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Friday, December 6, 2013

November grocery money journal

If you follow grocery store sales, you will have noticed that autumn is the best season for stocking the fridge, freezer and pantry. November, in particular, stands out as the month with the most sales on a wide variety of basic groceries, from baking supplies, to canned veggies and autumn long-keeping fresh vegetables, and to turkey and cheese. I buy more groceries during this month, than any other month of the year, more groceries than we can consume in a month.

While November has some of the best deals, just around the corner January, February and early March will have some of the fewest great deals on groceries. I use this info to my advantage, and really stock-up now, enough to carry us through the leaner months to come.

I'm a bit nervous about this month. I do have a bit of a surplus entering the month, plus the usual $170. I will hopefully find great deals on turkey, ham, cheese, butter, potatoes, celery, yams, and canned vegetables. I have a surplus of $64.05 to add to this month's budget of $170, for a total of $234.05 to spend this month on groceries.

Nov.1 Dollar Tree for soy milk (1 qt.) and peanut butter (10 small jars). Spent $11

Country Farms produce stand for the last bit of clearance. Squash, pumpkins, oranges, limes, grapefruit, avocado and apples. Spent $22.76

Safeway to use coupons. Milk (1.89/gal, bought 2), cheese (2-lb block for 3.99), spent $7.77 for a total month to date of $41.53

Nov. 6 Walgreen's has eggs for 99 cents/dozen. I pick up 7 dozen eggs. The sell-by date is in mid-December, about how long this amount of eggs will last for us. spent $6.93, for a total $48.46

Nov. 8 Dollar Tree, need soy milk, spent $1, for a total of $49.46

Nov. 11 Fred Meyer, 1/2 gallons of milk for 99 cents, limit 4. also find autumn mix candy for 32 cents. I buy 1 bag to add to the Thanksgiving dessert buffet. spent $4.28, for a total of $53.74

Nov. 15 Albertson's to buy turkeys. the deal is spend $35, then buy one turkey for 99 cents/lb and get another turkey free. I buy shortening for pies ($5.79/3 lbs), marked down quarts of half and half creamer (50 cents each, I buy 2, I'll freeze most of this), milk for $2.19/gal (limit 2 w/coupon), 8 oz cream cheese ( 88 cents, limit 6), and two 22-lb turkeys. I spent $40.83, for a total of $94.57.

Nov. 20 Albertson's again. I wasn't planning on buying anything but the potatoes on sale, then thought to spend another $35, and buy one turkey, get another free. So, I find 8 packages of our favorite brand of breakfast sausage on markdown for $1.99 each, regularly $3.99, a family pack of ground beef for $1.99/lb, Italian sausage marked down for $2.99/19 ounces (I buy 2 packs, will divide and freeze when I get home), and two 2-lb packages of powdered sugar, celery (89cents/lb), yams (99 cents/lb) and 1 10-lb bag of potatoes (97 cents, limit 1 per transaction), plus my 2 turkeys. Spent $53.73, for a total of $148.30 for the month so far.

Nov. 21 Albertson's, this time with my coffee and butter coupons. I buy 2 cans of coffee (34 oz, $5.99 ea), 2 pounds of butter (1.99, limit 2 w/ coupon), and my 10-lb bag of potatoes (97 cents), for $16.93, for a total of $165.23

Nov. 23 Albertson's, this time I take my two daughters with me, and all three of us buy 10-lb bags of potatoes, for a total of $2.91

Fred Meyer, we buy 16 cans of pumpkin ($1 ea), 2 lbs of butter (1.67/lb), 10 jars natural peanut butter (1.88/16 oz), 1 gal skim milk (marked down, $1.50), 1 package choc chip for 1.79, 6 cans of corn (50 cents ea w/coupon), 1 can of decaf coffee (5.99), can cream of mushroom soup (75 cents), for a total of $51.17, bringing spending for month up to $219.31

Nov. 24 Albertson's again w/ family members to buy potatoes. we buy 3 10-lb bags, for a total of $2.91, total month to date, $222.22

Nov. 29 Bartells for canned nuts and sparkling cider, on sale. Tins of nuts are 30 oz for $4.99 each. I buy 3 tins and get rainchecks for more, and 6 bottles of cider (1.99 ea), spent $26.91

Fred Meyer while shopping for socks, etc, I find 5 half gallons of milk for 89 cents each, spent $4.45, for a total of $253.58 spent for November.

