grocery shopping blues: summer break style

June 5, 2011

I apologize for never getting back to you all with the 3 truths, 1 lie post a few days ago. Go check it out and see if you were correct!

Even though summer isn’t official until June 21 (which is always the one of the least productive days in the year — did you know this?), I am on summer break. Instead of gloating and telling everyone they should have become a teacher, I think I’ll talk about groceries instead.

It has been a long time since my grocery shopping posts have been updated. I’m still going by a $300/month budget, and it is still working out perfectly. I don’t know how I was living off of less than $250/month before — that was just frightening.

One thing I am venturing into this summer is my very first vegetable garden. Even though I am not doing much, it’s growing — which is a relief because I just spent a large portion of my $300 yesterday… and it’s only June 5.

Yesterday was a large and in charge grocery shopping trip. I needed a lot of pantry staples from Costco and also bought a month’s worth of meat for the Husband, so the bills were a little high.

I first ventured out to Costco.

June 4, 2011 001June 4, 2011 004

I bought:

  • apples (will last 2 weeks)
  • bananas (will last 2 days — not really, but really…)
  • wraps for Husband’s lunches (will last 3 weeks!)
  • almonds (won’t last long in my view)
  • vanilla
  • raisins (will last entire month)
  • orange juice (will last 2 weeks)
  • baked lentil chips (umm.. the bag may or may not be half gone)
  • chicken (which I couldn’t bring myself to post — it grossed me out)
  • spinach (one week)
  • blueberries
  • baby Portobello mushrooms

The total came out to $88.18 — not bad for all of that food that will last us far longer than a week!

I also went to the farmer’s market yesterday to pick up just a few things.

June 4, 2011 005

I bought:

  • 2 bunches asparagus
  • 5 white onions
  • 1 bunch beets (love beet greens!)

This ran me $10.

I lastly went to Trader Joe’s for a few items.

June 4, 2011 006

I bought:

  • 2 cartons almond milk
  • Greek yogurt
  • brown rice penne pasta
  • garbanzo beans
  • black beans
  • ketchup
  • lean Angus beef (for the Husband)

This came to $18.01

In total yesterday, I spent $116.19, which isn’t bad at all!

Over the summer, I rarely meal plan, so I buy a bunch of staples I think I’ll need and fly by the seat of my pants. I never know what I’ll want to eat, and since I have extra time, I figure I don’t really have to plan everything out like when I’m working. Or maybe you could meal plan for me — what should I make with the above items this week? We also have lentils, canned tomatoes, tofu, eggs, and rice.

I’m going to count on you since my day tomorrow will be spent poolside.

Question: Do you plan your meals differently in the summer than you normally would?

{ 56 comments… read them below or add one }

Caroline @ Out of Liney June 5, 2011 at 5:47 pm

Love those lentil chips! A “six pack” of bananas disappears embarrassingly quickly from my kitchen.

I have yet to succeed at making beet greens delicious – how do you make yours?

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Jess June 5, 2011 at 5:53 pm

I NEED to make a trip to Trader Joe’s..but that requires some $$$!! Haha.

I love summer cookin’!

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cleaneatingchelsey June 5, 2011 at 8:40 pm

Trader Joe’s is surprisingly cheap!

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lawfullyweddedwife June 5, 2011 at 5:57 pm

That’s a great deal you got at Costco, a ton of stuff for $80! Bananas literally evaporate in my house…I’m really not sure where they go but they are certainly never around for more than 2 days.

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cleaneatingchelsey June 5, 2011 at 8:40 pm

Us too! The Husband knows to tell me if he ate the last banana!

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Kelsey @ Unmitigated Grub June 5, 2011 at 6:10 pm

I just tried lentil chips yesterday for the first time, and mine, too, are halfway gone. Oops! ;) I definitely buy a lot more fruit in the summer, but otherwise my staples remain my staples.

Happy summer! Gloat away–teachers deserve every single moment of their summers off!

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cleaneatingchelsey June 5, 2011 at 8:41 pm

I’m glad to hear you say that. :)

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Jess@HealthyExposures June 5, 2011 at 6:22 pm

Not bad at all considering a lot of the “big purchases” will last you a while! That’s how I look at my “big spending” trips, too. If I’m well stocked in-pantry I practically only ever need produce and milk. Which is the most expensive part of the trip anyways, but I digress…
My meals are definitely a lot less structured in the summer. There’s little planning and lots of “ugh, I don’t want to turn on the oven!” and cravings for salad, anyways. Ohhh, well.

