Monday, January 14, 2008


In order to save money for the wedding, Tai and I decided we had to make some budget cuts. Our grocery bill was the easiest place to cut. We were spending about $160 a week (!!!!) on groceries. Yes for two people. We usually bought soda, bottle water, Gatorade. Plenty of packaged foods like snack cakes and prepared salads for work. As a result we have a tiny kitchen crammed with boxes of food and a fridge groaning with food. Forget the freezer. There's just no space in there.
Much to Tai's dismay we waste food. We don't plan out meals; We just bought what looked good. This led to going out to eat because we didn't have full meals just some things. Which was incredibly costly. Not smart financial planning at all.
So we decided to spend $100 on groceries a week. Unfortunately this does not include soap, personal care products or paper products. The $100 pertains only to food items. So here's this week's haul:
This is everything except a bottle of $3 Chuck and a container of yogurt. I thought I did pretty well til I took this picture. Is this going to last us all week?!? Eek!
Yes, it is because I have pretty much planned out all of our meals for the week using the fresh ingredients I bought and the things we already have like rice and pasta.
Also you can see I went to Whole Foods. Not the cheapest store out there, but I find they have the freshest meat and seafood selection as well as the best produce. I don't want to sacrifice our nutrition just to save a buck. I spent about $60 at Whole Foods and $20 at Trader Joe's, leaving me with $20 in case I need anything small during the week. I already know I forgot onions.
Any ideas for this frugal cook? How do you stretch your food dollar? Any other good money saving tips?


  1. Mark and I are terrible at budgeting our money. We pretty much just spend whatever, wherever and whenever. We do try to buy larger quantities of certain things when we find a good price (We do most of our shopping at the Wal-Mart Supercenter b/c that's what's closest) Mark doesn't like veggies so we don't buy much fresh.. which sucks because I love fresh veggies. I don't really know what else other than using coupons. I have a nice sized stack in my wallet lol

  2. we plan out our meals also (for both lunch and dinner) for each week and try to stay under $125. we also try to keep several meals as 'low ingredient' simple meals... so less to buy for those=less spent.

    we have a really small kitchen so not really able to stock up on sale items- bummer. and i gave up on coupons long ago- they were always for things we didn't need! :)

    budgeting is a journey! lol

  3. I def. need to start saving money. I know for sure that I can't cut out the bottle of $3 buck chuck...glad to see you didn't cut that out either!

  4. i'm convinced that trader joe's frozen meals are healthy because...its...trader joe's...

    having said that, here are some tj frozen food items we enjoy when the bf and i can't bother to cook OR leave the house to get food.

    4 tamales and a jar of salsa will set you back $6.

    a packet of frozen pasta costs $5 (the fettucine alfredo is really good. i promise.) and a packet of frozen meatballs is $3. definitely feeds 2. you could also add shrooms or bell peppers or whatever veggies you have in your stocked fridge.

    a packet of 4 chicken burger patties cost around $5. i make burgers with ciabatta with dressings of pre-made guacamole ($3) and munster cheese.

    unfortunately, the bf and i end up eating out pretty much every meal because i'm lazy (i blame it on hypoglycemia if you know what i mean) and the bf gets home much later than i do after work.

    but for quick (key word = QUICK!) and cheap and fairly decent 'meals', trader joe's is the best it seems!

  5. Planning meals really is the key to saving money, so you're already a step ahead. I also like Trader Joe's for staples like olive oil, vinegar, rice, pasta, chicken broth...all of that stuff is SO MUCH CHEAPER there than anywhere else. I also tend to cook enough food so that I can eat the leftovers for lunch the next day--cheaper to buy a little extra for one meal than enough food for an entirely separate meal, and way cheaper (and healthier) than eating prepared/packaged lunch foods.

    Cooking from raw ingredients really doesn't take much time (I can put together dinner in twenty minutes) and it's a lot cheaper than buying prepared food, even from TJ's, so I try to make that a priority. As a grad student, it's been getting trickier, but still...:-)

    Good luck---oh, and thanks for commenting on my bloggity blog! I hope you like the pot roast


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