Grocery Diaries

I Am 9 Months Pregnant and a WIC Recipient: Here’s How Much I Spend on 2 Weeks’ Worth of Food

updated Dec 18, 2020
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Credit: Courtesy of Christina

Name: Christina
Location: Las Cruces, New Mexico
Number of people in household: 2; Christina and Garrett. We are expecting baby Amelia this month.
Age: 26
Occupation: Researcher and lab technician (Christina) and State Wine Trainer and Ambassador (Garrett)
Grocery shopping for how long? We can probably make them last for two weeks.
Where did you shop? Albertsons and Lowes Food
Did you get your groceries delivered or did you go to the store? We went to the store.
How much did you spend? We spent $85.83 on groceries and $15.52 on Whataburger for a splurge night, which is just over $100.
Dietary restrictions? Because I’m pregnant, there are a number of delicious things I can’t indulge in.

How did you choose where to buy groceries?

I’m an experienced bargain shopper, so I go to the stores that have the best sales or reduced price items for that week. I mainly shop at Albertsons because of their rewards app. I also frequent our Lowes Food because they have the best prices on produce in town — it’s good quality too. Because I am a WIC recipient (the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children ), it’s important for me to shop where WIC is accepted. Minimally crowded stores are also a must!

What time did you shop and what was it like?

I usually grocery shop in the mornings when there aren’t many people in the store. This time, I went once in the morning and once in the early afternoon around 2 p.m. There were a lot more people when I went in the afternoon and the lines were backed up. I also noticed many people lingering in the aisles and taking their time. I went in, grabbed what I needed as swiftly as possible, and left. 

How did you meal plan?

We plan our meals based on what we have at home already, plus any deals I can score for the week, and what ingredients I can buy using WIC. Luckily, Garrett isn’t a picky eater and praises my cooking so we make whatever I want. We keep a journal of what to make and write down recipes. We mostly plan meals that are large enough to make leftovers, that way I don’t have to cook every night. We also to love to freeze anything and everything for quick meals on days when we’re too lazy to cook something new. Because I’m eating for two, I also make sure to cook enough food if I want to eat seconds or thirds. 

Credit: Courtesy of Christina

What did you buy?

Produce: Onions, tomatoes, broccoli, kale, cucumber, bananas, potatoes, celery, avocados, oranges, and jalapeños.

Meats: Hot Italian sausage, chicken breasts, chicken thighs, ground turkey, and deli ham.

Dairy: Heavy whipping cream, shredded Parmesan cheese, and Greek yogurt.

Everything else: Corn and flour tortillas, piloncillo, pomegranate juice, whole-wheat bread, sourdough, and a bag of lentils. Our pantry is usually stocked up enough to last us a couple of months. 

Credit: Courtesy of Christina

Items from friends and family: 9 large pomegranates from our neighbor’s tree, a dozen farm fresh eggs from my grandparents, 3 small boxes of blueberries from Garrett’s grandma, and a huge sack of dried red chile (a staple in New Mexico) from one of our good friends. Bartering and food giving has become a survival mechanism during this pandemic — especially when we’re low on money to buy groceries. It’s been wonderful to experience the help that others offer.

Credit: Courtesy of Christina

How much did you spend?


  • AJ’s (local) corn tortillas: $2.69 for 20
  • AJ’s (local) flour tortillas: $2.79 for 10
  • Guerrero family count corn tortillas: $3.99
  • Piloncillo cone: $1.98


  • Chicken broth: $3.49 for 64 ounces
  • Pomegranate juice: $4.49
  • Heavy whipping cream: $2.99 for 16 ounces
  • Butcher hot Italian sausage: $1.00 for eight (These are $1 each, and he either rang up the eight sausages wrong or was feeling generous that day! I didn’t notice until I got home or else I would have said something!)
  • Cherubs salad tomatoes: $5.00
  • Belgioioso shredded Parmesan cheese: $2.49, on sale with rewards app
  • Whole-wheat bread: $2.99, on regular sale
  • Sourdough bread: $3.99, on regular sale
  • Butcher chicken breast: $2.21, on regular sale
  • Sanderson chicken thigh package: $2.69, on sale with rewards app
  • Ground turkey: $4.99 for one pound
  • Primo Taglio deli sliced ham: $4.45 for .5 pound
  • Russet potatoes: $1.77 for 10 pounds, on regular sale and an awesome score!

Using WIC

  • Broccoli: $1.75 for 1.5 pounds
  • Bunch of kale: $0.99
  • Cucumber: $0.50
  • Bananas: $1.24 for 2.5 pounds, on sale with rewards app
  • Lentils: $2.49 for one pound
  • Chobani Greek yogurt cups: $3.96 for four, on sale with rewards app
  • Celery: $0.99
  • Avocados: $3.00 for two
  • Valencia oranges: $0.85 for 1.69 pounds, on regular sale
  • Jalapenos: $0.54

Whataburger splurge night: $15.52

Out of pocket groceries: $65.07

WIC supplement: $20.76

Total spent: $101.35

Credit: Courtesy of Christina

What couldn’t you find?

The only thing I couldn’t find on this shopping trip was the larger packs of chicken thighs. They were on sale for the entire month of November for $1.29 per pound. Our stores have pretty much been stocked up, lately, so it’s not hard to find what I need anymore. When the pandemic started, it was sometimes difficult to locate staple items for our household, like pinto beans, white rice, all-purpose flour, and even the better choice carton of eggs. Thankfully, we survived with what we could find and things are (somewhat) back to normal. 

What do you plan on making?


  • Veggie egg omelets with a side of Greek yogurt
  • Egg, ham, avocado, and cheese breakfast sandwiches 
  • Homemade pancakes with fruit (oranges and pomegranates), bacon, and eggs
  • Breakfast burritos
  • Atole, a thicker hot chocolate drink made with piloncillo, Abuelita chocolate, and pinole


  • Ham sandwiches with salad and chips
  • Lentil soup with tortillas and/or bread
  • Chicken quesadillas
  • Leftovers


  • Red enchiladas with beans and rice
  • Creamy lemon chicken soup with sourdough bread
  • Fried chicken thighs with mashed potatoes and broccoli
  • Zuppa Toscana with toasted bread and fresh veggies
  • Ground turkey tacos with beans and broccoli
  • Leftovers

Snacks and treats

  • Banana nut bread
  • Yogurt with blueberries
  • Blueberry and lemon bread
  • Veggies with ranch
Credit: Courtesy of Christina

How is this different from how you normally shop?

Life has dramatically changed for everyone since the arrival of COVID-19. This pandemic has shifted how we eat: We no longer go out to restaurants or enjoy a night of appetizers and drinks. We no longer casually browse the grocery store in search of new and exciting ingredients we’ve never used before. We also don’t frequent the local farmers markets for fear of exposure. Not only are we worried about getting sick ourselves, but we also worry about exposing our loved ones. I also worry about the health of my baby that will be arriving soon.

Grocery shopping has always been a nice getaway for me. Something about it soothes me. I enjoy checking out all the meats and cheeses that the butcher has to offer or marveling at fruits and vegetables New Mexico has to offer. Now I run into the store with my list and stick to it strictly. I look forward to the day that I can return to my normal shopping habits.

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