Sept. 2. I skipped WinCo last month, so I made my stop by there early in the month. I was all out of raisins and almonds, and almost out of sunflower seeds. These are staple, healthy snack items in our house. So, at WinCo, I bought a 72-count package of corn tortillas ($2.18), 1 quart of soy milk ($1.18), not quite a half-pound of almond butter ($6.99/lb -- can you believe, I've never had almond butter before, so I bought just a small amount as a treat), almost a pound and a half of raisins ($1.79/lb), 1 3/4 lbs of sunflower seeds, raw ($1.39/lb, cheaper to buy raw than roasted. I toast them myself, and save 40 cents per pound), 6 bananas at 48 cents/lb, 1/2 lb of raw almonds ($6.08/lb, raw whole almonds are cheaper, here than chopped or toasted. Again, I can chop and toast them myself and save 30 or 40 cents/lb), 1 whole wheat fig newton for me, as my treat for 30 cents, 1/3 lb of chopped dates, good for sweetening oatmeal ($2.18/lb), 1/2 lb of baking cocoa powder ($3.08/lb), and I saved 6 cents by bringing my own bag. Total spent $16.43. I checked the price on graham crackers. It's about 2 cents cheaper per lb, to buy graham crackers at WinCo, over Dollar Tree graham crackers. So just know, if you don't have a WinCo, but have Dollar Tree, the 9 oz box of graham crackers from Dollar Tree is almost as cheap per pound, as WinCo.
Sept. 6. Senior Discount day at Fred Meyer. Our Fred Mayer is making Senior discount day really appealing. Last month, they gave me a carnation. Today, they had Starbuck's coffee and cookies, complimentary, plus they gave me both a rose and a carnation. Anyways, nice touch. To the shopping -- I bought 2 18-ct packages of large eggs for 89 cents each (limit 2), that's 59 cents/dozen. Also, bought 15 lbs of whole wheat pasta, various shapes, at 71 cents/lb (it's whole wheat, our preference, and only 4 cents more per pound than Dollar Tree white pasta), 2 large cans of decaf and 1 large can of regular coffee, at $4.49 each, 1 15 oz jar of natural-style peanut butter for $1.12 (I had a coupon, plus sale, plus Senior discount), 8-pack of cheap hot dogs, 81 cents, 8 half-gallons of whole milk and 2 half-gallons of orange juice, for 89 cents each, small jar of blackstrap molasses, $3.41, 1 Yoplait yogurt (freebie), and 5 cans of green beans and 1 can of corn for 45 cents each. Total spent on food, $42.84
(The pasta I had seen was on sale a couple of weeks ago. I looked at the shelf tag and the sale was good for several weeks, so I knew I could come back on Senior discount day and buy several packages at 10% off the sale price. It was a great deal for whole wheat pasta.)
Total spent so far, this month -- $59.27
September 13. WinCo, for raisins (not quite a pound at $1.79/lb), 7 bananas at 48 cents/lb, 1 small can tomato paste, 44 cents, package of hot dog buns, 88 cents, smoked almonds for $4.68, 1 box mac and cheese for 46 cents, 1 can tuna for 62 cents, about 1/3 pound of Hershey's miniatures chocolates at $4.98/lb, 2 frozen burritos, 48 cents, some baby carrots, $3.54, and 2 chicken pot pies, 85 cents. This was the beginning of my daughters time off from work, so we bought a bunch of treat foods. Every so often, we do this. But we try to minimize the damage (both to our waistlines and our wallets). Total spent $17.89
September 21. Albertson's for a half-pound of roasted turkey breast for sandwiches for my daughters and I. spent $2.87.
September 23. Cash & Carry for a few basics. I bought 50 lbs of onions for $8.24 (16 cents per pound), 1 gallon of mayonnaise for $5.39, about 34 bananas for $5.23 (42 cents per pound), and 2 cases of #10 cans of whole tomatoes at $14.22 per case. I spent $47.30.
Total spent for the month so far, $127.33
September 26. Fred Meyer, as we went through the milk much faster than I anticipated this month (I thought I had enough in the freezer). I found 1 gallon of 1% milk on markdown for $1.80, and paid full-price for whole (4%) milk (daughter still needing the whole milk), at $2.69/gallon. I also bought potatoes $2.49/10-lbs for later this week with a turkey, a half-gallon of soy vanilla milk, $2.50, a bag of Swedish Fish candy (Friday Freebie), a package of sugar free gum (Friday Freebie), and 1 Dove dark chocolate bar for myself, 50 cents. (After enduring a blood draw today, I feel I earned that chocolate bar.) Total spent $9.98
Total spent for the month, so far $137.31
September 30 (I thought I was done shopping for the month, but apparently not). Stopped by Cash & Carry for 10 lbs of ground beef (1 week sale, so I didn't want to miss this), $18.88, and 13 bananas at 42 cents/lb. Spent $20.89
Total spent for the month, $158.20
What I bought
60 bananas (oh my, goodness! Even I can see that is a lot of bananas!!!)
