Mavis Goes to Costco

costco shopping trip


I think being delusional is one of my best traits. Like when I walked in to Costco yesterday {on a full stomach} and proceeded to shop like a typical housewife living in suburbia. Knowing full well what my grocery budget goals are for 2013, I happily filled my cart with things my family loves.

Monkey Boy about fell over when I grabbed a $5.85 case of peanut butter crackers, and The Girl Who Thinks She’s a Bird’s eyes grew wide as I dropped 96 slices of her favorite Kraft American cheese in our cart.

costco bulk foods carrots potatoes

I swooped up a 10 pound bag of carrots, and a 20 pound sack of giant russet potatoes.

costco quinoa try roots organic

I bought the trendy stuff like organic Quinoa, Chobani yogurt, and Dubliner Irish cheese.

And you know what? It felt good. It felt good to be able to walk into a store, and buy exactly what I wanted, and to walk out without any buyers remorse.

And you want to  know why? Because good, quality food, costs money.

Don’t believe me? Just ask yourself when was the last time you saw a coupon for Meyer lemons, delicious apple chicken sausages or your favorite jasmine rice?

News Flash: Good food sells itself. It doesn’t need a coupon or a big ad campaign to get you to buy it. You don’t buy it because it’s on sale, or you have a coupon. You buy it because you like it, and it makes you feel good when you eat it.

fresh garlic bulk

Ahhh yes. Change is in the air. Can you feel it?


P.S. Peanut butter crackers are not considered good, quality, food. Buy hey, they will last Monkey Boy longer than a bag of Doritos.

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  1. says

    I completely agree! We eat only locally raised meats, eggs, and dairy products and our grocery budget was over $400 per month – plus I was sniping any left over money from the other budgets to pay for groceries….so probably closer to $550! But thanks to you I started doing reclaimed produce and I’ve got our grocery budget to about $250!!! And we eat a produce centered diet supplemented with other homemade foods. I try to shop at the local Mennonite or Amish markets when I can for flours and spices, etc. I can’t remember the last time I found a coupon for something I actually use – but I don’t really care. I am fortunate enough to be in a financial situation that allows me to comfortably provide homemade, chemical free, fresh foods for my family and I’d take a hit to the pocket book for the health of my family any day!

    • Becky says

      Hi Melissa, Just curious what part of the country you are in with Amish and Mennonites close by. I live in Ohio, and I would love to know if you are near to us.

      • says

        Hi Becky! We currently live in NC about 30 min west of Charlotte. I have to drive about an hour and a half to an Amish market in Fairview. But with prices an eighth of what they would be in the store here, I don’t mind the drive, plus I LOVE supporting small businesses. My parents live in southern IL and they have a Mennonite market and farm about 30 min from their home and we always stock up when we visit or they bring stuff to us when they visit. Would love to come visit the Amish country there in Ohio- it’s on my “list” :-).

        • becky says

          We are still learning our way around Ohio, as we just moved here 3 months ago. We have found a lot of Amish items in the grocery store, but I can’t wait to see what comes our way in the spring/summer months. We will be traveling through Charlotte every so often to make our way to Charleston, SC, to see and stay and family!

          • holly says

            I live in stark county ohio, have a lot of amish nearby, see them in the stores sometimes! They tend to set up booths at the farmers market when the weather is warm. Or just take a drive heading towards amish country and see road-side stands.

  2. says

    You just described the problem with food in America. I love the theory of extreme couponing to slash my food budget, but I can’t do it. Produce is rarely on sale. I have celiac disease and gluten friendly foods are NEVER on sale. Our family food budget is $520/month and that’s for a family of 3! I’ve been working on cutting our budget, but it certainly isn’t easy. I would love to walk into a grocery and purchase what I want, but even with the large budget I still have to be careful not to get carried away.

    • jess h says

      Lisa or Mavis, do you have any suggestions on keeping budget down with Gluten free items? I’m not a celiac, but Gluten intolerant. Also, I can’t do regular dairy. I’m known to scope for the manager special produce whenever I can. I just don’t get too much into the whole processed food thing. Except I have fallen in love with Glutino pretzels. but at $5.49 a bag (4.49 after coupon), just not something I want to buy all the time…

      And like the others, I can’t wait to hear about your new budget plan!!

