My February Grocery Spending Totals (Did I Come in Under Budget?!)

Remember how I promised to document all my grocery spending during the month of February to share with you?

I did it! I saved all my receipts. I took all the pictures. I realized how much work it was to take all the pictures and type out all of this information.

(I’m trying to decide if I’m going to keep documenting my purchases every month as some have requested. It is a serious amount of work. Leave a comment to weigh in with how much you want to see this regularly!)

Two weeks ago I posted what I’d bought and how much I’d spent through Feb. 8. (I was up to $524 at that point already!) See the breakdown of my early Feb. grocery trips here.

groceries feb171

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Now I’ll show you what I bought and spent throughout the rest of February…

Yay me, I got to go to Lincoln again (twice in one month is rare, but hooray for cool grocery stores in the big city!).

My first stop in Lincoln is always Fresh Thyme Market. I had the most fun this shopping trip as so many of our favorites were either BOGO items or deeply discounted! All their organic produce was 25% off, so I filled my cart.

While shopping, I decided to take each of my boys a “special treat.” Why? Because it’s fun and food is my love language. See the shopping lists below to see what I took home for each of them. (Come to think of it, I didn’t get anything for Asa, who is away at college, but any time he comes home to eat I go out of my way to make his favorites, so we’re good.)

NOTE: I’ve gotten lazy so instead of setting all the food out on the table at home to take a picture before we put it all away (which takes several extra steps and a lot of extra time), I’ve started taking pictures of my full carts. I know it’s harder to see all the food, but… :)

groceries feb178

Fresh Thyme Market (2-15-17)

2 packages orange cranberry buns (BOGO) $3.99
2 packages chocolate pretzels $5.00
4 packages coffee (BOGO) $15.98
Havarti jalapeno cheese (surprise for Justus) $3.99
8 pounds organic butter (BOGO) $23.96
2 packages wheat tortillas $4.98
4 Brown Cow yogurt (BOGO) $1.98
1 pound kiwi $2.99
.82 pounds asparagus $2.45
2.74 pounds bartlett pears $2.66
3.39 pounds gala apples $3.29
1 pint grape tomatoes $0.88
3.44 pounds mini sweet peppers $6.85
3.27 pounds organic bananas $1.86
3.44 pounds organic braeburn apples $2.55
2.19 pounds organic broccoli $2.45
1 organic cucumber $0.66
5 organic avocados $3.70
Organic rainbow carrots $2.24
2 red bell peppers $1.76
2.64 pounds red grapes $2.56
6 pounds strawberries $9.00
1.05 pounds nectarines $1.86

Total $101.65

Next, I went to Aldi. Since I’d been there just two weeks prior, I didn’t need as much. But of course I got another case of salsa since we go through it so much. (Total jars of salsa purchased in February: twenty-eight. #lifewithteenageboys)

groceries feb 179

Aldi (2-15-17)

3 pounds yellow onions $0.79
4 pints blueberries $6.76
Valentine Danimals Smoothies (marked down after Vday – surprise for Malachi) $0.99
Pecan/Vanilla Granola (surprise for Elias) $2.99
2 packages organic cheese slices $5.98
2 packages brown sugar $2.58
2 packages uncured hotdogs $3.98
3 boxes fruit squeezes (for Asa to have in the dorm) $5.68
12 jars organic salsa $22.68

Total: $52.43

Just a few days later, we were out of fresh greens and cheese (staples at our house!). Plus we’d already eaten all those strawberries. I made a list and ran to our local Walmart.

groceries feb179

Walmart (2-20-17)

1 pound organic mixed greens $5.98
1 pound organic spinach $5.98
8 pounds marble jack cheese $27.88
1/2 gallon half-and-half $3.98
2 quarts heavy whipping cream $8.28
52 ounces frozen corn $3.96
4 pounds strawberries (price-matched) $5.96
1 pound whole wheat spaghetti $1.00 (looking forward to trying this brand to see if we like it since it’s such a good price!)

Total $63.02

I ordered several staple items online from Vitacost. Many of you have taken advantage of the “Get $10 off your first order of $30 or more!” so I had referral credit (thank you!) and got most of this with very little money out of pocket.

groceries feb1710

Vitacost (2-22-17)

32-ounces organic lemon juice
3 cans organic pizza sauce
2 32-ounce jugs organic maple syrup
32-ounces organic lime juice
33.8 ounce bottle organic olive oil
6 15-ounce cans organic baked beans

Total after credit: $5.42

I hit Wal-mart one last time on February 26. There were some GREAT price-matching options (strawberries for $0.98!). Plus I needed to pick up a few items to take with us this weekend when we head out of town for our annual homeschool basketball tournament. (We’ll eat out with the team sometimes too; but three meals a day for three days would be a little hard on our stomachs and budget.)

groceries feb1711

Wal-Mart (2-26-17)

