Grocery Trip, November 16, 2010

My husband just got his paycheck, and that means we can breathe a little more easily now. Now that the money is coming in, however, I've decided to spend a large chunk of it investing in certain bulk foods, so money will once again be a drop tight until next month. (One of the things I'm buying only comes in 50 pound sacks and costs 200 dollars for the lot- which will last a whole long while!!!- but my dad is probably going to buy 25 pounds of it from me, so that'll make things a little more bearable financially.)*
My grocery shop reflects my upcoming bulk order (hopefully it'll be getting here Friday), as I didn't buy some of my usual staples because I'll be purchasing them at a much lower price later on this week.

I feel that it is important for me to point out that even though money is gonna be tight again, we do have more breathing room in our finances than we have in the past (thanks to a new job that I got), so I'm no longer trying to cut back every unnecessary purchase. Quite a few things I purchased today at the grocery store were absolute wants, not needs, but that is totally fine with me because the grocery shop was cheap enough and stayed within our budget. The point of frugality is not to deprive yourself of all unnecessary things, but rather to scale back enough so that you're living within your means (and ideally beneath).

Today I spent 58 dollars on two weeks worth of groceries. I did spend another 8 dollars earlier on in the week on a few more grocery items that I found on sale.
What did I buy and why?

Dry Goods
22 pounds of sugar. I know, crazy amount. I'm making jam and canning things in sugar syrup and using it for my kombucha, so I'm going through this rather quickly. I said I'd rather have too much sugar in the house than run out and need to make an extra trip to the store.
4 packages of pasta. These were on sale if you bought 4, so I did.
6.5 pounds of semolina. This makes such a perfect hot cereal in the morning, and is, without a doubt, the cheapest breakfast to make. Husband loves it, kids love it- all is great! If I have the energy, I can also use it to make homemade couscous.
Black tea. For making kombucha. I chose the store brand, as it was 33% cheaper than the name brand.

Usually when I go to the store on Tuesdays, many vegetables and fruit are on sale. Today the loss leader pickings were slim, so I ended up buying some things that were not loss leaders, as long as they weren't too expensive.
1 head romaine lettuce. It's pretty cheap and makes a good filler for salads.
2.5 pounds of soft tomatoes. Because these were on their last legs, I got them from the reduced rack for 75% off and am going to use them to make tomato sauce.
6.5 pounds of red potatoes. I rarely ever buy red potatoes because they're so much more expensive than regular potatoes round these parts, but today, for some reason, the red were on sale as loss leaders and the regular potatoes were 4 times the price of the red.
1 package of mushrooms. Total splurge. I figured why not?
4.5 pounds beets. Loss leaders, so I bought. Now I just have to figure out what I'll be making with them.
4.5 pounds of green peppers. Again, loss leaders. I'll probably use these for regular suppers. (Hopefully I'll write a weekly menu this Sunday to share ideas.)
4 pounds of eggplant. Loss leaders, so that's what I buy.
Dill. For making pickles.
2 pounds regular tomatoes, for eating.
2.5 pounds green tomatoes. For pickling.
7.5 pounds if cucumbers. Loss leaders, so I got tons! I plan on pickling these, canning these, making salads with them, noshing on them, and making a cucumber lentil curry that I've made before.
Fresh garlic.

Not much choice in terms of loss leader fruit today...
6 yellow and ruby grapefruits. Loss leaders. Making marmalade and candied citrus rinds.
2.5 lbs bananas. They were relatively cheap, my kids love them, why not?
1 coconut. Absolute splurge but I have zero regrets. Coconuts are healthy, delicious and fun and are a worthwhile treat if the price isn't too high. (This coconut cost a bit more than a dollar.)

2 whole chickens. These were on sale and were moderately loss leaders. They were half the price of what they've been usually. Every last bit of these chickens will be eaten.
2.5 pounds of chicken thighs. These were also on sale and I figured- why not?
1.5 pounds of chicken fat, skin, and scraps. Absolutely free, and will be rendered for use.

1 liter of milk. I am ordering powdered milk with my bulk order- this milk is just supposed to last until then.
1 pound feta style cheese. It's really cheap and delicious and a protein to boot!
.2 pound blue cheese. Completely unnecessary, and this cheese is really expensive per pound. But a little goes a loooong way and what I got cost me less than a dollar for a lot, comparatively.

Other Stuff
Grape juice. I bought the cheapest brand there was.
Mustard. I need to learn to make my own. Until then, I bought the cheapest one I could find.
3 cans of beans. Frugal fast food, and the sale applied if you bought 3.

This week, I still have to buy eggs from the door to door vendor who'll be coming by tomorrow, and of course, my bulk order.
* We included a set amount of money in our budget to be set aside for bulk purchases like this one, but as our budget is fairly new, we haven't had the chance yet to save up that money in the bulk funds, so we'll be rearranging the budget for this month and not throw any extra money towards debt. I consider this a wise move, because we'll be saving more money by buying these foods at a discounted price than we will be paying extra in interest because of paying off a loan one month slower.

What "splurges" did you buy this week? Do you feel justified in splurging, like I do? 
If you purchase foods in bulk, how do you arrange your finances to make such a purchase financially feasible?

Penniless Parenting

Mommy, wife, writer, baker, chef, crafter, sewer, teacher, babysitter, cleaning lady, penny pincher, frugal gal

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