Week No. 2 of grocery shopping on a budget wasn’t a success — at least in terms of money. I spent just more than $100.
I anticipated this week’s trip would be more costly last week. Unlike my last shopping trip, we really didn’t have anything in our pantry to work. We also needed to restock a few more staples than during my last trip.
Just like last week, I checked to see what ingredients I had, what I needed and what I could make. Then I figured out a meal plan for the week…
- BBQ chicken or tofu with rice and broccoli: Needed BBQ sauce, chicken and broccoli
- Pasta with lemon and vegetables: Needed pasta and lemons
- Tomato soup with tortellini: Needed soup and pasta
- Beans and rice: Needed black beans
- Vegetarian pilaf with salad (and chicken for Dan): Needed lettuce and chicken
- Paninis with Brie and arugula: Needed bread and Brie
In contrast to last week’s meal plan, I picked up a lot more from the store this time. In addition to the meal essentials, there were other miscellaneous items on the list, such as apples, bananas, lunch meat, sliced cheese, cereal and peanut butter.
All things said and done, here’s a look at my haul.
- 2 heads of broccoli
- 2 red onions
- 3 lemons
- 5 Pink Lady apples (my favorite!)
- Bunch of bananas
- Light & Fit 32-oz yogurt
- Chobani 32-oz yogurt
- Feta (I typically buy regular, but fat-free was on sale for $1 less)
- Light Brie
- Sliced Swiss
Meat (for Dan)
- Jimmy Dean “Delights” egg sandwiches
- 2 packages of natural, sliced turkey
- 3 20-oz packages of natural chicken breast fillets
- 2 packages of whole-grain pasta
- 1 loaf of fresh whole-grain bread
- 1 loaf of wheat French bread
- 1 loaf of whole-wheat sandwich bread
- 1 package of whole-wheat tortellini
- 1 bag of kettle chips
- 2 cans of low-sodium black beans
- 1 extra-large jar of natural peanut butter
- 1 container of tomato soup
- 1 bottle of BBQ sauce (Kansas City style, of course!)
- 1 large bottle of natural creamer
- 1 bag of coffee beans
- 1 box of cereal
I veered from the shopping list for a few things — no mention of potato chips! — but did a pretty good job of restricting impulse purchases.
So, why was it so expensive? Aside from the fact that I had to replenish some kitchen staples, the main reason I spent so much was that I bought food in larger quantities and items that were on sale.
Buying in Bulk
I got an extra-large jar of peanut butter and the large bottle of creamer. If I had been really committed to keeping my total down this week, I could have gotten by with the smaller sizes… But, I would have needed to buy more the next time. This way, I’m set on peanut butter for a good month and coffee creamer for two weeks.
One of my dilemmas last week was what to do about my pricy Greek yogurt habit. This time, instead of spending $1.22 per 6-oz container, I bought a 32-oz container for $5.69. That saved me $1.63 — or the equivalent of an extra yogurt.
Making Sale Purchases
The chicken breast fillets were on a deep sale and they are easily freezable. I bought three packages for $4.50 each, which added a total of $13.50 to the trip. But, if I bought just one package on sale this week ($4.50) and packages at their regular prices for the next two weeks ($6.00), then I could have wound up spending $16.50… Just spread out over a greater period of time.
In the end, I think this was a successful shopping trip. Although I exceeded my $75 goal, I figure it will balance out in the end. What really matters is that I spend less than $300 per month — and, if that takes shelling out a bit more one week and a bit less another, that’s fine by me.