2 half-gallons orange juice
5 cans of green beans
1 can of corn
50 lbs onions
10 lbs potatoes
1 qt. soy milk
3 dozen eggs
8 half-gallons whole milk
small Yoplait yogurt (freebie)
1 gallon 1% milk
1 gallon whole milk
1/2 gallon soy milk
8-pack hot dogs
1/2-lb of roasted turkey breast
frozen beef burritos, 2
frozen pot pies, 2
10 lbs ground beef, 80/20
72-ct corn tortillas
.41 lb almond butter
1.41 lb raisins
2.22 lb sunflower seeds
.51 lb raw almonds
1 whole wheat fig bar (my treat)
.43 lb baking cocoa
.38 lb chopped dates
15 lbs whole wheat pasta
2 large cans decaf
1 large can regular coffee
1 jar peanut butter
jar of blackstrap molasses
1 gallon mayo
12 #10 cans of whole tomatoes
small can tomato paste
8 hot dog buns
boxed macaroni and cheese
mini chocolate bars
1 dark chocolate bar
8 oz bag Swedish Fish candy (Freebie -- will go into someone's birthday gift this fall)
1 package gum (Freebie)
At the end of August, I had a surplus of $351.22 in the grocery budget. Add that to the regular budget amount of $190.00 and I had $541.22 available to spend for September. I spent $158.20, still below my monthly budget of $190. I now have a surplus of $383.02. Add that to my October budget of $190, and I have $573.02 available to spend in October.
About all of those bananas -- somewhere in the middle of the month I discovered that I'd rather have a banana for breakfast than anything else. It's quick, easy, portable and doesn't sit heavy in my stomach. And who knows, maybe whatever is ailing me is craving the nutrients in a banana. Anyways, some days I had 2 bananas, but everyday I had at least 1. So, if you figure I ate 30 of those 60 bananas, all by myself, the rest are easy to go through in a month's time, divided by 4 other family members.
This super large surplus in the budget is in large part due to me not stocking up just yet. in previous years, I have been well-stocked in frozen vegetables, canned tomatoes, vinegar, sugar, molasses, meat and butter, by this point in the year. I expect that the surplus will go quickly, once I begin stocking up. Just to give an example, a 30-lb case of butter will cost me between $60 and $70, alone. A gallon of molasses is just over $13 (and I am almost out of molasses). When and if I do find a great price on beef roasts, I imagine I will spend $30 to $50 for those.
When I'm shopping, I continue to check prices at Cash & Carry and compare to "best" prices in traditional grocery stores. It may surprise you, but canned vegetables are more expensive at Cash & Carry than by waiting for sales at Fred Meyer or other grocery stores. And fall is a great time for canned veggie sales at the supermarket. The canned green beans at Cash & Carry in the #10 size can (about 104 oz) were $4.27 each, which works out to 57 cents per 14 oz (which is about the size of the cans of green beans at a traditional grocery store). In comparison, by waiting for a sale at Fred Meyer or Albertson's, i can usually find canned green beans for 40 to 50 cents each. Anyways, for those of you who don't have an restaurant and institutional supply like Cash & Carry, there's no need to feel you're missing out on every great deal.
If you have a Kroger or Kroger affiliate that you shop, check online to see if they participate in the Friday Freebie offer. On Fridays, I go to the Fred Meyer (a Kroger affiliate) website and download the latest freebie offer onto my store card. It's that simple. Then the next time I'm in the store, I can pick up that item and get it for free. The offer on these items lasts for a couple of weeks, so if I don't get by Fred Meyer one week, I can pick it and the next item up the next time I'm there. Easy peasy, and no, I'm not paid to say any of this. Ha ha! I just think it's a great deal. They don't send me emails. There are no strings attached. Just something free, if I want it.
I've been getting some nice freebies, usually between $1 and $2 in value. I've been saving most of them, to use for holidays, or as part of gifts. I have a nice collection to give to someone in my family at Christmas, and another couple of nice items which will be appreciated at a birthday, very soon. These are all items that fall into the "luxury" category for our budget, such as bags of candy, bottled drinks and individual, heat and eat meals. As luxury items, they make perfect gift-ables for my family.
I hope September was kind to your wallet. Have a great day!