When we were working hard to pay off debt, we were pretty good at sticking to one big monthly grocery shopping trip. Now that we live much closer to actual stores, we end up going more often, which can be dangerous. Our monthly shopping trip started to be not-so all-inclusive since we could easily get to the store (not an option when we lived in my in-laws’ basement in the boonies while we paid off debt).
I think I did a pretty good job of making our monthly shopping trip big enough to last the whole month. We’ll probably need a few things, but between what I bought and what we have in the pantry and freezer, we should be good! In fact we’re still eating from the 120 pounds of apples that we bought in January!
You might notice that there is no meat listed below in the list of what we bought. That’s not a mistake. And no, we’re not vegetarians (except my daughter). We get our meat in bulk (40-lb boxes) from Zaycon Fresh several times a year. We love the ground beef and the boneless skinless chicken breasts.
Saving money on meat, both by eating less of it and getting it in bulk at great prices, is one of the ways we keep such a low grocery budget for our family of seven. We also have chickens that give us plenty of eggs!
As I mentioned in February’s budget update and in Februray’s mid-month shopping trips video, we are making some changes to the way we eat. We’re not following any particular diet or anyone else’s “rules” about what we can and can’t eat.
The main healthy eating ideas I have in mind are:
Eat more produce, especially fresh produce
Eat intact grains and whole grains
Limit processed foods with added sugar and empty calories
In the video below, I’ll walk you through what we bought and what it cost. I’ll even show you how we got to grind our own peanut butter at the store! Turns out that’s nearly as cheap as the sweetened peanut butter we used to buy ($.09/oz vs $.10/oz)!
What we bought (and what it cost)
Winco = $100
- Frozen cauliflower $1.49 x 3 = $4.47
- Orange juice concentrate $.99 x 4 = $3.96
- Frozen blueberries $1.78 x 2 = $1.78
- Plain yogurt $2.13
- Adam’s crunchy peanut butter $5.48 x 3 = $16.44
- Adam’s creamy peanut butter $5.73
- Peanut butter- fresh (1.86 lb) $3.01
- Whole wheat maccaroni $1.08 x 4 = $4.32
- Whole wheat penne $.88 x 2 = $1.76
- Whole wheat spaghetti $.88 x 4 = $3.52
- Brown rice (2 lb) $1.29 x 4 = $5.16
- Brown rice- bulk (6.5 lb) $4.11
- Almonds- bulk (.71 lb) $3.66
- Sunflower seeds (raw)- bulk (.83 lb) $1.28
- Pumpkin seeds (raw)- bulk (.24 lb) $.57
- Steel cut oats- bulk (1.3 lb) $.83
- Corn meal- bulk (2.5 lb) $1.47
- Zucchini (2.6 lb) $2.04
- Green bell peppers $.35 x 4 = $1.00
- Asparagus (2.14 lb) $3.17
- Onions (3 lb) $1.28
- Wheat bread $1.68 x 10 = $16.80
- Olive oil $8.98
- Celery $.68 x 3 = $2.04
Sprouts = $48
- Strawberries (1 lb) $1.50 x 3 = $4.50
- Asparagus $.98/lb x 2.05 lb = $2.01
- Avocados $.88 x 3 = $2.64
- Bell peppers $.88 x 3 = $2.64
- Butternut squash $.88/lb x 3.5 lb = $3.07
- Cilantro $.34
- Clementines (2 lb bag) $1.88 x 4 = $7.52
- Cucumbers 3/$1 x 3 = $1.00
- Green onion $.34
- Green seedless grapes $.98 x 10.73 lb = $10.52
- Spaghetti squash $.88 x 3.92 lb = $3.45
- Roma tomatoes $.98 x 5.5 lb = $5.39
- Tomatoes $.88 x 3.14 lb = $2.76
- Quinoa $2.49 x .86 lb = $2.14
Sam’s Club = $182
- 2% milk $2.30 x 6 = $13.80
- Whole milk $2.50 x 2 = $5.00
- Sour cream (3 lb) $3.98 x 2 = $7.96
- Cottage cheese (3 lb) $4.38
- Butter (4 lb) $9.68 x 2 =$19.36
- Block cheese (2 lb) $4.98 x 2 =$9.96
- Shredded cheese (5 lb) $11.98
- Shredded mozarella (5 lb) $10.48
- Spinach (16 oz) $3.79 x 3 = $11.37
- Spring mix (16 oz) $3.79 x 3 = $7.58
- Iceberg/ Romaine Mix (2.5 lb) $2.98 x 2 = $5.94
- Bananas (3 lb) $1.38 x 8 = $11.04
- Mandarins (5 lb) $5.98
- Honey (2 x 40 oz) $14.98
- Baking Powder (60 oz) $5.69
- String Cheese (48 ct) $7.59 x 2 =$15.18
- Cranberry juice (2 x 96 oz) $6.98 x 2 = $13.96
- Raisins (60 oz) $6.98
What We’re Eating
So far the biggest changes in our meals compared to past months is that we’re eating more salads and more fresh fruit. We’re also eating brown rice instead of white and whole wheat pasta instead of the regular enriched pasta. So far everyone likes brown rice just fine, but the whole wheat pasta isn’t our favorite (that’s the polite way to say we don’t like it), but we’re eating it anyway.
Instead of fruit snacks or granola bars or other ready-made lunch snacks, I’m sending fruits/veggies and string cheese along with a PBJ or PBH sandwich. I’m using natural peanut butter on sandwiches. The only kid who has noticed (or at least mentioned anything) is my 2-year-old!
I’m not hardcore enough to cut out sugar completely. Anyone who knows me, knows I’ve got a serious sweet tooth! I am trying to limit it to just homemade treats, though.
So far eating healthy on a low grocery budget is working out well!
How about you?
- What are your best healthy eating tips?
- What other healthy things do you buy regularly?
- What do you do with quinoa?