$138 A Week For Groceries - About Sprouts & Shopping Day 4 (The Last One!)

09.26.14 Update - Since I did a little extra shopping throughout the week for fruit (bananas & watermelon), bread, cookies, and crackers, the updated total for this shopping trip is $108.79 ($81.14 at Sprouts, $27.65 at Walmart).

Good afternoon, Sunshines!

I finally get around to blogging the last shopping trip of this grocery budget diary. This week, after having shopped at the Meximart, Trader Joe's, and Walmart in the name of domestic science, I return to Sprouts, where I do the bulk of my shopping and where, after analyzing the other options I've explored during this past month, I think I will continue to do the bulk of my shopping for the foreseeable future.

$75.08 at Sprouts.
Another $20.18 at Walmart on Coke, Kool Aid Jammers,
milk, and TP not pictured.

Price-wise, it comes in under Trader Joe's in most things (overall 25% to 30% less if I did all my shopping in one or the other), on par with Walmart for protein and generally lower than Walmart for produce, and considerably higher than the Meximart (about 30% on average) BUT... 

- the produce is always fresh, wonderfully varied for the area, and quite reasonably priced,

- the meat is good quality (if the butchering a little unpredictable - I'll get steaks that are 1/2 an inch thick on one end, and 3/4 of an inch thick on the other and that does get annoying when you want a proper steak) and reasonably priced,

- the staff are always courteous and friendly (they make a point to greet you as you pass by but not in an obnoxious way, and they will always take the time to walk you to the thing you're looking for),

- it's a generally pleasant shopping experience with an easily navigable layout that doesn't make you want to punch yourself in the face, 

- they have a decent and reasonably priced beer and wine selection,

- I can get most everything I need there, and

- it's close enough that I can walk there or send my kids on quick grocery errands and only 5 minutes away by car.

Given our current financial situation, if all of the markets I visited in this month were in the same shopping center I'd still go to Sprouts for most everything and then pop into Walmart for the occasional national brand items I want that can't be gotten at Sprouts like the Coke, Scott TP and KoolAid Jammers I got this week. I might also go to Walmart for protein from time to time as they, surprisingly, have good quality, well butchered meat that, depending on the cut, can be preferable to the Sprouts equivalent. 

Oh, and Mission Seafood for my seafood indulgences.

Not that I'd have any qualms about finding ways to save more money right now if I had to (and goddess knows I've been there before), but gratefully, I'm at a place in my life when I can place some reasonable value on my time, convenience, and overall experience in choosing where to shop.

You might recall that I went a little overboard last week between TJ's and Walmart, so I was a little conservative with the groceries this week to even things out. The last few meals of this little project might get a little more interesting than my family would like, and we might have to fill in with a quick emergency run for a little protein maybe, but making a little do never hurt nobody... ;)

$95.26 TOTAL as follows:

Detailed spreadsheet breakdown HERE.

BEVERAGES: 12 pack Diet Coke, 12 pack Kool-Aid Jammers. $6.86, 7.2% of total.

You might have noticed that soda is not a staple in our home, but every once in a while, we indulge a craving and/or a need for caffeine that isn't in the form of coffee or tea.

I know some of you are thinking But Shinae, why DIET?!?!?! :o

I honestly don't know. It makes absolutely no sense given my overall philosophy on food, and Joey always asks me why I'm drinking cancer juice when I drink it. It's just one of those weird inconsistencies that comes with a quite complex, convoluted, and inexplicable decision making calculus behind it. But I have been giving it more thought lately and given how little soda I do drink in the overall scheme of things (4 or 5 a month tops), the next 12-pack of soda will probably be not-diet somethingorother.

DAIRY: 1 pound unsalted butter, 32 oz. half and half, 3 gallons of milk. $17.34, 18.2% of total.

GRAINS/STARCHES: 16 oz. box of Mom's Best Cocoa Crunch, which, BTW, is our family's favorite chocolate cereal (and that includes me, and I don't even like chocolate cereal). We think it beats the big brands, and the price is super reasonable, AND Sprouts now carries it, which means there's one less thing I have to go to another store for (because, as you might recall, my family are not having any of that hippie cereal). $2.99, 3.1% of total.

No sliced bread this week because Joey continues to take only a juice pouch and apple to school and then come home and have a snack.

PROTEIN: 1 dozen large brown eggs, 7.31 pounds chicken quarters, 2.17 pounds wild Cod fillet. $21.76, 22.8% of total.

PANTRY: None, but I did run out of soy sauce just yesterday... Oh, wait. I did get a bag of black peppercorns, and they apparently didn't charge me for it, which I just now noticed filling out the spreadsheet. I might remember to tell them on the next trip, but I have a feeling they'll just tell me it's ok.

PRODUCE: Bananas, carrots, Russet potatoes, broccoli crowns, cantaloupes, endives, Fuji apples, garlic, yellow bell pepper, green onions, cilantro, limes, organic salad mix, red bell pepper, red seedless grapes, roma tomatoes, white onions. $37.07, 38.9% of total.

SNACKS/INDULGENCES: None this week, but those Cocoa Crunch thingies have been doing the Izz-bribing job pretty well. She has been asking for Cheddar Rockets, so I'll probably get some equivalent of them next week.

MISC: 12 roll Scott Toilet Paper. $9.24, 9.7% of total.

I think I've mentioned before that I'm not too terribly brand loyal. I won't go out of my way to buy a particular brand of most things. But I am a stickler about the TP because a) Scott doesn't clog like the fluffy stuff and b) the fluffy stuff goes twice as quickly.

I've been out of paper towels this week but forgot to get some. For the most part, that's not a big deal because I keep a basket of rags in the kitchen for spills and hand drying. If I need paper towels for anything, it's really the odd protein moisture pat-down. I don't consider paper towels a necessity.


I'll probably use some of the cod for Dean's Favorite Fish Tacos...

... half the chicken and most of the tomatoes for my Super Easy Provençal Inspired Roast Chicken...

...and the other half of the chicken for Fried Chicken because Dean asked for some. :)

We shall see about the rest.

And I think this is about all the typing my wrist can handle for today. More catchup tomorrow!


This post is part of my 30 Day Grocery Budget Diary. To see all the posts of this series in reverse chron order, click HERE.

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