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Thursday, July 3, 2014

June grocery money jourmal, a revelation and the winner of a 1-year Victoria subscription

First off, the winner of the 1-year subscription to Victoria magazine. The randomly selected number is 3, Jo Ann. Congratulations! Jo Ann, please email me your mailing address, so I can fill out the forms.

So, we went over our budgeted grocery amount, not by a whole lot, but we did go over. I was beating myself up over this for a few days. Then I reread my grocery money journal for the month, and I could see for myself that I didn't buy junk (at least not a lot of it, some soda for special occasions, and colored sprinkles for cookies and cakes, but otherwise, that was it as "junk"). I spent our money wisely. It's not my fault that grocery prices have risen steeply in the last several months, or that our income has been cut significantly at the same time. I am working hard at this, and I shouldn't feel badly that groceries simply cost more than I can afford right now. Maybe next month will be better, as our garden is producing even more, and our pantry and freezers are well-stocked. It's discouraging, yes, but not a personal failure, simply something that is. I am working hard at something that just is hard.

In most of the other areas of spending, we are doing well. We continue to implement savings strategies on utilities, entertainment, leisure travel, clothing, gas for the cars and cleaning supplies. Medical expenses have risen and for our family will continue to go up for a while. We simply have medical needs right now for a couple of family members. Can't do anything about that. University costs have risen. Again, I have zero control over tuition increases. However, we are doing well with books and supply costs, either renting books or buying books used, online/from other students. And of course, property taxes rose this year by several hundred dollars. We'll just have to work around these areas that represent increased spending in our budget.

June 1.
We've been cutting and cutting and cutting, and we still need to cut back more. Next month, we have a further reduced grocery budget. We're scaling back to $165 in July, and seeing if it will work for us. This month we have $170. At the same time, I'm trying to "bank" more surplus for late summer/early fall stock-ups. All while grocery prices keep shooting upwards! We'll see how it goes.

June 1. It's a Sunday and the girls would like a ride to St Vincent de Paul, to check out their 99 cent clothing day. SVdP is on the main highway, so I turn this into an opportunity to make a run down to Trader Joes and the produce stand. At Trader Joe's I pick up 15 bananas, for a cost of $2.85.

The produce stand is just down the road. I get 1 cantaloupe (39 cents/lb), 1 cucumber (50 cents), 3 avocados (3/$1) and a bag of 5 large pasilla peppers (99 cents). I spend $3.58.

June 3. I checked the ads online for Walgreens, Fred Meyer and the Cash and Carry. Cash and Carry has a few things I'm interested in on sale. I buy 50 lb sack of onions ($8.81, that's about 18 cents/lb), 50 lb sack of stone-ground whole wheat flour ($20.08, 40 cents/lb), 25 lb sack of carrots ($6.98, about 28 cents/lb), a case of 6 #10 cans of diced, canned tomatoes ($15.96), a gallon of lemon juice ($4.97), a small box of cornstarch (99 cents), 3  4-lb jars of chunky peanut butter ($5.98 each, about $1.49/lb), 2-lb bag raisins ($4.59). Total spent $80.32, for a month to date total of $86.75.

June 5. Fred Meyer has eggs and milk on sale this week. I buy 2 gallons whole milk, $2.50 each (great for making yogurt) and 2  18-ct cartons of eggs ($2 each). While I'm there, I buy some ground ginger from bulk bins (66 cents), and I find balsamic vinegar mayonnaise on clearance for $1.32 per 30 oz jar. There are 4 jars left, but I only buy 2, for a total spent of $12.30.

June 7. Heading back to Fred Meyer on way home from dropping daughter at the park and ride. I buy 2 more gallons of whole milk (for yogurt), and 2 more cartons of eggs, plus I find 1 half gallon of skim milk on markdown for $1, and 2 gallons of 1% milk on markdown for $2. I'm set for milk for the month of June, now. Total spent today, $14, for a month to date spent of $113.05.

June 9. So, I'm looking in the pantry, fridge and freezers. It all looks pretty well-stocked. I will try to only buy stupendous deals and a little extra produce for the rest of the month. We may just make my goal of setting aside more money for the fall.

June 11. Fred Meyer for butter with a coupon, 1lb for $2, limit 2. I buy my 2 and pick up the non-food items I need here. Spent $4.

June 13. Safeway has cans of coffee on sale today only for $5. I buy 4 cans of French roast and spend $20. We now have enough coffee to get through the year and into 2015.

June 13. My daughters had a day off. When I asked what they'd like to do, they wanted to go to Goodwill. While there, I find seed packets for 29 cents. I buy 4 packets of spinach seeds. Spent $1.27

June 14. Albertson's has 2 lb blocks of cheddar for $4.99 w/ coupon (limit 1). I also need pectin for strawberry-rhubarb jam ($5.19). Spent $10.18.

