How I Much I’ve Spent on Groceries So Far in February (and What I Bought)

I promised I’d share all my grocery purchases with you in February, so here goes! Now you can see everything I buy that fills up my great big grocery budget. Don’t forget who I’m feeding though. We sure do love us a lot of good food.

family-sillysm

The month started off with a big (expensive) bang because I had appointments in Lincoln on Feb. 1. So I hit my favorite city stores and stocked up since I don’t go there very often.

I went to Aldi and Fresh Thyme Market, both of which are such fun places to shop! (My hometown only has one kind-of-pricey-in-my-opinion local store and a Super Walmart.)

Two things about my Aldi trip this time around:

  1. There are four items I love buying there, so I always get at least an entire case of each every time I’m there since I don’t get to go to Aldi very often. You’ll see in the pic below that I bought a case of organic salsa, a case of organic black beans, a case of organic spaghetti sauce…and you can’t see it but I also bought a case of cream cheese.
  2. Our church was hosting a big youth rally that weekend, and we had signed up to house 13 teenage boys Friday and Saturday nights. I know from experience to have a LOT of food on hand for snacks (even though they eat their main meals at the church building on Saturday). I bought six take-and-bake pizzas for the weekend (for only $5 each!), a case of juice (a fun splurge), a few boxes of granola bars, plus some tortillas and shredded cheese so I could make a big breakfast burrito bar for all the teens Sunday morning before church. Sooooo, if you see items in the picture that shock you (junkie pizzas and store-bought white tortillas?? what??) that’s why. :)

groceries feb 172

As you can see from the pictures, I combined my Aldi purchases with my Fresh Thyme Market purchases. I bought a lot of produce at Fresh Thyme Market, and their coffee was on sale, so I stocked up. (Jamaican Blue Mountain – my favorite from FTM).)

groceries feb171

Here’s the itemized breakdown of my shopping trip:

Aldi, Feb. 1

12 cans organic black beans $9.48
24 packages cream cheese $30.96
12 jars organic pasta sauce $23.88
Snacks for youth rally (granola bars/crackers) $5.36
Juice bottles for youth rally $9.99
2 packages tortillas for youth rally $3.38
6 pizzas for youth rally $30.94
16 jars organic salsa $30.24
2 jars banana peppers $2.98
3 boxes applesauce pouches (for Asa to keep in the dorm for a quick snack) $5.67

Total: 152.88

Fresh Thyme Market, Feb. 1

6 packages coffee $29.94
1 package pepper jack cheese (to surprise Justus) $3.33
6 packages shredded cheese for youth rally breakfast burritos (BOGO deal) $8.97
8 pounds butter $20.00
Case of sparkling water (my fizzy treat!) $3.99
2 pounds strawberries $5.00
5 pounds carrots $2.99
1 pound baby carrots for youth rally $1.50
1.64 pounds Broccoli $1.62
5 pounds Gala Apples for our family and for the youth rally $5.26
4 avocados $2.00
2 pints organic grape tomatoes $3.00
2 red peppers $1.98
2.49 pound red grapes for our family and for the youth rally $2.47
5.82 pounds bananas for our family and for the youth rally $3.43

Total: $95.48

A note on why I spend extra and compromise on nutrition by buying processed food when we host a houseful of teenage boys during the youth rally:

  • Last year during youth rally weekend, I got eight hours of sleep – total – during the entire weekend. I know I have to be very careful about what I take on so I don’t overdo and wear myself out.
  • We go through a high volume of food, and I don’t have time/energy to make everything homemade. (Roll out and cook enough tortillas to feed 13 teenage boys breakfast burritos on a Sunday morning? I don’t think so.)
  • They don’t care if it’s homemade. They eat it as fast as we can crank it out.
  • We have relationships with most of these boys because of our time spent with them at church camp each summer. If I’m distracted with intense cooking, I miss out on more important relationship-building time with them.

