In a typical month we spend about $300-350 on groceries. This includes food items and baby formula, but not household items like cleaners, soap, razors, etc. A lot of people have no idea how we do this…so I thought I would share my secrets. Although…wait for it…there is no secret. We just eat simply and spend wisely.
On my last shopping trip I spent about $127 on groceries that will last us about two weeks. I don’t coupon, and I don’t shop sales. People always assume when you spend too little on food that you are buying processed foods that are cheap and unhealthy. I think that is crazy, those foods are more expensive and don’t go as far. So how do we do it? I shop mostly at Aldi’s and Costco and fill in the rest from the local grocery store. I have found by buying most of my produce Aldi’s and most of our meat at Costco we save a bundle without having to clip coupons. Here is a breakdown of all of the things I bought.
- 10 lbs of oranges -$10
- 4 lbs lamb- $21
- 5 lbs frozen blueberries- $10
- 5 lbs Yukon potatoes- $4
- 2 containers mushrooms $3.60
- 5 lbs bananas $2
- 12 Roma tomatoes- $4
- 3 large bags of baby spinach $5.25
- 2 avocados $2
- 1 can of formula $21
- 5 lbs apples $5
- 1 large can pineapple chunks $1.50
- 5 lbs frozen broccoli $4.50
- 5 bags of shredded cheese $13
- 3 2 liters Caffeine Free Diet Coke $4.50
- Pickles $3.50
- Tortilla Chips $1.75
- Sour Cream $2.50
- 4 lbs red onions $3
- Milk $4
- 1 bag of carrots $1
I already had some pork, turkey, chicken and ground beef in the freezer so I didn’t need to buy any of that. I also still have some pasta, tomato sauce, canned corn, and frozen veggies, etc. As most families do, we don’t eat down to nothing by the time the next shopping trip rolls around.
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You may be asking what I can even make from all of this and how I could possibly feed our family on it. Well…from this (and the meat in the freezer) I can/have made:
- Lamb roast with cheesy potatoes and broccoli
- Gyros in homemade pitas
- Quesadillas with Guac
- Lemon Chicken with brown rice and broccoli
- Chicken pizza (with broccoli, onions and mushrooms)
- Turkey burgers and sweet potato wedges
- Taco Pie and cornbread
- Cobb Salad
- Broccoli cheese soup and artisan bread
- Baked potato soup and artisan bread
- Steak tacos with brown rice
- Garlic lemon pasta and cheddar biscuits
- Pork Chops with brown rice and mixed veggies
And that isn’t even using up all the meat. If you make your own meals and learn how to cook from scratch you will be amazed at how much money you will save.
Every 2 weeks I bake enough bread for our family for sandwiches and freeze what we won’t use right away. I make my own pizza crust, tortillas, cornbread, and artisan bread. I also only try to make what I already have the ingredients for. A perfect example was my mother-in-laws birthday. We had Banana Creme Pie, and I didn’t have to buy anything. I had all the ingredients on hand to make the crust, creme and topping. I saved $10 on a store-bought pie and it was way tastier than the grocery store kind anyway!
For lunches the Mr. takes an apple (and sometimes an orange) and a spinach salad. The kids and I eat left overs or usually just meat and veggies and fruit. For breakfasts we mostly eat fruit, oatmeal or toast.
I have found that the more we eat fresh ingredients and make our own food, the less I even like processed foods and take-out. I honestly would rather eat my own cooking than most restaurant food (although give me South City Kitchen any day of the week!)
I also like to shop with price points in mind. I usually don’t buy produce over $1 a pound (with the exception of strawberries). This means we usually only eat what is in season. I also try to keep meat below $4/lb. I buy a lot of stuff in bulk (flour, rice, sugar) so that I can get them relatively cheap and don’t run out frequently. I also only buy cheese on sale, so when I do buy it I stock up a bit. I am hoping to start canning more so that when I see really awesome deals I can buy a ton and can them myself.
Now I know a lot of people are wondering if we spend so little on groceries surely we could spend a little more and get organic produce. I’ll be honest. I do try to buy organic when I can, but I don’t value the organic label enough to pay double or triple the amount of conventional. Unfortunately organic produce still most likely has pesticides…it just natural rather than synthetic. There is obviously a lot of research out there, and trust me, I have read a lot of it (Here is one of my favorite articles). So after reading a lot of articles and research studies, I have decided, for my family, the high cost of some organic produce just isn’t worth it. Using a good vegetable wash and washing our produce removes enough pesticides for my peace of mind. Now don’t get me wrong, if you like eating organic food and feel it is important to you, more power to you. I believe that we should all be able to do what we feel is right for ourselves and our families without judgement. What is right for us, may not be right for you and that’s okay.
The last area that helps us keep our food costs low is that we don’t really snack. We might if we had the food on hand, but we don’t mind not having it. And when a craving hits I usually have some cookies in the freezer or some popcorn handy to make.
How to do you save money at the grocery story? Do you use coupons? Shop sales?