Frugalista

New Grocery Shopping Budget and My Frugal Grocery Shopping This Week

I've been lax about reporting my grocery spending over the summer, but now that it's the first day of fall, I suppose it's time to put the house in order. I have had a hard time sticking to the $80 per month budget while buying the weekly organic produce box and trying to pay off the two humanely-raised meat purchases we made last year. In fact, I just couldn't do it.

This year, we are planning on buying a portion of a beef and a pig again -- although our beef portion will be smaller -- and I'm still getting the organic produce box. So I'm changing my weekly shopping budget to a more realistic $100 a week.

This will include household goods that you buy at drugstores and grocery stoers -- diapers, cleaning products, toothpaste (as if we ever pay for that).

This week I spent $77: $12.18 at Dominick's, $17.30 at Jewel-Osco, $11 at Dunkin Donuts (on whole bean coffee), $4 at CVS (milk, lipstick, mainly just rolling ECBs) and my usual $32 on the organic produce box. 

Next week I'll resume cataloging the meals we make with our $100 weekly spending. This week, I'd just like to point out some bargain shopping priciples illustrated in the week's shop.

jewelshop9-21.jpg

 

That seltzer water? Got those for $1.79 each with a rain check, and although the rain check was for five cases, the cashier let me buy 2 and just amend the raincheck so I could get the remaining 3 later.

30 pounds of white flour: Well, baking seasons's a-coming, especially with all those apples we got this weekend! (I didn't count in my shopping budget the $40 we spent on entrance to the apple picking place since that was basically entertainment.) The 5 lb. bags of flour were part of the "buy 6, get them for 99 cents each" sale at Jewel, and I didn't want any of the other stuff like cake mix or frosting right now. 20 cents a pound is the cheapest I've ever bought white flour, you?

The organic olive oil is still on sale for $3.99, regular price $10.49. Trader Joe's sells this size (17 oz) normally for $3.50, but not organic. Course, I really don't know how the quality compares or if this is a good thing to buy organic, but for $3.99, what the heck?

Campbell's tomato soup at 39 cents, minus two $.50/2 coupons = 11 cents a can. You won't normally do better than that, except right now -- because you can print and use the $1.50/3 "Great for Cooking" soups, which I didn't have handy today. Yep, you'll make money on tomato soup or get it free.

Baking soda is an all-around frugal thing to have around -- deodorizer, ingredient of homemade cleaning fluid, volcano-maker. It's one of those things you don't see deep discounts on, so even though the store brand was only marked down a dime, I grabbed one. I'm wondering: Does Costco, etc., sell the stuff in bulk?

Pearled barley: another item with tiny sale markdowns but it's a good frugal buy -- more nutritious than brown rice.

Split peas: ditto -- small markdown, but a cheap, good meal ingredient.

Elsewhere this week, I discovered that Dunkin' Donuts can be a good place to buy whole bean coffee. If you get those little booklets of coupons in the mail, look for a coupon for two pounds of coffee for $10.99. Now notice that 12 oz. of DD brand coffee is "on sale" at CVS for $6.99. Most of the time I don't see whole bean coffee in stores for less than $5.99/12 oz. bag. (Sometimes you'll get 8 O'Clock brand for $4 with a coupon, or a really good coupon deal on Starbucks coffee, but usually, no.) In case math is not your strong suit, here's how this compares: Two 16 oz. bags for $10.99 = $5.50 per bag or 34 cents an ounce. The CVS price is 58 cents an ounce.

Do you have basic frugal grocery shopping principles like this? Staple inexpensive, healthy ingredients, or surprising places to get an item cheap? Please share.

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