Monday, November 11, 2013

Groceries for a month

I've kept very careful records of my food expenses this month - I wanted to get an idea of how much of my money was going to different categories of food. I know this fluctuates depending upon the season and the sales, and even my mood when shopping and planning meals. But this is where you'll see what happened this particular month.

I need to explain that I began this month with a well stocked pantry, freezer, and fridge, and a cart full of potatoes and onions. I ended the month with less food in the fridge and fewer potatoes and onions than I began with, but with more in my freezer (mostly extra chicken, but also some already cooked foods), and  a little less in the pantry. I think it does somehow even out over the course of a year, and I'm REALLY hoping that produce prices start to come down soon, so we can go back to having more variety. 

One other thing I want to make note of: studies I've read (I'll try to track down the links) say that Israelis throw out a HUGE amount of food - 40% or so. I've been trying to minimize our food waste, so I'd rather buy fewer fruits and vegetables, which are highly perishable, than over-buy. We can always run out and buy a few more if need be, but once food is rotten, you can't turn back time. So I try hard to only buy what we'll actually be able to eat.

We actually spent a bit more on spontaneous "junk" purchases than usual, for a number of reasons... I'm going to have to reign that in from now on, and try to get back to "normal".

And here is the breakdown:

3.94 kg red peppers 21.65
4.43 kg cucumbers 14.14
4.72 kg carrots 16.70
2.23 kg butternut squash 8.96
1.88kg onions 5.72
1 cabbage 2.36
3 kg potatoes 9.00
1 kg tomatoes 4.00
3 kg kishuim 18.10
1.4 kg beets 2.82
celery 4.99
cherry tomatoes 15.00
Total Vegetables: 123.40

9.47 kg bananas 54.45
8.25 kg apples 36.15
3.1 kg avocados 15.35
4 kg oranges 10.00
2.2 kg "sug bet" (reduced price) apples and pears 4.40
kiwis 12.00 
Total fruits: 132.35

3 kg round brown rice 23.70
4 kg whole oats 32.53
1 kg buckwheat 9.98
 8 whole wheat flour 36.72
Total Grains: 102.93

Legumes - I had a really great stock of split peas, lentils, chick peas, etc going into this month, and I used a good deal of that up
1.1 kg black beans 13.05
1 kg red lentils 9.99 
Total legumes: 23.04

Dry Goods
3 boxes boring cereal 42.42
1 bag rice cereal 13.99
2 boxes special cereal 43.80(organic)
2 bags sweetened shabbat cereal 19.60 (first time we did this in YEARS)
500g sunflower seeds (hulled, raw) 10.35
12 bags whole wheat pasta 78.66
5 shkidei marak (mini soup croutons) 32.00 (we still have 3 left. there was a sale and shkidei marak help my kids eat soup so we get them from time to time)
4 bags pretzels 24.00 (for emergencies)
tea bags 12.99
2 kg crackers 54.00 (actually this is a really out of the ordinary purchase. long story)
Total Dry Goods: 331.80

Chicken - now we have a lot of chicken in the freezer
1.25 kg boneless skinless chicken breast 33.95
2 whole chickens + 2kg bottoms 121.00
chicken breast (with bone) 77.41
chicken bottoms 56.00
2 whole chickens 33.25 
Total chicken: 321.60

Dairy and fish - started off the month with 8 bags of milk in the fridge, and ended with just one, so we bought fewer milk bags than usual; we'll make up for it soon, I'm sure!
28 bags milk 133.58
shredded Noam cheese  84.36
sliced Noam cheese 86.16
2 kg fish fillets 40.94 (decided to serve fish on Shabbat one week, as we had guests who eat fish but not chicken)
2 lactose free milk 11.98
2 soy milk 17.80
2 tofu 20.71 (I spent way more on tofu than I normally would. It is so much cheaper at iherb, but the day I bought this I couldn't wait for an overseas order to come!)
240g Bulgarit cheese 9.48
400g salted butter 17.46
prepared chumus 800g 9.99 (need to have some emergency food for the teenager!)
eggs (1 doz) 18.00 - missed the cheap egg order because I was away for pickup day. Next month we're back to getting 30 organic eggs for 30 shekels
4 sour cream 9.72
2 pints of ice cream (Ben & Jerry's) - free
Total Dairy and Fish: 460.20

2 bags granulated garlic 8.38
3 bottles wine 48.90
1.5 liter bottle grape juice 18.00
14 bagels 21.00
40 pitot 40.00  - this is what happens when I'm too tired to bake bread!
3 baguettes 12.06
unrefined sea salt 19.90
24 seltzer 62.17
200g instant coffee 16.99 (this is a once-in-a-while purchase - I drink "real" coffee most days!)
2 large cans tomato paste 13.12
900g tomato paste in small packs 9.90- can't wait till I can get some cheap tomatoes to make my own tomato puree again!
6 pack "Shandy" 30.00
2 pkgs frozen bourekas (for emergencies - think teenage boy who likes bourekas) 30.00
chocolate 15.00
4 boxes granola bars 30.00 (again, a really out of the ordinary purchase. These were on sale and were purchased 'specially for my mother in law while she visits here
Total Misc: 375.50

Junk/purchases while out

One pizza night - 100.00

Total Food Spending for the month: about 2170 shekels.

So... what do you think?


  1. I think that's amazing as it's just over double what I spent last month for two for us - and one of us is only 4 whereas you have the equivalent of 4 adults and two children. Well done! Of course your challenge (should you choose to accept it :) ) for next month is to get it down to under 2000nis.

    1. Oh, I don't know if I can take THAT challenge on! We'll see.

  2. Wow - I am so impressed - I haven't been keeping such close track but I think we spend about twice as much. Wow. I have been reading your blog for a long time now and enjoying it, and recommending it to others, but I think I need to take a much harder look at what in the world we are spending so much money on! I see that I am also simply buying a lot more dairy/f&v/eggs. But I need to really keep track more closely - thank you for inspiring me!

  3. Not only I am impressed by how little you spent (IMHO) I am super impressed that you could track it this way.. no way I could

    1. i just tallied up receipts as I bought stuff. I've already got my next month's list going!

  4. Just wondering what you serve for Shabbos? How many chickens and what do you serve for Shabbos lunch?

    1. I post my shabbat menus most fridays. feel free to check them out - just search for "shabbat menu" in the search bar at the top of the page.
      The quantities depend upon whether or not we're having guests. When it is just us, I usually make 1 whole chicken plus 1 kg of whatever chicken parts I got for a decent price.

  5. I don't think produce prices are going to fall anytime soon. They just tacked on another 18% when they added VAT to veggies...

    1. there was talk of adding VAT to produce, but I don't believe it actually happened.

  6. I wish I could budget and be as careful as you but I do write down in a notebook what I buy and I look for the sales on foods I try to eat


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