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Monday, February 2, 2015

January 2015 Grocery Money Journal: making progress!

Oh boy, I've got a large deficit coming into the new year. $117.41 in the hole to carry into this month, leaving me only $42.59 for the entire month. I know I'll likely spend more than that, but I should be able to bring the deficit down quite a bit, anyway.

Here goes:

January 1. First day of the new year. It even feels lighter and brighter now that we're into January. Perhaps this is a good omen for our financials for 2015. Anyway. . . stopped in Dollar Tree and picked up 4 quarts of soy milk, enough to get through the month. Spent $4

January 6. Bartell's, the local drugstore chain in the NW, has a large electronic board right at a major intersection on my drive to and from local errands. They're advertising Seattle's Best Coffee, $3.99/12-oz bag. A bag of decaf would be very nice to have. I pick up 1 bag. Also, they're advertising Guittard chocolate chips for $1.99/12-oz bag. This is a brand that I find to be quite good -- very creamy. And they often have the white chocolate, as well as milk and semi-sweet. I buy 2 bags of white chocolate chips (good melted, for dipping cookies, or for drizzling over the tops of desserts), and 4 bags of semi-sweet. I spend $15.93

Also on January 6, just down the road is Dollar Tree. If I'm gong to make my favorite oatmeal-cranberry-pecan cookies, I'll need some pecans. They've been carrying small bags of pecans halves all fall and now into winter (I don't have one of the bags in front of me, but I think the price per pound was about $10-something, decent enough for our area). I buy 2 bags and a box of baking soda (59cents). Spent $2.59

January 8. Walgreen's has eggs on for $1.49/dozen. This is not a stellar price, but we are needing eggs, and this may just be the new normal on egg sales, for the time being. I decide to buy 4 dozen. While there, I find markdowns on lunch meat ham, milk, and turkey bacon. The turkey bacon and lunch meat ham are 99cents/package. The milk is $1.99/gallon. I buy 10 packages of turkey bacon, 9 packages of Oscar Meyer ham and 1 gallon of 1% milk. I also peruse the leftover Christmas candy section and find both Special Dark Hershey's Kisses and the regular Milk chocolate Hershey's Kisses, 8.5-oz bags for $1.04 each. I buy 2 Special Dark and 1 milk chocolate. Total spent at Walgreen's today -- $29.88

January 24. We are really needing some produce these days. The transit center where I have to pick up one daughter is near the Cash and Carry wholesaler, so I swing by there, and buy 3-lb box of frozen spinach ($2.49), almost 6 lbs of bananas for 49cents/lb, 5-lb bag frozen peas ($3.54), large bag of medium-sized avocados, 16-count ($6.98 -- that's about 44cents for each avocado, great deal for our area), a 5-lb bag of carrots ($2.15), 1 head of green cabbage ($2.00), 1 19-oz package of firm tofu ($1.54), and 3 large cans of party peanuts (56-oz cans, for $5.95 each, that's $1.70/lb). Total spent today, $39.47

So far, we're up to $91.87. I won't need much more in these last few days of the month. But still I will carry another deficit into the next month.

January 28. Dollar Tree to pick up some flour tortillas and a box of crackers for the gang at home, for when I'm away over the weekend. Spent $2.

Well, well, well. I didn't need another single thing this month. Total spent for the month of January, $93.87. I reduced my deficit from $117.41 to $51.28, going into February!! Whoopee! Yeah, yeah, if I hadn't bought the chocolate chips or clearance Christmas chocolate, I'd have done better. But those treats will be welcome in the coming months, and will prevent me from buying other, more costly treats. (That's what I'm telling myself, anyway.) I've already used some of the white chocolate for dipping my favorite oatmeal cookies. And I'll be using some of the dark chocolate for dipping strawberries for Mother's Day, and making English toffee for Father's Day. If I get to it, I'd like to make truffles for Valentine's Day. And of course, some good old chocolate chip cookies sound like a plan sometime in the next month. See, at least I have a plan!

