Tuesday, July 13, 2010

My household and food budget

I am a former critical care nurse (still a nurse)  recently turned stay-at-home mom. When the accountant and I decided I was going to be a stay-at-home mom we realized that we were really going to have to tighten the proverbial belt since we would be minus my $2500 per month paycheck. That is a HUGE paycheck drop. Since we reworked the budget I often think about all the money I wasted!  

Back to the groceries. My pantry, freezer and refrigerator are well stocked. I spend $200 to $250 on food/ household items per month, more than half what I used to spend working full-time. Currently there are only two of us eating foods since baby is still 100% breast fed (good money saver if you can do it!). We eat primarily whole foods, meaning no processed or packaged convenience food with the exception of some canned foods as will be noted below. What I need varies monthly depending on what is running low. I freeze a lot of items to prevent things going to waste. Lunch is often leftovers but I like my own cooking so that is okay. 

You will notice that I have not included items like cheese and sour cream. I am dairy and gluten sensitive so only my husband eats the dairy products I bring into the house. If I don't buy them he no longer misses them.

Here is a breakdown of my pantry, household and fridge items and where I buy them:

My messy pantry :

  • Organic Coffee ( 3lb bag from Costco) buy about every two months
  • Organic Quinoa ( 4lb bag from Costco) buy about every three months
  • Organic Brown Rice (10lb bag from Costco) buy every four months
  • Organic Frozen peas, corn and green beans ( 5lb bags of each from Costco) buy every two to four months depending on the season, mostly winter food for me
  • Pure Maple Syrup ( 32fl ounces from Costco) every 3 months
  • Organic avocados ( 4 to 5 from Trader Joe's) every two weeks
  • Organic Coconut Milk (Fred Meyers. Looking into azure standard as it is cheaper) as needed
  • Chocolate Chips ( 2 pkg from Trader Joe's) monthly
  • Organic Whole Chickens (2 from Fred Meyers when on sale) monthly
  • Organic Coconut Oil ( Currently 1 gallon from mountainroseherbs.com. Previously from amazon.com) every two months
  • Brown Rice Pasta ( 2 pkgs from Trader Joe's) monthly
  • Organic bananas (4 from Fred Meyers 0.79 per pound) weekly
  • Organic free roaming eggs (my mother in law gives me these)
  • Organic chicken sausage (4 links from Trader Joe's) monthly
  • Organic lettuce ( 1 head per month from farmers market in the summer. In the winter I buy from Costco)
  • Grass Fed beef (currently from the farmers market, I have bought a quarter of a cow that I will receive in October)
  • Organic Ketchup (Trader Joe's) every few months
  • Organic Mustard (Trader Joe's) every few months
  • Wine, Charles Shaw ( 2 bottles from Trader Joe's) monthly
  • Organic Potatoes (5 lbs from Trader Joe's) monthly
  • Organic Tomatoes ( farmers market summer, Trader Joe's winter) bi-weekly
  • Organic beans, canned BPA free, Eden (Vitacost.com) every 4 months
  • Beans dry non-organic (Winco bulk section) when I run out of canned beans. I am looking into buying dry in bulk from Azure standard
  • Oatmeal (currently buy from Costco) every six months
  • Organic Olive Oil (51 fluid ounces, Costco) Every three months
  • Bragg's Apple Cider Vinegar (Fred Meyer) Every three months
  • Spices (Costco and Trader Joe's)
  • Baking Soda (13 lbs from Costco)
  • Organic frozen berries (3 pkgs from trader Joe's, I would like to pick my own) monthly
  • Organic Orange Juice ( 2 half gallons from Costco or Winco in a pinch) monthly
  • Organic Apples ( Costco when they have them otherwise Fred Meyers) monthly
  • Nuts (from trader Joe's as needed)
  • Bread ( 2 loaves of Dave's Killer Bread from Costco) I freeze it since only Jason eats it and buy every two months. Trader Joe's has a similar product for 2.15 per loaf
  • White vinegar for housecleaning ( 1 gallon from Costco) every few months
  • Chicken broth (4 pkgs Trader Joe's) Goal is to make my own this month
  • Other organic veggies and fruits (what's in season I buy at the local farmers market, during the winter I get Klesick family farm deliveries every other week)
  • Tea (Trader Joe's) as I need it
  • Nancy's Organic Yogurt ( 1 large container from Win co) monthly
  • Organic Milk (whatever is on sale from Fred Meyer only my accountant drinks it otherwise Costco is a great deal)
  • Gluten free flour, Bob's red mill (buy as needed in bulk from Win co)
  • Organic Tortilla Chips (Very large bag from Costco, smaller bag from Trader Joe's) monthly
  • Onions and Garlic (currently Costco, looking for a nice price on organic ones) monthly
  • Organic Jam ( 2 lbs from Costco) not purchased very often
  • Organic butter substitute (Fred Meyer) Monthly
  • Hydrogen Peroxide (Costco) Yearly
  • Toothpaste (Trader Joe's) every 4-6 months
  • Toilet Paper (Costco)
  • Castile Soap ( 1-5 gallon sizes currently from mountainroseherbs.com, previously amazon.com)
  • Shampoo and conditioner, organic (where ever I can find them on sale) every two months
  • I tend to buy my treats such as Jo Jo's and cereal from Trader Joe's, what I get varies monthly but I limit treats to ten dollars per month
Olivia as I blog

I make my own:
  • Tortillas
  • Baked Goods including gluten free bread
  • Salad Dressings
  • Breakfast foods with cereal as a treat rather than a staple ( homemade pancakes, waffles, muffins, oatmeal)
  • Chili
  • Spaghetti sauce
What I would like to make from scratch soon:
  • jam, pickles, canned tomatoes (all currently purchased at Costco)
  • yogurt, kefir, kombucha
  • re fried beans
Olivia as I finish blogging:

Thanks for listening. I love your comments. Please leave one!


  1. you posted this at 6:40am, ms Olivia must have had you up very early! Good luck with all of this, you and the accountant, seem to have thought this out well. xo debk

  2. Hey Deb! Well the accountant was up early so I get up with him(0: The blog is making the budget more fun!

  3. Love your list. Where do you have a Win-co, I wish there was one near me! Do the chicken broth! Best thing I ever did, I do chicken and after diner throw the left overs in the crock pot with whatever herbs strike my fancy. And strain and freeze in the morning. I use it quick enough to freeze, but I would love to can at some point. But label what spices you used otherwise you get mystery broth, which can add excitement to you life!

  4. The Winco near us is in Marysville. Maybe when you move back east you will find one near you! I need a bigger freezer(0: Maybe if I make money off my garage sale I will go buy one

  5. I'd love to help organize your kitchen with Modular Storage! My name is Jennifer Graham, and I am an Authorized Tupperware Representative. My pantry used to look like that. I was constantly throwing away stale food. I purchased Modular Storage Containers to help organize my kitchen cupboards and pantry(Jan. 2009 Sale), which in turn, organized my time and simplified my cooking and freed up time for me to spend with my two kiddos. If you'd like information, I'd gladly point you in the right direction. It's about Time! It's about TIME, it's about SAVINGS and it's about FAMILY!

  6. Also, let me know if you are interested in a part time job. You can do full home parties or just specialize in Catalog Parties. It's up to you! I have a ten year old and a 3 year old and I love the freedom I have had while earning some spending money. If you aren't interested, I'd still love to give you some great advice. I love making new friends!

  7. I like the way my pantry looks!(0: Plus I have a list of everything in it with dates...thanks for the offer though Jennifer



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