Poorganic Grocery Budget- One Actual Month

I’ve tried four different times to write a “Poorganic Grocery Budget” for a month.  Many of you have asked what we usually buy, but it is too hard to generalize since every month is different.  I’ve decided that to just show you what food we ACTUALLY bought in the last 30 days, the good, the bad, and the exceptions.  This might be a gigantic bore on par with reading the dictionary for some of you, but maybe it will be helpful for a few of you. (I hope so —-because it was no picnic typing this up!) If you’re not up for reading grocery lists, try this post or this one.

This is 10 grocery trips in 30 days. (I HATE that we shopped this much in 30 days, but this is a reality of eating a lot of produce, and making multiple trips to take advantage of coupon promotions.)

NOW you can judge me accurately and accuse me with all the facts at your disposal.  :)  The following list is sorted by store and date. I will indicate what we bought, what size it was, and what I paid. I will also try to indicate, where I remember, whether an item was organic, non-organic (NO), or natural.  I will also try to indicate if something was on sale (S) and/or if I used a coupon(Q) to obtain the price that I got.  For the most part, you can assume that the price I paid is my “buy price,” but sometimes I splurge a bit based on our need and my desire to not go to 10 stores in a week.  I would tend to say that this month was a little more expensive than usual because I wasn’t planning as well as I normally do, but probably once it is all said and done, maybe this is pretty typical.  Half the trips were well planned; half were not. At the bottom, I’ll give you our totals.

ALDI 1/26

This trip was $59 total

2 pcks Baby Bella Mushrooms $1.58; S
2 pkgs Strawberries $2; S
3 lbs Gala Apples $3.29
2 Avocados $1.80
Artisan Lettuce Clamshell; $1.99 (The EXACT same clamshell is $3.99 at HT)
2.55 lbs Bananas $1.12
2 bags Baby Carrots $2
2 lb Bag Navel Oranges $1.39
3 lb Fuji Apples $3.29
Pineapple $0.99, S
3 pk multi-color peppers, $2.99
2 pints grape tomatoes; $3.40
5 lbs potatoes, $3.49
2 broccoli crowns, $1.69
Head cauliflower, $1.99
Raisins, $1.79
Unsalted Butter, $2.29 (I broke down and got some non-organic)
2 lbs Onions, $.79
1 lb Carrots, 1. 19
2 lbs cheese, $8
Garlic, $.79
2 Cucumbers, $1.20
Mushrooms, $1.29
Celery, $1.19
Red Wine, $2.69
White Wine, $2.69
2.5 lbs Old Fashioned Oats, $1.99

 

Earth Fare 1/26

This trip was $29 total

Thick Rolled Organic Oats 1.6 lb; $1.90
Organic Steel Cut Oats 1.10 lbs; $1.53
Organic Popcorn 2.06 lbs; $3.43
Parmesan Reggiano 4or 5 oz. $4.06 (You can find a really tiny piece at Earth Fare and it last the whole month if I grate finely.)
Organic Unsalted Butter; $4.89
Hickory Hill Non-Homogenized Whole Milk; $5.29
1 lb Natural Chicken Breast FREE; Q for freebie
Organic Shredded Coconut Unsweetened; $2.79
0.08 lb Onion Powder $1.04
0.17 lb Organic Coarse Black Pepper; $2.89

 

Harris Teeter 1/28

This trip was $34

Emerald Whole Cashews  10 oz $2.00; NO, S, Q
Fleischmann’s Yeast 3 Strip $1.20; NO, Q
Vlassic Baby Dill Pickles $1.69, S
Vlassic Snackems $1.74; NO, S
HT Jumbo Olives $1.25; NO, S
Newman’s Olive Oil 2 16.9 oz bottles, total 9.54; Organic, S
2 lbs E-Z Peel Farm Raised Shrimp; 9.98, NO, S
Blackberries 1 pint; $1.50; NO, S
100% WW Hamburger Buns 8 count; $1.99, NO, S
Davidson Natural Pastured Eggs Dozen; $1.10; NO, S, Q
Jones Natural Nitrate Free Sausage 20 links; $2, S, Q

 

Trader Joes 2/4

This trip was $110 (and I almost died paying this much for groceries, but I had my entire family with me and that is why I was weak.)