6 bags Great Value “Fritos” $11.04
2 quarts cream $8.28
Colby Jack individually wrapped cheese (for bball tournament weekend) $2.88
2 packages Hormel Naturals lunch meat (for bball tournament) $11.52
1 loaf 100% whole wheat bread (for bball tournament) $1.68
3 boxes of crackers (for bball tournament) $8.88
LaCroix sparkling water (Mom’s treat!) $3.18
Sour Cream $3.94
48-ounces cashews (to make individual bags for the bball players on our team) $28.02
3 pounds mandarins (price-match!) $2.49
1 pound asparagus (price-match!) $1.47
4 avocados (price-match!) $2.00
3 pints organic grape tomatoes (price-match!) $2.94
8 pounds strawberries (price-match!) $7.84

Total: $96.16

Last but not least, we bought 5 dozen eggs from a local friend with chickens (I feel like we got more eggs earlier in the month that I forgot to document??). We also got one gallon of milk each week from a local farm, a total of four gallons this month.

Milk: $20
Eggs: $12.50 (plus whatever I forgot earlier this month)

Oh! I had a migraine last week and took advantage of a 50% off Pizza Hut coupon. I got four large pizzas for $30 with tax – a splurge, but not a bad price for 4 large pizzas!

Did we come in under budget?

Here’s a break-down of how much we’ve budgeted for our family of six (ages 43, 43, 19, 17, 15, and 12). Here’s a peek at the rest of the groceries I bought in February.

Grand total I spent for food in February: $905.59

That is a lot of money, but it is also a lot of good food! I am thankful.

How did your grocery budget hold up in February?

Comments

  1. Kadee says

    I came in just under my $950 budget for the month, but I don’t think I got as much good food as you did! We are 2 adults and 3 boys ages 14, 12, and 10. My oldest never stops eating and my middle is having a growth spurt, so he is eating a lot right now. I’m excited because I ordered chicken for the first time from Zaycon and pick it up tomorrow. I can’t wait to see how that goes, and that should save us a bit on our March spending since it is much cheaper than what I pay at Costco.

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  2. Laura says

    I think you wrote about this in a post, I’m wondering if you could direct me to the link: I really want to buy more produce for my family (organic options are limited, sometimes out of stock, and comparatively expensive) but everytime I look at or buy the conventional options, I feel guilty, especially when the item is on the dirty dozen list. How did you overcome that feeling?
    We live in SE South Dakota and have 3 kids (that eat) ages three, five, and six and we already spend over $800 per month shopping in town at Hy-Vee and Walmart! By the way, my daughter and I have to eat gluten-free so I only buy GF foods to minimize contamination and all produce and most dairy and meat that I currently buy is organic.
    I appreciate you showing us your budget. It really helps me to compare budgets more accurately. I wish we had the Fresh Thyme Market close by. You got some amazing organic produce deals there compares to what I just paid last week.

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    Laura Reply:

    Here’s a post I wrote about how I don’t buy everything organic and how I have peace about it: http://heavenlyhomemakers.com/buy-everything-organic :)

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  3. Pat says

    Personally I don’t think pictures of the food or a line by line list of everything you bought is necessary. It’s alot of work and takes alot of time that could be spent on other things that you need to do!
    Maybe a once a month post of what you spent and if you were over or under budget would be enough! We all know you buy alot of good healthy foods for your family and I would rather see what you cook with it than what each item costs.
    Just my thoughts!

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  4. says

    I absolutely LOVE these posts! I really hope you continue them – I’d love to see them monthly, at the end of the month? I’m always so fascinated with that other families buy and eat. :)

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  5. Christine says

    I don’t think a monthly breakdown is necessary. Is there a way you could turn your receipts into a pdf? That way you would not have to type out everything. You would need to black out items not relating to food though.

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  6. Lori says

    I really like the price breakdown of what you got for each item, pictures don’t matter so much. Perhaps do this quarterly along with the season changes since it takes so long?

    I have felt guilty or perhaps I’m not shopping “right” since I spend so much and most is not organic. I buy organic when it is the same price or super close to regular.

    I do live in Northern Calif and we all eat gluten free since I have Celiac disease as well as several of my children. I have just 4 at home now, 2 man sized teen boys and 2 little girls.

    I want to stick to $800 a month but it’s more like $1000. I do make as much as I can from scratch, don’t buy things with hydrogenated fats, nitrites/nitrates, no bad oils, etc… Mostly Whole Foods or healthier options like crackers and always real butter!!

    I want to know more about your bulk meat, $108 seems like not much. I saw you also purchased lunch meat and hotdogs during the month, but still… Do you buy a pig and a 1/2 or whole beef?

    How much meat do you use when making your dinners? I need to use about 2 lbs, sometimes a little less.

    Thanks!

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    Lori Reply:

    Ok, I just read your other post. Wow, $1300 for 1/2 beef and a lamb is awesome!!! A 1/2 beef here is a good $1500 plus.
    I enjoy seeing the cost of items in different places.

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  7. Molly says

    I thoroughly enjoy these types of posts. The parts I enjoy most are the pictures (carts, the checkout belts, or tables, all are good), the summaries of each trip, and the total spent for the month.

