Thursday, May 7, 2009

grocery budget breakdown

*Disclaimer: This is a lonnnggg post all about grocery shopping and cooking. If neither of these things interest you, keep reading — you might learn something ;)

Laptops to Lullabies Lacey has asked me to breakdown how I was able to spend $145 on groceries this week and how I intend to make it last for three weeks.

This is a bit tricky, since I can’t really give you an inventory of everything we already had in our cupboards, but I'll try my best. 

I usually shop at Sobeys, but if there are specials at Super Store, I sometimes shop at both. I’m a bargain hunter by nature — and that doesn’t exclude grocery shopping. 

This week, Sobeys is having a bogo sale, so we actually picked up a few things that will last us longer than three weeks, like two big bottles of Heinz ketchup.

When it comes to brands, I usually embrace store/generic brands, but there are certain items you just can't skimp on. Ketchup is one such item. Also, Kraft peanut butter, Tetley tea bags, Philadelphia cream cheese, to name a few.

Here's what I got this week for my $145:

Large can of coffee (President's Choice dark roast, which we really love)
Two conainters of Source vanilla yogurt
English cucumber
2 packs whole wheat english muffins
Bag of Craisins (for my desk at work to keep me from buying mid-afternoon cookies!)
Bag of 6 large pitas
Parmesan cheese
2 large tubs of margarine (bogo)
Frozen hasbrowns (for yummy weekend brunches)
Bag of fries
2 ketchup (bogo)
Salad dressing
Bag of chips
Bag of Crispers
2 packages of mixed veggies (decided to try because they were on sale!)
Bag of frozen corn
2 boxes perogies (bogo)
3 cans frozen Five Alive concentrate
Large block of marble cheese
2 loaves whole wheat bread (bogo)
Jar of salsa
2 cans of mushrooms
2 loaves garlic bread (bogo)
2 packs chinese rice (Husband loves it)
2 bags of baby potatoes (bogo)
2 large bags kitty litter (bogo)
Dozen eggs
6 bananas
4 red delicious apples
4 golden delicious apples
Bag of grapes
Head of broccoli
Green pepper
Iceberg lettuce
2 ltr. milk
2 packages of ribs (bogo) (I've never cooked them before — should be an adventure!)
5 chicken breasts
Pkg of lean ground beef

That's it. That's a lot when I type it all out! We didn't make an exact day-by-day breakdown of what we would eat, but here are some of the meals I have planned for the coming 21 days (I'll break it down by days, for the sake of clarity):

WEEK #1 —
MONDAY: Veggie lasagna
TUESDAY: Lasagna leftovers
WEDNESDAY: Pita pizzas
THURSDAY: Meatless chili bake
FRIDAY: Burgers (veggie for me, which I already have a home) and fries
SATURDAY: Perogies (for me) chicken (for Husband) and mixed veggies
SUNDAY: Hodge Podge (collection of leftovers/add-ons from the week — this is one of our favourite dinners to pull together!)

WEEK #2 —
MONDAY: Pasta with tomato sauce (supplies we always have on hand, though didn't buy this week)
TUESDAY: Ribs and roasted potatoes (when Husband has meat, I supplement with extra, various veggies and/or beans)
WEDNESDAY: Leftover ribs with rice and salad
THURSDAY: Club sandwiches and salad
FRIDAY: Pizza on homemade crust
SATURDAY: Perogies (for me) chicken (for Husband) and veggies
SUNDAY: Hodge Podge

[Husband's fave!]

WEEK #3 —
MONDAY: Burgers and fries
TUESDAY: Shake 'n' bake chicken, veggies and rice
WEDNESDAY: Pita pizzas
THURSDAY: Pasta with (veggie-loaded tomato sauce for me, meaty for Husband)
FRIDAY: Quesadillas and rice
SATURDAY: Ribs, veggies and baked potatoes
SUNDAY: Hodge Podge

Does this make sense? Did I leave anything out? Some of these things may sound pretty generic, but it's all about being creative — I love to spice things up with green pepper, mushrooms, onions (I love to sautee!) and lots of herbs, spices and garlic.

This also doesn't count breakfast, lunch and snacks. Breakfast usually consists of english muffins and/or Rice Krispies.We usually grab leftovers for lunch or have PB&J, along with whatever fruit and yogurt is on hand. I love snacking on celery and peanut butter, too, and husband likes carrot and dip. Throughout this time frame, I'll also be making a loaf of banana bread and a big batch of chocolate chip cookies — both recipes are staples in our house lately and I have all the ingredients on hand. We also got chips and Crispers for snacks, and we always have microwave popcorn in the cupboard. 

We managed to save this week as well by not having to buy cat food, dish soap, laundry soap, toilet paper and paper towel. We buy most of these items at Costco, so while it might mean spending $100 in one Costco run, those supplies usually last about six months.

Hope this has helped you figure out my logic. I'll let you know if it works out. $50 a week might be a low-ball attempt, but I'm going to do my best to make this challenge work!


  1. Yay! Thanks for the great post. I am totally impressed with how you can make all of these meals for so little. Maybe it's because you are a veg? The most expensive items we buy are always boneless chicken breasts. Hmmm.

    Follow-up question -- does your bread not go stale/expire over the course of the three weeks? Do you freeze it?

  2. We always freeze our bread as soon as we buy it. Most of the time we're just popping it in the toaster anyway, but when I make PB&J in the a.m. for my lunch, I use the frozen bread, and by lunchtime it's thawed and tastes just as fresh as the day I put it in the freezer.

  3. We also bought the frozen chicken breasts this time because they're cheaper. We'll see what Husband thinks of them ...

  4. Holy Crap! You are so organized. You know what you are having for dinner in three weeks? I don't know what we are having for dinner in 3 hours. LOL Perhaps I'll steal some of your dinner ideas? Kisses,

    Cousin Lydia

  5. Wow, so many yummy-sounding options. I think you are converting me to a vegetarian, BTW -- yesterday I made vegetarian pizza with BROCCOLI and everything. Can you do a post about some of your favourite veg. recipes, for newbies like me?

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