Thursday, March 10, 2011

Whole Foods Shopping - On A BUDGET!

One thing that anyone who is trying to eat healthfully knows is that shopping can be much more expensive when you are staying away from processed, and conventionally grown foods.   Although I like coupons,  there aren't many I can use.

Before I decided to do the Grain-Free for 40 Days Challenge, I'd already decided to create a grocery budget.  This is the one area where we just haven't budgeted - it's been a "whatever it takes to get what we want" deal since we started eating Gluten/Sugar/Corn free.   But a couple weeks ago I realized I really needed to reign in on the grocery spending.  I'm still willing to pay for real foods, but I think that I can use my shopping dollars more wisely.   I consider our food to be not just our fuel, but also our preventative medicine, and in the long run, the money that I spend will pay off in better health, energy, and well-being.

So, now I have a budget.   This budget is only for food items - so cleaning supplies, and toiletries, etc... are not included in this.  For our family of 3,  I will have $150 per week to spend.    To some, that may be extravagant, and to others, you may wonder how I can do it for so little.  It's all in your point of view - but I think that to feed each member of the family for $50 a week (21 meals plus snacks) is pretty good.   We eat out maybe once a make that 20 meals and snacks.  :)

Another struggle is that I can't get everything that I need at one store.  I'm okay with this, because I'm the weirdo who loves grocery shopping.  Really.   I've loved it since I was a little girl and I'd go with my Mom.   I love making out my list, and comparing it with the Ads, and plotting my strategy to get what I need. I love reading labels and comparing them (did I mention I'm a weirdo?).   What's even weirder is that I don't like other shopping.  I do as much as possible online, because I really dislike the Mall, or other Big Box stores, and I will make every excuse not to shop.  Except for groceries.

  Although I'll have the equivalent of $150 per week, it won't be spent at a rate of $150 per week.  For example - this week, I drove across town to Heffron Farms, which is a local farm that has several stores in the area.  They sell frozen grass-fed, and humanely raised beef, pork, and also free range chicken and turkey.  They have great prices on wild-caught fish - but you have to buy it by the case...which I do.  Last time, I bought wild caught Alaskan whitefish, and we still have some, so I didn't get any fish this time. They also sell local, lightly processed dairy products, and it's where I get much of my cheese, and also some yogurt.   Because it is a longer drive, when I go, I try to stock up and buy what I'll need for the month.   I already had some meat in the freezer from a previous trip (a whole chicken, 2 pkgs of chicken legs, chicken liver,  a beef roast, skirt steak,  smoked pork, and pork stir-fry meat.)   This week, they also had yogurt that was nearing it's sell by date.  Since I know that yogurt is good for a few weeks past that date, I was really excited about the deal I got.  They had Cascade Fresh yogurt (cultured in the cup, and sweetened only with fruit) for 2 for 2 cents with each $10 purchase!  Hubby loves this as a snack, or also as part of his lunch, and I occasionally use it making smoothies for the little guy and myself - and the price was at miracle status!

Here is my grocery list for Heffron Farms:

Soup Bones  3.25 lbs                                   3.87
Smoked Turkey Thigh                                 7.77   (love this to make split pea soup - it's amazing!)
Ground Beef patties (1 lb pkg - 4 patties)   3.99 x2
Ground Beef  1.5 lb. pkg.                            4.93
Ground Pork 1 lb pkg.                                 3.19 x2   (I make my own breakfast sausage with this)
Bacon - 1 lb pkg.                                         5.69 x2
Boneless/Skinless Chix Breast - 1 lb.         6.75 x2
Bone-In Chicken Breast    (4.25 lb)            7.48
Bone-In Chicken Breast                              5.91
Leg Quarters (on sale for 1.39 lb!)              2.01
Heavy cream - pint                                      2.50
Butter - 1 lb.                                                3.75
Italian blend cheese (shredded)                   4.89
Marble cheese - block                                 3.02
Cheddar Cheese - block                              3.24
Smoked String Cheese                                4.50
Cascade Fresh Yogurt - variety of flavors     .02 x8

TOTAL for this Shopping Trip - $107.45  - but remember, this is a once a month trip!

