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Monday, June 1, 2015

May 2015 Grocery Spending Journal

So, for this month, I have $147.02 for groceries.

May 3. Cash and Carry on way home from the city. A lot is on sale, still from the Cinco de Mayo ad and the regular 2-week ad. I buy 2  5-lb bags of organic carrots ($2.95 each), 2 #10 cans of sliced olives ($4.78 each), 50-lb sack of black beans ($27.48), 72-ct bag of corn tortillas ($2.18), 1 head of green cabbage ($1.36), and a 50-lb sack of all-purpose flour ($12.19). Spent $58.67

Also, stop at QFC and pick up 2 gallons of milk, skim, marked down to $1.99 each. spent $3.98

May 4. Dollar Tree online order for baking soda, 1 case of 24 lbs, for $14.16. The in-store price went up to 79 cents/box. But the online site still had it at 59 cents/box, so I ordered a case to be picked up at the store. I saved $4.80. Also, bought 4 bags of chocolate Easter candy to be used, chopped in cookies or for making s'mores, at 25 cents/bag. Plus, 5 24-oz bags of macaroni noodles and 2 24-oz packages of spaghetti noodles (work out to 67 cents/pound), and 1 quart of soy milk. Spent $23.16

Trader Joe's for bananas, bought 21, at 19 cents each, spent $3.99.

Total spent to date -- $89.80

May 5. This is THE day I've been waiting for!! I finally qualify for "senior" discounts!!! Fred Meyer offers discounts to anyone 55+ years old, 1 day per month (1st Tuesday of of the month). This discount is good on clothing, home and garden and private label food, health and beauty. Private label IS what I almost always buy. So this is no sacrifice for me. And the 10% off applies after coupons and sales, even.

So, here's what I bought in the food area. 5 half-gallons of whole milk, for making yogurt, on sale for 99cents each, with my "senior" discount, 89cents each for me. Also at the same price, I bought half-gallon of orange juice to have on Mother's Day and Father's Day (I will freeze half of the juice to save for Father's Day). Eggs, on sale 99cents/dozen (limit 2), but for me, a "senior", I paid 89cents/dozen. And one last food item, a 4-pack of gourmet lettuce blend seedlings. My lettuce seedlings have been very slow to get going this year (cool April). It is more economical for me to buy a 4-pack of lettuce seedlings, now, and have fresh lettuce to eat in 3 weeks, than for me to buy the same amount of leafy vegetables in 3 weeks. And, the bonus, there are way more than 4 lettuce plants in this 4-pack, around 10 little plants! The price was 99cents, but I paid 89cents! So, my total on food items today was $8.01.

Total spent month-to-date -- $97.81

May 11. Country Farms produce stand. this is the produce stand near my daughters' high school from a couple of years ago. One of their friends works there part time. So it's always fun to see her when I get a chance to get to that market. Country Farms has some pretty good prices on produce, so worth the trip. This time, I bought 4 red delicious apple (50 cents/lb), 1 head of green cabbage (69 cents/lb), 1 bundle of celery ($1.29 each), a bag of 5 very ripe medium-sized avocados (99cents), and a bag of lemons, 7 or 8 I think (99cents), plus a 10-lb bag of small oranges for $4.99. I spent $10.98.

Also, stopped by Fred Meyer to take advantage of a couple of sales this week. I bought 3 lbs of butter (3 for $5, limit 3 w/coupon), 1 2-lb block of Tillamook cheddar cheese ($3.99, limit 1 w/coupon), 5 half gallons of whole milk (99 cents each, 5 w/coupon), and 1 half-gallon of orange juice (99 cents, 1 w/coupon), a whole chicken for 88 cents lb ($5.38), onion powder (good for a couple of recipes), 48 cents. Total spent here -- $20.79

Total month-to-date spending -- $129.58

May 15. Cash & Carry for large can of coffee. Spent $5.66

May 17. Dollar Tree for 3 10-oz jars of peanut butter and 1 quart of soy milk. spent $4 for a month to date spending of $139.24

May 20. An ethnic market to try out, recommended by a frugal friend. Red Delicious apples for 39 cents/lb. I bought about a dozen. I wasn't sure if they'd be crisp, still this late in the year. But they were pretty good. I will go back and get more on Saturday, as they are just down from Home Depot. Also bought a head of green cabbage for 49 cents/lb. spent $3.92

