Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Grocery shopping, June 16-22

On one of my favorite frugal-living blogs, my friend Crystal often posts about her grocery shopping trips and weekly menu plans. It's fun to see the coupon and sales deals she's been able to put together, and it's also a great way to learn how to budget and plan better myself.

We currently have a grocery budget of $150/month for our family of three (not that Lukas eats much at all yet, at 7 months), and so far this year we've been able to stay on track with that pretty well. I thought some of you might find it interesting to see how we spend that money each week. We're not using all that many coupons right now as it's a little harder with a baby in the mix, but by watching the sales ads each week and planning menus accordingly we're still able to eat quite well, even relatively healthfully, with this budget...and with a very minimal amount of couponing effort.

A disclaimer: Obviously every family's dietary needs and priorities are different, and prices vary widely from area to area. No one's in a contest to see how little can be spent each month to keep your family alive (we could live on a lot less than we are, but probably wouldn't be very healthy!). Yet I do find it a fun challenge to be the best steward I can of what God has provided to us. I'm learning a lot all the time myself, and am glad to pass along what I know, too.

So here's this week's round-up. If enough of you are interested (comment, please!), I'll try to continue with posts like this. Maybe I'll even take a picture of all we buy...didn't get to that this time. :)

Week of June 16-22

Aldi shopping trip
We were out of town the previous week and had used up most of our produce before the trip, so it was time to head to Aldi and restock the fridge. Their produce is almost always great quality and the prices are pretty hard to beat!
  • Cucumbers - 3 @ 0.39 - 1.17
  • Onions - 3 lb - 1.69
  • Grape tomatoes - 1.49 (for Joe's lunches)
  • Snow peas - 1.99 (ditto)
  • Roma tomatoes - 2 boxes of 9 @ 1.29 - 2.58
  • Cantaloupe - 1 whole melon - 1.19
  • Red grapes - 2 lb. - 1.98
  • TOTAL - $12.09

Fareway shopping trip
We like Fareway because they match ads from several other local stores, the clerks are always cheerful and helpful, and the smaller stores are easy to get around. The best part, though, is that they have marked down items and we never know what we'll find! No big finds this time around, sadly, but these prices are pretty good and we needed to restock our supplies of peanut butter and shredded cheese.
  • Skippy peanut butter, 16 oz - 6 @ 1.88 (wish there'd been a coupon available for this!)
  • Shredded cheese, 8 oz - 6 @ 1.50
  • Corn on the cob, pack of 4 - marked down to 1.09
  • Leaf lettuce, large heads - 2 @ 1.29
  • TOTAL - $23.95

Menards shopping trip
This is the first time we've ever bought groceries at Menards, hehe, but Joe saw they had brats on sale this week and the Wisconsin boy in him got all excited. ;) Maybe not a steal of a price, but it's decent and these will be good for grilling this summer. The Klements brand is supposed to have no MSG, nitrates/nitrites, etc., so that's nice.
  • Klements brats, 5 per package - 5 @ 1.99 
  • TOTAL - $9.95

Walmart shopping trip
We don't go to Walmart all that often, but I had a few coupons that were supposed to be best used there and Joe said he didn't mind stopping by while he was out getting the brats and the things at Fareway. Unfortunately he was only able to locate one of the items for the coupon deals...seems to be the way things usually go for us at Walmart. Just one more reason we rarely go there. :P
  • Kraft BBQ sauce - 6 @ 1.00 - used three $1/2 coupons
  • TOTAL - $3.00

Total for the week - $48.99
This is more than we spend most weeks, but since we'd bought basically no groceries the week before due to our trip it'll still work out well for the month as a whole. And with the cheese, peanut butter, brats, and BBQ sauce we did a fair bit of stocking up for future weeks, too.

What we ate
I didn't keep very detailed notes on this, but can do better next time if anyone is interested. Made several big green salads and had fruit several days, and for main dishes I made pizza rolls, tuna sandwiches, chicken and asparagus casserole, red rice, and potato-corn-beef soup. Joe grilled veggies and brats one day (I made whole wheat and rye buns to go with the latter), and we had leftover homemade sour cream spice cake and apples with peanut butter most breakfasts.

Question of the week
What's your favorite way to use BBQ sauce? I haven't done a lot with it before, but now have a bunch in the pantry. ;) Ideas, please!


  1. Wow, I guess this just goes to show how different areas are. My jaw was literally dropping at the prices you were mentioning! In our area, canteloupe are around $3, 3 cukes for $3.50, snow peas @ $4-$5 a bag, etc.... Yes, we're in Canada, but STILL! I guess I don't feel terribly bad about our much bigger grocery budget now. I will definitely look forward to future posts!

  2. Yes, prices do vary SO much between areas! Produce is noticeably cheaper here in Iowa than it was where we lived in Minnesota, just 4 hours north of here. Aldi's prices are almost always better than anywhere else, though. Most stores, even with "sales", have cantelope at around 60 cents a pound (not sure how that'd figure out for a whole melon), cucumbers around 3/$2, lettuce at $1.99/head, and so on.

  3. Seems the further north you go, the more expensive everything gets. :P I'm interested in seeing more posts of this type so I hope you keep it up. :)

  4. Awesome deals you got! We try to stay around $50/week. Prices are so high here right now, but with some deal shopping it is doable. Can't wait until my garden is producing and I can stock up on staples for the winter!

  5. I would continue reading these types of posts :) Thanks for sharing!

  6. BBQ sauce! Well, we're snobbish and strongly prefer Sweet Baby Ray's, so no guarantees that my ideas will taste very good with Kraft! ;) However, it's really easy to make BBQ chicken in the oven with bbq sauce (or in the crock pot). I have crock pot bbq chicken directions/recipe on my blog, and for the oven, I like to use drumsticks. Put drumsticks in a glass baking dish, squirt bbq sauce on top, and bake at ~350F for at least an hour, or until up to temp (I usually use a thermometer close to the bone and make sure it's ~180 or so) or until you can stick a fork in them and the meat falls off and juices are running clear. :) You can also grill meat on the grill -- Joshua says to season and grill the first side, then flip the meat and put the bbq sauce on after you flip it to avoid a really messy sticky burnt-bbq-sauce grill afterwards. :)

    Great job on your groceries! And Lukas is sure a CUTIE!!! My kids saw his 7-month pictures as I was reading the update and commented on how sweet he looked and said "I bet he would be really fun to play with now!" :)