Extreme Grocery Budget Challenge Week #14 Dollar General

Hello, hello! Before I start my grocery haul for this week I want to remind my regular readers that the Kidney Class will begin again, after I take the updated class. It might be a couple of weeks, as I have a lot going on in other areas, but I will get to it.

This week, as promised, I decided to take my $75 dollar weekly food budget and head to Dollar General. Now, a few things to note. I was not optimistic at all as to how this would go. I either thought it would cost way more, or I would get cheap less quality food. I live in a very small town in rural Florida. There is a Dollar General in almost every town around me. About 25 minutes from me there is a Dollar General Market, which really is just like a small supermarket. You can get fresh fruit, veggies, and meat. But, I am talking about a regular Dollar General that has some freezer stuff, and the one where I live actually has a tiny area for fresh fruit and veggies. In my very tiny town we also have a Family Dollar, more on that in a minute, a small Hitchcock’s, and a Sun Stop which is really a gas station with a grocery, and deli section. I will hit all four of them, eventually with my budget.

This budget began as a 21 dollar per person budget, or 63 dollars per week. It also was a pantry challenge to see if someone like me, with CKD, could eat shelf stable foods and still feel well. That only took a couple of weeks to decide no, that is not possible. Everything is so expensive now, that I had to raise my weekly budget to 75 dollars. This is only for food, and it is to save money, spend down debt, not make new debt, avoid food waste, and just learn to be more wise with our money. I have to say, so far it has been successful, and with smart food choices, and portion control, it has not effected my health.

Dollar General is quite small, and buying groceries at these types of stores is odd, because most people probably go in and just buy a few things. The self checkout area is super tiny, and there is not a lot of place in the regular checkout, only one, to put groceries. But, we made it work, albeit with people looking at us strange. You are not going to get a huge selection, and honestly I am ok with that. Too many choices is just a pain to me.

I was pleasantly surprised by the small area of fresh fruit and veg. The grapes were way too expensive for me, but they looked good. I did get a bagged salad, some roma tomatoes, and white onions. These prices were comparable to Walmart, maybe a smidge higher. But, to not have to travel the 12 miles to Walmart is a plus. I noticed that the meat section was not horrible. I could get burger patties, ground beef, chicken breast, sausage, and various breakfast meats. I am not going to ever get organic, grass-fed meats in this town, but it is meat. The chicken breast was the frozen kind, like you can get at Walmart. The price for 2 pounds I think was 9.50. But, I had to run into Family Dollar because DG did not have the Idahoan potatoes, and the same size chicken breast was 7.50 there. I did not need any chicken and there were only a few bags left, so I did not buy any. They had no ground turkey at all, which was kind of disappointing. Family Dollar did not either. There were whole freezer sections where food had been sold out.

The dairy section was also not too bad. I expected just cheap imitation cheese, but there was actual real cheese and the price was not bad. I did need milk, and that was $4.50 which I think is way too much. I don’t drink milk, so it will last close to a week. I still have shredded cheese from last week, so I didn’t buy any more. I probably will never buy coffee creamer at these small stores. It costs way too much for a small container. But, if I am not wanting to drive to save gas, you never know I might. Maybe I will give up coffee. LOL, that is a lie.

They had lots of dry beans and canned beans. We do not eat a lot of those, and I have some in the pantry for when we do. They did not have a ton of flour, and I have some in the pantry, so again, I did not buy any. I did not see any dry rice. They had a small selection of pasta, and I did pick up one box of spaghetti which was 90 cents. We decided to try the chicken pasta in the package. I am not sure if I will have that, as it is very high in sodium. It was only a dollar, though. The canned veggies were on sale for 75 cents each, and I got 6 cans. They had no Idahoan mashed potatoes, or taco seasoning. I had to get those at Family Dollar. I already tried the sweet pickles shown, and I don’t care for them, but they will go good in chicken or tuna salad. I bought one can of fully cooked roast beef at $3.50. This was a curiosity buy to see if it is worth it to have it in the pantry. Let’s face it, even if it might be affordable if no one will eat it, it makes no sense to buy it. The bread was a decent price, but the hot dog buns were way too much. Unfortunately, it was the only kind available on this day. The Armour chicken hot dogs were only 1 dollar, which I thought was a very good deal.

You can see my whole grocery haul in the image below. My grand total between the two stores was $64.15. That means I am 10 dollars under budget this week and honestly that makes DG definitely worth it. Would I shop here every week? No, most likely not, unless I had to. But, even if I shop here once or twice a month, and get my other items that I can not get here the other weeks, it is still worth it to save the gas and wear and tear on my car. If you read last week, then you know I can get my organic meat at Winn-Dixie and if I got at a good time a lot of times it will be marked down to a reasonable price. I was very unhappy with the organic milk I got there last week, though. That might have been why it was such a good deal, because something was wrong with it. No one would drink it. I had to waste it. It was well within the use by date, so that was not the issue.

Are you joining in my grocery budget challenge? Leave me a comment to let me know how it is going.

Next week, I think I will try my budget at our small Hitchcocks to see what I can get there for 75 dollars.

Menu Plan Monday

I forgot to post my walking stats yesterday, to the FB page, so they will be posted shortly.  I hope others are taking the Walking Challenge.  If you would like more information about that, use the contact form below to message me.

My husband and I decided that we really needed to revamp the way we grocery shop.  There are 3 main reasons for this.

1-  To avoid food waste using leftovers up and food items in the pantry.

2-  To cut our grocery bill in at least half or more if possible.

3-  To eat healthier and stick cut out a lot of the junk.

Now I can tell you my kids are really not on board with this.  But, lucky for me they don’t pay any bills so we the parents have all the say.  Now that doesn’t mean there will be no snack foods or food they will enjoy eating.  But, it does mean there won’t be all the crap they like to eat so much in the house.  I was going to share the picture of my February meal plan, but then I realized my handwriting has a lot to be desired and I have funky symbols that only I know what they mean.  So, I will just list out the menu items.  You can find all of these recipes in various places on the web, mostly Pinterest for me.  I adapt them to meet my dietary needs, for CKD.  I have started shopping weekly, and last week only spent 70 dollars on food, and that was with non-food items as well.  I shopped at Save A Lot and Walmart.  I do still try to buy organic and grass-fed meats.  This is actually fairly difficult on a strict budget.  It would be easier if Trader Joe’s was not so far from where I live.  The expense of the gas just isn’t worth the trip, unless I am going to that city for another reason.

This menu does not include breakfast or lunch.  We have a frugal breakfast and lunches already.  We eat a lot of chicken, but not in large portions.

2/17-  Chicken Ala King over Biscuits, fruit

2/18-  Fried chicken, mac n cheese with whole tomatoes over it, green beans

2/19-  Grilled cheese and tomato soup, fruit

2/20- Chicken marsala, pasta, fruit or salad

2/21-  Ravioli, bread and butter, side salad

2/22-  Smothered Frito taco bowls, coleslaw

2/23-  BLT and apples

2/24-  Chicken alfredo and broccoli

2/25-  Smothered pork chops, mashed potatoes, green beans

2/26-  Spaghetti O’s, hot dogs, veggies

2/27-  Grilled cheese and tomato soup, chips

2/28-  Ground turkey and broccoli pasta dish

2/29-  Spaghetti and meat sauce, side salad

If you are interested in learning how to meal plan, edit recipes for nutrition needs, or any of my coaching services, use the contact form at the end of the post to message me.

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