This is our fourth month giving the behind-the-scenes look at how we grocery shop for our family of seven! (The little guy is just barely starting on solids, so I often say family of six when I talk about groceries.)
I don’t have any deep dark grocery secrets (at least I don’t think I do), but people are always asking, both here and in real life, how I keep my grocery budget so low. That’s why I started sharing the full list and prices of all the food that we buy in the month.
If you would rather watch and listen as I give you the full tour of our groceries, check out the video below!
Let’s start with some of the common questions I get about the way we shop for groceries and then I’ll tell you all the details about the groceries we bought in April.
What is your grocery budget?
Since we finished paying off our debt, we’ve actually bumped our grocery budget up a bit. When we were focused on paying off debt we aimed to keep our grocery budget at $300 per month. Now that we’re debt-free (besides our house) we aim for $350 or $400, depending on the month.
This month I set the grocery budget at $400 because I’m using it to cover our Sam’s Club membership renewal of $45. That leaves us with $355 to spend on food!
Do you include non-food items in your grocery budget?
Nope. We have a household budget that we use for toiletries, paper products, cleaning supplies, laundry detergent, diapers (though we usually use cloth), and other non-food items that you might find at a grocery store.
Do you meal plan?
If you mean do I assign a specific meal to each day and shop for those specific groceries, then no, not really.
This is a tricky question because it’s a case of “Do as I say, not as I do.” If you are trying to reduce your grocery budget then I definitely recommend meal planning. It prevents waste, relieves stress, and saves money. It’s especially helpful if you’re trying to make a big change in the way you shop or eat. I’ve been doing this long enough that I’m pretty comfortable with the cook-from-scratch and fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants methods.
I do, meal plan, I just do it mentally and not very far ahead of time. 🙂 We eat the same typical meals each month and we cook most everything from scratch. My grocery shopping doesn’t depend on the menu, but on what’s running low (or missing) in my pantry.
When my pantry is stocked with the normal things we use, I can essentially make any of the meals on my mental menu.
This might work for you, but it relies on some well-established habits. If you’re trying to rein in your food spending in a significant way, detailed meal planning is definitely the way to go!
Do you really only shop once a month?
Yes, some months.
Other months I make one big beginning-of-the-month trip and then make a few smaller trips during the month for milk, bread, and produce, or to stock up on great deals I come across. This month I will probably make a few other small trips.
We keep our pantry and long-term food storage pretty stocked, so even though it’s nice to go get fresh produce and dairy, we could survive for a while without going to the store (though it would get boring if we ate food storage for months).
Why didn’t you buy any meat?
We don’t eat meat at every meal. We don’t even eat meat every day. And when we do eat meat, it’s not the star of the show. It’s usually in a sauce or a casserole or a soup or as a topping on something else.
We get most of the meat we eat in bulk from Zaycon Fresh. A couple times a year I will buy a 40 lb box of boneless skinless chicken breasts and a 40 lb box of ground beef. I buy other meats as needed or when I find a great deal.
Since we have meat in our freezer right now, I didn’t buy any this month.
Isn’t all of that produce and dairy going to go bad?
I have a whole post and video dedicated to this topic, so I won’t get into all the details now, but rest assured that this food won’t go to waste.
I plan our meals (see I do plan!) around what needs to be eaten before it goes bad. And if something is going to go bad before we can eat it I freeze it or preserve it in some way.
But that’s not usually an issue because we eat a lot! Seriously! They are all thin, but my kids and hubby eat A LOT!
—> Okay, Now I’ll show you what we bought for April! <—
If you have any other burning grocery shopping questions, put them in the comments and I’ll be happy to address them there or in a future post!
Winco = $122
- Frozen blueberries (32 oz) $3.48 x 2 = $6.96
- Frozen broccoli (32 oz) $2.07 x 2 = $4.14
- Frozen green beans (16 oz) $.99 x 2 = $1.98
- Roma tomatoes $.98/lb x 3.44 = $3.37
- Cucumbers $.48 x 4 = $1.92
- Green Beans $.48/lb x .5 = $.24
- Potatoes (10 lb) $2.48
- Carrots (10 lb) $3.98
- Yams $2.17/lb x 6.1 = $2.93
- Apples $.97/lb x 22.2 = $21.54
- Brown rice (2 lb) $1.39 x 3 = $4.14
- Flour tortillas $2.79 x 2 = $5.58
- Yogurt $.28 x 3 = $.84
- Quinoa $2.17/lb x 3.92 = $8.51
- Flour (10 lb) $2.84
- Sugar (10 lb) $4.77
- Tortilla chips $1.28 x 2 = $2.56
- Bakery bread $1.78 x 4 = $7.12
- Wheat bread $1.58 x 13 = $20.54
- English muffins $.98 x 3 = $2.94
- Raspberry jam (17 oz) $1.98 x 4 = $7.92
- Strawberry jam (17 oz) $2.48
- Marjoram $2.49
Sprouts = $25
- Strawberries (1 lb) $1.67 x 2 = $3.34
- Cara cara oranges $.98/lb x 4.5 lb = $4.41
- Avocados $.50 x 4 = $2.00
- Clementines (5 lb box) $3.88 x 4 = $15.52
Sam’s Club = $106
- Whole milk $2.20 x 5 = $11.00
- Sour cream (3 lb) $3.89
- Cottage cheese (3 lb) $4.89
- Block cheese (2 lb) $4.67
- Shredded cheese (5 lb) $10.98
- Spinach (16 oz) $3.79 x 3 = $11.37
- Spring mix (16 oz) $3.79 x 2 = $7.58
- Bananas (3 lb) $1.38 x 6 = $8.28
- String Cheese (48 ct) $7.67 x 2 =$15.34
- Cranberry juice (2 x 96 oz) $6.98 = $6.98
- Maple Syrup (32 oz) $10.28
- Brown Sugar (7 lb) $4.38
- Strawberry Jam (64 oz) $6.86
Well that’s it for our big April grocery shopping trip! I must say that I was pretty proud of getting the whole monthly haul to fit on our table at once!
In case you couldn’t hear him in the video, here’s my little co-star. 🙂
How about you?
- Do you shop monthly? Weekly? Daily!?
- Are you a meal planner?