Jul 9, 2012

$90 Grocery Budget ~ Week 2

Pictured here are my Target purchases.

Welcome back to my second week attempting to spend only about $90 to buy my family's weekly groceries. This week I had about $110 for personal spending and groceries after we paid our bills. I checked out all the local ads and made a list of what items I wanted to purchase based off those ads as well as items I needed. Target had hamburger on sale for $2.50/lb so I went to Target first. Unfortunately, Target's hamburger was out of stock! This messed up my budget just a bit but I had the money given I had the extra $20 for discretionary spending. Now, if only I'd thought to ask for a rain check!

This week's total spending is: $94.63. While not as good as last week, it is still an improvement I used to think was impossible compared to our previous $160 budget. Hopefully next week I can do even better!

You can check out here where I made it closer to my goal of $90 and only spent $90.22 for a week of groceries.

I feel that we have been doing great at reducing our amount of processed snack foods but we do still drink pop and that is NOT cheap. We would like to work on reducing the amount but for now we are attempting babysteps down the road to healthier meals and we're just not the cut the sugar "cold-turkey" types. ☺ We don't claim to be "real food" only but I think that is a great goal for most of your food choices. One day maybe.

Here is my embarrassingly cluttered pantry where I will still be "shopping" from for some meals throughout the week. The cupboard above this one is where I store my cookbooks, gluten free flours, and a few other small items. I have to keep them locked to prevent the yummier items from being eaten by my bottomless-pit children. ☺ I also still have several bags of frozen veggies to use this week.

Here are my purchases:

A few items I forgot in the original photos.
  • 8 pack of Juicy Juice juice boxes 2.00 (These were on sale and are for rare use when I need to pack lunches for an outing.)
  • 24 bottle package of Ozarka bottled water 3.79 (Target was out of the 3 L bottles I usually buy so I picked up this package but it cost me more than I originally intended to spend on water for the week.)
  • 12 oz bottle of store brand honey 3.44
  • 40 oz bottle of store brand creamy peanut butter 5.49 (My kids love this smeared on apple slices and we all love peanut butter cookies.)
  • 6.5 oz can of sliced black olives 1.69
  • 6 pack of Starbucks VIA iced coffee 4.88 (These were on sale and each package makes 2-8oz coffees and I only drink 8oz at a time so that makes 12 coffees per container. I don't drink it everyday.)
  • 26 oz package of Redmond Real Salt 4.81 (On sale so I couldn't help but stock up.)
  • package of Kraft marshmallows .99 (Okay, okay, I didn't even need these this week but my mom supplied me with a yummy looking recipe that calls for marshmallows and I thought I'd buy an ingredient each week until I have what I need. ☺ And, they were on sale.)
  • 18.5 oz bottle Hershey Lite syrup 1.99 (Surprisingly, this is dairy free and I occasionally allow the kids to have chocolate milk. I add it to my iced coffee to make a mocha as well.)
  • 3 lb bag of Fuji apples 2.89 (Yay, last week I purchased a 3 lb bag of apples from ALDI for 3.99! So I saved over a dollar plus our discount by checking prices!)
  • 12 can pack of Sierra Mist 4.89
  • 12 can pack of Dr. Pepper 4.00 (Yay, it was on sale and I didn't even know it!)
  • 1/2 gallon whole milk 1.99
  • 1 gallon whole milk 3.59
  • 6 double rolls toilet paper (Up and Up brand) 3.79 (I took note later when I was at ALDI that they sell a 18-pack of double roll toilet paper with 14 more sheets per roll for only 6.99 so I'll be purchasing toilet paper there next time we need it!)
  • 184 count "kleenex" or facial tissue (Up and Up brand) 1.39 (I think this may have been cheaper at ALDI too.)
  • 3.5 lb bag of dry kitten food 3.59
Total of purchase (after .15 bag discount, 10% team member discount, and 5% Redcard discount + taxes) = $50.02.


  • 27 count package of size 5 diapers 4.99 (We are impressed with the quality of these diapers and they have held up just as well as Target's diapers for our almost 2 year old but are about $2 cheaper!)
  • 2-1/2 gallon cartons of sweetened almond milk @ 2.49 each = 4.98
  • 12 oz package of turkey bacon 2.29 (I wanted regular but it was a good deal cheaper to purchase turkey bacon over the pork bacon so I settled for turkey.)
  • 4.25 oz bottle ground cinnamon .99
  • 4.75 oz bottle onion powder .99
  • 3 dozen large white eggs @ 1.29 each = 3.87
  • 17 oz bottle extra virgin olive oil 3.49
  • 2-13 oz bags tortilla chips @ 1.19 each = 2.38
  • 8 count fruit strips 1.19 (I take these for their snack at church.)
  • 2.87 lb pack of chicken drumsticks @ .99/lb = 2.84
  • 5.08 lb pack of hamburger @ 2.49/lb = 12.65 (Sure, I found hamburger for about the same price here as I did at Target but I had to purchase a large package and went over budget here. I was planning on only spending $5 on hamburger instead of over $12.)
  • 3 lb package of yellow onions .79
Total of purchase (+ tax) = $44.61.

