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Monday, March 2, 2015

February 2015 Grocery Money Journal

Going into this month I'm carrying forward a deficit of $51.28. However, due to my husband's cost-of-living increase, I can increase our budget to $175 for the month. So, for February, I have a total of $123.72 for the grocery budget.

Feb. 4. Fred Meyer -- I found a lot of markdown items this shopping trip. Sour cream, 16-oz 79cents (4), cottage cheese, 16-oz $1.09 (2), 2% milk, gallon, $1.50 (9), ground turkey, 1-lb $2.49, extra lean ground beef 1-lb (2), $3.89, spinach-leafy greens salad blend, 99cents (3), broccoli florets 99cents (4), sliced mushrooms, 8-oz 79cents (11), large eggs, $1.25/dozen (4), garlic flakes 64cents. Spent $50.37

Feb 6. back to Fred Meyer with daughters to buy more eggs at $1.25/dozen. We buy 8, spend $10.

Feb. 8. Dollar Tree for soy milk (4), flour tortillas (1), frozen sweet potato fries for Valentine's dinner (1), animal cookies for babysitting (1), vegetable seeds, 25cents (4). spent $8.10

So far this month, I've spent $68.47.

Feb. 10.  Fred Meyer for butter ($2/lb, limit 2), whole milk (half-gallon, 99 cents, limit 4, good for making yogurt), bulk dried onion (for making French Dip sandwich meat w/ground beef, 40 cents), bulk celery seed (for making au jus to go with French Dip sandwiches, 19 cents). Spent $8.55

Feb. 13. Cash & Carry has butter on sale for $1.69/lb, 30-lb case (you can also buy 1 lb at a time, at this price, but I need a case), total for 30 lbs.$50.70. Also buy 35-lb container of vegetable oil (soybean) for $18.75 (that's about $4.29/gallon), another 40-lb case of navel oranges for $15.48 (about 39 cents/lb), several lbs of bananas for 44 cents/lb, dried cranberries, 3-lb bag for $5.87, 2 heads of green cabbage ($1.42 each), 5 lbs of carrots ($2.15), and 50 lbs of onions ($5.97). Total spent today $104.15.

So far, I've spent over $180 for the month. While this is discouraging, as you can see, I'm not buying junk. With this rough patch I've been going through with my health, eating optimally has become imperative for me. For example, I'm eating more animal protein than previously. For both breakfast and lunch, I add an egg to whatever else I'm fixing for myself. So, I may have some chicken or turkey for lunch, along with an egg. And I'm eating veggies at both breakfast and lunch (spinach is pretty good with breakfast). All of my snacks need to have protein, as well. In addition to all of my needs, right now, I'm also spending now to save later. For instance with the butter, buying a 30-lb case now will save us quite a lot in the future. It's not likely that butter prices will match that price again very soon. So, we're set for the time being with butter. While the dried cranberries sound like a treat, believe it or not, these dried cranberries are currently cheaper than raisins, here.

Our fridge, freezer and pantry are super-well-stocked right now. I keep thinking, "what could I possibly buy next month?" But then again, I didn't think I'd be buying much this month, either.

Feb. 16. Fred Meyer, pick up 2 10-oz containers of spring leafy greens, on markdown, 99 cents each. Spent $1.98

Feb. 18. Dollar Tree, buy 4 bags of clearance, foil-wrapped, chocolate hearts (we'll use these this spring and summer for making s'mores), 50 cents/each, and 1 package of flour tortillas for an easy Sunday supper of bean burritos. Spent $3.00

Feb. 19. Bartell's Drugs store. They have bags of decaf French Roast. As I've now pared my caffeine down to just a half-cup of caffeinated coffee per day and 1 caffeinated tea bag, I now make myself 1 mug of half-caff coffee everyday, and want it to be goooooood. So, I buy 3 12-oz bags at $4.99 each, and spend $14.97.

For the month, I spent $201.12, going over the amount for the month by $77.40. So, best I can do is work at it next month, and hope that the budget works better in March. we are fairly well-stocked, so that is a good thing. I have no need to buy butter for a long time, and most of my other staples are holding out. I'll just do my best.

Hope your budgets worked out well last month!


  1. I am sorry that life is that expensive at the moment. I know how that feels :S Lately I have been busy (4 day working out side the house and 1 day back to school) so I haven't got much time to do things myself. But last friday I was able to make some cheese, yogurt and ricotta: so tasty but it does save a lot of money. With the whey I have left I am making all kind of dishes (pizza dough, pancakes and such). Nothing thrown out and a big money saver, but I am not sure if you can and/or may buy milk cheaply from your local farmer. Perhaps I wrote this before, but have you tried making your own soy milk? Very cheap and good in baked goods (not so tasty to drink as is, according to my children). Luckily spring is not that far away and we can start growing some vegetables, Saves at least some pennies. Take care!

