Since January, I have been logging my grocery shopping over at Canadian Budget Binder. Mr CBB started the Grocery Game Challenge so that each participant starts to realize where his/her money goes when grocery shopping, avoid waste and stay within budget.
I don’t really care how much I spend on grocery to be honest, because I can afford most foods, and there is not a lot to choose from anyway. But, the supermarket is full of food will you say! This post started after I commented on a fantastic post from Funny About Money, about how prices today were about the same as they were two generations ago. I argued that the cost of food may be the same but the quality certainly is not. Monsanto corn and Mexican tomatoes who are harvested before they are ripe have nothing to do with a local, mostly organic harvest in the 50s.
To which the author replied
We’re inundated with fake food in a way people in my parents’ generation were not. If you try to keep mostly to whole foods (avoiding as much processed stuff as you can), today’s supermarket looks like a food desert. Most chain grocery stores carry surprisingly little real food, in proportion to the total number of ingestible items on the shelves. That’s because few Americans care to cook meals from scratch — or even know how to.
I couldn’t put it better, so that is the end of my post, thank you for coming hahaha!
Back to the supermarket. The last time I went, I bought things for the sake of buying, I honestly didn’t know what to get! My diet is pretty simple and I make most of my food from scratch.
So I buy the basics, rice, pasta, salt, oil, spices… and lots of flour to make bread, pizza or crepes from scratch.
Then a few vegetables, and I am on my way.
Occasional items include crackers, alcohol and mixers (7up or sparkling water), and a tub of cream cheese.
We also go to a membership supermarket 3-4 times per year in Guatemala City and stock up on more non perishables, as well as imported products like cheese, bacon, cereals… We freeze the perishable items and stockpile the rest.
I do not buy from the supermarket
- Meat because we have a local butcher who kills an animal daily and we don’t trust the supermarket to keep the meat properly refrigerated. Frozen/Unfrozen/Refrozen= guaranteed stomach disaster. Same for sausages and convenience cold cuts who are not good anyway, and very pricey.
- Yogurt, I have cultures and do it myself.
- Fresh milk and cheese, same as the meat, so we buy powdered milk, only to do yogurt and put in coffee, and cheese in bulk that we freeze from the capital city. Last time I bought cheese was before Christmas just made a refill in late May.
- Chicken, as explained in my post about raising chickens, we do not buy chicken meat until our chicks are grown to be eaten.
- Frozen pizza and other convenience foods like ready meals, or anything from the frozen aisle. It takes 30 minutes to go home and it would thaw. Not that it is delicious anyway.
- Bread. I make my own. Sliced bread smells like laundry detergent 90% of the time, I have no idea why but feel like eating soap when I buy some. I bake about once a week, slice my bread and freeze it, then warm a few slices in the oven in the morning.
My list rarely changes
Apart from the vegetables, none of what I buy will go bad, so I could shop once a quarter and be just fine. The price of vegetables in my village is 20% higher than in town and with the new old car it only costs $8 round trip to go shopping instead of $20 previously, so I still shop weekly.
The veggies are always the same too. Bananas, tomatoes, garlic, onions, jalapeno chilis… and a few treats that are affordable in season like watermelons, spinach, grapes, apples, strawberries etc. The supermarket is making a small effort to bring stuff out here like mushroom but they are so expensive no one buys them, and if you do, they may have been there for a week and look all dry and sad.
So really, 99% of the supermarket’s products are not for me.
This post was featured on Canadian Budget Finder, thank you!