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Wednesday, April 6, 2016

My April shopping plans for groceries, household and garden items

We are pretty well-stocked in almost all consumables these days. It's a good feeling to not need very much. But there are a few items I'll be shopping for this month. Here's my list.

Fred Meyer

This Tuesday is Senior Discount Day at Fred Meyer, private label groceries, health & beauty,  plus gardening supplies, plus kitchen & household items are included.

I've almost used my box of fruit and vegetable fertilizer while working the beds for the season. So, I'll need one more box of that. And I need some potting soil, which will also receive the senior discount.

I'm needing lightbulbs. I will pick up a 4-pack of LED bulbs at Fred Meyer, using the discount. Fred Meyer has many of their GE lightbulbs on sale at 25% off this week, including LED's. I can combine the sale price with my senior discount, making LEDs very affordable. (A 4-pack of 60 watt equivalent LED bulbs is on sale for $19.99, and 40 watt equivalent LED bulbs for $16.86. I'll save 10% for my senior discount on those 4-packs, meaning the 60 watt equivalents will cost me $4.50 each, and 40 watt equivalents, $3.80 each bulb.)

While at Fred Meyer, they have Kroger vitamins/minerals on sale, buy 1 get 1 free. I'll pick up more calcium chews and multi-vitamins with iron, using the discount.

Also, I am almost out of decaf coffee. I have a coupon for Fred Meyer brand ground coffee. I can stack that coupon with the senior discount, and pick up one can.

Milk is on sale, Fred Meyer brand 1/2 gals 99 cents, this week, limit 6 w/coupon (this coupon also includes half-gals of oj, which my daughters like to take to class with them, and I pour into 8 oz. bottles -- far cheaper and healthier than buying soda in the machines). I can stack the in-ad coupon with the senior discount.

I went through the coupons which are loadable to my card, and in addition to a couple of free items, I found a bar-soap coupon. (Kroger brand, so will also get the senior discount) and an anti-perspirant coupon. (Not store brand, so only the sale plus coupon, but one family member specifically requested a stronger deodorant than what I normally buy at Dollar Tree, so I'll pick this one up.) I'll compare the prices to Dollar Tree's comparable products, once at the store.

On top of these deals, I have 1 catalina coupon for $2.50 off any purchase, and 1 mailed coupon for $1 off anything bought in the nutrition center aisles. (The brand of iron supplements that I take are found in the nutrition center, so I will get the senior discount, the sale price and the $1 off coupon on that.)

So, maybe you'll find this humorous -- since I started using the senior discount last spring, I've been getting an interesting selection of catalina coupons at the register, funniest being the one last month for adult diapers. I think they're making quite an assumption, here!

Cash & Carry

I'll keep a watch on Cash & Carry for sales on cheese (both Cheddar and Mozzarella), and laundry detergent. They have a bathroom tissue I bought last time, on the same sale, 48 rolls for $15.49. This particular tissue lasted us about 3  1/2 months, which is pretty good. So we'll go with the same.

Produce and bulk bin items from the ethnic market, Trader Joe's and WinCo

And I need produce. I'll go by the ethnic market, first, as their prices are lowest for a lot of produce. I am thinking I will find more apples for 49 cents per pound, and green peppers for 3/$1. Then sometime in the month, I'll go back to WinCo (making a stop by Trader Joe's en route for bananas), for carrots, other produce on sale, and pick up bulk bin items like raisins, dates, and sunflower seeds. WinCo's prices on bulk bin items was better than Fred Meyer's regular price plus senior discount, for the most part. When I was last at WinCo, I forgot to check for bulk bin cocoa powder, and compare prices to Trader Joe's cocoa powder (lowest price in town for cocoa powder, in my area).

Our garden is beginning to produce. We have rhubarb, now, and some leafy greens. We are still a couple of months away from strawberries and blueberries. But having home-grown berries make one very picky when it comes to buying grocery-store berries. I will wait until our garden gives us berries for my fix.

Dollar Tree

I'm now just making 1 stop per month at Dollar Tree. Just this little change in shopping really curbs my spending. I did a thorough cleaning of the bathroom cabinet last month. I found we had a plentiful supply of deodorant, toothpaste, floss, shampoo and conditioner, band-aids, sunscreen and lotion. But I will pick up more bar soap (if I don't find what I need at Fred Meyer), both for laundry soap and showering, toothbrushes and razors. My last bottle of liquid dishwashing detergent has such a perfume-y scent, too perfume-y for dishes. So, I've been adding it to the laundry soap. If Dollar Tree has the lemon-scented liquid dishwashing detergent, I'll pick up a bottle of that. As a laundry detergent, the perfume-y one is working great.

My brother has a birthday in early May, as well as Mother's Day. DT has greeting cards for 50 cents each. I'll go through my selection of cards at home, first. Then if I don't have something I want to use, on hand, I'll pick up cards for those occasions, this month.

In the food section, I will probably buy 1 box of crackers, to have with a cream cheese and herb spread some weekend day in April, and 2 quarts of soy or almond milk.

