Another Wednesday, another shopping trip, another quest for groceries on a budget. This time with three kids in tow. My total cost was $100.34 which peeved me for two reasons. 1st) because I had one more $1 off coupon that I could have used if I had taken two seconds to really look through my wallet. I knew I had seen it before I went into the store, but it was the last store and by the time we got to the checkout line I was pretty frazzled. The other reason it annoyed me was that I knew I was being sloppy towards the end. I had everything on my list and knew I was within my budget so I threw in a couple more things that weren’t immediately necessary. They werethings I picked up were things that we’ll use for multiple weeks, so it could have been worse, but still. I was (am) annoyed.
Groceries on a Budget
Anyways, here’s what I did. The four stores I shopped at were: The Brownberry Bread Outlet, Fresh Thyme, Aldi, and Kroger. Last night I sat down and looked over the sales papers for Fresh Thyme, Kroger, and Aldi. The Aldi sale paper isn’t very helpful, because they don’t run sales like a normal store, but I looked anyways, just in case.
One of the things I love about Fresh Thyme is that on Wednesday you get to use two weeks of sales–the previous week AND the upcoming week. This week I had a second chance for awesome 2/$1 avocados and mangoes and 88c/dozen eggs. Yay! Additionally, they had a great little sale on salad toppings and grapes. Kroger had a great deal on split chicken breasts, and their butter was actually cheaper than Aldi for a change, so I knew I had to go there too.
I color coded for things that I knew I wanted to buy at a specific place, and left the few things that I wasn’t sure about just hanging out there at the bottom. Ultimately, I bought all of those things at Kroger.
Once I was shopping, of course, a few things changed. I skipped the chicken thighs at Aldi, because they were more expensive than they were supposed to be and I knew the Kroger sale was better. Also skipped apples (we still have a lot of oranges from last week’s sale) and Aldi was out of greek yogurt. At Aldi I added graham crackers and cheerios for the kids, and a can of pink salmon, but decided to get tortillas there instead of at Kroger. Skipped the balsamic at Kroger, but picked up some Greek Yogurt. That was part of my problem, because I splurged a little for Oikos, when I should have just gone with the on sale brand. Yes, I will keep obsessing over those 34 cents, thank you very much 😛 This is serious, y’all. I think it would have been less annoying to be $5 dollars over budget, but the fact that it was only .34 is really messing with me.
Moving on… After I picked out the sales I wanted to target, I made our menu plan for the next week.
Wednesday: Pork Stirfry and Rice (with leftover pork from the big roast I cooked on Monday) ~ Thursday: White Bean Soup with Ham Hocks ~ Friday: Pizza ~ Saturday: Cranberry Balsamic Chicken ~ Sunday: Omelettes ~ Monday: Pink Salmon Chowder ~ Tuesday: Chili Lime Mango Chicken with Salad
Fresh fruit, and alternating egg salad and grilled cheese sandwiches. I skip the bread and eat salad or leftovers
Alternating eggs and oatmeal. I have some frozen strawberries that I like to add to oatmeal, and we sweeten with stevia or a little brown sugar for the kids. The kids have milk with their breakfasts. We’ll have yogurt with fruit and homemade granola on Sunday.
Celery with peanut butter ~ peanuts ~ graham crackers ~ dark chocolate squares ~ homemade cookies
That’s it, you guys. I don’t buy premade marinades or sauces or much traditional snack food, because those are nearly always loaded with corn syrup. Buying better brands that might not be so unnecessarily sweet doesn’t fit the budget right now, but it’s almost always cheaper to cook from scratch, especially when it comes to sauces and marinades. And if you make it yourself you know exactly what is in it! My big exceptions to the make it/don’t buy it rule are soy sauce, thai curry paste, ice cream, and bread. I really should make my own bread–there are all kinds of questionable additives even in the good stuff I find at the bread outlet–but for now I don’t feel like I have the time. Bottles of oils and spices go a long way. They can feel like a bit of an investment in the moment, especially if you’re on a shoestring budget, but if you can add them in a little here and there, it is well worth it in the long run!
You can read more of our Healthy Groceries on a Budget stories here