My menu for the week using what I have on hand and what I purchased:

  • Grits (I have in my pantry.)
  • Oatmeal (I have in my pantry - made into baked oatmeal muffins and stove-top oatmeal.)
  • Muffins
  • Muffins
  • Popcorn
  • Apples with peanut butter
  • Chips and salsa
  • 2 days of beef and rice stew
  • 1 day of chicken fried rice
  • 2 days of omelets with ham, cheese, and onions (I have leftover ham from last week.)
  • 1 day of hamburgers and oven fries
  • 1 day of leftovers
  • 2 nights of bean burritos with sauteed onions, corn tortillas, Spanish rice
  • 2 nights beef and bean tacos, vegetable, dessert
  • 1 night spaghetti, cornbread, veggie
  • We have dinner plans with another family at their house. We are probably taking a dessert and a side dish.
  • Pumpkin donuts
  • Brownies
  • Peanut butter cookies
What is your go-to cheap dinner?


P.S. I know, I know... We probably don't make the same food choices that you might make. And, I may have gotten better choices at other stores. My blog posts are doubling as a price reference for what I paid and where I paid it so I can make even better price comparisons in the future. ☺

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  1. You did pretty good I'd say! My biggest problem with Target is ONLY buying what I need. That store is such a major temptation for me that I have been avoiding it for a few months now. I like to save money on meat by buying larger packages and bringing it home and splitting it into smaller portions to freeze. That way, I don't need to buy meat every week.

    I'm visiting from The Modest Mom.
    Heather @ cheeriosonmyfloor.blogspot.com

    1. Thanks for visiting Heather! I have the same problem at Target! The hamburger that I bought will probably stretch into next week and $2.49/lb is about as good a deal as it gets these days for hamburger. So I don't feel too bad about it! Unfortunately, we have some very big appetities in our family (all the guys) and I just can't seem to satisfy them without a big meaty meal at least once in the day.

  2. I think you did a good job considering your budget and what you can get for your money now a days. I just recently moved back to the US from Poland. We have five children. It isn't easy to stay on budget. We didn't have a budget over there, we do now and it is hard. We have a bit more allocated for food than you do, but for a family of 7, it doesn't seem to make at times. I am learning that coupons do no good for food items because I don't buy processed foods and tend to make most from scratch. It's a learning process. You'll get the hang of it. Don't be too hard on yourself for a few dollars over.

    1. Hi Rachel and thanks for the encouragement! I check the available online coupons each week when I check ads but its rare I actually print one off. I, too, don't find them useful for items I had planned to purchase. I'm really enjoying this challenge!

  3. Looks good! I found you through Modest Mom...

    I try to get grocery bills down as well. I only buy for three of us now that I'm a single mom, but the budget's still tight. I have a total of $500/month to purchase groceries, toiletries, gasoline, medications, and cover co-pays; as well as anything else that may come up (new shoes, clothes, entertainment, etc.). My son has a lot of needs, so doctor's visits and meds are common-place with us. I know pricing is different in different regions, but I'm in the Mid-Atlantic and love Wegman's for some things. I got ground beef for $1.99/lb there over the weekend; and the milk was $2.59 for skim and $2.69 for 2% per gallon. I also use coupons. They do work; and I make a lot from scratch too. I use the matchups I find at Mama Cheaps, Saving Cents with Sense, Thrifty Divas, etc. Another thing that's helpful is using a price book. You mention that your posts are doubling as a way to help you get better deals in the future. You can also make a list of your most common items and create a chart with their prices at the various stores you shop. Once you have this, you can keep it in your purse so that you know whether you're getting a good deal or not. Keep up the good work - we all need encouragement and help (I'm sorry if that sounds trite, but I think it's true :) ).

