What I spent on groceries in November

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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.

Hey hey hey! Here we are at the end of November. It was a whirlwind of a month. We celebrated two birthdays as well as Thanksgiving where we hosted an extra five in addition to our 8. My inlaws stayed for a few days as well.

The good thing is that though I did max out our groceries, I didn’t go too far over budget. Our average is holding strong for the year. You’ll have to scroll down to see where we landed.

As for December and keeping our average under budget, it will be a wee bit tricky. I’ve had some ongoing vertigo issues and the doc is trying to troubleshoot and rule out all kinds of things. Among his many tests and therapies, he’s also put me on a restricted diet.

Avoid salt, caffeine, chocolate, alcohol, and stress — in December!

Hahaha!

The one that will most impact my diet is, of course, the salt, so that means more eating at home, no fast food. Hopefully, it won’t have a negative impact on the budget. Just may divert eating out money to the grocery budget to compensate. We shall see!

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, 18, 16, 14, 12, and 10. 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 $1373.30 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 four 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 I spent on groceries in November:

ALDI

  • frozen potatoes $1.69
  • frozen green beans $1.19
  • cottage cheese $1.99
  • buttermilk $1.79
  • almond milk $2.69
  • limes $0.15 each
  • cilantro $0.45
  • jalapeño peppers $0.79
  • mangoes $1.17
  • Brie $2.99
  • baby bella mushrooms $1.79
  • acorn squash $0.78/lb
  • spaghetti squash $0.78/lb
  • grapes $0.85/lb
  • frozen tots $1.95
  • green tea $1.99
  • eggs $0.91
  • 10# potatoes $2.49
  • broccoli crowns $1.39
  • milk $2.25
  • black beans $0.89
  • crackers $1.75
  • b/s chicken breasts $1.89/lb
  • pork sirloin roast $1.29/lb

Total spent $74

Sprouts

  • pears $0.77/lb
  • butternut squash $0.88/lb
  • zucchini $0.98/lb
  • apples $1.49/lb
  • kale $0.99
  • leeks $1.99/lb
  • grapefruit $0.99
  • grapes $0.77/lb
  • roma tomatoes $0.98/lb
  • onions $0.50/lb
  • bananas $0.59/lb
  • organic canned pumpkin $1.00
  • deli turkey $3.01 to $3.74
  • rump roast $6.07 to $10.05
  • clean ground beef $8.62

Total spent $57

Ralphs

  • sandwich bread $1.49 on clearance
  • pastry crisps $1.29 on clearance
  • milk $2.69
  • coffee $8.49
  • Cheerios free after coupon
  • yogurt free after coupon
  • coleslaw free after coupon
  • bagged salad $0.99
  • mushrooms $0.89
  • mini baby carrots free after coupon
  • organic hamburger buns $0.99 on clearance
  • organic tortilla chips on clearance
  • Fage yogurt $3.49
  • half and half $1.99
  • beef roast $13.41 to $14.52
  • Applegate sausage $2.99 on clearance

Total spent $65

ALDI

  • sparkling water $0.65 after CRV
  • chocolate chips $1.49
  • eggs $0.91
  • apples $0.65/lb
  • milk $2.25
  • cream cheese $0.99
  • cottage cheese $1.99
  • sour cream $1.29
  • cereal $1.39
  • pepperoni $2.19
  • avocado oil $6.99
  • bananas $0.29/lb

Total spent $76

ALDI

  • Advent cheese calendar $12.99
  • tortillas $2.99
  • salsa verde $1.79
  • yellow onions $0.99
  • b/s chicken breasts $1.69/lb
  • bottled water $3.49
  • frozen orange juice $1.19

