To get that brain matter flowing and get you thinking about your answer throughout the article, we’re going to start this off by asking you a question. How much do you spend a week on food, namely groceries?
The big three monthly expenses everyone has are: housing; transportation; and food. Well, we’ve covered housing with: The House Hack that Allows us to Live for Free, and transportation with: How to Get Rich by Driving Crappy Cars, so we figured it was about time we dove a little deeper into the food budget a little more.
Ever since Mr. RRR was a guest on the Vegan episode of ChooseFI, we have been asked how much we spend a week on groceries and what groceries we typically get each week. So to answer the question, we usually spend about $40 a week for the two of us along with the dog food we cook. You might be thinking with such a low grocery bill, we must spend hours cutting coupons, and driving to every grocery store in town. Ain’t nobody got time for that. A few ways that we keep our food bill so cheap are:
- Since we are “Freegan” (Read more here: How We Make Veganism Work For Us) we don’t buy expensive meat, milk, or other “protein” (LOL) sources.
- Shop at Aldi, unless we know of a better deal elsewhere.
- Back to the “freegan” thing, we seldom turn down free food, and bring home leftovers from work & events.
- Our grocery list is seasonal, and we assemble it after checking out some weekly ads.
- We might eat out at restaurants once or twice a month.
I love making lists, especially about food, so when Mr. RRR asked me to write an article about what’s on our grocery list, I jumped on the opportunity…. and then sat on it for about 3 months, but life happens and it’s better late than never, right? If I go in Aldi without a grocery list, then I tend to go rogue and break the bank, like a kid in a candy store, well as much as you can break the bank at Aldi. There are certain foods that are a necessity every time we stop by the store, and there’s also foods that we don’t need to buy but once every month or two. Here’s a list of our last stop at Aldi:
- Sweet potatoes (3 lbs) $1.69
- Mushrooms $1.29
- Spinach $1.19
- Multi-color peppers $1.69
- Carrots $0.99
- Avocados x5 $0.69 ea
- Butternut squash $1.95
- Bananas $1.76
- Apples $1.99
- Kale $3.19
- Banana chips $2.19
- Tortilla chips $0.89
- Salsa $1.19
- Spinach & tomato wraps $2.29
- Guacamole $2.99
- Hummus $1.89
- Bread $0.89
- Eggs (for the little RRjR) $0.28
- Tomato pasta $0.39
- Tomato sauce $0.25
- Silk Protein Nut Milk $2.99
- Natural peanut butter $1.79
Total = $37.22 before taxes.
We try to buy seasonally, and if something is more expensive than usual, we will skip it or find substitutes. This list is pretty comprehensive, but somethings that we might buy every few visits include rice, quinoa, oats, different types of beans, tofu, or various types of nuts. We typically buy these things in bulk when they’re cheaper, so we don’t have to buy them as often, or we buy them when we have a hankering for something in particular.
These ingredients cover everything from sweet potato and quinoa chili, to home-made pizza. To give a peek into our meals, we usually cook up a large batch of black beans, rice and vegetables on Sunday, so we have stuff we can easily assemble meals for lunches or dinners, and give ourselves the opportunity to have a variety of meals. My favorite go-to lunch is a rice bowl consisting of rice, black beans, sautéed peppers, corn, guacamole and salsa. Mr. RRR’s go-to lunch is: rice, black beans, and any leftover vegetables that we have hiding in the fridge, along with a peanut butter & date sandwich.
We could go into a longer list of meals we make but honestly, we only cook a specific meal one or two nights a week because that’s all that time allows and it’s easier to cook in bulk at one time. We wanted to give everyone a general idea of what our grocery trips consist of, especially when eating vegan. Obviously, some trips will vary depending on what we have leftover from the week before, and what our schedule looks like. To us, food waste is a cardinal sin so we try our damnedest to not throw any away. We always consume the perishable goods before going out and buying more, and we talk about which items should be eaten first depending on when they were bought or cooked.
So tell us, how much are you spending on groceries? Are there things that you could forego buying? Are there must-have items that you could buy on sale or buy using a rebate app? Let us know in the comments!