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I typically do all of my grocery shopping in three places:  Amazon/the internet, local farmers/farmer’s markets and Earth Fare.  I’ve heard others say that health food stores like Earth Fare, Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s are ridiculously over priced.  This week I decided to try a regular/non-health-food-focused chain grocery store to see if I could buy organic products for less than I could at the health food store.

The answer is no.  Organics at the regular grocery store cost the same (and sometimes more!) at the regular grocery store, with the exception of organic potatoes, which were on sale for $1 this week.  Jackpot!  I bought most of my groceries at the regular grocery store this week, but still wound up at the health food store for a few items that I couldn’t find at the regular grocery store.
After last week’s shopping trip I had $348.13 left to spend for the month.  I totally blew the budget last week, but some of the items I bought will last for 2-4 weeks, so I wasn’t too upset.  Well, I blew the budget again this week with a total of $151.28 at the grocery stores, plus the $14 worth of raw milk I’ll definitely be buying this week.  My weekly grocery total comes to $165.28 ($417.15 for the month, so far), leaving me with $182.85 for the rest of the month.  I’m extending this challenge from paycheck to paycheck, beginning it the day after I was paid (June 1st) and ending it on my next pay day (June 28th).  That means I’ve got to make $182.85 last for 20 days.  I think I’ll plan the rest of the menu out for the month instead of doing it weekly to see if that improves the amount that I spend.  I know that planning is key on a tight budget, so I’m hopeful that I can do this.  Although, I’m pretty certain those last few days before the challenge ends will be . . . well, challenging.
So, what did I get for my money this week?  What will my family eat for the next seven days?
The Menu
Breakfasts:  Monday–Oatmeal, Tuesday–Eggs, Wednesday–Eggs (no breakfast sausage this week, because I forgot to buy it!), Thursday–Grain-free Pancakes, Friday–Eggs, Saturday–Bacon and Sunday–Crispy Potatoes and Eggs. (This breakfast menu will remain the same throughout the month.)
Lunches:  All leftovers. (Leftovers for lunch is how we usually do things.  I only hope that I can continue to make enough for dinner each night this month to have leftovers for everyone at lunch.)
Dinners:  Monday–Kielbasa, Onions and Potatoes, Tuesday–White Rice Pasta with Sauce, Wednesday–Meatballs and Jasmine Rice, Thursday–Lentil Stew,  Friday–Shredded BBQ Chicken and Saturday–Veggie Soup, Sunday–Cheesy Chicken and Rice Bake.
Snacks:  (The boys eat two snacks per day.  I usually have a morning snack at work of fruit and cheese.  Hubby doesn’t snack.) Homemade pudding, lara bars,  organic corn chips (they are back again this week.), yogurt (not homemade this time), fruit, boiled and/or deviled eggs, fruit leathers, home made fudge, cheese, home made grain-free cookies.  (I didn’t have the energy to think of different snacks this week and the only fruit I could afford were apples and bananas.)
 
The Groceries
2 gallons of local, raw milk (I’ve been drinking less so that the boys won’t have to cut their consumption, normally we go through three gallons per week, minimum, plus any I would use to make yogurt, whey, etc)
21 ozs organic colby-jack cheese
3 dozen cage-free eggs
1/2 gallon local, organic, low-temp pasteurized heavy cream (Using this in my coffee keeps me from needing food as a mid-morning snack, therefore allows the boys to have more of the fruit and cheese.  The fat keeps me full and my brain turned on. Even at $10 for a half-gallon, it’s worth it.  The half-gallon will last us nearly 8-10 days.)
3-12 oz packages of nitrate and antibiotic free bacon
3 nitrate-free polish kielbasa sausages
1 lb organic unsalted butter
1 bag frozen peas
2 lbs full-fat Greek yogurt (I’ll add maple syrup and vanilla to this.  It’s way cheaper than buying individual containers of yogurt and it has much more fat than even our cream-top favorite!)
3 lbs ground beef (not organic, not grass-fed and it cost more than what I would pay my local farmer for organic, grass-fed beef.  This is a perfect example of when real food is less expensive, but simply not available to me right now.)
2 Lara bars (All were on sale, 1 was clearance priced)
1 jar organic pasta sauce
1 bag lentils
3 lbs organic cane sugar (for the kombucha)
1 container of cocoa powder
2 oz vanilla extract
2 lbs jasmine rice
1 lb white rice spaghetti
1 bag organic apples
3.5 lbs organic bananas
10 lbs organic potatoes
2 bags organic corn chips
 $600 Real Food Grocery Budget Challenge Week Two