Total spent $61

Sprouts

  • 5# russet potatoes $1.99
  • broccoli crowns $1.49/lb
  • campari tomatoes $1.50
  • fresh pineapple $0.98
  • lettuce $1.29
  • opal apples $0.88/lb
  • pomegranate 3/$5
  • sweet potatoes $1.29/lb
  • tea $2.00
  • ground sage $2.99
  • organic canned pumpkin $1.50
  • organic thyme $2.69
  • organic dill $2.79
  • grass fed ground beef $2.99/lb

Total spent $61

Walmart

  • 10# unbleached flour $5.98
  • red chile sauce $1.96
  • sauerkraut $0.84
  • whole and crushed tomatoes $1.66
  • milk $1.98
  • maseca $2.88
  • powdered sugar $1.98
  • flour tortillas $3.88
  • parsley $0.98
  • jam $1.98
  • meyer lemons $2.98
  • canned artichokes $2.48

Total spent $45

Costco

  • crackers $6.59
  • tomato sauce $7.79
  • avocado oil $9.69
  • olive oil $14.69
  • apple cranberry Martinelli’s $8.99
  • heavy cream $9.59
  • water crackers $5.39
  • organic pasta $8.79
  • bagels $5.99
  • Boursin $5.99
  • organic romaine $3.99 (before the recall)
  • turkey breast $15.96
  • tortillas $3.69
  • cranberries $2.99
  • frozen berries $8.89
  • jam $4.49
  • Tillamook $8.99
  • mayonnaise $4.99
  • butter $11.29
  • shredded cheddar $12.69
  • shredded mozzarella $11.99
  • uncured bacon $11.99
  • romano cheese $12.52
  • gruyere $9.69
  • greek yogurt 45.59
  • 6 ct avocados $6.99

Total spent $232

Sprouts

  • campari tomatoes $1.50
  • clementines 2# $1.88
  • organic celery $0.98
  • red bell peppers $0.98
  • bagels $3.99
  • potstickers $3.99

Total spent $18

ALDI

  • eggs $0.91
  • milk $2.25
  • feta crumbles $2.19
  • Brie $2.99
  • frozen green beans $1.19
  • goat cheese log $1.99
  • marshmallow creme $0.89
  • parsley $0.99
  • evaporated milk $0.59
  • applesauce cups $1.79
  • b/s chicken breasts  $1.89/lb
  • bone-in turkey breast $1.39/lb
  • sweet potatoes $1.49
  • fig spread $2.49
  • 10# potatoes $1.29
  • mini marshmallows $0.89
  • andes baking chips $2.65
  • dark chocolate chips $1.89
  • diced green chiles $0.59
  • breakfast bars $1.89
  • chocolate coins $1.99
  • pretzel sticks $1.49

Total spent $93

Ralphs

  • pasta shells $1.27
  • chips $1.67
  • cool whip $1.25
  • sour cream $2.49
  • cream cheese $1.17 to $1.66
  • gelatin $1.25
  • cake mixes $0.25 to $1.25
  • brown sugar $2.57
  • coffee $4.99
  • tea $3.39
  • pepperoncini $2.99
  • pickles $3.69
  • salt $0.89
  • stuffing mix $2.50
  • flour $2.49
  • vinegar $1.99
  • mushrooms $1.99
  • dole salad kit $1.99
  • cilantro $0.99
  • produce $0.99 on clearance
  • veg tray $4.49 on clearance
  • apple juice $2.99
  • yogurt $0.49 on clearance
  • bone-in turkey breast $1.99/lb
  • chicken wings $2.28 on clearance

Total spent $83

Sprouts

  • mushrooms $3.99
  • clementines $1.88
  • parsley $0.69
  • apples $0.88/lb
  • lettuce $1.29
  • green onions $0.77
  • grapes $1.48/lb
  • super greens $3.49
  • red bell pepper $0.98 each
  • mangoes $0.88
  • roma tomatoes $0.98/lb
  • shallots $2.99/lb
  • minced onions $4.49
  • dry tarragon $4.29
  • sausage $2.99/lb
  • turkey wings $3.65
  • frozen raspberries $2.99
  • organic mixed veggies $2.00

