$100 Costco Haul with Prices

My bill:

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My groceries:

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Items for my stockpile:

  1. Coconut oil. I use it in baking and frying as well as a moisturizer for me $19.99
  2. Spaghetti noodles $9.99
  3. Olive oil $11.99
  4. honey $7.49
  5. fruit spread $2.97
  6. mayo $4.99

I would not recommend their produce as their prices are very high when compared to the local grocery stores.

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Additional things I buy at costco:

  1. nuts
  2. frozen vegg
  3. sugar
  4. liquid sweeteners (maple syrup etc)
  5. lentils
  6. canned beans/sauces
  7. hummus
  8. cheese
  9. meat (2.99/lb of chicken fed vegetarian diet with no meat by products)

This is part 1 out of 2 of my grocery haul. I will be posting tomorrow hauls from Kroger, Meijer and Aldi so stay tuned!

 

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$150 Aldi, Walmart and Kroger Grocery Haul

I am all done with my grocery shopping for two weeks. I spent $155.38.

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$94.34 Aldi Haul

I filled my cart to the top and my total was under $100!

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This week I grabbed extra veggies and fruits since I ran out this week. The avocados were on sale at 49 cents/each.

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$23.44  Walmart haul

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Extra juice.

$39.36 Kroger haul

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I think I will have to start buying organic/grass fed meat again. I am not sure how will that impact my budget. Produce takes up a huge portion of my budget and I feel like it is going to be hard to maintain $300/month/2ppl grocery budget with organic meat. I will do my best but I may have to rethink it.

Soon I will be posting some meals I prepare so stay tuned!

 

February ’16 Grocery Budget Part 2

A month has passed by and I am ready to sum up the challenge for this month. I have set a couple of goals for myself  and as I was executing them I realized that there is so much I need to learn to be successful.

Challenge #1 Limit grocery trips to 2/month

During the first two weeks I have made 4 trips. I have realized that I need a grocery list if I want to cut back on the trips. Right after the 4th trip I promised myself that no matter what I will not go to the store for 2 weeks. To achieve this goes here is some changes I have made:

Change #1 Do not go shopping without a grocery list

I used sticky notes to write my grocery list down. At the very top I wrote down when was I going to go to the grocery store and for how many days was I going to shop for (14 days). In one column I wrote things we were out of and in another column I wrote things we were running out of. When the time came to go to the grocery store I took my sticky notes with me and I checked my cupboards for things we were running out of. If I noticed that I am not going to have enough of that item for 14 days then I added it to the shopping list.

To eliminate the risk of forgetting something I filled the columns every day as I was using my products for instance if I took the last glass of OJ or used up the last stick of butter I marked it down immediately and when I noticed that I have less than half a box of sugar left I would mark it down as an item that is running out.

It worked! Grocery list helped me to get all of the things I needed in one day and my two week shopping haul was actually sufficient for the entire two week period meaning we did not have to go anywhere again until March 13th! Naturally there were some things we ran out of a couple days prior to the 13th as I am still working out the quantities I need for two weeks (more OJ, less eggs) but overall I am very happy with the improvements I made and of course I will be improving my techniques further as I go.

Challenge #2 Each trip should cost no more than $150 and it should last at least 2 weeks.

In my previous post February ’16 Grocery Budget Part 1 I shared I told you I spent $241.99 so that left me with $58.01 till the end of the month. You can see from $120 Aldi, Walmart and Kroger Grocery Haul that I spent a lot more than $58.01. The good news is that I spent less than $150 which is my 2 week budget/2ppl. Over all I spent $364.86 on food in 4 weeks which is $64.86 (22%) over budget. ;(

On the bright side I went from spending $242.99/2 weeks to $122.87/2 weeks. Here are the changes I have made to cut the spending.

  1. I planned my meals. I used the ads and whatever I already had in the fridge.
  2. I have made a grocery list.
  3. I figured out (and still am) what exactly do I need for two weeks.

I am still working everything out. I am new to meal planning and grocery lists. I used to shop whenever I ran out of anything and when I went to the store for that one thing I needed I would come out with 15 other little things and a grocery bill of $30. This week I ran out of fresh fruits and vegetables as well as milk and juice but I did not run back to the store, I waited until the scheduled grocery trip and I used whatever else I had in house. I went over my bills and adjusted my grocery list so that when I do go to the store I will get enough of everything. In place of fresh produce I served frozen and we drank lemon water and tea.

