When Things Get Tight, Do You Compromise?

I do.

While I absolutely believe eating organic/free-from foods are a better and healthier choice, I will not put our family in the poor house by doing this.  This month we have a lot of big expenses, and as we get closer to the birth of baby #3, there are a few additional expenses that will incur.  So this month, we’re compromising a little bit (but those are organic apples!).

This week’s Superstore shop included:

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$1.15 after coupons, superbucks and a PC Points $20 redemption.

 

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First Grocery Shopping Trips of April!

Last week was insanely busy, so I’m sorry this is posted late!  What with spring cleaning and nesting for a baby due in 5 weeks, my blogging has unfortunately taken a back seat :S  Anyways, here it is!

I wanted to go to Superstore while I still had a few days left in March, because we needed milk and I wanted to use up my expiring Dairyland Organic Milk coupons.  So we headed over on March 29 for our first “April” grocery foods trip.

That week they were offering 25,000 PC Points when you spend $250 in-store.  We not only bought what was on our food grocery items list for the week, but we also bought a few other non-food items which brought us to $250.

The trip to Superstore was intense.  My kids were really awesome but in the end we got the slowest moving line, the kids decided to get into styrofoam while we were checking out (and throw it all over the place yelling “SNOW!”) so by the time I got home I was too exhausted to feed them a late lunch, arrange my groceries for a blog picture, then put them away.  So here’s a list of what we bought instead:

Black Diamond block cheese (700g) $7.98 x 2 = $15.96
Kettle GMO-Free Potato Chips (same price as Lays this week) – 2/$5
Schwepps Gingerale 12 pk case (I’m still nauseous off and on so this is good to have) – $4 – $2cpn = $2Smoked Oysters $1.48 x 4 = $5.92 – $1 x 2 cpns = $3.92
Maple Syrup (I have bought this at Costco before but it’s the same price so why not reward myself) – $12.99
Oasis organic apple juice boxes – $1.64 x 2 – $0.75 x 2 cpns = $1.78
Liberte Mediterranean Lime Dessert Yogurt (500g) – $2.97
Iogo tubes (8x60g) $2.48 x 2 – $1 x 2 cpns = $2.96

Dairyland Organic Milk (price matched with the Save on Foods Flyer) $7.99 – $1 cpn = $6.99
Organic mushrooms (454g) – $2.48
Organic bananas$1.70
Bolthouse Blue Smoothie – $3.97
Free-from pork backribs x 2 + 4200 PC Points = $21.63
PC Hummus $4.79 – 50% clearance = $2.39
Pillers Simply Free Roasted Turkey Breast Deli Meat $3.98 – 50% clearance – $0.75 cpn + 500 PC points= $1.24

Total Superstore food-grocery spending = $87.98 (before taxes and deposits)
Total PC Points =29,800

On Tuesday we hit up Costco and Safeway for a few needed items.  Here are the food grocery items from Costco:

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Organic tomato sauce$8.99
Fruit Source Bars – $19.89 – $4 sale = $15.89
Cream cheese – $7.49 – $2 sale = $5.49/each  (We use A LOT of cream cheese here and this price was too good to pass up).
Organic coconut oil$18.99

Clearly not everything is organic, but when we can’t/don’t buy something organic, we try to keep it as real/whole as possible.

Total Costco Spending = $55.64

We hadn’t gone to Safeway in a while, but decided to last week because it was 10% off Tuesday, they had a 50% off store specific coupon for Huggies diapers which could be combined with my manufacturer coupons!  With soon to be three in diapers I need to stay on top of diaper savings (you should see my stash!  It’s HUGE!).  In order to get the 10% off we had to spend $50, so we bought a few items we needed right away.  Before the month started, my husband asked if I could “please, please” buy him Safeway bread because it’s his favorite, so I did.  Next month we will try Cobs.  Again, this was another hurried trip so I didn’t have time to take a photo when we got home, but here’s what we got:

Spitz Seeds (227g) x 2 = $5.78
4L Organic Milk
$7.99
Huggies diapers (27ct and 31ct) x 2 – 50% store coupon – $1.50 cpn – $3 cpn = $11.23
* (I do not include diapers in the food grocery budget so it will not be included in the total at the bottom).
12 bakery buns – $2.40
Bakery raisin bread x 2 -50% clearance = $3.49Whole wheat bakery bread x 6 – 50% clearance x 1 = $8.44
French bread – $1.89
Strawberries (not organic this time) 2lbs x 2 = $4.99
In-store fresh spinach dip – $6.58

Total spending at Safeway (includes GST and minus 10%) = $36.28

The Organic Box

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Week 1

Total spending with The Organic Box (cost includes the entire month) = $110.00

Total April food grocery spending so far: $345.90

 

Our April Grocery Budget Breakdown

After a couple months of paying close attention to what we’re spending at the grocery and on what products, I’ve come up with a breakdown of our $350 grocery store budget.