Moving on beyond the weekend (in which I got a total of 12 hours of sleep – a big improvement over last year!)…

A few days later, Matt had to run to Wal-Mart so while he was there he picked up containers of organic spinach and organic mixed greens. We try to keep these on hand at all times so we can eat salads every day.

groceries feb 173

Walmart, Feb. 6

16-ounces Organic mixed greens $5.98
5-ounces Organic baby spinach $3.46

Total: $9.44

Once each month, we order from Azure Standard, a great food co-op based out of Oregon. Pick-up day was Tuesday, and here’s what we got:

azure order feb17

Azure, Feb. 7

5 pounds organic carrots $4.00
3 pounds organic onions $3.25
10 pounds organic frozen green beans $21.90
10 pounds organic frozen peas $22.25
50 pounds organic golden potatoes $45.00
5 pounds dry roasted peanuts $13.15

$109.55 + $9.31 shipping -$25 credit

Total: $93.86

Wednesday we were almost out of fresh fruit, so I made a list of items I could price-match, and headed to Walmart.

Note: I also needed a few ingredients to complete meals I was making to take to a family who just had a new baby and to take to our local rescue mission.

groceries feb 174

Walmart, Feb 8

3 jars pizza sauce (for the mission meal) $3.42
1/2 gallon half-n-half $3.98
1.91 pounds bananas $1.05
1.65 pounds broccoli (for the mission meal) $2.87
14 ounces Hormel Naturals smoked turkey (to pack sandwiches for our basketball games over the weekend) $5.76
2 cans natural olives $4.52
Sour cream $3.94
2 pounds hamburger meat (to make burritos for the new parents) $4.16
16 pack tortillas (to make burritos for the new parents) $4.58
7.65 pounds of red grapes (pricematched at $0.97/pound – some for the mission, some for our family) $7.43
3 pounds strawberries (pricematched at $1.79 each) $5.37
2 pints blueberries (pricematched at $2.00 each) $4.00
6 ounces raspberries (pricematched) $2.00
Grape tomatoes (pricematched) $0.97
6 pounds clementines (pricematched at $2.49/package) $4.98
2.97 pounds gala apples (pricematched at $0.88/pound) $2.61
3 pounds bartlett pears (pricematched at $0.97/pound) $2.91

Total: $64.55

If I’ve done my math correctly (don’t hold your breath), so far this month we’ve spent $416.21 + $108 average for our bulk meat we buy once per year = $524.21.

Price-matching saves us a great deal of money since locally my best option is to shop Walmart. (I’d heard a rumor that price-matching was going away, but a friend who works at Wal-mart told me that nope, it’s still alive and kicking!) Do you price, or do you live close to stores with good sale prices?

I have to go back to Lincoln for another appointment this week, so I’ll get to go to Fresh Thyme Market and Aldi again. It’s rare for me to make it there twice in one month!

One would think after looking at the pictures of all the food I bought during the first 8 days of the month that we’d have enough to last us a while. Yep, one would think. :)

Watch for another post later in February sharing an update of our spending. Can I stay within budget? Maybe even come under budget a little? This all remains to be seen. :)

How’s your grocery budget coming along so far this month?

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Comments

  1. Tosha Kelly says

    We love Aldo’s spaghetti sauce too! It’s the best! I buy a case at a time too!

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    I love that it’s so reasonably priced!

    [Reply]

  2. april says

    Reading these posts makes me feel so much better! I read all the post about spending $50 per week on groceries, but the menus with those would not work for us. I have 3 growing boys, one has multiple food allergies. We eat mostly real/whole foods. Glad to see that there are other families like ours!

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    Yep. We eat real food and spend real money. :) I do remember the days I could feed my family on $50/week, but the boys were all very little then and I wasn’t feeding us very well at all!

    [Reply]

  3. Christine says

    Goodness your produce is so cheap!!!! I live in NJ. Red grapes are $2.49 a pound and strawberries are $2.99 a pound.