Total spent $66

Ralphs

  • rye bread $4.59
  • sugar $1.99
  • lettuce $1.29
  • almonds $3.99
  • juices $3.49/2
  • mini carrots $1.09
  • deli meats $9.99 to $10.80

Total spent $40

Sprouts

  • Brussels sprouts  stalks $1.50
  • cucumbers $1.79
  • celery stalks $0.98
  • milk $2.99

Total spent $12

Ralphs

  • mozzarella cheese $3.47
  • mushrooms $2.99

Total spent $10

ALDI

  • breakfast bites $1.00
  • lasagna noodles $1.59
  • organic hummus $2.29
  • deli sliced cheese $1.99
  • pepperoni $2.19
  • sliced meat $2.99 to $3.29
  • frozen green beans $1.19
  • frozen Asian vegetables $1.59
  • frozen peas $0.99
  • corn husks $3.79
  • cottage cheese $1.99
  • pretzel rings $1.49
  • cream cheese $0.99
  • organic black beans $0.89
  • eggs $0.91
  • canned peaches $1.05
  • cheeses $2.49
  • lettuce $1.99
  • rolls $2.95
  • kisses $2.95
  • enchilada sauce $1.79
  • sour cream $1.29
  • cereal $1.99
  • 10# russet potatoes $1.29
  • 5# red potatoes $1.99
  • sweet potatoes $0.50 on clearance
  • milk $2.25
  • broccoli crowns $1.25
  • bone-in turkey breast $1.39/lb
  • cream cheese $0.99
  • baby carrots $0.69
  • crackers $1.75
  • celery $0.25 on clearance
  • pineapples $0.50 on clearance
  • navel oranges $1.99
  • gruyere $4.99
  • multi-pack peppers $2.99

Total spent $120

Ralphs

  • buttermilk $3.19
  • bananas $1.31

Total spent $5

Spent in November: $1117

Spent in 2018:

  • January: $490
  • February: $1084
  • March: $1224
  • April: $1009
  • May: $994
  • June: $1095
  • July: $1354
  • August: $1624
  • September $787
  • October: $1278
  • November $1117

Total spent YTD: $12,056

That’s an average of $1096/month!

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. Erica says:

    I had to drop chocolate caffeine aged cheese and red wine to help the vertigo. Good luck!

  2. Roberta says:

    Well, I totally blew the budget in November, coming in at $392.08 for the month. Still, that’s well below the Fed’s “Thrifty” plan for a month for a family of our make-up (and our average monthly spending is still at $257.44, thanks to a couple of PC months).

    My freezers and pantry are once again filled. I’m going to try to keep our December costs down, and I’m really looking forward to another PC in January.

  3. Alice E says:

    I am amazed and thrilled at how close you came to budget in a month with birthdays, a holiday and guests! You list some great bargains. Even if you are as high in December, you will still be way under the Fed’s thrifty plan, so don’t stress out too much over it. Your health is more important. Try to find some treats that fit into the doctor’s recommendations, so you don’t feel too deprived.

    Hope the health issues pass quickly and aren’t too difficult to control. I’m not tracking my spending closely, but know it was higher than it used to be do to my own health issues. This isn’t a great time of year to be limiting fats, but I know if I don’t stick to it I will pay! The plus side is I’m slowly losing some weight I needed to lose, the down side of that, budget wise, is I had to buy some new clothes.

  4. Terry calkins says:

    November is always my most expensive month as I plan for two 100.00 shopping trips to get two free 22 to 24# turkeys. Even so my November bill came to just236.75. my year to date is 1498.11. there are just two of us. My freezers and pantry are full and ready for winter. We’ve been careful to save the extra from our 200.00 a month budget. This fall we ordered a new microwave, stove and French door refrigerator. Another year of really watching the grocery budget should pay those off. Ready for a new pantry challenge!

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