Grocery Month: update #1

Piggly Wiggly Supermarket, 1950'sAfter Thursday’s post, I made my lists and went out to do the grocery shopping.

Making a month-long menu (something I discussed in more detail on Facebook) really came in handy here — I could look ahead over several weeks of meals and see what non-perishables I could pick up now, saving me a trip later.

I made two lists, one for Fairway and one for Pathmark.

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Friday: I headed over to Fairway. How to describe the wonder of Fairway… tons of imported and/or hard-to-find foods, huge selections of cheese/olives/deli stuff, and the best bagels in the city (the mayor agrees with me).

Some things are a little more expensive there, but a lot of their staples (milk and yogurt, for instance) are cheaper than the grocery stores near me. HOWEVER, resisting all the hard-to-find, oh-my-god-look-at-this-it-looks-amazing stuff is often my Fairway downfall.

Here’s what I bought there:

    – extra-firm tofu
    – a jalapeño
    – one red onion
    – a quart of plain yogurt
    – packets of Finn Crisp and Wasa (we eat a lot of crispbread)
    – cinnamon raisin loaf from the bakery (still waiting for baking weather)
    – a dozen eggs
    – a pound of unsalted butter
    – a can of Vegeta soup seasoning
    – a jar of Nutella (the only off-list item I bought; it was on sale)
    – pieces of Monterrey jack and Parmesan cheese (about 0.5 lb each)
    – a half-gallon of milk
    – a pint of sour cream
    – two pounds of Fairway Blend coffee

Total spent at Fairway: $47 (and $11 of that was the coffee, which will last at least a month). The Nutella, like I said, was not on the list, but it was on sale for $2.50 and I’m not made of wood.

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Saturday: Pathmark — basically the A&P of NY/NJ — is just far enough away from my apartment to make it a genuine pain in the ass to get stuff home from there on my own, which is too bad because their prices are usually pretty good (for NYC, anyway). So, my husband and I went together to split the carrying (although he ended up carrying almost everything because he’s awesome like that).

Anyway, Pathmark stuff:

    – dried navy beans
    – pearled barley
    – canned whole tomatoes
    – canned tomato sauce
    – chili powder
    – spaghetti rigate
    – flour tortillas
    – egg noodles
    – Malt-O-Meal cereal
    – a half-pound each of ricotta and mozzarella
    – a bottle of dish soap (or should I not include non-food items?)
    – ketchup
    – mayonnaise
    – two loaves of bread
    – 3 lemons
    – 2 lbs of yams
    – parsley
    – um… [cough] Doritos and a pint of Ben and Jerry’s? [hangs head]

Total spent at Pathmark: $42. I think all three of us shopping together tends to make us buy a bit more (junk and non-junk alike). Also, I am seriously over Doritos. I woke up with a Dorito-hangover the next day.

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Grand total to date: $112 (including $2 spent on two boxes of raisins at the dollar store, because that’s just how anal I’m going to be about tracking this).

That’s 25% of what I have budgeted for the month (and it’s not even a week into the month yet) but a.) I bought a lot of staples on there I only buy once a month or less (that can of Vegeta will almost certainly last an entire winter of soup-making) and b.) I picked up some stuff I plan on using later in the month (the first 6 or 7 items on the Pathmark list are slated for use later in the month).

That being said, I’m now almost out of milk. Seriously, what the eff?

Photo credit: Roadsidepictures
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4 thoughts on “Grocery Month: update #1

  1. Are you buying all organic, or a mix? I’ve been struggling with this because I need to be a little more mindful of the food budget, but I really like the organics!

    1. I buy very few organic products anymore, except in a few cases. If I can actually perceive a difference between the two, then I buy organic (so, bananas and oranges, I often get organic). Eggs, if I can’t find any at the Greenmarket. The yogurt I bought is organic, but only by default because I love cream-top yogurt. Pathmark/A&P has a store-brand line of organic/natural products (called Greenway) that are very reasonably priced, and I do buy some of those now and then. But on the whole, organics are usually just too overpriced for me to bother with.

  2. So, I’m always curious how people do big shopping trips in the city. Do you just haul shopping bags? Do you carry tote bags (so you can at least pack them fuller and throw them over your shoulder)? Do you have a cart or wagon of some sort? The logistics of grocery shopping are one of the main reasons I can’t picture myself living someplace like NYC.

    1. I’ve had one of these bags for years now — it holds a ton (like an entire week’s fruit and veg from the Greemarket) and even when it’s full, it’s not unmanageable to carry. My husband likes these hook-and-handle things for carrying multiple plastic shopping bags at a time. To give you an idea of how much carrying a trip entails: the trip to Fairway filled the tote bag, and then I carried the half-gallon of milk in plastic bag while my kid carried the eggs. From Pathmark, we filled the tote bag, plus maybe 3 grocery bags, mostly for stuff I didn’t want crushed in the big bag. We did have a small cart for a while, but we’re not a big family and therefore don’t need to tote home truckloads of groceries at a time, so when it broke, we never bothered to replaced it. I don’t do this myself, but most grocery stores also offer delivery, too.

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