May 22. We are running low on milk, and the last 2 times I've been to Fred Meyer, there have not been any markdowns. I've got just over 1/2 gallon of whole milk. I put some brown rice to soak last night, and will make rice milk to stretch the milk I have, and to use in cooking over the weekend. One of my daughters is gone for the long weekend (on a biology field station trip), so that will actually conserve some of the milk. Maybe we will have enough, with rice milk added, to get us through to mid-week. And then, there's a good chance I'll find milk marked down at one of the stores I visit, after a long weekend, when a lot of folks go out of town for a few days. Otherwise I'll pick up 1 gallon, and stretch that one as long as I can.

May 24. Imran's, the ethnic market, again, after church. I pick up 24 Red Delicious apples (39 cents/lb), 7 a little bruised (but not horribly so) bananas (39 cents/lb) and 1 red sweet bell pepper (59 cents). Spent $6.74.

May 27. Cash & Carry for 80% lean ground beef patties. 10-lb case for $26.80 ($2.68/lb -- the lowest price I've seen beef around here for a while). spent $26.80

Total spent for the month -- $176.70

I went over what I'd hoped to spend (again). I had to make some tough choices. In the end, I feel like I made the right choices for our family. we didn't splurge much this past month, but focused on healthy basics, as much as possible. We stocked up on a couple of items that will carry us through a few months, as well. And I never did buy more milk in May, but found that using rice milk worked very well for us. Thank you for all of your input on my milk dilemma. :-)

Next month, I'll have $145.32 for the budget.

This is what I bought --
10 lbs carrots
1 gallon orange juice
28 bananas
3 heads green cabbage
10 small lettuce plants
10 lbs oranges
1 bundle celery
4 apples
5 avocados
8 lemons
40 Red Delicious apples
1 red bell pepper

baking supplies
50 lbs all-purpose flour
24 lbs baking soda
4 bags Easter chocolate candy

2 #10 cans of sliced olives
50 lbs dried black beans
7.5 lbs of dried macaroni
3 lbs of dried spaghetti
onion powder
can of coffee
30 ounces peanut butter

2 gallons skim milk
5 gallons whole (4%) milk
2 dozen large eggs
2 lbs cheddar cheese

for the fridge
72 corn tortillas
2 quarts soy milk

1 whole chicken
10 lbs ground beef patties

When I look at my list of what I've bought for the month, it surprises me just how expensive food its, as it doesn't seem like I bought all that much of the "expensive" stuff (i.e. meat, cheese, exotic produce).

My list, by the way, is in part so you can see what we've bought over the month, but also a help for me. For instance, I needed 2 quarts of soy milk this month, but I went on 2 separate days to buy that. I could have bought both (along with peanut butter) on my first visit to Dollar Tree, and saved gas and time. It's those little things, like making just 1 stop in a month at a place like Dollar Tree, that can make it feel like I'm not always out running around. And now that I can take advantage of Senior discount day at Fred Meyer, once per month, I'll be able to plan our milk purchases for the entire month, on that first Tuesday. I can see that we need more than 7 gallons of milk to get through 1 month. So for this month, I'll try for 9 gallons, if the price, with senior discount, is right.


  1. I was wondering about your red delicious apple purchases. Red delicious are the most available and usually the cheapest apple available around here, but they also have no taste. I'd rather do without. The only time I've had a good tasting red delicious apple was when I had one right off the tree. Since you're close to a big apple growing region, do your red delicious apples taste good?

    1. Hi live and learn,
      in late August and early September, the Red Delicious apples can be excellent, here -- juicy, very crisp and good flavor. This time of year, they've been mostly crisp and good flavor, but I do agree, there are tastier apples around. Our own fruit trees produce better tasting apples. We have a russet apple tree on our property that produces the best tasting, but least attractive apples. I think the Red Delicious have been bred to produce firm apples that hold up to transport and look pretty.

    2. I think we mostly get the ones they've bred for transport because they always look nice but they just don't taste very good.

    3. Oh, maybe that is the case. I have been surprised at how good our Red Delicious apples have been this month. They have been in storage for many months, and are still firm and juicy. I cut a few up last night, for a get-together with friends, and they were very good still.

      What I really can't stand is a mealy apple, and that does happen more with Red Delicious than the other varieties.


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