Setting the budget in place alone and a little planning helped me to cut the budget by over $350. I did not reach my goal of $150/month/person but if 30 minutes of my work helped me to save 50% then I can not wait to see the results I can get with regular meal planning and creating grocery lists every time I shop.

I went 22% over the budget and I am hoping to fix that this month. I am going to go to the grocery store either today or tomorrow. I have already created a plan for that trip so I think my chances of not overspending are much better now. I will be sharing with you my haul along with my receipts soon so stay tuned!

 

 

 

 

Composing a Grocery List Based on Ads

The grocery ads in my area are out already and I have decided to start working on the final version of my grocery list.

I have looked up the online ads and I have decided to shop at Aldi, Walmart and Kroger.

Browsing the Ads

Aldi Ad Highlights

Meat

  1. Appleton Ham 79-99 cents/lb, (3.49/lb for Never Any Ham w/o antibiotics, by products or hormones);
  2. Chicken breast $1.49/lb

Next week Aldi is having Boneless Lamb Leg Roast seasoned/unseasoned at $6.49/lb as well as chicken thighs at .49/lb

Produce

  1. Navel Oranges $1.79/4lbs;
  2. Grapefruit $1.99/5lbs (I highly recommend the grapefruits, they are amazing);
  3. Kiwi .75/3
  4. 6 oz blueberries/blackberries $1.49/.99
  5. Lemons 1.99/2lbs

Other

  1. Milk $1.59/gallon
  2. Crescent rolls .99

Kroger Ad Highlights

Meat

  1. Frozen turkey breast .99/lb

Produce

  1. Peaches, plums and nectarines at .99/lb (I love their plums);
  2. Strawberries $5/4lbs
  3. Sweet Bell peppers (yellow, red and orange) $1/each
  4.  Green Cabbage $.29/lb
  5. Organic Celery $1.29/bunch

Other

  1. Private selection bread .99/loaf
  2. Beans/Tomatoes in a 15oz can $1/2cans
  3. Green Cabbage $.29/lb
  4. 24oz Sour Cream/Dip/Cottage Cheese $4/2 containers
  5. 32 oz yogurt $4/2 containers
  6. 6-10oz frozen sides/vegg $1/each
  7. .5 gallon coconut/almond/soy milk $4/2 boxes

I have been writing a grocery list throughout the week and now that the ads are out I can plan my meals as well.

I am shopping for two weeks so I need a meal plan for 14 days. I am basing my meals on the sales and whatever I already have at home. I may end up adding or removing things from my list depending on how much money do I have to spend. I am also leaving room in my budget for clearance items which are not advertised in the ads.

Meal plan

Breakfast: french toasts, egg salad sandwiches, sandwiches, roasted veggies, oatmeal, cereal.

Lunch: sandwiches or leftovers from dinner + 2/3pc of fruit.

Dinner:

  1. Spaghetti, salad
  2. Shrimp + broccoli pasta, salad
  3. Chicken w/ cream cheese, rice
  4. Steak, potatoes, salad
  5. Pizza w/ pineapple + onions + chicken
  6. Butter chicken, rice, salad
  7. Fried mini meatloaf, potatoes, salad
  8. Fish, potatoes, salad
  9. Fish, rice, salad
  10. Curry chickpeas w/ sweet potatoes
  11. Pizza w/ pineapple + mushrooms + onions
  12. Tuna sandwiches + pickles

Snacks: Smoothies (at least 1 a day, sometimes 2 or 3); homemade banana bread or apple cake; cereal; oatmeal; yogurt; fruit; homemade fries; roasted veggies; hummus with bread/veggies.

This week I planned my meals mostly around what is already in my house. I have a lot of chicken from my last trip to Aldi as well as steaks, ground beef and a little bit of shrimp left from my trip to Krogger a month ago.

Shopping List  

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I assigned a price to each item. Some prices are taken from ads and some I estimated (I tried to overestimate rather than underestimate so that I will not be disappointed at the store).

