I’m a Stay-at-Home Mom and My Husband’s a Computer Programmer — Here’s How We Spent $106 on a Week’s Worth of Groceries for Our Family of Four

published Apr 8, 2022
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Credit: Courtesy of Morgan

Name: Morgan
Location: Rockville, MD
Number of people in the household: 4
Age: 33 and 34 years, 34 and 11 months 
Occupation: I’m a stay-at-home mom and I also teach ESL eight hours a week in the evenings. My husband is a computer programmer. 
Household income: My husband is a computer programmer. We live off of his income and any money I make teaching goes into my savings to make student loan payments.
Where you shopped: Safeway and Harris Teeter
Amount spent: $106.28
Dietary requirements: I recently switched to a pescatarian diet and I don’t consume dairy. My husband and children eat everything.

Where did you shop?

I like to shop at Safeway because it’s close to my house and the prices are good. I can always find rewards or coupons on their app and, recently, the store’s had a lot of good produce on clearance. I also frequent H Mart, a Korean and international grocery store, but I didn’t need anything from there this week. I made a rare stop at Harris Teeter because I had some coupons for sparkling water that were going to expire soon. 

What’s your grocery strategy?

I always shop my pantry first; I even keep a running inventory in Google Sheets so I know what I have to use up. My resolution for 2022 is to not restock my pantry or freezer until I use everything and it’s saved me a lot on groceries for this month.

I usually budget $120 per week, and this week, I came in $14 under! I always shop with a list and rarely buy things not on my list. It saves me a lot of money and reduces food waste. I rarely buy snacks because we eat a lot for each meal. Plus, I prefer to make most of our food from scratch. 

How do you meal plan?

I meal plan for every dinner of the week (I also put this info into a Google Sheet and update it to reflect what I actually ended up cooking so I don’t repeat too many dishes). Lunch is usually leftovers and I don’t plan those meals. My husband does the cooking on the weekends, and he doesn’t like to plan in advance. He’s really good at whipping things up; I, however, need a plan and, by the weekend, I enjoy a break from cooking. 

My husband is from South Korea (we met there when I was teaching English) and he prefers to eat mainly Korean food throughout the week. I also love eating and learning how to cook Korean food. I can make one or two banchan that we can eat for a few nights, make a jjigae, and make one or two protein dishes depending on if I use beef (for my husband) or tuna, which we can all eat together. The jjigae will also last one or two days and the rice can be repurposed into fried rice. It makes meal planning so much easier. Plus, the dishes use a lot of fresh vegetables and incorporate probiotics that are naturally found in kimchi. I’ll also mix in a pasta night or another grain, like quinoa, during the week.

What did you buy? 


  • Refried beans, $1.29
  • Angel hair pasta, $0.99
  • Yellow rice, $3.49
  • Coca-Cola, $5.18
  • All purpose flour, $4.99
  • 1 can of corn, $1.69
  • Frozen blueberries, $11.99
  • 1 dozen brown eggs, $4.49
  • 1 loaf of bread, $3.49
  • 1 slice of cake, $3.99
  • 2 boxes of frozen crab cakes, $6.49 (buy one get one free)
  • Navel oranges, $5.00
  • Carrots, $1.79
  • Whole white mushrooms, $1.49
  • Broccoli crowns, $0.93
  • Green onions, $1.29
  • Bean sprouts, $1.50
  • Zucchini, $1.57
  • Red leaf lettuce, $0.85
  • Ginger root, $1.22
  • 1 whole pineapple, $2.99
  • Bananas, $2.49
  • GT’s Kombucha, $2.99
  • Hass avocados, $4.00
  • Onions, $1.43
  • Golden delicious apples, $4.78
  • Rotisserie chicken, $5.99

Total: $87.06 (plus $0.67 tax, minus $2.00 grocery rewards)

Harris Teeter

  • Melatonin, $8.24
  • Tylenol PM, $6.49
  • 3 cans Aura Bora Sparkling Water, $1.42 (I had two coupons for these and only paid for one)
  • Bananas, $1.07
  • Oranges, $2.00

Total: $19.22

Grand Total: $106.28

Credit: Courtesy of Morgan

Friday: Oatmeal, Crab Cakes and Regular Cake

Breakfast is oatmeal with bananas and blueberries topped with sliced almonds and a drizzle of peanut butter. For lunch we have leftovers from pasta night on Thursday. For dinner we have crab cakes, salad, potatoes, and broccoli. I also make flatbread from some leftover dough from when I made breadsticks the night before. (Friday is my meal planning and shopping day, so when I come home from the store I throw together a few things from that trip.) I drink some of the mango kombucha I got at Safeway and my husband has some Coke (all the Coke is for him). For dessert we eat half of the cake slice I got at Safeway. I like to buy this occasionally because it’s really good and who doesn’t like cake?

