Creating a Grocery List

When I went shopping two weeks ago I forgot that Easter was only 14 days away. I postponed my shopping and instead of shopping during the Easter weekend I will shop either today or tomorrow. I wanted to avoid crowds as well as some of the stores I shop at changed their hours or were closed all together and I just did not want to deal with that.

As I mentioned in my previous post I create my grocery list on daily bases. Once the ads are out I look through them and come up a meal plan and a with a final version of my list.

Aldi ad highlights

Meat

  1. chicken drumsticks  $.49/lb
  2. turkey 1.19/lb
  3. ham $.99/lb

I have enough meat for two weeks in my freezer so I do not need to buy any this week although I may pick up a pack of the drumsticks. I am going to try to buy healthier options and opt for the “Never Any” brand but I will see how it will play out.

Produce

  1. russet potatoes $1.99/10lbs
  2. celery $.99
  3. brussels sprouts $1.49/lb

Dairy

  1. Butter $1.99/lb
  2. Eggs $.79/dozen (I missed that special, it was only on for 4 days)
  3. Milk $1.79 (I am trying to find room in my budget to switch to vegan milk which usually sells 2.5/.5 gallon)

Other

  1. Crescent rolls $.99
  2. cinnamon raisin bread $1.49/loaf. Their regular whole wheat bread is still only $.99/loaf
  3. oj not from concentrate $2.09/59oz
  4. flour $1.39/5lbs
  5. sugar $1.59/4lbs
  6. fruit spread made with 75% fruit $1.99/9.95oz

Kroger Ad Highlights

Produce

  1. Asparagus $.99/lb
  2. Pineapple $.99
  3. sweet potatoes $.69/lb

Dairy

  1. Cheese $1.77/6-8oz
  2. Milk $1.59/gallon

Other 

1. Cake mix/condensed milk $1

Meijer  Ad Highlights

Produce

  1. Apples $.99/lb
  2. Grapes $1.49/lb
  3. Broccoli crowns $5/5
  4. Mushrooms $5/5
  5. large artichokes $5/5
  6. Nectarines/plums $1.49/lb
  7. Kale $5/5 bunches

Dairy

  1. Cheese 6-8 oz 2 for $3

Other

  1. Peanut butter $1.99/lb

I plan on making a trip to Costco to stock up on certain things/buy in bulk so I won’t be getting too much of my regular groceries because I still plan on sticking to the budget. I allocated $100 on things I will be buying in large quantities at Costco and the remaining $44.62 on things like produce and dairy. This week I will not be buying any meat because I have enough in my freezer. I have fish, shrimp, chicken and ground turkey as well as two portions of ground beef

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 pasta, salad
  3. Chicken w/ cream cheese, rice
  4. Fish, rice, salad
  5. Black bean burgers
  6. Butter chicken, rice, salad
  7. Tacos
  8. Fish, potatoes, salad
  9. Fish, rice, salad
  10. Vegan sweat potato chili
  11. Pizza
  12. Vegan yellow split peas loaf

Snacks: Smoothies (at least 1 a day, sometimes 2 or 3); homemade banana bread or apple cake; oatmeal; fruit; homemade fries; roasted veggies; baked potatoes.

The only ingredients I need to be able to prepare my dinners are produce and potatoes as well as tortilla wraps and burger buns.

Shopping List

gla

This week my grocery list is very simple because I am not sure how are the prices like at Costco. We shop there frequently but we don’t buy the same things often because most of them come in bulk. I allocated $100 for all of the things I will be getting at Costco. I will not spend more than $110 there because I still need to get my produce from other groceries where they sell them much cheaper but If I know that something puts my total balance over $3 I do not want to get rid of it because I am buying such large quantities that it is cheaper for me to just buy less produce than to buy $3 cheaper olive oil because $8 olive oil at a regular grocery store will come in a very small quantities so I will be actually loosing money in a long run.

In yellow I have the general thing I want to get at Costco. $100 is not a lot of money when you are shopping at such a store so instead of listing every single thing I want to buy in bulk I just listed the general items so that I can buy at least one of each category. For example I want honey, maple syrup and agave sweetener but I know that it is impossible on the budget I have so I just put down a sweetener on my list and I will just choose when when I get to the store. In blue are more specific things I need from there but I am not sure whether it is cheaper to buy those things from a regular store so I know that I need to check the price before buying them.

In Orange I have items I will be getting from a regular grocery stores and I will be using the ad highlights to pick them up.

 

 

 

 

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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!

 

 

 

 

$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

aldi

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

walmart

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

kroger

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.

wal13

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

15

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

 

17

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

 

18

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 🙂