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Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Quick Depletion of the April Grocery Budget

It's only the 2nd of April and I've already spent $106.50 of my $126.87 for the month. That must sound awful, right? However, I've done most of my shopping for the month. I've been to WinCo for the bulk bin items and some bananas, Cash & Carry for some institution-sized packaged foods (including cheese!), and now this morning I took advantage of the Senior Discount Day at our Kroger affiliate (Fred Meyer) buying milk, butter, orange juice, peanut butter, hot dogs, and instant coffee. Interestingly, the instant decaf coffee is cheaper at Walmart and the instant regular coffee is less expensive at Fred Meyer. I'll make a stop at Walmart later in the month, picking up more bananas while I'm getting my other items.

We did get one big jar of peanut butter for the month. So, I don't think anyone suffered too badly, here, with not having peanut butter for 4 weeks. I am still making the bean spreads, though, mostly because the spreads give us more variety, and variety defies feelings of deprivation. The other item that my family was very happy about was the purchase of not 1 but 2 pounds of butter. I had 1 pound leftover from the last month, so now we have almost 3 whole pounds of butter. There was the risk that I would just be getting one more pound. However, I had figured that if I found milk on markdown, there would be a little extra money in the budget. Fortune was with me at Fred Meyer today. I found half-gallons of 1% milk on markdown for 89 cents each. I saved 37 cents a gallon over what I was prepared to pay at the regular price. The marked down milk combined with finding pinto beans for $1 less than I'd planned for a 25-lb bag left me with enough extra money for that second pound of butter.

I now have $20.37 remaining in the grocery budget for April. This should cover a 10-lb bag of chicken leg quarters, 5 dozen eggs, a jar of instant decaf, a canister of shortening for making pie crusts, and a couple of bunches of bananas, all from Walmart. I plan on putting off the Walmart trip as long as I can to see if maybe we don't need one or more of these items, and I can maybe put the extra money toward more eggs (if I find a great sale).

After shopping at each store, I went through my lists again and refigured the amounts of the desired items. This kept me accountable, allowed me to rethink my budget allotments, and I think will help me come as close to the budgeted amount as possible without going over. It can be a bit like a game for me. I keep the lists in Word documents and save with each new adjustment. I personally find it interesting to see how my lists morph over the course of the month. And just in case you're concerned that we're not getting enough to eat, I'm keeping a log of our dinner meals, again. I'll post that later this week. (But thank you for being concerned. I know your thoughts come from your hearts.) We are eating well! The first month was challenging, but I can see that food variety is improving.

I hope your week is going well!

10 comments:

live and learn said...

You and your family are blessed that you are so good at the numbers game especially where food is concerned. There is no doubt in my mind that you are eating well at your house. I would call it creatively well. :)

Anonymous said...

Sounds like you got a "bang for your buck"! I have a question regarding the milk (sorry if it sounds odd) - before it expires can you freeze it into measured portions (ie half cup, quarter cup)and add to food you are prepping - like baked mac & cheese, scalloped potatoes. If you freeze it before it spoils, would it still be good? Sorry for the odd question, I never really had a "mother" figure to explain things to me.

Thanks,
Shelby

Frugal in the USA said...

It does become a game, doesn't it. You play the game very well. An inspiration.

Lili said...

Thank you, live and learn. I think we're doing okay.

Lili said...

Hi Shelby,
Yes on the milk. The milk that I bought is dated April 10. Milk generally stays good to drink for 4 to 7 days after the sell-by date. If the milk sours before the sell-by date, then either the store or its source are doing something wrong (their coolers are too warm or the milk wasn't stored properly during transport to the store) or something went wrong on your end (you had the milk out of refrigeration for more than 30 to 40 minutes while shopping/driving home, or your fridge isn't cold enough). If you think you've done everything right, complain to the store manager. If they get enough complaints about souring milk, they'll fix their cooling system.

Anyways, when I buy short-dated milk, I immediately freeze (within 1 day) what we won't drink in the next 3 to 5 days, to thaw and use later. Most of the time, I freeze it in the container that it came in, after pouring off 1 to 2 cups to allow for expansion. (This poured off milk goes into our current jug of milk to use right away.) In my experience, a frozen partial jug of milk will still be good for 3 to 5 days after thawing. Basically, freezing the milk stops the clock on its deterioration. So, if it's an amount that I think we can go through (and we drink it as well as use it in cooking), then I just freeze it in the jug or carton.

If the milk is at or after it's sell-by date, or has begun to sour, then I pour it into 1 and 2-cup containers and freeze. This milk I will likely only use in cooking where sourness doesn't matter, like pancakes. Badly soured milk or milk with chunks in it is too old for me to use. I try to stay on top of the milk to avoid that situation.

Your question is not odd. My mom never froze milk, so I didn't know it was possible until I tried it. You may find that the texture changes a bit after freezing. This doesn't happen all of the time. But you might not like the change for drinking milk, but it could still be used in cooking. And if you make your own yogurt, you can use whole milk that's been frozen and thawed for yogurt. When I find whole milk on markdown, I always buy a few extras just for freezing for future batches of yogurt.

Best of luck to you!

Lili said...

Thank you. It can be fun, right?

Kris said...

I never questioned how well you were eating. I know you are conscientious about that. I'm impressed with your variety of foods--you are right, variety staves off feelings of deprivation. Glad your budget is working so well in April!

Lili said...

Hi Kris,
thank you for your vote of confidence in me!
I hope that your month is off to a great start!

Anonymous said...

Thank you Lili, I am learning so much
Renee

Lili said...

Hi Renee,
I'm just glad that what I share here can help someone else, so you're very welcome.

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