Saturday, March 19, 2011

Weekly groceries

This wasn't as great a week for groceries, but we did pretty well, and topped up the pantry a bit further. We did pick up about 5 lbs of boneless beef on sale for less than $2 a pound and large eggs for $1 a dozen. Otherwise, we mostly picked up milk, a little produce, a couple of things for my "emergency lunch" stash at work, plus items for the pantry---dry beans, flour, barley, salt, and applesauce.

What pushed our bill up over the $40 I'd projected were three items: dry powdered milk, honey, and a six pack of ale. I picked up the milk because I want at least one unopened box in the pantry, and honey because we use it to make granola (and the price is projected to rise). The ale, obviously, was a "for fun" purchase for myself. I haven't bought any in a couple of months, but with spring break nearing an end, the prices finally dropped. Those three items alone were almost $20, and, with the unplanned purchase of meat on sale, pushed my bill up to $63.85 for the week.

Most of what I bought are things I consider "pantry" foods, and we're only close to running out of one or two of them. If we'd had an emergency this week, I could have gotten by with half a gallon of milk, the produce, and a couple of small items, totalling about $16 (and in a real pinch, could have gotten by with milk alone). This is the advantage to buying in quantity when things are on sale and creating a pantry: there is very little you actually NEED in any single week. Even more important is knowing I could cut our bill further.

Now, my grocery bills do vary widely. I rarely get it down to $30, mostly because I like fresh produce and milk and if I'm not getting much else, I pick up pantry items. Some weeks, it shoots up to $80 or $90 (usually the result of a serious bargain on something). The average probably ranges between $50 and $60. We're still so well-stocked that I don't expect to buy much next week, and the pantry is full enough that I would only pick up more now if it was a really GOOD bargain.

By the way, this total does not include non-food items. I rarely, if ever, buy toilet paper or paper towels and similar things at a grocery store. I make a trip once every month or two to a local department store and buy those things up in bulk. And I don't normally include alcohol purchases as "food". That is strictly entertainment, but I left it in this week's total as an example.

And my pot of lunch soup for this week? About $1.06 to make, and of that $.43 was for some fresh mushrooms that were on sale. I have enough for at least 5 lunches, and I'll be eating it over some store-baked pumpernickel rye bread that was marked down to $.79 (part of the loaf will be used for breakfast toast and spornj).  I figure each lunch will be about $.30 or less, counting the bread. This week's mix was brown rice, pearled barley, pinto beans, black beans, and 1/2 a cup of chopped mushrooms and some mixed frozen peppers and onions. Depending on how much bread I use for a bowl, the calories should be around 200 to 250 with about 10 to 15 grams of protein. Add a glass of milk, and you're up to about 20 grams of protein. Can't beat that combination for price, nutrition, or diet...

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