Home Healthy Eating Take A Peek Inside My Grocery List

Take A Peek Inside My Grocery List

by Erika Nicole Kendall
What a $65 grocery bill looks like!

What a $65 grocery bill looks like!So, I guess people are wondering what a clean grocery bill looks like, right?

Well, I’ll do my best to share what grocery shopping with me looks like, and how my little one and I are able to manage.

First, I hit up the frozen veggie section. Here, I pick up frozen onions, pepper blends, green beans, cauliflower, carrots, broccoli and mushrooms. At a dollar a piece, they total $7.

Then, I pick up some whole wheat tortillas. $3.64. Don’t worry.. I cringed a little.

I head on over to the deli, and pick up some Havarti cheese. I don’t get much – I don’t eat much of it, and only use it on the occasional lunch sandwich – and it costs me $2.29.

I’ll then grab some sliced chicken breast for sandwiches, and to sprinkle on some of my salads. Costs me $4.99.

I also grab some chicken cuts on sale, $4.21.

The giant box of Cheerios? $4.09.

Simply Lemonade, $2.85.

A head of cabbage, at $0.59/lb runs me $1.75.

The organic apples are on sale, $2.49 a bag. I grab one, ’cause I can make apple butter, applesauce and give the baby her daily apple to snack on.

One red bell pepper is $1.99, so I grab one. I’ll cut it up into thin strips, store it in a ziploc bag and when I want ’em on salads I’ll grab a few strips, cut it up into chunks, and toss ’em right in. Remember, I bought frozen peppers for a dollar. As I couldn’t use those in my salads, it makes sense to me to buy one regular pepper for quick eating and use the frozen ones for cooking.

The pasilla (basically, chilies) were $3/lb, so I only got a handful. I wanted to make a bottle of hot sauce, so my chilies cost me $0.78.

My green beans, that I only bought because they were on sale, cost me $0.95 at $0.50/lb.

Two pounds of red potatoes at $0.99/lb, cost me $1.90.

Avocado season, thank goodness, brought the price of avocados down to a dollar a piece, so I got four. I use them for salad dressing and the occasional guacamole, so for $4, that’s a deal.

Two bushels of green onions, at $0.54 a piece, cost $1.08.

Radishes? Why not. They’re $1.29.

Cucumbers, two cost me $1.58.

A handful of yellow chilies – again for my hot sauce – $0.31.

A head of romaine lettuce cost me $2.49.

I’m sick and tired of cutting my fingers off dealing with artichokes, so I bought a jar of ’em for $2.98. Since ONE artichoke runs me about $3 right now, this works out.

Also bought a jar of roasted red peppers, because I want to make another jar of salad dressing. (Obviously, I have a giant bottle of olive oil and another bottle of vinegar at home.) $2.65.

A loaf of wheat bread, $1.89.

And lastly, strawberries were on sale for $2.50 a piece, so I bought two: $5. This means strawberry pancakes, strawberry jam, strawberry spread, and frozen strawberry jam to store away for the winter. (Yes, winter. Gotta stay prepared!)

This is enough to cover three meals a day for a toddler and five meals a day for myself, seven days a week… only one of us bringing in any income (that is, unless I can figure out how to get the 3 year old to start bringing in the turkey bacon.) We only eat at restaurants once every six or so weeks. Altogether, it was about 35 items and cost me $62.20. For me, that’s a little high, but I want to start stocking up on strawberries now and felt like havarti that day. Sue me.

Next week, it may not be Cheerios, it might be my rices – that I buy in bulk – for $2/lb. It won’t be chilies, green onions, artichokes, red peppers or those same frozen veggies. It might just be oatmeal, black beans, cashews, tomatoes and more avocados. Either way, I’ve never spent more than $70 in one week on groceries, and I’d like to keep it that way!

How much are you spending on groceries? What tricks do you use to save a little money here or there?