With exception to always needing milk, I am pretty well-stocked in groceries, for the time being. I'd like to use up some of the freezer stash and make room for spring and summer garden produce. Although I have a substantial surplus in grocery money right now, I may not need any of it for April.

Just a little info for you -- I find making out these shopping lists very helpful for me. By making out a list that covers all of the stores I frequent, and over the course of a month, I find I am much more thorough in my planning for the month. Back in the day when I didn't make out these comprehensive lists, I would find mid-month that, "oh, we're out of lightbulbs. Better run to the store." Then the next week, " oh we're out of dish detergent, better go to Dollar Tree again." You get the idea, right? By making a master shopping plan for the month, I can make sure I take advantage of any deals, special discounts, coupons, and lowest prices in town, and not have to back-track to all of the different stores because I didn't plan very thoroughly. Time and money-saver. So, basically, by having you guys here, reading along with my thoughts, you are all helping me to plan better! Big thank you, to you all!


  1. I love reading these, and then at the end of the month what all you actually got! I need to work on planning better for the full month, because just as you mention, I do my shopping and then find out my older girls are out of conditioner, or some such thing. And while I don't mind the grocery shopping, I like to preserve my days at home to be just that, days at home. That way I can "afford" maybe even two days a week to hike. :)

    1. Hi Cat,
      That's just it, I like to keep some days as errand-free days, for other things/projects. I know, well-enough, that even with a good plan, things change (prices are higher/lower/supply not there). But at least with a plan, I can eliminate some of the unnecessary shopping trips, and hopefully save money.

      I'm just curious, do you have a group that you hike with?

    2. Yes, I do, as a matter of fact! There is a refuge-sponsored hike on Mondays that I sometimes go with (I hike at the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge), but a friend and I really wanted Wednesdays as a dedicated hiking day. So we invited a handful of people we'd met on other hikes or knew from elsewhere, and before we knew it, we had a fb group of 32, with usually about 6-10 of us showing up to hike any given Wednesday. In fact, lately, to go on a smaller, quieter hike, we've been heading out on Fridays with just 3 of us, and occasionally my younger children if they're out of school (they are getting out some Fridays because we didn't get to use a single snow day this year).

    3. Cat, that sounds like a fun group!

    4. Yes, it is, and our Wednesday group is all women, too. In fact, today we celebrated the birthday of our most knowledgeable hike leader, a dear lady who turned 78 on Monday and still teaches hiking classes for the local university. She is a fireball!

    5. It's women like that (the 78 yo hike leader) that keep me motivated and inspired to try new things, and continue on with the old ones.

    6. Exactly! She (and her 80 year old still strong hiking husband) are an inspiration to all who know them! Very active in their church and civic groups and always taking international students from the university under their wings and making them feel welcome. Lovely people.

  2. We're just slip/sliding along...On Good Friday I bought a lot of milk that was discounted and froze most of it. Since hubby's surgery we have relied on that milk to get us by and it has worked wonderfully well. The milk is so cold and has some frozen milk that we actually like! It's almost gone and it's been two weeks on this discounted milk. He is eating a LOT now during his recovery and his favorite is cold cereal with lots of milk!


    1. Hi Alice,
      It sounds like your husband's recovery is coming along, nicely, especially as his appetite is restored! I love have a supply of milk in the freezer to rely on. I know some people say that they don't like the thawed milk, but our family doesn't even notice. I'm glad for you that you were able to lay in such a good supply of milk for the freezer, for this time!

  3. Too funny about the Kroger catalina coupon! I regularly receive coupon packets in the mail from Kroger. Supposedly, these coupons are selected for me based on my buying habits with data from my Plus Card. Sometimes, I have received weird coupons, and I wonder what I purchased that triggered that coupon.

    I have also found making shopping lists at the beginning of the month to be very helpful. A couple of years ago, I was working four days a week instead of five. On my day off each week, I set aside a little time in the morning for grocery planning. I sat at the kitchen table with a cup of coffee and my favorite music playing and made lists, took inventory of the fridge, freezers, and pantry, etc. I found that I was saving more money, and spending less time shopping. Maybe I should start planning like that again.

    Another thing I try to do, is to buy more of a product that I buy on sale. I am really good at doing that for actual food items, but not so good at doing that for household and personal care products. I've slowly been changing my mindset. The last time I found economy size bottles of my laundry soap at a rock bottom price at Kroger, I initially put one bottle in my cart. One bottle is good for 100 loads after all. After thinking for a moment, I decided to buy three since there weren't a lot of other things I was wanting to stock up on right then. I'm slowly becoming well stocked this way. It's nice that I don't always feel like I'm almost out of something!

    Have a great day!

    1. Hi Angie,
      The planning really does work. It sounds like you were making it as pleasant a job as possible for yourself! That's they way to tackle any task, I think!
      I am also trying to change my mindset on the non-food items. When I found laundry detergent last summer, in the big bucket, I only bought one. Now I'm wishing I'd bought 2 of the buckets at that sale price. At least I know now. And when I find it on sale again, I will buy the two, and have about a year's supply.

