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Wednesday, August 31, 2016

August 2016 Grocery Spending Journal

August 2. Fred Meyer for the senior discount shopping day. I bought the large box of powdered milk for $13.04. This might last the whole year. I'm not needing to fortify my daughter's smoothies quite so much, these days, and never have to add the powdered milk to her drinking milk any more. So, that's good news on two fronts -- saves money, and a sign she's getting better. I found cottage cheese on markdown for 99 cents/16 oz container. Bought two. One container is earmarked for lasagna, and the other is for lunches, with fruit, this week. I also bought 4 packages of cheapo hotdogs for cookouts, at 80 cents/12 oz package, 1/10th lb unsweetend coconut at $2.69/lb, small jar blackstrap molasses for $3.41, 3 jars of natural-style peanut butter (15 oz for $1.61), 16 oz bag of marshmallows (for s'mores), at $1.35, 2 lbs of butter, at $2.25/lb, 12 oz milk chocolate chips and 12 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips, at $1.80 each, plus 1 lb of whole wheat spaghetti for 90 cents. Spent $34.94

August 5. A change in plans for evening entertainment brought both daughters and I to the beach to have a small picnic dinner of grilled cheese sandwiches. Near to the beach is a frozen yogurt shop. So, for dessert, we headed over there. Even with my pleads of "let's keep these small, okay?", we still spent $14.20 for 3 fro-yo sundaes. Ouch! That comes out of the grocery budget. It was fun, but expensive fun.

Spent so far this month, $49.14

August 10. Dollar Tree. Among other things, I bought a box of graham crackers. Spent $1

August 12. Fred Meyer for the milk on sale at $1/half-gallon. I bought 5 half-gallons of whole milk, and 1 half-gallon of orange juice. I also picked up 2 weeks of Friday Freebies - 1 5-oz package of gummy worms (to go into a stocking at Christmas), and a 10-oz Hormel dinner (will probably also go as a gift to someone in family at Christmas). Spent $6. (While I was at Fred Meyer, they had a promotion on gift cards, at 4 x fuel rewards -- I picked up a Starbucks card to use as a gift sometime in the future.)

August 12. Trader Joes for bananas. I bought 17 bananas, at 19 cents each. Spent $3.23

August 14. Dollar Tree, again, this month (daughters needed student planners for classes). I also bought 1 box of 6 individual packages of animal crackers, and 1 box of 6 individual packages of fish crackers. These are a treat/snack for the 2 weeks my daughters are home at the end of summer, and we do a bunch of summer-y road trips. Spent $2

So far this month, I've spent $61.37

August 19. Country Farms produce stand. I was very near to this stand this morning, and was feeling like I needed a pick me up, so I stopped in. I bought 6 ears of corn on the cob (25 cents each), 3 small avocados (3/$1), 4 nectarines (99 cents/lb), a pint of blueberries ($2.49), and a cantaloupe (39 cents/lb) I spent $7.02. Although our garden is producing well, these days, this splurge was well worth it. Kris's blueberry and peach fruit cups (mentioned in the comments this morning) sounded so wonderful. I made fruit salads in similar fashion using the nectarines and blueberries.

Month to date spending, $68.39

August 25 Fred Meyer for 5 half-gallons whole milk (99 cents each), and 1 half-gallon orange juice (99 cents), about 8 lbs total of peaches and nectarines for 88 cents/lb, 1 PowerBar (freebie). Total spent -- $12.83

Month to date spending, $81.22

August 26. Went by Cash & Carry and picked up a 10-lb package of 80/20 ground beef for $18.80 ($1.88/lb), a 5-lb bag of white cheddar cheese ($6.95, $1.39/lb, last one, I would have bought more, no rainchecks), 25-lb bag of steel cut oats ($14.47, or 58 cents/lb), 3 bananas at 46 cents/lb, 3  64-oz jars of chunky peanut butter ($5.37). Spent $56.79

Total spent so far, $138.01

Coming in to the month of August, I had a surplus of $299.23. Add that to my budget of $190, and I had $489.23 available to spend for the month. I underspent by $351.22. That is my new surplus!! Add that to my monthly budget of $190, and for the month of September, I now have $541.22 available to spend on groceries. Good grief! Are we not eating?! I don't think I bought that much this month. Here's the list:

What I bought


large box of powdered milk
32 oz cottage cheese
2 lbs butter
10 half-gallons whole milk
5 lbs shredded white cheddar cheese


4 packages hot dogs
10 lbs 80/20 ground beef


1/10th lb unsweetened coconut
small jar blackstrap molasses
3  15 oz jars natural-style peanut butter
16 oz marshmallows
2  12 oz bags chocolate chips
1 lb whole wheat spaghetti
9 oz graham crackers
5 oz package gummy worms (Freebie)
Hormel pantry-stable dinner (Freebie)
6-pack fish crackers
25 lbs steel cut oats
6-pack animal crackers
1 PowerBar (Freebie)
12 pints of Jif-type peanut butter


2 half-gallons orange juice
20 bananas
6 ears of corn
3 small avocados
4 nectarines
pint of blueberries
1 cantaloupe
8 lbs of nectarines and peaches, mixed

Treats out

frozen yogurt

I'm still holding below our budget, to spare as much money as possible for fall sale stock-ups. I've benefitted by some spectacular deals, like the ground beef for $1.88/lb, and the cheddar cheese for $1.39/lb. Not to mention the eggs that I bought in June and July for rock-bottom low prices (I don't know if eggs will ever be that low again, 49 cents/dozen is pretty spectacular). I'm still using eggs from those 2 cases, that I froze.

I continue to look for better ways to buy items. Like the 25-lb sack of steel cut oats. I had been buying steel cut oats at WinCo for 62 cents per pound. I paid 58 cents/lb by buying the 25-lb sack. that's only a savings of 4 cents/lb, but multiplied by 25 lbs and I saved $1. And steel cut oats are not something that I have to worry about us eating, indiscriminately. This amount will last us about 15 months, and keep just fine. Mmmm, now I'm getting hungry for a bowl of steel cut oats, topped with fresh peaches. Yum!

One of my pantry goals this summer has been to work our way down on both pantry and freezer surpluses. I want to make sure nothing sits for so long that it's no longer edible, get both pantry and freezers cleaned out, and save some money for stocking up when prices are rock-bottom for many items. I had no idea just how much we have in stock, here. It's a lot of food, and could probably last us for several months, with no shopping at all, if need be.


  1. Hi, Lili--

    I definitely concur with your last paragraph, though our food budget is not as tight. I was thinking when you were talking about bulk/commercial products yesterday how wonderful those options are... but they do require us to also run our kitchens like a business in making sure we make good use of our stocks to try to prevent waste, as well. The best price on something isn't a bargain in the long run if we don't use it up. :)

    We have been clearing out our pantry and freezer the past couple of months both to limit time spent grocery shopping, to simplify our meal prep, and to make our food storage leaner and meaner.

    In the future, we may be making some changes to what and how much we store, for a number of reasons; but this time of using up the current stores (including experimentation with some of the true "emergency" food we'd had, with really good results) has been a very positive thing ... not just for our pocketbooks, but for our repertoire of cooking/eating ideas, as well. :)

    I was happy yesterday when I did go shopping (first "real" shopping for more than milk or yogurt in a month) that, even at the nearest, most-expensive chain supermarket, I got $38 discount off $102 of groceries! Both Labor Day sales and some big overstock discounts added up to a tidy sum! Hoooray!

    Have a great rest of the week! Sara :)

    1. Hi Sara,
      good job on the grocery shopping! I love seeing those savings. I know you do, too. And great work on using up what's in store in your pantry and freezer! It is amazing how much can fit in one freezer or pantry. I'm working on the same.

      Have a great week, Sara! Good luck getting everything on your list done!

  2. You're doing great with your spending! You always do, but you're even outdoing yourself! :) My numbers aren't ever as low as yours, but I was happy to keep us to about half our usual spending by eating down the freezer. Our yearly side of beef was coming this month as well as needing some clothing (younger three need uniforms for their public school--some things were usable and some needed replacing)and school items so this helped free up funds for those items.

    1. Hi Cat,
      One of the differences you have with your grocery budget and mine is that you're feeding a larger group on a daily basis than I am. With all of my kids being older, they all have occasions where they eat elsewhere, and none of them are still growing, and my H and I are older, so our caloric needs aren't as high. You can console yourself with the thought that very soon, your family's food needs will go down, too. but right now, you're still in the huge grocery bill years. And if you can keep your spending down by half this month, imagine what your savings will be like in just a few more years!
      Can you find used uniform items at all? Or do they just get quite used after a year, and not be worth buying. I can't believe school is starting or has started already. I just don't feel like I've had a summer, yet. I certainly don't want to slide on into winter so soon!