As you can see my list is long and impossible to accomplish on the budget I have ($300 for the month for 2 ppl, I aim to make 2 trips/month so that’s $150/trip). My first step to create a list was to list the things I need to get me by for 2 weeks. As I am writing this post I am 4 days away from going to the grocery store and I am already out of fresh fruit and by the time Friday comes I will be out of milk and OJ. I know now that I need to get more of those things the next time I go. By looking at my list I know I won’t be getting everything. The list contains $90.7 worth of things I can go without, that will free up $17.4 that I can spend on almond milk and extra fruit so that I do not run out of anything. If I wanted to get everything I would be spending about $227.3 which is $77.3 more than I am comfortable with.

Building my pantry

Instead of trying to get everything I want I will be focusing on building my pantry. I am going to be getting a lot of canned goods for my pizzas as well as slow cooker so that I have an access to easy, fast and healthy meals on the days when I do not feel like cooking for 3 hrs. I want to stock on them now while they are on sale.

Executing the Grocery List

I know that it is impossible to have the perfect grocery list or have the perfect budget.

  • Bring a Calculator

Before adding anything to my cart I add it up in my calculator so that I know how much I am spending and how much money do I have left.

  • Get items from clearance

I assign regular prices to items on my grocery list because I never know what am I going to find on clearance. On my previous trips I found cheese, yogurt and bread on sale. Saving money on essentials frees up more money in my budget for things I do not necessary need right away but may need in the future especially if the nonessential items are on sale.

  • Stick to the Budget, not necessary a grocery list

My ultimate goal is to not spend more than I budgeted for and to get enough groceries until my next trip. I have divided my grocery list into essential and nonessential items that way I have some wiggle room for products I may find that may not be on my shopping list but are on clearance (cheese, tea, spices) and getting them off clearance will save me from adding them to my next grocery list.

Example #1

I have $5 hot dogs on my nonessential list. I picked them up and I have reached my maximum budged, I can not spend anymore money and I see an unadvertised sale on boxes of pasta at 50 cents/box. I will put back the hot dogs because even though I do not have hot dogs at home $5 is not a sale price, I can easily replace hot dogs with with another snack and I can get them the next time I am shopping but if I don’t get my pasta now another deal like that may not come by in a long time.

Example #2

I have $4 pickles (not a sale price) on my essential list because I am serving tuna sandwich w/ pickles. I see a pack of 1lb reduced meat for $3. I will pick up the $3 meat instead of the pickles because that is a great price and I can use it for 2-3 meals. On top of that I now have an extra $1 to spend on any extra items I want.


 

I will share my grocery haul with you in a few days once I get my shopping done! I will also be posting “February ’16 Grocery Budget Part 2” on Saturday as well so stay tuned.

 

$120 Aldi, Walmart and Kroger Grocery Haul

This is what I bought on the 28th of January. It is suppose to last my husband and I for two weeks until March 13th. My monthly budget was set at $300/month. Unfortunately I was not able to stick to it and so far I spent 22% more than planned. I will write another post on it in 2-3 weeks in which I will try to explain where did I go wrong and what I think I should have done differently.

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$60.53 Aldi Haul

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Aldi is the first store I went to. I have bought some things I needed and some things for my stockpile.

Stockpile Items

  1. Chicken

I have had enough meat/seafood for two weeks in my freezer before I left but Aldi had chicken breasts for $1.49/lb and I thought it was an excellent deal. I have never bought meat from Aldi before so I hope it is good since I have bought enough chicken for two weeks (over 7 lbs). I myself do not eat chicken and usually we buy organic meat from Costco. Spending that extra $14 now will allow me to spend more on more expensive items I like during my next shopping trip.

2. Bread

I picked up two extra loafs of bread at .99/loaf and put them in the freezer. I believed it was a sale price only to find later on that they always have them at .99/loaf. The white bread is even cheaper. I will not be buying extra the next time I go.

All of the other items where products I needed for my recipes.


 

$42.21 Walmart Haul

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Stockpile Items

  1. Tilapia

At $10.66/4lbs I thought it was a steal. I have never tried tilapia before so hopefully it will be good.

