Monday, school closed due to the remnants of Hurricane Ike, which did some damage all the way up here in Ohio. After doing a little happy dance at the unexpected holiday, I decided to head out to the grocery store for my first attempt at buying for three months. Last week, I posted the rules for my new approach to groceries. Basically, I want to buy non-perishiables to last three months. Then, I’ll supplement with trips to the farmer’s market, and bi-weekly trips for meat and cheese.
Thanks to some tips from readers, I decided NOT to join a bulk warehouse or go crazy buying things online. Instead, I went to Meijer and aimed to buy the store brand as much as possible. The trip itself was actually pretty fun. They have nuts and granola in bulk bins and lots of large quantities of other supplies. By limiting my shopping to the middle aisles, it didn’t wear me out the way buying everything does. With my big bags of nuts and spices, I got a few odd comments at the check-out line, but also struck up an interesting conversation about grocery shopping as newlyweds. Here’s what I bought:
- 6 packs of butter and some canola oil to make our own spreadable butter
- $40 worth of mixed nuts, sliced almonds, raw almonds, and walnuts
- 12 cans of beans and 6 cans of salmon
- 10 lbs of rice, 2 lbs of couscous, 10 lbs of sugar, 35 lbs of flour, 8 lbs of oatmeal
- the largest containers of olive oil, honey, whole pepper, red pepper, and 6 italian spice grinders
- choclate chips, nutella, peanut butter, raisins, bread crumbs
- minced garlic, boullion cubes, lemon and lime juice, yeast, vanilla, taco seasoning, salt
- 10 lbs of coffee
- vinegar and rubbing alcohol to make our own cleaning supplies
- 25 lbs of cat food and 12 cans of tuna (for the cat)
I also bought a few odds and ends for the week, but all told, I only spent $300! I feel that this is much cheaper than the weekly deals I’ve been trying to get at Kroger’s. Partly, I think this is because Meijer has lower prices, but I could also see the savings in buying the largest packages. For example, the largest jar of minced garlic was about $3 cheaper than the equivalent in the smaller size I usually buy.
I subtracted $50 from this month’s budget. Then, I’ll pay back the other $250 out of each month’s budget over October, November, and December. I’m hopeful to hold my bi-weekly budget to $70 and the farmer’s market to $20 a week. If I do this and my supplies last, I’ll be able save about $1,200 over the course of the year. That would be significant!
More than just the savings, I like the feeling of having all that food stockpiled. Just with the moderate wind damage we had, several friends lost power for 4 or 5 days. I like knowing that I’d have plenty to eat if that happened to us.
Realistically, I know we won’t face a three-month disaster. However, I also like that this approach is cutting down the mental clutter. Getting together a big grocery list, scouring for deals, and doing a big shop every week took a lot of energy. Now that the basics are all in place, I can free up some of that energy for more interesting things. I’ll keep you updated on how my supplies last, and how well I do baking more items from scratch. For now though, I’m quite excited about my “new thing.”