April Grocery Spending

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It can be helpful for your own grocery budget to see what others spend and what kind of tricks they use to save money. Here’s what we spend on groceries in April to feed our family of 8 a mostly whole foods diet:

Hey hey hey! It’s time for May. I’m coming atcha with a Grocery Geek report. 

That there pepper oil is a throw back to our trip to England two springs ago. We ate at Zizzi every chance we got. One kid ordered the exact same thing every single time, pepperoni pizza with chile oil. I’m hoping that this find on clearance will be close to the same experience.

Spoiler: probably not. Several of us are pining away for the UK something fierce!

As we chatted about last month, I wasn’t sure where we’d fall with our grocery budget considering this nutrition program of mine. I lost another four pounds in April, bringing the total count to 14 pounds loss! I am thrilled to see the changes in how my clothes fit and how my face doesn’t looks so puffy.

After three years of not being able to remove my ring, I was able to twist and turn and wrench it off my finger to clean it! Oy!

Short story: I heard about this program on Instagram, started following the nutritionist who created it, googled a bunch and started implementing the program. It’s expensive so I don’t feel like I can endorse it completely. 

Regardless, it’s working! And for what it’s worth, everyone’s been healthy on this higher veggie diet, too! Thanks for your encouraging words in the comments last month. I appreciate your support.

Our grocery spending didn’t end up as bare bones as I planned back in January, but it wasn’t super crazy, either. You’ll see when you get to the end that we’re not tooooooo terribly far off the mark.

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 56, 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 $1000 this year, though that might change depending on how a new #veggiesmost diet pans out, either way, 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. Currently we’re striving for half vegetables at lunch and dinner. (Yikes!)
  • 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 sons pack lunch and breakfast to work, but sometimes have lunch out. My husband and I enjoy a date once a week. FishPapa takes one child out to “breakfast with B” once a week. We get take-out for the family on average once a week. That adds up to about 156 individual meals prepped at home. That’s a lot!
  • BEFORE YOU JUDGE ME FOR EXTRAVAGANCE, please read this post.

What I spent on groceries in April

Ralphs

  • tortillas $1.79
  • pasta $0.89 after coupons
  • orzo $1.00
  • blackberries $0.88
  • kiwi $3.99
  • watermelon $2.50
  • bananas $0.59/lb
  • mushrooms $1.89
  • chicken stock $1.49
  • ground beef $2.99/lb
  • ground chicken $1.99 manager’s special
  • Italian sausage $3.99
  • bacon $3.99

Total spent $43

ALDI

  • bottled water $3.39/case after CRV
  • hash browns $1.69
  • milk $1.64
  • cucumbers $0.19
  • sugar $1.89
  • sparkling water $0.65 after CRV
  • zucchini $0.95/lb
  • carrots $0.95
  • eggs $0.99
  • 3-pack peppers $2.95
  • mushrooms $0.99
  • grape tomatoes $1.25
  • mini peppers $1.95
  • b/s chicken breast $1.89/lb
  • raspberries $1.49

Total spent $48

Sprouts

  • strawberries $1.50
  • grapes $0.98/lb
  • romas $0.88/lb

Total spent $8

Trader Joe’s

  • almonds $5.99
  • almond milk $2.69

Total spent $9

Costco

  • milk $4.50
  • tomatoes $6.99
  • salt $2.79
  • olive oil $13.49
  • avocado oil $9.69
  • guacamole minis $13.89
  • hummus singles $6.59
  • rotisserie chicken $4.99
  • bottled water $6.00 after CRV
  • tortillas $2.99 to $3.79
  • shredded mozzarella $11.39
  • feta $6.89
  • turkey breast $17.68
  • carrots $4.99
  • cucumbers $3.99
  • spring mix $3.99
  • butter $10.76
  • peppers $6.49
  • gorgonzola $7.49
  • Tillamook $8.99
  • Greek yogurt $5.89

Total spent $200

Ralphs

  • triscuits and wheat thins $1.99 digital sale
  • pasta $0.59
  • salad kits $1.49 manager specials
  • clearance mushrooms $0.99
  • avocado $1.00
  • Easter candy varies

Total spent $35

ALDI

  • jalapeños $0.10
  • cilantro $0.38
  • canned tomatoes $0.75
  • black beans $0.89
  • tortillas $1.99 to 2.85
  • green onions $0.45
  • bell peppers $2.95
  • veggie bites $3.49
  • taco shells $0.99
  • cauliflower $1.19
  • milk $2.25
  • half and half $1.95
  • ketchup $1.49
  • eggs $0.99
  • riced cauliflower $1.69
  • bananas $0.29
  • green beans $1.19
  • mushrooms $1.95
  • chili powder $0.95
  • diced green chiles $0.59
  • cumin $0.95
  • pork butt roast $1.49/lb
  • rice $4.49
  • cucumbers $0.29
  • cottage cheese $1.29
  • spinach $1.49
  • broccoli $1.45
  • celery hearts $1.99
  • baby lettuce $1.99
  • hot sauce $1.32
  • pepperoni $2.19
  • cheddar $6.69
  • b/s chicken breast $1.89/lb