      • says

        I am GF but really only regularly eat two GF products: Glutino pretzels and Udi’s bread. Udi’s is actually very good about coupons. You can find them on their website, and on their FB page fairly regularly. I ask friends who coupon but are not GF to please print Udi’s coupons when they see them. And by far the best deal on Glutino pretzels (which by the way- taste amazing but the rest of their products strangly taste terrible) is on Amazon with subscribe and save. If you get a sale you can get them there for a fraction of the price- at least half- of what you find in the grocery store. You have to buy a case but even in a home with zero storage space, I find ways to keep them stored away just fine.

        I hope that helps some of the Gluten Free peeps out there!


        • Keely says

          I’m GF too ladies! I am severely gluten intolerant. I have to scale my grocery bill wayyyy back but it is so very hard with these special dietary foods. I am wondering if it’s cheaper to make your own flours and bread? Here are 3 sites that may help cut costs on GF foods if you want to check them out. I have not ordered from them yet., and

          Good luck!

      • Helen in Meridian says

        Somehow I got hooked up with One Good Thing by Jillee dot com. She gives wonderful recipes each day to make cleaning, personal hygiene, beauty lotions, and recipes. She has one or two gluten free people in her family. Yesterday she showed how to make gluten free noodles for chicken noodle soup, as well as how to make wheat noodles for the soup for the rest of the family. You might register there and learn lots of hints.

      • Sherri says

        I am not sure if you have a Grocery Outlet near you but I often see gluten free pasta, crackers, baking mixes, and frozen food there for much less than retail. They also usually have almond milk etc.

    • Tawnya says

      Hi there, I find coupons for gluten free foods often. Udi’s for example will post coupons on there fb site. Now I don’t need them but have several friends who do. They put the word out to there friends who will print them and they stock up on bread. Our local Fred Meyer will put Udi’s and other Gluten Free products on the clearance rack just about every day. Also you can write your fav companies and ask for coupons or samples. I have done this for friends before as well. It takes time for sure but hey think of it as stretching your creative thinking skills.

    • says

      I make most of my own food from scratch. It’s not a time saver, but it is a money saver for sure. I do my shopping for flours at the local Asian mega market and use the book Gluten Free on a Shoestring. The GF packaged foods I do buy are Mary’s crackers and Ancient Grains pastas. I buy the pasta when it’s on sale (rarely a coupon) and the crackers are my splurge item. Otherwise I eat mostly naturally GF foods. It makes it so much easier and less stressful.

      • jess h says

        Thanks fellow ladies on the extra tips!!! Lisa, if you have any good gf bread recipes or pasta that are tried and true, send them my way! Thanks again!!

  3. says

    My philosophy exactly! We are not wealthy people. Actually, we are considered below the poverty line! I find this wildly hilarious because we live very well, thankyouverymuch! But I will never stop procuring the most nutrient dense foods available for my family. It’s worth living without lots of other “things”.

  4. says

    That’s a lot of garlic, my dear! Wowzers.

    I was in Costco yesterday & the only food items I bought was organic hamburger, milk, a container of Adams & a box of those cripsy veggie stacks for the kids– because I had a coupon! 😀 Everything else was carefully chosen toiletries/household items that I also either had a coupon for or I knew were at rock-bottom prices at Costco… their prices are now “the price to beat” in my grocery spreadsheet.

    You’re killin’ me with this suspense!!! While I can totally understand how you would feel like going buck wild at Costco after two years of restricting yourself to $100/month (seems like it would become a real grind!), please don’t tell me you’re going to swing the opposite direction! If you start getting your nails done, I’m reporting you to the granola police!

    (And… I hereby challenge you to use up all that garlic before they start sprouting in the spring!)

    • Tawnya says

      I roast that big bag after about 4 days of it being at home. Super easy to do and roasted garlic will keep in the fridge forever. Also handy to already have peeled and cut to add to recipes.

