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Monday, October 6, 2014

September Grocery Money Journal

It was a BIG shopping month. I managed to get all my receipts recorded in my notebook, as I went, but not electronically, until now. We are well-stocked, and close to completing my list of "needs" for this winter.

Sept. 1 At Dollar Tree, buy 1 bag of potato chips, 1 box of graham crackers ($2 total, but used "found" money, so doesn't count against budget for month), and 1 box of baking soda -- spent 59 cents out of grocery budget.

Sept. 5 Cash and Carry wholesaler -- checked their online ad that's good for 2 weeks and found a few things I need on sale. Bought 6 gallons of white vinegar ($2.47 ea), 3 five-lb bags of frozen peas ($3.54 ea), 13 oz. container of curry powder ($4.24), 9 oz container ground ginger ($2.88) and 3-lb bag of dried cranberries for holiday and winter baking ($5.87). Spent $38.43.

Sept. 8 Albertson's for canned green beans, 14.5 oz cans for 49 cents ea, w/coupon, limit 12. I buy 12 cans of cut green beans, wax beans and French beans, spending $5.88.

Sept. 8 Dollar Tree, I pick up a box of lasagna noodles and 2 quarts of soy milk. Spent $3

Sept. 12 Cash &Carry wholesaler. This is where I spent a good chunk of grocery money this month. They had some great specials. I bought a case of chunky peanut butter (six 4-lb jars) for $35.88, three 5-lb bags of shredded mozzarella cheese for $11.98 each, one 50lb bag of whole wheat flour for $12.99, and 2 and 1/2 cases (6 #10 cans per case, so total of 15 #10 cans) whole peeled tomatoes for $14.22 per case. They just had 1 bag of whole wheat flour in stock, so I'll come back next week to pick up the other one. Total spent this day, $120.36

Sept. 15 QFC is next to the bank, so whenever I have some banking to do I park between the two buildings and pop into QFC to check for markdowns. I also was needing ground cloves for some baking, and this store has a bulk spices section. On markdown, I found tofu (freezes well -- I used some of the frozen tofu last night in a mushroom gravy over Yorkshire pudding for a simple supper), at 99cents/ lb. I bought 4 cartons. Also found beef hotlinks for $2.69 package (bought 2 packages). These are just a tad fatter than hot dogs. I buy them, freeze 2 to a pack, then when I want pepperoni for a pizza or casserole, I can slice thinly, to use as a pepperoni substitute. It works out to about $3 per pound for pepperoni, (ready sliced pepperoni runs about $5 per pound here).And I found skim milk for $2.49/gallon. They had several gallons there on markdown, but I only bought 3 gallons. I prefer higher fat milk for my kids to drink, but this will work fine in cooking. I also picked up a smidge of ground cloves for baking, at 98 cents. Total spent today, $17.79

Sept. 16 back to Cash & Carry for that second 50-lb bag of whole wheat flour, another 5-lb bag of shredded cheese and while perusing all the aisles, I find #10 cans of Libby's pumpkin for $4.25 each (I buy 4). The pumpkin is the equivalent of a little over 7 of the 15-oz cans of pumpkin each #10 can. So my price per 15-oz is about 60 cents, a great price. I spend a total of $41.97

Sept. 16 My daughters are with me today, and butter is on sale w/coupon ($2/lb) at Fred Meyer (a tip left on my facebook page). There's a limit of 2 lbs, but plenty of coupons at the door. So, my 2 daughters and I each buy our 2-lb limit. They also have whole grain pasta on sale for 79 cents/box (I buy 4 of linguine). Total spent for 6 lbs butter, 4 boxes pasta, $15.16

I'm now up to $243.18 spent for the month, and only half-way through the month.

Sept. 20 Coupon still good at Fred Meyer, and again my daughters are with me as I run errands today. So,armed with our coupons, we buy 6 lbs of butter, plus find  6 gallons of 2% milk for $1.99 each, on markdown. Total spent between the 3 of us, $23.94.

Sept. 26 We're at the fabric store, which also has a $ Tree and Safeway grocery store in the shopping center. I buy 1 bag of marshmallows at $ Tree ($1), and find 1 gallon of whole milk on markdown for $1.74 (I'll use for making yogurt). Total spent $2.74

Sept. 26 Walgreen's has canned olives on sale for 89 cents/can. We pick up 8 cans, spending $7.12

Sept. 26 Cash & Carry -- this week they have onions and carrots on sale, plus still #10 cans of pumpkin. I buy 50-lb bag of onions for $7.98 (I'll store about half of these in the garage fridge. They'll keep through December.) I also buy one 25-lb bag of juicing carrots for $7.98, 2 #10 cans of pumpkin ($4.25 each), and 2-lb bag of yeast for $6.78. Total spent $31.24

Sept. 28 Fred Meyer for eggs (4 dozen for $5, I buy 4 dozen) and find 1 gallon 2% milk on markdown for $1.50. Spent $6.50

Total spending for the month -- $314.72 !!! Wow! That feels like a whole lotta money. However, when I look at my pantry and fridge, we are pretty well stocked.

What did I buy over the month? Lot's of canned tomatoes, canned pumpkin, 15 pounds of frozen peas, canned olives, milk, butter (12 pounds, which will carry us through the holidays and into 2015), fresh carrots, onions, some spices, canned green beans, yeast, whole wheat flour (100 lbs should last 8 months), some eggs (enough for 1 month), 20 lbs of shredded cheese, 6 gallons of vinegar, 3 pounds of dried cranberries, 24 pounds of peanut butter, tofu, pepperoni substitute, and baking soda.