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Elita @ Blacktating May 21, 2010 - 11:25 AM

I don’t buy cereal unless it is on sale or I have a coupon or both. My store puts the “healthy” cereals on sale every few weeks, usually BOGO. Cheerios go on sale very frequently in my neck of the woods so I stock up. The best way that I save is menu planning. If I sit down on Sunday and decide what I am going to cook that week and only buy what I need I do much better than when I am at home going, “There’s nothing to eat!” and end up ordering take-out. I hate take-out for what it does to my waistline more than what it does to my wallet. I also split a membership to BJs with my mom. This way we each only pay about $20 a year and I get my money’s worth on diapers alone. They have way better prices on chicken, turkey, organic milk, eggs and some produce. So I buy the stuff that’s cheaper there.

Erika May 21, 2010 - 11:39 AM

“If I sit down on Sunday and decide what I am going to cook that week and only buy what I need I do much better than when I am at home going, “There’s nothing to eat!” and end up ordering take-out. I hate take-out for what it does to my waistline more than what it does to my wallet.”

Girl, yes, yes, yes!!!!!! LOLOL I could not agree more! LOL!

Dr. Renee May 21, 2010 - 12:16 PM

I am a COUPON CUTTER!!! I buy whatever meat is on sale that week. I only eat frozen veggies. I buy my fruit on sale as well. I usually save at least 50% between coupons and store card.

Erika May 21, 2010 - 3:51 PM

I envy you – I NEED to get more into coupon hunting. With everything I bought, considering all the sales, I saved $9.39. I start drooling when I start thinking about how much money I could save with coupons, LOL!

Ashley D May 21, 2010 - 6:52 PM

Wow….this was a great look behind the scenes!
Elita, that’s a good way of looking at it!
I really need to work on my meal planning and coupon cutting as well as buying what’s on sale….small steps…..Keep em’ coming!

Jim Purdy May 22, 2010 - 10:44 AM

“How much are you spending on groceries?”

Uh, too much. Way too much. I like your tips.

Hoyachica May 22, 2010 - 5:06 PM

I really appreciate these tips! After reading your website about 3 weeks ago, I completely agreed that it’s best to make your own food. My boyfriend and I have noticed a huge difference in our wallets and in our efforts to get more buff what that does. We got out to eat only one night a week and we’re totally fine with it. We can cook better anyway! LOL!! I’m a huge fan! Keep it up!

Ms. Ronni July 24, 2010 - 1:03 PM

I shop at wholesale food stores and I use lots and lots of coupons

BlackBerry Molasses July 26, 2010 - 3:25 PM

My husband and I spend about $120 a month on groceries and we eat healthy and well. Between the wealth of Amish/ Farmers Markets, Trader Joe’s , Costco and Aldi we are able to get our staples (fresh/frozen veggies and fruits, ground turkey, chicken, cold water fish, brown rice and whole wheat pasta). We can also get our little extras. I love cheese (sue me)especially brie, camembert and smoked gouda, so we’ll splurge once a month.

Calina January 21, 2012 - 2:10 AM

BBM – That’s impressive. Just $120 a month. I need to work on that. Always scared to shop at Aldi though. What do you get from Aldi?

Diana September 1, 2012 - 7:17 PM

Aldi has a great brn rice by fit and active also they carry Almond Milk now great for smoothies(vanilla) and non diary..I purchase the frozen berries from there also…great price..and raw almonds and when the peppers red/yellow are on sale 1.29 and a bage of vadilla onions 99cent. if you don’t get the weekly flyer go on line..those are my main staples from Aldi..

Kendra north January 26, 2017 - 5:01 PM

How are you doing this?

Sarah August 15, 2010 - 12:49 PM

A late addition….

The biggest way we’ve been able to cut down on our grocery bill is by reducing the amount of meat that we get: a couple of cans of tuna for salads, or some sausage links to take out a link at a time for stews and sauces.

The biggest change: switching from getting chicken pieces to getting a whole chicken. Stick the whole chicken in the crockpot, turn it on high for 6 hours, and I’ve got light/dark meat to use for stirfries, salads, and sandwiches, plus the carcass and extra chicken liquid to save, mix with our veggie trimmings, and make stock with later (also in the crockpot). One $10 chicken yields many, many meals!

Holly July 25, 2011 - 2:42 PM

Thanks for the crockpot chicken advice; I’m going to have to try this.

