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Tuesday, February 28, 2017

February 2017 Grocery Spending Journal

Silver white winters that melt into spring . . . okay now, so when does this melt into spring, here! Yep, woke up to snow, again.

Feb. 3 WinCo after an appointment in that area of town. I forgot to check my wallet for cash until I was in the waiting room for my appt. Yikes! $6 and coins. Luckily, I had a calculator with me. I tallied everything while I shopped, and made estimates on produce items. I bought 5 dozen medium eggs, for $4.48; 3 avocados at 58 cents each; 1 Roma tomato (for lunch that day), 21 cents; and 6 bananas for $1.25. Spent $7.68. As I was leaving the store, I counted all of my remaining coins -- 67 cents. I put my bag of groceries into the car and went back into the store to buy cocoa powder from the bulk bins. Spent 46 cents. (It is difficult to estimate the bulk items; and I didn't want to go over my 67 cents. What could I say -- "can you put 1 tablespoon of this back in the bin, please?") Total spent at WinCo -- $8.14

Next stop, Cash & Carry. They do take credit cards, so I had no need to keep a running tally while I shopped. I wanted the ground beef that was on sale for $19.90, but they were completely out of those 10-lb packages. Instead, I went ahead and bought the beef top sirloin, at $2.58/lb. It is a large piece that weighs 11.36 pounds. Yes, it is a lot of beef!! I have it in the garage fridge until I can cut it into 2-lb chunks for the freezer. Restaurant cuts of beef are sealed in airtight packaging, and keep for a couple of weeks, if refrigerated. I also bought 10 lbs of carrots; a 3-pack of celery; a 5-lb loaf of medium cheddar; 1 quart of soy milk; $1.58; 12.5 lbs of popcorn, $7.09; 1 gallon of vegetable oil, $6.59; 2 lbs of yeast, $6.97; 1 large head of green cabbage, $1.50; 1-lb box of cornstarch, 99 cents; and another 14 bananas at 47 cents/lb. At Cash & Carry I spent $75.02

Feb. 5. I needed gas, plus I had a coupon for a Freebie about to expire at Fred Meyer. So, off to get gas and run into the store. I actually had 3 Freebie coupons on my card that I could use. So, I picked up my can of soup (free), my Power Bar (free) and my box of Annie's macaroni and cheese (free). I also needed one loaf of bread to get us through 2 days until I could bake a large batch ($1.67). Total spent at Fred Meyer's -- $1.67

Month to date spent -- $84.83

Feb 7. Fred Meyer for Senior Day discount (I can't miss these opportunities). I need milk, and it's on sale for 89 cents/half gallon; I buy 10, the limit. Natural-style peanut butter is on sale for $1.50/15-oz jar; I buy 4 jars of chunky. (This goes on sale often enough, and I have some at home, still, so 4 jars seems like a reasonable amount for us. Four jars will last about 6 weeks in our house.) I buy three 8-packs of mixed meat hot dogs for 80 cents each. Hickory smoked almonds are on sale through this month for $4.99/lb (my price, w/discount, $4.49/lb). I still have lots of raw almonds, but smoked will be a nice change for snacking. I buy 1.45 lbs. I need alternative milk. I've been drinking almond milk. Today I find soy milk marked down for $1.25/half-gallon; I bought 2. The expiration date is in a week, but it should keep for a week beyond that date. I'll freeze one of the cartons to use later in the month. I found Pillsbury Cookie Mixes marked down to 42 cents/box; I bought 4 boxes. They also had cans of Pillsbury frosting marked down to 32 cents/can; I bought 8 cans. I'll be able to use the frosting on cakes this spring, summer and fall. I had a $10.83 reward from the fall reward's cycle to use. My total cost for today, $20.12

Month to date spent -- $  104.95

February 17. We are completely out of whole wheat flour. This is significant to our household, as we are accustomed to eating our baked goods made with about half whole wheat, half white flour. So I made a point of getting more ww flour today. I stopped at Cash & Carry, and dragged a 50-lb sack of stone-ground whole wheat flour on to the flatbed cart ($18.99). I also picked up 22 bananas, at 42 cents/lb (they worked out to 16.2 cents each), a 3-pack of celery ($2.33), a 25-lb bag of onions ($7.00), and a 10-lb bag of oranges ($7.73). The oranges are almost twice the price per pound that I prefer to spend, but I thought they'd be nice to have, now that we have gone through all of the orange juice. I'm okay with splurging when the foods are healthy. Total spent, $39.62

February 17. Also on my errands list was Fred Meyer, to pick up a prescription for my husband. While waiting for the rx to be ready, I used my 2 freebie coupons and got 1 Hershey's candy bar, and 1 container of Chobani yogurt, for free. And of course, I couldn't help but stop at the table of marked down Valentine's candy. It still seemed overpriced, except the bags of cherry-milk chocolate M&Ms, at $1.49/bag (the bags are about 9 ounces). I only bought 2 bags, in case they're not very good. I think that I'll save one bag till next year, and make sweet little bags of M&Ms for the Valentine's candies that I give the kids and husband. The other bag will be for cookies at some point. Total spent, $2.98

For the month, so far I've spent -- $147.55

I'm doing pretty well for grocery spending, this month. I had a surplus of $121.20 coming into February. When I add that to our monthly budgeted amount of $190, I have $311.20 to spend.

February 19. One daughter is going out of town for the week, for a theater thing. Most of her expenses will be covered; but $30 will not. I took $10 from the grocery budget and gave to her. That is roughly what I calculate for what I spend per person, per week, for food. Spent $10.

