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Thursday, January 1, 2015

December 2014 Grocery Money Journal

Happy New Year, friends!!!

I love the start of a new year. I don't think I've ever had a year when I thought, "oh I wish this year weren't coming to an end".  I love the hope for things to come. Perhaps that's why I enjoy planting the spring garden so much -- it's the hope of a fantastic gardening year that pulls me in.

And this new year has special meaning and hope for me. I've been suffering from extreme fatigue for the last couple of months (okay, let's face it it's been years now). I'm working on this, and this year, I have expectations of getting my energy back. So, if you can ride the waves of energy highs and lows with me, while I figure this out, I'll be blogging as much as my energy levels allow.

To the grocery money journal!

We are well-stocked for winter, now. I've been trying to organize the pantry so that I'm not tripping over things in there. I am very grateful, though, for a full pantry, fridge and freezer. However, I've got to get a handle on my spending. Again this month, I am in the hole. Here's how it panned out.

Dec. 5 Dollar Tree for soy milk. I buy 4 quarts, spending $4

Dec. 11 Cash and Carry wholesaler. I've got one of my daughters with me to help with a 50 lb sack. I buy 50 lbs of brown rice ($23.89 -- we've been out of rice for a month now and I've been missing it, not on sale this week, but who cares -- throw caution to the wind and buy it anyway, at 48cents/lb), 3 pound brick of frozen spinach ($3.08), and another 3 pound brick of frozen collard greens ($3.57). (These frozen blocks of greens may look difficult to work with for just family meals, but when I get them home from the store, they are softened just enough to use a serrated bread knife to cut each 3-lb brick into quarters. I bag up the quarters, and pop into the freezer. Problem solved.) 2 heads of green cabbage ($1.45 each), and 1 head of red cabbage ($1.58), and 1 72-count package of corn tortillas (for making chips and tacos ($1.69). I also find 1 lb blocks (not cut into quarters and separately wrapped, so I cut them for cooking and table use as I open each one) of butter for $2.48/lb. I buy 10 pounds. This may be the best price I find on butter, for a few months. Total spent at Cash and Carry, $61.51.

Also, Fred Meyer is one the way home from Cash and Carry, so when I have time, I run in and check for marked down milk. I pick up a flyer at the door, and find whole grain pasta on sale for 79/cents a 12-oz box (w/coupon, limit 4), and I buy a jar of mayo (30-oz) for $2.19, and 12-oz bag of chocolate chips (for making peppermint bark this weekend) for $1.79. Total spent at Fred Meyer, $7.14 (and sadly, no marked down milk :-(  )

Dec. 13 Dollar Tree to pick up a couple of stocking stuffers, and 2 boxes of crackers for our family tree trimming party. I was going to only buy 1 box, but I lost my head, and bought 2!! (Must have been just before lunch, and I was hungry, or hangry as the case might be.)

Dec. 18 I just got the call from the radiologist and it's good news, benign. How should we celebrate? Let's go buy a box of chocolates at Bartell's (local drug store). They have boxes of Russell Stover's chocolates on sale this month for $3.99. These boxes usually sell for $9.99 to $12.99, so this sale is a good one. I would like to stock up on these for future gatherings, but I just can't trust myself to have an extra box of chocolates sitting in the pantry. So, we buy 1 box for $3.99

While out, I remember that Walgreen's has eggs on sale for $1.29/dozen, and I am very low on eggs. So we swing by and pick up 4 dozen eggs, spending $5.16.

Dec. 19 Cash and Carry has 40-lb cases of navel oranges on sale again. W have really plowed through the last 2 cases of oranges, so I want to get more. When I check the cases, it looks like the oranges are nearing the end of their peak eating quality, so I find the best case, and only buy 1 case, for $16.98. They'll last through January, and perhaps into early February. We also really went through the cabbage, so I pick up 2 more heads of green cabbage ($1.45 each), plus about 10 bananas for $2.46 (45cents/lb), and a container of chili powder ($3.49). Spent $25.83

Still looking for marked down milk, so we stop at QFC. I pick up my 2 half hams for $1.49/lb, 2 small packages of turkey hot dogs, 5 hot dogs per package, for 49 cents, and enough almonds from the bulk bins to make holiday almond and dried fruit bread. Spent $28.70.

Dec. 28 Coming home from church, my daughters ask to stop at QFC and Rite Aid, so at QFC we find half-gallons of eggnog marked down to $1.99 (buy 1) and a 1-lb package of turkey bacon for $1.59. Spent $3.58

Dec. 29 Making a return of a Christmas gift at Fred Meyer, I pick up a flyer at the door and find half-gallons of milk on sale for $1.25 each, limit 4 w/ coupon. I buy my 4, all of whole milk, so I can make yogurt, and spend $5.

Dec. 31 Stopping in at QFC on errands, and finally find milk on markdown. Gallon jugs of 1% for $2.09. My freezer is really full, so I only buy 6 gallons, spending $12.54.

For the month of December, I spent $159.45. I know, that doesn't sound like much, but I was carrying forward a deficit of $117.96 from November. My budget this month was $160, less $117.96, leaving me with a budget of $42.04. At the end of December, I am now in the hole, $117.41. This deficit will be carried forward into January 2015's grocery budget. Perhaps I just won't need all that much, or just won't find any stellar deals. In any case, I do need to rein in my spending, and bring my budget back into balance.


  1. Lili, I'm so sorry that you are suffering from fatigue. It's very difficult when you just don't have the energy to do things. I'm sure that you are working with a good doctor, but obvious first things that can cause fatigue are low iron and thyroid functioning (I know about these). Check those out if you haven't already.

    Despite whatever else is going on, maybe at least part of it is your body telling you to slow down and take care of yourself. You take care of your family better than anyone I know, but maybe your body is saying that it's time to let them take care of things that you've taught them so well to do.

    Okay, that was a very simplistic advice from someone who has no details of the situation, so I'm not really qualified to give it. But I truly wish you the best.

    1. Thanks, live and learn. So far, we've ruled out thyroid. I was actually hoping it was thyroid, as it would be straightforward to correct.

      Thanks for the well wishes!

  2. Well, I know you went "over" due to the previous deficit, but you sure got a lot for your money. I always find these grocery journal posts so interesting. We live in a very weird area for grocery stores (and other options), though it has improved somewhat this past year with the building of our Aldi as well as a Target with groceries. We will lose commissary privileges in late January--we were given two years' as a part of the severance package when my husband got out of the Army with 16 years in due to the drawdown--and I am feeling a little lost in the grocery department after primarily shopping there for almost 18 years now. I've been trying to gradually wean myself over to Aldi as we don't have any of the big grocery chains here (just a small regional chain that is pricey, as well as Target and W-mart) and think it is going to work. Just will have to look for odds and ends elsewhere as they are a very basic store.

    Hope you get to feeling better. As the person above also mentioned, I also deal with thyroid and low iron issues and understand that tiredness. Hope you are finding the root of yours and can get back to feeling like yourself Happy New Year!

    1. Happy New Year, to you, too, Cat!

      Well now, maybe with both Wal-mart and Target you'll be able o find some good deals! Choices will make your grocery shopping more doable, especially as you are now out of use of the commissary. Best of luck with this!

  3. Happy New Year!

    I'm sorry you're feeling fatigued. I have fibromyalgia and I understand how much that feeling can drag you down mentally in addition to the physical. Take care of yourself!

    1. Happy New Year, Shara!
      Thank you. It's a strange thing for me, to have to work at feeling well. But maybe that's just the approach that I need to take.
      The fibro must take it's toll on you. So sorry you have to deal with it.


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