On how I overspent this week on groceries

I had a plan. I looked up the USDA guidelines for spending, it’s pretty handy actually. It tells you based on how many people are in your household and their ages, how much you should be spending on groceries for a week. My number hovers right around $50. There are different categories (super frugal, penny pinching, somewhat safe etc.) So you can decide just which bracket is most appropriate for you and your situation.

My roommate and I share some food expenses, in that we both assume the other is welcome to anything we buy. The exception being if I purchase something specific for a recipe, she won’t use it, and vice versa. But general things like milk, eggs, cheese, butter, bread, jam, fruit, is free to be shared. The nice thing is we both tend to buy similar things anyway, and so rarely do we create much waste (and rarely do we run out of food). I really couldn’t ask for a better system.

Any who I digress, I try to set my food budget at $50-$60 a week, and up to $20-$30 for eating out and the like (coffee with friends, snack out, ice cream, dessert etc) But this week I totally threw the budget out the window (unintentionally). I stocked up on a few things we were out of, and refilled the pantry and fridge with some things we were missing. I also bought a few random ingredients to make a chicken and hominy soup that were out of the scope of normal. I also got a few things for my upcoming work trip out of state. Airplane food! Thus preventing me from buying food on the plane or in the airport. Thus saving me money.

So what exactly did I buy? I went to WinCo, New Seasons, and Fred Meyer.

First I went to WinCo. If you haven’t been, go, go now. It’s awesome. It’s always cheaper than any conventional grocery store. They have a huge bulk section and great prices. You pack your own bags and only pay with cash or debit card. I don’t usually buy fresh produce there, but today I needed a few products that I knew I could find only there. They have a good selection of peppers and Mexican products as there is a large hispanic population in the area. Here’s what I got:
2 cans of hominy
1 poblano pepper
1 lb tomatillos
1 bunch cilantro
yukon gold potatoes
funyuns (don’t judge me)
graham crackers
soy yogurt
sour candy
chicken bouillon
boxed mac n cheese

total cost: $42

Then I went to New Seasons. I needed cold brew and a whole roasted chicken. But rarely do I make it out of that store with only the 2 items on my list, so…..
1 jar cold brew coffee
1 whole chicken
goat’s milk gouda
grapefruit beer (only available during the summer and a special treat that I absolutely adore)
2 jars peach lemonade (on sale, I use it in my smoothies)
1 box of bruschetta crackers

total cost: $42 (well balls, had I just bought the chicken and cold brew it would have been under $20)

Then I had it in my mind that I would get some smoked salmon for tapas. Coincidentally, roommate texted asking me if I might be able to pick up her granola for her morning yogurt. So, off to Fred Meyer I went!

Smoked salmon

total cost: $9

So I think that puts my grand total for everything just around $103 for the week. absolutely not where I had hoped it would be. I was hoping to land squarely around the $60 mark but that went out the window (oh and I forgot to include the $10 or so I spent at Trader Joe’s yesterday on cereal, milk and something else, which i cannot remember)

So I kinda blew it for the week. Which is especially unfortunately as next week I will be traveling for work and won’t really be in the position to buy groceries. We get breakfast at the hotel during work trips, and lunch is catered daily. We are given a $20 allowance for dinner daily, which I use to buy dinner and lunch for the next day. We get reimbursed afterwards so I try to not go overboard. But it would be a lot easier if we had access to a kitchen and fridge to store everything. luckily there is a Whole Foods in town so I can find foods that agree with me.

That’s all for now. I have the chicken bones and veggies in the crockpot making stock for my soup tomorrow. Frugal win!

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