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  8. Jessica says

    I love these posts – they are so helpful to me! I’ve never shopped at Aldi because there is not one near me, but this weekend we will be in a town where there is one, and I’m totally using your list as a cheat sheet since I’m not familiar with pricing. I have 3 busy, growing boys, and we are a homeschooling plus working plus many activities family too. I’ve been using your Simple Meals plan since before January, which has been amazingly helpful for our season of life, so seeing your stock-up prices is icing on the cake when using your recipes. Thanks for doing this post, and I’d love to see you continue them!

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  9. Joellyn says

    I love seeing what you bought for your family…just a thought… why don’t you take a picture of the receipt and post that with the picture of the groceries instead of typing everything out. Just black out what you don’t want us to see. Might save you a lot of time!!

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  10. Jane J. says

    I agree that these posts are a lot of work. They are helpful to me, but maybe you don’t need to do them every month. What would also be helpful…gulp…is to know from you or others who post the amount they spend each month what their ballpark yearly salary is. I mean, if I have 4 kids and we earn ballpark 30,000 per year, spending 1,000 per month is a totally different story than if we earn ballpark 50,000 per year. Honestly, that’s what I can’t quite figure out: how much is a responsible amount for the income we have. Don’t know if that make sense. And, of course, that’s different for everyone. But that, plus the number of children, does drastically affect whether one buys organic or skimps on organic or not. Make sense?

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    Jessica Reply:

    Makes sense to me :) Because I also read how much people spend and I kind of gulp. My husband does not make a lot, less than 40,000, and we have five kids (soon to be six) so I do skimp on organic a lot just because our budget is tight. However, we are also fortunate to live in an area where costs are low (thank GOD!) It really does affect, a)how much you spend and b)what you can afford to buy. I figure that I usually spend about $750 per month (give or take) which for me includes household goods as well as food. It really does depend on what you can afford to spend, how much food costs where you live, and how many people you have to feed. I think the important thing to remember, as always, is everyone does the best they can with what they have! Sometimes we spend more than some people and sometimes less. It is all about doing the best we can for our families to the best of our own individual abilities :) The rest is up to God. :)

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  11. Jill says

    I don’t find these posts to be helpful. Prices vary by region, for one thing. For another, you have four adult-esque boys. I have toddlers. Your food priorities may not match mine. (We eat more pork and fish than you appear to, for example).

    What I benefit more from is when you describe your food shopping *strategies*. Like, “I shop from X store because they have Y deal.” Or “I no longer buy Z product because I’ve found Q recipe that’s tastier & healthier” Your strategies are more beneficial than what your particular household actually spends and eats.

    Although, being that my boys are only 2 and 3, your pictures sure are an eye-opener as to what my future food shopping self has to look forward to!

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  12. Esther says

    I love these posts! They make me feel better about spending so much, lol! As a family of 8, four with food allergies, I spend so much money and mental energy on food. My hubby makes plenty of money so I don’t have to stress about it but I always thought that if we ever made money like this we wouldn’t spend it all on food, ha!

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  13. Cynthia says

    I’m amazed at how you are doing this… years ago I commented (when my first four were teens) and said…”just wait till your boys are teens!!” Well, there are nine of us in my family – my husband and my first four are adults and live at home… my three you hers are 10, 10 and 8…. and I’m spending WAYYYYYYY MOREEEE than you. I don’t know what BOGO is and I detest shopping at Walmart… but maybe I’m going to have to rethink this! I buy a lot from Azure and I try to stick with organics…. anyway, I’m glad you posted this because I’m feeling pleasantly challenged to do better!
    Blessings!!

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    Laura Reply:

    BOGO is “buy one get one” free. :) I love it when Fresh Thyme Market offers so many BOGOs. It’s rare that they offer those and that I happen to be in the city to enjoy it!

    As for Walmart, I don’t love it either, but it’s the best option in my town. (It’s either that or one high priced non-chain, not-great-quality grocery store.) If you have great grocery stores where you live that offer good prices, that may be your better choice!

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  14. Kristin says

    Thanks so much for the posts…I constantly feel guilty about the amount I spend on groceries, but hey, fresh producuce, local meat and eggs and good dairy is expensive. It is reassuring to see what you are buying/spending, I also appreciate seeing where you cheat :) Organic isn’t always in my budget either. My grocery budget has been going up, in an effort to add even MORE fresh veggies to our diet. Sadly I just learned the recommended amount of fruits and veggies is increasing to 10 servings per day, sigh. Just when I achieved 6-8.

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  15. Rebecca klein says

    I appreciate this post… But one thing I see that might be missing is your meat budget – and that is the most expensive category. I think you buy bulk meat but what would be your monthly price for that? And I think I’ve heard that you order from Azure Standard – for things like wheat and other bulk grains. did you order from azure that month? You did get quite a few bargains that I know I cannot find where I live. Thanks for all your hard work. :)

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    Laura Reply:

    My meat budget and Azure order were mentioned in a previous Feb. spending post here: http://heavenlyhomemakers.com/how-i-much-ive-spent-on-groceries-so-far-in-february-and-what-i-bought :)

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