Today’s Trek to the Grocery Store

Quote from Reddit:

I never said anything is impossible. I said sacrifices are being made that limit happiness and enjoyment. I would say a grocery budget of $230/mo for a family is a perfect example of that. To have lean meats and greens as a major parts of your diet alone would easily push you over that amount when dealing with a family.

MMM lives in a craphole town with nothing to do–he essentially admits this himself. Let’s be up front about that.

Last year, we actually averaged $477.75 per month for groceries for a family of three.  I’m not sure where this commenter got the $230 from, although that is approximately what we pay for our health insurance per month.

Today I biked to the grocery store.  When I got back, I read the Reddit quote above.  The stars aligned and I decided to share our grocery bill.  Note that this is a HUGE grocery trip for us – we were totally out of food, it seems.

Produce

  • 1 Orange Bell Pepper – $1.25
  • 2 Red Bell Peppers – $2.50
  • 2 Yellow Bell Peppers – $2.50
  • 4 Avocados – $5.00
  • 3 Cucumbers – $2.97
  • 1 Bunch Green Onion – $0.50
  • 2 Red Skin Yams – $2.58
  • 1 Bunch Asparagus – $4.47
  • 3 Sweet Onions – $2.95
  • 2 Broccoli Crowns – $2.57
  • 1 Garlic – $0.50
  • 7 Tomatoes on the Vine – $5.15
  • 1 Spaghetti Squash – $3.33
  • 1 Bunch Cilantro – $0.50
  • 2 Big Bunches Organic Bananas – $4.17
  • 1 five pound bag of Carrots – $2.99
  • 2 bags Organic Gala Apples – $9.98
  • 1 mini Watermelon – $3.99

Total: $56.81

Meat & Seafood (this will last us a while)

  • 1 Bag Frozen Tilapia – $7.99
  • 1 package of 8 Pork Chops – $14.36
  • 1 package of Organic Chicken – $9.53

Total: $31.88

Refrigerated

  • 18-pack of Eggs – $3.99
  • 1 Organic Whole Milk – $5.39

Total: $9.38

Grocery (restock pantry)

  • 1 big package Earl Grey Tea – $6.49
  • 2 cans Coconut Milk – $5.78
  • 3 cans Rotel – $2.97
  • 2 cans Corn – $1.90
  • 2 boxes Organic Chicken Broth – $5.00
  • 1 package Corn Tortillas – $1.89

Total: $24.03

Total Number of items: 43
Total Price : $127.22 (tax of $4.03)

Our groceries in May have totaled $352 so far, including this big trip.

We don’t buy everything organic all the time, as you can see.  Our son eats mostly organic food though.  We also purchase food (like almonds and coffee) in bulk at Costco.  Finally, we have friends that purchase large amount of organic grass fed beef as well as organic eggs from local farmers, so we buy from them when they have things in stock.

As for calling Longmont, CO a “craphole town”?  For now I’ll just say that this is the most real and the most community oriented place I have ever lived. I never knew a place could be this awesome. It’s not for everyone, but it suits me perfectly.

{ 19 comments… add one }

  • Tyler Tervooren June 6, 2013, 3:24 pm

    I’m one frugal SOB, but I readily admit I still struggle with groceries. I shop almost exclusively at Trader Joe’s, one of the cheapest places on earth to buy groceries, and I *still* end up spending at least $350/month to keep *just* myself fed.

    I would rate myself a pretty hungry fella, though.

    I do notice on days that I sit around and do nothing I tend to also eat very little. I don’t know that “sitting around” is a great budget strategy, though. :)

    Time to get out the microscope and scalpel!

    Reply
    • Mrs. MM June 6, 2013, 3:30 pm

      I love Trader Joe’s. We might be in trouble if we had one here. :)

      We’ve basically gone the meat and vegetable route these days with beans and rice on the side. Once you stop buying pre-packaged foods and frozen meals, it can make a big difference to the bottom line. You have to cook a lot more, but cooking is pretty fun.

      I admit that I don’t eat all that much. I’ve always been a light eater, but since starting Crossfit and learning that I’m gluten intolerant, I’ve started eating meat again (we were mostly vegetarian for a long time). Now I try to eat more. It turns out when you eat less bread (I used to eat a lot of bread), you stay full longer, which helps as well.

      Reply
      • Tyler Tervooren June 6, 2013, 5:21 pm

        Hmm, I really do need to take another look at what I’m buying because I don’t buy any of TJ’s pre-packaged food. I do eat a ridiculous amount of cashews, though.

