.59

Total spent $34

ALDI

  • sparkling water $0.65
  • eggs $0.95
  • pepperoni $2.19
  • red peppers $0.78
  • chips $1.99
  • kefir $2.29

Total spent $37

Ralphs

  • hamburger buns $1.19 manager’s special
  • mozzarella cheese $3.39
  • gourmet jam $2.29 manager’s special
  • grapes $0.88/lb
  • nectarines $0.99/lb
  • plums $0.99/lb
  • red leaf lettuce leaves $1.49 manager’s special
  • salad kit $1.49 manager’s special
  • personal watermelons $1.25 each
  • yogurt FREE with coupon
  • epic bar FREE with coupon
  • organic apple juice $0.99

Total spent $32

Sprouts

  • 5# potatoes $1.99
  • broccoli crowns $1.79/lb
  • cilantro $0.50
  • garlic $0.50
  • green leaf lettuce $1.29
  • jalapeños 8 for $1
  • mild cheddar cheese $4.74

Total spent $12

ALDI

  • cottage cheese$1.99
  • taco shells $0.99
  • corn tortillas $1.95
  • milk $2.10
  • iceberg lettuce $0.95
  • eggs $0.95

Total spent $19

Walmart

  • 10# unbleached flour $5.98

Total spent $12

Ralphs

  • large boxes multi-grain cheerios $1.49 sales plus coupon
  • family pack Nabisco crackers $1.99
  • family pack Oreos $1.99
  • shredded cheese $2.99
  • half and half $2.99
  • mushrooms on clearance $1.89
  • sugar snap peas $2.49 on clearance
  • yogurt $1.79 on clearance
  • sandwich bread $3.49
  • lunch meat $2.99
  • bacon $3.19 to $3.99

Total spent $56

Sprouts

  • pears $0.98/lb
  • grapes $0.77/lb
  • apples $0.99/lb
  • cilantro $0.50
  • XL avocados $2.00
  • kumato tomatoes $1.98
  • mini watermelon $1.98
  • organic spinach $4.99
  • nectarines $0.77/l
  • bell peppers $0.50
  • red cabbage $1.49
  • romaine lettuce $1.29
  • shredded carrots $1.99
  • bananas $0.59/lb
  • boneless pork roast $1.99/lb
  • xtra lean ground beef $2.99/lb

Total spent $88

ALDI

  • shredded frozen potatoes $1.69
  • frozen green beans $1.19
  • eggs $0.95
  • potato puffs $1.69
  • crushed tomatoes $0.99
  • flour tortillas $1.59
  • roma tomatoes $0.89/lb
  • sour cream $1.29
  • 10# russet potatoes $2.49
  • white vinegar $2.39
  • diced tomatoes $0.69
  • 10# long grain rice $3.99
  • broccoli crowns $1.35
  • pineapple $0.95
  • extra sharp cheddar $2.99
  • milk $2.10
  • b/s chicken breasts $1.89/lb

Total spent $62

Costco

  • greek yogurt $5.59
  • Asiago cheese $8.01
  • English muffins $6.79
  • milk $4.49
  • shredded mozzarella $11.89
  • avocado oil $9.69
  • olive oil $14.69
  • cran-raspberry juice $5.99
  • quaker oats $8.39
  • tortillas $3.69
  • 5 dozen eggs $6.99
  • half and half $5.69
  • hummus singles $10.99
  • mini baby bel $7.39
  • Italian sausage $11.99
  • sharp Tillamook $8.99
  • breakfast sausage $13.99

Total spent $158

Ralphs

  • XL goldfish crackers $3.99 with digital sale
  • vegetable medley $2.49 mgr’s special
  • bananas $0.59/lb
  • mushrooms $1.89 mgr’s special
  • salad kits $0.99 mgr’s special
  • coleslaw mix $0.69 mgr’s special
  • organic hamburger buns $0.99 mgr’s special
  • organic sandwich bread $1.49 mgr’s special
  • Siggi’s yogurt $2.49 mgr’s special
  • Italian sausage $2.49 mgr’s special

Total spent $40

September subtotal: $802

minus $9.o0 Ibotta earnings

minus $6 Ralphs adjustments

Spent in September: $787

Spent in 2018:

  • January: $490
  • February: $1084
  • March: $1224
  • April: $1009
  • May: $994
  • June: $1095
  • July: $1354
  • August: $1624
  • September $787

Total spent YTD: $9661

That’s an average of $1073/month!

Woohoo! So, while I certainly went over last month, I was clearly under this month. With the cushion I’d built in January due to an extreme Pantry Challenge, our yearly average is well under budget.

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. Abby says:

    I think you got the wrong size peatos for the free Friday! Mine was the snack size and was only 99 cents before the free coupon.

    • Jen says:

      Yes, I also picked up the wrong size. My store refunded me the money.

      My kids loved them!

      • They ended up giving my money back and letting me keep the Peatos. I tried to talk her out of it, but okay!

  2. Rachel says:

    The free peatos were a tiny individual sized bag not not the normal size bag. That is probably why they charged you.

    • Yes. I found that out when I took them back. I’m usually really good about reading the signs and double-checking the receipt. But, I spaced on that.

  3. Kathleen says:

    I love your grocery geek reports! I want start tracking my grocery costs and see where we can maybe save a bit more, or at least know what a good price is tor things. We’re already under the USDA thrifty plan for our family size as well. Also, I miss Sprouts! We could always get great produce for a great price there.

  4. Roberta says:

    You had a great month! We came in at 264.79 for the three of us, bringing our monthly average to $230.33.

  5. Trish says:

    Love grocery geek!!! wow ,it really helps to be close to the source of Cali strawberries. I am buying them in the midwest for my salads, and that size costs me $4.99. I am really looking forward to another pantry challenge!

  6. Diane says:

    Great job ! We are debt free but still choose to be very frugal.

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