June 20. Fred Meyer has eggs on sale with in-store coupon 4 dozen for $5. I check out the clearance rack and find blue sprinkles, perfect for 4th of July cookies, just 89 cents. Spent $5.89, for a month-to-date total of $154.69

June 23. Down near the produce stand, Country Farms, stop in and buy 1 eggplant (I'll make easy eggplant casserole, 79 cents), 1 head garlic (50 cents, ouch! can't wait for my garden garlic to be ready to dig) and a cucumber (50 cents). Total spent $1.79.

June 28. Walgreen's has 2-litres of soda pop for 79 cents each (plus tax), limit 3. I buy our Christmas tree decorating party bottle of cola, and 2 bottles of lemon-lime (one for punch for a special occasion and the other nice to have on hand in case someone in the family catches a stomach bug). I've got these at the back of the pantry right now, out of view, out of mind. Spent $2.60

June 28. I'm at QFC loading a bus pass onto my daughter's bus card and decide to check the dairy aisle for mark downs. I find 5 gallons of whole milk (4%), good for making yogurt, for $2.09 each, and 3 gallons of skim milk for $1.89 each. Total spent $16.12.

Month-to-date spent on groceries -- $175.20, $5.20 over budget. I'll deduct this from our running surplus from previous months, leaving $54.51 in surplus. We spent $40.88 per week, on average for the month of June, a really small amount for 5 adults, and I need to remind myself of that regularly.


  1. Lili
    I think you are doing awesome with the budget, we are all lamenting food prices. : (
    Keep up the good work!

    1. Thanks, Carol.
      The most frustrating thing about rising food prices, for me at least, is that I don't know when something is a great price, as prices will continue to rise, or if prices have hit a plateau, and I can buy a small amount, with the hope to buy more at that price later on.
      Thanks for your encouragement.

  2. Hi Lili,
    I sent you an email. Thanks for the great giveaway!

    You are doing a great job with your spending and budgeting! I'm glad you took another look at your journal and realized it was not a personal failure : )

    I appreciate the inspiration and education you provide for your readers!
    Jo Ann

    1. Hi Jo Ann,
      I got your info and have filled out the forms. I emailed you this morning with more details. Enjoy the magazine! I know that I do!
      And thanks for the vote of confidence!

  3. If you have a surplus, then isn't some of the point of that so you have a little wiggle room for unexpected grocery hikes? It is really hard to keep grocery costs down right now and $40.88/week is phenomenal, especially for 5 adults. Give yourself a little grace! :)

    1. Hi Kris,
      Okay, so now I'm going to get all "therapy" on you and everyone else here. I had another revelation recently. I get frustrated and impatient with myself on our budget because of "control issues". If I can control our money, then I feel there is an area in my life where I am in control. When will I ever learn? We really can't control a whole lot in this world, only our own selves, and even then sometimes our own selves can't be controlled. I am learning to be more patient with myself and see my successes more than my failures.
      And you made a very good point, as to the purpose of the surplus, to give us wiggle room for when a month just doesn't cooperate with my "plans".

    2. Ah, control issues ... got that going on over here as well. :)

  4. I'm with Carol...I think you are doing a great job. It's so difficult right now with the price of groceries continuing to rise. I just read an article today that said people are eating less meat than they were 10 years ago and it was for health reasons. I think it is for financial reasons more than anything else. Keep up the good work. :)

    1. Thank you, Belinda.
      I think you're right on that, about people eating less meat as much or more because of costs, than because of health. If it was just because of health, then the rest of the stuff in their shopping carts would look a lot healthier, too!
      I'm just hoping that food inflation will level off very soon!

  5. I'm in awe of your ability to feed 5 adults so well on so little! Hang in there ... we're all getting walloped with higher costs on everything, it seems.

    1. Hi DW,
      getting walloped is the best way to put it! That's how I feel sometimes! We'll just have to continue to work smarter at this! Thanks for your words of encouragement!

  6. Prices are going up everywhere on just about everything. The fact that you able to still feed your family a variety do delicious and nutritious meals within a very limited budget is something to be celebrated. Kudos to you!

    1. Hi Jayne,
      Thank you. I am hoping prices will level off this summer. There will always be some sort of deal out there, and we'll just do our best to take advantage when those deals pop up!

  7. It must be frustrating to work so smart and so hard and still not meet your goals. I'm glad you're reminding yourself that some things are out of your control and you are doing a terrific job. All of the rest of are amazed with your abilities. That doesn't fix your budget, but I hope knowing that is a small consolation prize.

    1. Hi live and learn,
      Thank you, and yes, it is some consolation. I try to be an optimist, though, and am hopeful this month will work out to our advantage. Thanks for your encouragement -- it's appreciated!

  8. You always inspire and motivate me with your spending breakdown posts.

    1. Hi Cat,
      Thank you for your kind words. I am glad that it helps someone, in some way. Otherwise I wouldn't post our grocery journal, but keep it to myself. I actually do reread these, and sometimes go back through my hand-written grocery tallies from years ago. It helps me see trends and I can plan accordingly. I'm something of a nerd that way :)


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