A few days ago, I was processing through our budget (as tax season is here…stressful for small business owners like us) and how much we have allotted for groceries. I assumed $250/week = $1000/month seemed acceptable for a family of 5. To get a better idea, I asked a few friends who I know are incredibly frugal and great budget followers. I found out they were spending HALF as much as me! As in, $500 less per month!
I took this question to Facebook & was overwhelmed by the interest & response. Everyone wants to lower their grocery bills! I received some incredible tips and suggestions and I’m going to document my journey here. It will probably take a few months to get used to what this routine will look like, and grasp what works best for our family.
There are a few goals that I have, and these may be different for each of you. Think about what your goal/purpose is for your family.
- Stewardship– we want to be good stewards of the money God has entrusted to us, no matter how big or small. This starts regardless of where our income is.
- Eat Healthy– I don’t want to exchange healthy eating for cheaper prices. Therefore, I want to maximize on some organic (not necessarily all), and less processed foods. Brand trust & reliability is important.
- Hosting Others– this is one area that I don’t want to sacrifice. I love hosting people & providing great food. My desire is to find the balance in always having food to serve, yet being careful to locate the best deals for what I need.
- Enjoy What We Eat– I can’t claim to be a “foodie,” but I certainly enjoy good food. We are still going to eat delicious meals & have a variety. Also, Mr. Morris & I need our meat 🙂
My big girl was still a little sick today, so she accompanied me on my grocery “scouting.” We really did enjoy Sprouts. They have a lot of nuts/grains/seeds in giant barrels that you can portion out into bags. They also had several BOGO (buy 1 get 1 free) deals, but we only needed cereal. The cereal is a great brand & was 2 for $3.99.
I was amazed at the produce & prices. They have great organic products at excellent prices. Avocados were $.79 each. A 3 lb. bag of organic Gala apples was $4.99. The cuties were BOGO, making them $3.49 for 4 lbs. The biggest takeaway from my shopping venture, was that Sprouts is where I need to get most of our produce. Total for everything in the picture below: $16.52.
On my Facebook poll, this was the #1 place that everyone with low grocery bills shopped. I guess I need to make it my new best friend.
For my local friends, I went to the Roswell location to see how it differed from Alpharetta. I can’t say if I preferred one over the other, except if I were making it a shopping morning, the trip would be easier because of this one’s proximity to Sprouts & Trader Joe’s.
We slowly browsed the aisles, checking prices on mainly their organic line. The organic tortilla chips were $1.99, but Kroger had a sale the other day, making a bag of Tostitos the same price. The highlights were: organic ketchup for $1.69, hummus for $1.99 (it’s delicious!), organic brown eggs for $3.39, organic apple cider for $1.99 ($2.99 at TJ’s), loaf of bread for $.99, bananas for $.44/lb, and, though I didn’t buy this time, toilet paper was $5.99 for 18 rolls.
Honest truth- I didn’t love the meat or produce options. If I’m going to buy non-organic beef, I want to know it’s a reliable source. After going into Sprouts, the produce just didn’t compare & prices were about the same. The selection was limited. However, I will keep trying.
One other thing- the take & bake pizzas looked good & are (I believe) $4.99. We’ll have to try one someday.
Trader Joe’s has been a favorite of mine for many years. However, since we moved to Alpharetta, I frequent it a bit less just because I don’t head that direction as much. I’m familiar with their prices & products and feel comfortable with the quality I’m getting. Since I don’t go frequently, I stocked up on some items, even if we didn’t need them yet.
The best things at TJ’s: organic dressing for $2.99 (they also have at Aldi’s, but didn’t have the Ranch we wanted), breakfast hash browns- 10 for $1.99, bag of shredded Parmesan cheese for $5.99 (this is $11.99 at Costco), Charles Shaw wines – $2.99/bottles. I know they may not be the best but I don’t think our palates are sophisticated enough to notice the difference. Or, we’ll wait for our neighbors to bring the good stuff (ha! love you guys).
Have you seen their cans of organic beans?? All are $.99 each now! Kroger has good organic beans also, but they aren’t always $1. A gallon of non-organic milk is $3.39 and I trust their brand. I’ll keep looking to see if I can find cheaper.
I went to Kroger late on Sunday night, because we needed Valentine’s & a few things for the week. First of all, I was asked for money before I walked in the door. Second, I did not feel safe in the store, nor did I enjoy shopping there. This has always been my experience at [this particular] Kroger. But, if there is a deal to be had, I’ll ignore those things.
To be honest, there wasn’t a “staple” that I found & will only buy from there. The ads will have to be what entices me to come back. I’m sorry, all the Kroger lovers :/.
If I’m completely candid, we know most of the employees there because we frequent so much. Even though we love the store, most trips cost us $150 + up! So what are the items I want to continue buying?
Ground beef- organic is ~ $4.74/lb. However, I’ve realized that since each package is about 1 1/3 lbs, we use more than we need, thus upping the price per meal. The non-organic beef is $2.99/lb & I can repackage myself. I’ll probably go back to non-organic for a while.
Frozen fruit- they come in large bags, but the price per pound is better than the stores above.
“Natural” chicken- this is in the frozen section & each chicken breast comes individually wrapped. I believe the price per pound is about $3.33. I’m open to finding a new source, though.
Half & half- $1.99 for the Land O’ Lakes brand. I always have extras (as my small group knows) because of it’s importance to my life. Because coffee is life, friends.
Vitamins- I usually get these on sale.
Things I shouldn’t buy: chips (they are so large, they often get wasted), olive oil, pre-made food, bread, cereal, and anything else that will go bad before we can finish it.
Anyone else on information overload? I’m processing this stuff, even as I go to bed at night. Since it’s a growing & habit changing experience, I expect it will be a challenge. But, I’m up for it!!
Who else is willing to try to cut their grocery bill with me??