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Wednesday, November 30, 2016

November 2016 grocery spending journal

This is the big stock-up time of the year, for me. There is a lot to buy, but fortunately, I have a lot in surplus budget from which to draw.

October 31. This came in after I'd finished up my October tally, so I'm including it in November's. At Fred Meyer, I bought 1 package of flour tortillas for $1.19.

November 1. Senior Discount Day at Fred Meyer. I was hopeful I'd find pecans on sale this month, and I did! $8.99/lb, I bought almost 3  1/2 pounds of pecan halves. They're in the freezer already. I also bought 5 half-gallons of whole milk, at 89 cents each, and 1 half-gallon of orange juice at 89 cents (there was a limit of 6 combined of milk and OJ at the sale price). I bought 1 half-gallon of almond milk ($2.25), 2 lbs of butter ($2.50/lb), 4 2-lb bags of powdered sugar (89 cents each), a box of decaf tea ($2.33), a large can of decaf coffee and a large can of reg. coffee ($4.49 each), a package of hot dogs for 80 cents (easy meals), and 2 18-ct large eggs (89 cents per carton, or 59 cents/dozen). I still have lots of eggs in the freezer, but at 59 cents/dozen I'll continue to buy. Total spent $60.96 (half of that was pecans!)

November 4. WinCo for cases of canned vegetables (12 cans/case). I buy 1 case each peas, corn, cut green beans and French green beans, $3.96/case. I also bought 6 bags of assorted chocolate chips, at $1.68/each, 1 container of salt, 54 cents, 3 29-oz cans pumpkin, $1.78 each, 12 bananas, 48 cents/lb, and 6 acorn squash, 78 cents each. I spent $38.97 (that includes my 3 X 6 cents bag credit).

November 8. Fred Meyer. potatoes are on sale for 88 cents/10-lb bag, limit 2. Today was the day that I discovered FM would have every Tuesday through the holidays as Senior Discount days. So, while here, I bought a few items which would qualify for 10% off, including a can of regular and a can of decaf coffee ($4.49 each), container of salt (53 cents), 4 cans of whole berry cranberry sauce (89 cents each), and a freebie of a Hershey's Kiss deluxe. I spent $14.83

November 11.  I was running errands with one daughter. Since we were near Fred Meyer, we decided to stop in and buy more potatoes, at 88 cents/10-lb bag. She picked up her limit of 2 bags, and I got my 2 bags. While there, we found pasta in a variety of shapes on sale for 50 cents/lb. I bought 19 lbs, mostly linguini and macaroni. I also picked up my freebie of Greek yogurt. Spent $13.02

November 11. Also stopped at WinCo, for another case of green beans ($3.96), some candied cherries for holiday baking ($2.43), candied fruitcake fruit ($2.48), baking cocoa ($1.66), chili powder ($1.69), 1.12 lbs of raisins ($2.00), 1 whole wheat fig bar 26 cents), 4 cans of cranberry sauce (78 cents each), 4 cans olives, 78 cents each, 3 bags chocolate chips, $1.68 each, 4 cans of yams ($1.49/29 oz), 4 cans pumpkin ($1.78/29 oz), 1 qt of whipping cream ($3.18) and a 72-ct pack of corn tortillas ($2.18). I spent $44.94

November 15. Fred Meyer, for another day of Senior discount, plus getting one turkey. I bought 3 packs of lady finger cookies for 50 cents each (for making tiramisu), 1 10-ct flour tortillas, 89 cents, 4 8-oz bags of Italian espresso coffee, for $1.49 each, a box of decaf black tea, $2.33, 3 half-gals of orange juice, 90 cents each, 7 half-gals milk, 90 cents each, 3 half-gals eggnog, marked down, $1.50 each, 8 8-oz packages of cream cheese, 90 cents each, 1 package hot dogs, 80 cents, 8 15-oz jars natural peanut butter, $1.35 each, and a 20-lb turkey at 49 cents/lb. I had a $5 off any purchase coupon to use, so in total I spent $47.75

November 18. WinCo for my 2nd turkey. I buy 3 bags marshmallows, 98 cents each. 14 29-oz cans yams, 98 cents each, 4 lbs butter, $2.48 each, 15 29-oz cans pumpkin, $1.78 each, 5 cans cream of mushroom soup, 58 cents each, 9 cans olives, 78 cents each and a 20-lb turkey, at 48 cents/lb. I spent $73.04

November 22. Cash & Carry. I buy 50-lbs of all-purpose flour for $10.99, 12 lbs of butter at $2.09/lb, 1 gal of molasses, $13.49, half-gal of real maple syrup, $28.08, 3 large bunches of celery, for $2.88, 40-lbs oranges, $16.98, 6 bananas, 42 cents pound. I spent $98.65.

