Today’s post is part 3 in a series that will determine if I am able to feed my family of 5 for $25 per week. This restrictive budget was inspired by Amanda from The Fundamental Home, who routinely feeds her family of 5 for that same amount. In my last post, I reviewed the steps I took prior to making my shopping list for the weekly trip to the grocery store. I was concerned that adhering to this restrictive budget wouldn’t be possible.
Armed with my grocery list, which can be found under step three here, and my best intentions, I headed to the store. My first stop was at the 99 cents only store because I can often find good deals on produce and bread. Today, however, the 99 cents store closest to my home didn’t have a great selection. I spent $6 and left with a large green cabbage, a cantaloupe, 4 packages of chicken pizza flavored Lunchables (for Food Critic), a box of Freezer to Table Chicken Masala, and a package of a risotto mix. The other $3.29 that I spent was for two household items and a bottle of diet Mtn Dew, so that money cane from the household budget, and my personal spending money.
After the 99 cents store, I headed to WinCo because they seem to consistently have the best prices of any of the grocery stores near my home. At WinCo, I headed to the produce section, and was appalled because they were charging $2.48 for three Romaine hearts, and these weren’t organic. I can usually find packages of organic Romaine hearts at the 99 cents store for a dollar. After some more price checking, I decided to go to another 99 cents store for the rest of my produce. At WinCo, I purchased about 2 1/2 pounds of bulk oats for $0.68 per pound, a pound of ground turkey for $3.08, a can of sliced olives for $0.68, a bag of frozen chopped broccoli for $0.93, and, with a sense of humor, a package of lobster bites for $2.58. My thinking was that if I only had $25 for the weeks groceries, I should certainly be eating something extravagant. Lobster salad seemed like a good choice. The total for my purchases was $9.21.
With a little less than $10.00 left in my weekly budget, I drove across town to another, larger, 99 cents only store. This one didn’t disappoint. I was able to find all of the produce items that I needed, along with most of the bread. I found matchstick carrots that are very convenient for salads, soups and stir fries. I was able to buy a pound of radishes for $1, three Romaine hearts for $1. I also grabbed a bunch of bananas which were $0.49 per pound. Next, I headed to the bread section where I bought a package of Sarah Lee Everything Bagels, a package of steak rolls, a package of Ball Park brand hamburger buns, and a loaf of Nature’s Harvest Honey Wheatberry Bread. The cost of each of these items was only one dollar. I still needed Pita Bread, but decided that we would have our Zorbas as wraps since I still have tortillas at home. I made this decision in part because this particular store didn’t have any pita bread. On the way to the cash register, I noticed that they had quart sized jars of Kraft Avocado Mayonnaise, so I grabbed one. The grand total at this store was $9.01.
The grand total from my first weeks shopping trip was as follows:
99 cents only store #1: $6.00
99 cents only store #2: $9.01
In retrospect, what I find interesting is that even though I was on a very restricted budget, I still spent money on things that we didn’t need. For instance, at the first 99 cents only store, four out of the six dollars spent were on items that weren’t on my list. Of Course, Food Critic was happy that I thought of him and bought some Lunchables. I’m certain that the Freezer to Table Chicken Masala kit will come in handy some night in the future, and I’m pretty sure that the Risotto mix will disappoint. The problem is that I love risotto, but I don’t like standing over the stove constantly stirring and adding more broth. I keep trying to find a simpler solution, but none of them taste as good as the real stuff. At WinCo, the Lobster bites were an impulse purchase. Granted, they were purchased as a joke, but they were still something that I didn’t need for this week’s menu. That was another $2.58 that I didn’t need to spend. At the 99 cents store, I purchased a jar of mayonnaise that wasn’t on my list. This purchase, however, I don’t feel too bad about. Mayonnaise generally costs between $2.50, for store brand, and $3.50, or more, for brand name mayonnaise. This will come in handy, especially, since I keep making potato and macaroni salad.
Money spent on groceries not on my list: $7.58
This is amazing because that amount is nearly one-third of my weekly grocery budget. It doesn’t really matter this week, but I wonder if it will have an impact in the weeks ahead. I think I may need to be more disciplined in my approach to grocery shopping especially when I need to purchase meat. At least I have $0.78 left in my budget to add to next weeks $25.00.
Come back next week to check out the new grocery haul and menu plan. You can come back sooner to try some of my recipes if you like, too. Several of our favorites are linked in the menu plan in our last post.
Thanks for visiting Patty Cake’s Pantry.