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Monday, December 1, 2014

November Grocery Money Journal

Nov. 7 Walgreens for eggs. At $1.29, they seem more expensive than I'm used to, so I just buy 1 dozen. Spent $1.29

Also, stop at Trader Joe's for bananas, at 19cents each. I buy 6 bananas, for $1.14. We still have apples, and will get oranges, so a few bananas will be a nice change of pace.

Just down the highway is the Cash & Carry wholesaler. Tomato paste is on sale in the #10 cans, case of 6 cans for $24.84. I buy 2 cases. And oranges also on sale in 40-lb case (88 oranges), for $16.98. Spent $66.66.
Nov. 9 Dollar Tree for macaroni (1), lasagna noodles (2), black tea (1), soy milk (3), and a marked down package of candy corn (50cents). Spent $7.50.

Nov. 11. Again down by Cash& Carry, so I pick up 1 more case of oranges, and a can of coffee for $5.45. Spent $22.43

Nov. 14 Albertson's for the first of my turkey deals. I buy 4 dozen eggs (4/$5), and 2 turkeys (40 lbs for $23.28). Spent $28.28

Nov. 20. Need milk, stop in at QFC. No markdowns, so I buy 1 gallon at $2.99.

Also, stop at Albertson's for 1 more turkey deal (I buy 2 more turkeys, about 36 lbs for $21.28) . Also, this week, potatoes in 10-lb bags for 99cents, limit 1,powdered sugar 2-lb bags, 99cents w/coupon limit 2 (I buy 2), canned veggies 50cents, limit 6, w/coupon (I buy 6). I spend $28.25

Nov. 22, at Fred Meyer. I check milk, again no markdowns. I buy 1 gallon for $2.99.

Nov. 22 Albertson's with 2 daughters, we each buy a bag of potatoes, for 30 lbs, and spend $2.97.

Nov. 23 Albertson's with 3 other family members. Buy 4 bags of potatoes for $3.96.

Nov. 24 one last pass at Albertson's with 1 family member, we buy 2 more bags of potatoes, for $1.98. We now have 100 lbs of potatoes for the winter.

Total spent for the month, so far, $170.44

Nov. 25. Fred Meyer. Celery is on sale for 39cents/lb. I buy 8 bundles of celery, about 17 lbs, to chop and freeze to use this winter in soups/stews/sauces. Also, buy 1 head garlic (34cents), 6 cans veggies (50cents each), 1 more gallon milk ($2.99), 3 bottles sparkling cider ($2), barbeque sauce (in markdown bin for 49cents each -- I buy 6 bottles), 1 bottle cran mango juice ($1.29, markdown bin, will save for Christmas morning), 1 small-ish sweet potato (79cents/lb), and 4 cans of pineapple ($1 each).  I spend $28.18

Also, Cash & Carry, for 4 jars of peanut butter (4-lb jars, $5.39), 50 lbs of all-purpose flour ($12.97), and a 2-lb bag of yeast ($6.29). I spend $40.82.

Nov. 28. Black Friday sales. We stop at Bartell's (drug store) for canned nuts. We buy a mix of mixed nuts and just peanuts. We buy about 12 lbs of nuts, total and spend $43.92. Not as good a deal on nuts as last year, but these will be nice to have.

Black Friday, Fred Meyer, check the milk section and find lots of marked down milk. I buy 4gallons whole milk ($1.99 each), and 3 gallons 1% ($1.99 each). Our freezer and fridge are very full, so this is all I think will fit. Spent $13.93.

For the month of November, I spent $297.29. I had a surplus of $19.33 from last month, added to a budget of $160, for a total of $179.33. I was overbudget in November by $117.96. That deficit will carry forward to December. I hope to be caught up by the end of January. We'll have to see.

So, our pantry, freezers and fridges are very, very full. We could go a couple of months and only need milk and eggs (but I'd like to buy hams this month, too).

This month, we stocked up on potatoes, turkeys, canned veggies, peanut butter, tomato paste, canned nuts and fresh oranges. These items will last through the next several months, up to a year on some.

I hope your pantry is well-stocked for the holidays!


  1. Wow! I wish we could find nuts for 4.44 a lb. The best i've done is 5.00 lb. for cans of mixed. I'm in the U.P. so some of our sales are an hour away. Like you, when i find a deal i buy as much as i can get. It's never been a bad decision!

    1. Hi momsav,
      I mis-calculated how much nuts we bought. I redid the math and we bought 12 lbs (changed that in the journal just now). Turns out we paid about $3.59/lb overall. But, yeah, when I find a great deal for the year, I buy as much as we may need for many months at a time.

      Thanks for your comment!

  2. I got a kick out of your Black Friday purchase--not the typical item most people purchase! :)

    Hope you had a great Thanksgiving, Lili.

    1. Hi Kris,
      no, not your usual Black Friday scramble for us. I always seem to find milk marked down on Black Friday! But we also bought a couple of gifts that day, too!!

