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What I spent on groceries in August

Want a peek into our grocery cart? Here’s how I’m buying groceries and feeding eight people on the cheap.

You’ve been in the grocery store a time or two, haven’t you? My guess is you’ve suffered from Check Stand Sticker Shock at least once in your life, right? It’s crazy, the cost of groceries these days. And sometimes it can feel a little discouraging.

After ten years of tracking (and reporting to the internet) my grocery shopping, I’ve learned that some months are better than others and to see the whole process as an average. One month I might find a lot of great deals that are worthy of stocking up — and another month, I might do a Pantry Challenge and use it all up. It just really depends.

August was one of those months to stock up!

That’s usually how groceries play out for me come back to school time. I know that our schedule is going to get busier. I know that I’m going to have limited time.

And I have a sneaky suspicion that my European peasant DNA has me stocking up for winter regardless of the fact that my thumb is currently very un-green.

I ended up finding great stock-up sales and clearance prices this month, meaning I really can have a full pantry for half price.

After many years of not being able to source local pickling cucumbers, I bit the bullet and stocked up. I spent a day making homemade pickles and so we are SET!

This past month also saw me filling the freezer alongside my workshop students. It was so refreshing to chat meal planning, swap recipes, and get ahead in the kitchen together. I feel like I can now take on the school year — and not freak out!

So, if you see that this month’s grocery total is a little higher than normal, don’t worry on my account. September will be more of an eat-down-the-pantry and don’t-cook-so-much kind of month. I’m absolutely thrilled!

The Grocery Geek report

For those of you new here, Grocery Geek is my regular report of how I shopped for groceries, what deals I found, and my running total of how we’re sticking to a budget for groceries.

Here’s the rundown on my shopping this week. As you read, keep in mind who and how I’m shopping:

My grocery shopping profile

To update you on my grocery geekiness:Grocery Geek: What We Spent in March | Good Cheap Eats

  • I’m feeding eight people, ages 55, 46, 21, 17, 16, 14, 11, and 9. Five of those people are males. They eat A LOT!
  • I’m shooting for a budget of $1100 this year, trying to beat what the feds think it will cost. Per the most recent USDA food cost reports it should cost our family $1346.60 to eat all meals at home under the “thrifty plan” for people of our demographics.
  • We live in Southern California where produce is cheap, but meat and dairy are not.
  • I’m trying to feed us mostly unprocessed foods, with a few “healthier” convenience items thrown in and a junk food splurge* here and there.
  • I work at home and teach five of our kids, so I don’t have as much time for fiddling in the kitchen as I would like.
  • I no longer use coupons on a regular basis, though I do love the coupons that Ralphs offers.
  • I have at least ten grocery stores within 5.5 miles of my house. It is easy (for better or for worse) to stop at several stores to get the best deals.
  • We mostly eat at home. My husband and college age son often pack lunch and breakfast to work, but sometime have lunch out. My husband and I enjoy a date once a week. FishPapa takes one child out to “dinner with dad” once a week. We eat out as a family on average once a week.
  • BEFORE YOU JUDGE ME FOR EXTRAVAGANCE, please read this post.

What we spent on groceries in August:

Ralphs

  • milk $2.49
  • organic Gatorade (beach treat) $0.89 on clearance
  • molasses $2.09 on clearance
  • baking chocolate $1.69 on clearance
  • personal watermelon  $1.25
  • riced cauliflower $0.99 on clearance
  • bagged salad mix $1.99 on clearance
  • grapes $0.88/lb
  • organic whole wheat bread $1.29 on clearance
  • French bread $0.89 on clearance

Total spent $29

Costco

  • milk $4.39/2 gallons
  • frozen chicken bakes $10.99
  • tortillas $3.69
  • heavy cream $9.59
  • avocado oil $9.69
  • Greek yogurt $5.59
  • cucumbers $3.49
  • Greek pita $3.39
  • hummus singles $6.49
  • Tillamook cheddar $8.99
  • organic romaine $3.99

Total spent $180

Ralphs

  • Haagen-Dazs ice cream FREE after digital coupon
  • sugar cones $1.59
  • Talenti gelato $2.99 after sale and coupons
  • mozzarella cheese $3.39
  • frozen potatoes 1.99 after sale and coupons
  • baking powder $2.79
  • worcestershire sauce $2.99
  • hot dog buns $2.29
  • powdered milk $9.49
  • eggs $1.49 on sale
  • grapes $0.88/lb
  • organic spinach $3.99
  • cilantro $0.69
  • personal watermelon $1.25
  • cherry tomatoes $2.99
  • mushrooms $0.99 on clearance
  • tea $2.09 on clearance
  • KIND bar FREE after digital coupon
  • canned tomatoes $1.44
  • boxed mac and cheese FREE after digital coupon
  • beef roasts $3.99/lb
  • bacon $1.49 on clearance
  • hormel roast beef $3.29 on clearance
  • bratwurst $2.50
  • airheads $0.50

