Saturday, April 16, 2011

Grocery Shopping - April 15: The Realization

My initial challenge was $50 a week, which I achieved easily that first week.  Then, a trip to Costco in the second week set things back considerably.  Now, in week three, I just haven't quite been able to bounce back to my fifty-buck limit.  I have theories, and I realize they'll probably sound like excuses.  :-)

1.  We are in the second full week of spring activities.  Between all three kids, there is soccer six days a week, not to mention board meetings for myself on Mondays, writing group on Tuesdays, and bowling league on Thursdays. 

2.  And, being sort of wiped out from my full-time sub job has left me pretty ineffective in the kitchen.  The CrockPot is underused and my meal planning has gone awry. 

3.  As a result, it feels like many nights' dinners are slapdash, piecemeal affairs.  Case in point, I had a half-pound of leftover ground turkey in the fridge on Tuesday...Kirby suggested she was in the mood for walking tacos.  As I had no other real plans for the meat, walking tacos sounded good to me.  However, a trip to the supermarket was in order - I needed tomatoes, olives, taco sauce, and Doritos.  I was at the mercy of the prices at the moment.  Poor planning on my part.  I spent twelve dollars on about four items needed for just one meal.

Here is the Glorious Pie Chart O' Spending.  I'll include my comments below.

Total Spending This Week: $102.64
Total After Week Three: $287.40
An aberration you'll notice this week is nearly a quarter of the expenditures went towards what I call "Junk Food".  This is certainly NOT par for course - but it stems from two things: weakness on my part and more poor planning.

1. A soda for myself after a long day of work.

2. A pack of low-sugar fudge bars (4.39).

3. Two boxes of Little Debbies (3.00).  Kirby informed me the day of that she needed to bring treats for her Girl Scout troop.  *eye roll*

4. 12-pack of Doritos for the aforementioned walking tacos.

5. Four Lunchables bought as a spur of the moment meal, as my husband realized Thursday night we would all be running hither and thither with no chance to have a real dinner.  I HATE buying Lunchables - for so many reasons that I am remembering right now.

So, yeah, it was the little things that just added up over the week.  It is likely, though, you won't see this aberration again.  At least, I sure hope not.

I can't complain much about the rest of it.  I know I keep saying I'm going to stop buying meat - but 1 lb. chubs of ground beef (90%) were on sale for 2 for $7...which I guess comes out to $3.50/pound, which is maybe not that great of a deal at all, now that I think about it.  Then, I also bought lunchmeat for the week - which always seems to add up no matter what.  Three meat items + nearly another quarter of the spending = kinda ridiculous.  I gotta stop...

Another almost-quarter devoted to fruits and vegetables (canned and frozen) - not going to say much about that.

Breakfast cereal, the bane of my existence.  I bought four boxes, used two coupons, and still spent almost ten percent on what Willy Wonka called "those disgusting little pencil shavings".  *sigh*

Two weeks in April left - must rally!  My goal now is to put my super-duper resourceful pants on and come in under $350 for the entire month.  Now that would actually be a feat I've never achieved - under $400 on groceries for a family of five!


  1. Interesting, few people know as you do what they are buying. Most are shocked at the price of fresh fruit and vegies, yet plunk down $3 or more for a bag of chips at $4 to $8 a pound. Just knowing what money goes for what helps focus a bit. If you eat much rice, go to a VietNamese market, for the price of about 3 or 4 boxes of Uncle Bens you can buy a 25 lb sack, it keeps for a year or more.

  2. When our boys were younger and in little league, I kept some foods on hand for handy meals. We ate egg salad sandwiches, wrap sandwiches and such. On Sundays I would look ahead and plan for those busy nights of practice and games. The sandwiches would be prepared the night before and put in plastic wrap ready to eat.

    Also, I would make sloppy joe mixture and freeze it in ziplocs for later use. Anything you can do to prepare ahead of time when you have busy weeks, will relieve the stress.

    My family absolutely loves the chick wick brand of "chicken patties." They have no idea they are eating tofu as it tastes like real chicken. I used to stock up on these and they can be put in the microwave.

    Pull out that crockpot and dump in some frozen chicken breasts to cook all day. The meat will fall apart when cooked. Add a little barbecue sauce and you have a pulled chicken sandwich.

    When you are busy it is hard to sit down and plan ahead, but when you do it is a major stress reliever.

  3. @yellow: Yes, it is amazing what items people will allow themselves to be gouged on.

    @Martha: I really, really like the sloppy joe idea. I could do a huge batch in the crockpot on Sunday nights for the week ahead! And - where can I buy the chickwick patties?