White Tortilla Rounds 2 lb $2.99 (NO, but all of TJ’s brand is non-GMO)
4 ct Avocados $2.99
Honey 24 oz $4.99 (In the summer I get local at the FM, but we are out.)
Chunky Salted PB $2.49
Organic Strawberry Spread $2.79
Coffee Joe Medium Roast 14 oz $4.99 (NO)
Onion 0.79 (NO)
Jalapeno $1.59 (NO)
TJs Sour Cream $1.79 (NO)
1/2 salt almonds $4.69 (NO)
1 lb kumato brown tomatoes $3.49 (NO)
Thompson Raisins $2.49 (NO)
TJs non Rbst cheese (Cheddar, Monterrey Jack, and Mozzarella) $3.99/lb $16.50 (NO)
Fiberful Ends and Pieces Fruit Leather (2 bags NO) $5
Dried Cranberries $1.99
TJ’s String Cheese $3.49
Oranges $3.99
1.5 lb Blueberries $5.99
Toasted sliced almonds $2.49
Green onions $1.29
Organic Unsalted Butter $4.79
TJ’s RBST free cream cheese $1.79
Mini Pearl Tomatoes $3.29
Cilantro $1.69
White Whole Wheat Flour $2.99
TJs Baking Powder $2.29
TJs Honey Wheat Pretzel Sticks $1.99
2 lb blood oranges $2.29
2 lb organic pink lady apples $2.49
Pando breadcrumbs $1.69
Choc bar 3 pack $1.79

Meat House  2-4

(I had a $25 Groupon that I bought for $15 in Dec. All the meats at this store are natural or handmade. I focused on getting “processed” meats that are expensive to buy organically. In addition to my groupon, I paid $2.89, but I am not counting the $15 for this month since I spent it last year.)

1/2 lb Honey Ham lunchmeat
12 Buffalo  Chicken Wings Wings
1 lb Breakfast Sausage
1/4 lb Pepperoni
1.5 Sweet Sausage

Harris Teeter 2-8

$23 for this Trip

2 Ortega Jalapenos $1.78 (q)
Baker’s Chocolate Bar $3.49
HT Dry Black Beans $1  (S)
HT Dry Kidney Beans $1 (S)
HT Dry Pinto Beans $1 (S)
HT Organic Refried Beans $1.39
Clearance Produce $.99
5.45  lbs Bananas $3.76
2 Limes $1.18
1 lb Strawberries $2.50
Tomato $1.94
Cilantro $1.79

Earth Fare 2-9

$24 for this trip

Thick Rolled Oats Organic 2.04 lbs $2.43
Demerara Sugar 1.09 lb $1.52
Hickory Hill Non-homogenized Milk 2 gallons $11
Asparagus NO .95 lbs $2.75
5 lbs Organic Carrots $5.99

 

Harris Teeter 2-11

$17 for this trip

2.67 lbs Bananas $1.84
3 Grapefruit $2.97; S
3 lbs McIntosh Apples; $3.99
Organic Iceberg Lettuce; $1.69
Gallon HT OJ; $3.47
Organic Stoneyfield Plain Whole Yogurt; $2.95, Q

 

Harris Teeter 2-15

$52.83  (Super Doubles. 20 coupons up to $1.98 will double per day. Also, I had a $10/$50 coupon from Recyclebank.)

Seattles Best Coffee NO 12 oz $4.39 S, Q
3 pack yeast $1.40 NO, Q
Blue Diamond Almonds 5 oz, $0.39, Q
Yuban Organic Coffee 2 @ 12 oz, $8.98, S
MaraNatha Organic PB 2 @16 oz, $5.38, Q
Uncle Ben’s Boil in a Bag Brown Rice 2 @ 14 oz, $2.60, S, Q
Nature’s Path Organic Cereal 14 oz, $1.50, S, Q
Polaner All Fruit NO SUGAR Jam 2 @ 10 oz, $3 S, Q
Kettle Chips 8.5 oz (3 ingredient, non GMO) $1.70 Q
Green and Black Organic 85% Chocolate Bar $1, Q
Muir Glen Organic Tomato Sauce 2 cans $2.30, Q
Muir Glen Organic Tomato Paste  4 small cans $1.56, Q
Shredded Wheat and Bran Cereal 18 oz  NO but 2 ingreds and GREAT snack, Q, $2.25
5.2 lbs bananas NO $3.59
1.14 lbs red grapes NO $1.47, S
2.9 lbs Jonagold apples NO $4.03, S
Bunch broccoli NO $1.79, S
Stoneyfield Plain Whole Yogurt 32 oz $1.79, Q
Organic Valley Half and Half, Quart $1.79, Q
Organic Valley Whole Milk Half Gallon $2.45, Q
Jones Natural Sausage 4 boxes $4, Q, S

Harris Teeter 2-18

$34 (Super Doubles. 20 coupons up to $1.98 will double per day. Also, I had ANOTHER $10/$50 coupon from Recyclebank.)

