We’re starting an 8-week challenge to reduce our grocery budget to $550/month from approximately $700/month. Before Little Man’s allergies and Prima’s dairy intolerance required us to cut out all diary, all soy, and eggs from our diets, we were averaging $330 – $350/month. Looking at the USDA’s numbers, we really aren’t doing bad for a family of four. However, we have started saving to buy a house and the extra $150/month will be nice to add to that.
For reference, these are the food allergies we are working around:
- all grains (wheat/oats/rice/corn)
- tree nut
- Nutritional yeast, fish, and carrots are “maybes.”
As explained previously, my son has both IgE (anaphylactic) and FPIES food allergies. My daughter has some kind of milk intolerance that mimics FPIES but is not FPIES. We do not keep all of our son’s allergens out of the house (except peanuts) because research suggests that if Prima does not keep eating them, she is at risk for developing an allergy to any of them before the age of five.
This is how I got started with the challenge.
- I estimated how much meat we were using in a week, and the average cost per pound that we have been paying (or that I’m willing to pay.) This gives me a threshold to know whether a sale price is a good deal for me and my grocery budget.
- I went through the pantry, freezer, and refrigerator yesterday (August 31) and wrote down everything in them.
- I looked at my planner, the church calender, and emails for upcoming events for the month of September. I made notes on the monthly page for September, for the nights that I won’t be cooking or will want a fast meal.
- I checked the sales flyers for Kroger and Earth Fare. I noted some “don’t miss” prices: brisket for $1.99/lb and grapes for $0.98/lb.
- I downloaded Ibotta to give it another try. I followed the directions in this post from Don’t Waste the Crumbs for maximizing the savings on whole and organic foods.
- This is the point where I would do a meal plan for the week, but I didn’t have time to do it before shopping. I wasn’t too worried this weekend because we are still using up meat and veggies in the refrigerator/freezer so I didn’t need to buy much other than staples and any good markdowns I noticed.
I went to both of our Krogers today. The one closer to home was out of brisket and the quinoa puffs my son can eat. I hoped the other would have both, and it did! There were not many markdowns. The best I found was bacon for $1.50 a package, and organic whole milk for $2.79/gallon. I also stopped at Big Lots and bought a Gluten Free flour blend that I believe my son can eat. We have to get him some kind of flour blend in order to do a baked egg oral challenge soon, and this might be what we needed to do that. We’ll test it with pancakes first and see how he does.
Onions, sweet potatoes, grapes, bananas, organic milk, 5 lbs bacon, 4 applesauces, ½ gallon coconut milk, 2 individual chocolate almond milks, 1 box Kind bars, 2 bags french fries, 1 bag hash browns, coconut oil, 2 lbs popcorn, organic eggs
Total: $54.22 with tax
15 lb whole brisket, Enjoy Life mini chocolate chips, 4 bags NutureMe Quinoa puffs
Total: $50.95 with tax
Gluten Free Flour Blend (not pictured)
Total: $7.41 with tax
Later: the Norseman made a run tonight to pick up a box of So Delicious Cashewmilk Fudge “Ice Cream” Bars. They are on sale and taste so good, not at all like faux ice cream. It’s a nice treat from time to time. He bought himself two candy bars while he was at it. Those go towards his fun money budget category, and aren’t counted here.
Monday & Tuesday
Kroger on Monday:
I went to get chicken to make chicken tenders, and picked up pickles after seeing them on sale at 2/$4.00.
Kroger on Tuesday:
Today I went to look for markdowns and to replenish a few things, like bananas. I did not see any good markdowns on meat, unfortunately. But we have more than enough for this week.
Bought: bananas, coconut yogurt, carrots, onions, salad, potatoes, orange juice, two snack bars
Total for this week: $161.27
Remaining in Grocery Budget: $388.73
While you’ll find the most detailed updates in these blog posts, I’ll do immediate updates on Instagram throughout the week. Blog posts will only be about once a week, depending on when I do a shopping day.