I still have a few items on my list to stock up on, like all-purpose flour, tomato paste and sugar. I'm hoping October won't be nearly as expensive as September.

We had a budget of $160 for groceries for September. I spent all of the $91.55 surplus from previous months, going over budget plus surplus by $63.17. That amount will be taken from October's budget, and hopefully we'll be caught up by November 1. I try not to overspend, but occasionally I have a month with a lot on sale that I want to stock up on. This was one such month!

We spent an average of $73.43 per week, for the month of September.



  1. Great job! You found some awesome sales. It's a good feeling to be stocked up for the winter. :)


  2. The $6.47 you paid for the vinegar is about the price we pay here. I was reading a blog from England and vinegar there has gotten expensive according to her. It's a good idea to stock up just in case that happens here.

    You've gotten some really good deals expecially on the frozen peas, the Albertson's canned food sale, skim milk, butter (wow!), and onions (not seen a 50 lb bag here). Best of all, sounds like you are all stocked up for a while. Can't beat that.

    Our 25 pound bags of juicing carrots here are $16.50, so not a good deal like you can get there even though these are organic.

    I can get the black olives for that price here too, but we'll still be going to Walgreens this week as they have canned salmon on sale for $1.99 a can with a limit of three. It has been a long time since I have even bought salmon.

    1. Hi Belinda,
      what do you do with canned salmon? Are these the tall cans (not short like tuna cans)? So, I'm not much of a fish eater, but the other four in my house love fish. When I bought one can of salmon a while back and made salmon cakes, they all thought it tasted wonderful. I thought it was like licking the cat food bowl. So, I am open to any and all suggestions for using canned salmon (I know it's good for us, sigh).

      Interesting news about vinegar prices overseas. Perhaps a reflection of rising grain prices. I am hoping the 6 gallons lasts us the entire year, and then some. I ran a bit short this past year, with 4 gallons, so maybe the 6 gallons will be a bit of an overshoot.

  3. hi lilli,
    great job, you found good things.
    1 kilo carrots cost 0,33€.....i buyed 12 kilo
    1 Kilo onions cost 0,20€.....I buyed 20 Kilo
    1Kilo potatoes cost last week 0,15€....i buyed 100Kilo
    I found 5 kilo apples for 1,99€
    and this week is cabbage on sale,10 kilo for 1,99€.... I will buy 30kilo red cabbage and 10 kilo white cabbage (weißkraut)
    Have a wonderful week,
    hugs regina

    1. Hi Regina,
      Your cool-season produce prices sound pretty good, there. It sounds like you'll be well-stocked for fall -- many soups and stews on the menu perhaps!

  4. I keep coming home from the grocery store with WAY more than I planned because everything has been on sale! But since I got a good harvest of zucchini this year and have been freezing them, I did turn on the chest freezer again and it's nearly full! I've been experimenting with freezing summer fruit for the winter since it's so cheap right now. So far I've done peaches and grapes, and I have plans to make some frozen watermelon cubes later this week. 'm feeling stocked and ready for the winter!

    1. Hi Cat,
      oh, you're becoming sooo domestic, with the freezing of grapes, peaches and watermelons! You will definitely be well-stocked for fall and winter! It's a shame that your cat-babies don't eat garden produce -- you could feed them for real cheap if only they'd oblige!

  5. Sounds like you are well stocked. I like being able to stock up when things are on sale, too.

    I never see 50 lb. bags of onions here. Of course, I'd have to dry them to store If I ever do find a bag that size at that price you can bet I'll be trying it. I can't find large bags of whole wheat flour here either. I can find white flours only so I am still grinding wheat berries for our flour.

    I specifically bought milk to make yogurt this week. I haven't made any in a long time. Figured I should get off the stick.

    Our grocery list isn't too bad for this month. In fact, other than perishable or really good sales I'm not expecting to have to buy a lot of anything. I did however pick up some organic pre-made foods. Still junk foods in my mind, but as healthy as I could find -- because we have a road trip coming up and we won't have a refrigerator at the hotel. I'm rounding out the sweet potato chips and things with fruit, fresh bread and peanut butter. Cost wise and health wise I know this will be a better alternative than eating out three meals a day.

    1. Hi Shara,
      living where the house can be quite cool for half the year is a bonus for storing things like onions and potatoes. I've been thinking of drying some of the onions, to add more concentrated onion flavor to soups and sauces.

      When we're traveling, we also buy a few "treat" items. It's part of the fun, and does reduce overall expenses, compared to eating out every meal. I hope you have a great trip!

  6. Once again, I'm trying to figure out why I'm so interested in reading about your grocery shopping. While I definitely watch the prices, we are at a place where we are more casual than we have been in the past with our shopping. I think one reason I like to read about your shopping is because you are so thorough with everything.

    Although you spent more than you have in the last couple of months, it sounds like everything is still under control.

    1. Hi live and learn,
      I think, in part, for the same reason we all like to read each other's menu plans, even when the menu planner eats quite differently from ourselves -- kind of a food voyeurism. But also, I like to read how others organize, or plan ordinary occasions.

      Thanks for reading!

  7. While you spent a lot for you, you certainly got a LOT of food for it! Must feel good having that all tucked away before winter.

    1. Hi Cat,
      it does feel good! And I also now have more freedom as to what I can make everyday -- so many more options/ingredients to choose from.


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