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    Those prices you mention are the ACTUAL prices in my hometown stores too, which is pretty restrictive! But, since I live about an hour away from a city that has a lot of competing grocery stores, I am able to price-match their sale prices at my local Walmart. That cuts the cost of my produce by a significant amount. I’m so thankful!

    I’m guessing that’s not an option for you in NJ? Are prices for produce high no matter where you are? That would be so hard!

    [Reply]

    Christine Reply:

    Unfortunately, the grocery chains in this area do not price match. We do have Walmart and Target but the produce at those stores in this area is frightening. Our local Aldi’s produce is so scrawny I’d need to double the amount I’m purchasing to equal the same weight/size at my larger grocery store negating the savings. We do have a grocery store that practices “loss/leader” whereby they’ll sell something at a loss but their everyday prices are so high that shopping there would be pointless unless you specifically go in and only by the on-sale item. I’ve done that from time-to-time but there’s not enough “loss/leader” sales to make it a regular stop for me.

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    Super bummer! I’ve definitely noticed at Aldi (which I visit in a nearby city from time to time) has less than good produce. I never buy it there, but am very thankful I can price match at Walmart with those prices. Thankfully, our Walmart has pretty good produce. Hearing your grocery options in NJ makes me very thankful for our prices, for sure!

  4. Molly says

    Aldi also sells butter (real butter) for less than $3/pound. I got it for $2.29 during the holiday baking season. Woot! Their whole wheat bread is also the best I’ve found for store-bought bread that starts with “whole wheat flour”.

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    Yes! I took advantage of that too. Though they limited each customer to only 6 pounds. I guess they knew I was coming and that I’d buy their entire stock if they didn’t set a limit. ;)

    [Reply]

  5. says

    So far I am under $150 this month but that was just one trip to wal mart and sam’s club. At walmart I got some clementines, some large pasta shells to stuff, some other noodles, horseradish (because I really didn’t feel like digging it up in my garden), cilantro and noodles. Sam’s was just the regular stuff -milk, cheese, potatoes (since mine are almost gone), etc. I can my own plain tomato sauce and then make it in to fresh salsa and spaghetti or pizza sauce. Sometimes I just use my whole tomatoes that are canned to make these. We too buy a whole beef and butchered chickens last year so I have lots of meat in the freezer!

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    Impressive!

    [Reply]

  6. Amy C says

    All the Walmarts that are near me have stopped price matching. They did lower their prices on a lot of stuff to help with the end of the price matching. I also use the savings catcher app to help too. Hopefully your store will continue with their price matching.

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    I thought ours had stopped, because different employees I’d asked had given me an ending date on price matching. So I stopped at that date. BUT, a few weeks ago I was in the check out and the clerk said, “Are any of these price matched?” I could have hugged her. She told me that it had just been a rumor that pricematching was going away here. So strange! I am so happy I get to still do it, at least for now! So sorry you don’t get to any more!

    [Reply]

  7. says

    I’m lucky enough to have multiple Aldi locations within driving distance, so that is where we do 95% of our weekly shopping. We buy meat from Costco and/or Sam’s Club, and some certain produce items from a local grocery store near the house, which is where we also fill our gallon jugs with water (yay, well water!). I’ve never done price matching, anywhere, but we don’t often shop at Walmart (due to Aldi being so nearby), so I have no idea if my stores still do it or not. I wish we had a Fresh Thyme closer – there are some in Indiana, but none of them are close enough to Valparaiso – so depressing!

    In the summer (and spring!) we will hit up the farmers’ market on occasion for produce, but once the garden gets going – we’re up to our ears in fresh ORGANIC produce – heaven!

    Now that I’ve written a novel…thanks for sharing your February spending! I really love these posts! I hope you do this monthly!!! :)

    [Reply]

  8. says

    We’ve loved living close to an Aldi! I am headed there later today. ;) Their deals on produce help us eat healthy. And even though we love to make homemade pizza, their pizzas are so cheap and good that we almost always keep one in the freezer for surprise guests! And then I just put fresh yummy veggies, fruit, and salad alongside it to feel healthier!

    [Reply]

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