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Monday, February 1, 2016

January 2016 Grocery Shopping Journal

Jan. 4 Monthly stop at Dollar Tree. It's the last day of Christmas break for my daughters, so we wanted to do something cheap, but special. We could go out for a fast food lunch or Starbuck's. But we decide to pick up a bag of frozen sweet potato fries from DT to have with our lunch of leftovers at home. So, we bought 1 bag of sweet potato fries, plus 1 box of crackers, 1 bag of tortilla chips and 1 half-price box of mini candy canes (we discovered that we really like these as dessert/treats after lunches and dinners). The box of crackers are for our Christmas tree un-decorating party (crackers and cheese spread, plus some other snacky items). And the tortilla chips are for a Tex-Mex splurge some night. Friends gave us a box of salsas for a Christmas gift. No other treats/packaged foods are on the horizon for the month of January. Also, I bought 1 qt of almond milk. Spent $4.50

Jan. 5 Senior shopping discount day at Fred Meyer. I didn't stock up enough on milk last week, so I'm running low and this is an opportunity to at least save 10% on their not-fantastic sale price (I typically get milk for $1.98/gallon when bought in half-gal jugs. This sale is for 1 gallon of whole milk at $2.69, plus my 10% off), so I buy 1 gallon, paying $2.42/gallon. Also, heavy whipping cream is on sale 1-qt for $3.32 (the price beats Cash & Carry's advertised price, per pint, for this week), and 1 box of instant powdered milk, for $6.11. The box makes 8 qts, so not a good price for drinking milk, but it's great for "fortifying" foods for daughter, without adding extra liquid or bulk. I ran out of solid shortening for making pie crust. I picked up 1 3-lb container for $4.04. In the produce section, I found 1 16-oz package of whole mushrooms, marked down to $1.61. And in the bulk bins, I bought some onion powder and a 1/3-lb of whole almonds (at $6.29/lb). Total spent on groceries, $19.68

Total for the month, to date -- $24.18

Jan. 6 Trader Joe's for bananas. I buy 24 at 19 cents each. Spent $4.56

Jan 6. Cash & Carry. I buy a 40-lb case of oranges ($14.48), a 5-lb bag of shredded pizza cheese ($9.98) a 2-gallon box of skim milk ($3.44), 1-lb bag of granulated garlic ($4.07). I spent $31.97

month to date spending -- $60.71

Jan. 12. Walgreen's for 4 packages cream cheese, 8-oz, 99 cents with my rain check from December. spent $3.96

Jan. 13. Jo Ann Fabric's for supplies to fix a couple of things -- used 50% off coupons, of course ;-) While there, I checked out Christmas clearance, looking for taper candles (found some, yay!) And also picked up 3 bags of Wilton's peppermint bark candy melts. These are like white chocolate with bits of candy cane pieces throughout the melting wafers. I use them for making holiday candies and cookies. They store in my kitchen cabinet quite well. I have just one bag left, from 3 Christmases ago. They regularly retail for $3.49/bag. On clearance, I paid $1.39/bag. Spent $4.17

Jan. 15. Stop by Fred Meyer for milk (on sale with in-ad coupon). The sale is half-gallon of milk or orange juice, for 99 cents, limit 6. I buy 5 whole milk and 1 orange juice. Also, they have just repackaged a bunch of eggs -- maybe 12 dozen there at the egg cooler, all repackaged and repriced at $1.19/dozen. I buy 6 dozen, as I still have many eggs in the freezer, and 2 dozen fresh eggs in the fridge. At under 10 cents per egg, eggs will feature heavily in meals for the next few weeks. Total spent, $13.08

Also, stop at Cash & Carry, for 50-lb sack of whole wheat flour ($11.99), a 13-oz container of chili powder for $3.25, and a 12-oz container of onion powder for $3.25. I've been buying onion powder in small amounts from the bulk spices at Fred Meyer this past year. I add it to soups, sauces, stews, dressings/dips and potato dishes. I had been spending about $7 per pound in the bulk spices. By buying at Cash & Carry, I spent $4.33/lb. Another item, bought in a different way to save money. Total spent at Cash & Carry $18.49

