$70 Grocery Budget (+ why I stopped posting my menu plans)

I’m currently challenging myself to stick with a $70 grocery budget for our family of five. This includes almost all of our breakfasts, lunches, snacks, and dinners + most household products (toiletries, laundry soap, etc.).

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The last two weeks, I didn’t post our menu plan with my grocery posts. I did this intentionally — without saying anything — to see if people would notice and mention anything.

You see, it takes quite a bit of extra time to track what we eat and share it and it felt like the only comments I had been getting were pretty negative, nit-picky comments about our menu plan (most of these were coming in via email and on social media). I was feeling like a) people weren’t finding the menu plans helpful and b) it probably wasn’t worth my time to share the menu plans if they were only going to get critical comments.

But then… multiple people wrote in and last week and asked about the menu plans and told me you had found it so helpful. That was so encouraging to know that many of you actually do find the menu plans helpful. So, I’m happy to bring them back! 🙂

Here’s what we bought and ate this week:

Kroger Shopping Trip #1:

  • 2 loaves of bread — marked down to $1.79
  • 10 lb. bag of potatoes — $1.99
  • 2 cantaloupe — $0.99 each
  • Kroger vitamin D milk — $2.59
  • Total with tax: $10.77

As you know, I eat a lot of salads every week. This one was one of my favorites from this past week. (Marked down greens, leftover roasted asparagus, leftover Italian chicken.)

Jesse and I went out for a lunch date on Wednesday to one of our favorite places: Frothy Monkey. I love their Gail Salad with whole grain toast and butter. (Except yikes, that avocado looks nasty — I cut that bad part out before eating the salad!)

We already had a lot of groceries in our pantry, fridge, and freezer and there weren’t any really fantastic coupon deals at Kroger, but since I still had $59 in our grocery budget to use, I went to Kroger on Friday to see what markdowns I could find.

I was not disappointed. In fact, I kind of hit the motherlode of markdowns!

Kroger Shopping Trip #2:

  • Family-Sized Nabisco Crackers & Cookies — $1.99 with Friday-Saturday Kroger Digital Coupon
  • 3 boxes of Kroger cereal — $1.49 each
  • Frozen Turkey — $0.97/lb. with Friday-Saturday Kroger Digital Coupon = $6.43
  • Minute Rice — marked down to $0.69
  • 2 Wasabi Peanuts — marked down to $0.25 each
  • Ghana chocolate — marked down to $0.69
  • Multigrain bread — marked down to $1.29
  • 2 Whole-wheat Pita pockets — marked down $0.99 each
  • RX Bar — FREE with Free Friday coupon
  • 2 packages Kroger Sausage Links — $1.99 each with 4 Day weekend sale
  • 2 bags Salad Kits — marked down to $1.49 each
  • Simple Truth Eggs — marked down to $1.49
  • Quaker Oat Beverage — marked down to $1
  • 2 big bottles French’s ketchup — marked down to $0.89 each
  • 5 jars of Simple Truth Organic Corn & Bean Salsa — marked down to $0.79 each
  • 2 Simple Truth Greek Yogurt — marked down to $0.49 each
  • Chi-Chi’s pineapple salsa — marked down to $0.79
  • Hot Salsa — marked down to $1.29
  • Tomato Juice — marked down to $0.89
  • Total with tax: $49.23

I thought you’d like to see how yummy that bagged salad looks like on a plate. Here’s half a bag of the salad. I love that buying these bagged salads makes for such quick and easy — and healthful and inexpensive! — lunches for me!

a photo of Crystal Paine and her daughter

Kaitlynn went to 7th and 8th grade camp in Kentucky with 33 other students from church on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. I am not a student ministry leader, but they were short on leaders who were able to come so I volunteered to go. And I had a blast getting to hang out with the kids, have fun with them, listen to them, love on them, and encourage them.

So Kaitlynn and I ate camp food for 2 days this week… and it wasn’t that bad! I was especially happy that they had a salad bar for lunch and dinner!

What We Ate This Past Week

Note: When you see the meals below, please remember this: I buy ahead often. Which means that when I find a great deal on something I know we’ll use, I buy as much as I can afford in our budget to have on hand.

This means that you aren’t going to see all of the groceries my shopping trip that I used to make all of the meals we ate.

Please also remember that I’m putting this out there and it’s not a perfectly balanced menu. This is just really what we ate — and I hope that it encourages you to see the real-ness and lack of perfection here.


  • Cereal, Oatmeal, Scrambled Eggs, Peanut Butter/Banana Toast


  • Peanut Butter & Jelly Sandwiches, Salads, Leftovers, Blackberries, Cookies, Protein Bars (Jesse and I went out to lunch on Wednesday)


  • Cantaloupe, Cookies, Popcorn, Ice Cream, Crackers & Cheese, Refrigerator Pickles


  • Sunday — Frozen Pizza
  • Monday —Italian Chicken, Pineapple, Roasted Asparagus, Homemade Biscuits, Cantaloupe
  • Tuesday — Beef, Twice Baked Potatoes, Cantaloupe
  • Wednesday — Leftovers (The girls had pizza at church because they went to an activity night.)
  • Thursday — Meatballs, Mashed Potatoes, Pineapple, Refrigerator Pickles
  • Friday — Roasted Turkey in the Instant Pot, Fruit (Kathrynne was at a birthday party. Kaitlynn and I ate a quick dinner and then left to go to church to take the bus to camp in Kentucky!)
  • Saturday — Jesse and Silas and Kathrynne went out to eat. Kaitlynn and I were at camp.

Total spent on groceries: $60 — I have no idea how I managed to have a perfectly even number!!

Cashback earned this week: 50 points for submitting my receipts to Fetch rewards + submitting my receipt to iBotta rewards.