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Thursday, October 1, 2015

September 2015 grocery spending journal

I went over budget last month by about $59, so this month, I only have $125.75 in the budget.

Sept 1. Fred Meyer for senior discount day. Powdered milk (7.55), store-brand Cheerios, 7 boxes (90 cents each), store-brand Rice Krispies, 2 boxes (90 cents each), store-brand decaf coffee, 11.5 oz cans, they were cheaper per ounce than the large cans, I bought 11 cans ($2.25 each), canned, whole olives, 2 cans (90 cents each), hulled sunflower seeds $1.34/lb (I bought 1.82 lbs for $2.44), ground nutmeg, 1/10 of a pound (3.60), onion powder (1.76), clearance bin 2 jars of pickled and roasted peppers ( 1-$1.59, 1-99cents), date pieces (1.30). Total spent $54.68

Sept 4. Cash & Carry, 3 lb bags of dried cranberries, in a case of two bags each. I buy 2 cases (10.86 each case), frozen corn, 5-lb bags, I buy 2 (3.49 each), canned sliced olives, #10 can, I buy 2 (4.78 each), heavy whipping cream, 64 oz, I buy 2 (7.24 each). Spent $52.74

Sept 7. Fred Meyer, milk on sale in half-gallons, 99 cents each, limit 6. Spent $5.94

Sept 9. Dollar Tree for 2 boxes of crackers and 1 pack of rice cakes, and 2 10-oz jars of peanut butter. Spent $5.00

Sept 11. Fred Meyer, for milk on sale, half-gallons, 99 cents each, limit 6 (5.94), also find 16-oz jars of Adams peanut butter for $1.50, I buy 16 ($24.00) Spent $29.94

Sept 15. Fred Meyer for butter, $1.69 each, limit 2. Spent $3.38

Sept. 18. Cash & Carry for 3 lb bags of bacon ends and pieces, I buy 2 bags ($5.82 each), 12.5 lb bag of popcorn (6.44), gallon of lemon juice (7.99). Spent $26.07

Sept 22. Dollar Tree for soy milk. spent $1.00

Fred Meyer for orange juice on sale, 99 cents half-gallon, limit 6. Spent $5.94

Sept 25. Cash & Carry for soy sauce, 1-gallon. Spent $4.25

Country Farms produce stand. I buy 17 assorted sugar pie pumpkins (49 cents/lb) and squash (69 cents/lb), 8 green bells peppers (1.98). Spent $17.42

Total spent for the month - $206.36, over my $125.75 amount by $80.61

Ugh! This leaves me just over $100 for October. The only good thing I can say right now is that at least there is nothing that I have to run out and buy this week. Although, I am still looking for vinegar and eggs at a good price.

I have been buying more "extras" in recent months. Things like crackers and cold cereal. We really don't need those items, but they've been nice for variety. I am rationing these out, however, to make them last as long as possible.

Well. . . we are pretty well set for supplies for the time being. And I am truly thankful for that. I am also grateful that we've been provided with the means to stock up like this.

Next week is Senior Discount day at Fred Meyer, and for once, I don't have a lot on my list to buy. The powdered milk is holding out (for adding to smoothies). I have enough coffee that unless regular coffee goes on sale, I don't need to pick up another can. I'll buy more nuts and seeds from the bulk bins, especially if any are on sale at the time. They make a good, energy-boosting snack for all of us. And my freezers are still quite full, which will deter me from buying too much that needs freezing. In fact, I need to make more room in the freezers if I plan on buying more than one turkey in November.

Sorry if I'm rambling. I do tend to think this all through while typing.

Anyway, I hope you had a successful grocery shopping month!


  1. You leave us on the edge of seats waiting for this post every month. Did Lili go over budget? Even though you were over budget, amazing shopping again and some great prices in your area.