Seattles Best Coffee NO 12 oz $4.39 S, Q
Honey Nut Cheerios $1.50 S, Q
3 boxes Cheerios $2.94, S, Q
2 large cans Furmano diced tomatoes $2, S, Q
Welch’s 100% Grape Juice $1, S, Q
Mariana Banana Chips, $.59, S, Q
2.5 lbs HT Organic Popcorn, $4.99
2 Bags 8 oz Kettle Chips, $3.40, Q
2 Cans Muir Glen Organic Tomato Sauce, $2.30, Q
2 Cans Muir Glen Organic Tomato Paste, $.50, Q
Earthbound Farms Organic Power Meal Salad, 5 oz, $2.79, S, Q
2.32 lbs Bananas $1.60
1.28 lbs Grapes $1.65, S
2.59 lbs Jonagold Apples $3.60, S
Cucumber $.79, S
Bulk Organic Spring mix 0.17 lbs $1.02 (This is a GREAT deal for salad at a reg. price of $5.99/lb.  The clam shells are typically 3.50 for 5 oz. BUY FROM BULK!)
Honey Wheat Bread $1.69, S (Truly a weak purchase, but we were out of bread and I knew I didn’t have time to make any.)
2 Bags Grated Cheese 14 oz $3.00, S (They had grated Swiss, which I needed for a quiche.)
2 4 packs Activia yogurt $1.20, Q
HT Large Brown Cage Free Vegetarian Eggs 18 ct, $2.97
Bacon 14 oz $1.50, S, Q
Chicken Sausage $1.99, Q

From a Friend with Chickens

$10

5 dozen pastured eggs

 

 Grand total Spent on Groceries between 1-19 and 2-18: $395.72

Note, our non food consumables are obviously not included in this list.  My goal is to keep our total grocery and household consumables budget to $500. Often we are a titch over, but my goal is to be better this year now that I’ve gotten the hang of Eating Poorganically. Oh, we are a family of 5. My kids are 6, 4, and 2.

Any questions or criticism or suggestions?  (Other than, don’t go to the store every-freakin’-day.)  I’d love to hear what you think. How does this compare to your grocery trips? 

 

 

 

 

 

14 Responses to Poorganic Grocery Budget- One Actual Month

  1. Mary February 19, 2012 at 3:20 pm #

    Lots of great deals here! We try to buy mostly organic too and our bill is much higher for the month than yours (maybe double?) good job getting healthy food for reasinable prices :)

  2. Shelly @ Coupon Teacher February 19, 2012 at 7:07 pm #

    Thank you for sharing! I have 2 fewer people and am spending around $320 a month, so don’t knock yourself!

    The closest Trader Joe’s is about an hour from me. I have been kicking around going once a month or so. Would it be worth the quality of food and prices to make the trip?
    Shelly @ Coupon Teacher recently posted…A New Way to Earn On RecyclebankMy Profile

  3. Laurel February 19, 2012 at 10:00 pm #

    LOVED this! VERY helpful! want to share what all meals you made w/ this list?

  4. Megan February 20, 2012 at 8:03 am #

    It’s interesting to compare prices from a different part of the country, although I don’t generally buy much organic. Baby steps, right? I wonder if you could find a better way to purchase yeast, if you normally buy the little strips of packets. I know you make a lot of bread, so you probably go through a lot of yeast. I buy it in vacuum sealed bags that I believe are 2 lbs. each, for under $4 at Costco. When I open it up and dump it into a storage container, it’s about 5 cups worth. I have also seen it sold this way at an indoor farmers’ market from a vendor who sells bulk spices and other baking things (oats, various kinds of flour, noodles, etc.) I think their price is comparable. Just wondered if there might be a place near you where you could get it.

    This post also reminds me that I really should try Aldi again. It’s been a long time since I’ve been there, largely because I have many grocery stores much closer to me. It’s only a 15 minute drive so it might be worth it sometime.

    • Laura February 20, 2012 at 8:34 am #

      2 lbs of yeast for $4!!!! That alone is reason enough to get a membership to Costco. Wowzers! I buy the jars at HT or FL and its 4 oz for about $5. I know for a fact Katrina usually buys it this way because I’ve seen it in her cupboard. Maybe just needed a little bit on that trip.

