My $110 Grocery Haul: Here's What I Ate For A Week As A Household Of One (Who Kind Of Sucks At Cooking)

Hi! I'm Kailey, a 30-year-old communications specialist by day and freelance writer by night living in the Chicago area. Lately, I've been on a mission to reduce eating out and ensure that I'm actually eating the food in my kitchen. I'll be the first to admit that my cooking skills are pretty lame. Most of my 20s were spent living in a city bustling with food options, so I fell into the Carrie Bradshaw routine of eating out for a sinful number of meals.

The author smiling and wearing a sweater

I don't store sweaters in my oven like Carrie, so I have that going for me.

Kailey Hansen

These days, I'm much better at limiting my takeout, but cooking is still not my thing. I try to be mindful of eating somewhat healthily, so many of my meals are very simple and thrown together with ingredients from Aldi or Trader Joe's.

Carrie Bradshaw saying "The only thing I've ever successfully made in the kitchen is a mess and several little fires"
Carrie Bradshaw saying "The only thing I've ever successfully made in the kitchen is a mess and several little fires"

HBO / Via

My meals this week were primarily made up of my most recent Trader Joe's haul, which was a little more expensive than usual. I live alone (with one cat child) and can get away with spending around $70 per week on groceries. This bill came to $110 because my fridge and freezer were calling for a major restock.

A Trader Joe's grocery haul

There are a couple of items not pictured, but this is most of the haul...and a photobomb by the cat.

Kailey Hansen

My groceries will vary depending on meals for the week, but these staples are almost always in my kitchen:

Cedric the Entertainer saying "I am who I am" on "The Neighborhood"
Cedric the Entertainer saying "I am who I am" on "The Neighborhood"

CBS / Via

• Fresh berries at all times! It's usually blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries for me.

• A nonberry fruit. This week I opted for cotton candy grapes. I used to go fruit crazy, but since I am a household of one, I'd often be tossing out fruit that went bad.

• Broccoli or another green vegetable. Whether frozen or fresh, I love a good veg side to add to my dinners.

• Oatmeal. I live and die by this breakfast.

• Eggs for my not-at-all-fancy weekend skillet.

• Bagged salad because I am not above this.

• Pasta because this should be on hand at all times.

• Spinach because I love spinach.

• A protein that's usually salmon, chicken, or turkey.

• Rice, grains, or quinoa for side dish purposes.

• Veggie chips for incessant snacking.

• A frozen pizza because that's how I roll.

• Life-giving beverages in the form of coffee, tea, and sparkling water.

Here's how my week went!


Mornings are my favorite (I know, I know...), and I rise and shine at 5:30 a.m. After feeding the gremlin cat, I pour a cup of water and a cup of iced coffee from the store-bought Starbucks Iced Coffee jug that's in my fridge. Unsweetened medium roast. It is my kryptonite.

A Starbucks Iced Coffee jug alongside a Mason jar filled with iced coffee

These iced coffee jugs are $6.59 at Aldi and give me about four servings per container. I'm saving money by not grabbing an iced coffee from an actual Starbucks store multiple times a week, and I honestly prefer the taste of these...

Kailey Hansen

Breakfast: I am a creature of habit, so I prep my usual: low-sugar maple and brown sugar oatmeal. I top it with some fresh blueberries and am off to work.

Sometimes when I'm feeling wild, I'll add yogurt or granola, too. Today, I'm a plain Jane.

Lunch: Here's my ultra-adorable Trader Joe's lunch for work. I divvy up the family-size Caesar salad kit into multiple lunch portions and add chicken. I pack blueberry yogurt and sparkling water because I'm a beverage goblin who needs three drinks at my desk.

A salad, yogurt, and sparkling water

Not pictured are additional work snacks: a cheese stick, grapes, and whole wheat pita chips throughout the day. I'll also make one more cup of coffee at work and refill my water bottle a million times to get up and walk around.

Kailey Hansen

Dinner: I need to use the rest of the perishable ingredients in my fridge, so I throw everything into a pan for dinner. This concoction includes bell peppers, Brussels sprouts, spinach, mushrooms, and chicken sausage. I let the blend simmer and then dig in. Feels like my life is together on a Monday!

A stove-top pan with a bunch of vegetables and chicken sausage
Kailey Hansen

I end my night with a cup of Yogi Bedtime tea and catch up on Abbott Elementary.

A cup of tea

Yogi tea is a staple in my pantry. My favorites are the Bedtime, Ginger, and Honey Lavender Stress Relief flavors!

Kailey Hansen

Breakfast: Wake up at 5:45 a.m. and promptly pour a glass of iced coffee. Work-wise, I'm less productive than yesterday and find myself staring into the abyss while enjoying my cup of joe. It's oatmeal and blueberries again for breakfast.

A bowl of oatmeal with blueberries
Kailey Hansen

Lunch: Same lunch and snacks as yesterday. I swap out the T.J.'s sparkling water for this fancy Aura Bora herbal water. It's honestly delicious and not too sweet (my preference). Last weekend, I purchased a single can of this to try. My review of this fancy-pants drink is 10/10!

Can of Aura Bora sparkling water, Cactus Rose flavor

The packaging is so cute. It's the little things.