    1. Hi live and learn,
      Happy October! I can't believe we're now in October already. But a good thing to move ahead.

      I do think we have a lot of shopping options, here in the Seattle area. I try to ignore all the fluff and zero in on the bargains. The down side to living where there are many choices in shopping is there are a lot of temptations, too.

  2. I think you got a great amount and variety of food for what you spent. That Cash and Carry place sounds like my kind of store. I just heard about a place in OKC (about 90 miles from us) that sounds similar--hoping to go one of these days when we're up that way. Just a curiosity you ever give yourself a grace "out" and start over with a blank slate? Like once a year or whatever?

    1. Hi Cat,
      oh, yes, the Cash and Carry would definitely suit you and your family. I hope the place in OKC pans out for you. Even though it is quite a drive, a trip out a couple of times per year might be well worth it for some stock-up shopping.

      Rather than just giving myself a blank slate, when I can't seem to get back under budget, I find money elsewhere in the budget and change the amount allotted in the grocery category. I did that a couple of months ago, and may wind up doing that again in a couple of months. It then takes a few months of a new budget amount to get things back under control. Groceries are simply more expensive than they were a few years ago.

  3. We did pretty well in Sept. by keeping our grocery spending in check. I hope to do the same for Oct., Nov., Dec., and so on until May 2016. Winters we just hunker down and do very little so it should be easy to not spend so much. I'll be figuring out exactly what we spent in Sept. when I go through the receipts on Friday night or Sat. We have a nice little store that we found has the best prices on bacon end/pieces and deli meats ends/pieces. It's not the nicest looking but it sure does taste good. They also have reduced prices on meat and we have often purchased meats there. I don't buy bacon often but a small amount for soups or dishes that it would be a garnish gets me the taste without having to eat a lot of it. The fact is I love bacon and could eat a whole pound in one sitting so this is my portion control.


    1. Hi Alice,
      Well done! And good luck going forward!

      I am with you on bacon! I could eat bacon with every meal. But you're right, a small amount can give you that flavor and enjoyment. I lie it on baked potatoes, but I can get buy with just a small amount and be satisfied.

    2. Hi, Alice--

      My husband introduced me to ends and pieces 30 years ago, and I always jump at it when I see it. What a savings, usually, and great for those little amounts you need for some dishes. :)

      When I buy any kind of bacon, I usually cut at least some of it into cross-wise sections before I freeze it, to have an easy way to thaw only enough for one or two dishes at a time. Easier portion control, as you said (loved that! LOL) --both for savings and for dietary proportion. It's so much nicer to have a hunk that's about right for deviled eggs or baked beans; but the men around here do like their slices (or half-slices, or big pieces from the e-and-p package) with breakfast, too.

      Lili, I agree with the other ladies. Seems like your purchases were very prudent and thrifty, though you went over your goal. Since a lot of it wasn't used up this month, seems like you'll continue to benefit from/enjoy it in coming months.

      Good to have a reason to use up some freezer stuff, too, to clear some space. We're doing that, too, so ought to be spending lightly this month, hopefully.


    3. Hi Sara,
      Thanks. I keep thinking that each month we'll do better with staying within the budget, then I find more items to stock up on. Oh, well, maybe this next month (especially as I try to make room in the freezer for a turkey or two).

      Love those pouches of ends and pieces of bacon. For others reading here -- I'll post photos of what you get in a package, on tomorrow's blog for those not knowing what we're talking about with ends and pieces. There's often enough long slices to set aside for bacon as a side dish at breakfast, as well as many smaller pieces for cooking.

  4. Honestly, I find that you can feed 5 adults between $175 & $200 incredible. You do a great job, in my opinion. Always an inspiration. Thanks for these posts.

    1. Thank you. I just wish food wasn't so expensive. For many families, this is a huge chunk of their income. And that pains me, for them.

  5. When you buy olives in a #10 can, do you freeze the leftovers or do they keep for a long time in the fridge? My husband loves olives but only eats a few at a time.

