My Frugal Large Grocery Shop, Part 3 -- Dry Goods

Sorry it's taken me so long to get this posted, it's just really tedious and time consuming to write up my shopping list, hunting down prices on a few foot long receipt, so that I can share them here. But quite a few people said they appreciate my doing so, so I'll do it gladly, just takes a bit longer to get done.

I already wrote about the produce I bought, and the things for my freezer (and fridge), so now I'll get down to the dry goods (and bottles- they count, right, since they're shelf stable?).

So first off, I bought a can of olives, to be able to use for my fricassee recipe, forgetting that I still had some packages of olives that I got free a few months back, but all is good because these still were on sale and were shelf stable. $1.97 for the can.

I bought a four pack of tuna cans for the fricassee too, $5.40 for the lot, or $1.35 a can.

I bought a jar of amba, pickled mango sauce, that I thought would be used in fricassee but then learned that it wasn't, so that cost $2.46. Even though I didn't use it for this recipe, I'll find plenty more recipes to use it with.

I always keep tomato paste in stock in my house, for so many different dishes, and I was running low. So I bought 4 cans at $1.40 each for a total of $5.60. This is the most concentrated tomato paste I can find, but usually costs $1.70 per can, so it was nice to be able to get it cheaper.

My eldest, Lee, recently told me that he likes beans.

Hold the presses! Yes, my son likes beans.

This is a shock to me, because I used to make beans, and my kids hated it so much that I stopped making it, and only making lentils instead. Well, my kids started hating lentils, and my stomach was sensitive and didn't like beans or lentils so I stopped making them period.

And now my son said he changed his mind and likes beans, and wants me to make beans sometimes. He's had them a few times in stew and also in burritos and really likes them.

So just to try it out and make my life easier, I bought 3 cans of beans in tomato sauce for $1.40 each for a total of $4.20.

Then, just because I'm being hopeful, I decided to get some dry navy beans as well. I looked at getting a one kilo package, then looked at the half kilo packages... and the half kilo packages were marginally cheaper. With the same company. So got those. This is why you check. $1.69 for each package, for a total of $3.37.

Then black beans, because if he wants Mexican, I personally think black beans taste the best in it. I got organic black beans. You know why? Because I price compared. And usually organic is much more expensive, but this time the organic dry black beans were at least a dollar cheaper than the non organic. So organic it is. $3.40 for half a kilo/approximately 1 pound of black beans. (Yes, they really are quite expensive where I live! And this is the cheaper type!)

I've been making bread and pizza at home that is gluten, also for my kids (because they're all back to eating gluten, even though I wish they wouldn't, because their dad is feeding them gluten and they don't want to be off gluten anymore, though I'm seeing side affects and one of the kids is wishy washy about whether or not she wants to eat gluten, it depends on the day) and also for guests, and I have been paying higher prices at my local store. So I bought 4 kilo packages for 79 cents each, working out to 3.5 cents a pound, or $3.14 total.

I bought 3 kilo packages of sugar for $1.11 each, 51 cents a pound, for a total of $3.34. This wasn't a particularly low price, but those things are heavy and I'm getting a delivery anyhow, so might as well.

While I still have rice left at home, I wanted to grind my own rice flour with my grinder, and didn't want to "waste" my sale bought basmati rice in my stockpile on that, so I bought cheap white rice for $1.29 per kilo package, for a total of $2.57 or 59 cents a pound.

I bought one package of rice crispies for $2.83. I usually get cereal from the scratch and dent store but haven't been recently, so can't stock up on cheaper stuff.

I bought two packages of rice noodles for $1.97 each for $3.94 total. These are pretty large packages, so even though they are more expensive than other packages I sometimes get, I think they work out to be cheaper (though I haven't done an exact calculation).

I bought a package of gluten free pretzels for $2.82 a package, and peanuts for $1.97 a package to use for my Chex mix that I'll be making.

Then I bought myself a bar of ruby chocolate. I had heard about it but never tried it, and decided to buy myself a bar as a treat. It cost $3.57 but it was delicious and worth it!

