Tuesday, July 15, 2008

An experiment in basic grocery shopping.

Are you feeling the pinch of rising grocery prices? I sure am. I don't remember the last month I stayed within budget on groceries. Though I should confess that this is one budget item I always tend to overspend.

I made a grocery store run today. You know the drill. Out of milk. Almost out of bread, cereal, and fruit. I also updated my budget last night to see how much money I had to spend. Yikes! It wasn't pretty.

I have a budget of $300 to feed five people for a month. That's strictly food; no paper products, toiletry items or cleaning supplies included. Last night I saw I already spent 2/3 of my budget and still have half a month to go!!

With that realization, I carefully examined my menu for the month and my pantry. Then I made out a bare bones list and went shopping this morning.

So what did I buy?

4 gallons of milk @ $2.79 each (NOT organic)
2 8z. packages of shredded cheese for pizza @ $1.89 each
2 boxes Cereal @ $1.69 each
1 box Cereal @ $1.49
2 loaves wheat bread @ $1.69 each
5 lb. sugar @ $1.89
dozen eggs @ $1.29
5.35 lbs bananas (that's 14 bananas) $2.90
2.33 lbs. granny smith apples (that's 7 apples) $3.24
2.23 lbs. red delicious apples (that's 7 apples) $3.10
1.30 lbs. broccoli $1.29
1 lb. strawberries $2.19
2.17 lbs. grapes $2.80
1.45 lbs. nectarines (that's 5 nectarines) $1.15

For a total of $43.04

These are items I buy every week without fail. Although the last three fruits are subject to change depending on what the weekly sale/season is. I usually also have a 3 pound package of sliced American cheese on the list but I stocked up a few weeks ago.

It appears my weekly basics are costing me roughly $50. That's 2/3 of my grocery bill before I ever buy meat or ingredients for various recipes. No wonder I've been overspending. Those occasional bags of chips, cookies and sodas are really budget busters. Not to mention doing nothing for us nutritionally.

I'm going to try really hard not to increase my food budget. Any money I shift to food is coming out of our savings for a 3-6 month emergency fund. I'd really prefer to get that funded so I can move on to other goals. I guess going without soda for a few months isn't that big of a sacrifice.

So what do you buy every week and what are you paying for it? Any suggestions on how I can cut costs?


  1. So, I already read this today and checked back for other comments. I'll keep checking...

    Boy, do I know what you mean! Groceries have increased in price making it challenging! Add to that growing kids and it is difficult. I am glad to know that I'm not the only one.

    Our weekly list looks much the same. I have considered making my own bread and I do make granola (for cereal) but haven't priced if that is really saving any money. The granola provides another option, I still buy some boxed cereal. In the winter we eat more oatmeal which is cheaper than a box of cereal--but that just isn't something good for summer! :)

    Wish I could be more help...:) I'll be checking to see if anyone else has any idea. One more thing: Thank God for Price Rite!!!!!

  2. i made a goal to stay at $75 a week for everything (paper supplies ect) and I haven't broken it yet (since like february) i have to go to multiple stores...and when i go over like i did 2 weeks ago...then i have to spend less the next week or just not go at all. it is amazing how you can stretch your pantry. i just type in the ingredients i have to find a recipe that would work for the night. i will stop for milk somewhere.

    ps, i try to only get the loss leader sales at the normal store and everything else i get at aldi's...usually. i also use walgreens and cvs. if you never visted before, go to moneysavingmom.com...it will majorally inspire you!

  3. i do buy coffee, juice, soda and junk...without it i could be spending much less.

  4. Great post. It got me thinking. I'm trying to spend 400 dollars a month on groceries and household good. We'll see.

    moneysavingmom.com has been an extremely useful resource. You should check it out.


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