Kailey Hansen

Dinner: By some miracle, I manage a workout before heading home for the day. I'm starving, so my whole wheat rotini pasta with Rao's vodka sauce and Parmesan cheese gives me life. Normally, I'd add turkey meatballs, but I ran out! Not pictured are the green beans I also had on the side. And yes, it's couch dinner tonight because I'm all in on the A Court of Thorns and Roses book series.

A bowl of pasta and a book

I got thoughts, man. A lot is going down in Prythian.

Kailey Hansen

Breakfast: I break free of my oatmeal routine and have an Eggwich sandwich from Trader Joe's. Normally, I'd opt for scrambled eggs with spinach and turkey sausage, but these caught my eye at the store, so I'm giving them a try. They're quick, easy, and a nice little breakfast treat.

A freezer full of Trader Joe's, with an arrow pointing to the Eggwich sandwiches
Kailey Hansen

Lunch: Are you sick of my T.J.'s meals yet? I heat up their burrito bowl around noon and have the rest of the salad from my Caesar salad family kit. My snack game remains the same, and I drink another lemon and ginger water for my daily sparkles. Feeling proud for not spending any additional money on food this week...yet!

Package of Trader Joe's burrito bowl
Kailey Hansen

Dinner: It's not cute, but it's filling and yummy. I toss T.J.'s beefless bulgogi into my air fryer and heat up some organic jasmine rice. Usually I'd air-fry broccoli, too, because it tastes divine, but today I just microwave a serving because I am feeling lazy.

Beefless bulgogi, rice, and broccoli

I also snack on grapes and have a cookie for dessert.

Kailey Hansen

Breakfast: Your gal has no chill and eats more oatmeal and blueberries. This time she's added blueberry yogurt to maximize the blueberry flavor.

A bowl of oatmeal, yogurt, and blueberries
Kailey Hansen

Lunch: It's dinner leftovers for lunch (rice, broccoli, and beefless bulgogi) with a side of cotton candy grapes and a cheese stick.

Dinner: Since I'm heading to a yoga class later in the evening with a friend, I eat a snack dinner of pita chips dipped in kale, cashew, and basil pesto.

Container of Trader Joe's Vegan Kale, Cashew & Basil Pesto
Kailey Hansen

Once I'm back home, I spend the rest of the night on the couch with my cat starting the next ACOTAR book. It's Nesta and Cassian's time to shine, my people. I'm only three chapters in and already hooked.

A cup of tea and the "A Court of Silver Flames" book

The Yogi tea of choice tonight was Ginger!

Kailey Hansen

Breakfast: I pour my iced coffee and ponder why it tastes so much better in a Mason jar. It just can't be done in a regular glass — riddle me this! I eat yogurt and berries sans oatmeal.

Lunch: Living large today because it's Friday! I decide to get a Chipotle burrito bowl with brown rice, fajitas, steak, tomato salsa, cheese, lettuce, AND guac. It totals $13.61.

A person working at Chipotle
Andrew Kelly / Reuters

Dinner: TGIF! The workweek is done, and I'm excited to spend some quality time with my best friend. We've both had super-busy weeks at the office and lament about how we've done nothing after work but "blob." Tonight we blob together. She brings salad, and I supply the wine (which I already had) and stop at a local grocery store for make-your-own-pizza ingredients. The total comes to $22.09.

Homemade pizzas, salad, and wine

Pizza ingredients:

• Premade crust

• Fresh mozzarella

• Shredded mozzarella cheese

• Pizza sauce

• Spinach

Normally I'd add meat, but she's a cheese-only girl, and tonight I follow suit. The pizzas are simple and delicious!

Kailey Hansen

Breakfast: My slow Saturday morning starts with a hot cup of coffee rather than iced, an egg sandwich, and a handful of berries.

A cup of hot coffee
Kailey Hansen

Lunch: I make cheese tortellini with vodka sauce and throw some spinach in to give it some greens. I also snack on veggie-and-flaxseed tortilla chips, which are so crave-worthy.

A package of cheese tortellini
Kailey Hansen

Dinner: I spend the rest of the day with friends and go out to dinner for a turkey burger, sweet potato fries, and a drink, which comes to $35.10.

Rose saying "Let's all go out for dinner" on an episode of "Golden Girls"
Rose saying "Let's all go out for dinner" on an episode of "Golden Girls"

TV Land / Via


Breakfast: I'm back to my oatmeal roots, topped with a mix of berries today!

Lunch: Honestly, my lunch is just grazing on snacks. I have a cheese stick, grapes, and chips and call it a meal because I'm an adult. It's finally feeling like spring, so I clean and keep my windows open!

Grogu eating snacks
Grogu eating snacks

Disney / Via

Dinner: The good weather inspires me to take a long walk. I invite a friend and we catch up for a while. Once I'm back home in my clean space, I preheat the oven and throw in the Pizza Parlanno (my favorite among Trader Joe's frozen 'za collection) and heat up a side of green beans (random but true). I spend the rest of the night binge-watching Love Is Blind. The consensus? Love is *maybe* blind, but life is *definitely* good with this pizza.

A frozen Pizza Parlanno from Trader Joe's

I top off this dinner of champions with a chocolate and peanut butter Joe-Joe's cookie and some grapefruit sparkling water.

Kailey Hansen

And those were my meals for the week! I still have a few meals I can prep, but I'll shop again in the next few days. I'd love to hear your grocery staples and go-to dishes in the comments below!