Monday, March 9, 2009

Grocery Shopping Strategy

I am so grateful that the Lord has provided a wonderful, stable job for my husband; he earns a wonderful income and, while we set a monthly grocery budget, it's a fairly workable budget as long as I'm conscientious. Currently, we're trying for a monthly budget of $450 (groceries, toiletries, medicine, etc.). This is for 2 adults, 1 preschooler, and 2 toddlers. I realize that some are mananging to feed their families for quite a bit less; on the other hand, some are spending much, much more to feed similar sized families.

I'm not a numbers person (I save that for my genius electrical engineer of a hubby), but thought a break down this month might be interesting. I'll save the per meal cost for people like Erin at $5 Dinners and the super frugal weekly budget for people like Gayle at The Grocery Cart Challenge. If you're interested in couponing, check out my friend Alicia's blog Reformation, Life, Family, Finances.

I shop at three stores every month: Kroger, Pratt's (local produce store), and Sam's. We go to Sam's about every 6 weeks or so and our average there is around $100 for food stuffs, give or take (depends on whether we're out of paper towels, toilet paper, olive oil, sliced American cheese, and chocolate chips all at the same time!). I go to Pratt's weekly. This month, I'm going to try to go to Kroger twice: one big trip at the beginning and one smaller trip later to restock milk type products. I made a menu for 2 weeks (per Simple Mom's inspiration) and then will repeat it for the second half of the month. So, my grocery needs are fairly set at the beginning of the month. I can use the excess funds, if there are any, to stock up on sale items later in the month.

The first week, my Pratt's bill was $24.98. I ALWAYS hit somewhere in this range and I NEVER calculate while in the store or even always buy the same things. Weird, huh? The reciepts don't list what you have, just the amounts, so I have a hard time knowing exactly what individual items always cost. But here's the gist:
  • 10 pounds potatoes ($2)
  • 5.5 pounds Cameo apples ($0.99/pound)
  • 2 red bell peppers (reduced because they got dropped and split open; $0.79 for two!)
  • 2 regular cucumbers
  • 2 pounds carrots
  • 1 bag celery
  • 3 ginormous sweet potatoes
  • 8 navel oranges (4/$1)
  • 1 3-pound bag onions
  • 1 large clump bananas
  • 1 "clump" broccoli (3 heads in bag)
  • 1 packet Goobers (check out line tax for shopping with kids :) )
  • 1 tray pack reduced apples (5 big apples that look just fine)
This will be more than enough produce to last us until the middle of next week, I'm assuming.

Kroger's trip ran like this:

Specific Menu Items
2 organic whole chickens (costly, but I use them for 2 meals plus stock)
3 pounds smoked sausage
2 pounds bacon
1 bag frozen shrimp (20% off)
2 pounds ground pork (on sale for $2.50)
napa cabbage
2 packs broccoli slaw
2 bunches green onions
2 heads garlic
1 jar fancy salsa
2 packs whole wheat tortillas
1 pound black beans
1 pound pinto beans
1 pound frozen peas
2 cans diced tomatoes

Miscellaneous Items (breakfasts, snacks, lunches)
1 pound chick peas
3 dozen large eggs (Eggland's Best--$1 for coupon and Kroger doubling)
14 Dannon yogurts (sale plus coupon)
3 boxes Flips Pretzel Crackers (hubby's favorite; on sale for $2/box!)
Miracle Whip
red wine vinegar
white wine vinegar
4 gallons milk
3 24-oz. containers cottage cheese (on sale!)
2 packs Comforts diapers (on sale plus coupon)
Graham crackers
2 large canisters oats
2 jars lightly salted roasted peanuts
Miscellaneous toiletry/pharmaceutical stuff
kalamata olives (splurge... mmm)

Total before coupons and Kroger deductions: $235.85
Total after coupons and Kroger deductions*: $178.08

*Most of these were the coupons Kroger sends me in the mail.

Conclusion: Less than half of the grocery budget spent the first day/week (but almost half!); I should be buying primarily produce and milk plus a trip to Sam's near the end of the month. I think I'll be in good shape even with some splurges like organic chicken, kalamata olives, and so forth :).

Week 2:
Pratt's only this week: $44.09 (more than usual because I bought herbs and honey)
  • 6 pots of herbs @ $1.99 each
  • 1 quart-sized jar sour wood honey (semi-local) @$8.99
  • 2 reduced-packs of red peppers (2 peppers per pack) @ $0.99 each
  • 1 reduced-pack of cucumbers (~6 or so in pack and all look fine) @ $0.99
  • 8 navel oranges @ $2.00 total
  • 3 limes @ $1.00 total
  • 4 lemons @ $1.00 total
  • cabbage @ $0.49/pound
  • apples @ $0.99/pound
  • 2 bunches green onions @ $0.50 each
  • 8-oz. fresh spinach for $1.99
  • bananas
  • 1 pound carrots for $0.79
(I'm trying to purchase most of my garden stuff on the food budget this year.... so far, so good!)

Trip to Aldi Grand-Opening: $25.00

By End of Week 2 (Half-way through month): $272.15
Left for rest of month: $177.85
Sam's trip still to go as well.... Hmmm...

1 comment:

Bridgette Boudreaux said...

I have got to get myself to Pratt's! I wonder if there is a similar establishment in West Knoxville or Karns?