For the month, so far I've spent -- $157.55

It's now the 22 February. I am trying to hold out on spending any more on groceries for the month, in part just because it gives me a thrill to underspend, but also I really want to force us into using supplies in the freezer and pantry.  It's also good to just stay out of the stores during peak flu season.

Feb. 28. So, this is where the shopping month ends! I spent $157.55 for the month of February. I had $311.20 to spend, including the carry forward surplus from the month before. I have $153.65 left over! That amount will carry forward into March, and as March is a longer month, I will likely spend into it.

What I Bought


5 dozen medium eggs
5 lbs of cheddar cheese
1 quart of soy milk
2 half-gallons of soy milk
10 half-gallons of milk (mixed 2% and whole)
1 small yogurt (freebie)


11.36 lbs beef top sirloin
3 12-oz packages of hot dogs


3 avocados
1 tomato
42 bananas
10 lbs of carrots
6 bundles of celery
1 head of green cabbage
25 lbs of onions
10 lbs of oranges


.15 lb of cocoa powder
12.5 lbs of popcorn
1 gallon of vegetable oil
2 lbs of yeast
1 lb of cornstarch
1 can of soup (freebie)
1 box of macaroni and cheese (freebie)
1 Power Bar (freebie)
1 loaf of bread
4 15-oz jars of peanut butter
1.45 lbs smoked almonds
4 boxes of cookie mix
8 cans of frosting
50 lbs of whole wheat flour
1 Hershey candy bar (freebie)
2 large bags of M&Ms


  1. We don't have WinCo's around here. What is that store like? If they don't take credit cards, they sound like a discount store. The prices look like that, but you can't compare prices across the country.

    1. Hi live and learn,
      WinCo is an employee-owned chain of grocery stores. It's very no frills; well-known for their large bulk bin section, self-bagging, refund if you bring your bags, cash or debit only, and overall warehouse look inside. Some items are least expensive there, other items I find at better prices at either Cash & Carry or Fred Meyer. For example, I buy milk at Fred Meyer, when on sale for under $2/gallon. WinCo's milk price is over $2/gallon.

      So, I have WinCo, and you have Aldi. We just do our best to find inexpensive places to shop, right?

      Have a great day, live and learn!

    2. I was thinking that it was in the same category as Aldi.

  2. I love how you are able to buy candy and stash it for the next year. My family always seems to find anything I hide

    1. Hi Busy Bee,
      The candy goes into a trunk, stored in an out of the way closet. If I stored it in the kitchen, I'm sure that it would get eaten. By me, as much as by anyone else. I just hit upon something that works for our family.

      Have a wonderful day, Busy Bee!

    2. Hmmm...I may try hiding a box in the top of my closet. Thanks for the idea.

  3. When I read your summary it appears that you shop all the time but upon closer inspection, it isn't very often at all! But you end up with such good deals!

    I don't go shopping very often but I only seem to end up with very little and still hit $350 or $400 or more per month. I just don't get it.

    We're hitting the pantry and freezer pretty hard these days but there's not a lot of variety so making a meal without much is difficult. So I have to go to the store to re-stock. Even the freezer had meat and veggies but I don't want a beef roast and green beans every single day. Or a chicken roast and carrots every day.

    Last night we had the leftover pork sliced into strips, some roasted red peppers, green peppers, and onions stir fried with sweet chili sauce stuffed into tortillas with a turmeric rice. That was a really good supper but it took time to gather the frozen ingredients. Today, I have a bone-in chicken breast marinating in oil, lemon juice and garlic and I'll roast that tonight for supper but also to dice to add to my salad tomorrow. Lots of prep work when you cook all from scratch but I can't start picking up too many boxed foods.


    1. Hi Alice,
      I was curious, myself, about this, and it seems that I only shopped on four days this month. This past month, I really didn't shop very much, and didn't buy much either. This is a short list for groceries, and would likely be about enough for your typical family for two weeks. We're living off of what is in the freezer, pantry and fridge.

      I was making out my list for March and I have quite a lot of the list already. March could be quite a bit more expensive.

      Our family does tend to eat a limited variety. And you're completely right, cooking from scratch takes time.

      The chicken that you're marinating sounds yummy. And it will make very delicious leftovers for your salad, tomorrow!

      Have a great day, Alice!

  4. The snow is so beautiful! We have had a cold wet winter for San Diego. Today the rain stopped and sun is out. Do you drive in the snow very much?
    Your deals are always so great. I stopped in at Ralphs
    this month because I had a doctors appt. Hoping to find
    mark downs. Not this time. I ended up with avocados and headed over to Traders to shop. They are in the same shopping center.
    I love it that you have a gift for finding deals.
    Have a lovely day. Keep warm!

    1. Hi Patti,
      I've been watching California weather reports and it does sound like you've had a very wet winter! Oh well, the rain is needed, right?

      I only drive if I have to, when the roads are snowy. My car is small and just has regular tires; I slide around a lot. It's just not worth risking an accident. I am very ready for spring.

      Too bad that Ralph's didn't have any deals for you last time. Next time, maybe. Finding those deals is very hit or miss. I try to take the attitude that if I find them, that's a blessing. But if I don't, I'll just get more creative.

      I hope that you have a lovely day, too, Patti! Enjoy today's sunshine!

  5. Yes that is how I feel about deals. If you get them great! It is a blessing and if not that is OK too. We get a lot of good deals at 99 cents only. It is like a yard sale for food. Often they have the giant boxes of organic lettuce for 99 cents. We have been eating salads all winter such a blessing.

    1. I've never seen a 99 Cents Only store, here, but we have Grocery Outlet, and they may have similar deals. I'll have to check there, the next time I am in that area. Thanks for the idea, Patti!


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