313QT January 5, 2011 - 8:43 PM

I am the coupon QUEEN! Ive held up plenty of lines at the grocery store just to make sure all my coupons are scanned! I shop at local markets like Aldi or other fresh local markets for my fresh fruits n veggies and it makes a big difference! otherwise i buy whatever I can thats on sale and that i have coupons for

Ms Kimmi April 4, 2011 - 2:52 PM

I just went shopping yesterday and remember how they would tell you to only buy what on the inside aisle? It’s so true I spent 91.00 dollars at Safeway, not sure where everyone lives but that is a deal on the west coast. I brought the following, Ground turkey BOGF, Frozen greens( sue me but I have no time to be picking greens) anyways they were about $ 1.45 got three bags, also got two frozen bags of broccoli 2 dollars a piece, cans of beans, (black and red), cheese (sharp cheddar) reg price 9.99 got it on sale for $5.09. Brought a pack of chicken legs; which has about 20 in a pack, for 7.99. Whole wheat bread was BOGF. Two boxes of Penne noodles that were 1:50 a piece. Turkey lunch meat for 3.49. a package of thin pork chops, for 7:09, two bottles of bar b, que sauce. @ 1:29 Last things is also brought toilet paper 24 double roll for 9.99 It’s me and two daughters so we always stock up on the toilet paper. .

For Dinner Sunday we had bar b que , chicken legs with barbeque sauce, (yes it was good) greens and penne noodles with sharp cheddar cheese , and mozzarella and greens with smoke turkey in them.

Dinner tonight will be corn bread dish, I add grown turkey, black bean, corn and sharp cheddar cheese, add the jiffy in a glass dish and mix everything together and add the cornbread on top, very filling.

The left over chicken legs will be used for soup, it gets cold in Seattle

Wednesday stir fry with chicken breast, brown rice and frozen bag of red and yellow peppers

Thursday more than shrimp pasta

Friday Turkey burger and tatter tots (baked)

I don’t’ cook on Saturdays it’s my one break time

Heather E April 8, 2011 - 10:48 AM

Here is a non-intuitive way of saving money… We joined a CSA (community supported agriculture) for meat. Not only have I broken free from the horribleness revealed by Food, Inc., but for $90, I get ALL my meat for the whole month (family of 5). Here’s the backward part… this is only 20 lbs of meat. Normally I cook up at LEAST a pound of meat a day and that does NOT include the weekend ham omelettes or sausage breakfast burritos!

BUT this meat is amazing! My husband does not even want to buy more meat to supplement the CSA like we originally planned (thus the savings). So we just do more with less. I think you said it somewhere else… we make meat an add-on, not the main course.

So I used to spend $100-$125 on meat. So the savings is not HUGE, but knowing how many steps we cut out of the process of getting our meat from the “farm” to our table really excites me. I can’t wait until the fruits and veggies start arriving along with the meat! I know not everyone lives in an area where they can do this, but Google CSA if interested because there are a lot of websites that will help you find one.

Shamiquia May 19, 2011 - 8:32 PM

WOW. For a family of four we spend about $500+ a month. And that doesn’t include eating out. My kids take lunch to school so that’s about $50-60 of our cost. We are a busy family with lots of sports, plus Mom and Dad are working on MA Degrees. Finding time to plan clean meals and fix them is difficult!

Sherry November 14, 2011 - 2:33 PM

We are a family of 5. We spend about the same amount of money as you do. Our kids take lunch and are busy with sports and other activities. On top of that both my husband and I are finishing up masters degrees. The only suggesiton that I can offer is to start using a crock pot. When you find the restaurant, there is always ways to make it healthier.

Sharae May 20, 2011 - 2:50 PM

Thanks for posting this! This article is making me consider ways I can shop cheaper as a clean eater. I spend about the same amount, but I’m only purchasing groceries for myself.

Miss B September 1, 2012 - 7:52 PM

I try to have a weekly budget of $40 when I go to the store, but I noticed I bring home less and less grocery just for me. I just spent $27 over the budget today, but I did buy some things I don’t normally buy this time. 🙂

Aisha May 20, 2011 - 10:25 PM

For those who want to get into coupons the first step is to only buy what is on sale. That can go a long way even before coupons.

KL June 6, 2011 - 8:03 PM

I usually spend $100 a month for a family of two. I am addicted to the farmer’s market and usually get all of my fruits and veggies from there for the low-low. I just went today and got cantaloupes, honey dew, apples for my son, kiwi, & mangos for $7 ….. not bad. I also buy frozen veggies … at walmart they are usually 80-90 cents per bag for the Walmart brand.

