Shopping Trip- February 1st, 2011

The last grocery trip I posted about was made on December 28th, exactly 5 weeks ago today. On that shopping trip, I spent more money than I would have liked to spend- 192 dollars! Because of the large monetary outlay I made, I was determined to make that food last as long as possible. I had no plans on going shopping for at least another 4 weeks.
And then of course, a few days later, I found out that I'd be cooking 2 formal meals for a group of 16. Yikes! I could stretch the food I bought to feed our family for weeks, but I couldn't stretch it if I also used that food to serve another 16 people for two meals! Because of that, I went to the local mom and pops, spent 20 bucks, and bought food for the group. (All the food I made was used up with no leftovers, so it didn't really change the menu plan.) So total spent was 214 dollars between December 28th and today, 5 weeks later. That averages out to 42 dollars on food each week. I did need to make a run last week for a package of sugar and a package of flour and a few onions, but other than that, we've been using solely what I bought that December day.

Today I went shopping, but I have to admit, I'm pretty bummed out about the trip. I used to like my local grocery store because of their super low prices, but the prices aren't nearly so low anymore. Today, I didn't get anything different than I would usually get, but the shop that I expected would  cost me 80 dollars ended up costing me 153 dollars. I'm just a little upset (understatement). All the staples that I'd run out of at home that I used to be able to get cheaply at the store are now much more expensive.
Peanut butter, for example, now costs $7.80 a pound when it used to cost $2.70!
Sunflower oil, which is basically the oil I use for my every day food preparation, went from $1.94 per liter to $3.60 per liter.
White sugar which used to cost $0.38 per pound now costs $0.50 a pound. (I know, this doesn't seem so significant, but when your spouse only makes 6.5 dollars an hour at his job, and you need to buy 20 pounds of sugar, even a 12 cents per pound difference is significant enough.)
White flour used to cost $0.36 per pound and now costs $.044 per pound.
White flour pasta used to cost $0.49 per pound and now costs $0.78 per pound.
The prices of everything are just going up and up and up.
And oh- did I mention- our salary doesn't go up?

Anyhow, so I spent 153 dollars today. I got a lot of food, but I'm still bummed out I spent so much. I have a way to make myself feel better though, a challenge I've decided to take, but I'll share more about that tomorrow. In the meantime, my shop.

Before I share the pic of my groceries, I first wanted to share a picture of what I foraged and/or got free today on the way to the grocery store. I only spent 153 dollars and got this in addition to my groceries.

What is it?
Sixteen lemons, 7 cactus paddles (also known as nopales, a traditional and nutritious Mexican vegetable), a bunch of wild fennel, a bunch of mallow, and a bunch of wild mustard.

And here's 3 out of 4 baguettes that I got from outside a bakery. They were dumpster dived from a clean dumpster and were double bagged and in sealed packages. They were thrown out because they were stale, but I plan on using them in a recipe where staleness doesn't matter.

Ok, now that you saw my free things, here's my grocery shop:

Yea, its a lot of food. I got:

A few heads of fennel- loss leaders at ten cents a pound
A bunch of onions- loss leaders at ten cents a pound
4 heads of garlic
A huge amount of cucumbers- loss leaders at ten cents a pound
A large amount of tomatoes, some just decently priced, and some from the reduced rack. It was used partially to make salsa.
2 heads cauliflower- loss leaders at ten cents a pound
2 heads purple cabbage- loss leaders at ten cents a pound
2 bags of carrots- loss leaders at ten cents a pound
A large amount of radishes- loss leaders at ten cents a pound
About 10 grapefruits- loss leaders at ten cents a pound
2 bell peppers- not on sale, but for making salsa
2 hot peppers- not on sale, but for making salsa
3 packages of mushrooms- pretty good sale if you buy three
4 artichokes- not on sale, but I got it anyhow as a treat. I'm wondering if I should regret that purchase.

2 packages of chickpeas- on sale
2 whole chickens- a terrific sale price
1 package chicken wings- on sale
4 containers of dark tahini- the best price I've seen in a while
Some hard meltable cheese- not on sale, but we haven't had in a while, so I decided to buy.
Sheep cheese- at a terrific price
1 small yogurt- as a starter for my homemade yogurt
1 package butter- because of health reasons, even though its not so cheap
A nice amount of sunflower seeds- I plan on making it into sunflower butter, as it's a fraction the cost of peanut butter
Flax seeds- not ultra cheap but I buy them at the cheapest place possible
Chia seeds- relatively expensive, but a little bit lasts a while and its very healthy

Dry goods
10 packages of sugar- grrr- expensive, definitely, not on sale, but we go through this a lot, and its the cheapest sweetener, and even that's costing me too much.
2 packages of salt- we ran out, and especially because I'm pickling, we need more
5 packages of white flour- we ran out and I can't get whole wheat flour yet unless I want to pay a fortune. Oh well.
1 package of semolina flour- one of the cheapest breakfasts there is.
2 packages of spaghetti.
4 packages of other noodles.
3 packages of egg barley pasta (a quick and easy pasta)- on sale if you buy three
3 packages of whole wheat couscous- on sale if you buy three

Wet things
2 bottles of cheapo grape juice
1 bottle of cheapo wine
1 bottle of expensive sunflower oil- sorry, I won't buy canola or soy oil, even if its cheaper, because of health reasons.
1 bottle of olive oil- I got the cheapest I could find, and I figured that if I was going to overpay on oil, I might as well get the healthiest kind available
3 bottles of ketchup- the cheapest kind there is. While its probably healthier to make my own, we go through ketchup a lot and this brand of ketchup is cheaper than if I made it at home.
6 cans of tomato paste- I found the cheapest tomato paste I could find that was also good quality. I stocked up!
1 bottle of seltzer- we needed a drink while out, and this was the cheapest and healthiest drink there was, and it was more of a treat than bottled water, which was the same price.

Ground fenugreek seeds
Curry powder
Garam masala

Ah yes, I think that's it.
Large shopping trip. Lots of food.
Lots of money.
And it should last us at least 4 weeks, if not more.

How much do you spend each week on groceries? Does this look like I overspent or does it seem like a good amount?
How do you handle nation wide price increases when your income doesn't rise at the same time? (P.S. These inflated prices are nation wide, so going to another store wouldn't help me get things cheaper, and would most likely be more expensive.)
Oh- and any good grapefruit recipes? I've had too many grapefruits go to waste in my fridge.

Penniless Parenting

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


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  1. We buy much more proteins and produce, way less sugar and flour products. As a result we spend more.

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