2. Butter (did not notice it was salted 😦 )

3. Frozen fruit.

I picked up an extra bag of frozen fruit for smoothies. Unfortunately the smoothies I have made with them do not taste as good as smoothies made with berries. I will have to pick an extra bag of berries next time I go shopping.

Update: I have never had tilapia before. We lived by the sea and we usually bought wild caught haddock and salmon. My husband eats everything I make and never complaints. That being said that fish is really gross. I could not stomach it and my husband could only eat half of his portion. I have done some research and apparently farmed fish like tilapia and cod are very unhealthy so beware! No amount of salt, lemon and garlic could make this fish eatable 😦


 

$20.13 Kroger Haul

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Stockpile Items

  1. Beans
  2. Ginger

 

I prepared a grocery list before I went to the store and a meal plan.

To give you a rough idea of what we eat in a week here is my meal plan for this week.

Breakfast: I would like to note that my husband only eats breakfast on the weekends and it is usually a french toasts, egg salad sandwiches, sandwiches, roasted veggies. Besides the above I also have oatmeal and cereal sometimes.

Lunch: I pack sandwiches or leftover dinners for lunch + 2pc of fruit.

Dinner: homemade pizza; tacos; homemeade burger; shrimp pasta; slow cooker stew; fried chicken w/ potatoes, chicken, raisins, onions and rice.

Snacks: Smoothies (at least 1 a day, sometimes 2 or 3); homemade banana bread or apple cake; cereal; oatmeal; yogurt; fruit; homemade fries; roasted veggies; hummus with bread/veggies.

 

 

 

 

 

February ’16 Grocery Budget Part 1

Challenge #1 Limit grocery trips to 2/month

In my previous post I mentioned limiting grocery trips to 2/month. As of now I have already made 4 trips…  Oops.  I plan on making another trip before the 13th so that will bring the number of trips up to 5 which is 150% higher than I anticipated.

Original plan was to go shopping once on the 13th and once on the 27th or 28th of February.

Challenge #2 Each trip should cost no more than $150 and it should last at least 2 weeks.

I have made 4 trips, they should add up to $150.

  • Trip #1 Walmart (Feb 13th) $150 – $54.79 = $95.21 left

Total= Groceries (54.79) + Other (25.21) =81.85

I am posting my receipt here. Note that the underlined items are not groceries.

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  • Trip #2 Dollar Tree, Aldi (Feb 15) $95.21-($2+$37.92)=$55.29 left

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  • Trip #3 Kroger, Costco (Feb 17) $55.29-($14.15+$10.89)=$30.25

 

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  • Trips #4 Meijer, Kroger (Feb 18) $30.25-($3.36+$70.88)=-$43.99

 

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Eating out

We went out to eat once and it cost us additional $48.

Grocery Budget: -$43.99-$48=-$91.99

Conclusion

It is clear that without a grocery list and a meal plan I can not achieve my goal of cutting my food budget to $300/month. Two weeks into the challenge I have spent $241.99 out of the $150 I was planning on spending. That is 62% over budget. I have $58.01 left until March 13th. Can I do it?

$150 Grocery Budget Challenge (Ohio)

Help!

My grocery budget was getting out of control and I knew I needed to change something. Every trip to a grocery store gave me an anxiety and I had no idea where was my money going. The totals at the cash register were always a surprise and I was throwing out a lot of food that went bad.

Where is my money?

I have always paid for my groceries with a  debit card so when I went through my statements for the past 5 months I have realized I was spending over $700 a month for food and eating out for myself and my husband. I have decided to cut that in half effective immediately. My current budget is $300/month for the two of us (or $150/month each).

I need to regain control 

The second I established the budget I felt relived. I now feel in control of my money. I plan my grocery trips around grocery ads and I base my meals on what is available on sale. I shop at Costco, Aldi, Walmart, Meijer and Kroger.

Our habits

We do not eat pork and avoid eating out. The grocery budget includes eating out but it does not include cleaning supplies or cosmetics although I would like those items to be inclusive in our budget. I have started the challenge on the 13th of February 2016. That means that the $300 I allocated for my grocery should last until March 13th. I would like to limit my grocery trips to 2/month.

I would love to hear from you about your food budget especially if you are from Ohio. Stay tuned for more 🙂