  5. Emma Benefiel says

    I can’t to see what your budget is this year and how you will be doing your shopping. don’t stop posting your receipes i have made so many of them and they are so good.

  6. Erika says

    That’s one of my major problems with couponing: what we actually buy to eat and use is rarely on sale. There are so many processed foods with coupons and I just don’t buy much of those at all. I do try to find the best prices for what we eat, but quality and taste often trumps cost, even for our tight budget. Also, I am a toilet paper and tissues snob (I have bad allergies so soft tissues are super important to me) like Monkey Boy. I’ve really loved developing our small garden over the last few years, and have enjoyed watching you do all your gardening! My husband and I often talk about an ideal house and garden set-up, but since he’s in the Air Force and we live in base housing, it’s going to be a long while before we can do all we want.

  7. Evonne says

    My grocery budget for a family of 3 is $700. My husband is diabetic and a serious carnivore, so it includes a lot of meat and produce. Like Erica, we are also toilet paper snobs so only buy specific kinds. Do I think our budget is high? Sometimes. Would I like to get it down further? Yes. Do I want to compromise our diet by doing so? NO. Right now my son LOVES vegetables and fruit and I am not going to do anything to change that. I would much rather he eat a red pepper or mushroom than salt and pepper chips (his other vice).

    And Mavis, PLEASE keep posting your recipes (heck – just keep posting!). I have tried several and they are all excellent.

  8. Karol says

    I have been very impressed with your skills. You have inspired me to plant a vegetable garden this spring and I know that will help with the quality of our produce as well as our budget ( hello, got paid yesterday and I moaned at the new taxes taken out!) Having said all of that, I still plan to coupon when I can and shop at Sam’s when I can. It appears that change is in the air.

  9. Heather S. says

    That looks a lot like my cart from Costco, except I usually have a lot of fruit in there as well (I haven’t found a produce guy willing to share yet) and the quinoa – I just haven’t been able to like it yet… I, like many others here, can’t wait to see some recipes with this food :)

  10. says

    Killing me! I was just trying to figure out how to reduce my budget but this foodie really loves good food.

    Congrats on the celebratory trip to Costco!

  11. Lorinda B says

    While I adore you and your budgeting, I found myself thinking, “Please, don’t eat that.” I couponed extensively in 2011. I had a stockpile of boxes and cans. Then, we moved to a farm. I learned about food, and what Americans call food, but it isn’t. I can’t bring myself to buy stuff I KNOW will make us sick in the long run. Now, we grow our own or buy Organics. I started ordering monthly from Azure Standard. I research brands and seek out GMO free products. I call the companies on the labels from the isles of my grocery stores. I grill them and if they contain GMOs, I let them know they lost a customer.

    PLEASE, what are your goals for 2013? I’m dying to know!!

    • sharon massena says

      We do the same – GMO free and organic, or it doesn’t go in my grocery cart. That is also the reason I don’t ask for produce for my chickens. I feed them organic and GMO free as well. It costs more now, but the future looks better.

  12. says

    Except for the apricots (produce is crummy at my Costco), that looks very similar to a Costco haul in our household. My 14 month old loves those flash-frozen organic green beans!

    I have to ask… do you have a way to store fresh garlic so it won’t go funny/start to grow green shoots? I’d love to get it in bulk but – though I cook with it a lot – I would never go through that much garlic in time!

  13. Deborah says

    Where is Mavis and who is this women that went to Costco???? Can’t wait to see the new budget and the changes! Love your out look on things! I have a friend that says good food cost money, but it is cheaper than a trip to the doctor! I agree!!!

  14. Tali says

    Mavis, I have to totally disagree with you……It takes maybe more work and being crafty (2 qualities you posses) but you can get all you mentioned with coupons at the store:
    Apple chicken sausage – The johnsonville (50%) one goes on sale about twice a year at a local store for $1.99 so only $0.99 with the $1/1 we get (I do either buy more q from ebay or get them from friends and load up).

