Retirement

Our Frugal Grocery Shopping Strategy

Last month, consumer sentiment hit a six-month low. However, the economy is strong. Why are consumers pessimistic about the economy? Inflation is coming down but prices are still rising. Most users don’t understand this. We are all still anchored to the price paid in 2020. I want to pay $1.99 for a dozen eggs, not $4. This is a rip off! This is what everyone feels when we go grocery shopping. According to economists, this is why consumer sentiment is taking a hit.

Like other consumers, the RB40 household spends more on groceries than ever before. However, a reader commented that our monthly grocery bill is quite low for 3 people. I checked and they were correct. We spend $530 a month on groceries. It is great for a family of 3. Interestingly, this is not more than what we spent on groceries in 2017. I wrote a post about how we keep our food costs down. At the time, we spent about $466 per month.

According to the USDA, a family of 3 spends $1,000 a month on groceries. It seems really high. How did we keep our grocery spending at a reasonable level? Today, I’ll be sharing my grocery shopping strategy and everything I bought in May. Let’s save some money!

Grocery shopping strategies

A popular grocery shopping strategy is to buy in bulk. However, it doesn’t work for me. I hate Costco with a passion. The shopping experience is horrible and not for us at all. I don’t think their grocery prices are that cheap. I’m sure some people can benefit from buying in bulk, but that’s not our strategy. Instead of buying in bulk, we use other strategies to save money. take it.

  1. Weekly sales. The first strategy is buying sales. Yes, I’m still clipping coupons after all these years. Fortunately, coupons are now digital. It’s much more convenient than a paper coupon. Every Wednesday, I check the store app to see what’s on sale and load those items. IMO, buying sale is cheaper than buying bulk. I buy whatever is on sale and figure out what to make with them.
Digital coupons are great.
  • Buy in bulk.. In the next section, you will see that we often shop for groceries. This is due to price differences between stores. For example, Trader Joe’s frozen yogurt is cheap and delicious. However, the price of meat at Trader Joe’s is high. We usually buy whatever protein is on sale at Safeway. Actually, my favorite grocery store in Portland is WinCo. They have great value, but it is helpless for us. I go there once a month to get hot chocolate, TP, flour, pasta and other dry goods.
  • Shop often. We live near Trader Joe’s and Safeway. Usually, we walk or bike to the grocery store so we can’t carry that much stuff. We only buy what we need. It’s good because it gets me out of the house. In addition, shopping this way prevents food waste. This is the opposite of bulk buying. We rarely throw away any food.
Mrs. RB40 made falafel.

Detailed grocery bill

In May, I saved all my grocery receipts. (Although, I may have missed one or two.) I’ll summarize them here. I added to what I had for dinner. Usually, Mrs. RB40 cooks on weekends and I cook on weekdays.

Store Items Dinner Price
5/1/2024
5/2/2024
5/3/2024 Trader Joe’s 6x wine. $42.94
Gmart Asian snacks. Koreans go out to eat. $9.28
5/4/2024 Seven
5/5/2024 the sun
5/6/2024 Trader Joe’s Salmon, eggs, salad tomatoes, wine. Salmon bowl $33.50
5/7/2024 Thai Chicken Curry
5/8/2024 Safeway. Ground coffee, 3x ice cream, almond milk, cheddar cheese, beef chuck roast, kielbasa, 2x ground beef, carrots, cabbage, apple. Burgers and fries $53.00
5/9/2024 Pork Chops
5/10/2024 Japanese beef curry
5/11/2024 The Asian 25 lbs rice, pickles, eggplant, oranges, 2x shomai, rice crackers, seaweed, green onions, pejuy, ginger. Baked Potato Bar $48.91
Safeway. Ground coffee, milk, sour cream, sausage, bacon, avo, bell pepper, salad. $27.05
5/12/2024 Safeway. Whipped cream, frozen lemonade, strawberries. Ravioli $9.00
Trader Joe’s Baguette, 3x ravioli, eggplant garlic spread, egg, cucumber. $21.50
5/13/2024 Uwajimaya Furikake, coconut milk, 4x coconut juice, 4x crab chips, chocolate, noodle suman, 2x natto, edamame, pickled plum, seaweed. left over $36.00
Trader Joe’s Chips, bagels, roast beef lunch meat slices. $12.50
14/5/2024 Stir Fried Miso Eggplant
15/5/2024 Safeway. Ground coffee, 4x slices of cheese, bread, chicken breast, 2 bell peppers, 2 blueberries. Burgers and fries $26.75
16/5/2024 Nam prik ong
17/5/2024 Chicken satay.
18/5/2024 Safeway. Tomatoes, Milk, Yogurt, Red Pepper, Gift, Mustard, Paprika, 2x Eggs, Sourdough Bread, 8 Bell Peppers, Garlic. Falafel $35.35
19/5/2024 Trader Joe’s Crackers, yogurt, smoked salmon, shallots. Ravioli $15.10
5/20/2024
21/5/2024 Trader Joe’s Bagels, gyoza, roast beef, cucumbers, yogurt, dried mango. Fried rice $23.00
22/5/2024 Take-out pizza
23/5/2024 Safeway. 5x Chips, 2x Ice Cream, Hot Dogs, Buns, 2x Baby Back Ribs, Brat, Bread, Bacon, Hot Dog, Banana, Corn. Cashew Chicken $55.25
24/5/2024 Gyoza
25/5/2024 Safeway. Lemonade, 2x Butter, Watermelon, Cherries, Cantaloupe, 2 Onions, Salad. Pizza Pocket $25.25
Safeway. Whip Cream, 2x Popsicles, 2x Butter, Ice Cream, Strawberry, Potato, Banana. $25.45
26/5/2024 Trader Joe’s 3x prosecco, baguette. Chicken tagine $20.00
27/5/2024 Safeway. 2x Lemonade. Memorial Day BBQ $5.00
28/5/2024 The Asian Rice paper, natto, oyster sauce. left over $6.80
29/5/2024 Trader Joe’s Gyoza, broccolini, bagels. The pads meet you. $9.00
30/5/2024 Mo Ping
31/5/2024 Safeway. Parchment Paper, Facial Tissue, Soap, Ardor Eaters, Comet, 4x Greens, Zucchini, Sweet Potato. Don’t reject $39.77
$580.40
Pork with apple and sausage

By category

Protein – $101.30

Dairy – $47.40

Bread/Bakery – $21.50

Fruits and vegetables – $88.98

Drink – $109.94

Salty and sweet – $55.06

Frozen/convenience food – $71.3

Dry goods/condiments/paper products – $84.92

This month, we spent more than usual on drinks. Our wine cabinet was getting bare and we had to restock. Normally, we don’t spend that much on drinks. Everything else seems fine.

Okay fine! Our grocery shopping strategy is very simple, but it works very well. Our monthly grocery spending is quite reasonable for a family of 3. The only downside is that we often go to grocery stores. But that’s okay. It’s good exercise. The key is to stock up on sales items and cook at home. Cooking is much cheaper than eating out. These days, a simple meal usually costs us more than $50. It’s nuts.

How much do you spend on groceries each month? What is your grocery shopping strategy?

Photo credit: Tara Clark

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Joe started. Retire by 40 2010 to find out how to retire early. After 16 years of investing and saving, he achieved financial independence and retired at the age of 38.

Passive income is the key to early retirement. This year, Joe is investing in commercial real estate with CrowdStreet. They have tons of projects all over the US so check them out!

Joe also highly recommends Personal Capital for DIY investors. They have many useful tools that will help you reach financial independence.


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