Total spent $101

Sprouts

  • baby carrots $0.99
  • broccoli crowns $1.69/lb
  • jumbo avocados 3/$5
  • organic granny smith apples $4.99/3lb
  • nectarines $0.98/lb
  • organic spring mix $3.49
  • raspberries $0.98
  • red seedless grapes $0.88/lb
  • shishito peppers $1.98
  • jalapeños $0.69
  • yellow onions $1.99/3lb
  • double cream Brie $3.39
  • grass fed beef $3.99/lb
  • frozen mango $8.99/giant bag
  • frozen orange chicken $7.49
  • frozen blueberries $8.99/giant bag

Total spent $105

Costco

  • tortilla chips $5.59
  • white vinegar $3.59
  • quaker oats $8.39
  • mozzarella $11.59
  • cheddar/jack shreds $11.99
  • brown rice ramen $7.99
  • turkey breast $15.88
  • pork tenderloins $16.29
  • half ham $12.74
  • bagels $5.99
  • frozen potstickers $11.29
  • Tillamook cheddar $8.99
  • Greek pita $3.39
  • 4-pounds butter $11.19
  • frozen yakisoba $11.99
  • organic fruit strips $11.99
  • avocado oil $9.69
  • Greek pita $3.39
  • garlic powder $5.99

Total spent $202

Sprouts

  • ginger ale $2.99 – Ibotta reward
  • bottled water $4.70/case
  • bagged ice $1.83

Total spent $10

Trader Joe’s

  • soy sauce $2.99
  • ground turkey $3.49
  • kefir $2.99
  • sesame oil $2.69
  • baking powder $1.49
  • rice vinegar $1.99
  • chocolate cookies $1.99
  • milk $1.69
  • ginger paste $1.99
  • milk $2.69
  • bell pepper $0.89
  • shredded cabbage $1.29

Total spent $31

Walmart

  • canning salt $1.48
  • dill seed $3.98

Total spent $6

Sprouts

  • organic dill $1.99
  • red bell peppers $0.98
  • juice $2.50
  • chicken broth $1.99
  • ginger ale $2.99 – Ibotta reward
  • mineral water $1.29
  • frozen spinach $1.59
  • organic frozen squash $2.00

Total $27

Ralphs

  • tomatoes $1.99/lb
  • jalapeño peppers $0.99/lb
  • cilantro $0.69
  • lime juice $4.99

Total spent $9

Sprouts

  • mushrooms $3.49
  • pears $0.50/lb
  • campari tomatoes $2.99
  • cilantro $0.50
  • eggplant $0.98
  • garlic $0.50
  • zucchini $0.98/lb
  • lemons $0.50
  • nectarines $0.98/lb
  • organic celery $0.98
  • red bell peppers $0.98
  • red onions $088/lb
  • bananas $0.59/lb
  • organic canned beans $0.99

Total spent $24

ALDI

  • boneless, skinless chicken breast $1.49/lb
  • eggs $0.95/dozen
  • milk $2.10
  • sparkling water $0.69

Total spent $40

Ralphs

  • Wasa crispbread $3.59 – Ibotta reward
  • sandwich bread $2.99 – Ibotta reward
  • milk $1.49
  • Greek yogurt $5.99

Total spent $18

ALDI

  • sparkling water $0.69
  • taco shells $0.99
  • potato bread $1.49
  • enchilada sauce $1.68
  • juice $2.89
  • crackers $1.75
  • tortillas $1.99
  • chocolate $1.99
  • salsa verde $0.85
  • applesauce cups $1.79
  • salami $3.49
  • ground turkey $3.49
  • tamales $5.49
  • frozen shrimp $4.59
  • baby spinach $2.75
  • crushed tomatoes $0.99
  • pains au chocolate $2.99

Total spent $70

Costco

  • breakfast links $13.99
  • thomas’ muffins $6.79
  • cheese $10.99
  • 5 dozen eggs $6.99
  • protein bars $14.49

Total spent $60

Ralphs

  • frozen hash browns $2.49
  • eggs $2.99
  • flour $2.69
  • dried fruit $3.79
  • cinnamon $2.99
  • bananas $0.59/lb
  • apples $0.99/lb
  • coconut $2.29
  • sausage $2.29
  • ham $2.99