NOW!  On to Harvest Health Foods.   I so wish we had a Trader Joes or a Whole Foods in the area, although with Whole Foods now bowing in defeat to Monsanto and the onslaught of GMO's, I guess I should be happy with Harvest Health, and their commitment to only Non-Gmo foods.   They also have a commitment to NO artificial sweeteners, high fructose corn syrup, or hydrogenated oils.  It's a safe place to shop, and they do try to be competitive with Meijers and Costco pricing.  I appreciate that.  They also have COUPONS that I can use sometimes!

Sweet Potatoes - 5.5 lbs                                          7.81
Plain Greek Yogurt                                                 4.49
1 quart non-homogenized, cream line Milk           2.99
Cauliflower - 1 large head                                      3.80
Coconut Milk                                                         2.39  x2
Palm Sugar                                                             5.15
Chocolate Chips - Enjoy Life brand                      4.79  x2
Navy Beans - dry, bulk                                          2.83
Buckwheat Flour (not wheat, and not a grain!)     4.39
Nut-Thin Crackers (for Hubby)                             3.19
Coconut Oil                                                            7.49 (I've found it cheaper online now though.)
Eggs                                                                        2.39  x2
Hamburger Buns (fermented wheat - for Hubs)     3.99
Bagels (gluten free, again for hubby)                     6.45
Coffee                                                                     6.90
Provolone Cheese (on sale for 25% off)                 2.85
Apples  (Gala - 6 ct.)                                              4.39

Harvest Health I do every two weeks, although sometimes I make a quick trip for Eggs, Milk, Coffee....
Total for this trip - $81.86

Then, onto COSTCO!   I love COSTCO - and I love some of the great, healthy deals I can get there!

Organic Baby Spinach                          3.99      (same cost as the grocery store, but 3x the amount!)
Mixed Bell Peppers                              6.79
French Onion Soup (Hub's lunch)      10.89
Almond Butter                                      5.99  (UNBELIEVABLE price for the large jar I get!)
Greek Yogurt Ranch Dip                      5.99
Izze Sparkling Juice (12 count)           10.79  (treat for us - it's our "Pop".)

Then, I also discovered something NEW at Costco that had me so excited!   I spent a little more money than I had planned for groceries, but I couldn't pass these up!

Cranberry White Cheddar Cheese  1.5 lbs    9.88    (This is addictive!)
Kerry Gold Irish Butter    1.5 lbs                  7.35    (The gold standard in pastured, grass-fed butter!)
Kerry Gold IrishCheddar Cheese   1.6 lbs    9.26     (again - the best!)

Total Cost at Costco - $72.02   

Total for all three - $ 261.33  -  leaving me around $40 for next week, to buy eggs & milk. I spent almost $30 more than I had planned at Costco, but I have plenty of cheese and butter now for the month!

I should say also that I have some veggies and fruits already.  From last summer, I have home canned applesauce, and fozen butternut squash, blueberries, peaches, and salsa.  I also have frozen green beans, california blend, broccoli, and peas.  Lots of canned tomatoes.   Also 2 heads of Romaine, 2 lbs of carrots, celery, red potatoes, red onion, yellow onion, garlic, and asparagus, yellow pear tomatoes, and a Roma tomato.   Fruits - lemons, limes, 2 grapefruit, a bag of oranges, 4 Kiwi, and a couple bananas.  Oh - and 2 ripe avocados that I need to use!    I expect that my next big shopping trip in 2 weeks will be to restock veggies and fruits, mostly.


  1. i think it really helps to get foods from the farmers' market too! i also opt for cheaper cuts, which are just as (or even more) flavourful than say, the chicken breasts(:

  2. Shu Han - I live in the North, so our Farmer's Markets don't really open until the end of May. As soon as they do, I'll be there! I also grow a lot of my own's this time of the year though, when I start to run out of things and have to purchase more produce from the store.
    We too eat more of the "cheaper" cuts of meat. I use the boneless/skinless breasts to make chicken nuggets for my little guy, and he takes those in his lunch quite often...I can get several lunches for him from a lb of meat.
    I love that as a Student, you are still taking the time and effort to eat healthy! Go you!