It all started with this YouTube video, during my Friday afternoon, waiting for the Norseman to get home.
Needless, to say, I felt challenged, given our budget was much more than that. After watching, I was initially disappointed, because she has a couple of advantages. But after talking it over with the Norseman, I decided we might be able to do $200, after doing $300 this month so that we could replenish our severely depleted pantry/freezer. However, the goal is to attempt $200 this month, with the extra $100 for helping to get our mini-stash back up. See number two below for a better explanation. Here is a list of her advantages, and how we decided to make up for them.
- She has an Aldi near her. I may be jaded since most of the “How to Save” and “Look at My Low Grocery Bill” type posts on Pinterest and some big-name blogs have the authors shopping mainly at Aldi and Costco. It seems so unfair that everywhere I have lived, I have no access to an Aldi. But after my initial pity part, I remembered that we have things like the Farmer’s Market, which often has eggs for $0.79/dozen. And we eat a lot of eggs. So there is that. We also have a Kroger, which can have good deals if you know what to look for. More on that in a minute.
- She has a great stash of canned goods to help lower her bill, whereas we do not, nor do we have space to have said stash. However, we ended up deciding that this month we will give ourselves an extra $100 in case we see some good deals, so that we can at least stock up on things that we use often, as space allows.
- She doesn’t buy high quality, grass-fed, hormone-free meats. Nor does she buy organic dairy. We do. After more discussion, we decided that we won’t change this, because this is important to us (although our meat isn’t always grass-fed.) We make up for this by making meat a complement, not the star of the meal. Asian countries are great at doing this, and fortunately, we love making authentic and Americanized Asian recipes. If you go on to read her budget series on her blog, you find out that she will cut out half of the meat called for in a casserole, and replace it with extra vegetables. I love this idea, and plan to use it any way I can in future dishes, within reason.
So those were the Big Three I noticed, and as a result, we don’t think that we can swing $100 a month, not by any means. However, that doesn’t mean we can’t implement some of her strategies in an attempt to lower our monthly grocery budget. I went out on the big shopping trip this past weekend, and I’m pleased with the results. I’ll show you a series of pictures, and then list what we purchased, the cost, the menu plan, and what the plan is from here.
- Shrimp Chips, Mango Mochi (sweet rice treat), Udon noodles, plain yogurt, six dozen eggs, apples, pumpkin donuts, apple pie, butter, milk
- Whole chicken, salt (bulk), shitake mushrooms, 1/2 lb boneless chicken thighs, cucumber, green onions, red pepper, bananas, ginger, onions, lemons, red cabbage, pretzels, soba noodles, whole wheat flour, assorted vinegars and soy sauces.
- (Starting to the right of the bananas) Cilantro, garlic, yellow tomatoes, sweet potatoes, cabbage, spinach, olive oil
- Orange juice, two grape juices, coconut milk, diced tomatoes, crushed tomatoes (batteries are not included!)
Alright, now here is how it broke down:
- Kroger: $52.92
- Asian Market: $38.61
- Farmer’s Market: $24.80
- Earth Fare: $23.90
- Grand Total: $140.23
The remainder of the grocery budget will go towards dairy (milk, yogurt) and veggies for meals.
Kroger was most of the canned and packaged (non-Asian) goods, and the apples. They had some great deals on the tomatoes, flour, and grape juice, so I got more than we will likely use this month. Earth Fare was meat, dairy, and salt. Asian Market was the Asian foods, and the mushrooms. I won’t get mushrooms there again, though, as the Farmer’s Market has better prices on them. The remaining fresh vegetables and eggs are from the Farmer’s Market. They had some amazing deals this month, like 3 lbs of bananas for 99 cents, total. A side note here: we have a Sam’s Club membership, but I didn’t use it for food yet this month.
This is our menu plan, which uses most of the vegetables, and only a little of the meat. The plan is to make the chicken last all month. We also have a pound of ground beef, and a fish filet in the freezer that will help stretch it. If we come up short near the end of the month, I will get a beef or pork roast to finish out the month, and probably start off next month. Also, there will be a soup, and at least one meatless meal every week.
- Homemade bread, for breakfasts and snacks
- Eggs & yogurt for breakfasts also
- Flatbread, hummus, leftovers and smoothies for lunches
- Dinners (From Sunday – Sunday, except Wednesday, when we eat at church, and Tuesday, when I was supposed to eat at a friends house. Prima got sick, so I ordered pizza and hung out with her at home.)
Stay tuned for an update next week on how it’s going.