Total spent $60

Ralphs

  • sugar $1.52 on clearance
  • cookies $1.00
  • pasta $1.49
  • wheat thins $0.99 after sales and coupons
  • cake mixes $1.99 to $3.99 (birthday!)
  • buttermilk $3.19
  • peri peri sauce BOGO $4.99
  • cheese $0.99
  • sauerkraut $1.29 to $2.79
  • cake sprinkles $9.99
  • veggie tray $4.99 on clearance
  • carrots $0.99
  • zone perfect bar FREE after coupon
  • applewood bacon $2.29
  • chocolate $1.99 on clearance

Total spent $57

Sprouts

  • grapes $0.98/lb
  • broccoli crowns $1.69/lb
  • cilantro $0.50
  • eggplant $0.50
  • grape tomatoes $1.50
  • cucumbers $1.50
  • zucchini $1.29/lb
  • sweet onions $0.88/lb
  • jalapeños 8/$1
  • jumbo avocados $2.00
  • mini watermelon $0.97
  • nectarines $0.98/lb
  • organic spring mix $3.00
  • apples $0.98/lb
  • mangos $0.50/each
  • shredded lettuce $1.49
  • bananas $0.59/lb
  • peaches $0.33/lb
  • popcorn $1.99 on clearance
  • milk $2.79
  • eggs $3.99 – Ibotta reward
  • grass fed beed $3.99/lb
  • pork sausage $3.99/lb

Total spent $70

Sprouts

  • organic strawberries $2.50
  • organic raspberries $3.00
  • Wasa crispbread $2.69 – Ibotta reward
  • organic rice crackers $3.50

Total spent $21

Ralphs

  • milk $1.99
  • hash brown $.99 after sales and coupons
  • tortillas $2.49
  • ice cream $4.99
  • noodles $2.99
  • chocolate chips $3.89
  • pasta $1.57
  • shells $2.59
  • crackers $1.59 after coupons
  • salt $0.89
  • hot dog and hamburger buns $1.19 on clearance
  • yogurt $1.09 on clearance
  • grapes $0.88/lb
  • nectarines $0.99/lb
  • granola $1.49 on clearance
  • Bob’s Red Meal barley $1.99 on clearance
  • gourmet soup mix $1.39 on clearance
  • gluten-free cookies $1.29 on clearance
  • Siggy’s yogurt $2.59 on clearance
  • Noosa yogurt $2.49 on clearance
  • ground turkey $2.99 on clearance
  • chuck roast $2.99/lb
  • Johnsonville sausage $2.49
  • bacon $4.99
  • hot dogs $13.99 bulk pack
  • sourdough bread $1.19 to $1.99 on clearance
  • mushrooms $2.99

Total spent $150

Sprouts

  • baby carrots $2.58
  • strawberries $3.00
  • 5# potatoes $1.99
  • mushrooms $3.49
  • apples $0.88/lb
  • broccoli crowns $1.69/lb
  • cilantro $0.50
  • grape tomatoes $1.50
  • blueberries $3.00
  • cucumbers $0.98
  • blackberries $0.97
  • bell peppers $0.88
  • shishito peppers $1.98
  • sweet onions $0.50/lb
  • tomatoes $0.98/lb

Total spent $43

ALDI

  • milk $2.10
  • sparkling water $0.65
  • organic beans $0.89
  • eggs $0.79
  • chips $1.99
  • sliced cheese $1.99
  • crackers $1.75
  • sour cream $1.29
  • cottage cheese $1.99
  • ham $2.99
  • pepperoni $2.19
  • salami $3.49
  • dried black beans $2.49
  • sourdough bread $2.89
  • ciabatta rolls $2.69
  • cookies $2.29
  • tortillas $2.85
  • chicken breast $1.89/lb

Total spent $140

Costco

  • milk $4.20
  • tortillas $3.69
  • mozzarella $11.39
  • butter $9.94
  • spinach $3.99
  • Tillamook pepper jack $7.99
  • ground beef $22.66
  • chips $4.29

Total spent $80

Vitacost

  • Bob’s Red Mill bread flour $4.69
  • flaxseed mill $4.49
  • chia seeds $5.49
  • whole wheat pastry flour $4.09

Total spent: $72

Spent in August: $1605

Spent in 2018:

  • January: $490
  • February: $1084
  • March: $1224
  • April: $1009
  • May: $994
  • June: $1095
  • July: $1354
  • August: $1605

Total spent YTD: $8850

That’s an average of $1106/month!

Woohoo! So, even though this month was clearly higher than most months, my average for the year is only $6 over budget. I’m pleased, particularly since I don’t have to go to the store except for milk, eggs, and produce over the next few weeks.

Booyah!

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