      I hope you had a wonderful holiday with family, Kris!

  3. The deal on the nuts was fantastic. We have been in the Northwest for a week and now it is time to do some serious Christmas pantry stocking. Right now Aldi has their brand of cocoa powder for $2.50 per can (tin?) I have been buying 2 per week since they only carry it during the holidays. When I have 12 I will quit. That will last the entire year and on into 2016. Hersheys and Bakers cocoa are nearly 5 dollars here for the same size container. I am predicting brownies will be a often made treat this next year.

    I have been reading your posts about deals you get at Dollar Tree and kept wondering how you do it. I never find anything like that at ours. Well, while I was in Portland I went into one to get some wrapping supplies for our granddaughter's first birthday gifts. Now I understand! It was a huge store with both a refrigerator section and a frozen food section. We only have a bare minimum of food items and no options for any cold or fresh items. Wow! Im impressed and a tad jealous!

    1. Hi Anne,
      Your cocoa powder is a great deal, and smart of you to stock up for a year at a time, with it only available around the holidays! For us, I find cocoa powder for near that price at Trader Joe's. I can't believe how expensive cocoa powder is in traditional grocery stores, here! About like your $5/can.

      Hmmm, maybe at some point you Dollar Tree will expand. When ours first opened it had limited food items, and no cooler/freezer at all.

      We buy our years' supply of nuts at this time of year. For us, drug stores seem to have the best deals on canned nuts. So now, the challenge is to ration them out over the course of a year.

      Hope you had a lovely holiday, Anne!

    2. Funny that Anne is talking about inconsistency between stores--our Aldi carries cocoa powder year-round. It might be cheaper now, though. Baking chips (choc chips, butterscotch, etc.) are substantially cheaper through Christmas, as is butter, so I intend on stocking up in the next month.

    3. Our Aldi carries the chocolate chips and butterscotch all the time, but only has the white baking chips, milk chocolate and mini ones at Christmas. The Aldi butter deal was last week here. I bought 6 pounds which should last for several months. I think I still had about 10 pounds in the freezer from accumulated butter sales over the last few months. Last year my Aldi's super butter deal was $1.49 a pound, this year it was $2.39. That is a pretty substantial increase.

      Since I live in pecan country, I am able to buy pecans in the shell very reasonably. Of course it takes a while to shell them but I usually wind up with about 10 pounds of pecan halves and another couple of pounds of pieces I mess up during the shelling process. Wish we were in walnut country too, but I really do hate cracking those.

  4. We finally have a good deal on milk--$1.99/gallon. A year ago, it was $4/gal which it still is in most places. However, in one shopping center Aldi's and Walmart are having a price war because Walmart just extended their food section. I don't know how long it will last, but I'm happy while it does. Just wish this price war had gone on when the boys were home.

    1. Hi live and learn,
      Woo hoo! Great price in milk for you! I'm hoping that the price war continues for quite some time, between your Wal-Mart and Aldi.

  5. Great deal on the nuts, sounds like you are very well stocked at the moment, that must be a relief :)

    1. Hi Liz,
      The pantry is quite full, and that is indeed a good feeling! No matter what happens in the near future, there's plenty to eat here!

  6. Lil ... how do you freeze your celery. I've tried it, and it turns brown. Methinks I'm doing something wrong.

    1. Hi DW,
      I don't blanch or anything special. I just dice, put into bags and freeze. At what point does yours turn brown? Is it brown, like oxidized, shortly after chopping? Or in the freezer? Or in cooking? Mine stays green. Of course, if I cook it for a long time, post-freezing, it turns the same muddy green color that it does if cooking fresh celery for a long time. Are you blanching/freezing, or just freezing? I've read that you can blanch it for 2-3 minutes. It keeps better, long-term if you blanch. But if you're going to use it within 3 months, what I've read is it's fine to just chop/freeze.

  7. Lil ... it seems to go brown once it's in the freezer for a week or so. I just freeze it ... nothing special.
    Oddly enough, I throw celery ends, carrot peelings, etc in a bag in the freezer to make vegetable broth ... and they look just fine. Maybe it's in the chopping?

    1. DW,
      I'm stumped. I am wondering if it's the knife. Some carbon steel knives have been known to induce oxidation. You could try chopping celery, then rinsing the chopped pieces in a bit of lemon juice and water, before freezing, in a trial sized portion. Or try out different knives in your kitchen. I'll look around and see what else might come up. I have heard that ceramic knives are great for certain fruits and veggies, to prevent browning.

    2. Hi DW,
      okay, so I found out that the leaves may turn brown, as lettuce leaves do, for some folks. Is it the celery leaves turning brown, or the stalk pieces as well? I tend to use up my celery leaves in just the first couple of weeks after freezing so I don't know on those. My bags of celery stalk pieces are still very green, though, and it's been a couple of weeks since I chopped/froze them.


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