I've spent the month, thus far, feeding my family off the Budget Keto Meal Plan, and this week is no exception. I've also been shopping at a variety of stores to hopefully demonstrate the kind of savings you can find. Week one, I shopped at Aldi, and WalMart was my location of choice for week two. This week, I decided to venture into a more "normal" shopping venue instead of a discount store. The regular grocer I chose was Winn-Dixie.
For those who aren't familiar with this chain, Winn-Dixie is a standard grocery store. They have organized and shelved aisles, free-to-use carts, and they bag everything for you (unlike my personal favorite, Aldi). It's also NOT warehouse style like a WalMart or Sam's Club. As far as pricing goes, it's close to my local "better quality" chain, Publix....unless you have their super special membership card. With the card, you get the BOGOs, half-price discounts, and various other deals. While the card is free, the catch is that they have limited open-enrollment periods, so if you don't already have one and they're not taking new members when you check out, you pay full price.
Lesson 1: Sign up for the card.
Fortunately, I signed up ages ago, so it was deal city for me this week. Yipee!
Now, as I've mentioned in weeks past, a big part of how I've kept my grocery bill so low is by utilizing the heck out of the "Waste not, want not" principle. Over the past two weeks, I've managed to save money by thoroughly checking my fridge, freezer, cabinets, and pantry and only buying stuff I didn't have. Doing this cut the shopping lists way down, and we ate through a lot of stuff I had just hanging out in the kitchen.
This week, my pantry and freezer were looking pretty bare, and so I didn't get to cross off quite as many items from my list. I did manage to continue eliminating all the spices from the purchase column, because my spice cabinet is still stocked extremely well. But when it came to stuff like meats, cheeses, and frozen goods, I had to buy quite a bit this time.
Basically, this week's tab is what you might expect to pay for one week's worth of food on the plan if you're starting from almost nothing in your house and are shopping at a middle-of-the-road grocer. So, how did I do?
My total this week was a bit more than the previous two, but I had to buy a LOT more food, and that made all the difference. My haul included quite a bit of meat: several pounds of ground beef (which wasn't quite as cheap as it was at Aldi), a whole chicken, ham, bacon ends and pieces, sausage, and pork for the crockpot. I also sprung for a whole pile of cheese: six bricks in all!
Luckily, I had the magic Winn-Dixie card, so I paid as much as half off all the top line prices on all the meats, and managed to get the cheese on a Buy-Two-Get-One sale (meaning out of the six bricks, two were free). I didn't actually need all that cheese for the week, so a good bit of that will carry over into next week.
Another trick I utilized, and which I recommend to everyone, is to use the meat on sale that is as close as you can find to what you need. For example, pork roasts were really pricey this week, and I only needed 2 lb. The smallest one for sale was almost 4 lb., so I grabbed some Boston Butt that was cut into a few large "country-style" ribs instead. The Butt was on sale and packaged in the weight I needed, and it will work just as beautifully in my crockpot as the roast. I also bought an entire chicken because its sale price was less expensive than a large package of thighs this week. I will be roasting it, then shredding up all the meat, portioning it, and freezing it to use in chicken recipes, as needed. I expect to have enough chicken for this week and the next as well. The same goes for ground beef. I bought a large package and separated it out by the pound. I will have one pound leftover for next week, so that's both chicken meat and a good bit of ground beef I won't need to purchase for week four.
Once again, if you shop smart you can get really good deals and keep your bill down, even at a "normal" grocery store. Sometimes it just requires thinking a little outside the box and being willing to stray from the list just a hair to make it work for your budget.
Thus far, I've spent a grand total of $228.92 for three full weeks' worth of food. I'm going to repeat: that's THREE WEEKS of meals for my family for just a bit over $200. That's pretty dang fantastic!
Stick around for next week's grocery haul, wherein I will be undertaking a real challenge: shopping for the week at Publix.
Grocery Haul for Week One
Grocery Haul for Week Two
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