I’ve had a lot of people ask me what my personal grocery price-points are and how I’m able to feed my family as cheaply as I do (averages out to somewhere between $250 – 300 a month for 6 people). I’ve been thinking about this post for a long time and this weekend, I did a little sleuthing and fact gathering so I could finally write it.
Here are staples I almost always have on hand and the prices I pay for them.
Sam’s Club – I’ve blogged before about whether Aldi or Sam’s is cheaper. While I think a lot of items can be found cheaper than Sam’s Club using coupons and loss leaders, I do get a lot of staples at Sam’s Club. I buy:
- Jasmine Rice – $16.93 / 25 lbs = .68 / lb
- Pinto Beans – $17.76 / 25 lbs = .71 / lb
- Popcorn = $23.92 / 50 lbs = .48 / lb
- Taco Seasoning (MSG Free) – $3.98 / 23 oz
- Vanilla – $6.88 / 16 oz
- Baking Powder (Aluminum Free) – $5.78 / 60 oz
- Sharp Cheddar Cheese – $6.74 / 2 lb ($1.68 per 8 oz block – common size seen at grocery store)
- Vinegar – $3.58 / 2 gallons = $1.79 / gallon
- Ghirardelli Chocolate Chips – $9.48 / 3 lbs
- Fair Trade Coffee – $14.88 / 40 oz = $5.95 / lb
- When I have a little extra money, I also LOVE the assortment of cheeses at Sam’s Club. I don’t have prices, though.
Things I don’t buy at Sam’s Club because I can usually find them cheaper elsewhere: fruit and most veggies (except their organic spring salad mix – love that!), diapers, wipes, OTC medicine, toiletries, butter, yogurt, cereal, snacks, liquor, meat.
Bulk Amish Store
- Prairie Gold Hard White Wheat – $20 / 50 lb = .40 / lb
- Raw Sugar – $35 / 50 lb = .70 / lb
- Rolled Oats = $20 / 50 lb = .40 lb
- Whole Flax Seed = .99 / lb
- Sea Salt = .55 / lb
- Real Salt = $3.49 / lb
- Raw Honey – $3.50 / lb
Misc. Grocery Stores
- Fruit – anything under $1 / lb
- Chicken & Pork – under $2 / lb (try for < $1.85 / lb)
- Pasta – stock up around .50 / lb (loss leaders with coupons)
- Veggies – whatever’s cheapest any given week (cabbage and carrots are two of the cheaper veggies)
- Skim Milk – < $3 / gallon (use coupons) rGBH free
- Cottage Cheese – .99 / 24 oz
- Butter – $1.99 / lb (stock up on loss leaders)
- Cereal – prefer free after coupons/rebates/RR/ECBs, but under $1 is acceptable depending on the cereal (I’m pretty picky about cereal and I won’t buy anything just because it’s free. I do have my limits!)
- Powdered Milk – $5.95 / 26 oz (I use this in a lot of my baked goodies)
- Sour Cream – .99 / 16 oz
- 1/2 & 1/2 – $1.65 / 32 fl oz
- Tortilla Chips – $1.19 / 13 oz
Beef – buy from a local farmer 200 lbs / year for around $500 = $2.50 / lb
I don’t buy a lot of organic fruits and veggies because it’s simply cost prohibitive. I do, however, have a large organic garden in the summer and I preserve as much as I can for us to eat in the winter. When I do buy fruits and veggies, I try to buy as much as possible from the Environmental Working Group’s Clean 15 list and minimize produce on their Dirty 12 List to minimize our exposure to pesticides.
Oil isn’t currently on my list. I’ve had an enormous stockpile the last couple of years from awesome deals I used to find at Jewel-Osco. Unfortunately, it looks like those deals have ended and I’m down to my last two bottles of Canola Oil. I also use Olive, Sunflower, Peanut, and Sesame oil. I’ll be on the lookout for good oil prices. I use a lot of oil because I bake almost all of our bread, muffins, cakes, granola, and other snacks. Plus, I make almost all of our salad dressings and meat marinades. Oil is something I’ve got to have on hand.
I also recently found out that the nuts I thought were raw are actually pasteurized. So, I’m on the lookout for real RAW nuts now. I’ll probably stock up at Trader Joe’s a few times a year. I’m also eying all of my walnut trees with a new interest right now. They’ve started dropping their nuts and we’re collecting. We’ll see how black walnuts treat us!
One other area I really want to improve quality on is chicken and pork. I have a great source for healthier beef, but I still get commercially produced poultry and pork. I buy the best quality I can afford. I make sure to avoid gas packed meats and meat with added solutions, but I would prefer to buy free-range poultry and pork. It’s on the list. One of these days, my budget will increase!
I’m linking this post with Frugal Friday. Check out more great ideas there.