For the month to date spending -- $100.41

Jan. 19. Albertson's has 10-lb bags of chicken leg quarters on sale for $4.90 (49 cents per pound). My freezer is still a little tight, so I buy 2 bags. This should last us through April, I'm guessing. Spent $9.80

I was pretty satisfied with the chicken leg quarters that I bought last summer. They were easy to deal with, and quick to roast, then shred. I had a constant supply of chicken stock, as well. 49 cents per pound is much more affordable than 88 cents/lb whole chickens that we saw last spring at many supermarkets.

month to date spending -- $110.21

Jan. 25 Needing milk. It's on sale at QFC for 99 cents a half-gallon, if you buy 6. QFC is normally an over-priced store in my area, IMO, but it is close-by. So, I buy 6 half-gallons of whole milk and 2 half-gallons of marked down sweet acidophilus milk for 79 cents each. Spent $7.52.

Total spent for January -- $117.73 My budget was $200.00 plus the surplus from underspending last month of $15.62, for a total budget of $215.62 for January. I came in at $97.89 under budget! That amount will carry forward to next month's budget.

What I bought this month:


1 bag sweet potato fries
16 oz mushrooms
24 bananas
40 lbs oranges
1/2 gallon orange juice


1 qt. almond milk
1 gallon whole milk
2 gallons skim milk
11 half-gallons whole milk
2 half-gallons sweet acidophilus milk
1 qt. heavy whipping cream
5 lbs shredded mozzarella cheese
4 8-oz packages cream cheese
6 dozen eggs


20 lbs of chicken leg quarters


1 box crackers
1 bag tortilla chips
1 box mini candy canes
3 bags Wilton peppermint bark melting wafers
1 box instant powdered milk (to make 8 qts)
3 lbs solid shortening (Crisco)
50 lbs whole wheat flour
2 tablespoons onion powder
12 oz container onion powder
1 lb granulated garlic
13 oz container chili powder
1/3 lb whole almonds

Now I have to tell you about my dream from about a week ago. In my dream, I was at the grocery store, and found out that ground beef was on sale for 86 cents per pound, limit 3 packages, and whole turkeys were on sale for 49 cents per pound, for the first turkey, and this was a buy 1 get 3 free deal! In my dream, my math skills were not so great. I calculated the turkey deal to be equal to 17 cents per pound, for the 4 turkeys. Actually, I wasn't too far off, it was 12 cents per pound. I just think it's funny that in my dreams I calculate prices in my head, too!

While I stood there in the grocery store, I knew I wanted to take advantage of the turkey deal, but also knew I couldn't fit 4 whole turkeys into my freezers. So, I was asking all of the other women standing around that section of the store, if they'd want to go in on the deal with me. And that's about when I woke up. Anyways, does anyone else, here, dream grocery shopping dreams?


  1. For once, I have something here that costs less than in your area--milk. It's not typical, but the Aldi's I go to is having a price war with Walmart that just put in groceries. Last week, it was down to $1.59/gallon at Aldi's($2 at Walmart). Most everywhere else, it is at least $2/gallon more.

    I don't have dreams about grocery shopping, but I do occasionally have dreams where I solve math problems. I used to do this in classes--especially physics. After I woke up, I would apply the solution to my homework.

    1. Hi live and learn,
      Oh wow! That is a fantastic price on milk. At least your math/physics dreams gave you accurate answers to use!

    2. Oh, I was gonna brag about my Aldi milk prices, but L&L beats me. :) I've gotten it for $1.69/gallon for 2 weeks in a row. This week, large eggs are on sale for 99 cents/dozen. It was a good shopping morning today.

      Um, no, I don't dream about doing math while shopping. You would probably think I was certifiably nuts if I told you about some of my dreams.

    3. Ha ha, Kris, some of my dreams on on the unbelievable side, too!

      Great deals on the milk and eggs!! I hope you could stock uo.

  2. Looks like you've done quite well for the month. I do a little math but not a lot regarding groceries. I just do monthly totals and challenge myself to lower those totals. For Jan. 2016, I spent about four hundred something and that was all inclusive-food, prescriptions, cat stuff, health and beauty and other (this included floor rugs for the kitchen that the non-slip grip wore down on). Food was only about $380 and that included a lot of chicken for future meals.

