A reader recently asked me about what we buy at the store. Earlier in the year I had been taking photos of my shopping trips, but out of habit I tend to have most of our groceries put away before I think about taking a photo.
I do not purchase many of the deals that I mention on the blog for our home. Most often I purchase those free items or conventional items for donation to the food pantry or outreach projects at our church. I sign up for some, but not all, of the freebies I mention on the blog. I try to only sign up for ones I think that we will use to reduce the environmental impact of the mailing and packaging of the items.
We have a $350/month grocery budget. This includes food, toiletry items, medicines/herbals, paper products, most all of the stockpiling, canning supplies, and cleaning supplies. On occasion we are slightly under that amount and on other months we are a little over. Some people may think that this amount is very large and others might think that it is very small. We try to buy locally grown/made products and organic and natural products when we can.
In the winter months, our grocery expenditures tend to be less. We preserve what foods we grow, glean, and buy that are seasonal, and in the winter months, we are able to eat the fruits of those labors. Be the ant, not the grasshopper!
Here are some examples for this month on what we have bought--
- We’ll spend $90 on half of an organically raised locally farmed lamb. This seems exorbitant to some, but we save in some areas so that we can indulge in other areas. Lamb is a seasonal item, and therefore, this purchase will be the only lamb we buy for this next year. I try to have one larger item or a few smaller ones that we stock up on a month. Last month, it was a half case of local cheese, a case of organic crackers, and various herbal and vitamin supplements. Next month, it will be maple syrup.
- We spend $19 a month for organically grown, grass-fed, locally farmed milk.
- We purchase a CSA basket. This month our CSA vegetables will cost $90. To some people, this will seem outrageous. This has been our first year to have an entire share of the basket. It has allowed me to can and preserve a great many vegetables that we do not normally grow in our garden. We also like the idea of supporting local farmers.
- We’ll spend $15 this month on locally raised eggs. If you’ve ever had local, free range eggs, you’ll never want to go back. The yolks are such a bright orange, and the taste is amazing.
- This month we also bought some locally made molasses for holiday baking. We paid $5 a pint at the Raccoon Valley Festival. The bonus—our daughter saw how it was made and I showed her how to suck on the sweet cane as a treat. I remember doing this as a child with sugar cane.
- Because canning supplies were on such a great sale and I had coupons, I spent right at $12 of the grocery budget stocking up on those for next year’s canning projects.
What else will we buy?
- I’ll pick up some Hershey’s chocolate at Walgreens this week to use for smores when camping. I’ll buy some marshmallows at Kroger to go with them. Why no graham crackers? I’ll make those and will try to post the recipe for you all.
- We’ll most likely need a little more chicken, but we shouldn’t need any more meat or poultry. We have dove, pheasant, venison, organic beef, and sausage in the freezers and tuna fish in the pantry.
- I plan on buying some crescent rolls with those great $1/1 coupons this month. I’ll make a “stuffed snake” with them for the Halloween party for the kids at church and for Halloween at our home. (Roll out crescent rolls. Stuff with cheese and lunchmeat. Add a little mayo if desired. Roll. Make the roll the shape of a snake. Make an egg wash and divide in half. Use a few drops of food coloring in red in one bowl and yellow or green in the other. Brush stripes on top. Bake at 350 until golden brown. When finished use sliced stuffed green olives for the eyes and red bell pepper shaped like a forked tongue for the mouth. SPOOOOOKY!) See, we really don’t eat organic 100% of the time. BTW, I’ll try to get some photos of the snake so that you all can replicate it for your celebrations.
- The rest will depend on the sales and coupons.
I hope this helps to give you some ideas for your grocery budget. Tomorrow, I’ll give you a tour of our food storage, prompted by a question from my friend Christy who also subscribes to the blog feed.