      Sometimes, I'm "forced" into buying a larger supply, like when I order an item from Amazon. Often, the best price is in multiples. Like you, I like not thinking about buying more of those items for a while.

      Have a great day, yourself!

  4. That's a great price on milk. I pay on average $2.79 per half gallon.

    I divided my shopping list by store, too. Didn't work out perfectly, but still it wasn't bad. I have a few things I may pick up for cherry picking for the pantry, but all in all I think other than milk we are stocked for the month.

    1. Oh, wow! Are milk prices ever high in your area, Busy Bee!
      Good job on a well-stocked pantry! That is such a nice feeling to know that you don't need much more for a while.

  5. Re: cocoa powder. We don't actually have a TJs here, but when I get to the big city I try to stop there. The cocoa powder in the bulk bins at WinCo in my town is $2.53/lb, so slightly more than TJs. However, I prefer the stuff from WinCo because it's Dutch processed. I like the finished product better when I use it. Re: cards. I love DT for cards, too! I can't stand the thought of spending $5 on something that will most likely be thrown away by the recipient. I do occasionally make an exception for special occasions. I like Hobby Lobby's selection of Christian cards and will buy them w/ 40 %off coupon a couple of times a year when the occasion calls for it. Also, you probably know this, but you can stack manufacturer's coupons w/ Fred Meyer store coupons. The Coupon Project does really good Fred Meyer coupon match ups each week. Happy shopping! Melissa

    1. Hi Melissa,
      Oh, thanks for that info on cocoa powder/WinCo! Amd I'll check out the Coupon Project, too! Thank you!

      I feel the same way about greeting cards. I would rather put those extra couple of dollars to use in the gift, itself. And when I want a card that the recipient might actually hang onto and reread, I usually make the card myself and hand-write a meaningful message inside.

  6. I'm with you and Melissa on the greeting cards--cheaper, in most cases, is better--and I need to stock up on them! Our Walmart also has a 50 cent card section--it's kind of hidden away so you have to search to find it.

    I laughed out loud at the adult diapers--although I must add that they are tremendously helpful for those who need them--it's more the assumption of "oh, you are a 'senior' so you must need this product" that made me chuckle. I started getting AARP cards sent to me while I was still 49, which was sort of baffling (I know they are just trying to increase their membership, but still!). There is definitely a mindset that people have regarding age--having worked with all sorts of age groups through the years, I can say that there are young 90-somethings and old 50-somethings, but try telling that to most younger people!

    1. Hi Kris,
      and I may need them, yet! But please, let me be the one to decide when! I agree, when/if a person needs them (and from what I understand this will more likely happen to us women, than the menfolk) they are a welcome "help" for remaining active and being out in the world. I am glad they are around.

      When it comes to the senior discount at the grocery store, or with AARP discounts, hey, if they want to call me a senior and save me some money, I'll take the "senior" label!

  7. I've only been buying greeting cards with manufacturer's coupons and paired with a store coupon (stacked). Nearly free that way. I like your idea, Lili, of making your own cards and handwriting a meaningful message when the cards will likely be kept by the recipient.

    I don't have much to buy these days...mostly all of our purchases are for my dad since he's the one who has specific food needs in his diet. We can change up and adapt to what is in the freezer, but he can't. I find that being well stocked in non food items, keeping track of expiration dates or use in order of when it was purchased (first in first out) helps. There are tons of rebate/coupon/store promo deals on non food items. It's hard for me to buy more when we have several years supply, but I have a low price point that I calculate for each item and restock whenever my out of pocket price point can beat it. Just restocking at these low price points and buying some fresh produce at the farmer's market and food staples (like flour, oil, cheeses) at Costco constitutes our $200 grocery limit.

    Have a nice day, Lili :)


    1. Hi YHF,
      When I took inventory of our bathroom supplies, I was happy to discover that we were covered on many items. Controlling the inventory is as important as buying at a low price, I think. Otherwise, I wind up buying more and more of something, when I have plenty already (especially with seasonal items, like sunscreen, that you forget about most of the year).

      It sure sounds like you are well set for the next coming years! Great work!

      Have a great day, YHF! (Spring is back, here, and I'm off to work in the garden in a just a few minutes!)

  8. I know what you mean about Dollar Tree & the spending, today I went there because I needed 2 cards, well I always look around when I am there & wound up leaving with about 10 other things. Sure, they were a great deal, but very few were things that we needed. I usually wind up finding a book while there, well today I came home with three. I do love their card section too, saves so much money versus a card shop or grocery store card section. It is only a half mile from home too, so super convenient.

    1. Hi Rhonda,
      Isn't that always the case? I go into a store like Dollar Tree for one thing and come out with a dozen, especially as they seem like "such a great deal, just 1 dollar". At least you can console yourself with the thought that if you bought a few books there, at least they only cost you $3, and not the full price!


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