That's how much I spent at the grocery store today. I wanted to keep it under $20, but we were out of both conditioner and toothpaste.

Here's what that buys you:

  • 5 pounds of potatoes
  • 2 pounds of flour
  • 2 pounds of navy beans
  • a pound of pinto beans
  • a 90-pack (I know!) of corn tortillas
  • 2.5 pounds of rice
  • 4 cans of diced tomatoes
  • ketchup
  • 0.75 pounds of coffee (yes, it's an addiction; no, we won't be quitting it; we already gave up wine)
  • a dozen eggs
  • aforementioned conditioner (the 97-cent kind… mmm, delicious)
  • aforementioned toothpaste (a splurge at 98 cents)

Here's what it doesn't buy you:

  • milk
  • cheese
  • meat
  • bread
  • fresh veggies
  • fresh fruit

Fortunately, I've got most of a two-pound bag of carrots, about a pound of celery, a couple pounds of broccoli and a pound of green beans left over from last week. Just under a half-gallon of milk; just under half a pound of cheese; four or five apples; two pears; plenty of onions. Frozen peas, frozen corn, frozen chicken breasts & thighs, frozen pork chops, a couple pounds of frozen ground beef. Dried pasta. Two-thirds of a jar of salsa. Cornmeal; yeast; two cans of Italian Wedding soup; a little less than half a container of Better than Bouillon. Canned tuna, canned tomato paste, canned beans. And, thank goodness, plenty of Frank's Red Hot Sauce.

Oh yes, and a chuck roast from the Used Meat bin at Fred Meyer's. That is going in the Crock-Pot tomorrow, and we'll stretch it to three meals if it kills me.

Tonight I think I'll make refritos and we'll have them with corn tortillas and salsa. Maybe a little cheese if I'm feeling flush. Chicken with white beans on Saturday. Lentil soup and corn muffins on Sunday. Sounds downright delicious, doesn't it?

I am gladder than glad that I asked my LDS friends nosy questions about their food storage systems and tried to build up a pantry over the last several months. We certainly don't have enough to last a year–we've been eating out of the pantry a lot lately and some of the shelves are already looking a little bare, but we're in so much better shape than we would have been if this had happened to us a year ago. Bright side, baby, bright side.

And I would be totally remiss if I did not mention this amazing sale for a very good cause. Royanna Fritschmann (Studio RA Designs) had a major financial setback this week–her family discovered that the house they've been renting is being foreclosed on, and they have three days to move. So she's selling everything in her store… yes, one of every lovely digital design… for both commercial and personal use for only $29. Seriously, if you digi-scrap even a little, or even if you don't but think you might like to try it, you should check this out. Help a nice lady! Get cool stuff! And if you have any questions about getting started digi-scrapping, I might know a couple of people who know a thing or two about it and suddenly seem to have a wee bit of time on their hands…

About Molly Newman

Writer, cook and trivia/spelling bee hostess, living it up in North Portland.
This entry was posted in art, sorta, Food and Drink, Thriftiness. Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to $20.79

  1. Kiki says:

    Way to go!!! I don’t even want to tell you what I often survive on living in SF…god its expensive here and $20 gets you like 2 vegetables here haa haa!!! The farmers markets are great for cheap local produce! lentil soup is a great idea and yummy!!! Also tofu is cheap and delish when cooked correctly i swear!! but i know the kiddos might now be into it 😉

  2. aprila says:

    Just did a little food storage inventory myself and it’s not looking so great. I’ve been slacking and you have just given me a good kick in the rear. When Ken was laid off in 2001 storage helped us get through. Unemployment checks were great(have ya checked into that??), but not enough.
    You are seriously good though! I don’t know if I’ve ever spent that little and come home with so much! You are seriously resourceful!

  3. Magpie Ima says:

    If only I could figure out how to keep The Dark Lord from going through a gallon of milk every other day–at $5 bucks a pop!
    Here’s my best thrifty tip: give up shampoo and conditioner. I use a dime sized bit of baking soda to wash my hair and then about a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar diluted with 3 cups of water as a rinse every second or third washing. My scalp is healthier than it’s ever been and I spend only pennies on my hair care each month. No chemicals, either!

  4. Helena says:

    You gave up wine? Whoa.

  5. I just stocked my pantry, and had to take out a bunch of things, that I know, we’ll NEVER eat. Oregon Food Bank, here I come.
    As for the wine… wow!

  6. Stephanie T. says:

    1. do you have a backyard? how much ‘dirt’ space do you have… ex:10×10? 14×7?
    2. sending you a box of goodies…
    3. my mom used to mix 1/2 whole milk with 1/2 made-up dried milk…it’s definitely an acquired taste but it met the needs of 6 milk=chugging kids
    4. deep breath…we’re all in this together

  7. Suzy says:

    Potatoes are the best…cheap and good, by themselves or mixed in with stew! I can’t believe how much you got for $20. You should write the New Economy Cookbook.
    Keep me posted…I either have some minor flu or am knocked up. 🙂 I won’t know for freaking weeks either way, darn it. See you soon.

  8. Mimi says:

    Good job. I wish you were closer, we have some extra milk.

  9. Summer says:

    Yeah, I am in awe of what you got for that much, Plus in awe that you gave up wine!!!! Please tell me though, that when I have this baby you will have one with me?? I am the SUCKIEST at planning a menu for the week and stocking up on items I need vs. what we don’t need. I usually spend way too much every week and wind up with crap left over….I’m horrible at it. I need to take a class or something…Hang in there babe. You’re getting through it.

  10. Robyn says:

    WTG with the shopping! Have you heard of thegrocerygame.com? You have to be dedicated to clipping coupons and possibly shopping at multiple stores, but I have friends who save TONS of money on it. I’m trying to do it, but I’m lazy. I still save $10-$15 per trip though. Good luck.

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