  5. Laura February 20, 2012 at 8:32 am #

    Actually you’ve inspired me to do this same thing. I think I will be horrified by how much we spend on groceries. It is definitely half again this much. But maybe knowing I’m tracking will cause me to be more careful. I feel like I always get good deals, but I definitely spend more than 100 a week. Well, I guess I am including non-food consumables in that mental estimate. Hmmm. Maybe I’m not that far off.

  6. dee m February 20, 2012 at 4:22 pm #

    wow.. that is alot of places to go … my hubby and I shop every two weeks.

    It is just hubby and I now, but through the years even when our 3 daughters were home, I was able to manage our grocery bill to be averaging about $55 a week, this included all paper and laundry products.

    I am a make from scratch gal the last 35 years. We are fortunate enough to have a large garden, so I am canning and freezing as much as possible through the fall months. (salsa’s, pesto, kale, beans, berries, corn, tomatoes chopped/whole, stewed, V8, sauces, pickles, zucchini relish, cabbage stuffed hot peppers, cabbage, bok choy,dilly beans, beets, pepper jellies, fruit jams, hot pepper mustard, meat stuffed sweet peppers, I also freeze eggs for when chickens laying slow down in the winter in containers with 6 or a dozen, for quiches and baking, etc, etc) I purchase from nearby Amish the things we can’t grow or don’t want to lose garden space with or go to pick your own farms. ,, you can go online to find out where many places are to pick your own produce and fruit.

    During summer months, we pick our own organic blueberries to freeze for the winter months. I am on my last 4 quarts now. Will have to pick more this summer. I froze 40 quarts of strawberries in June. This summer we will plant raspberry plants and blackberry. We also pick wild blackberries to freeze and froze a 5 gallon size bucket of elderberries to use through the year. This fall we will go to orchards to pick our own apples to can applesauce and make cider.

    I make our hot pepper mustard, mayonaise, sauces, vinegars, peanut butters, ice creams, frozen yogurts, breakfast items, granola bars, granola, breads, etc…it’s been over a year now that I am able to have my hubby not eat cereal out of a box, he was so addicted, now he makes hot oatmeal with lots of good nuts and dried fruits added, or has homemade breakfasts I make..

    We haven’t raised our own meat in a long while, but purchase as much as possible locally keeping the cost down. As also with our free range eggs from local farmers. I purchase most of my baking supplies in bulk at nearby Amish/Mennonite bulk stores, then freeze to keep fresh.

    We shop the perimeter now the last year, keeping away from processed foods. Its a challenge but that is what hikes ones grocery bill up.This is just my opinion, I would never tell someone to change their way of doing things. We have both had many health issues the last couple years, and have vowed to ourselves to change our ways of eating… we feel we are on the right path now.

    … and yes, a nice bag of salt and pepper kettle chips or salt and vinegar chips are my weakness..but I am working on that.. I am looking to try my hand at making my own.. :)

    • Katrina February 20, 2012 at 6:38 pm #

      Dee, I look forward to the summer when we have our garden and make fewer trips to the store; however, even at our best, my garden is tiny. How much would you say you spend on your garden maintenance and seed? This is something I would love to expand, but I’m nervous to invest the money–not knowing if we will get a worthwhile return. We have a very wooded yard and no money to have a lumberjack cut our trees to provide the necessary sun. It is a constant source of frustration to me. You inspire me! I know that I can get our budget even lower. Although groceries and seed are 1/3 more expensive than they were two years ago. Cereal and chips are definite rarities for us. I make granola and bread, but I try to have some back-ups on hand for days when I just can’t find Supermom. :) Today I made bread, pita, homemade bean and ham soup, and granola, so Supermom has vanished for the day. :) Thanks for you detailed comment!

  7. Anna-Marie February 20, 2012 at 5:46 pm #

    You have inspired me! I have just had to go gluten free and was horrified at how expensive my groceries were last week. I am learning what is ok and what sales to look for. I used to coupon tons but just have fallen off the wagon! Thanks for sharing!

    • Katrina February 20, 2012 at 6:39 pm #

      It will take some adjustment to get your couponing to fit your new diet, but don’t give up on it. It’s worth the savings. My Coupon Teacher is gluten free too, so she lists a lot of the relevant coupons. Check her out!

  8. Maraim February 20, 2012 at 7:16 pm #

    Hi Katrina

    I have a question about recycle bank coupon ,I don,t know how to get this .can u help me .I already sign up but I can,t get it.

