Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Grocery List: Revealed

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:

-Dairy products:
*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.


  1. ah! I wish I could do these things, but living on an island, all the food goes bad so quickly AND our freezer is so tiny! I'm SO impressed with your budget. We spend that much a week!

  2. That's a total bummer! :( I've written a few posts about some of the challenges, like small spaces. You may want to check it out, I've got a few tips on how to deal with little freezer storage space.

  3. you can shop for me when i have a family! :)


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