If you’ve been following our Big Family Food series, you’ve only just begun to see how food works at our house right now. I am having so much fun sharing and can’t wait to keep adding to this series. Today I’m going to tell you about a big food shopping trip I had in January!
Where I shop for groceries:
First, let me detail a little bit for you where we buy food for our family.
- I try to sneak away to Lincoln (about an hour away from home) once each month for a big grocery shopping day. At the very least I hit Costco. Sometimes I’ll also go to Aldi. And I just signed up for a Sam’s membership (which I’ll talk about below).
- I usually place 2-3 local Walmart pick-up orders each month. This fills in the gaps before I can go to Costco again, and keeps us supplied with fresh produce. As you’ll see below, WE GO THROUGH A LOT OF FRESH PRODUCE. Oy!
- We get two gallons of fresh milk from a local farm once each week. Of course, that isn’t enough for our family, so I also grab a few gallons each month from the store too.
- This leads me to share that we get WIC benefits for our foster babes, which is a huge blessing because it provides milk, eggs, cheese, cereal, and my favorite: FRESH PRODUCE! ;) Typically, I go pick up our WIC food items at a local grocery store that is close to our house.
- I order several staples every couple of months from Azure Standard, which is a food co-op that delivers groceries right into town for us to pick up! My favorites from them are big bags of frozen veggies, cases of tortillas, and either fresh flour or grain to grind into flour. (Currently, I’m just buying flour because I don’t have time to grind it right now.) You can read here to learn more about the items I often buy from Azure.
The day I spent HOW MUCH?!
So now let me tell you about my great big food shopping trip day back in January. I needed to take our littlest babe to Lincoln for an appointment, so she and I headed out with cooler bags and boxes to get our groceries stocked up! It’s not often I get one-on-one time with our kids, so this was special, even if it was ridiculously cold outside that day!
Oh wait – this first!
Since I was going to be shopping by myself with a six-month-old, and I know that I usually need at least two big Costco carts, which isn’t possible with a baby in tow, I tried out a new idea and I super love it!
I sat down at my computer one day and ordered all of the dry-good staples I like to pick up at Costco. I tell you what, I am going to do this every time from now on! There’s no way all of these items plus all of the fresh and frozen items would have fit into one cart (which you’ll see below). So in just a few days after ordering, and with free shipping right to my porch, here’s my online Costco order:
I know it’s hard to see everything in these boxes, but here’s the rundown:
- 2 Cases of applesauce pouches
- Box of peach cups
- Box of mandarin orange cups
- Box of packs of nuts
- Case of olives
- Case of black beans
- Case of baked beans
- Box of quinoa and rice mix (such a wonderful convenience food to have on hand!)
- Bag of coffee
- Several big containers of spices we use regularly
- Brown sugar
- Pack of canned chicken
- Bag of dried blueberries
- French fried onions
January Costco Online Order $267
Then, I went into Costco with the babe and filled our cart with everything else we needed!
I’m all about grocery shopping, but one of my favorite things about Costco is the clothing they offer! I found really nice coats for three of our kids for just $7 each. Our littlest just moved up a size in clothing, so I found a few outfits and jammies for her. I grabbed a case of diapers. And what about food? Oh joy, all the good food!
- Boneless Chicken Thighs
- Flautas (we love these for a quick meal in our Air Fryer!)
- Mixed Greens
- Sparkling Water (a fun treat for all the bigs at our house, including me) ;)
- Tortilla Chips
- French Fries
- Chicken Nuggets
- 2 cases of Naked (because it never gets old to say “I got Naked at Costco.”)
January In-Store Costco Trip $256
Well, shucks if I didn’t get sucked into an offer for “Spend $45, get a $45 eGiftCard.” But a free Sam’s membership, just to try and see if I like it for a year? Why not?
