How I grocery shop

I often have friends or family say they can’t afford to shop at Whole Foods regularly or they think that we make quite a bit more money than they do because of the foods I buy. Well we definitely don’t make much money and a big chunk of it does go to our food purchases. But I think it’s important to buy quality, local and organic food whenever possible. I don’t buy everything organic, I do follow the shoppers guide to pesticides and if a food is near the top of the list than I do stick with only organics.

One of the ways we cut our food bill is by participating in a food co-op. Basically everything, minus produce, that is shipped to Whole Foods can be purchased through the co-op. Sometimes at a significant savings and sometimes for an equal cost. We also purchase a share in a local CSA (community supported agriculture) Sippel Family Farms. Which means for 6 months out of the year we get a weekly shipment of veggies from a local farm. If the farm has a great season we get lots of veggies, if they have a bad season we don’t get as much. We’re willing to take that gamble because we believe in supporting local farmers. We pay $100 a month through the winter months for our share, totaling $600. Also during the 6 months that we get our CSA delivery we also make a weekly visit to the local farmers market, where we supplement any other fruits or veggies that we need for the week. We also buy our milk, eggs, cheese, sausage and bacon from local farmers that sell at the market. For the rest of our meat Dan buys ½ a cow from one of his clients that slaughter 1 or 2 cows a year. We’ve been doing this for several years, and while the initial payout of $500-$600 is a lot, we don’t buy beef again until the following year. Then there’s our garden that gives us an abundance of vegetables and lots of extras that we either can, freeze, or dehydrate to help get us through the winter. 1 year we canned 90 quarts of tomatoes.

From May through Oct. we’re really set, there’s very little I need to buy at the grocery store. But for about 6 months out of the year I do have to go shopping. I mostly shop at Whole Foods, then Giant Eagle and lastly Sam’s Club. I also order from the food co-op all year long. My monthly food co-op bill is about $200. Also for any of my supplements and some of our bathroom stuff I buy online at Vitacost. They are much less expensive than Whole Foods and sometimes even less than the co-op.

This is what I bought at the store today:

First I went to Giant Eagle, this was an unusual trip because I was mostly buying coupon items, besides the broccoli & cucumber every item I purchased I had a coupon for:

Sunchips (for party on Sat)    2.50

Potato chips (for party on Sat)        3.00

Frozen veggie stir fry (only veggies no sauces added)    2.00

ACT fluoride rinse    2.99

2 jars salsa (normally I buy organic salsa from the co-op)    5.00

Choc. Ovaltine (one of the few items I haven’t eliminated)    3.49

100% recycled aluminum foil    2.50

Organic romaine lettuce        2.99

Frozen brussel sprouts (just veggies no sauce)    2.00

2 bunches broccoli    2.50

1 organic cucumber    .55

Strawberry cream cheese    1.79

Total 21.63 (I saved $13.61 in coupons & store savings)

Then I went to Sam’s Club:

3 fresh pineapples    2.83 each

Box of 6 cans of pineapple (for Dan’s pina coladas)    6.76

3# lemons    4.87

Big tub Organic spring mix salad    4.37

Big tub Organic spinach    3.98

2 big bunches bananas    1.32

Total 31.11

And finally I finished at Whole Foods:

1# wild caught salmon    10.66

Free range chicken breasts    8.08

Organic Beef pastrami    3.84 (Wed. you get $3 off a pound on deli meats so I splurged)

Organic Roasted turkey breast    6.92

Snowville Creamery ½ gallon milk 3.19 (this is the only milk we buy, it is from a local small dairy farm)

Kombucha beverage    3.29

Organic sour cream    2.99 (to make dip for the party)

Habanera cheddar cheese    4.47 (for the party)

Tomatoes    4.40 (to make fresh salsa, for my salads)

Total $50.38

So my weekly shopping total was: $103.17

My meal ideas for the rest of the week

Tonight: chicken stir fry with broccoli and the frozen stir fry veggies

Thurs: Caesar salad, roast (that’s marinating now) brussel sprouts and asparagus

Fri: I’m going out w/ a friend, Dan will probably order pizza

Sat: Lunch sausage, Dinner: party foods: chips, cheese & crackers, sangria

I’m not sure what I’ll cook at this point; I’ll have to see what jumps out at me.

I shouldn’t have to go shopping again until next wed, but I may walk to Giant Eagle for 1 or 2 things through the week.)

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