Produce$130 ($110 to Organic Box and $20 to use at the grocery store).  Seems like a lot doesn’t it?  BUT if you look at what you’re spending on produce in a month, you’d probably come up with something similar.  In reality if you break it down, we are really only spending $32.50/week on organic produce for a family of four.  That’s decent.

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Milk $36: Currently we’re buying Dairyland Organic Milk and that costs roughly $8.99 (not including deposit fees).  I’m able to bring that price down to at least $7.99 (this week I can bring it down to $6.99 since it’s on sale at Sobeys) when I use coupons, but the tear pads are expiring this week and I only have 2 printed coupons and 2 coupons from the Ingredients Magazine.  My kids drink about one 4L jug of milk every week so we budget roughly $36 for that (budget does not include coupon savings).

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Dairy (cheese, yogurt, butter, etc) – $40:  We spend roughly $12 to get four blocks of butter and that lasts us the month.  Yogurt varies depending if the kids are on strike, but I usually buy them for 50% off and using a coupon.  Cheese is whatever is on sale that week or free with Shoppers Drug Mart points.  I’ll keep track of this spending as well.

Meats/Eggs – $100:  If I am honest, I haven’t paid that close attention to how much we spent in meat in the last few months, but I do not think it was a significant amount at all, so $100 is my absolutely MAX.  We basically buy ALL our free-from and organic meats for 30-50% off and freeze them.  I’ll keep close track this month and let you know our spendings.  We usually spend about $10 on eggs in a month.

Breads/Grains – $30:  Last month I bought 6 loaves of Silver Hills organic bread and they lasted all month: this is because no one (except me) really liked the bread!  This month we’re going to try Cobs bread.  While it’s not organic, it has no preservatives, is fresh and has a customer rewards program where we can earn free bread!

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Other – $10:  This other category displeases Ryan somewhat because he likes chips, dips, Spitz, coke, etc, but we can use Shoppers Drug Mart or PC Points if he ‘absolutely needs’ his snacky foods.

So that’s kind of our rough breakdown of our grocery budget!  I’m ready to go back to spending weekly and have already planned out my grocery list for April 1!

The First Week of March Groceries and Nothing Left in Our Grocery Budget!

Before I went shopping this week, I did a food inventory.  A food inventory is important when on a strict budget because it helps you see exactly what you have and what you need.  Once you have that inventory, you can look through the flyers to plan your weekly or monthly grocery purchases.

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This month, after some careful thought, we spent our entire out of pocket food grocery budget in the first week!  We’re not worried though because after my shopping trips we have everything we need for the month (including milk!).  Here’s what I got this last week!

Superstore
Black Diamond Cheese 2x $6.97/each = $13.94
Yoplait Yogurt (16x100g) = $4.97
Iogo tubes (8pk) $2.49 – $1 cpn = $1.49
Organic field greens and herbs @ $3.98 (600pt)
Strawberries (2lbs) – $3.98
Oasis organic juice boxes 3x $2.19 – 3x $0.50 cpn = $5.07
English muffins (6pk) – $1.28
Cream cheese (?) – $2.49
Bananas ($0.97/lb) – $1.66
Milk (4L) $8.99 – $1 cpn – $7.99
Granola bars – $3.76
Wings (guys night in) – $13.99
Chips (guys night in) 3x $2.49 = $7.47 (700pt)
Lindt Chocolate 2x $2.48 = $4.96 (200pt)
Ice cream (Guilty pregnancy craving.  (I NEVER pay this much for ice cream.) – $6.47

(I was too tired and hungry to take picture of the Superstore groceries.  Sorry!)

Total Superstore food items spending: $85.96 – $60 PC Points = $25.96

Costco
Organic Peas (2.5kg) – $7.99
Quinoa Duo Blend (4 lbs) – $15.99 (goes on sale for $11.99)
Annie’s Bunny Crackers (30 x 28g packets) – $9.99
Sarah’s Flatbread Crackers (742g) – $4.99 (*on sale)
Organic Chickens (2 at $9.39/kg) – $30.24
Organic No-Salt Seasoning (411g) – $8.99
Sea Salt (850g) – $2.99
Cinnamon (303g) – $2.99
Almond Butter (737g) – $8.99 (*on sale!)
Maple Syrup (1L) – $12.99
Trail Mix (1.36kg) – $10.79
Stacy’s Pita (727g) – $5.99

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I bought a few other food items like jam, granola bars, granola Greek yogurt bites, chocolate chips, flour too, and in hind-sight, I should have included them in the picture since I included them in the price (*pregnancy brain*).  Non-food purchases were baby wipes.

