My Latest Frugal Grocery Shoppping Trip

The past few weeks I've had a hard time doing grocery shopping frugally- I've been very busy with a lot of things, so have done lots of short cuts that save me time but cost me more money, and that continued onto our family's vacation this past week, where I didn't want to be spending so much time in the kitchen cooking. On top of that, the fact that my arm is in pain means that I can't go to the open air market and bring back my super cheap produce, because even with my super strong wagon I need two arms to be able to take it all home. In short, our grocery bills this month have already been higher than I'd like them to be for the month ($570 is what I prefer to be my upper limit), and there are still 9 days left this month... so I decided to do a challenge and do as minimal grocery shopping as possible to keep it under $715 for the month. My house is set up relatively well enough to do that, there are just certain groceries I still need, but the rest I can probably make do with what's at home and what I forage.

I got a lift to and from the nearby cheap supermarket, so I decided to stock up on some cheap groceries to tide us over until the end of the month, because even if it isn't as cheap as the open air market, its cheaper than the corner store, and as I said... my arm isn't cooperating, so I just have to do as best as I can.

The things I needed most were some paleo egg free protein options for myself (and the family, because they can't just eat eggs, also eat meat), produce, and some carbs for the family.

Here's what I got at the grocery store and why. I think I did a good job this shop, as the entire bill came out to be only $73 for all this, most of which is animal proteins.

My first stop was in the produce section, and unfortunately most of it was too expensive for my liking. The only produce that I saw with a good price was tomatoes from the reduced rack (that was the only thing on the reduced rack) for 31 cents a pound. Even though they were on the reduced rack, they were in great condition, so I bought 21.5 lbs of tomatoes (guess we'll be eating a lot of them!) for a total of $6.60.
I needed onions; fortunately at least they weren't too overpriced even if they weren't cheap- at 38 cents a pound they were ok enough for me to not feel guilty buying what I needed- 4.4 lbs for $1.65. Carrots were being sold for an ok price, for 36 cents a pound, so I bought 2.6 lbs for 95 cents.
I didn't get any more produce- I have sweet potatoes and butternut squash and zucchini at home already, and I can pick greens from my yard (I currently have kale and beet greens and sea beet and purslane that can be harvested and hopefully soon will have tomatoes and squashes as well), and later on in the week or next week we will be having a local sale for frugal produce, where I'll buy some more, especially fruit. In the meantime, the kids will just have to eat veggies instead of fruit, or home baked goods to snack on.

After hitting up the produce section, I went to see what meat and fish I could get at decent prices. While I love whole chickens, lately they have been sold at quite high prices, making them a non frugal buy for me. Today, though, I found whole chickens being sold for $1.80 a pound, which according to my calculations via my chart works out to be $3.17 per pound deboned. Chicken wings were being sold for $1.29 a pound, which according to my chart work out to be $2.61 per pound deboned, so they are cheaper than whole chickens, and I generally can find chicken wings even cheaper- for anywhere between 63 and 89 cents a pound, which works out even cheaper. That is why wings are my standard protein, as they are quite cheap, but I do like to change it up, hence buying some whole chickens.
Because people consume things visually- they won't generally eat a second piece of chicken, or less than a whole piece of chicken, because it was a little bigger or a little smaller (unless it was a really drastic difference), I decided to get the smallest whole chickens I could find- I got 4 of them, each of them a little under $7, for a grand total of $27.40 for 4 whole chickens.

I got some frozen fish which is pretty much the cheapest protein I can eat when bought cheaply. I found frozen pollock being sold for $1.80 a pound, and each package of fish was anywhere from $1.65-$2.30, which means it is easily to defrost just as much as necessary for a meal for myself. I bought 3 packages for a total of $5.98 for 3.3 lbs. Pollock isn't my favorite fish though, so I bought a few fillets of St. Peter's fish for $3.50 a lb, for a total of $2.50.

Yesterday I stocked up on cheap gluten free bread from a different grocery store, and my kids have been enjoying having them toasted with cheese. Hard cheese is quite pricey round these parts, so I've tried giving them sandwiches with soft white quark cheese instead, and they enjoy that. However, even quark cheese isn't very cheap, so I bought another type of white soft spreadable cheese that cost 37 cents a package, and we'll see how the kids enjoy that on sandwiches. I bought 8 packages for a total of $2.97.
I got two cartons of milk on sale for cheaper than bags of milk are, 2 liters each for $2.82 each.

I want to make some gluten free flour mix, but as cheaply as possible, so I bought 8.8 lbs of rice, on sale for 50 cents a pound, for a total of $4.40. I may not grind all, and may just use some for meals. I was looking for potato starch but couldn't find any, so bought cornstarch, 3 pounds at 97 cents a pound. I'll be using that in my gluten free flour mix instead of my usual potato starch.

I bought 3 packages of chestnuts for some paleo carbs on the go, for $1.11 a package.

And lastly, I bought 5 bottles of beer for my husband, at $1.11 a bottle, a fraction of the standard price for beer. That was for my husband, he's really been enjoying beer lately, and I wanted to get it cheaper than usual, as long as we could keep down our grocery costs, and this $5.55 won't hurt our budget in the long run and he'll enjoy himself, so why not?

Including this shop we're now at $650 for the month's groceries, so I have $65 left before I reach my upper limits, and I think I can stick to that, because all I still need is some more produce, but other than that, we're set, set, set.... I'll try to update y'all at the end of the month.

How have your grocery bills been this summer? More than usual? Less than usual? Got any good deals lately?

Penniless Parenting

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


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  1. I really admire how carefully you figure everything out. I am very careful in the food department too. Not long ago, I bought 30# of chicken leg quarters for 59 cents a pound. I removed the back portions for soup and canned the legs and thighs and got 21 quarts. It is so nice to have on the shelf and I can use it in many ways. We keep a big garden, so this time of year I don't buy any produce. I can and dehydrated our extras. I make our bread and have been doing that since 1972. :)

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