As I’ve surveyed friends and readers about their grocery budgets (those who actually have them), I’ve found that the numbers are all over the board. Family size doesn’t seem to be the determining factor in how much a family spends.
Do you ever wonder what people actually spend their grocery budget on?
I’ve been making all of our personal finances public here for four and a half years. I’ve shared our low grocery numbers for years, but this year I’m committed to showing you what we actually buy. All of it! Even when I’m embarrassed (nothing too bad yet, but I’m sure it’s coming).
Why we do a big monthly grocery haul
Initially we did monthly grocery shopping out of necessity. While we were paying off six figures of law school debt, we lived in my in-laws’ basement which was 40 minutes away from the nearest grocery store and an hour away from the stores we like to shop at (Sam’s Club and Winco).
Our favorite stores are closer now, but they’re still not super close, so I usually only get down there once a month, which is why I continue doing monthly grocery hauls. We have a Grocery Outlet that’s close, so I go there a couple times a month to grab deals and get any milk, bread, or produce that we need.
Our February monthly Winco grocery haul is pretty different from January’s grocery haul and March’s will probably be different too!
I like to keep a well-stocked pantry and freezer, so the things I buy are often just replacing the things I’m out of. The groceries that I buy in a month don’t necessarily correlate with our meals that month.
For example, I almost never let our family run all the way out of peanut butter, a major staple for us. You’ll see that I bought four 40 oz jars in Febraury, because we were running “low” for us. In all reality, we won’t open any of that peanut butter until March.
It’s like the month ahead budget grocery style!
Okay, enough chatter. Let me show you what I bought!
In the video I go more into detail about why we bought certain things (the cookies, rice sides, and tuna, for example, are not normal purchases for us). You can see the prices for what we bought below the video.
What we bought (and what it cost)
Winco = $139
- Farina hot cereal- bulk (like Cream of Wheat) (10.28 lb) $12.75
- Parmesan cheese-bulk (1.37 lb) $5.15
- Tapioca pearls- bulk (2.5 lb) $4.41
- Baking cocoa- bulk (1 lb) $2.59
- Red hots- bulk (.6 lb) $.88
- Jelly hearts- bulk (.5 lb) $.71
- Brownie mix $.98 x 4 = $3.92
- String cheese (24 ct) $5.26
- Frozen broccoli (32 oz) $1.78 x 2 = $3.56
- Salt ( ) $.54 x 2 = $1.08
- Roma tomatoes (4.2 lb) $4.16
- Clementines (5 lb) $6.98
- Onions (5 lb) $1.98
- Strawberry jam (46 oz) $3.86 x 3 = $11.58
- Peanut Butter ( oz) $3.88 x 4 = $15.52
- Corn tortillas (32 oz) $2.18
- Tortillas (35 oz) $2.79 x 2 = $5.58
- Pretzel sticks (20 oz) $1.98 x 2 = $3.96
- Animal crackers (2 lb) $2.98
- Winco cookies $.98 x 4 = $3.92
- Winco oreo-type cookies $1.48 x 3 = $4.44
- Wheat bread $1.58 x 16 = $25.28
- Graham crackers $1.67 x 3 = $5.01
- Tuna ( ) $.68 x 4 = $2.72
- Rice sides ( ) $.68 x 4 = $2.72
Sam’s Club = $82
- 2% milk $2.45 x 2 = $4.90
- 1% milk $2.30 x 2 = $4.60
- skim milk $1.90 x 3 = $5.70
- Sour cream (3 lb) $4.69 x 2 = $9.38
- Cottage cheese (3 lb) $3.98
- Butter (4 lb) $10.89
- Block cheese (2 lb) $5.03
- Shredded cheese (5 lb) $10.98
- Spinach (16 oz) $3.79 x 2 = $7.58
- Romaine (3 hearts) $1.98 x 2 = $3.96
- Bananas (3 lb) $1.38 x 7 = $9.66
- Mandarins (5 lb) $5.98
So what meals are we going to eat this month?
Here’s what our meals look like in February. Spoiler: It looks a lot like what we ate in January!
It’s been a while since I’ve found a stock-up deal on cereal (like the kind where I buy 80 boxes), so we’re sticking to hot breakfasts for now. My husband has been making breakfast lately, as I’m catching up on sleep from being up with the baby at night.
We usually have any combination of the following:
- Eggs (scrambled or fried) and toast
- French Toast
- Cream of Wheat
We are probably the most faithful PBJ family you’ve ever met. Seriously. Even hubby usually gets PBJs for lunch (I put 3-4 sandwiches in his lunch each day, but when he works at home he gets warmed-up leftovers). Depending on what we have on hand, everyone also gets fruit, a granola bar, crackers or another snack, and maybe a string cheese or yogurt . I get most of our lunch snacks at Grocery Outlet for amazing prices.
The lunch staple list includes:
- Bread (or ingredients for bread if I’m feeling ambitious)
- Peanut Butter and Jam
- Apple slices/ Bananas / Mandarin oranges
- Carrot sticks / Celery sticks
- Granola Bars
- Crackers/ Cookies
- Yogurt/ Applesauce
Though some days this exhausted mom of five would like to just skip dinner (Didn’t we just have dinner last night?), we do eat every day. This list isn’t 31 meals long because I’ll make some of these more than once. Plus, we eat leftovers. Hooray for leftovers! I intentionally make more than we’ll eat in one meal so that we will have leftovers!
- Mock Lasagna
- Spaghetti with homemade meat sauce
- Creamy Tacos (I make the cream of chicken soup from scratch now)
- Bean Burritos and Beef Soft Tacos
- Potato Soup
- Chicken Noodle Soup
- Hawaiian Haystacks
- Homemade Pizza
- Baked Potato Bar (still have lots of potatoes from last month)
- Chicken Enchiladas
- Baked Chicken Pesto Alfredo
- Taco Soup
Sides (for Dinner)
- Frozen Veggies (peas, broccoli)
- Spinach Salad
- Romaine Salad
- Soft French Bread
At the end of the month I will show you what we end up getting in our mid-month grocery hauls, so you get the complete picture of our grocery adventures.
How about you?
- I would love to hear how your grocery shopping is different or similar!
Free when you subscribe!
Get frugal inspiration and financial motivation in your inbox every week, plus you'll also get the Guide to Getting a Month Ahead Financially for free!