    Fred Meyer has a new discounted produce stand 2 weeks ago I spotted bagged Pomegranate (2 count) for $1 ( the bags are always $1, I can usually get 5-7 lemons etc on a regular basis), I used my $0.50/1 pomegranate q and got 10 for free

    I am beyond loaded on jasmine rice as it was on sale and I paid (after q) $0.25/lb

    I also load up on fresh produce in the summer by visiting the local produce stand, they always have some of their produce discounted if it has a tiny blemish, or they give it free ( I got sacks of apples and corn for free).

    I also use my Catalinas and doublers at Albertsons to buy fresh produce.

    • Lissa says

      I’m with you, Tali. I cook from scratch a ton and do not eat much processed foods (except for candy and Doritos, lol!). I coupon extensively and while I am a household of one, my budget for grocery, HBA, and pet supplies (one large dog, 3 cats) is $125/mo. Some of my tips:
      1. I get about 50% of my produce as organic for free (reclaimed) from a local co-op grocery.
      2. Other produce is bought when at best prices of the season sale and/or with coupons (yes, there ARE some coupons for produce! POM pomegranates, salad mix, $$ off produce wyb ____ (get ____ with coupons also for very cheap/free!), Safeway has great produce coupons that come out in their monthly newseletters, etc).
      3. I use moneymaker items at Walmart or Albies or catalinas/doubled catalinas to buy marked down meat and produce.
      4. Look at other stores for deals: Got 10lbs of brown rice at Rite Aid last year for $0.19/lb with a monthly UPR deal.
      5. I buy a lot of pantry staples in bulk at Fred Meyer when they have their Friends & Family pass which = 10% off all bulk/organic/specialty items. Quinoa, barley, oatmeal, almonds, walnuts, Silk soy/almond milk, etc.
      6. Find out when your store marks down meat, yogurt, milk, cheese, etc. I have bought a lot of these items (fancy, organic, and natural too) w/ or w/o coupons for rock-bottom prices this way

      Yes it takes more work. Yes, not all favorite items are available to you all the time. Yes it is SO much easier and can be thrilling to walk in and go wild putting all your favorites in the cart. But honestly, I find it so much more satisfying and feel more proud and accomplished and excited when I am able to work the sales and find the deals to eat great food on a tiny budget. When I get worn out, I eat a bag of nearly-free Skittles from my candy stash and find a $2 bag of Doritos to buy. And then I continue on. Because making 7 batches of decadent Christmas cookies for $13 total this year, looking at my stuffed pantry, fridge, and freezer, and being able to cook nearly any elaborate meal I want without going to the store first or spending over $1/serving is worth every minute I spend shopping.

      Not that I begrudge you that Costco trip, Mavis. With the kids in tow and how much you scrimped/borrowed this last month through the holidays you deserve it. But I am going to be very sad if you fall completely off the couponing/small grocery budget wagon. Because you are an inspiration and while most of your readers know that your family doesn’t have to stick to a tiny budget for financial reasons, many of us DO and it will be discouraging to us to see you abandon the challenge entirely. But hopefully I’m just reading too much between the lines…………

  15. says

    Thank you to the folks above who shared their higher monthly bills for smaller families. We are a family of three as well (dad, mom and six year old daughter) and our food budget is similar to what people mentioned above. We try to eat healthy but we’re not food snobs either. (Hence the Pringles in the cupboard!)

    I was on a website recently where the woman was discussing her budget for three (dad, mom, one year old) being $50 a week due to couponing, not buying certain healthy foods, etc. I spend $50 every couple of weeks just on apples, berries and other fruits and veggies! Apples are now up to $5 for a 3 pound bag where we live. We can eat through a bag or more each week! I’m not going to tell my family we can’t eat apples and buy them junk that’s on sale with a coupon. Her freezer and pantry were so full of processed foods that I genuinely felt sorry for her family.

    I’m looking to cut in the new year as prices continue to climb (and now taxes, thanks for nothing!). But it will have to be done through making meals that still use quality ingredients and provide us a relatively healthy meal.

    I think this is the first time I’ve commented, but I have been enjoying your site for months! :-)

    • Tali says

      We have fruit all the time…in fact i have to make sure it does not go bad since I get lots of it. I did explain to my kids that God made a season for every fruit and so if Apples price is sky high we eat another fruit that is in season and therefore priced accordingly. Kids will learn sooner or later that they can’t always get what they want….this is life….starting with produce makes it easier later…….