    1. Hi Heather! Thanks for stopping by. Every week I check sales ads and online coupons. I must admit, I am either awful at couponing or just have no luck finding good coupons, but I rarely use them. I buy a lot of store brand items. Here in MO, I haven't seen any Wegman's but we do have ALDI and there are great savings to be had by shopping there. I'm still waiting to find 1.99/lb ground beef though! ;D I love encouragement and help from like-minded ladies around the web and I appreciate your reminding me about a price chart. Last week I wrote down the lowest price I'd seen on each item on my shopping list to compare it to what I saw as I shopped. A more detailed list that stays in my purse might be more useful so I will try to make one this week! :D

    2. It's funny that you (Heather) mentioned making a chart. I did just that. I haven't filled in all the information needed, but I have learned which stores are cheaper than others. I haven't gone to all the markets, but I have seen prices at Safeway, Harris Teeter, Walmart, and Target. I also have the prices for items at Sam's Club. It helps to know what is cheap and where.

  4. This is really impressive, especially since you guys try to eat gluten free! I think my go to "cheap" dinners are things like cheeseburger casserole, chicken &noodles(using drum sticks), and sometimes spaghetti. Tacos used to be a cheap meal for us, but they are quickly becoming a bit more expensive than I'd like, b/c a pound of hamburger just isn't cutting it anymore! I really enjoyed reading this!

    1. Thanks Jessica! Yum! I love cheeseburger casserole. Thanks for the suggestions. We eat spaghetti and tacos regularly. Have you seen the ideas of stretching taco meat with beans? Some people do it with regular pinto or black beans but I have found our family really enjoys taco meat mixed with refried beans. This recipe calls for 2 lbs but I think I used 1 lb and reduced the tomato sauce slightly. It was a hit! http://www.lynnskitchenadventures.com/2011/11/oven-tacos.html

  5. Hi, I'm back, from Modest Mom reading your week 2. I think I like these posts because I can so relate, since my budget is $90 a week for groceries too. I wonder if you have thought of just buying a big jug of juice and refilling water bottles? That would cut out the cost of juice boxes and be a fun treat around the house. Aldi's also sells water bottles, I can't remember the cost but I have bought them from time to time. We mainly use tap water anyway or I will buy bottled water (to get the bottles) and then refill them. I have a PUR water filter and it has saved us a lot of money in not buying water. My mom got a Brita pitcher and it is very good too. I grocery shop tomorrow so I am anxious to see how well I do. Kroger has a mega sale going on (I find myself buying "junk" food there but we do go to an amusement park about an hour away and pack our own snacks for that so that is helpful).

    1. To be honest, we just don't care for the taste of our tap water! But, I appreciate your advice. We have been considering investing in a water filtration system or pitcher and may be doing that very soon! It would be great to save the extra money weekly! The juice boxes were just to keep on hand because I'd had a few times recently where I needed to pack a lunch and didn't have a portable drink for my kids. I realize it was still unnecessary but they won't be having them unless we go on a picnic or something. Otherwise, I do just buy bottled juice to "flavor" their water when I think they aren't drinking enough in the summertime (at about 80%water to 20%flavor). I hope we can start saving on water soon! I hope you do well at the store! Thanks for visiting again! :D

  6. Hi Shari! You're doing an awesome job of reducing your food bill! I would definitely suggest going with a water filtration system, you can even bottle if if you need to store water for emergencies (http://cajunmamadiary.blogspot.com/2012/06/save-money-bottle-your-own-water.html). I'm always interested in new, thrifty ideas, and can't wait to see how you're endeavors progress!

    1. Hi Charlie! Thanks for stopping in for a visit and I'll be sure to check out your blog too! :D We are seriously considering a water filtration system or at least a filtration pitcher. We buy Spring water and find the flavor to be superior to even filtered tap water but maybe we're just crazy! ;D Either way, the savings is important to us so we'll just have to get used to it!

  7. Even if you didn't hit your budget exactly, look how much better you're doing than before! Our budget was the same way--I didn't even realize how much we were spending and half the time I felt like there was no food in the house. Now I'm at $100/wk and our pantry and freezer are full of good food every week. :)

    I do some couponing and get great deals sometimes, but my #1 suggestion for people is always to have that price list. So often you think because it's listed on sale it's a good price. But after taking price notes on our main items for a few weeks, sometimes I know I've seen a better price and I just wait. The price list is my #1 strategy for cutting the bill.

    1. Hi Jamie. I checked out your blog. Your kids are so cute and all close in age like mine. My kids would love to live on a farm (that's on the "dream" list as I'm an animal/farm loving girl myself!). Way to go on filling your kitchen with good food on your budget. I've been working on my price list to take with me to the stores for my shopping trip tomorrow! Thanks for visiting!


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