    1. Hi Ruthie,
      I divide the olives into sterilized jars/lids and keep in the fridge. They keep for about 4 months, or so. Just with this last can, though, I did put 2 containers of sliced olives into the freezer, to see how they do frozen, to use on pizzas. I haven't taken any out, yet. But when I do I'll try to remember to comment on texture changes, if any. I am imagining that sliced olives for pizza toppings will be just fine, frozen then thawed, as the pieces are small.

      But I don't know about whole olives. You could try putting one or two olives into the freezer overnight and just see what you think, as to whether or not freezing whole olives would work for you. Worst case scenario, you ruin 2 olives. Best case scenario, you discover that freezing whole olives doesn't alter the texture enough to matter.

    2. We buy our sliced olives from Costco in 33 oz pouches for about $4.50 and freeze portions, enough to make 3 pizzas, in ziplocs. We try to drain all the liquid before freezing but there is still so much liquid that weeps when the olives thaw. We just squeeze out the liquid before topping the pizza. Otherwise the texture seems fine and is quite a savings over buying by the small can.

      I have cut out buying chips and crackers and vow to make my own. So we've been snacking less. Husband has lost a lot of weight, me not so much lol


    3. Hi YHF,
      that's good to know about the texture of frozen, sliced olives.

      And good for you for cutting out eh commercial chips and crackers. One of our favorite snack foods is actually healthy and inexpensive -- popcorn, the kind you make in a pot on the stove. I make a few batches of popcorn per week, for adding to lunches, and to have for snacking. I like popcorn best when it becomes stale and slightly chewy.

    4. Popcorn. Is a good snack. Plus there are many ways to jazz it up, so you can never tire of eating popcorn.. I like mine plain air popped but husband likes to make it microwave style in a paper bag with butter and salt. Funny, I like stale, chewy popcorn too, since I'm a tortilla chip type snacker as I'm guessing you might be too. Thanks for suggesting it, especially that leftovers are ok. Why do we feel we should eat it all up!!


  6. I always look forward to the month end posts too.
    You really do always get a lot of bang for your buck with groceries Lili!
    I noticed you got crackers at Dollar Tree, did you ever try the Busy Baker chicken flavored crackers they carry? We love them & think they are just as good as the name brand chicken in a biscuit crackers. I do not get too many food items there but those crackers are one of those items I always get.
    Off topic, but if you are a reader do you ever get books in there? I have gotten several books there, never new releases of course but I've gotten some really good ones.

    1. Hi Rhonda,
      Dollar Tree's price on crackers is pretty great, isn't it?! I think we've tried the chicken crackers before. One daughter really likes the vegetable-flavored crackers, so that's the one we bought this last time, as well as the Ritz-type crackers. Now those Ritz-type ones are also a great buy. And I was very happy to find rice cakes there, for myself. I don't buy many food items at Dollar Tree either, but crackers and pretzels are a good deal, as is soy milk and the bags of macaroni noodles and packages of spaghetti (the 24 oz packages - Pegasa brand ).

      I've looked through the books on a couple of occasions, but never bought any. I have seen a few good titles, though (mostly I get books through the library).

      We should have a morning when we compare all for things that we like from Dollar Tree. There are few good deals there, that for the most part , I only buy there.

    2. I think that would be a great idea to compare the Dollar Tree items we like!

  7. I spent $425 is September, which was a lot for me, but I was restocking from summer after my first paycheck of the school year. It will be lower in October for sure.

    You got some great bargains this month. 99¢ for half gallons of milk is great. I found it on sale last month for $2.50 (gallon) and was doing the happy dance. lol

    1. Hi Belinda,
      I can imagine that your pantry, fridge and freezer were looking pretty lean by the end of summer. And you really needed to do a big shopping to restock this past month. So, I'd think that $425 for you in your circumstances would sound about right, for the month. And as you said, now that you've restocked so well, October will be a lower spend month for you.


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