Credit: Courtesy of Morgan

Saturday: Kimbap for Everyone

For breakfast I make banana pancakes. It’s a really easy recipe: For every mashed banana use one egg, and eyeball a few spoonfuls of flour and a little baking powder. I add some cinnamon and blueberries and they taste like banana bread! I spread peanut butter on my kids’ pancakes and drizzle maple syrup on my own. I also serve it with diced pear. I make myself a matcha latte with oat milk and a dash of cinnamon. (I love making my own drinks at home. I won the milk frother through a giveaway, bought the matcha from H Mart, and received the cup from my best friend.)

For lunch I go all out and make kimbap — I love eating this, but don’t like cutting all of the ingredients. It turned out amazing! My kids ate it too. As an after-meal treat, I have a piece of Lindt chocolate that a student gave me. My husband makes dinner, which includes Japanese curry noodles, yachae mandu, kimchi, and salad. For dessert I have a small cup of vegan ice cream. 

Credit: Courtesy of Morgan

Sunday: Quesadillas for Me

I make my family oatmeal with oat milk, frozen blueberries, fresh bananas, sliced almonds, and peanut butter for breakfast. I also make some juice using some of the pineapple and orange I got at the store. Lunch for me is a quick quesadilla using refried beans and avocado. My husband makes the yellow rice and we serve it with salsa and steamed broccoli. He and our kids eat it with the rotisserie chicken I got at Safeway. Dinner is bean sprout soup that my husband makes and kimbap using any leftover vegetables from yesterday. For dessert I make a chocolate vegan mug cake that my husband and I secretly eat in the kitchen … we have a sweet tooth! 

Credit: Courtesy of Morgan

Monday: Tuna Pancakes and Doenjang-Jjigae

Breakfast is our usual oatmeal and I make myself a chai latte using the last tea bag I have in the pantry. Lunch for me is leftover rice from last night, Korean potato salad I make, and avocado toast. My kids have some version of that with some rice and egg my husband makes for himself. Dinner is all Korean food! I make tuna pancakes, doenjang-jjigae, cucumber kimchi, kimchi (from H Mart), Korean potato salad, steamed broccoli, kim, and multigrain rice. For dessert we eat cut-up pineapple.

Credit: Courtesy of Morgan

Tuesday: Fried Kimchi with Sliced Firm Tofu + Leftovers

Breakfast is oatmeal with our usual toppings. My husband goes to the office — he usually works from home — so for lunch I make myself some fried kimchi over sliced firm tofu and eat that with the leftover jjigae and rice from last night’s dinner. I make my kids fried rice with mushroom sauce and watered-down jjigae. I also have a piece of chocolate after lunch. My husband’s company provides lunch every Tuesday (up to $14), so we both order something, pay the difference, and have that for dinner. Today’s restaurant happens to be fusion bibimbap so we eat that with some rice I prepare. He also brings home a free cookie, which we eat in pieces over the next two days. 

Credit: Courtesy of Morgan

Wednesday: Kimchi Fried Rice with an Egg

Breakfast is oatmeal and I make myself an iced matcha latte. For lunch I use the leftover rice to make a delicious kimchi fried rice with an egg. I reserve some for my kids without kimchi and use mushroom sauce. We also eat some of the salad leftover from last night’s dinner (there was a lot!). I had some sparkling water with my lunch that I got for free at Harris Teeter using a coupon. For dinner we eat the last box of crab cakes, more salad from Tuesday, quinoa, and I make breadsticks from scratch. 

Credit: Courtesy of Morgan

Thursday: Pasta Night + Kkwabaegi

I make banana pancakes for breakfast and serve them with chopped fruit. For lunch it’s just the kids and me at home so I eat the leftover kimchi fried rice, an egg, and steamed broccoli. I make my kids tuna nuggets, quinoa, steamed broccoli, and pineapple. I also have some sparkling water. Thursday is usually pasta night, so I make spaghetti, a side of sautéed red onions, zucchini, tofu, and kale, and the leftover breadsticks from last night’s dinner. For dessert my husband uses the leftover breadstick dough to make kkwabaegi and dusts them with cinnamon and sugar. 

Credit: Courtesy of Morgan

Friday: A Buffet of Leftovers

Breakfast is oatmeal (I never really get sick of this!). The meal plan is a buffet of leftovers: spaghetti from last night, quinoa turned into fried “rice,” cucumber kimchi, yachae mandu, and the last can of sparkling water. Surprisingly, we don’t have dessert this night. 

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