Thrifty food plan — week 2

This week we spent $132.41 on groceries, bringing us to $228.39 for the month.  That included a trip to Costco, where we got out for under $100 — but barely.  Some of the things we bought (like a double package of peanut butter) will certainly last us longer than the month, but we’ve also been eating things that we bought before the start of the month, so I think it more or less balances out.  But, of course, if I was really worried about running out of food before the end of the month, I’d be less willing to buy things like the extra-large bag of chocolate chips.  (T has been on a cookie-baking kick since we finished our kitchen renovation.  It’s probably more expensive than buying generic cookies at the supermarket, but cheaper than the brand name packages.)

We’ve been eating very little meat, but that’s not unusual for us, so we’re not feeling deprived by that. But blueberries don’t seem to have reached their usual seasonal low price, and I’m reluctant to spent $4 on a pint that N will finish off in an afternoon. We did go strawberry picking this morning, and got about 7 pounds of berries.  Even if I add the cost of gas to their price, that was quite the bargain.

5 Responses to “Thrifty food plan — week 2”

  1. Katherine Says:

    I’m curious, do you include the cost of gas in your food shopping budget? Lately, I’m trying to factor in the price of gas when I think about popping out to the store. A 5-mile roundtrip might cost only 75 cents, but driving all the way to Costco (15 mi each way) starts to add up.

  2. Parke Says:

    Nice series on the second round of the Thrifty Food Plan discipline. I remember appreciating the first round a while ago. Using the TFP amount, instead of the lower amount many aim for in a food stamp challenge, is the real interesting policy question. I’m eager to hear the outcome.

  3. Amy P Says:

    In our family, frozen blueberries are a staple, and it just isn’t the same without a helping at just about every meal for the three-year-old. (We eat them frozen, which might be particularly nice this time of year.) A big bag of frozen blueberries isn’t cheap, but it seem to last forever.

  4. Elizabeth Says:

    Katherine, for this exercise, I’m not including the cost of gas in the food shopping budget, both because if you’re receiving food stamps, you’re not allowed to spend them on gas, and because it’s too much of a hassle to figure out how much of the cost of a trip to assign to groceries.
    In real life, we’re aware of the tradeoffs between going to the very close supermarket (Harris Teeter, which is pretty expensive) vs the more distant low-cost supermarkets (Grand Mart, or Shoppers Food Warehouse), and Costco. We go past Harris Teeter and Trader Joes pretty much every day, and so it’s easy to fall into a habit of making lots of short trips there. We’re trying to make lists and do fewer big trips to the other stores. And for a while we had been going to Costco nearly every week, and now we’re trying to limit it to once or twice a month.
    Unfortunately, N isn’t convinced that frozen berries are an acceptable substitute. I’ll eat them, and he’ll eat them in smoothies, but not plain.

  5. dave.s. Says:

    Fuel doesn’t cost very much, for a midsize sedan. AAA estimate for 2007, when gas was 2.25/gal, was 9 cents/mile, out of a total cost of 52 cents/mile to drive. Now, maybe 18 cents/mile, out of 61 cents/mile to drive. Gone from 17% to 30% of average cost. It’s a change, but it’s not overwhelming. The time you spend going to different stores is a bigger thing to think about.

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