The grocery trips are only getting harder. And even after all of our agonizing and self-doubt, we still spent the same amount of money we always spend on our big weekend grocery trips. This time we spent $62.17, bringing us down to $125.15.
What we didn’t agonize over
- Onions vs shallots
- After buying onions last weekend because they’re cheaper, I decided that was a stupid decision. For what we use them for, one shallot is the perfect amount, but one onion is too much. Keeping half an onion around is obviously not ideal (you have to use it quickly or it’ll spoil, and spoiled food is simply a waste of money). And I greatly prefer the taste of shallots over onions.
- Oasis vs Kroger potatoes
- I admitted to myself that I was never going to buy those ugly potatoes in Kroger for $0.69/lb or whatever they are. For comparable potato varieties, varieties I would actually buy, the Oasis potatoes cost the same as the Kroger potatoes.
- After the last grocery trip, I realized that mushrooms are not actually expensive, especially not shiitake mushrooms which taste the best anyway. So I just bought them with my usual enthusiasm (they looked really good this week).
- After last week’s turkey experiment, I’m sold. Hide can feel free to cook as much as he wants.
What we did agonize over
- Pork vs beef, 8 lbs vs 2 lbs
- I think we spent 20 minutes talking about this in the meat section. It was really awkward: people kept needing to look at the stuff behind us. I picked up and put back so many packages of meat, it wasn’t even funny.Both Hide and I wanted beef – we haven’t had it in awhile, and we had an exciting idea for it – but faced with the clear cost difference between pork and beef, we were having a lot of trouble pulling the trigger.
Still, the alternate cuts (of pork and beef) we were considering were both 8 lbs or more, each. In the end, we decided that we just couldn’t commit to 8 lbs of meat, especially when none of the meat called to us, and we weren’t planning on having a big meal with a bunch of friends. The cut we ended up buying was also on sale, so it felt like we were getting a good deal.
- Romaine lettuce
- I always thought that stuff in the salad greens section of Kroger was way expensive, but that maybe Romaine would be an exception. Since I had really missed crispy greens on the burgers we made, and I could see them coming in useful for the tacos too, I did a quick price check on the Romaine and convinced myself it was cheap enough. Now, I’m not so sure. I thought it was $2.99/lb, but maybe it was actually $3.99/lb.
- Canned tomatoes
- First Hide couldn’t decide whether to get San Marzano style or diced, then he couldn’t decide whether to get the high end store brand or the stuff that was on sale. I told him it didn’t matter, we were talking about canned tomatoes, not meat.
What we didn’t buy
- I’m going to quit my bubble tea habit temporarily. I happen to be at a good point – running out of pretty much each ingredient.
- Bread flour
- Hide’s interest in breadmaking has recently reignited, and he wanted to use bread flour for better results. But we buy King Arthur Flour, and that stuff is ballin’. We have enough all-purpose to last us until the end of the Challenge, especially if Hide doesn’t bake any more bread.
- Bell peppers
- We’re always looking for things to stir-fry with ground meat, and bell peppers are a great choice. But we didn’t buy any this time, because we wanted to do a price comparison between Oasis and Kroger (they turn out to be the same), so next time we’ll get some from Oasis, if they look good. At $2.99/lb they’re on the expensive side (especially considering how heavy they are), but I think that’s fine if we buy only occasionally.
Ugh, it feels like we spent so much brain power thinking about this stuff, only to find that we’re actually buying less frugally than we were at the beginning of the Challenge. I don’t know if that says something about how our frugality measures didn’t actually matter or if we just can’t make sacrifices to our diet.