Costco is tricky.  We won’t be using up all the salt, cinnamon, almond butter, maple syrup, quinoa, pita chips and frozen peas, flour, jam, chocolate chips in a month, but price-wise, these items were best to buy at Costco.  We probably (hopefully) won’t eat up all the crackers, Annie’s Grahams or pita chips either.  Spending money on these bulk items will save us money over the next couple of months.

Total Costco food items spending: $179.54

Save on Foods
Kashi Blueberry Clusters Cereal x3 = $12.00 – 3 FPCs = FREE
Burnbrae Naturegg Boiled Eggs x7 packages (2 in each) = $9.09 – 7 FPCs = FREE
Seven-Up (2L) x1 = $2.69 – FPC = FREE
Tropicana Orange Juice x1 = $5.29 – 1 FPC = FREE
Dairyland Organic Milk (4L) x3 = $26.77 – $1 (x3) coupons = $23.77
Silver Hills Organic Bread x6 loaves = $21
Organic Mushrooms (454g) $4.99 – $1 (when you redeem 500 points) = $3.99

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Total Save-on-Foods spending: $37.73

The Organic Box

Week 1

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Doesn’t this just look amazing?!


Total Organic Box Spending: $110

(Technically we haven’t paid for the second box yet, but I budget it as paid so I don’t spend this money elsewhere.)

Total weekly spending?  $353.23
What’s left in our OUT OF POCKET budget? 
NOTHING!

If we need anything in the next 23 days, we will need to use PC Points, Shoppers Drug Mart points, Superbucks and my $25 Superstore gift card from the Superstore offer.

Stay tuned!  Challenges like this excite me!

What Our $350 (Mostly) Organic Grocery Budget Got Us in February

Wow. What a month. I never thought that I’d stick so close to my budget especially when I attempted to buy mostly organic/whole foods, but we did a great job!  Through careful planning, sacrificing wants verses needs, and using any means of savings/rewards possible (we did use reward points from Shoppers Drug Mart and Superstore to help us stay within our budget), we came out of this spending: $363.44 out of pocket (OOP).  I’m VERY happy with that!

Here’s what we got that was organic:

 
1. Milk. This was the first month that I was able to buy organic milk on a regular weekly basis!  We bought 5x 4L jugs. Cost before savings: $44.95  Cost after savings: $11.70.  I was very grateful for PC Points, $1 off coupons and Superbucks.
 
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2. Yogurt. My kids went on a yogurt strike which was fine by me because I hardly bought any this month! Liberte 2% (750g) organic yogurt goes regularly on sale at Sobeys for $3.50, but I decided to get it the 650g for free at SS instead this month. We also used up some yogurt FPCs (free product coupon) that were expiring soon, but since no one is interested in yogurt this month I’ll either have to eat it all myself, freeze or bake with it.
 
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3. Meats. We didn’t have any organic meats in the freezer this month but we filled it with free-from beef, pork, chicken, sausage and even free-from deli meats! Organic is my first choice, but free-from is next best.  I’ll admit that some of this meat was purchased at the end of January, but I was truly amazed at how we managed to make it last this entire month and will have some left over for March! My goal for next month is to track what we spend on meats, continue with free-from in general but buy one type of organic meat (ex. chicken). My ultimate goal is to buy organic animals directly from a farmer.
 
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4. Produce. The Organic Box is our main source of produce, but we supplemented with bananas, apples, potatoes, lettuce (once) and cauliflower (once) from Superstore. Our produce cost us approximately $125 this month, $110 from OB. To me, this was absolutely worth it and if you break it down, that’s only $31.25/week!  We will continue buying produce this way in March.
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Here’s what we got that was non-organic but whole foods: cheese, eggs, butter, Larabars, yogurt, grapefruit cups, bakery bread, oats.
 
Things we bought that were junk: pop, chips (although the GMO-free Kettle chips were delicious and when on sale, cheaper than Lays!), cookies, chocolate bars, gummy bears.

I’m excited to continue with this grocery challenge.  Will you consider possibly joining me?