—- > Pssst, here’s a link for you to take advantage of this also if you want!) Spend $45, get a $45 eGiftCard. Online only. <——
The biggest pull for me is that there is a Sam’s in Grand Island (45 minutes west of us) but not a Costco (which is in Lincoln, an hour to the east). So I think it will be nice to have this Sams membership when I am in GI. Plus, I wanted to compare Sam’s to Costco and see what might meet our needs better.
So after our Costco shopping was complete, Baby and I headed to Sam’s to check it out before her appointment.
I like it!
I feel like I’m going to like Costco better, but at the same time, Sam’s had some fun sales and clearance that I really appreciated! I got a couple of birthday gifts for our littles for super cheap since it was right after Christmas. Awesome fun! Plus they had some really neat food clearance items too.
I filled my cart here too, which I wasn’t expecting to do. But it doesn’t take much to fill a cart when you’re buying in bulk!
- Frozen fruit for smoothies
- Rice Cake snacks (for one of our college kids to take to his apartment)
- Salad Mix
- Cheese Slices (x2)
- Canned Pineapple
- Fresh Pineapple
- Instant Oatmeal Pouches (for a special treat for the kids)
- Box of Spaghetti Noodles
- Tub of Whole Milk Yogurt
- Whatever else is buried under there that I can see. I lost my receipt. :)
January Sams Food Purchase $117
Then we had to take it all in and put it all away. :/
This is a huge job, not just because of the big food shopping trip and how it filled the back of our van, but also because there are so many babies who need to be held, especially after Mommy has been gone all day! So while I juggled baby snuggles, Matt, Malachi, Brayden, and our 6yo Girlie trudged in and out bringing everything in. :)
Food piled up all over the living room and kitchen, and we slowly got it put away.
Hmmm. I need to show you my freezers and food storage spaces huh?! Sounds like a good upcoming post in our Big Family Food series!
Big Family Food Shopping Trip: I Spent HOW MUCH?!
Between my online Costco order, my in-store Costco purchase, and my Sams purchase, my total was $640. I was expecting it to be much more, actually. (It was more with the clothes, coats, toys, paper towels, and diapers. But I only count actual food in our food budget.)
I feel like $640 isn’t bad for a great big, once-a-month Costco and Sam’s shopping trip. But here’s something that I am both giggling at and trying to re-evaluate:
Much of this food was gone after a week and a half.
A WEEK AND A HALF!
We still have plenty of pasta, rice, beans, fries, and fruit cups left. There’s a little chicken left in the freezer plus half the flautas. We haven’t finished all of the ‘Pellegrinos, ha.
But did you see all the fresh produce in those pictures? I’m talking six pounds of grapes, eight pounds of strawberries, two tubs of blueberries, seven pounds of apples, five pounds of clementines, eight pounds of pears, two containers of greens, a tub of pineapple, and whatever else I missed. Ten days later, we were left with 3 apples and a small bowl of shriveled grapes. Whoa, baby. Where does it all go?
Truly, feeding this tribe and watching the food disappear fills me with joy!! My college-age niece, who drops by frequently, opened my fridge just after the ten days had passed since my shopping trip and was like, “Whoa, your fridge is so empty!” Hahaha, I know, Kailey. I know.
Not to worry, because we really do have plenty of food in the house at all times. It’s the fresh food that’s hard to keep up with.
I’m chewing on this:
I think it’s time to re-think our grocery budget and my shopping practices. The budget might need to increase or shift in some places. Also, I don’t know how I’d make it happen (because I have to move a few mountains to be able to go out of town for these big shopping trips), but I might need more than a once-a-month Costco or Sam’s trip.
So stay tuned to our Big Family Food series. I’ll share as I figure all of this out. I hope you’re having as much fun with this series as I am!
Where are your favorite places to grocery shop?
P.S. I finished this post and scheduled it. Then I went back to Sam’s a few days later because I was in Lincoln for an event and there was a Sam’s a mile away. I spent another $250 on produce and meat. Yes. It’s time to take another look at our grocery budget. Oy! But hey, at least I’m getting the most out of my free Sam’s membership!