    1. Hi greenpioneerwoman,
      Yes on the spring veggies! I picked chives last night to add to eggs. It's a blessing to have a garden.
      I've not made soy milk, but I have made rice milk. Do you have something in particular that you like to make with the strained-out soy bits?
      Great work on making the cheese, yogurt and ricotta! I only occasionally make cottage cheese. But do make yogurt a couple of times per month.
      It sounds like your life is quite busy these days! Take care, yourself.

  2. It is a little discouraging to be over the budget, but like you said it's all healthy food and you are stocked up well. You do so well on such a small grocery budget! :)

    I have been going over our grocery budget the past couple of months as well. I've been scratching my head trying to figure it out. I have been stocking up quite a bit. Then again, I've found excellent prices...butter at $1.99/lb, pasta at $0.49/lb, natural peanut butter at $1.49/lb. Milk is down here from $4/gallon to $2.50/gallon and eggs are down as well. Yet, I can't stay in budget.

    I think I finally figured it out! My 13 year old son took another growing spurt lately. He's 5'8" now, and he's started baseball practice for the school team. It's every day after school. He's always hungry, and eating extra portions at meals. Plus he requires a high protein snack after school and before practice.

    We don't seem to have as many leftovers from meals anymore. So, I'm cooking more meals and we are going through more food. My oldest son is 18, so I guess we are feeding 4 adult sized people now instead of 3 adults and 1 more child-like appetite.

    One more thing...I thought you might get a laugh out of this. I enjoy trying to find grocery bargains so much that I even dreamed about it last night. In my dream, I was in Kroger looking at the dairy markdowns. They had the 32 oz containers of greek yogurt marked down to $0.79, but were only a couple of days away from the use by date. In my dream, I was trying to decided how many containers to much could we use in a few days, how many did I want to freeze...crazy, huh? :)


    1. HI Angie,
      Oh how funny! I've dreamt strange grocery shopping things like that too.
      When the kids grow like that, it does mean cooking more and spending more. I think part of our spending increase is due to my 2 daughters eating much more like adults, now. That combined with my higher need for animal protein, and I'm cooking meals of meat and eggs more often.
      Oh well, there's next month, and at the moment I can't see anything that I need to buy.
      Can't wait for spring!

  3. I feel your hurt in the budget deficit department. I had a big party in December
    If I had been thinking I would have budgeted cash for entertaining instead I used my grocery money.
    By the end of December I was borrowing from January.
    That put me short of grocery funds in January so I barrowed from February. Its a good thing February is a short month but still, last week I needed a cash advance from the March budget to take advantage of sale prices. It was less than $5 this time so I really hope by the end of March I still have money in my grocery envelope.

    1. Hi Linda,
      Ouch! Sorry you're budget fell behind, too. It does sound like you can get caught up this month. Bets of wishes with that.

      I will be struggling, myself, to get us back on track this month. But I'm still optimistic that it can be done. Onward and upward, right?

  4. Hope your health is better. The extra money you are spending for food may come back in a positive way--lower expenses on health care costs.

    1. Thanks, Kris.
      I'm working on it. I really need to go in for a couple of more tests.
      That's a good way to look at my spending. Thanks.

  5. Kris makes a very good point. Not only will you be saving on health care, you may feel better to do something to cut expenses in another area.

    1. Hi live and learn,
      Good point. I am hoping to be able to do a whole lot more in life, as well as towards finances. Thank you for that.

  6. Hope your health is doing better, Lili. You got some great grocery bargains there. Butter for $1.69 is a great price, and you will be stocked up for some time. The whole milk was a great price as were many other items as well. That is the one of the best ways to save money by buying in bulk like that even if it does cost more up front, it saves you more money in the long run. :)

    1. Hi Belinda,
      Thank you.
      You're right. I know that stocking up when I can will help our budget in the long run. And I doubt I will find butter on sale at that price anytime soon. Thanks!

  7. Our grocery bill has definitely gone up since we've been adding more meat protein to our diets. We feel better, but every month I think I'll be able to shave some money off the grocery bill and it just doesn't seem to work out. I only have one teenage son so far (4 more coming up behind). His appetite is picking up, so that's been another factor.

    1. It does get more challenging as the kids grow, and need more fuel.
      Yeah, I think the additional animal protein is a large factor for our family. But also, grocery prices in general are simply higher than a couple of years ago.

      Good luck with your budget!


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