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Tuesday, June 30, 2015

June 2015 Grocery Spending Journal

Oh, how very sad. For the month of June, I have just $145.32 in grocery money. I've got to get myself together for this. I can, and I will!

June 1. Dollar Tree for peanut butter (2) and soy milk (1). Spent $3

Cash & Carry for 40 lbs of chicken leg quarters, $19.99. Chicken legs are not my favorite, but at just under 50 cents per pound, I'll find ways to make them taste delicious. With all of this information about chicken/turkey and egg prices rising, I thought buying 40 lbs of chicken might be a good idea for right now.

The chicken quarters were packaged in 4 10-lb bags. Not horrible (could have been one solid block of frozen chicken), not as easy to deal with as IQF chicken pieces. But I'll figure something out. Meanwhile, we now have a very good supply of meat, here. 40 lbs of chicken, 10 lbs of ground beef, 1 whole turkey and 2 hams.

I've been thinking about our milk supply. I can get milk with a senior discount, one Tuesday per month, at an okay price ($2.51/gallon). Some months, milk is also on sale, so I can buy it for even less, as this month, it was $1.78/gallon, but limit of 3 gallons. I have figured that we go through about 9 or 10 gallons of milk per month, including the milk I use for making yogurt twice per month. So, my new fill-to amount, for the first week of the month is 10 gallons. That amount will get us through till the next senior discount day, when I can purchase more at an "okay" to "good" price.

June 1. QFC -- right next to the bank, so I run in and buy some milk, 4 half-gallons whole milk at 99 cents each (on sale, limit 4), and 2 gallons whole milk, on markdown ($1.98 each), 2 gallons skim milk on markdown ($1.99 each). Spent $11.90. When I have a choice, I buy whole milk, as I can use it either for family drinking or for making yogurt.

June 2. Senior Day at Fred Meyer. I use my discount to buy 6 half-gallons of whole milk (89 cents each), 1 packet of lettuce seeds for 96 cents, 4 16-oz bags of marshmallows for $1.35 each, 2 48-oz cans of shortening (for pie crusts), for $4.04 each, 1 large can of decaf coffee for $6.29, and 3 dozen eggs that were repackaged for $1.07 each dozen, plus I found 5 gallons of 2% milk on markdown for $2.00 each. I spent $39.28.

Month-to-date spent $74.17

June 7. The ethnic market, Imran's, for produce and corn tortillas. Bought 16 Red Delicious apples (39 cents/lb), 6 orange sweet bell peppers (25 cents each), 8 bananas (49 cents/lb), 1 head of green cabbage (49 cents/lb) ad 1 72-ct package of corn tortillas ($2.29). Spent $9.83. I figure I can afford to stop here one more time this month to pick up produce (and spend $10 again), and will otherwise use what's in the garden for the rest of our fruits and vegetables. The rest of the grocery budget is earmarked for other items.

Month-to-date spent $84.00

June 11. Cash & Carry for 4 64-oz jars of chunky peanut butter (it makes the best peanut butter cookies, IMO), $4.99 each. 1 5-lb bag of frozen cut corn ($3.49), 1 50-lb bag of pinto beans ($18.99). Spent $42.44 (I almost missed the pinto beans, entirely! They were in a separate ad, not the usual Hot Sheet, And when I was in the store getting the peanut butter, I walked right past them the first time. It wasn't until I pulled my cart into the checkout line that I spied them on an end cap. Pintos have been on my "buy" list for a few months, as they can be half the price of many other varieties of beans that I buy. So, thankful to see them this time!)

Month to date spent $126.44

We're doing okay, even thought I'm close to my budget limit, and it's only the 11th. Our freezer is so full, right now, that I am not wanting to bring anything more home that needs to be frozen. That will be a help, for me. And we're not needing too much in staples, either. So all's good for now. Hoping none of the stores have any spectacular deals in the next couple of weeks, so I won't be tempted to overspend.

June 17. Trader Joe's for 12 bananas, at 19cents each. Spent $2.28

Cash & Carry for 25-lb bag of carrots, at $7.98 and 1 29-oz can of coffee for $5.88. Spent $13.86

Total spent month to date -- $142.58

June 22. Fred Meyer for 4 half-gallons of whole milk (99cents each) and 1 pint of heavy whipping cream ($2.69) The whipping cream is for my one daughter who struggles with an eating disorder. I've been bumping up the calories that she consumes, to help her get her weight back up. Spent $6.65.

I'm done shopping for the month of June. I spent $149.23, over $3.91. Not bad! Not bad at all!

So for this month, I bought:

40 lbs chicken leg quarters

20 oz. creamy peanut butter
16 lbs chunky peanut butter
1 quart soy milk
4 16-oz bags marshmallows
1 large can decaf coffee
1 large can regular coffee
6 lbs shortening (Crisco)
50 lbs dried pinto beans

9 gallons whole milk
2 gallons skim milk
5 gallons 2% milk
1 pint heavy whipping cream

3 dozen eggs
72-ct corn tortillas

fruits and vegetables
packet lettuce seeds
16 Red Delicious apples
6 orange bell peppers
20 bananas (plus we received 8 additional bananas, free, from my son's office)
1 head cabbage
5 lbs frozen cut corn
25 lbs carrots

I've been reworking our overall budget this past week. While inflation has affected nearly every category of our budget, food inflation has had the most significant impact. I've decided to take $10 per month out of another category and transfer that amount to groceries. For July (and forward) we'll have $185 for groceries. I'll see if this increase will ease up some of the stress of planning meals and shopping, for me.