      That said, we save so much on everything else with coupons that if someone really wants something that is not on sale we can afford it. I spend anywhere between $150-$250 a month to feed a family of 5 and still give tons of food away.

      • says

        I agree that eating produce in season is cheaper. But if we have the option of utilizing healthy produce year round… then I want to take advantage of that. Berries are incredibly healthy, but they are only “in season” for a month or two each year. Why limit my family to berries only at that time of the year?

        In the past, people had root cellars and could store so much (such as apples) well into the spring. People don’t have that option today. (At least we don’t!)

        Believe me, I understand what you are saying. I just see it differently and don’t really see this as an issue of teaching my child denying herself something as much as it being a health issue. I hope I never come to the point where I can no longer afford to provide my family fresh fruit year round. I consider it one of the great blessings of living here in this day and age.

        Everyone makes tradeoffs. We eat lots of fresh fruit and we eat good food. There are other things we don’t do that others do (like trips to Disney or skiing or boating or video games or whatever).

        Viva la difference!

  16. LaToya says

    Um….you’re gonna have to change the name of your blog? Or put an asterisk next to it or something. You’re gonna change to $100 a week. And make me lose all respect I had for you. Or make me go broke. Or both.
    I do agree with the person above, I double CATs to buy produce at Albies. And there are coupons out for a lot of the items you have in your picture. But I ain’t here to hate. Shopping at Costco always feels good. Free appetizers, and then cheap hot dogs and pop for dinner. Woop woop!

    • Sherri says

      And while you may lose all your respect for Mavis, I will respect her all the more! I hate watching extreme couponing or seeing blogs full of processed but cheap with a coupon foods. That is one big reason our country has an obesity epidemic. We all want fast, cheap and easy.

      And I say WE because I have been in that camp. I often fall into the trap of buying sugary cereal etc because it is a great deal. We have dinner at the Costco food court about once a month. I am in no way perfect. But I will happily fill my cart with great produce at twice the cost of crappy snacks. My kids deserve that.

      I also have to say that all that couponing takes time. It is great for some people but if you have several kids active in sports, school, church etc and none of them drive yet, plus work, I would rather spend my extra time doing something I love. If that is couponing then great but that is not me. Do I get a rush when I get free food? Absolutely! But if afterward it is something I cringe while eating because I know it is bad, it is not worth it.

      I don’t care what Mavis’s blog is called. I am amazed at watching her work, plant, grow, and still find us good deals. I love her personality and respect her commitment to eating better. My idea of a perfect blog would cover all the things she does with just a tiny bit more focus on finding great deals on produce etc because I just can’t seem to find a place to give me reclaimed produce.

      And I am not here to hate either, but there are definitly 2 sides of the coin!

  17. Lissa says

    Now you are singing my song! I refuse to feed the processed stuff to my family. I look at coupons but the bulk of them are for things I truly do not need or want. I am inspired by your gardening, organizing, bartering, donating, creating, thrifty shopping and fun! I too hope you will continue posting and entertaining/inspiring us. Did you ever wear the wacky thrift store bell bottomed pants to a holiday party? Also eager to hear if you are as productive without 20 cups of caffeinated tea each day! I always wonder how you manage to get it all done. You rock sista! Still trying to figure out what I would really do if I see you in public someday. Probably honk and wave like an idiot!

  18. Mamalala says

    What about a year goal of eating only organic or fifty percent organic. I would live to know what the cost would be.

    Could turn into a great documentary from 100 dollars a day to 100 percent organic.

  19. Angela says

    So you haven’t posted your grocery budget goals for the year?? After reading this post I was like whoa, I totally missed something!! Haha, looking forward to reading all about it!!

  20. sharon massena says

    This was the one thing that I really felt disconnected with you on. We eat nearly all organic and non GMO foods. Honestly I’m afraid of what would happen to our health if we didn’t. DH and I have a few years on you and want to live healthy for a long time.

