think long term about the grocery budget not short term

February 3rd, 2008

Think Long Term About the Grocery Budget, Not Short Term

Or at least, that is what I have to tell myself today. I stuck to my (insanely long) list, I did not stray one bit, and at the end of the day, I spent $134.06 this week on groceries: $63.14 at Aldi, an insane $55.80 at Walmart, and $15.12 at Kroger.

The new diet has begun for my spouse. He’s on a special diet to reduce his cholesterol and blood pressure designed by a nutritionist through his workplace, and I had to buy a whole lot of new foods this week. The positive side to this, budget wise, is that there were a lot of things I bought this week that I won’t have to buy again for weeks or months. All of the meats I needed to buy, I bought enough to last at least a month if not two based on portion sizes. There were also a number of other items, like reduced fat peanut butter, salt free seasonings, and different bakery items, that I won’t have to replace for a good long while (the extra bakery items will go in the freezer until use).

But will it all even out? I have no idea, but I am positive it won’t be this expensive every week. Buying frozen flounder and tuna at Walmart really drove the total up there, and that won’t happen every week. And I had to buy “Power Bars” which my spouse has for a snack every other day, and I bought a box of them that should last two weeks.

I do know this though: shopping only the perimeter of the store is much more expensive than the aisles, if this week is any indication. I bought almost no prepackaged foods (the power bars were about it) and I spent a ton more than I usually do when I by about half prepackaged and half fresh.

So… the diet has begun, and we’re not bankrupt yet. We’ll see how things go next week.

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15 Responses to “Think Long Term About the Grocery Budget, Not Short Term”

  1. I’m right there with you! I had vowed that this week, my grocery bill would be down. Not so! I buy no prepackaged food except 1 box of cereal per week, very little meat, no snack items except a bag of popping corn kernels. I do buy fresh fruit and veggies, juices, and some canned tomatoes and chicken broth for sauces. This week I shopped at WalMart and HEB and spent way more than what I wanted. However, we are never sick (knock on wood) and I think a healthy diet is important…so I will have to cut back somewhere else if my weekly grocery bill continues to be this high.

    keep up the good fight!

  2. It may take another week to even out. When it does you will find that some weeks you will spend very little, and other weeks, you will spend a lot. In the end though it should even out. This is the primary reason that we started tracking our groceries on a monthly basis.

  3. Just out of curiosity, did you look at other grocery stores for these new items? Because I always spend less when I stick to the periphery… of course, I don’t buy fish. :)

  4. The periphery is expensive. I have a Sam’s Club membership and buy all of our frozen fish (cod, salmon) and chicken there. It seems like you would be able to find some good fish deals now though – with Lent coming up and a lot of people abstaining from meat there seem to be more sales.

  5. @ deepali – I didn’t look at any other grocery stores – I compared the three I usually shop at and bought where it was cheapest, but not any others. I would have to drive an additional 15-20 minutes to get to the next closest one.

    I did buy fish, and beef, and chicken (I usually buy chicken, but the beef was more expensive than what I usually buy). But the other big difference was the produce. I generally buy produce but not as much. For example – canned tomatoes – cheaper than fresh, frozen broccoli – cheaper than fresh, canned pears (in pear juice not syrup) – cheaper than fresh, applesauce – cheaper than apples. But the meal plan sheet has all these things fresh and raw so for now I am buying them that way. Oh, and I had to buy a canteloupe and a watermelon in the middle of winter in the midwest… heh.

    @Lea – fish was on sale! yay sale. Still pretty expensive though since well, I live very far away from anywhere a fish would be caught. lol

  6. Fresh fruit and vegetables are not in season, as I’m sure you’re aware (since you don’t live in an enviro-bubble). Would you be able to substitute frozen vegetables for the fresh ones? Or use kale, collard greens,turnips, winter squashes which are in season during the winter? I use these veggies during the winter and then go to farmers markets and live stock auctions during the spring, summer and fall. As for fruit, pears, apples and oranges are fairly cheap this time of year. I don’t know if you’ve ever tried gardening, but it may be something you want to consider. I know you have children, but my nieces and nephews love to play in my garden and weed. In fact, once, it was raining out and they refused to come in until they finished weeding!

  7. That’s interesting – I buy fresh produce and still spend less than if I bought stuff from the aisles (with the exception of the bulk aisle for beans and rice, etc).
    BUT – produce is more expensive in the winter, so your grocery bill should be cheaper in later months, hopefully.

    So, as a nutritionist, I can tell you that you can go with frozen instead of fresh if you prefer. Canned is actually not a bad substitute, but frozen is definitely better. Especially for produce that’s out of season – frozen tends be “fresher”.

    They put a watermelon on there?! That’s ridiculous. Cantaloupe is actually on sale at my Whole Foods, and is readily accessible in winter. i don’t even know if I could find a watermelon right now. I’d love to take a look at this diet plan!

  8. It is an interesting meal plan. lol

    The canteloupe was on sale for $2. woowoo!

    Honestly, my spouse wants to follow the plan and see how it goes so I am trying to accomodate that. But I shall start to adjust it as time goes on I think. 12 oz of yellowfin tuna for $11.99 – not going to happen every week. Heh heh. Or every month? lol

    I want to know what “whiting” fish is and why it is so cheap.

  9. I usually spend a lot less when I avoid the aisles, but maybe I’m attracted to random things too easily…

    PowerBars are usually pretty inexpensive at Trader Joe’s. I buy all of mine there….

  10. Whiting is a food fish – it’s used to feed pets, etc, so it tends to be on the cheaper side. But I think nowadays they call any type of cheap white fish “whiting”, so you might get who-knows-what.

    And yeah, fresh tuna is absurdly expensive. By the way, don’t feed it to your kids (they are still young, yes?).

    I think you can also get powerbars on line for cheap, especially if you can get free shipping on them.

    I’m still amazed by the watermelon. :) Actually, I’m amazed you actually found one. :)

  11. All hail Mexico for its (neer) year round growing season! Jinger- HEB is the best and I really miss Texas! But here in Oklahoma we still have fairly cheap produce- and we do have smaller watermelons available.

    I hope your husband likes PowerBars! I haven’t eaten those in years and hope the taste has improved- they use to smell and taste like tire rubber!

  12. I just saw a link on another blog for making your own Power Bars. I think if you check the Food Network website and search for it, Alton Brown made those in a Good Eats episode.

    On the flip side, all of that healthy eating will probably do wonders for your health and energy. Hopefully you can ditch medicines and doctor visits and it will all balance out.

    Good luck!

  13. I agree about Power Bars tasting like nothing. But, Cliff’s MoJo Bars are something else. I love the sweet and salty taste. They are pricey, though..99 each at WalMart.

  14. PaidTwiceSpouse Says:

    February 7th, 2008 at 6:38 pm

    @A – not like rubber, they are edible now… not sure what they taste like though. I do actually taste a little bit of peanut butter.


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