  1. I was just thinking about the 25 lb bag of carrots. We don't have anything like a Cash and Carry around here so I don't think I've ever seen a bag of carrots that big before. While certainly manageable, 25 pounds of carrots would be heavy to carry. How long does that many carrots last you?

    1. Hi live and learn,
      well with 5 of us, a 25-lb bag lasts about 2 and 1/2 months. My daughters really love carrot sticks for lunches. I've seen these large bags of carrots at just one of our local supermarkets, and once I even had to make a special request for them through the produce manager. In your area, Costco and Sam's might be the only places to carry these bags. Often they are labeled "juicing carrots".

      The bags are big and awkward. And I do have to repackage them immediately when I get home, into smaller bags, in order to get them refrigerated. But it works for us.

    2. If you have a Safeway near by, they carry the 25 lb bags. I do not know the price

    3. That is great to know --I'll check their price, as well. Thank you!!

  2. Kudos to you, Lili!! You did very well shopping for a family of 5 and spending less than $150 this month!!. I am not *there* by any stretch, however, since reading your blog I am very conscious of our food spend every month, and June looks like our second best month so far. I will drop in Safeway today for a coupon deal, and hopefully not spend more than $20, but so far as of this morning, my June total for the three of us is $385.41. I haven't figured the breakdown of food/non-food, but just looking at my spreadsheet of items purchased, I see that we have stocked up on Advil (160 tabs), omeprazole (252 tabs), coQ10 (300 tabs), bar soaps (28 bars), and fertilizer (16#). These are not normally purchased every month, so without these purchases our monthly spend would have been a lot lower. Considering the higher cost of everything here, I guess I did pretty well too :)


    1. Thank you, YHF.
      And good job to you, as well! Considering all of the non-food items, and the general more expensive cost of living where you live, that's a remarkable figure. You should be very proud of your work with your budget.

      Have a great day!

  3. I come no where near your budget, but I love seeing yours and seeing your meal plans. I am going to try and reduce our July food budget by half just to see if we can do it. I am including the Fourth of July family party in the half budget, but I do have a few things frozen (2 huge boston butts and a turkey) to smoke. After they are done I will use some for the 4th and will seal and freeze the rest in meal size packages which will last for a long time
    I have to get to the store today and buy chicken leg quarters (not my favorite either, but they are on sale for .49 per pound which makes it a desirable purchase. Tonight is probably going to be a white bbq chicken meal.

    1. Hi Anne,
      All of that meat, once smoked and frozen, will last for many, many meals at your house. And adding in the chicken leg quarters, too, you'll be set for many weeks on meat.

      Chicken leg quarters are on sale, again here, for 50 cents/lb in 40-lb case, this week, but I'm 1) not sure another case would fit in the freezer, and 2) if we really want that much more of the leg quarters. However, we've gone through 10 lbs already. I have a couple more days to think on it.

      What is a white bbq chicken? I am still always looking for ways to use these leg quarters.

      I wish you all the best in your personal challenge to see if you can halve your grocery spending for the month.

    2. 1 cup mayonnaise
      3 tablespoons cider vinegar
      1 tablespoon lemon juice
      1 tablespoon coarsely ground pepper
      1 teaspoon salt
      1 tablespoon sugar
      This is the basic recipe for the sauce. I wait until the chicken is about half cooked then start brushing the sauce on it (I save half of the sauce for serving after it is cooked) This is enough for quite a bit of chicken.

    3. Thank you, Anne! I'd never heard of white BBQ before. I'll definitely try this.

  4. Hello - I really enjoyed reading your blog. It frustrates me that so few people know how to eat well on a limited budget; but your blog points out that it's possible. However, I wondered about how few vegetables and fruits you purchased. By my calculation, each person in your family would eat 1 piece of fruit, 1 oz of carrot(based on consumption of 10#/mo), 1/30th of a pepper, and a similar amount of cabbage per day. I don't count corn as a veg. Fruits and vegetables are incredibly expensive but can often be foraged or purchased from an Asian market or a vegetable market for very little. Do you get your vegetables elsewhere? Still, congratulations on a great effort.

    1. Hi Susan
      That would be an incredibly limited diet, wouldn't it, if that was ALL of our produce?! As I've mentioned in other posts, I keep a large garden and orchard and grow about half of all of the fruits and vegetables that we consume. In addition, we're able to forage for wild berries where we live. We pick about 40 quarts of wild blackberries every summer, some of which we freeze for winter, and some we eat fresh as one of our servings of fruit each day.

      The other consideration is how I shop. I don't buy just what we'll eat for the week, every seven days. But instead, do major stock-ups, when I find great sales. For instance, in late summer/early fall canned tomato products go on sale at our wholesaler, where I buy cases of canned tomato paste and canned tomatoes. I use these tomato products throughout the entire year, not just the week that I made the purchase. June just happened to be one of the months when I did not sock up on a lot of produce, as we have our garden to fill our needs, and produce items that I might stock up on were not on sale in this month.

      I also publish a compilation of our dinner menus, each week,titled Cheap & Cheerful. Check out those posts and you'll see the varied diet we eat, complete with a lot of produce at every meal.

      Thanks for reading, Susan!


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