      Have a great day, Cat! hope the weather is cooling, there.

    2. Lili, that is certainly true on the big food years. I think it will probably get worse before it gets better as my little boys are currently only 6 and 8!

      Used uniforms are here and there in thrift shops. But Academy sells them for very reasonable prices ($4.99 for polo shirts and $8.99 for the shorts) so I tend to buy them there unless I find used ones in excellent shape. I did find one pair of uniform shorts at a thrift shop for $2 this summer in great condition. And right now, the 6 YO can still wear hand-me-downs from the 8 YO. My 10 YO daughter, however, doesn't have any hand-me-downs as our middle school and high school are not yet wearing uniforms (some are) so the older girls don't have any to hand down.

    3. Oh yeah, Cat, your boys are going to eat you out of house and home in just a couple of years. Then, it will get better.
      Those sound like reasonable prices on the uniforms. The hand-me-downs probably help. But aren't a complete solution. At least you're not buying a huge new wardrobe every fall.

  3. So funny that our peach and blueberry fruit cups were "calling" to you to be eaten. I was just looking for a way to use up our produce--around our house, you can't go wrong with fruit cups of any type. :)

    I hear ya on how expensive the frozen yogurt was--but since you're doing so well on your expenses, I am glad you are able to have a splurge. My mom likes to eat out a lot, so I'm finding our restaurant spending has increased a bit. With school starting, this should level out a bit, although I think I will have to bite the bullet and anticipate more coffee/lunch expenses. There is a wonderful senior center close to her apartment which has a cafe--she can get subsidized meals there for, I think, $3.50. They run more in the neighborhood of $6 for the general public, but not bad, overall.

    In the tourist town near me, there is a really fun fro-yo place--they have indoor wooden swings available to sit in (overlooking the water) and the choices for both yogurt flavors as well as toppings are crazy huge! It's a once or twice a year event for us, but the kids looooove it when we go.

    1. Hi Kris,
      oh yes! I get inspired by all of everyone else's menus! I think we have fresh fruit with dinner almost every night, this time of year. We're currently in apples and blackberries and about to start on plums, with occasional pears thrown in there. nice to have so much fresh fruit.

      With your mom, lunches out might just have to be a part of your budget for a while. It brings her such joy and gives you both time to share, without interruptions from home or work. These are your years to relish time with her. It sounds like you're finding some budget options. The senior center sounds like a good one. My son and his girlfriend have become experts on finding cheap date places. Costco hot dogs are big with the two of them, as are Swedish meatball dinners at IKEA.

      I bet your kids love that frozen yogurt place. It sure sounds amazing. And only going once or twice a year makes each time more special.

      have a great day, Kris! And enjoy your Labor Day weekend!

  4. I'm working on what I call "stock rotation" lol. I've culled pull and put all my open #10 cans of dried foods on the front of the shelf. I'm working on sliding them into meals as frequently as I can.

    Looks like you did well with your shopping totals!

    1. Hi Busy Bee,
      It sounds like you've got a good plan for your pantry supplies. Great job with the stock rotation! Nothing will be lost to waste!

  5. Good to rotate stock. We did a pantry clean out. We do not have an official pantry so things are way back in the
    cupboards and in square 5 gallon pails stacked under the stairs. They are buckets that I washed and lined for food storage. We let 4 cans of soup go out of date. I found the only canned soup we eat is Campbells
    when we are sick, other than that we eat homemade. So I will not buy any other to have stocked for flu season. I learned something new about us. I hate to waste food. We probably will not have soup any time soon it is 95 today. Probably lots of salad and fruit.
    We stayed fairly low on our grocery bill. I don't think we eat as much when it is hot.
    Once again you did great on your grocery spending! Good for you.

    1. Hi Patti,
      You learned something valuable, about the soup. Good to know, I'm sure.
      I like your inventive pantry storage solution. I've stored canned goods in boxes under the bed, in past years before we had an official pantry. There's no rule that says food needs to be stored in the kitchen.

      Oh that sounds quite warm, still. I can imagine no soup on the menu for a while, yet for you.

      Have a great day, Patti!


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