Total spent $138

Sprouts

  • baby carrots $1.29
  • strawberries $1.50
  • grape tomatoes $2.99
  • buttermilk $2.99
  • Greek yogurt $3.49

Total spent $15

Sprouts

  • lettuce $2.49
  • baby carrots $0.98
  • strawberries $1.50
  • grape tomatoes $1.50
  • romaine hearts $2.50
  • snap peas $2.99
  • red cabbage $1.49
  • grapes $0.98/lb
  • shredded carrots $1.99
  • mushrooms $3.99
  • Greek yogurt $3.49
  • grass fed beef $2.99/lb
  • sausage $2.50
  • shrimp $6.99/lb
  • salmon $6.99/lb

Total spent $85

Ralphs

  • butter $2.99
  • fresh pasta $1.99 to 2.99
  • pineapple $1.50
  • portabella mushrooms $2.49
  • strawberries $2.49
  • clearance produce $0.99
  • Fage $1.99

Total spent $31

Costco

  • rotisserie chicken $4.99
  • beef jerky $11.79
  • potstickers $7.99
  • Greek yogurt $5.89
  • hamburger buns $3.59
  • oreos $5.99
  • chicken sausage $13.79
  • tortillas $3.79
  • ham $12.12
  • pork tenderloins $13.50
  • milk $4.50

Total spent $100

ALDI

  • milk $2.25
  • eggs $1.19
  • baby lettuce $1.99
  • cheddar $2.99
  • half and half $1.95
  • garlic $2.99
  • bell peppers $2.95
  • broccoli crowns $1.25
  • sausage $2.89
  • b/s chicken breast $1.29/lb

Total spent $50

Costco

  • milk $4.50
  • Greek yogurt $5.89
  • power greens $4.99
  • hamburger buns $2.59

Total spent $24

Walmart

  • burger buns $2.68
  • tea $2.98
  • coffee $15.98

Total spent $24

ALDI

  • broccoli crowns $1.25
  • baby lettuce $1.99
  • cauliflower $1.79
  • fajita tortillas $1.99
  • sausage $2.99
  • pepperoni $2.19
  • cucumbers $1.99
  • green beans $1.19
  • eggs $1.19
  • canned tomatoes $0.69 to $0.75
  • garbanzo beans $0.69
  • tomato paste $0.39
  • sausage $2.49

Total spent $48

Sprouts

  • baby carrots $0.98
  • strawberries $0.88
  • cucumbers $0.50
  • grape tomatoes $1.69
  • blueberries $0.98
  • opal apples $1.28
  • bell peppers $0.98
  • coleslaw mix $1.49
  • tomatoes $0.98/lb
  • mushrooms $3.99
  • bananas $0.59
  • cayenne olive oil $4.79 on clearance
  • grass fed beef $2.99
  • shrimp $6.99/lb

Total spent $110

Ralphs

  • buttermilk $3.19
  • vinegar $3.99
  • flour $2.69
  • tortillas $2.50
  • beans $1.79
  • mushrooms $1.49 to 2.46 clearance
  • salad kits $1.99 clearance 
  • ground chicken $2.99 clearance
  • chocolate milk $3.49
  • tri-tip steaks $3.77/lb
  • bacon $3.99
  • sparkling water $3.40
  • mini peppers $2.99
  • lemons $2.99
  • kale on clearance  $1.29
  • bell peppers $1.49

Total spent $100

Imperfect Produce 

  • iceberg lettuce $1.19
  • zucchini $1.38/4
  • cara cara oranges $0.89/2
  • peppers $1.99/3
  • apples $1.69/3
  • potatoes $0.79 to $0.89/#
  • cilantro $1.58/2
  • jalapeños $0.99/.5#
  • cucumber $1.59/2
  • radish $0.69/1
  • green onions $0.59/1
  • onions $1.58/4
  • cauliflower $1.99
  • navel oranges $0.79
  • pears $2.18/4
  • shallots $1.39
  • blood oranges $1.49/3
  • minus promotional credit $10.00

Total spent $22

Total spent MTD $1090

  • January: $634
  • February: $1147
  • March: $1264
  • April: $1090

Total spent YTD: $4135

Average YTD: $1034

Whew! So, our average isn’t too crazy above the target. I may end up shooting for $1100 like I did last year. I’m sure if we didn’t do as many fresh foods, that I could get it lower, but at this point it’s not that much each month to feel better about what we’re eating.

