$35/Week – Weeks 2 & 3: Groceries In Review

  • August 4th, 2014
Peanut Butter and Blueberries. Nom!

Peanut Butter and Blueberries. Nom!

As I gear up for what I’m looking to be a very strong Week 4 – aided by a TON of great suggestions and advice (thank you!) – it’s important to take a look at how the last couple weeks panned out.

First, let’s take a quick look at the most common suggestions and advice.

Most common suggestions / advice

1. Lentils
2. Dried beans – including making my own refried beans
3. In season produce
4. Multiple stores – try out Aldi, Super 88 Market, H Mart
5. Forget Organic – not worth the higher prices
6. Make your own bread
7. Kale
8. Spinach
9. Cabbage


Week 3: Whole Foods

365 (Whole Foods) – Long Grain Brown Rice – 5 lb. – $5.79
I’m pretty confident I can find brown rice for less than $1.15 per pound. Will be checking out the Super 88 Market in Allston this week.

Blueberries – 2lb. – $6.99
In-season – good. Delicious, oh so delicious. Probably could save 10 – 15% on the price though?

365 (Whole Foods) – Peanut Butter, Chunky – 40 ounce jar – $5.49
I love peanut butter. It’s addiction level. I found that this all-natural (peanuts, salt) peanut butter is not much different in price than Jif. So I’ll stick with something like this – though it may be an item I could save slightly on (10 – 15%).

Blueberries – 1 pint – $2.99
Don’t need to buy more blueberries obviously. Just had to have more, I guess!

Corn On The Cob – 5 ears – $0.40/each
I really don’t find myself eating the corn I buy. It is in season, but letting things go bad is a major enemy.

Cucumber – 2 – $0.99/each
Versatile – was able to use in things (rice and beans) as well as just with salt/olive oil. Will buy more – but will look to save a bit of money.

Russet Potatoes – 2.08lb. – $1.29/lb.
Delicious – also thinking about throwing some sweet potatoes in the mix as well. They are technically in-season though I have no idea with something as plentiful as potatoes whether it makes a huge difference. Either way, I’ll buy buying some more.

Bell & Evans Chicken Livers – 1 lb. – $3.49
Think I could do these for a lot cheaper (and still better than Tyson) – though I’ll be buying more.

365 (Whole Foods) – Whole Grain Bread – 1 loaf – $3.09

Will be looking to save a little bit of money on a loaf (somewhere in the 15 – 20% range).

Week 2: Wegman’s

Given that Wegman’s is actually rather far from my apartment, it looks like I will not be returning given the drop rate of the items:

Vermont Bread Co. Soft Whole Wheat Bread – 1 loaf – $3.49
On the expensive side – very good bread made in Vermont however. Will be trying to save a bit more on bread this upcoming week.

Wegman’s Butter – $1.99
Butter. I like it.

Wegman’s Organic Large Eggs – 1 dozen – $3.99
Will be dropping organic for the sake of organic this week. I have had a lot of comments that organic is a bunch of marketing BS. I haven’t seen anything definitive on it however, but if there’s not a huge difference I can save some money.

Wegman’s Garbanzo Beans – 2 cans – $0.69/each
Going to all dried beans. No more cans.

Wegman’s Organic Diced Tomatoes – 1 can – $1.39
No more cans.

Old El Paso Vegetarian Refried Beans – 2 cans – $1.49/each
Will be making my own refried beans! Probably of the pinto-based variety.

Jif Creamy Peanut Butter – 40oz. jar – $6.49
Technically cheaper than the Whole Foods all-natural stuff, but not by much.

Tyson Chicken Liver – 2 20oz. containers – $2.09/each
After watching Food, Inc. I cannot buy anything with a Tyson label on it.

Peppers, Mixed – 1.67 lb. – $3.99/lb.
Very expensive! One reader commented they could find peppers for $0.99/lb. Not worth the cost – though I do enjoy them!

White Onion – 1 at 1.17lb. – $1.99/lb.
I’ll buy an onion per week – but for cheaper than $1.99/lb.


Tags: , , , , ,

13 responses to “$35/Week – Weeks 2 & 3: Groceries In Review”

  1. susy says:

    Hi, not sure if someone has suggested this before but you can make your own peanut butter by just blending peanuts in a food processor. You don’t even need to add oil as the peanuts will release their own oil, making it smooth and creamy.

    • erik says:

      Susy – great idea. I don’t have a food processor per se but I wonder if I could get by with my blender? Thank you!