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Beyond Bananas June 5, 2011 at 6:27 pm

We need to buy a membership to Costco. We have one to BJs.. but the closest one is like 30 minutes away. Costco is right down the road.

This is my first summer living out of my parent’s house.. and the first summer where I will not be working all day. I will have 1/2 days for 5 weeks of summer school.. and will be able to eat lunch home. I am thinking dinners will still be planned, but lunches will be way different.
I can’t know for sure until it happens though.
Two. More. Weeks!

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cleaneatingchelsey June 5, 2011 at 8:42 pm

I use my mom’s membership to be perfectly honest! :) Enjoy your last two weeks!

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Kaitlyn June 5, 2011 at 6:30 pm

The biggest budget busters for me are stock up trips: chia seeds, flours, grain NOOCH! I guess I need a Costco membership, though, well done!!

I’m glad to see you buy meat for your husband. My boyfriend keeps some staples at my apartment so I sometimes buy tuna and miracle whip, cream cheese, etc. I never feel very good about it as a vegan! But I guess for you, you’re sharing the budget so there’s really no other option.

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cleaneatingchelsey June 5, 2011 at 8:42 pm

I don’t like buying the meat, but I know I have to for him. There will be a lot of changes once we have children. I don’t want any “but why does daddy get to eat it” complaints!!

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Simply Life June 5, 2011 at 6:36 pm

Ha, I think like you and think everyone should (except teachers and a few other people) should be a social worker/mental health clinician :) Unfortunately, I have to work year-round so I’m still planing meals but excited to pick up my first CSA this week!

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Lauren June 5, 2011 at 7:06 pm

I haven’t been meal planning this summer very much either. I tend to just let my appetite determine what I will make and like you, like to have the staples on hand. Plus, cooking in the summer always seems so much more easier and quicker.

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Missy June 5, 2011 at 7:09 pm

Those lentil chips are. the. bomb.
They were a big deal for me to eat because they have the word flour on the ingredients and a DR. tole me “NO FLOUR” and you know what? Screw him. Bean flour = good.

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cleaneatingchelsey June 5, 2011 at 8:43 pm

Bean flour is good! If this girl can eat thm, so can you!

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Kaila @ healthyhelper! June 5, 2011 at 7:10 pm

Since I still live at home, my mom plans out meals for the week and buys ingreedients for them and depending on the day I will eat what there having over make something on my own! Other than that we pretty much buy staples and then I will by a few extra things with my own money that my parents wouldn’t really eat. But I have to say, we spend A LOT on groceries! Its all the produce we buy!!! Wish there was a costco around us so we could buy in bulk!

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thefitacademic June 5, 2011 at 7:17 pm

I love the grocery posts! So fun to “peek” inside your cabinets/refrigerator!

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Niamh June 5, 2011 at 7:19 pm

During summer I eat lighter.
I rarely ever meal plan even though I know I should! I really wish I did though. I know in the long run it would probably be cheaper.
I love buying things that I know I won’t have to use up in a short amount of time.
Xo

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Abby June 5, 2011 at 7:21 pm

Seeing other people’s grocery posts are some of my favorites! lol. Glad I’m not the only one who gets excited about grocery shopping. During the summer the only thing that really changes with my meal planning is the type of dishes that I prepare. Winter time makes me crave a lot of soups and comfort foods that I try to make healthier and in summer I can’t get enough veggies, cold salads, and fruit! :)

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yourdailygrace June 5, 2011 at 7:22 pm

I’m not home this summer and so I’m not really “in control” of my meals…but I do try to bring along food I know I’ll be able to eat. I made a trip to Trader Joe’s to stock up on some essentials before heading to my aunt’s house!

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Amanda @ Running with Spoons June 5, 2011 at 7:36 pm

I used to plan my meals out all the time but I stopped a while ago because there were too many instances where I had planned on making one thing, and then craved something else when meal time rolled around. My meals now are a lot less structured, but they make me a lot happier :D

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Amanda June 5, 2011 at 7:55 pm

Haha love the comment about being a teacher. I recently decided to go back to school and get my teaching certification! So I wouldn’t mind if you gloated :)

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Jessica @ Dishin' About Nutrition June 5, 2011 at 8:07 pm

I don’t know if I plan differently or just cook differently. I think everything is easier in the summer so I am a little biased. I love how you can buy veggies in bulk and just throw them on the grill and they are perfect every time! And yes, I am way jealous of your summer off!

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Laura @ LauraLikesDesign June 5, 2011 at 8:25 pm

I tend to have a flexible meal plan in the summer too. Usually it’s too hot to turn on the oven and whatnot, so I eat a lot of salads, smoothies, etc.

