On the second month of our #CheapHealthyCostco Experiment, we decided to try Once-a-Month-Shopping. Here is exactly what we bought and how much grocery money we have left for the rest of the month!
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Normally, our family of 5 spends $140-160/week on clean, real food, much of it organic or local.
During this experiment, our goals are to follow that budget but:
- Almost exclusively eat organic meat, dairy, and eggs
- Eat as much organic produce and other foods as possible
- Buy most of our groceries from Costco and supplement where convenient or cheaper from other stores.
This month I decided to try something different from our first month with a membership.
At the beginning of the month, I purchased the majority of our freezer-friendly and pantry foods from Costco. The rest of the month, we will supplement this haul with $25/week. So it’s kind of like once-a-month-shopping.
We will also stick to a strict $150/week budget.
I know that might seem like a very generous budget to some of you. However, since we started out on $25/week, that number blows my mind sometimes.
On the other hand, if you are feeding a family of big eaters mostly real food, and you are trying to source organic, local, and non-GMO products, this budget might seem too small.
Everyone is different and there’s no right number!
However, in an effort to save money AND eat healthy, we chose this number for several reasons. First, it’s about what our family would receive on full SNAP (food stamp) assistance.
Also, it works out to $1.42 per person, per meal. Since we rarely go out to eat (with exception of several of Chris’s lunches at work), and since most of these meals are made from real food, clean ingredients, and organic products, it seems like a reasonable amount for our financial and health goals.
What We Bought At Costco This Week:
Dairy & Eggs:
Kirkland organic eggs – $3/dozen
Kerrygold butter – $2.75 for an 8-oz block
Kirkland organic Greek yogurt – $5.79 for 3/4 gallon
Kirkland sharp cheddar cheese – $2.50/lb
Kirkland colby jack cheese – $2.50/lb
Kerrygold Dubliner Grassfed cheese (like cheddar) – $5.89/lb
Fruits & Vegetables:
Kirkland organic frozen strawberries – $2.47/lb
Organic frozen mango – $1.79/lb
Organic romaine hearts – $4.99 for 6 hearts
Organic baby greens mix (for cooking and smoothies) – $3.68/lb
Organic frozen broccoli (for cooking and smoothies) – $1.69/lb
Organic frozen chicken breast – $4.89/lb
Organic ground turkey – $4.99/lb
Organic whole chickens – $1.99/lb
Organic boneless skinless chicken thighs – $3.99/lb
Baking Supplies, Etc.:
Kirkland organic maple syrup – $10.99 for just over 1/2 gallon
Kirkland organic sugar (for kombucha and minimal baking) – $.79/lb
Kirkland Almond Flour – $3.99/lb
Kirkland sliced almonds – $3.99/lb
Organic whole wheat tortillas – $5.59/20 count
Kind Granola bars – $.50/bar
Cashew Crunch (kind of an alternative to granola bars) – $5.90/lb
Kirkland organic tortilla chips – $1.96/lb
Organic lemonade (compromise food/treat) – $2.95/gallon
Total spent at Costco: $273.14
What We Bought At Walmart This Week:
Coconut sugar – $6.98
Lemon bulb (not pictured) (so Chris can have lemon water at work) – $.88
Total spent at Walmart: $8.83
What We Bought at Aldi This Week:
I bought some stuff we don’t usually purchase (mini potatoes, fresh mozzarella, etc.) for recipe testing this week and to see if our #CheapHealthyCostco experiment can handle ingredients like that.
Sweet Potatoes – $.56/lb
Yellow Potatoes – $.60/lb
Mini yellow potatoes – $1.93/lb
Mini multi-color potatoes – $1.93/lb
Bananas – $.44/lb
Mushrooms – $1.29 for 8 oz
Diced tomatoes – $.45 for 14.5-oz can
Kalamata olive – $1.99 for 11.6 oz
Black olives – $1.19 for 6-oz can
Lemon juice – $1.89 for 32 0z
Unsweetened almond milk – $1.89 for a half gal
Organic whole milk – $2.95 for a half gal
Parmesan wedge – $3.79 for 8 oz
Fresh mozzarella – $2.79 for 8 oz
Ricotta cheese – $1.69 for 8 oz
Butter – $2.55/lb
Aldi date and nut bars (like Lara bars) – $.80/bar
Total spent at Aldi: $41.41
What We Bought at Kroger This Week:
At Kroger, we found a few markdowns and ingredients for fresh veggie and fruit juice. Again, I wanted to see if our #CheapHealthyCostco experiment can handle ingredients like that.
Organic granny smith apples – $2.44/lb
Organic celery (cheaper at Costco, but I forgot to get some there) – $1.89/bunch
Markdown overripe bananas (most of which I froze for smoothies and banana bread the next day) – $.38/lb
Total spent at Kroger: $11.41
How Much We Will Spend the Rest of the Month
Altogether, we spent $334.79 on this huge grocery trip.
If we budgeted $150/week for the rest of September, we have $265.21. This leaves around $66 for us to spend every week on fresh vegetables, fruit, milk, eggs, etc.
Mid-September, I have an order from Bulk Natural Foods. Apples and plums are in season, and this is the best price per pound that we can get on quality, almost-organic apples and plums all year.
After planning for that, bi-weekly milk orders from a local farm, and getting some bulk oats (we go through a lot of oatmeal), I have around $25/week for fresh vegetables, eggs, dairy, markdown deals, stuff that runs out that I forgot to plan for (always), etc.
I’ll share what I buy throughout the week with that $25, and if you have any suggestions, I’d be glad to read them!
Saving money and eating healthy is tricky. Sometimes I think about how much more I could save if I didn’t insist on organic meat or non-GMO products. Sometimes I wonder how on earth 5 people can eat so.much.food.
There is no perfect number or perfect strategy that works for everyone. My goal is to encourage you and give you ideas wherever you are!
During this season, because of some past health issues and convictions, we are trying to eat as healthy as possible as cheaply as possible (while still allowing for some cereal and chocolate, because #balance).
What You Can Do Now
Have you ever tried once-a-month-shopping? Got any tips? Let us know in the comments!
We also share cheap (like, actually cheap), real food menu plans every month for FREE with our email subscribers. Get the next one here.