Grocery Diaries

I’m an Accountant in Los Angeles — Here’s How Much I Spend on 2 Weeks’ Worth of Groceries

published Jun 12, 2021
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Credit: Courtesy of Cindy
  • Name: Cindy
  • Location: Los Angeles, California
  • Number of people in household: 1
  • Age: 49
  • Occupation: I am a Construction Accountant
  • Where did you grocery shop? And for how long? Whole Foods (in person) and Gelsons (via Instacart). These groceries will probably last me for at least 2 weeks.
  • Amount spent on groceries: $196.34
  • Dietary restrictions: I am finally coming to grips with the fact that I am sensitive to dairy and gluten, so I am trying to keep it out of my house. (This sucks because I love a grilled cheese.)
Credit: Courtesy of Cindy

How did you choose where to shop?

I am pretty busy with work and I play tennis four or five days out of the week, so it is hard to get to the grocery store. I started using online grocery delivery as soon as it came out, this was many years ago (well before Instacart). I justified the extra cost, figuring it was better than ordering takeout all the time. During the pandemic, I was ordering grocery delivery around 95 percent of the time. But this week, I went to Whole Foods for a proper grocery shopping excursion (for the first time in about a year-and-a-half). My cousin and I arrived about an hour-and-a-half before closing time, and I felt like the options were slim. I didn’t like what was left of some items, so I had some things delivered the next day.

Credit: Courtesy of Cindy

What do you plan on making? 

I only plan for about two or three different meals because my plans shift so frequently. The truth is that I don’t really like leftovers. Anything that I make has to be to be delicious and also maintain its integrity for a few days so that I look forward to eating it again. 


  • Spanish chopped salad with tuna, piquillo peppers, and a Spanish salad dressing. (This is a recipe from the Gwyneth Paltrow and Julia Turshen cookbook It’s All Good.)
  • Bistek Philippine-style. (This has been my favorite Filipino dish since I was itty bitty. It is made of thinly sliced beef braised in a mixture of citrus juice, soy sauce, onions, and garlic, and always served with steamed rice.)
  • Halal cart-style chicken and rice with white sauce. (After taking a trip to New York many years ago, I fell in love with this dish. Ever since, I’ve been trying to replicate it and found a recipe that comes close. I’m still tweaking!)


  • Milton gluten-free crackers + avocado
  • Siete grain-free churro strips
  • Koia protein shakes (to grab and go for early morning tennis sessions)
  • Cherries, nectarines, and mangoes
  • Matcha smoothies
  • Cold brew w/ Oatly oat milk (I love Groundwork’s Big Easy coffee)
Credit: Courtesy of Cindy

What did you buy?


  • Organic chicken thighs, $16.54 for 2.07 lbs
  • Beef sirloin flap, $25.30 for 2.11 lbs


  • Organic spinach, $4.69
  • Organic haas avocado, $4.98 for two
  • Organic nectarines, $4.63
  • Mangos, $1.80 for two
  • Organic Rainier cherries, $11.96 for 1.33 pounds
  • Vine ripe tomatoes, $2.19
  • Organic Italian parsley, $1.49
  • Organic bananas, $1.81
  • Organic green onions, $1.29
  • Vidalia onions, $2.19
  • Organic garlic, $1.99 for one pound
  • Organic lemons, $3.75 for five
  • Happy Living butter lettuce, $3.99
  • Organic iceberg lettuce, $2.99

Dairy/Cold Section

  • Oatly oat milk, $4.22
  • Koia horchata protein beverage, $7.98 for two
  • Koia vanilla protein beverage, $3.99
  • Koia chocolate peanut butter protein beverage, $3.99
  • Kerrygold butter, $4.99
  • Ellenos lemon curd yogurt, $1.79
  • Chobani plain Greek yogurt, $1.19
  • Challenge unsalted butter, $5.79


  • Basmati rice, $4.04
  • Naan, $2.89
  • Sherry vinegar, $6.39
  • Organic chicken broth, $2.79
  • Siete churro strips, $9.98 for two
  • Organic salted classic popcorn, $2.39
  • Organic garbanzo beans, $2.19
  • Organic ground paprika, $6.49
  • Tonnino yellowfin tuna, $3.69
  • Flat Anchovies, $2.49
  • Napolean piquillo peppers, $3.55
  • Genova yellowfin tuna in olive oil, $3.69
  • Jif peanut butter, $4.49
  • Swanson chicken broth, $1.59
  • The Good Bean sea salt chickpeas, $4.99
  • Canada Dry bold ginger ale, $4.29 for 6 cans
Credit: Courtesy of Cindy

How is this different from how you normally shop?

Pre-pandemic, I used to do half grocery delivery and half in-person shopping. I would have groceries delivered during the week and shop during the weekend to cook for my family when they came over. It was a fun project that I looked forward to weekly.

During the pandemic, I started shopping mostly online and ate almost every meal at home. I had groceries delivered twice a week and ordered a lot of takeout. I really took the “Safer at Home” situation seriously. When I realized that we weren’t going back to work and I was going to be working from home indefinitely, I (safely) went to Seattle to spend time with my sister’s family and my parents for about five months. When I was there, I had groceries delivered and cooked two or three meals a week for everyone.

Credit: Courtesy of Cindy

I live alone again and now that restrictions are being lifted, I am much busier and there is much less cooking going on. I still do most of my shopping online for delivery, unless I am planning to cook something special. If that’s the case, I enjoy going to different grocery stores like HK Market (a Korean grocery), Seafood City (a Filipino market), really any Asian market or farmers market. I also ordered a new dining table that is arriving next month. Because most everyone I know is vaccinated, I will be planning what I call “project dinners” again and having people over. I know that will motivate me to cook!

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