  21. says

    My Costco trip this week was larger than usual because I used my Costco
    rebate check. I plan on using the remainder of the cash from the check for
    shopping for the rest of the month. I bet you did the same thing?

  22. says

    Wow Mavis! My guess is you got it all free with a rebate check?
    Reading all the comments I was dying about some of the monthly costs to feed your families. Currently I spend a out $100 per week for our family of three. I do use coupons and bogo sales and stock up on items I use most. We eat very little processed foods, have a freezers full of beef we raised, buy produce from Aldi’s when we can’t grow it, barter. I would so LOVE to get my budget down by 50% and I haven started getting reclaimed fruits/veggies from a produce stand to share with my farm animals.
    If any of you have an Earthfare near you, they have organic and healthy coupon books every month that can be used at other stores as well.

  23. Beth says

    For those of you who can’t get free produce like Mavis does- have you heard of ? I heard about it a year ago and have used it quite regularly ever since. They aren’t available in all areas of the country but it is a good way to get a variety of great produce (and they do offer organic for an additional cost). They also have nice organic breads and other items seasonally.

    • Evonne says

      I’m with Beth on the Bountiful Baskets. One of the ways that I cut my grocery bill was to sing up and get their produce weekly. I get an apple/orange box full of fruit and vegetables every week. A lot of times it is organic, but it’s not a guarantee, which is why you can pay extra to get the organic baskets. My 4 year old and I go every week as our “outing” and he LOVES seeing what surprises are in the basket. Plus, it allows us the opportunity to try new things. So far this year I have tried kale, savory, and a few other things that I can’t remember. The add on boxes allow us to buy extras to process at competitive prices. Earlier this year I bought a 38 lb box of Gala apples for $24 ($0.63 a lb). I was able to send 2 dozen apples to school with my son AND make a dozen pints of apple sauce.

      I’m with Beth, if you have the opportunity – DO IT! :)

  24. heather says

    Ahh we love costco. FOr those of you who eat lots of veggies and like a surprise one a week… try It is a produce coop that you participate on the weeks that you want… On average a $15 baskets is about $35-$40 worth of produce at the grocery store. You can get an organic basket for $25. It is geared to feed a family of 4 for 1 week. Plus lots of add-ons like cases of fruit or coconut oil.

    We have started eating a lot more veggies since doing this and it is actually saving my budget.

    Mavis- You are killing me not telling your new food budget… Killing ME!!!

  25. says

    Costco is great. You are so right good food costs money and it does sell itself. Nothing makes you feel good like good whole food. Love your blog you are so inspiring and funny! Hugs, Bobbi Jo

  26. Annabel Lee says

    I have never really kept track of what we spend on food. I know it is not that much. We only have 3 at home now. We don’t have access to these “amazing” stores like Costco and Albertsons and Rite Aid and Fred Meyer and Bountiful Baskets and on and on. We just have 3 local grocery chains, all based here in Wisconsin and an Aldi’s. Oh yeah Walmart but we do not support that place for multiple reasons.

    I think I will challenge myself to keep a $100 month like Mavis.. ( I think she will keep same budget and is using rebates for all these products above as others have speculated) I haven’t been to the grocer yet this year except to return a bottle of vitamins tonight that I bought BOGO and they were the wrong one. So actually I “made” $4.36 this year.

    I have a pantry full of just about every canned item one could need, most home canned, and a freezer full of my home frozen fruits and vegetables. One thing I don’t have is a freezer stuffed with cow, pig, chicken , fish…pasture raised or not. No matter what any one says meat is a drain on a budget. Don’t take me as a fanatic….I begrudge no one their favorite meat products. We occasionally eat meat ourselves….probably less than once a month.

    I just put a little notebook here by the computer and I am starting my tally.

  27. LaToya says

    I don’t think she used a rebate for the goods. She did that in October.
    I think she won the lottery and is goin’ big & rich on us.