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Averie @ Love Veggies and Yoga June 5, 2011 at 8:37 pm

question
“spinach (one week)” — ok I see that big tub of it and for me when i buy greens in tubs like that i take about a week to eat them, too, but by a few days…the greens are wilted, semi stinky, i.e. almost rotting, or DO spoil before i can comfortably eat the whole tub and not be “racing” to eat them.

I would love to buy in bulk like that but that’s the #1 reason i dont…rotting before i can eat them and not feel “rushed” to eat it or make green smoothies, etc with nearly dying greens…

GREAT Haul on the produce!

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cleaneatingchelsey June 5, 2011 at 8:40 pm

I actually don’t rush to get through my spinach – haha! It has lasted me about 2 weeks before and it hasn’t gone bad!

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Violet Monkey June 6, 2011 at 8:17 am

I buy that same tub about every other week, and don’t have a problem with it going bad, either.
My secret? I stick a clean paper towel inside, on top of the greens. It will feel completely damp in a couple of days, and then I change it out for a new one. It soaks up the moisture that would normally make the greens icky. Works like a charm! Try it!

~

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teenagehealthfreak June 5, 2011 at 9:00 pm

wow, you do such a nice job of getting great deals and managing your money!!! during the summer, we plan our meals around our produce out of the garden!!! :)

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Julie H. June 5, 2011 at 9:03 pm

Thank God (and I mean that, I’m not swearing) that I’ve planted spinach and it is *starting* to grow. Spinach just went up in cost about 45%. Noooo! I eat spinach like it is the last day that I’ll ever be able to eat the stuff…. :) Good luck with your garden! I’m loving seeing my stuff grow!
Spinach may not be going up in price where you are at. The nearest grocery store is 15 miles away, I live in the sticks…. CostCo maybe 250 miles. And, that’s a MAYBE….

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IHeartVegetables June 5, 2011 at 9:19 pm

Summer groceries are MUCH more mix and match. I’m always on the go, so it’s nice to just have something I can grab and cook quickly. And I always make sure to have something on hand to make for any cookout or potluck that might pop up!

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Jenny @ Fitness Health and Food June 5, 2011 at 9:38 pm

I am so impressed by your budget! We’ve been trying to keep ours to 400 a month but it’s been tough for us. sigh. Summer meals aren’t too different just that our produce changes depending on what’s available.

I’m finding that not planning too many specific meals works out better as well . :)

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Carissa June 5, 2011 at 9:46 pm

I’m impressed with your grocery budgeting. My hubby and I spend sooooo much!mmhe eats 6 times a day and I use coupons!

How do you do it?

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cleaneatingchelsey June 6, 2011 at 6:48 am

He starves. No, I’m just joking. :) He is a square 3 meals a day eater – and I make a lot of his sweet treats!

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Lauren June 5, 2011 at 10:01 pm

Nice job on the groceries! If it lasts a while I’m okay with spending more than usual. I still meal plan as normal in the summer, but LOVE having more time in the evening to actually spend on cooking. Taking your time while cooking is so much better! I want to try buying groceries at the Farmers’ Market and building meals based on what I have though.

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Katie June 5, 2011 at 10:15 pm

Look at all that yummy loot! We started a veggie garden this year, too – but so far, all that’s shown up is lettuce – not that I don’t love lettuce, but I hope we get some more produce in the next few weeks!

I tend to not meal plan as much in the summer, either – things just seem lighter and easier to throw together.

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cleaneatingchelsey June 6, 2011 at 6:48 am

That’s so funny because lettuce is the only thing that ISN’T shwoing up in my garden!!

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sugarcoatedsisters June 5, 2011 at 11:31 pm

I just had asparagus the other night and it was amazing! So good right now because it is in season! How much was the vanilla extract at Costco? Me and my sis bake a lot and vanilla is so expensive!

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cleaneatingchelsey June 6, 2011 at 6:49 am

The vanilla is good! I usually get a huge bottle from anyone who travels to Mexico, but I ran out so this will have to do!

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Sara @ Nourish and Flourish June 6, 2011 at 1:35 am

I definitely plan less in the summer! “Winging it” when it’s warm is the way to go! As long as there’s enough fresh produce, I know I can always throw together a refreshing salad and top it with whatever pantry staple strikes my fancy. :-)

I need to take a cue from you and set a strict grocery budget though. In fact, I think I wing it a bit too much…I can’t help but spend at least $25-$30 every time I go into Whole Foods. And that’s about 5x’s/week. Eep!

