I've been asked a lot by readers what I'm actually buying to keep my grocery bill so low ($150/mo), well today I'm revealing my typical monthly grocery store list--just to you, my faithful readers! :)
First, lets review a few of my basic principals:
-Buying in bulk and stocking up, if you'd like to read more about that, you can read my thoughts on the bulk shopping method or a little more about my bulk madness at my grocery budget Q & A (a good one to read if you're just curious about all of this).
- A few things that you'll need to remember is that we buy all our meat in bulk.
-If you've read my pantry list and freezer list posts, then you'll also remember I keep all sorts of things on hand for fixing meals.
-As a rule of thumb, nearly everything I buy is the generic brand or the cheapest unit price.
Now, lets get to my list, shall we. Due to all the things I just explained above there are very few things I need to buy regularly, but here they are:
*We get our milk delivered (but I'll occasionally buy a gallon or two when they are deeply discounted for the freezer).
*Yogurt, we usually go through a large tub a week, so I'll buy 2 each trip to the store (2x/mo).
*Cheese is one of the only large ticket items I buy at the store regularly. I'll buy the largest blocked cheeses, usually only once a month to every six weeks. I'll bring them home and freeze about 1/2-3/4 of each block to get us through for a while and just use what's not frozen for the first couple of weeks. Sometimes I'll also buy a large container of cottage cheese.
*Every once in a while I'll buy a heavy whipping cream if I have a recipe that calls for it or coffee creamer, which lasts me forever, it seems like!
*Most of the time I'll buy the largest container (2 1/2 dozen) and will last us about a month.
*I'll buy the largest container there is, so it'll last us a long time! When real butter & margarine sticks go on sale (usually around the holiday season) I'll stock up on as many as I can get and freeze them.
*I'll buy day old french bread to prepare and freeze as garlic bread or for making french toast, usually at least once a month (often times we'll go through a loaf before it's bad that week too). Sometimes they have rolls, buns or other baked goods that will work for something we're having that week or for freezing.
*When our "usual" sliced bread goes on sale for $1.50-$2/loaf I'll buy several loafs and freeze a few of them.
*If we have a meal coming up that requires buns, I'll buy those fresh for that week.
I try to have a high portion of our diet be fresh fruits and vegetables, so I get a significant amount of produce each trip to the store. I'll always buy what is on sale and/or the best value to keep the cost down. Since I do the price matching it's not uncommon for me to get prices like:
-$0.49/lb for Roma tomatoes
-4-6 avocados for $1
-6 cucumbers for $1
-10lb bags of potatoes for $1.59
-Special fruit like strawberries, pineapple, mangoes, watermelon are all really reasonable right now, most can be bought for around a $1 (except for the pineapple and watermelon, both can be bought for around $2, though).
Basically, my list depends on what's on sale in the produce department, but I'll get us well stocked! :) If there aren't any greats deal going on (especially in the winter) then I'll buy large bags of apples and/or oranges which will get us through a couple of weeks, easily.
-Rounding out what we've used or Stocking up on Sales:
The rest of my list will consist of a few things that we've run out of or are about to run out of from our stock pile. Sometimes there is quite a bit, other times it's just a few items. If it's something that is on a great sale then I'll stock up a bit.
That's about it. My lists are nearly the same every couple weeks. A few dairy products, some fresh produce (unless it's farmer's market or garden season!) and some breads are the main things I have to buy, the rest is just to keep on hand. Everything else is already in our freezer or pantry. Every once in a while I'll need a special item for a menu item or new recipe, but for the most part I can create all sorts of meals out of these basics.