I have spent a whole lot on groceries this month, a whole lot. So far, I've spent $393.35. But, including surpluses from previous months, I had $504.40 that I could spend for November. So, I'm actually doing okay, so far.

November 25. Black Friday. Out picking up some deals, and I found canned pineapple on sale for 99 cents/ 20-oz can. not a spectacular deal, but okay, so I bought 10 cans. Spent $9.90. Also got my Friday Freebie, a Christmas themed Snicker's candy bar.

November 29. Last shopping day of the month, with Senior Discount at Fred Meyer. I bought 3 packages of 10 each flour tortillas (they are often out of these), 89 cents each, 1 large can decaf and 1 large can reg coffee, $4.49 each, 3 more 2-lb bags of powdered sugar, at 89 cents each, 1 box of decaf tea, $2.33, 8 half-gallons of whole milk 89 cents each, 2 half-gallons of orange juice, 89 cents each, 2 16-oz containers of sour cream, 89 cents each, just over 10 lbs of whole almonds, $4.49/lb, 6 bottles of Martinelli's sparkling cider, $1.34 each, 2 lbs of mushrooms, $1.98/lb, and 1 head of cabbage, at 49 cents/lb. Plus I had a $2 off coupon this week. Total spent $89.31.

Total spent for the month of October -- $492.56. I had a surplus plus budget, going into November, of $504.40. So, I actually have a tiny amount of surplus going into December, of $11.84!

What I bought:

Produce (canned, fresh, frozen, dried, juice)

6 half-gallon orange juice
12 cans of peas
12 cans of corn
36 cans green beans
22  29-oz cans pumpkin
18  29-oz cans yams
18 bananas
6 acorn squash
60 lbs potatoes
8 cans cranberry sauce
1.12 lb raisins
13 cans olives
3 large bunches of celery
40 lbs oranges
10 20-oz cans of pineapple
2 lbs mushrooms
1 head of green cabbage
6 bottles of sparkling cider


2 packages hot dogs
2  20-lb turkeys


20 half-gallons whole milk
half-gallon almond milk
3 half-gallons eggnog
18 lbs butter
3 dozen eggs
1 container Greek yogurt (freebie)
1 qt whipping cream
64 oz cream cheese
32 ounces sour cream

Pantry staples

5 lbs flour tortillas
3.5 lbs pecan halves
14 lbs powdered sugar
3 boxes decaf tea bags
3 large cans coffee
3 large cans decaf coffee
4 bags Italian espresso coffee
9 bags of chocolate chips
2 containers of salt
Hershey's Kiss Deluxe (freebie)
19 lbs pasta
1 lb candied cherries
1 lb fruitcake fruit
baking cocoa
chili powder
1 whole wheat fig bar
72 corn tortillas
3 packages lady finger cookies
8 jars natural style peanut butter
3 bags marshmallows
5 cans cream of mushroom soup
50 lbs of all-purpose flour
1 gallon molasses
half-gallon of maple syrup
Snicker's candy bar (freebie)
10 lbs of whole almonds

As the end of the month draws near, our pantry is extremely well-stocked in canned vegetables, flour, sugar, molasses, baking supplies, pasta, coffee and tea, nuts, potatoes, and squash. We have enough butter to last through early to mid-summer, and a year's supply of cream cheese. I have stacks of cases of canned goods on the pantry floor. If I had to, I could prepare meals for at least 3 months, without spending a penny. That's reassuring to know.

And now, at the end of this very spendy month, I am so tired of spending money. I have spent and spent and spent. I'm looking forward to a lean January.