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cleaneatingchelsey June 6, 2011 at 6:49 am

Woah baby! Although if I went to Whole Foods 5x a week, I would get a Kombucha and hot bar every time I went!

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Katie June 6, 2011 at 2:55 am

I buy those tubs of greens and they last me 3-4 days. I think I have a salad problem. :)

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cleaneatingchelsey June 6, 2011 at 6:50 am

I ration myself – haha!

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Emma (Sweet Tooth Runner) June 6, 2011 at 3:14 am

HAHA I love that I was wrong on your truth+lies post AGAIN!! Lol someday I’ll get one right! :P

And I’m the same- I rarely plan my meals, especially in summer! I just buy the things I like and make whatever I fancy at the time! :)

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Chelsea @ One Healthy Munchkin June 6, 2011 at 6:27 am

I keep on seeing those lentil chips and wanting to try them! Especially that dill flavour. I LOVE dill!

My meal planning is so different in the summer since I spend the summers back at home with my parents. Sometimes I just eat whatever they make, but most of the time I like to get involved with meal ideas so that I know I’ll be eating stuff I like. :P

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Colleen @ The Lunchbox Diaries June 6, 2011 at 7:28 am

I’m so glad you posted about groceries again! I was just thinking about your grocery shopping blues the other day when Cory and I were trying to come up with an idea about what our budget for groceries will be come August. I was like “I know this pretty amazing blogger..” ;) Thanks, girly!

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Tiff June 6, 2011 at 7:39 am

I plan my shopping trips a little differently. There are a couple more salads going on in the summer and a lot more grilled meals. I love cookouts!

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kate June 6, 2011 at 7:42 am

I love to see what other people buy although now I want to go grocery shopping haha I agree I absolutely lovee beet greens they are the best part!

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beckafly June 6, 2011 at 8:06 am

I had to laugh about bananas only lasting you 2ish days. I have to have a banana a day and I use them for baking sometimes, plus I’m not the only one who loves them so much, needless to say, I have to get bananas twice a week.

I have more time for planning out meals in the summers, so I tend to make more complex recipes and ones with a greater variety of ingredients. Meal ideas. Not sure why, but beet burgers came to mind looking at your beets.

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applesnoats June 6, 2011 at 8:25 am

costco is the best, I’m a pretty big fan of all of the samples:)

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Violet Monkey June 6, 2011 at 8:29 am

Love grocery posts. I’m working on one right now, as well.

Definitely LOVE Costco for certain buys… just went myself on Saturday for spinach and their giant bag of lemons. And of course, walked out of there with feta, bell peppers, kiwi fruit and maple syrup, as well!

I’m impressed with your budget. I’ve been working on one for a while, but don’t make it stick as I should.
My meal plans don’t differ in summer, as “summer” doesn’t have any meaning for me anymore! (I used to teach – so I’m envious of your summers “off”). In summer, I just happen to grow more of my own produce… my garden is exploding with blossoms and green tomatoes.

~

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Marissa June 6, 2011 at 8:31 am

I love seeing grocery store posts like this! Hah, I think its so interesting to see what everyone puts in their carts. I actually am hoping to get a job as a cashier or bagger at a grocery store this summer, just so I can snoop on other peoples’ carts! My mom and I actually just started meal planning a few weeks ago. Its really hard to try and figure out what to make and buy for the week–I wasn’t expecting that! I hope we can keep it up throughout summer and into the next school year; we get a lot more variety this way, instead of just having a salad with baked chicken for dinner every night. That gets old after 3+ years.

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Lisa@Healthy Diaries June 6, 2011 at 11:47 am

I never really make a “real” plan. I usually just shop for my staples and then purchase whatever else looks good for the week. Summer meals are a lot easier to cook because of all the BBQ’s and fresh salads and fruit!

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britchickruns June 6, 2011 at 1:47 pm

I love seeing American shopping hauls, cos the packaging is so different :P I am SUCh a nerd :/
I just buy whatever, whenever…as long as it’s cheap, there’s no summer or winter difference :D Except more berries in summer – soo much cheaper.

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char on a mission June 6, 2011 at 1:56 pm

Man, oh man…I swear me and the hubby are horrible budgeters at the grocery store. I need to be on lock down – take ALL forms of payment for groceries and just give me cash. At least that way if I went over, I’d have to sell my body and I’m so not up for doing that! I think the only thing that changes for eating in the summer is just buying more local and fresh foods, and working with meals that way.

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Katelyn @ Chef Katelyn June 6, 2011 at 2:00 pm

Weeeeee LENTIL CHIPS! I want some. Also are you going to HLS? :)

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