~ Marjorie ~ June 29, 2011 - 2:00 PM

I have to be careful how I shop. I don’t use a lot of coupons because you can’t get them for what I purchase. If I see coupons for True Lemon products, almond or rice drinks, canned tomato products or whole wheat/grain pastas, I will use them then. I usually shop the perimeter of the store and the frozen food aisles. If I go down the aisles, I’m getting ingredients for baking (I’m a cake decorator).

I get my oils (olive and grapeseed) from Trader Joe’s because it’s less expensive. My seasonings and sauces I “purchase” from myself unless there is something in particular that my business does not offer.

I go to the local farmers’ markets to purchase fresh produce. I have learned to use restraint because I can end up purchasing too much. I make it a habit to try something different. The last time I went, I purchased a cactus (prickly) pear. I don’t have to have that on a regular basis.

Brooklynsgapeach July 10, 2011 - 9:50 PM

Gosh, everyone has shared great tips. I like to think I’m a “coupon queen”. But I’m sure I can do better as there is always room for improvement. I ONLY buy whats on sale & if it’s packaged (meaning not fresh) I usually have a coupon for it (ie sauces & seasonings). I learn the rules of my fav grocery stores when using coupons. IE Publix doubles coupons up to $.50 & you can combine a store coupon w/ a manufactures coupon which is a great help when buying beauty items. Last week I spent $130 at Publix on all fresh veggies, fruits, lunch meat, 2 slabs of ribs (you know 4th of July…) fresh cheese, sauces & seasonings & couple of staples. I have not been back to the grocery store since. I can’t wait to share my grocery list with you in the future! Way to save…way to be healthy!

Erika Nicole Kendall July 10, 2011 - 10:50 PM

I just want to (angrily) clarify that the policies for the Publix stores in Georgia aren’t the same in each state… and they certainly aren’t as giving in Florida, namely South Florida [insert angry face], so call before you come with coupons in hand, LOL.

Missy July 12, 2011 - 9:21 AM

How do you keep your fruit and veggies from spoiling. I have done everything to keep them fresh longer with no avail!! I buy fruit and veggies in large quantities since this is the season for them. The worst is strawberries!

Holly July 25, 2011 - 2:40 PM

Freeze your excess strawberries if you can’t eat them immediately. There’s really no other way to make them last longer unless you want to turn them into preserves or spreads.

shas October 23, 2011 - 12:39 AM

Do you eat honey nut cheerios? I can’t really stand the taste of plain cheerios, or multi grain cheerios. When I look at the nutrition guide, the comparison of all three makes me think that my honey nut cheerios are still okay, since everything else I eat is pretty healthy. I was just wondering what are your thoughts on it…

Gretch October 24, 2011 - 12:00 PM

Cheerios are clean? (boxed cereal was the first addictive food i had to give up) Would you let us know if there’s a reason they’re better than other cereals? I have a 6 month old, and am starting to consider what foods to let into his world when he’s big enough.

Alisha October 30, 2011 - 8:47 PM

I’m wondering the same thing. Are Cheerios clean? I thought they were considered ‘processed’…

Erika Nicole Kendall October 30, 2011 - 10:56 PM

They are processed. Just not as much as the other cereals. I used them to help “wean” someone off of cereals and ease them into clean eating.

Good catch, y’all, LOL.

Lethal Astronaut January 26, 2012 - 11:39 PM

We’re a family of 4 in New Zealand, and spend about $900 a month on groceries, which works out to about $750USD.

(Food is expensive in New Zealand, but other stuff (like housing) a lot cheaper than the US generally. Medicines and healthcare are all free here, and education is free up until the end of high school. So family budgets are different. We lived in the US for a year, and it was interesting comparing the differences.)

Our big ticket items atm are nappies, wipes etc., soy milk (for my daughter), chocolate (we like the good dark imported stuff), and tinned and fresh fruit and veggies.

We don’t buy meat or eggs but have our own animals (live on a farm). Our fruit and veg budget is declining fast now that our fruit trees, which we planted two years ago, are starting to come into production. I make my own jams and preserves, ice cream, yoghurt etc.