For oil in my house, when I'm not using olive oil, I nearly exclusively use sunflower oil. Its usually much more expensive than soy or canola oil, but this time I found it on sale for the same price, $1.67 a bottle, so I got 3 for $5.

I bought myself 2 bottles of store brand gluten free soy sauce that wasn't marked as gluten free and therefore more expensive, but still is gluten free. These were cheaper than all other gluten free soy sauce I've bought recently, and much larger bottles. They were $2.83 each for a total of $5.66.

I got a bottle of apple cider vinegar for $3.49.

I got a bottle of lemon juice for $2.25.

I bought 2 bottles of grape juice for $3.69 each or a total of $7.38.

I bought a cheap bottle of wine at $3.97, another two nicer ones for $4.91 each, for a total of $13.79.

I also bought a bottle of whiskey for $17.11.

Plus a bottle of iced tea for me to drink while shopping, for $1.57.

And then, because I was paying for a delivery anyhow, I decided to get a giant thing of dog food. I still use regular food, meat and fish and other kitchen stuff, but I do like having dog food at home as a back up. Since I wasn't the one carrying it home, I bought a big thing (12 kilos or 26.4 lbs) of dog food for $31.

Again, not carrying it home- laundry detergent. I'm not a stickler for brand. I literally just look for what is the cheapest per pound. I bought an 8 kilo or 17.6 lb bag of laundry detergent for $10.82.

I also got a package of dishwasher tablets that cost $17.11, off brand so its as cheap as I can generally get while still having my dishwasher work properly.

Total for this last part of my shop therefore was $165, which I'll admit is quite a lot, but everything I bought is something I am happy that I got, things that will last a while, and at good prices, so all is cool.

Total for my shop (including my last two posts) was $332.83. Yes, it sounds expensive, and does eat up nearly half of my allocated monthly budget. But what I got will last a while, and everything (nearly) was frugal, bought on sale, bought smartly, etc. Frugal doesn't mean always spending a little bit. I could do a few small shops each day for very little, but overall my grocery bills will be higher. Sometimes this is what it means to be frugal, spending more at once to save more overall.

Oh, and last but not least, I paid $9.14 for delivery, that was so, so, so worth it, because I didn't need to carry this all back with me.

For those curious about how I budget this all in, delivery goes under my "transportation and delivery" budget category. This includes buses, taxis, trains, deliveries, car rentals, gas, etc. Dog food goes under the "pet" category. Laundry detergent and dishwasher soap go under "household consumables". The rest comes off as groceries.

Do you do big shops or small shops? What do you find, personally, saves you more money? Do you budget everything under grocery or do you divide anything? Got any great grocery deals lately you want to share?

Penniless Parenting

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


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  1. I'm curious, were your children gluten free because you've noticed it helps with behavior or because they have gastrointestinal issues if they eat gluten? If its the latter, wouldn't they need to be gluten free all the time to feel their best? Also, I wanted to comment and say that the gluten free fry bread you posted the other day looked really good. I'll have to try it some time.

    1. A combination of reasons. Lee has been eating gluten for years, he has no reaction. Lee started off off gluten because he had eczema, but I had a hard time sticking with it, but he had really bad behavioral issues that went away when he was off gluten. We tried giving him gluten one or two times a few years after we took him off, and he threw up. But recently he says he has no stomach issues after eating gluten, hasnt gotten his eczema back, and he's behaving beautifully.
      Anneliese and Rose were off mainly for behavioral issues. If they eat it at their dad's house and then come back to my house I deal with the repercussions anyhow, and being somewhat off gluten wasn't helping. Also because their dad says they can have, they were eating it at friends houses and school. Rose has been complaining about her stomach hurting her and says she wants to stop eating gluten, but then changes her mind the next second. So I dunno.

  2. Another great post. Thanks for sharing. Still doing my pantry challenge. Just made a veggie stew with leftover ham for work lunches.
    When I was doing major shopping I would shop 3 stores and spend around $150 to $200 total. Lot's of coupons & sales.
    Smart use of delivery for the heavy stuff. I did that when Kroger offered it free. Have a great week!

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