We Make $30K and Have Twins. Here’s What We Spend on Groceries.

published Jul 25, 2021
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Credit: Courtesy of Constance

Name: Constance
Location: Winchester, MA
Age: 38
Number of people in household: 2 adults and two 5-year-olds
Occupation: Project Assistant
Household income: $30,000 
Grocery budget: $200 for two weeks
Grocery stores of choice: Costco, Stop and Shop, and the farmers market

How did you choose where to buy groceries?

Stop and Shop is just down the road from our house so it’s the most convenient location for us to buy groceries from. We’ve been Costco members for years and that’s where we normally buy all of our bulk pantry items. Their prices are great for the items that we want to last. We also enjoy supporting local businesses, which we do by shopping at our town’s weekend farmers market. 

What did you buy and what do you plan to use everything for?

Thursday: Costco and Stop and Shop

  • 3 large cucumbers
  • 4 tubs of tofu
  • 6 packs of rice
  • 28-pack of applesauce pouches (for the kids’ snacks)
  • 1 pack of Greenies Dental Chews (for our dog)
  • 70 packs of pretzels (for kids’ snacks and Halloween treats)
  • Toilet paper
  • Kitchen towels

Total spent at Costco: $57.78

We eat a lot of produce because we have salad for lunch pretty much daily at home. (I already bought a 1-pound box of mixed greens earlier in the week, and our pantry is stocked with nuts, seeds, and canned chickpeas for toppings.) Our 5-year-old twin daughters love rice bowls. I plan to add frozen peas and frozen meatballs to the rice, which they’ll enjoy for dinner. The applesauce pouches and the pretzels are snacks for the kids. (Let’s see if the pretzels last us until Halloween … )

Credit: Courtesy of Constance
  • 3 bottles of salad dressing
  • 3 crowns of broccoli
  • 1 bunch kale
  • 1 head garlic
  • 1 piece of ginger
  • 1 sweet potato

Total spent at Stop and Shop: $18.80

Can you tell we eat a lot of salad? (Hence the three bottles of dressing.) The rest of the produce is for soup I’m making for a socially distant backyard bonfire with my mom friends.

Credit: Courtesy of Constance

Saturday: Stop and Shop

  • 1 more bunch kale
  • 1 sweet potato
  • 1 bunch leeks

Total spent: $6.64

I forgot a few ingredients for the soup I made (see above!) so I had to pick up a bunch of kale and another sweet potato. I threw a bunch of leeks into my cart to add to a veggie noodle stir-fry that we’ll have for dinner later this week.

Credit: Courtesy of Constance

Sunday: Stop and Shop

  • 2 bags of rice noodles
  • 1 head of cabbage
  • 1 red bell pepper

Total spent: $11.57

Credit: Courtesy of Constance

I already had eggs and sauce in the pantry for this stir-fry, so all I needed to add were the veggies and rice noodles I had purchased.

Credit: Courtesy of Constance

Sunday Night: Takeout

Blue Ribbon BBQ

Extended (and quarantined!) family was visiting from out of town, so we ordered takeout from Blue Ribbon BBQ. We got enough takeout for four adults and two kids (and ended up with with lots of leftovers). In fact, I don’t need to shop again until next week because we have a ton of leftover soup, noodle stir-fry, and takeout BBQ.

Total Spent: $105.91

Credit: Courtesy of Constance

Thursday: Stop and Shop

  • 1 carton soy milk
  • 2 jars of Oui coconut full-fat yogurt
  • 1 white acorn squash
  • 1 bulb garlic
  • 1 yellow onion
  • 1 knob of fresh ginger

Total spent: $11.63

This was definitely a miscellaneous trip. I needed some breakfast items to get us through the week. The kids love Cheerios in soy milk and I’m a yogurt fan. I also needed to pick up garlic, onion, and ginger because I was running low (and use them in pretty much everything).

Saturday: Winchester Center Town’s Outdoor Farmers Market

  • 1 bag of spicy fresh salad greens
  • 4 fresh apple cider donuts
  • 3 Honeycrisp apples
  • 1 bag of fresh green beans
  • 2 yellow peppers
  • 1 farm ripe tomato

Total: $23.20

The greens, peppers, and tomatoes are for our daily salads for lunch. The green beans will be stir-fried in a bean paste sauce from my pantry and served with rice (also from my pantry). The apples and donuts were devoured on the spot.

How is this different from how you normally shop?

Unfortunately, I’m not that big of a planner and end up making lots of small grocery trips during the week. I really enjoy shopping for fresh, raw ingredients which is why I make so many trips. (Produce is usually the first thing to spoil in the fridge.) I also often forget ingredients, despite my best efforts to make an organized shopping list. That being said, I understand that frequent shopping trips are not recommended given the fact that we’re experiencing a global pandemic. When I do shop, I take proper precautions including wearing a mask, keeping a six-foot distance from other shoppers, and sanitizing my hands before and after. I also make sure to avoid shopping when I don’t feel well.

This post originally ran on Kitchn. See it there: We Make $30K and Have Twins. Here’s What We Spend on Groceries.