How about you? Do you spend more on groceries in the months of November and December than other times of the year? Or is your spending pretty even throughout the year?


  1. I haven't done much stocking up as our new pantry is smaller, and our freezer died during the move. With that being said, we still have a lot of food that we're trying to eat down. Moving certainly makes you realize what you really have.

    1. Good morning, live and learn,
      I can just imagine how very aware you are, right now, of all that you have. I'm sorry your freezer gave up the ghost. Do you think you'll replace it, or are you moving into a new phase in life where you don't need or want a freezer?

      I hope your day is off to a pleasant one, live and learn!

    2. We definitely want to replace it. Our new fridge is a side by side and because of its shape, it's hard to store a lot of things in it.

    3. Oh, I understand. Our old fridge was a side by side and you couldn't get anything wide into the freezer. I hope you find exactly what you want.

  2. Wow, that's a lot of shopping and a LOT of groceries. Your arms must be sore from hauling in all those groceries. Usually October and November are heavy grocery buying days, partly because of the holidays and because its getting colder and winter is getting closer too. But this year that wasn't the case. Instead we continued to use up what was in the pantry, fridge and freezer. I am now at a point where I do need to start stocking up again, but there aren't that many good sales. Plus our shopping has changed. We no longer feed a lot of people and they no longer "shop" in my pantry and fridge.

    1. Hi Jayne,
      I know. It is a lot of groceries. I can hardly get into the pantry these days. But, as you know, with a full family living here, we will go through all of it, and likely sooner than I can imagine right now. When I look over my complete list, even I think oh my goodness, that is a whole lot of food.

      I hope that Christmas and New Year's holidays bring some good sales your way. It did seem to me that this year there were fewer great deals around. That's a little disappointing. But we adjust, and we do what we can.

      Have a great day, Jayne!

  3. Wow! I didn't know you could buy a gallon of molasses!

    I try to hit the sales during November and December, but I'm not nearly as good at it as you are!

    1. Hi Kris,
      oh that must sound like a ridiculous amount of molasses! It will last us for 2 years, about. I don't buy brown sugar, but add molasses to white sugar, so 1 gallon is not too much for us.

      From your comments in the last day or so, I do think you're doing a lot of stocking up this month. ;-) There are just a few more items on my stock-up list that I'll look for in December. So next month's shopping shouldn't be nearly as extensive, for me. Where you live, with Aldi, there isn't as much need to stock-up with fall sales, I'd imagine.

      I hope your day is off to a great start, Kris!

    2. Hee, hee, Kris and Lili--

      I have 2 1/2 gallons of molasses in my storage right now. :) The price by the gallon is MUCH thriftier, it lasts sealed a long time, it has a lot of vitamins and minerals, and we like it for both cooking and "syrup"-type uses. We don't have any trouble using it up!

      Another fabulous month of saving, Lili! You're an inspiration! Sara

    3. Hi Sara,
      A lot of people know about the iron in molasses, but it's also really high in manganese, magnesium, potassium and B6. I like the flavor of blackstrap molasses in my coffee. And it's nice added to whole wheat bread dough, for color and flavor. It's good stuff, and not just for gingerbread! (That was all my mother ever used molasses for, so I didn't know how good it could be in so many recipes.)

      Have a great day, Sara!

  4. I also think that is A LOT OF GROCERIES! I get it that you have 5 adults living, eating, etc. I'll get my all-inclusive tally figured out tonight. I know I spent a bit more since kids were home for Thanksgiving so we'll see how I did.

    I am hoping not to shop much this month. There is a lot going on and I am not in the mood to fight my way through the stores so it will only be groceries and freezer/pantry options. Not bad considering I also will have my house full with 5 adults for at least the latter part of the month. The deep freeze is so full that we have to push our way through that. I have to do a better job of balancing our meals. Last night was a poor example. I spent some time after work visiting mom and dad and then I needed to cook dinner which was fine but I decided to make myself chili dogs since that sounded so good. Probably not the best food for me but I enjoyed it and got hubby's dinner made. Not terribly balanced but I did get everything out of my freezer and pantry.

    I want to make a variety of soups and also some brined chicken pieces and I have lot of turkey broth to use up. These are ideas I will use when the kids come home again.


