Tastes + Treats · Uncategorized

Grocery Budget Breakdown

My church is exceptional. They exemplify excellence from the parking lot to the auditorium, and I never fail to snag a few WintOGreen LifeSavers from the bathroom before entering the worship experience. This weekend I felt the onset of extreme halitosis (no doubt caused by my Diet Coke on the way to church). I grabbed a handful of breath helpers and popped one during a baptism. My tastebuds immediately recoiled in horror as the undeniable taste of soap and scented lotion assaulted my mouth. It was wretched. Undeniably I shed a few tears during worship anyway, but without a doubt, several of those falling were as a direct result of my SudsOGreen frenemy and having to make the hazardous decision whether to finish it or fish the few pieces out of my highly offended mouth and carefully wrap them back up while still praising the Lamb. Walking with the Lord is not for the weak of Spirit, my friends.

Thankfully, my heart had been fortified by a powerhouse trip to Aldi and Publix on Saturday evening (livin’ wiiiiiiild, y’all) to power through meal planning shopping. Truly having a well-thought out and well-shopped out grocery list going into the execution of the week’s meal plan eases my mind and our bank account. I had planned six entrees (one of which we’re doubling to give to some neighbors who just had their second precious baby) as well as all of our breakfasts and lunches and was able to complete our list for $104.18. Below is a breakdown of what I bought (and a quick note about what we already had on hand).

Entrees Planned (I will link to these in my weekly On Our Plates Post later in the week):

White Bean Cassoulet
Crispy Pork Ramen
Muffaletta Mini Meatloaves
Spicy Smoked Sausage Pasta
Fennel Crused Pork Chops
Wild Rice and Feta Salad with Shrimp

ALDI: I adore Aldi. But I tend to treat it like the nice girl who will always be the best friend, not your main love interest (oh, hi. I know a lot about you because I was you. You are pretty.). Though I am obsessed with the selection and pricing, for some reason I think it’s an inconvenient stop, even though geographically it is very convenient, and any grocery shopping voyage requires stops at more than one store these days.
Total Spent: $75.02
Items Purchased
 (*note, most produce at Aldi is organic, which is a great perk, but not a deciding purchase factor for me if it means spending more. Thankfully at Aldi, it doesn’t.):
Zucchini (4 pack) – $2.49
Bell pepper trio (red, yellow, orange) – $2.79
Chicken broth (2 boxes) – $1.39 each
Rosemary olive oil quinoa + brown rice mix (planning on using for NB’s meals) – $1.89
Block of mozzarella cheese – $1.89
10 packs of ramen noodles (I only needed 4 but sold in a wrapped set) – $2.18
Carrots (large bag) – $1.19
Kale (bag, chopped) – $3.49
Fruit cups (NB love loves cups of mandarin oranges with her breakfast. I am happy for her to eat them as long as they are packed in 100% juice, not syrup or gel. Until this weekend I could only find them by Dole at Publix. Aldi had them available and a huge assortment in 100% juice. I bought mandarins, peaches and a tropical mix that includes papaya, pineapple and mango) – $1.69 each
Avocados (bag of 4) – $2.59
Shredded cheese – $2.79
Heavy cream – $1.69
Sweet potatoes (bag of 5) – 1.79
Red potatoes (bag) – $1.69
Genoa salami (sliced deli pack) – $2.49
Goldfish (name brand!) – $1.85
Skim milk (gallon, for D) – $1.87
Cannelini beans (2 cans) – $0.65 each
Butter (2 pounds) – $2.69
Beets (can – experimental new food for NB) – $0.65)
Mushrooms (2 packs of baby Bellas) – $1.49 each
Smoked sausage (1 lb. link) – $2.19
Feta cheese (crumbles) – $1.79
Rotel (1 can, Aldi brand) – $0.59
Strawberries – $3.49
Hummus (roasted pine nut) – $1.99
Pork butt (3,5 lbs.) – $10.81
Jalapenos (bag of 8) – $0.99
Vidalia onions (2 lbs.) – $1.69
Bananas (6) – $0.57

PUBLIX: I’m warily enthused with Publix of late. 87% of the time they are out of the key ingredient that I need to complete my shopping trip, and 60% of those times, I abandon my full cart in the middle of the store and hop across the street to Harris Teeter, where I knowingly pay too much money but actually get everything I need. In the plus column, Publix tends to be cheaper than Ye Olde Teet, and the associates are nearly as in love with Nora Beth as I am and always remember her when we shop there. Granted, some give me judgy eyes that I let her stand up in the big part of the cart, but whatever, Publix… you pluralize with an “-x,” which is only two steps about pluralizing with a “-z” and one step above replacing a vowel in a child’s name with a “-y.”
Total Spent: $29.66
Items Purchased
(I knew that proportionally even though I was buying way less at Publix, they were bigger ticket, specialty items, so I feel comfortable with my total spend and division of my list between the two):
Pine nuts (Aldi has a great nut selection, so I was bummed, but not surprised that they don’t carry pine nuts)- $6.99
Fennel seed – $3.99
Celery – $2.99
Red curry paste (my arch-nemesis ingredient at Public and the cause of many an abandoned buggy in the international food aisle. Thankfully this trip, it was stocked.) – $4.19
Muffuletta olive spread – $4.29
Cilantro (which I just discovered was rung up as parsley and cost me $.30… balls. Also, have we as a society abandoned the “cents” sign? Why? Who made that call? Is it living on some forsaken island governed by the planet-formerly-kn0wn-as-Pluto? Can it be resurrected as gloriously as Full House and Gilmore Girls?) – $1.29 (BUT SHOULD HAVE BEEN 99-INSERT-CENT SIGN)
Shallots – $1.89
Wild rice – $2.03

Items also purchased by not included in the above cost tally (totaling $14.07)
Diet Dr. Pepper (2, 20 oz. Stop judging. I’m being honest with you. I know it’s “common.” Leave me alone.)
Zone Fudge Graham bars (2. I like them, okay?!)
Bottle of Red Diamond shiraz (I tend to not include wine purchases in our main grocery budget but probably should, honestly.)

What I already had on hand to make this meal plan possible:
The very basic basics – olive oil, salt, pepper
Many basic Asian ingredients – rice vinegar, brown sugar, lime juice, ginger, sambal oleyk, soy sauce, five spice, sesame oil, fish sauce
Penne pasta
Vinegar (assorted varieties)
Bread crumbs
Ground beef (frozen)
Pork chops (frozen)
Frozen shrimp (because I bought this on sale last week at Publix and have just been fishing out – HA! No pun intended – a few out at a time to make for NB’s lunch, this is a bonus ingredient to add to the wild rice salad not a must have)

I would venture to guess that most people have a handful of these ingredients on hand, and worst case scenario would need to add those proteins and a handful of Asian ingredients to their list. If I were going to high ball a start-to-finish list in that situation, I would guess about $135 for 6 entrees (one doubled), 7 breakfasts and 7 lunches.

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