    We're still raiding the freezer and I found raspberries last week and bratwurst yesterday so we'll enjoy those soon. One college daughter was sick when she came home on Saturday so soup was made for her to take back to her dorm. It was a quick recipe from frozen chicken but it was a really good one. I just dumped frozen chicken, diced carrots, celery, onion, and one garlic cloven in a pan of water. Let that boil, scooped off the scum, and then added bouillon cubes bay leaf, thyme, parsley, rice and orzo and let it simmer for an hour. Chicken fell off the bones so I deboned and threw it back in for a little while. It was so good and ready just in time for Sunday dinner. I was making tater tot casserole but with a sick daughter I had to make chicken soup in a hurry for her to have that instead. The sad thing is that everyone wanted a bowl of that too as an appetizer to the tater tot casserole so the pot of soup is gone. I was planning on having the rest of it for lunches this week so today I have no lunch for work. There is nothing left. I have a few peaches and some crackers with buffalo chicken spread so that should get me by today.

    Lately, we haven't been drinking a lot of milk and often fine discounted milk at Horrock's for 50 cents but lately haven't been successful. We need to find milk that has the longest days out since we take more than a week to drink a gallon (only 3 of us home most of the time).

    No dreams for me since I don't sleep well anymore. I'm awake several times during the night due to all the stresses going on.


    1. Hi Alice,
      I think the $400 all-inclusive of pet, prescriptions, health and beauty is very good. I was thinking about supplements that I take, and whether or not I should add those into food totals (some supps like Calcium are taken because I don't get calcium regularly in my diet). Vitamins/minerals would add a hefty amount to our grocery total if I did that. And the household stuff can really add up, too.

      Delicious sounding chicken soup. I'm sure it was comforting to your daughter. I made what I thought was a large pot of tomato soup yesterday for lunch, thinking it would be lunches for today. Just one serving left. Fortunately I also made a double batch of pancakes at dinner, so I could make those into PB sandwiches for the packed lunches instead.

      With the milk, if you do find a great price and the sell-by date is in just a couple of days, you can pour some of it into pint containers for the freezer. Even if you don't like to drink previously frozen milk, that can be used for making pancakes or biscuits another day/week. Then you can take advantage of a great price reduction without worry of the milk not staying fresh tasting until it's used up.

      Still keeping you in my prayers, Alice.

  3. Hello, Lili--

    WOW, that's some awesome shopping, my dear! You should be so proud and content!

    I've not dreamed about grocery deals, but I'd probably be saving more, if I could get my subconscious that involved! (giggle)

    Still doing our best to make the most of what we have, here, with creativity and thrift; and that's going well. Take care! Sara

    1. Thank you, Sara!
      Creativity goes a very long way to keeping meals interesting, while maintaining a budget!

  4. least your dream made sense. I hardly have dreams like that!! Too bad it wasn't a dream vacation far far away so you could have a break from food deals:)

    This month. our food spending came in under budget, around $188 (as I remember from my discussion with husband a few days ago) for two of us for 21 days in January (dad's foods are not included in this amount). Our goal is to eat under $200 on average every month. We spent $16 on fertilizer (bought fourteen 3lb bags. reduced from $5-7 to $1.50 plus got $5 back in SYWR points) and stocked up on laundry detergent, paper goods and toothpaste. Of course, we were already well stocked in our pantry and freezer. I am very pleased with the deal finds (especially at Kmart using some nice $10 off $20 and $10 off $25 email coupons and SavingStar rebates to get 75% off). Also, lots of bargain produce at the farmer's market, and freezing the bounty for future meals. Hopefully, we'll have some garden veggies in the coming months, miraculously some basil and green onion plants survived without any care. Our Kangkong plant in pots were planted in the ground before we left, although it survived, being a "noxious weed" however very edible and nutritious, it needs time before it can grow back to production stage.


