Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Our New Budget, Meal Plan, and My Shopping Trip

According to the USDA, the average weekly cost of groceries in April for a family the size of mine (2 adults, 1 child, plus a baby who is now eating some foods, which I didn't factor into this equation) was as follows:
  • Thrifty Plan: $106.20
  • Low-cost Plan: $135.10
  • Moderate-cost Plan: $167.60
  • Liberal Plan: $208.80
The amount we had determined for our weekly grocery budget is $57.69, about half of what the USDA has determined to be a thrifty plan.  Is it possible?  Yes!  But it does, at times, require some creativity.

Let's take a look at our first week! But first let me warn you that this is a very unusual shopping week for me.  I didn't need too many ingredients for our meals this week and we didn't need very many staples, leaving me with some extra money. I happened to come upon some amazing sales and coupons, so I was able to do a major cereal stock-up with that excess.  

Also, if you'll notice, my meal plan is only for dinners.  I don't typically plan breakfasts and lunches. However, our typical breakfast options are oatmeal, cereal, yogurt, toast, and eggs.  Lunches consist of leftovers, quesadillas, salads, PB&J, deviled eggs (my daughter's absolute favorite!), and bean and cheese burritos.

Meal Plan
Monday: Crock Pot Honey Sesame Chicken, riceroasted broccoli
Tuesday: Leftovers
Wednesday: BBQ Chicken Salad
Thursday: Spicy Chicken Risotto, salad
Friday: Eat at friends'
Saturday: Pinto Bean Casserole
Sunday: Potato and Ham Quiche 

(Note: I've put links to items we've already blogged about.  I'm hoping to eventually have all recipes posted or linked at some point.)

This week the sales were pretty spread out, but my 7-month-old daughter was being quite cooperative while I shopped, so I was able to hit up quite a few stores in order to get the best deals.  Typically, I only go to 2-3 stores each week.

Store 1: Sprouts
I neglected to get a picture of my Sprouts purchase, but I bought 2 lbs of bulk oatmeal for $0.69/lb and seedless grapes for $0.98/lb.  Total: $3.07

Store 2: Food4Less
I do most of my shopping at Food4Less.  Usually I don't buy my produce there, because I can get it cheaper elsewhere.  This week, I just bought it all there because I needed to hit up some other stores I don't normally go to.

BBQ sauce: $0.99
Butternut squash (for baby food): $2.07
Baking powder: $1.99
Yellow onions: $0.59
Romaine lettuce: $0.99
2 Green bell peppers: $1.58
Green onions: $0.33
Broccoli crowns: $1.25
Red bell pepper: $0.99
Pasilla chilles: $1.00
Iceberg lettuce: $0.99
Tortilla chips: $1.89
2 lbs strawberries: $1.98
Total: $16.64

Store 3: Pavilions (Safeway affiliate)
This is where my shopping trip was highly unusual.  They had many of their General Mills cereals and Nature Valley granola bars on sale for $1.49 each when you buy them in multiples of 4.  I had quite a few high value coupons for cereal and granola bars, and when combined with the sale, I scored a lot of food for a little bit of money.  We are all stocked up on cereal for a little while.  :)

2 boxes Cheerios: $1.49 each
4 boxes Honey Nut Cheerios: $1.49 each
3 boxes Multi-Grain Cheerios: $1.49 each
4 boxes Kix: $1.49 each
3 boxes Nature Valley Granola Bars: $1.49 each
Prego: $1.79
Total after coupons: $12.83

Store 4: Ralphs (Kroger affiliate)

Honey Bunches of Oats: $1.88 each
Eggs: $1.88 (plus a coupon for a free dozen)
Total: $7.52

Store 5: Sam's Club

Milk: $2.85
2.5 lbs cheese: $9.48
Total: $12.33

Grand Total: $52.39


Sarah said...

Sam's Club requires a membership, right? Do you find it worth the price? I see milk is quite cheap there, but you've only purchased 1 gallon for the week. I usually buy 3-4 gallons every week, so...

Kimiko said...

I think it pays for itself. I don't buy a lot there, but there are a few things that I can get cheaper there than anywhere else (boneless/skinless chicken breasts, milk, cheese, tortillas, bread, etc.). I also buy my gas there. It's usually the same price as Costco (but with no lines!) and at least 10 cents cheaper than any other gas stations in the area. They often have preview weekends, where you can go and shop without a membership. I'll try to keep an eye out and post when they're going to do that. Additionally, sites like Living Social and Groupon often have really good deals on Sam's Club memberships.

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