        Like you, I’ve gone mostly the paleo/meat veggies route. I’ve started to add some rice to the mix in an attempt to lower cost.

        I don’t buy any bread or dairy. I think all my cashew snacking may be adding quite a lot to the bottom line.

        Reply
        • Mrs. MM June 6, 2013, 5:31 pm

          Yeah, those cashews are probably pretty expensive at TJs! We eat a lot of almonds, but we buy them all from Costco. Same thing with coffee. Since we live so far away from Costco, when we do go (usually while we’re out that way anyway) we spend about $400 for a ton of coffee, nuts, and other stuff.

          Reply
  • Andrew June 6, 2013, 3:54 pm

    > Last year, we actually averaged $477.75 per month for groceries for a family of 4.

    Family of 4? Who’s the 4th? :)

    Reply
    • Mrs. MM June 6, 2013, 5:18 pm

      Haha – oops. You’re right. Family of 3.

      Reply
  • Joe June 6, 2013, 4:05 pm

    Haters gonna hate! I wonder where the person who wrote that mean comment lives?

    Reply
  • ThriftyYinzer June 6, 2013, 4:54 pm

    Mrs. MM, where did you go grocery shopping if you don’t mind me asking?

    Reply
    • Mrs. MM June 6, 2013, 5:19 pm

      I went to Safeway. It’s the closest grocery store for us by bike.

      Reply
  • Mike Long June 6, 2013, 5:51 pm

    Anyone who calls Longmont a “craphole town” needs to spend a few days where I grew up – in Stockton, CA – so that they may understand the true definition of the word “craphole”. ;-)

    Reply
  • Meg June 9, 2013, 10:19 am

    I think your grocery spending for the month looks pretty solid for a family of three. In my opinion, it’s neither on the low end nor the high-end of spending. I’ve noticed that since hubby and I are trying to eat more healthfully, we can get a sh*t-ton of (fresh) food for the price we were paying for a half a cart of the processed stuff. It seems to make more meals, we seem to eat less of it (it’s more filling), and it costs less. Go figure.

    Do you and MMM grow anything yourselves?

    Reply
    • Mrs. MM June 10, 2013, 3:53 pm

      Since we are away almost the entire summer, growing food has not been a huge priority for us. We do have an herb garden and we have had some pretty bountiful gardens in the past, but since these long summer vacations started, it’s been hard to grow food without being here to take care of it.

      I do grow a ton of perennials and love gardening, so I hope to get back to vegetable gardening one day.

      Reply
  • Cujo September 27, 2013, 4:45 am

    People who say a place has “nothing to do” are those who need to be entertained. Just as well they leave the nice places for those of us with simpler needs.

    Reply
  • Hamster October 1, 2013, 9:26 pm

    One thought instead of the really expensive chicken broth. our costco stocks a jar of organic ‘better than bullion’ that makes 19 quarts. Just mix with water. I forgot the price, but about $10 I think, and very handy since you can use as much/little as you need.

    Reply
  • Aunt Becky November 7, 2013, 12:26 pm

    I know that this is a post from a while ago, but I’m curious on what a day or week menu looks like for you. I’m trying to phase out gluten, because my family of 5 has 4 other members who aren’t as keen on the idea. Also, they are very bored with my two go-to recipes at the moment. :)

    Reply
  • Karl November 12, 2013, 11:12 pm

    $3.99 for 18 eggs! Daaaamn. Some things are cheap in USA.

    I assume these are high quality eggs too?

    Here in Australia it’s about $7.50 for a dozen free-range eggs, maybe $9 if they’re organic.

    That is all. :)

    Reply
  • Carrie June 28, 2015, 8:00 pm

    MrsMM, do you guys garden? I was looking through your list of food and even in June there should be some things you guys could easily grow if you wanted to pair down that list a bit (especially green onions which magically regrow if you put the butts in water for a few and replant in a pot. We live in the burbs but i have a pretty great garden (mostly container) that feeds us most of summer -> early winter. It saves me like $30-50 a month in organic groceries and berries and is fun and relaxing.

    Reply
    • Mrs. MM August 29, 2015, 1:32 pm

      Hi Carrie – we don’t normally garden as we are away visiting family almost all summer. We have had some great gardens in the past and this year we have a kick-ass tomato plant and there will most definitely be more gardens in our future!

      Reply
  • Ann September 28, 2015, 9:20 am

    I actually had just read the post where Mr MM says the $240 a week quote. Here is a link. http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2012/03/29/killing-your-1000-grocery-bill/ I also was a bit astonished by that amount. Thanks for clarifying Mrs MM.

    Reply

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