    1. Hi YHF,
      A couple of years ago, during a particularly dreary, wet and cold winter, I had a dream I was on vacation in California. It was so vivid. I hated waking up from that dream. wish all nights could be like that! Last night, I had night like Alice's, I just didn't sleep in long enough stretches to dream much. I kept waking up with worries. During the day, those worries always seem not so formidable, as in the night. I'll sleep well, tonight, though!

      That's a lot of fertilizer. How long will that last? With your farmer's market, is there a peak season? Or is the harvest pretty much even throughout the year?

    2. I know what you mean when you say you didn't want to wake up...I've a few of those very pleasant dreams too, but those are rare. More often, the dreams are irritating and frustrating. I still dream about going to school. One dream... I forgot about all my classes until too late in the semester. I can't seem to stay up late enough in the evening, so I fall asleep as early as 8:00 and wake up way too early. I know I need more sleep...but I'm back to feeling anxious that I'm not doing enough every day, so that's why I can't sleep longer.

      I hope it lasts until we use it all....I didn't see any expiration dates on the packages. About half of the packages are chicken manure, and we needed some for our compost, the others are blood meal, bone meal and 5-5-5.

      Our farmer's market is year round, and there seems to be a different bumper crop every week. Okra, luau leaves, long beans, long squash, japanese cucumbers, apple bananas, eggplants...whatever is picked and plentiful that week. I know we wouldn't want to buy these produce at store prices, usually $1-2/lb. or higher. The vendor sets aside the imperfect, odd shaped fresh stock or older produce that is going bad, sold in $1 bags or 6 bags for $1.


    3. oops...6 bags for $5 The vendor is not the farmer but a seller who buys from the farmers. There are so many sellers at the "farmer's market", and they all pretty much sell the same produce.


    4. I still have that same dream, YHF, that I've skipped an entire semester of classes, and it's now finals time.

    5. That is indeed long ago for me, so I thought how odd is that!!

      Also just like you, I do seem to worry more at nights than during the day. The brain doesn't know when to say stop, take a rest. So I'm in bed wishing the night was over so I can get back to the grindstone. That's just some of the nights, other nights I bemoan about problems I can't find answers to.


  5. Great with the shopping, Lili. I am working on using up the older groceries from our pantry and freezer right now, so not buying as much at the store.
    Funny dream! I don't usually remember my dreams, so my guess is that they are very close to my normal days.

    1. Hi Mary,
      That sounds like a good plan, this time of year, to use up what you have in stock right now. I'm trying to do the same. It sure makes shopping simpler!

  6. I'm an ex- runner; sometimes i dream about running. When i get my back fixed, i may be able to run again. I'm hoping! I've not dreamt about grocery shopping, but i've dreamt about numbers. And, yes, sometimes they don't make sense. When i remember, i write my dreams down. Very funny to re-read
    I think i did okay for Jan. I'm going to try to NOT spend anything this month unless we really need it. (Dog food, yes; pickles? mmmm, maybe not) Our daughter gets married in March; big $$ there for us, even though she and her fiancé are footing most of the bill. My in-laws are moving to assisted living in two weeks, so that's another trip out of the budget for my husband.
    I don't sleep well, either; health and just plain monkey brain. Make it stop!! Ha!

    1. Hi momsav,
      Congratulations on your daughter's upcoming wedding! Oh yes, that is a big expense, and probably very motivating to not spend much right now.

      There are a lot of incidental expenses with weddings, that get forgotten, when budgeting for one. Like all of the get togethers with extended family or the new in-laws, or needing a new pair of pantyhose or maybe shoes for the wedding. Even when you try to do these things frugally, there still seem to be many extras. And because a wedding is an extra thing to add to an already full schedule, it just seems likely that I wouldn't be able to cook/bake as much as I normally do, and might need to buy more convenience items or be tempted to eat out more than usual.

  7. Amazing skills you have, Lili. Such a small amount spent on groceries and you all eat very well. How funny you dreamed about making calculations in your head. lol

    1. Hi Belinda,
      I'm also very fortunate to live where there are a lot of different shopping opportunities, to stock up on a variety of items at great prices. But thank you! I know, that surprised me that my subconscious would be doing math!


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