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Tuesday, November 5, 2013

October grocery money journal: the stock-up begins!!

I get excited about stocking my pantry for winter. Do you? I recall one of the Little House books, where Laura peeks into the surveyor's pantry for the first time, and sees a winter's supply of ingredients that will keep her family and others very well-fed for the months ahead.

So here I begin, with my own pantry (and fridge/freezer) stock-up. Let me preface with last month I went over budget by $6.30, so that will be deducted this month. But -- and a big but -- I still have my surplus of $112.11 (from August's minimal spending) to tap into. So, my net surplus now stands at $105.81. Add that to this month's budget (of $170), and I have $275.81 to spend on stocking up. I hope I don't spend it all, and that there is something extra left over for special gatherings in November and December. We'll see.

Oct.1  I have some store coupons to use at Albertson's on butter (1.79/lb), eggs (.98/dozen), and sugar (1.49/4 lbs). I buy my limits and also find orange juice in 64 oz containers on markdown for $1.49. This is cheaper than frozen concentrate in our area, so I buy all that's left (8 containers). Once home, I pour off a couple of cups of oj from each container into other freezer containers, and freeze the whole lot. We'll have a decent supply of orange juice this January and February. I also find bacon on markdown (2.99/lb) -- 3 one-pound packages of maple bacon. At home, I split each pack in half and froze. We'll have 6 breakfasts with bacon in the next couple of months. Total spent -- $46.45.

Oct.1  Need to stop in at Cash and Carry for flour (50 lbs), more canned tomatoes (whole tomatoes this time, 2.77 per #10 cans, I buy a case of 6 #10 cans), frozen peas (5 lb bags - two), mozza cheese. While there I also find a dented can of coffee for $5.77.  Total spent $50.97, for a start of the month spending of $97.42

Oct.2  Trader Joe's for cocoa powder. $2.49

Oct. 2  Produce stand since I'm in the area I stop in. I find corn on cob 7/$1, whole cantaloupes for 50 cents each, a bag of peppers marked down for 99 cents, and red delicious apples for 50 cents/lb. spent $6.54, for a month to date spending of $106.45

Oct. 2  Dollar Tree. They have peanut butter again (they've been out for a few weeks). I buy 12 jars. Spent $12. total month to date -- $118.45

Oct.2  One last stop today, hoping to find milk on markdown. QFC is right next to pharmacy where I pick up a prescription. I find 3 gallons of 1% milk at $1.99/gal. Spent $5.97, for a month total of $124.42. Whew! We're getting up there!

Oct. 8  Albertson's coupons this week are for whole milk (1.89/gallon) and Parmesan cheese (1.59/6 ounces). I buy 2 gals milk and 3 packets cheese. Spent $8.85 for a month total of $133.27

Oct. 9  At the nursery picking up bulbs, right next door to Fred Meyer. I find more milk (89 cents a half gal) and some marked down bananas. Spent $4.28 for a total of $137.55

I seem to be stopping in at a lot of stores this week and last. I find myself on the road taking the girls to and from various bus stops and transit centers, depending on their schedule of the day. Consequently, I am out and about a lot these days. But that's okay, I can take advantage of it by stopping at stores along the way.

Oct. 11  Trader Joe's once again, on my way to the produce stand. It's just down the street. I pick up almonds (2 lbs at $4.99/lb -- marked wrong but they gave me that price anyways, saved $1 per pound), pecans (1 lb at $7.98/lb), a couple of bananas (19cents ea)  and more cocoa powder. Spent $21.02 for a total of $158.57.

Oct. 11  Produce stand. I'm scouting out their prices and supplies before the end of the month clearance. While there I find melons for 50 cents again, and also need garlic (50 cents a head -- ouch!). Spent $1.50 for a total of $160.07

Oct. 20  Albertson's coupons this week, again on the whole milk (2 gallons), this time $1.99/gal, and English muffins (50 cents a package). Spent $4.48 for a total of $164.55

Oct.22  Produce stand. Pick up 15 lbs of apples at 50 cents/lb, 6 avocados for 3/$1, 2 yams at 69 cents/lb, and some large squash at 39 cents/lb. Spent $13.26 for a total of $177.81

Oct. 25  Albertson's coupons for apple juice (99 cents for 64 ounces, limit 2). Also buy a family pack of ground beef (1.99/lb). The beef I'll divide and freeze to use in meatballs a couple of times this winter. Spent $8.67 for a total of $186.48

Oct.29  Produce stand for more squash, apples, oranges and yams. But no large bags of carrots left. Spent $12.58

Oct. 29  Top foods for 25 lb bag of carrots. Same price as produce stand had them last week, $7.98. Also buy a large head of cabbage and some cut bananas. Spent $12.70 for a total of $211.76

No more spending until November!! I spent $211.76 out of my $275.81 budget plus surplus. I now have a surplus of $64.05 to carry forward into November. While our pantry, fridge and freezer are stuffed to the gills, I feel like this is going to be a squeaker as to whether or not we can maintain an average of $170 per month grocery spending.

My pantry is full of grains, beans, oil, canned tomatoes, spices/herbs, baking supplies and squash. My freezer has enough fruit to get through the months of January, February and March. My fridge is packed with oranges, carrots, apples, pears and onions. We have some butter and eggs, and a good deal of frozen veggies, My garden is still producing greens. I picked Swiss chard this morning. The garden will continue to give us greens for another 3 weeks. So, maybe we'll do okay over the next 2 months after all. I've been organizing my freezer space to make room for turkeys and hams. So far, I have one entire shelf cleared and half of another. I'll keep working on the freezers.


  1. Another inspiring month of grocery shopping, Lili. Has your freezer or pantry ever gotten down to almost nothing?

    1. Hi live and learn,
      I expect that my freezers and pantry will be down to as low as they will go, this coming spring.

  2. If only they had coupons like that here in the UK! I do love to see a full pantry. Ours is very small but we have stashed lots of blackberry jams and apple butters, and have a couple of boxes of cooking apples stored away. That is a good feeling. I so enjoy reading about your bargains and stocking up

    Lesley x

    1. Hi Lesley,
      Ooh -- those jars of blackberry jam and apple butter will be yummy this winter! And the cooking apples will surely be nice to have. It is so nice to know that there is always something to work with, in store.

  3. Did you plug back in the second fridge?

    Great job on your groceries! I am excited to say other than eggs and a few fresh items we don't need anything this month grocery wise. I will be buying cranberries to put aside and I do need cleaning supplies and paper supplies.

    1. Hi Shara,
      Yes, we plugged the big electricity hog back in in late September. I needed the storage space for all the fruit that I had.

      Wow! Minimal spending for you this month. I'm still stocking up, but hoping that January and February will be months we'll not need to buy much more than eggs and milk. We'll have to see.

  4. I used to read the Little House books every fall! I loved reading about the way they used to live. And putting food away was so interesting to me.

    Looks like you did a great job in October! I went to Cash and Carry at the beginning of November to stock up on some bulk items of things we've run out of. It felt good to get things back in their storage buckets.

    1. Hi Katie,
      It's always nice to replenish supplies, isn't it? It's funny how missing just one or two items can make me feel like "there's nothing to cook".

  5. love how you share this.
    I am trying to become much better at all our spending and much more accountable. Thanks for the inspiration.

    Wondering if you will be sharing your menu for the rest of November?

    many blessings,


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