We buy a lot of produce from the farm gate and barter with neighbours instead of from the supermarket, which keeps costs down more, and grow our own salad veggies in summer (cucmbers, lettuce, tomatoes etc.).

Calitrojan February 11, 2012 - 1:04 PM

Thanks for the tips. I live in cali and I spend way too much for a fam of 2.. About $200 monthly…ugh

Sita July 16, 2012 - 11:46 AM

For those that mentioned buying diapers, try cloth instead! You can buy a set for about $300-400, they will last through several children and then you can sell them for a profit! Can you sell your used plastic diapers? I use the cotton prefold and waterproof liners (the least fancy kind). I wash them in our apartment building’s washers (I rinse the poopy ones at home, though) and, voila, thousands of dollars saved! The extra work is minimal for me.

Also breastfeed your babies – that’s truly local food! I know, however, this is very hard in the U.S., where women have to go back to work far too soon. I live in Canada where we have a one-year maternity leave so that helps a lot.

Other food savings I can’t offer as I do waste a lot (this per my husband, who has recently gone on a rampage about food wastage). I don’t care, though, as I work full time and would rather spend time with my kids than using up the wilted lettuce.

Natalie September 1, 2012 - 7:30 PM

I budget $175 every 2 weeks for groceries this include toiletries (soap, washing powder, toilet paper, etc). I shop at Costco and Wal-mart. I purchase about 80% whole foods and 20% processed.

natalie September 1, 2012 - 7:41 PM

Curious…what brand of clean bread are you buying for that cheap?!

Natalie September 1, 2012 - 7:59 PM

Hi to be honest I have not bought a loaf of bread in over 5 years. I do purchase high fiber whole wheat tortillas.

Teruko September 3, 2012 - 10:40 AM

I started having my produce delivered by a company called Go Local Produce. Every Saturday they deliver fresh local fruits & veggies right to my door for $25.00 a week. It is a HUGE bin of goodies. I have also started using a company called Nature Box to deliver healthy snacks. Once a month for $19.95 a month Nature Box sends 4-6 full size bags of different healthy snack treats. After you have been with them for a few months you can customize the box to include what you like. I spend $120.00 a month doing this & it has saved my wallet & my waistline. Every few months I will go to the farmers market & Costco stock up on organic meats. I vacuum seal my produce & meats so my freezer is well stocked. I will start canning this Fall. I am also a couponer. I save the coupons & then I hit Harris Teeter whenever they have their triple coupon specials. This has saved a ton of money & time.

Teruko September 3, 2012 - 10:48 AM

I also bake my own in bread in a machine that I found brand new at the goodwill for $20.00 & I make my yogurt in a yogurt machine that I bought a few years ago for like $40.00. This is the best and cheapest way to control what you spend & what you eat. Also almond/coconut milk is cheaper & better than cows milk. Almond/coconut milk is perfect for people like me that think almond milk is too thick & coconut milk is to coconutty for your cereal. Mixed together they strike the perfect balance in texture and taste.

Pamela October 3, 2012 - 1:58 PM

I have discovered that the meat department at my local store marks down meat for clearance at the end of the day. So if I go in around 8pm, I can usually get 50% off all my meat. I also use Safeway’s Just4U online coupons and add them to my card (they also match other local store ad prices). I buy only frozen veggies and sale meat, and cook all my meals for the week on Sunday. Each day I pull out my meals from the freezer for the next day to thaw in the fridge.

Cookie October 3, 2012 - 2:15 PM

Love this! Think I’ll start posting my grocery bills as well. Thanks for sharing and good luck on the healthy eating!

ashe_phoenix October 15, 2012 - 2:11 PM

You also go weekly, right? It’s easier for me to go biweekly, and when I do, I spend about $60-70 for just me and occasionally my mom! The food lasts a good while though, and I’m slowly getting into the habit of cooking at home. For example, this past weekend I made a great recipe from your budgetarian meal plan — the corn and potato chowder.

Buying a whole chicken and roasting it myself was one of the best cost-saving decisions I’ve discovered here, especially since I can get one of the smaller chickens and have it for many different meals.

Erika Nicole Kendall October 15, 2012 - 2:32 PM


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