Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Grocery Report

As a follow-up to this post, I decided to share my progress in getting back into using coupons and being a bit more pro-active in looking for great deals on groceries.

I share all of this with a bit of hesitation as I feel that sometimes posts such as these can breed feelings of inadequacy, discontent, negative competition and even pride among us women. I know that many women post their deals and grocery lists regularly and I have also done a little of that in the past. I have learned a lot through posts like this, but I also do not want anyone to feel that they are just not making it as a wife or mother if they don't spend as little as so -and- so on a blog somewhere. Each family has specific needs and circumstances to take into consideration, so each homemaker must do what works for her!

I'm going to try posting about my shopping trips for a few weeks and see how it goes. I think this will keep me a bit more accountable as I get back on track with more careful menu planning, staying within my budget and getting the most for my money in order to stock my pantry and give to others.

My grocery budget these days is $250 a month for two people. (This includes a lot of sharing food/ meals with others as well.) I usually spend $150 at the beginning of the month and then $100 for the second shopping trip. We try to eat lots of fruits, vegetables and whole grains and buy some organics as we can so that's why the amount may seem a bit higher for two people. We would like to be able to switch to mostly local organic meats but still haven't made that step. Hopefully soon! We do go to a local dairy about once a month and purchase raw milk for $5 a gallon and fresh eggs for $2 a dozen. Both are worth their weight in gold and the price really isn't that much different than the conventional milk and eggs sold on the supermarket. I wasn't able to get out there this week so I just picked up two dozen regular eggs at Aldis.

My grocery budget also includes all personal care items, paper products and dog food.

For six months last year, I had a $100 monthly grocery budget while we saved extra money to get us through a rough spot financially. This was possible because of a very well-stocked pantry and freezer and also because the garden was very successful during this time.

Currently, I am able to spend a larger amount on groceries. Eating for health is becoming more important to me as well. (I'm still taking baby steps towards this and will probably never be too extreme!) I'm also trying to restock my pantry so that we will be prepared during a tough time as I was last year and to have plenty to share.

I had $100 to spend for this two week period. This is what I bought:

Food Lion
2 pounds red grapes 99 cents a pound =$2.02 (Sale)
3 packages chicken thighs(approx. 15 pounds in all) $8.63-approx. 60 cents a pound (Reduced for quick sale)
Small package of lamb chops $2.15 (Reduced for quick sale)

Total- $12.93

Super Bi-Lo
Fiber One cereal $1.00 (sale+coupon)
2- 5 lb. bags unbleached flour $5.00(sale)
1 pound bag kidney beans $1.89
1 pound bag chickpeas $1.69
2 boxes Green Giant veggies $1.00(sale+coupon)
1 bag Green Giant Steamers veggies FREE (sale + coupon)
Organic celery $1.69 (sale)
1 pound bag organic carrots $1.29
1 pound kale $1.46
1 acorn squash($.99 lb.) $1.87(sale)


2 bags spinach $3.98
Green Peppers $1.49
Roma tomatoes $1.29
Very green bananas $1.13
3 pounds butter $6.57
2 cans mushrooms $.98
1 pound bag frozen berries $2.89
2-8 oz. mozzarella cheese $3.98
1 pound sausage $1.99
3 bags frozen veggies $2.97
1 pound bacon $2.69
Canola oil $2.79
1 can black olives $.99
2 dozen eggs $2.70
Garlic powder $1.09
Cottage cheese $2.29
Sour cream $.99

Total $41.22

Petsmart(not pictured)
48 pound bag of dog food $18.99
1 bag doggie treats $2.09
Dog collar $5.94 (I would normally not use the grocery money to purchase this but rather take out of the dog category of savings. He needed a new collar and it was just as easy to pay for it out of the same fund as his food.)

Total $28.91

Grand Total for 2 weeks worth of groceries- $99.14

As you'll notice, I only had a few coupons to use this week. Hopefully that will change as I add to my collection! Also we had a fairly significant amount of pantry basics already on hand so I focused mostly on getting fresh produce.

If you're wondering about fresh produce keeping for 2 weeks, my general rule of thumb is that we eat fresh salads the first week, and rely mostly on cooked or frozen veggies the next.

I had chicken breasts on my list at yet another store(on our way) that were on sale for $1.78 a pound. But when we spotted the marked down chicken thighs at Food Lion, we bought those instead, getting a much better deal at $.60 cents a pound and being able to buy more this way. I also splurged on the package of lamb that was marked down instead of getting a package of Johnsonville sausages like I had originally planned. Flexibility is a good trait if you are a frugal shopper!

This week I probably won't be doing much shopping. So far, none of the CVS deals have jumped out at me as something I really need so unless that changes, I won't be shopping there this week. My out of pocket total at CVS is usually under $2, so that comes out of our loose change that's leftover every month.

My next grocery report will be in probably 2 weeks.

In the meantime, happy shopping or not shopping -whatever fits your lifestyle and budget!

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