How’s your grocery shopping going?

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. Jaime says

    Can you share the program you’re doing?

    • It’s the 2bmindset from Beachbody. I didn’t purchase it, just googled and follow some accounts on IG. It’s been really helpful.

  2. Patricia says

    I’m sure I missed it but can you let me (us) know about the diet you’ve been following? Its something I believe I can follow but need some kind of direction. Thanks ever so much.

    • It’s the 2bmindset from Beachbody. I didn’t purchase it, just googled and follow some accounts on IG. It’s been really helpful.

  3. Colleen says

    I am curious why milk is half the price at Aldi versus Costco!? Do you prefer the Costco milk and that’s why you still buy it there?

    I’m a Kroger shopper and also always take advantage of the Manager’s specials. Do you go at a certain day/time to find these?

    • Milk is the same. That lower priced one was for a half gallon of whole milk for my son who needs to gain weight.

      I go to Ralph’s on Friday morning. That seems to be the time that most departments are marking things down.

  4. I’m always encouraged by your grocery shopping! It shows me it is possible! Up here in the Bay Area I shop 90% at Winco while that 10% goes to markdowns at Grocery Outlet. Thank you for always sharing with us!

  5. Roberta says

    Great job on the budget and the weight loss!

    I spent way more in April than I wanted to ($329.19), but that included Easter, some pantry restocking, and feeding our perpetually hungry swimmer. The high school swim season ended last week, so we’re no longer packing a double lunch for our son each day. He still eats plenty, but not quite hoards-of-locusts amounts. 😉

    Our YTD monthly average is at $237.42, which is creeping up. I’m hoping to come in under budget for May to help offset April’s spending. We, too, have lots of celebrations in May/early June, so who knows if my hopes/plans will work out. Freezers and pantry are full though, so I just might be able to do it.

  6. Jessie Manson says

    Do you have posts on your new veggie heavy menu plans? I always get gunghoe about having 2-3 veggies for lunch and supper and maybe even breakfast, but the lack of variety really makes things old after not too long. We started homeschooling this year, and my creativeness in the kitchen has dramatically declined…

    • I don’t yet, but I will try to bring that to the top of my list. One trick that is working for me is to develop some stand-by’s that I know I like or I know the whole fam likes: garlic green beans, lemon broccoli, taco cauliflower, and lots of salads. You can tell by looking at my grocery shops this month that it’s probably the same 12 vegetables over and over, but in different ways or accessorized differently.

  7. I’m averaging just under $500, which is a number I’m comfortable with currently. We are feeding 45, 44, 20, and 13, (three of whom are male) for every single meal and snack, plus feeding 4-6 more young 20-something males at least 5 or 6 meals a month. About once a month we feed an extra 10-15 for one meal. So, approximately 375 servings a month if you don’t count snacks. Anywho, we are currently on a high protein, high veggie meal plan as well, so the $1.29 per serving cost breakdown is a number I can handle.
    Congrats on the weight loss and healthy feeling!
    Blessings,
    Kristy/Mama K

  8. Rebecca says

    It is interesting to see the price differences between what you buy and what I buy. I have never seen pasta below $0.90 cents here and that is rare. Meat is super expensive, even on discount. I don’t price shop much because of limited time, but I do try to stock my freezer with sale proteins, veggies and cheese. I cook my own bread and make almost every meal and snack for my family of four. I’m still at the USDA moderate level for groceries. I woder if my location (Phoenix) is just expensive for food. Thanks for the update.

    • Yeah, pasta is super cheap here if you’re not picky about shapes. You have Sprouts there and TJ’s. I think it’s going to depend on where you shop. Have you done a grocery shopping audit?

  9. Stephanie M. says

    Congratulations on the weight loss Jessica. I lost 22 lbs. when I went to see a dietician. Our grocery store has a dietician there and it costs nothing to see her. All she requires when you first start is recent blood work and a 3 day food diary. It took me several months to lose that but it’s now three years since I’m maintaining that weight loss. I still go and see her every two months or so just so that I have someone to hold me accountable. But with all of the fresh fruit and veggies we are always buying, it does get more expensive. It seems like I am forever buying salad fixings because we generally eat salad with our meal every night. In the past I have allowed myself one cheat meal per month and it was usually Chinese take out because that’s my favorite but now I just can’t eat it anymore. My last cheat meal was pizza and I can’t eat that either. Because I am so strict with what I eat, I am not used to eating the way I used to and it upsets my stomach for two days if I eat anything greasy. That’s a bittersweet thing. Giving up Chinese is not something I’m happy about but eating healthy is more important to me. Keep up the great work!! 🙂

    • Has it really been three years already? That time went fast!

      What about making your own Chinese-style stir fries and stuff?

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