  28. Helen in Meridian says

    You go girl. Just be yourself. You can’t be everything to everyone on here including all the hollier than thou bunch who are commenting. I applaud your studying up for the Christmas game and winning those Pannera card. Also saw some Home Depot etc. I’ll bet you won a Costco card or two, or your dh rec’d a Costco gift card for xmas. You wouldn’t want him to waste his gift card buying guy stuff, when you bought him Home Depot cards from Albertsons. I remember last year you got those cool green cake plates you made the baby diaper cake with. I had to have a green set too. I am seeing that lots of cleaning supplies are cheaper at Costco with the coupon book that just started. Not all but some. Did you notice that with Fred Meyer ad and last Sunday’s PG coupon booklet you can get Tide for $3.49 thru tomorrow. I love you just the way you are.

    • Kari says

      I agree… you can’t be everything to everyone! I have followed your site since there were only a hundred or so people following you on facebook and have enjoyed your site everyday. I have loved watching how you have changed your eating from processed to “real” food, as during this same time, our family has been working on doing the same. We, as readers, have no right to criticize you for what you choose to do and I applaud you for all you do to inspire the rest of us. Thanks for letting us into your life and for all of the laughs! Peace out!

  29. Tali says

    Please do not understand me wrong. I am not criticizing Mavis for anything, just disagreed about the comment about couponing for fresh produce.

  30. Sarah says

    Am I the only one surprised that you needed to buy garlic and potatoes??? I had the impression you’d have a larder to die for, after your harvest! But good for you on finding the joy in quality organics in January. Quinoa and rice are tough to grow 😉

  31. Heather J. says

    I think that is AWESOME that you splurged and got you and your family some ‘goodies’! And since you bought bulk, it will last a while! I imagine most people make weekly trips to Costco and shop that way, so once in a while to me is not a big deal. There are just some things coupons can’t buy! And I often will pay more just for the sake of convenience. I used to have the attitude of ‘if I don’t have a coupon for it, I ain’t buyin’ it’. And we ate food we didn’t like, or it wasn’t healthy. I have changed my attitude and cut back on my couponing and am still staying within my budget. Best of luck to you this year with your garden Mavis! Where are you in Washington? We live in Shoreline..

  32. Nikki says

    We don’t really keep track of our grocery budget, but I would estimate it at about $200/month for my husband and I (no kids yet). It is only that low because I buy most staples in bulk about once or twice a year (flour and rice keep forever if you know how to seal them back up after you open them), and every couple of months I buy meat in bulk and freeze it, although most of our meals are relatively vegetarian these days. Most of my grocery trips involve buying milk or produce. I can spend over $50 a week, just on veggies and fruit, and I’m only home for one meal a day and my husband doesn’t eat them unless I make them in meal. So, for a few months, I’ve been mulling over the idea of getting “chicken scraps” after following Mavis for a while. We are currently in the process of buying a house, but right now, our apartment doesn’t have anywhere to grow veggies but on the balcony. Been there, tried it, sunlight isn’t sufficient for anything to grow. At our old apartment before this one, I grew tons of tomatoes, peppers, and herbs in pots on our front porch. I had to give away peppers because they just kept coming and I finally threw out the plants because I didn’t want to fool with them with winter coming on (that, and I was absolutely sick of peppers since my husband won’t eat them raw and I have to hide them in his food!). First thing I’m going to do when we get to our new house is to write out a better food budget and start planning a serious garden. Although we’ll still be in the city, I’ll have way more room (about 0.2 acres, 3 city lots! Not much to some, but it’s better than my 4×15 concrete balcony) to incorporate some food plants into my landscaping. Have to say, though, I save tons a month on cleaning products by making my own laundry detergent, all-purpose cleaners, etc. I will NEVER go back to store-bought. My house and clothes are so much cleaner the FIRST TIME and it is way better for our budget AND our health. I highly recommend it to anyone who’s looking for a way to cut some money out of their monthly budget. Also in the process of kicking the paper towel habit. Mostly use microfiber towels, but there are just some messes I don’t want to hope wash out!

  33. Katherine says

    I am so looking forward to following your blog this year. I really struggle with feeding just two of us whole, good foods on a budget.

    • Angie Smith says

      Me, too! I struggle like crazy & wonder how we can eat real food on our now forced smaller budget…and Mavis, I love love love your blog!!!

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