I went over budget plus surplus by $19.53. This amount will be deducted from December's budget of $170. I think we'll be okay, though.

What I stocked up on this month: 80 pounds of potatoes, 4 frozen whole turkeys, 5  1/2 lbs of nuts (and hope to buy more when stock comes in), sparkling cider (we'll use this throughout the winter and early spring, for special occasions), an assortment of meat, cream cheese, the winter's supply of coffee, peanut butter, winter squash, fresh and canned pumpkin, and a couple month's supply of butter.

Ending the month I can get a glimpse of how we'll do year round, with our grocery spending. Looking into my pantry, fridge and freezer, I can see that we are very well stocked. We have enough here that we really could go months without shopping. We'd run out of eggs and milk, but otherwise be okay. So, that's reassuring. I even had the thought that we could cut our grocery spending further. But I don't need to, so I won't. It's nice to have a bit of extra money in this category, so we can have some luxury foods, like cheese, cocoa, nuts, cream and plenty of meat.

This month, I'll be looking for good prices on ham, onions, butter and cheese.


  1. I really enjoy your monthly shopping journals. Should you run out of eggs for baking, a tablespoon of soy flour and one or two tablespoons of water is a good replacement.

    1. Hi Judy,
      That's a great tip for egg replacement. Thanks! I'll remember that, and maybe I'll start substituting eggs now, where I can, to spare some of my remaining 18 eggs.

  2. Wow, what a terrific shopper you are! And I know that every bit of what you bought will be used. No waste at your house, I'm sure.

    1. Hi Jayne,
      Thanks! We try hard not to waste anything. I use my freezer a lot, for leftovers of all kinds.

  3. Love these kinds of posts! I shop similarly, though not as expertly, yet. ;) But have been busy stocking up on good deals. The other bonus to it is that we don't have to run out at the last minute for supplies when the weather gets bad. It's nice to just stay in warm and snug and do some baking.

    1. Hi Cat,
      I know what you mean. I heard on the news this morning that some stores in Texas were running short of milk and bread, due to all the folks out getting supplies before the winter blast.
      I see you're in Oklahoma. Has winter come to your part of the state? It looks wintry in Oklahoma City!

    2. Yes! We are SW of OKC but got some sleet followed by snow, with temps below freezing for several days straight. That's usually something that only happens once or twice a year here and normally in January. "Winter" has begun very early for us this year and some believe that will mean much more of a winter for us the next couple of months. Guess we'll see. My hubby did stop by the commissary on post after work one day to get a credit for something I had been overcharged for...this was two days before this storm and he said it was a madhouse. They were out of milk, at least the kind we buy.

    3. Wow! two days before the storm, even. I'd rather be home, snug as a bug, than shopping under those conditions!

  4. I never noticed cheese on sale this time of year. Do you freeze your cheese?

    1. Hi live and learn,
      It could be a regional thing, but I can expect to find 2-lb blocks of cheese as loss leaders at a couple of stores in the fall, each year (usually limited to 1, and with a coupon).
      If I buy shredded cheese, then I divided it and freeze. If it's in a block, the sell-by date is usually pretty far off, so long as it's not opened, it will keep a long, long time. If I think we'll not go through the whole brick before mold could develop, then I'll cut it into chunks to freeze.

  5. That's some great deals on turkeys and potatoes. Do you cook a turkey for Christmas?

  6. Hi Liz,
    I've done turkey just a couple of years for Christmas. Thanksgiving and Christmas are so close together in the US, many years we're just not in a turkey mood so soon. Is there a favorite meal for Christmas in Australia?


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