Grocery Diaries

I’m a Data Analyst and My Boyfriend’s a Preschool Teacher — We Spent $109 on a Week’s Worth of Groceries

published Jul 28, 2022
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Credit: Food: Shutterstock; Photo: Courtesy of Jules; Design: Kitchn

Name: Jules
Location: Brooklyn, NY
Number of people in household: 2; me and my boyfriend, Patrick
Ages: 28 and 36
Occupations: I’m a data analyst for a healthcare company and Patrick is a preschool teacher.
Where you shopped: Food Bazaar
Weekly food budget: We have separate grocery and restaurant budgets for each week. Our grocery budget is $150 and our eating-out budget is $100.
Amount spent: $108.94

Credit: Courtesy of Jules

Where did you shop?

We went to Food Bazaar, a local supermarket chain that has a location within walking distance of our place. The grocer has its own rewards and coupons app, which has added up to small savings. A zero-waste grocery store recently opened up in the area, though, and I am excited to try it!

What’s your grocery strategy?

We use Google Keep to create a shared list that’s organized by store section with amounts of each item noted. It also helps me keep track when the store doesn’t have a certain product in stock. And because it’s all on my phone, I don’t have to remember to bring a separate list.

The grocery store is my happy place, so the list is useful to curb impulse purchases. I also do a lot of freezing of ingredients, especially more expensive ones, and keep a supply of staples, including rice, pasta, oats, and spices, which did not need restocking this week.

How do you meal plan?

On Fridays, we talk about what our meal plan is for the upcoming week, what ingredients we need to use up, and what we feel like eating. I use a whiteboard to plan out dinner and who will cook it. One trick I learned from my mom, a private chef, is to give each day of the week a protein and then plan a different variation on it.

For example, we’ll have fish on Mondays, chicken on Wednesday, and mushrooms on Thursdays every week, but each time cooked differently with different flavors to make it easier to plan and also have variety. We have oats or smoothies for breakfast most days with seasonal fruits and vegetables. My boyfriend eats lunch at the preschool cafeteria on workdays, so I’m on my own and usually have dinner leftovers.

What did you buy?

Food Bazaar

  • Talenti raspberry cheesecake gelato, $5.99
  • Smucker’s peanut butter, $4.59
  • Divina blue cheese-stuffed olives, $7.99
  • Tillamook extra sharp white cheddar, $3.34
  • Boneless skinless chicken breast, $10.31
  • Alexia sweet potato puffs, $5.99
  • Fresh basil, $3.99
  • Spinach, $2.99
  • Made With cauliflower pizza, $10.49
  • Raspberries, $3.99
  • Strawberries, $2.50
  • Broccoli, $1.86
  • Chicken wings, $12.19
  • Banana, $1.93
  • Large eggs, $3.00
  • Precut watermelon, $6.22
  • Carrots, $1.00
  • Mandarin oranges, $5.99
  • Eggplant, $1.87
  • Idaho potatoes, $5.66
  • Lemons, $2.00
  • Limes, $0.58
  • Mushrooms, $3.49

Total: $108.94 (includes $0.98 tax)

What did you plan to make?

We planned on having salad with salmon, a chicken and broccoli casserole, baked potatoes, roasted wings, and two restaurant meals. For snacks, we got mandarin oranges, berries, and bananas. I got a frozen pizza to keep on hand in case our planned meal didn’t work out. For dessert, I bought gelato and lemons to make lemon bars.

Credit: Courtesy of Jules

Sunday: Bagel Sandwiches, Fresh Pasta, and Watermelon Cocktails

On Sunday, we each had bagel sandwiches with lox for brunch ($31.27). Later that day, my boyfriend made homemade fresh pasta with basil for dinner. The pasta-rolling process takes a while, so we drank watermelon cocktails with gin and lime before dinner.

Credit: Courtesy of Jules

Monday: Oatmeal Bowls, Scrambled Eggs, and Salmon Over Spinach Salad

For breakfast, we both had oatmeal bowls with raspberries, bananas, and peanut butter. For a quick working lunch, I had scrambled eggs over hash browns. To take advantage of the fresh spinach, my boyfriend cooked some salmon from the freezer and had it on top of a spinach, carrot, and broccoli salad.

Credit: Courtesy of Jules

Tuesday: More Oatmeal Bowls, Leftover Salmon, and a Taco Night Out

For breakfast, we both had oatmeal bowls and I had leftover salmon salad for lunch. On the way to a party, we stopped for tacos, chips and guac, and glass bottle Cokes at a favorite local taco place ($40.38).

Credit: Courtesy of Jules

Wednesday: Oatmeal Bowls (Again!), Smoothie, and Curry Chicken Casserole

We stuck with the same breakfast of oatmeal bowls with raspberries, bananas, and peanut butter. Since I only had a few minutes between meetings, for lunch I made a strawberry, banana, spinach, and oat smoothie. Wednesday is an extra-long work day for both of us, and we enjoyed a curry chicken, broccoli, cheddar and sweet potato tater tot casserole as comfort food.

Credit: Courtesy of Jules

Thursday: More Oatmeal Bowls, Leftover Casserole, Baked Potatoes with Sautéed Mushrooms, and Gelato for Dessert

We started our day with oatmeal bowls, then I had leftover casserole for lunch. (It truly is better the second day.) For dinner, my boyfriend made baked potatoes with sautéed mushrooms. Dessert was Talenti raspberry cheesecake gelato.

Credit: Courtesy of Jules

Friday: Carrot Cake Oatmeal, Leftover Casserole, and Wings

For breakfast, I made a carrot cake-style oatmeal with shredded carrots. Lunch was leftover casserole because I didn’t have time to make the eggplant as I’d planned. To go along with a movie at home, I roasted wings with jam and mustard sauce and served them with a side of blue cheese-stuffed olives. 

Credit: Courtesy of Jules

Saturday: Lemon Bars and Cauliflower Frozen Pizza with Salad

As a treat, I made lemon bars for brunch Saturday after sleeping late. Since neither of us felt like cooking from scratch, we made the cauliflower frozen pizza with a spinach and carrot salad.

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