Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Grocery shopping analysis

Recently, Hans and I have been trying to come up with a feasible, effective family budget. Yes, yes it makes us feel like old grown-ups, too.

We're trying to cook more and only have one meal out per week. It's not that we were spending tons of money eating out, but we were picking up Subway or Chipotle a couple of times a week each and that adds up fast over the course of a month! So we've been trying to take lunch more often and cook dinners at home more often, too.

I noticed that our grocery bill has gone up, substantially. But for the sake of my sanity, I figured I'd break it down and see just where all our grocery dollars go. Then maybe I can figure out where we can cut coupons or buy cheaper alternatives. And I'm doing it right here, so you all can give me tips!

This week, I bought lunch stuff, breakfast stuff, snack stuff, and ingredients for two meals (one of which is large enough to eat two nights in a row - yay left overs!)

Meal #1 - Penne ricotta pasta with spicy Italian sausage
This feed us Tuesday and Wednesday nights.
That's $2.27 per person, per meal.
I'm happy with this.

Meal #2 - Rosemary prosciutto corn cakes with chicken sausage and peppers
For Thursday night, and probably Hans' lunch on Friday
$11.34, or $3.78 per person, per meal.
And one of my favorites, at that.

Lunches - Turkey sandwiches (served with snacky things like fruit, yogurt, and wheat thins)
Monday through Friday, five each.
$14.49, or $1.45 per sandwich

Breakfast - Fueled by Hans' ridiculous cereal habit
Just $4.50 this week thanks to a "buy three, get a dollar off each" coupon I found. Whew.

Snacks - fruit, veggies, yogurt, apple sauce
Actually, a lot better than I thought it'd be. And it keeps Hans from buying stuff on campus when he's hungry, which is a feat.

Staples - milk, eggs, sugar, etc.
And the bulk of that is orange juice - $5 for two cartons. Maybe we could get the frozen concentrate ones?

After breaking it down, it seems like we're actually doing a lot better than I thought. Our meals are pretty inexpensive. Our biggest expenses are from snack foods and staples. I've always gone to HEB, but are there places to get these cheaper? Coupons at Randalls? Walmart? What are your secrets?


  1. Randalls is only advantageous if you join their rewards program. Either way, even after the rewards program, Randalls and HEB are about the same. I don't like WalMart because it's inconsistent. One week they'll have great plums and the next week you couldn't find a head of lettuce to save your life. Check out my blog, though, as I just blogged about a similar thing.

  2. Erica! You got to coupon! Last October I went to the Kroger mega deal, spent $70 and came home with $270 worth of stuff. This last time I spent $70 and came home with $192 worth of stuff. In December I spent $58 and got probably 18 boxes of cereal and oodles of crackers and cookies. I got SO many yogurts for $.25 that I've had to freeze most of them. I have bags and bags and bags of Chex Mix. Tons of Special K bars, Quaker Chewy bars, Quaker Rice cakes, little apple sauces, cans of soup/tomatoes/evaporated milk... I find on average I can save 60% on my grocery bill. Some things I never have coupons for, like milk and eggs. But, when you can save money other ways it doesn't matter.

    Sometimes I find that couponing is silly for just two people-we don't spend that much anyway. But I've realized lately we don't spend much because we already HAVE so much. And that's not to talk about all the toiletries I get for almost free all the time. I'm a shampoo snob so I only use Redken-but I have so much herbal essence, dove and pantene that Jeff can use. I have 10 body washes just waiting to be used.. tons of the really nice razors just waiting to be used.. tons of candles, tons of toothpaste.. it's crazy.

    But-as far as coupons, Krogers will double and triple their value. So a $.35 off a thing of sugar coupon is really a $1.. which makes it $.66 for the 2lb bag. I think it's a good deal! Anyway-I just wrote you a novel! Sorry! But there are coupons for lunch meats, bread, yogurt especially.. and most of those you can print online.

    If you don't coupon-I'd stick with HEB and Walmart. I've shopped everyone and they're the least expensive.

  3. Anna! I've actually read your posts on coupon-ing and that's what's gotten me so inspired! I'm amazed at how much money y'all save. Unfortunately, we have no Krogers in Austin (I looked it up!) I'm trying to make do with HEB, but the coupons just aren't as good :( How is Randalls?