    • Katrina February 21, 2012 at 6:27 am #

      You have to have a certain number of points to get the HT coupon. Also the availability of that reward varies. When it was available, I got two of them. :)

  9. silly eagle books February 22, 2012 at 3:20 pm #

    Wow. That must have taken forever to type, but it was interesting! I’m trying to work on cutting our grocery bill back–it was helpful to see what items were missing from your list (that are present in ours) to help me see where I can cut some things and bring the cost down a bit.
    silly eagle books recently posted…five for friday: library booklist for preschoolersMy Profile

  10. dee m February 25, 2012 at 2:17 am #

    hello Katrina, my apology for taking awhile to get back to you. My hubby and I were putting our heads together in thought. :) You mention your garden will be tiny. You can do a bit of container gardening as well as vertical in sunny spots to squeeze in more. You can grow some swiss chard and beets in your perennial borders. Lettuce and radishes do well in containers, perhaps a window box. If you make use of the space you have in both shade and sun, you can easily double the amount of veggies you usually get. Having a shady garden doesn’t mean you can’t have fresh produce. :) You can have lettuces, peas and such from spring to fall.

    There are quite a few veggies that do well in shade. We have a lg tree at the side of our garden that makes one whole side shaded. No veggie I know will grow in complete shade but if you have about 3 hrs to 6 hrs of sun, you can grow salad greens i.e. leaf lettuces, arugula, endive, cress, we favor mesclun its a blend of french lettuces with small chard, corn salad, chervil, endive, spinach, arugula, chicory all in one, so its an automatic salad mix when I am picking, it did excellant fo us last summer, it grew in my partial shady area and did well.. we love romaine, it usually does well, as does butter crunch, broccoli, cauliflower, peas ..you want to put the peas vertical..we put 3 stakes and run wire as they grow, it makes for easy picking on the back, they grow and produce better, water often, beans, beets (we have had beets up to xmas time in the garden), radishes, leafy green such as spinach, collards, mustard green,swiss chard (this year I want to plant rainbow chard..thought it would be fun to have a “rainbow” in my garden).. the last couple yrs we left the kale in the garden, just laid the snow back to pick, we just took the netting off for the deer to feast through the rest of winter.. we put a light netting on it cause we have alot of deer.

    One bonus with partial shade is you won’t have to water as often as with sun areas. Less chance of bolting too.
    Full sun loving are your tomatoes, peppers, corn, eggplant, squash..

    For investment..question do you have a rototiller? If not borrow or rent one if you don’t want to make the investment. Time.. we average a garden size of 100 ft x 80 ft. Ed rototills about every 2 wks, I weed a bit inbetween where needed. For our large garden it takes us 2 weekends to prep the garden and plant. I start all tomatoes, peppers, brussell sprouts, kohlarabi, herbs indoors, and all other plants right into the garden soil when warm enough. Its rare for me to buy plants if I can start them. THAT can get costly. You want to stake your tomatoes, we just use wood stakes and tie them, get more, do better.

    Seed investment.. we have and still do invest in Heirloom seed..we grow over 18 varieties of Heirloom tomatoes , some have been in our family for over 100 years..most of the Heirloom tomatoes and peppers I have had and save year to year for the last 40 years…you must remember with Heirloom its a ONE time investment…and not that much.. i.e. I just bought some Heirloom pickling cukes at $1.49 .. out of curiosity I counted the seeds.. 246 seeds.. wow.. I won’t be buying these again for a couple years, they WON’T go bad, because they are Heirloom, they are pure seed from generations of seed savers saving them. With saving your seed from heirloom veggie plants, you KNOW that when you replant the following year you will get the exact vegetable year to year.

    Heirloom are “old fashioned” varieties, but they are the best in taste. We have alot of cancer in our family. We have been trying for this reason, for our health, families health to go as pure as possible.

    Organic seed means that the plants are grown without chemical sprays/chemicals and not genitically changed..they are of course grown without pesticides for their seeds harvested. Many grow them here, but most of the old timers do the Heirlooms…makes it nice to exchange with the neighbors that do…

    Hybrid plants are from two parent plants that have been crossed. If you save seed and replant you may end up with the parent plant instead..i.e. a squash seed could end up as a gourd, a tomato could end up as cherry tomatoes, etc.

    Well, I hope I didn’t get too carried away here… sorry this is so long.. I love following your adventures in life.. :)