$138 A Week For Groceries - Shopping Day 1

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So I was imprecise. My budget's not exactly $150 per week. It's actually $600 per month, which works out to $138 and odd change per week.

My groceries this week:

Sprouts & Big Lots Haul

Emergency Walmart Run

My loose parameters:

- This budget covers food and drink for 2 adults, 1 full time teenager, 1 part time teenager, 1 toddler, and 1 somewhat spoiled wiener dog. Since my part time teenager is at that bottomless pit stage of their development, all told, I'm chalking everything up to the equivalent of 4 adults in case that makes it easier for some people to put it in context.

Unless other food is specifically indicated, you can assume Izz (who is 2 years old) eats a little of whatever we're having plus milk and/or water.

- It covers every meal and snack with the exception of the usually 1 to 2 times a week we order in or dine out. The latter is more typical. How much those 1 to 2 meals out per week cost in comparison with my grocery bill that covers ALL THE OTHER MEALS kinda makes me want to cry when I think about it, so I'll stop. Thinking about it, that is.

Also, while it includes inexpensive beer and wine, we don't include our craft beer, better wines, or other liquor in this budget. We allocate those to the Entertainment budget.

- This budget also covers incidental cleaning and paper supplies that I might pick up while I'm shopping for food. It doesn't include makeup, toiletries and diapers.

- It assumes a mostly full pantry with the odd staple or 2 or 3 running out every week. I created a very basic spreadsheet of my pantry staples along with an estimated cost, and it tells me it would cost roughly $85 to stock a bare pantry with my idea of the essentials. Assuming I've forgotten some stuff, which I probably have, let's do some Asian style rounding and say it would cost you about $100 if you were to have my idea of a mostly locked and loaded pantry.

- My grocery categories are Beverages, Dairy, Grains/Starches, Proteins, Pantry, Produce, Snacks/Indulgences, and Misc. Fairly self explanatory, but I'll clarify that eggs, which are sometimes considered dairy, are considered proteins for purposes of this budget, and misc. is everything else that doesn't fall into any of the other categories, including tax, CRV, and odd minimal rounding adjustments that need to be made so my spreadsheet numbers gel as exactly as possible with my receipt numbers.

I'll share a bit more of my shopping philosophy and strategy with each successive post, but if it seems I've forgotten anything or if you have questions, please feel free to ask them below in comments.

Here goes nothin'.

For my first shopping trip of this budget, I shopped at Sprouts, Big Lots, and Walmart. I usually shop Sprouts and Fresh & Easy when I want to stay super close to home, but I ended up finding some stuff at Big Lots looking for diapers that ended up not being stocked there any more, and then a couple of other things at Walmart where I knew I'd find the diapers I can no longer find at Big Lots, which is where I would go for diapers when I didn't want to trudge through the hell that is Walmart when it's busy, which is pretty much any time between 8am and 10pm.

$135.60 TOTAL as follows:

BEVERAGES: Kool-Aid Jammers, MexiCokes I happened to spot at Big Lots and got for Dean and Joey who both love MexiCokes, a bottle of cheap bubbly, and coffee beans. $18.06, 13.3% of total.

DAIRY: Half and half, whole milk, plain yogurt. $9.87, 7.3% of total.

GRAINS/STARCHES: 2 loaves of wheat/whole grain bread, 1 box Honey Nut Cheerios. $5.60, 4.1% of total.

PROTEIN: 4 cans Kipper Snacks, ~ 2 pounds of pork shoulder, ~ 2 pounds tri-tip roast, ~ 3 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs, 1 whole ~4.5 pound fryer chicken, 1 pound honey ham, 1 dozen jumbo eggs, ~ 3 pounds turkey backs for Honeydew's food. $50.37, 37.1% of total.

PANTRY: Rice Paper, Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Fish Sauce, Soy Sauce. $15.43, 11.4% of total.

PRODUCE: carrots, Russet potatoes, cucumbers, mint, celery, cilantro, eggplant, Hatch green chilies, Fuji apples, garlic, ginger, green onions, lemons, limes, Napa cabbage, red bell pepper, red leaf lettuce, Roma tomatoes, seedless watermelon, white onions, bananas, peaches. $35.72, 26.3% of total.

SNACKS/INDULGENCES: None this week, as we still have ice cream in the freezer and cake mix in the pantry.

MISC: This week was just taxes, CRV, and adjustments. Barely enough to make a dent. Other weeks, it might be TP, paper towels, stuff like that.

If you'd like to see exact quantities and unit or per pound pricing for each item and/or spreadsheets just turn you on, THE SPREADSHEET DETAIL IS HERE.


I loosely plan meals after I shop and not before. I like to select from what's on sale, in season, or specially irresistible for any number of reasons and then cook from that rather than shop around a pre-set menu that may or may not work with what the market has to offer on a given week. My plans for this week's haul:

- Vietnamese Summer Rolls (aka Goi Cuon) with the pork, lettuce, mint, cilantro, cucumber and rice paper (They are Mads' standing request whenever I ask for her input on meals.

- Bulgogi style chicken thighs (maybe the spicy kind)

- Ropa Vieja, shredded beef tacos, or a Beef Bourguignon type deal with the tri-tip roast

- My almost weekly roast chicken breast and possibly a Provençal inspired roast chicken with the rest of the whole fryer

- Wiener dog food and stock with the turkey backs and the back of the whole fryer chicken

- Kimchi with the Napa cabbage, ginger, garlic and green onions

The rest is up in the air, and as always, the plans are subject to my whims.

Back tomorrow with the first day of meals. Hope you're all having a loverly Saturday. :)




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