Slashing Grocery Bills: We're Going Strong

>> Friday, April 9, 2010

I can't seem to find our receipt from last week, but this week's total at the grocery store came in around $58. More like $56 if you subtract the toothpaste. Last week's was also $56. Seems to be a number we're good at sticking around. For those of you new to the blog, we're making a great effort to slash our grocery bills in half. We started out with weekly spending around the $100 mark -- which was simply from our own laziness and overindulgence.

And through some helpful hints and tricks, we've been able to get down into the $50 range for several weeks now. A little before and after photo below. And for those of you who are interested . . . here's a recap of our journey to this number:

One of my main concerns on this whole quest has been if I can still acquire the ingredients I need to make fun foods for the blog (and, of course, ourselves). It's definitely caused me to buy fewer ingredients from the baking aisle, so my sweets consumption has gone down. (I say "my" because Stephen doesn't eat many sweets.) However, I think before we started watching what we eat (both from a dietary and monetary standpoint), I was making way more than we could ever need.

So, I guess that's a tip, too. Examine your weekly eating habits. Do you have a tendency to favor certain snack foods? Do you really NEED all of them to feel happy and full? Buying less baking flour, chocolate chips, sugars, etc. hasn't been a problem. I'm finding even more creative ways to use alternative ingredients like oils and agave (of which I have much on hand) and creating new recipes as a result.

This week Stephen went to the store alone. This is a tip passed onto us by my friend Kristina. Of the two of us, I'm the food whore (excuse my language, but I feel the word applies -- there's no veggie/vegan food I won't find myself "in bed with," so to speak). What this means is: I tend to put EVERYTHING in the cart that strikes my fancy. I also dwell in the grocery aisles and could spend hours there. Stephen's in and out in no time at all. And he sticks to the basics.

In addition, we've still be concentrating on buying the bulk of our ingredients in the produce section and the outer edges of the store (where the least number of packaged goods are sold -- which also makes them cheaper). We've been eating lots of bok choy.Leeks. Broccoli. Onions. Red-skin potatoes. Radishes. Carrots. Etc. And less tofu. Veggie dogs. Cheese. Pre-packaged bread. Etc.

And we're also using more of what we already have instead of rushing out to the store to buy exactly what we want. This one has been hard for me. We have a lot of pasta. And I don't particularly like pasta. We have a lot of rice. And I'm not HUGE on rice. But we're using it. And I'm growing more accustomed to the taste. Dare I say I'm starting to even like the stuff? It feels good to be using up ingredients we've had on hand for a while. Less wasteful.

(Also, you'll notice in the photo above the item at the top that says "OMEGA 3 WW TOR" -- As one of our lovely readers pointed out a couple weeks ago, these tortillas have FISH in them! Stephen forgot and bought them again this week -- which is fine because he eats fish. But does anyone else out there know of weird, non-veggie ingredients in typically vegan foods? Check it out . . . As my friend Laura said: Haven't they heard of flax seeds?)

We even ventured to a different grocery store (we most typically go to Wegmans) after our 15K a couple weeks ago. I think we'll go back this weekend because I feel like we got more for our money. We were also less tempted by classy displays and pre-made items (though we haven't been buying any -- but it made for a less painful shopping experience). This tip came from my coworker Edward who firmly believes Wegmans is more expensive than other options in the area. He may be right. But we're both not entirely sure we're willing to give up our weekly Wegmans trips just yet. We'll give it a a try, though.

We've also been eating out less on the weekend, and I'll get to that sometime soon. In its place, we've been going to the store Friday night, picking up a few things to make a nice dinner at home -- as well as a few other treats for the weekend -- and our bill has been coming in around $28 versus $50 to $65 when we go out. And this includes bagels for Saturday and Sunday mornings. Some dessert-y items. Stuff like that. And we're still saving money!

Anyway, I just wanted to give y'all an update. Has anyone else out there been making efforts to slash bills? Doesn't have to be for groceries. I mean, taxes are coming up (yeah, we haven't done ours yet) . . . and we owe, so we can use all the extra cash we can get. We'd love to hear from you. Just leave us a comment or email us at

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