Fresh vegetabls at the grocery store.
Money

Optimizing Our Grocery Bill – Part 1

Optimizing your grocery bill is one of the staples to maintaining low living expenses and allowing yourself to retire early. It’s looked at as one of the easiest methods for saving money and investing more. Unfortunately, my wife and I have struggled to master this facet of our expenditures.

Our monthly bill ranges from $500-$600, and that’s only including food. Ouch! In our household, there are two adults and one soon-to-be toddler. When comparing what we spend monthly on food to others in the FIRE community and to our friends, we seem to be spending more on food than some larger families.

It should be noted that we eat relatively healthy food. We avoid processed food and tend to buy lots of fresh vegetables, meat, and other healthy foods. Gina does our grocery shopping, and if you take a look at her website – BeSperryFit.com – you will instantly realize why we eat so healthy.

For almost a year now we have been using Walmart Pickup for groceries. The prices are reasonable (we thought), the quality was surprisingly good, and it’s extremely convenient as we simply park, have our groceries loaded into the car, and off we go.

It should be noted that we have had EXTREMELY mixed experiences with Walmart Pickup at different stores. So whether it takes five minutes to pick up your groceries or 30 minutes depends on your location.

There are certain things that are cheaper at Costco that we are willing to buy in bulk, such as frozen chicken, vegetables,  eggs, and egg whites. So, we have been buying most of our groceries at Walmart and getting certain items at Costco.

We finally decided to go to war with our grocery bill. We had been writing it off as impossible with the excuse that healthy food is just more expensive, but it’s time to see if we can prove that wrong. Yesterday (March 21, 2019), we went to Aldi for the first time. If you’ve been to Aldi, you know that they have a limited selection, so we still went to Costco and Walmart for a few specific items.

This article will act as an introduction to a series of articles as we attempt to crush our grocery bill. Our personal goal is to spend less than $100 per week on groceries. Each week, for at least one month, I will write about our experiences and how much we spent for the week. This should provide for a reasonable foundation for others working to lower their grocery bills.

Jump ahead to Optimizing Our Grocery Bill – Part 2 or Part 3
Ready for the spoiler? Head to
Optimizing Our Grocery Bill Round Up

A glass of cold milk with a bowl of granola, yogurt, and berries.

Week 1 – Aldi, Walmart, and Costco

Aldi

We spent about 30 minutes in Aldi. We decided to go together and take our son, who seemed to enjoy exploring the store on dad’s shoulders. We spent a total of $56.10, with about $7 of that being non-grocery items. We found that many items were cheaper than at Costco and Walmart, here’s a list of the food items we purchased at Aldi.

Peppers – $3.29

Kiwi – $3.29

Sweet Potatoes – $2.59

5 lb Baking Potatoes – $2.69

3x 1 lb Broccoli – $1.19/ea

2x 1 lb Brussel Sprouts – $1.09/ea

Pretzel Sticks – $0.59 (Don’t judge me, they were cheap!)

1lb Roma Tomatoes – $1.29

Whole Wheat Bread – $1.29

12 K Cups – $3.69

Pine/Water Spears – $3.29 (I don’t know what this is, Gina could tell you though)

2x Packages of Blackberries – $1.39/ea

Bag Flat Leaf Spinach – $1.19

Bag Gala Apples – $2.49

2x Avocado – $0.79/ea

Unsweetened Almond Milk – $1.69

Irish Butter – $3.59

Garlic – $0.89

Cucumbers – $0.49

Approx 4lb Bananas – $1.73 ($0.44/lb)

1 Package Strawberries – $2.69

1 Gallon Whole Milk – $2.28

Thankfully, Walmart and Costco are just around the corner from Aldi, so we stopped there to get the items Aldi didn’t have. Gina and Miles went to Walmart while I grabbed a couple things from Costco. Here’s a list of the food items from Walmart and their prices.

Walmart

2x 12 Pack / Cans Flavored Water – $2.76/ea

Jar Coconut Oil – $6.64

Garlic Powder – $0.98

Minced Garlic – $1.84

Pumpkin Teething Crackers – $3.48

Costco

12 Pack Egg White Cartons – $8.99

2x Bag Frozen Green Beans – $6.79/ea

Conclusion

After removing some non-food items, a teething toy for our son, and a gift for our departing dog walker, we spent a total of $91.71 on groceries this week. So far so good! That is below our goal of $100 per week, but it is only one week.

So we will continue our war on the grocery bill for at least three more weeks. Stay tuned for updates and please feel free to give any recommendations on how you crush your grocery bill!

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2 Comments

  • Reply
    Janet Doherty
    March 28, 2019 at 4:38 pm

    Matt, did you know that you can get reusable Kcups? They come with little filters, so you can use the coffee of your choice, and save a bundle!

    • Reply
      Matthew
      March 28, 2019 at 6:18 pm

      This makes two people who have recommended this idea! I think we actually have a reusable k cup at home and are going to use it! I think we used it a couple years ago and stopped for some reason. Thanks for the comment!

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