And a bit of good news on income. My husband received a cost of living raise, effective in January. This means I can raise our grocery budget a smidgen. Next month, we'll have a budget of $175 for groceries, instead the $160 we've been living on. I know we can do this!

How are grocery prices in your area? Are you seeing any relief on some of the basics, like eggs, milk and meat? Or are prices remaining high?

Wishing you all well.



  1. From what I see, prices here (SW OK) have gone up overall. Our local Aldi has a sign up about the cost of eggs going up (they are $1.59 a dozen there). Organic milk at Aldi just jumped up .30 per half gallon (haven't priced the regular lately). We buy our eggs and most meat from local farmers, and even those prices have risen. At least there are still some great deals on produce. And Aldi had their version of organic Cheerios for .79 a box this past week...I purchased a case of 12.

    1. Hi Cat,
      Great buy on the cereal! Your family will appreciate that in weeks to come!

  2. Our grocery prices fluctuate weekly. Higher overall than they were a year ago, but gas prices are a lot lower, so I guess it balances out.

    How was your trip? :)

    1. Hi Kris,
      true, the lower gas prices are really helping. And right now, while I'm doing more driving, it's a blessing to no have huge gas costs!

  3. Egg prices are finally coming down, bought some recently at Aldi's for $1.55 or $1.59/doz. Milk remains afforebale at $3.49 but meats-out of site!

    1. Hi Carol,
      Beef, especially, is so incredibly high these days. I'm glad that egg prices are beginning to come down a bit where you are!

  4. Avacados were on sale at Aldi's last week for .69 each. That's a good price and people recognize it. They were carrying them out by the bagful. I only bought one, but I wish I had gotten more. However I sometimes like avocados and sometimes I don't. I didn't want to take the chance of wasting one.

    1. Hi live and learn,
      Maybe you'll get another chance at the avocados. The large bag of avocados that I bought have been wonderful. If they begin to soften all at once, I plan on mashing them with some lemon juice, and freezing, for making guacamole another time.

  5. No relief on milk, eggs, or meat, but we are doing OK anyway. We just do without those things if we need too.

    1. Hi Belinda,
      It's frustrating to see prices go up so quickly, but you have the right attitude, that we can make do, when we need to. I need to remind myself of that more often.

  6. Congratulations on your efforts, and your husband's raise too.
    prices here are still high, but there are a couple of sale items -- eggs at $1.99 again, and extra lean ground beef at $4.99/lb. Ironically, that's cheaper this week than regular ground beef. But anything else in the beef line is ridiculously priced - stewing beef at $6.99/lb. No way!

    1. Hi Jayne,
      Wow! beef stew meat for $7 a pound! I hope you picked up some of that extra lean ground beef while it was on sale.

  7. Congrats on your DH's raise! That's definitely a blessing.
    Milk prices here are holding steady ... I can pick up a gallon for $2.50 to $2.69 depending on sales/stores. Eggs still high. I'm noticing that prices on pork are coming down. Beef ... forget it. Even the markdowns are still out of my budget.

    1. Hi DW,
      thank you (on his behalf).
      Your milk prices sound pretty good, and similar to what I find for advertised sales on milk. Yeah, the beef prices are just out of sight right now. I do keep checking the mark down section for reduced beef, too. But like you, the mark downs I'm finding aren't that impressive.

  8. Avocados usually go on sale here at Superbowl time, for making guacamole, but this year the lowest price was $1.29 (Cdn) each, but I guess we are far from the source! They are a treat to me. Glad you responded appropriately to the chocolate sales, LOL!

    1. Hi Dar,
      Ouch! I don't think I'd be able to buy many avocados at $1.29 each. Interesting, though, I'd never put two and two together and seen that avocados go on sale to coincide with making guac for the Superbowl.

      The chocolate is something of a necessity, right? I just need to stick to my plan and not get into it ahead of time. An exercise in self-discipline.


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