  2. Jesse says:

    If you like onions, it might be worth buying some spring onions, check that they have roots, and use the green tops. Then pop the bottoms in a glass of water for a few days till they’ve grown a bit again, plant them in a tiny pot of soil on a windowsill and keep cutting the green tops off as they grow. Chopped and added to a dish right at the end they add a strong onion flavour, and they’re free after the first purchase.

    I don’t know much about what meat is available where in your country, but chicken hearts are incredibly cheap here, and taste delicious sliced up and used as you would strips of steak. (Since you’re not averse to chicken livers, I’m assuming hearts wouldn’t freak you out….)

    • erik says:

      Hey Jesse – thank you for checking out the experiment and for your suggestions! You are the second person who has claimed chicken hearts are a good idea – I will be looking out for those. Thanks again!

  3. Sharon says:

    Speaking as a poor person who spends around $125/mo for one –
    Making your own bread: fun, but not worth it to save money. You will get more sandwiches from a commercial loaf. Just buy whatever’s on sale that week. Buy 2-3 loaves when the sale is good and freeze it.
    Dried beans: Not worth it, imo. If you regularly do something around the house that keeps you there for 2-3 hours, they are easy enough to let simmer while you do whatever. I have never found the flavor or texture, especially texture, to be as good as the canned variety. It’s worth it to me to pay the extra (which is not that much, really) for Goya brand. You can save money by churning your own butter, too, but at some point having time to do something besides cook all the damn time becomes the worthwhile goal.
    Lentils: those are worth buying dried, and it’s rare to find them canned, anyway.
    Rice: buy 20 pounds at your local Indian market.
    Vegetables/Fruit: I go by price rather than season. My limit is $2/lb, but I will exceed that when strawberries go on sale 2/$5.

    Are there dollar stores in your area? You can get canned goods and bread at them, and some chains even carry produce and frozen food.

    • erik says:

      Great advice, and I’m seeing it with the dried beans. I held off on them this week because I couldn’t see a huge price difference. And the preparation time is definitely taxing. Thank you for checking out the experiment, Sharon!

      • Sharon says:

        Re: Dried beans:
        If you noticed that a 1 lb. can of beans is about the same price as a 1 lb bag of dried beans, keep in mind that the dried beans make twice as much beans as the canned beans. So essentially, dried is about half the cost. You just have to decide what your time is worth. I let them simmer while I am working, so not a big deal. I still think that in general, canned beans taste better.

        • erik says:

          That’s a very idea to keep in mind – I’ve gone ahead and picked up pinto beans for next week. Should not take me too long to prep some refried beans. I’ll have a ton!

          Thanks again Sharon!

  4. Courtney says:

    Check out ethnic markets for better deals on produce and bulk beans, rice and hot sauce. I saw you mentioned peppers were not worth it but if you really want them for a dish, grab a few pieces from the salad bar at Whole Foods, it shouldn’t cost more than a few cents, dollar at the most. I make dried beans in a crockpot, so they cook while you’re working/sleeping/enjoying life. It’s 20 minutes of actual “cooking” then 6 hours unattended.

    • erik says:

      Hey Courtney – great suggestions. I went to Super 88 Market the next week for sriracha. And they had a great deal on peppers. Also, this upcoming week I’m making some refried beans out of dried beans. Thank you again!

  5. Sydney says:

    If you are interested in making your own bread, this is a great recipe:

    Easy, a little time consuming, but totally worth it. The time is mostly passive anyway. The bread is delicious.

  6. kathryn says:

    Buy a second hand bread maker.A loaf of bread is 60 cents.You can also use it for pizza dough.

    My husband and I spend $50 week average on food. We do eat meat everyday, but it isn’t the focal point of the meal.
    For dinner, we make a lot of stews, casseroles, meat, potato and veggie meals or a chili packed with beans and vegs.
    Breakfasts are usually a vegetable omelet, oatmeal,cream of wheat, cereal,pancake type meal.
    Lunch is usually leftovers, homemade soup, large salad, or sandwich.
    We split our time between Australia and Canada…o our prices are slightly higher. However, we shop sales, and stock up.

    Enjoy reading your blog.

    • Erik says:

      Hi Kathryn,

      $50 for two is amazing!

      I love vegetable omelets myself. Been moving to a higher fat, lower carb diet.

      Thanks for sharing – and let me know if there is anything you’d like to see more of!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *