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Friday, November 16, 2012

November grocery money journal -- mid month

Oct. 31. Stopped by produce stand late afternoon to pick up Items I thought would be gone the next day on clearance. Bought  eggplant, green peppers, potatoes, cabbage, pumpkins, winter squash, garlic, and oranges. Spent $28.79

Nov. 1. Stopped in at grocery store to pick up a couple of items, canned veggies, salt, Lact-aid milk, 1 loaf of bread (I'll start up my bread baking again over the weekend, hopefully), squash (on sale). Spent $15.61, bringing the running total to $44.40

Stopped one last time in afternoon at produce stand clearance, bought more garlic, mushrooms, avocados and sugar pie pumpkins. Spent $7.33, total for month -- $51.73   yowza!  But it's a lot of produce.

Breakfast this morning was leftover oatmeal from Monday. This was homemade maple-brown sugar oatmeal. Very tasty! As a kid I loved that flavor most, in the little packets. now, I just try to make something very similar but with my ingredients.

Tonight's a dance class night, so a rushed dinner. I'm making sloppy lentil joes (with leftover lentil mix from the other night) and homemade buns. These are especially good with cheese melted on the joes. Also, finishing off the last container of applesauce from the freezer, and making kale and onions. The kale in the garden looks fantastic. I'm looking forward to few weeks of kale in dinners.

Nov. 2. Restaurant supply for 50 pounds stone ground whole wheat, 50 pounds white flour, 25 pounds corn meal (yea! got that before any price spiking due to corn crop failure this summer), and a gallon of oil. Spent $54.43

Breakfast was pumpkin-spice cinnamon buns (unfrosted this time, very good, just barely sweet) and apple muffins. These were the last of the baked goodies I made on Monday.

Dinner was a Mexican lentil soup, chock full of goodies like green peppers, tomatoes, jalapenos, and avocado. Plus I cooked up a small pumpkin from the garden this morning to make muffins, to go with the soup. Dessert was a blackberry cobbler, made with blackberries from the freezer. Keeping with using up items in the freezer every day, to make room for turkeys and ham in just a couple of weeks.

Tomorrow's breakfast will be corn griddle cakes. Special request from my daughters. We haven't had them in quite a while, and with the new sack of cornmeal bought today, that was top of their list.

Nov. 4. Eight tacos (split between the 5 of us) at Jack-in-the-box after church. One of the cheaper options in fast food, at $4.34 for the 8.

Nov. 7. On campus of my daughters' hopeful university -- orange juice for $2.18 at the mini-mart and lunch in the cafeteria for $27.60, brings the month to date total to $140.28

Nov. 9. Friday afternoon and will want eggs for baking and pancakes this weekend. Stopped in Trader Joes, picked up 2 dozen eggs and a container of tofu (I just like having tofu in the fridge, as I can quickly throw together a stir-fry with tofu, some veggies and soy sauce, for an easy meal). I resisted the urge to buy all sorts of delicious looking heat and eat foods while there. We did enjoy a couple of samples and the free coffee. Spent $5.07

Nov. 10. Out running errands and decided to check the grocery store for marked down milk and other products. Good thing I made this my first stop, as they had just 2 gallons of milk on mark down, and I noticed several other shoppers' carts -- filled with marked down items, from yogurt and milk to boxes of mushrooms and packages of sausages. This is an upscale store, in an upscale neighborhood. Their mark-down items had previously been bypassed by their shoppers. A sign of the times? People seem more willing to try these marked down products.

While the recession may have officially ended, I think many folks still feel it. Perhaps they took jobs at reduced salaries and have been digging into their savings. Or maybe the higher price of gas has siphoned money out of grocery budgets and into the gasoline tanks. Anyway, 2 gallons of milk, spent $4.18, bringing month-to-date total up to $149.53.

Nov. 14. Eggs on sale at Walgreen's for $1.29/dozen. I bought 7 dozen, which will last for us about 1 month. My daughters asked about freezing eggs, should we not be able to go through all of them before their expiry. I told them how I've frozen them before, beating in a bit of sugar or salt (per instructions in my old Joy of Cooking cookbook) and freezing in 1/4 cup portions. These egg-cubes can then be thawed and used in baking. Alternatively, I like to beat and cook eggs in a non-stick skillet, 4 at a time, then cut into quarters and freeze in a stack, each piece separated by waxed paper. These are great for making quick breakfast sandwiches. And of course, I will likely put together 2 breakfast casseroles for the freezer, for both Christmas breakfast and New Year's brunch. Gee, I may just want another couple of cartons of eggs. Spent $9.03

Nov. 15. Grocery store number one for turkeys. Spent $41.46. For that amount, bought 9 packages cream cheese, a half cup of pecans, a large bag of sunflower seeds (for sunflower seed butter), 2 cans green beans, 2 cans corn, 3 packages Hebrew National hot dogs (marked down), celery, a bag of black eyed peas (for New Year's Day), a jar of mayo, 2 canisters of salt, and a 23 lb turkey. I had to spend a minimum of $30 to "get" to buy a turkey for 49c per pound. Before the price of the turkey, I was at $30.18. I tried to get as close to that $30 mark as possible. (I was a bit miffed at this store. Gift cards were not allowed towards that $30 spend, and it wasn't in the flyer as such. I got up to the checkout, didn't get my sale priced turkey, waited around for a manager for about 5 minutes, had a long line full of angry people behind me, and finally a manager shows up and tells me I couldn't use a gift card towards the purchase. So I had to go back into the store and add to my shopping. I very carefully tallied everything as I went. I was not about to give that store more of my money than I had to.)

Anyways, this brings my total for the first half of the month to $200.02. And the month is only half over!

To see how the month ends, click here.

just a note, unrelated to this post. Life around our place has taken a turn recently. My attentions are distracted right now, as we adjust to a "new normal". If you read a lot of other blogs, or you keep a blog yourself, and notice a lack of my presence right now on other blogs, please understand that some issues with my family are taking front seat to all else in my life, including the blog world. Thanks for understanding.


  1. The gift card issue makes no sense, coupons maybe but not a gift card? Gift cards are equal to money and money is money.

    Hope things settle at your house soon and everyone adjusts to a new normal. We've had some big changes recently also.

    1. Hi live and learn,
      The gift card thing was I was trying to buy a gift card as part of my $30 spend. It's always been allowed before. Last year the spend was $25, so I picked up a giftcard and a turkey and that was all that was in my cart, and no problems. So it took me by surprise. Anyways, it was one of those moments when I felt somewhat humiliated, simply because I was trying to take advantage of their offer.

      Thanks, I hope your changes are also fairly simple to adjust to. Mine are requiring a lot of my time these days, but I should be able to figure out better balance soon.

  2. I think QFC's service has gone downhill since Kroger's bought the chain.

    1. Hi frugal spinster,
      I didn't realize they'd been bought out. Hmmm. I have felt they were making cuts. For instance, they usually have a big pre-holiday open house in early to mid-November. I've seen nothing of it advertised this year. And I've had more unfavorable interactions with their employees in recent months. Nothing terrible, but they just seem overworked and understaffed. Interesting bit of news, though.

  3. I hope everything is well with your family.

    I am amazed each time you post your food costs that you can get such deals. As for the gift cards, that's ridiculous. Someone gave the store their good hard earned cash you should be able to use it for whatever you want, I've never heard of such a thing. Our local store was offering Turkeys for .28 cents a pound with a $50 purchase this week, the only deal better than what you found.

    1. Hi Lois,
      It's nothing we won't get over. And sometime soon, I hope, it'll be something that we think, "oh that? that was nothing" But for now, I'm just focused on my family. I'm just one of those wives and moms that when something hurts one of the family, I completely turn my energies into helping them. We'll be fine, though.

      Turkeys at 28c a lb! That was last year's price for us. This year, so far on turkey number 2 I got it for 40c per pound, and that was good I think. I paid $1.49 lb for bone-in ham this morning. Last year's good deal on ham was 99c per pound. I'm guessing that the spike in price for corn as feed has impacted the ham price. I bought 2 hams this morning, and will slice one of them for breakfast meat, like bacon. The price of bacon has made it something of a luxury item, IMO, at $3.99/lb considered a sale price.

  4. Lili--I'm always amazed that you can put out a post daily. I enjoy reading you daily, but I'm sure all of us would understand if that is too much for you right now. :)

    1. Thank you, Kris. We'll all be fine, just a bit of a rough patch right now.

      I hope your Thanksgiving plans are coming along nicely. Will you be traveling to see relatives? Or hosting at your house? I can't believe that one week from now, thanksgiving will be over and the Christmas season will have begun!

    2. We are going to Illinois again. The weather looks like it will be terrific. We will celebrate Thanksgiving Thursday and Christmas with my husband's side of the family Friday--so I need to get moving and start wrapping gifts! Crazy!

    3. What a fun holiday weekend! Safe travels!

  5. Praying for peace for your family.

    Foodlion ran the same special on turkeys here, but I had already bought one. Turned out to be good, because I think we're stocked up anyway.

    1. Thanks, Shara.

      The hardest part about these deals, even if I could use another turkey, is the trying to *sensibly* spend the minimum $30 or $50 dollars. This year, our local stores did not have great deals on the extra stuff. Hope your Thanksgiving preparations are going well!

  6. Lili,
    Hope all is well soon for you and your family. Refresh my memory, where do you buy your bulk baking supplies? Is it open to the public or do you have to be a business to shop there? Glad you were able to score the cornmeal before the price increase.


    1. Hi Valarie,
      we're fine, just a bump in the road is all.

      I shop at Cash and Carry. They were once called United Cash and Carry. The sell to the public. Also, I don't know if they also still sell to the public, but many years ago Sysco foods was open to public on a cash basis. And there's Smart and Final in some areas as well (we had Smart and Final in California).

      Cash and Carry is a wholesaler that caters to small mom and pop stores and restaurants. But they also do a lot of business with caterers and institutions.

      It's been years since I've been in Costco, but I remember Business Costco used to also carry institutional size baking supplies. Their price was similar to the Cash and Carry (just no membership fee at the Cash and Carry). So, there's another option. Good luck finding an institutional supply in your town!


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