    1. Hi Alice,
      Even I get a little queasy reading through my list, especially all the dairy! I am counting on it lasting for several months, with minimal esle that I need to buy. (fingers crossed)

      I think your chili dog dinner sounded great. It's okay to occasionally have a less-balanced meal. My daughter's dietician has told her the same. I'm sure you do a good job, overall, and that's what matters. And as you pointed out, none of it was take-out, so financially, your dinner was the better choice. Right now, spending time with your parents is more important than many other things.

      I've been hoping to make some soups too. When I was at the store a couple of weeks ago, I was stunned by the price of canned soup. I've been thinking that several types of soup in the freezer would be nice to have on hand. Good luck to you, as you prepare for your kids being home for their break.

      Have a great day, Alice!

    2. Our total for groceries was $446.09 which was exactly in line of what I expected.


    3. Wow, Alice! You did great, and spent way less than me! My guess is this means there's little waste or frivolous spending in your household. Good job!

  5. Good for you getting all those groceries. We are pretty stocked up except potatoes. I will look again this week.
    We are out of potatoes. We ordered some from an online
    site that we had a credit and coupons. They were suppose to send 5lbs they sent 4 potatoes. Kinda funny.
    the other stuff was a great price I have 2 giant heads
    of cabbage to do something with just not sure what. We still need butter I will continue to watch but if the price does not come down we will stock up at Costco on
    butter.I bet you are glad all that shopping is done.
    Have a great day!

    1. Hi Patti,
      That's strange, the potato thing. I hope you do find potatoes at a great price, very soon! And butter, too!

      It is nice to be well-stocked. I'm just tired of the spending money part. December should be an easier shopping month for me.

      Hope your day is off to a wonderful start, Patti!

  6. I have not done more grocery shopping than usual probably because I've not had time. LOL

    We did spend T day with the brother in law, so I brought soup beans and chocolate cake, so my expenses were lower than if I had cooked a full T day meal.

    You got some great bargains this month. It's so nice to be stocked up. :)

    1. Hi Belinda,
      Not having more time because you are working every week is a very good thing! I know it can be hard to get enough work, sometimes, as a substitute teacher. So this is indeed a "good" problem!

      Your holiday meal with your BIL sounded very pleasant and low-key. It's nice that you didn't have to cook the whole shebang, and could relax more.

      Have a wonderful day, Belinda!

  7. Kudos to you, Lili! I love that you let yourself spend that much of your surplus & you got some really good buys!

    I stocked up in November, too. I only went about $100 over what I normally spend & I stocked up on canned green beans, canned pumpkin, sparkling cider (I got the same price you did), Chex cereal, powdered & brown sugar, chocolate chips, nuts, tea and sausage. I only bought the two turkeys and those are now gone. I will wait for some good ham deals to pop up after Christmas. Last year I got spiral cut hams for 99 cents/lb. They don't need to be heated before eating so they make great sandwich meat.

    I will be heading to Cash & Carry sometime soon to pick up a 50 lb. bag of bread flour. Our eldest daughter makes challah bread every year as neighbor gifts. It's so nice to have someone take over that job & the bread is cheaper to make than cookie plates. Melissa

    1. Hi Melissa,
      Oh, I will look for spiral-sliced hams, *after* Christmas! It is nice to have them pre-sliced, and they've usually been trimmed of some of the fat, so you're getting more lean meat per pound.

      Challah -- what nice neighbor gift! I bet that is always appreciated.
      Thanks for the idea, Melissa!

    2. Yes, I think it's nice. It's relatively easy to make (even I can make it) and with eggs so cheap these days it's pretty frugal, too. People love homemade bread. I also think folks get kind of tired of all the sugar during December, so bread is a nice change.

    3. You're right about how tiring all of the sugary stuff can be. I've done 2 types of bread for Christmas gifts in years past, a whole wheat sandwich/toast bread and an almond and dried fruit braid. With the sandwich bread, I usually add a jar of homemade jam or jelly. It's always really appreciated because so few people bake bread, these days. And only a handful of people I know actually make jam or jelly the old-fashioned way, without added pectin (it tends to have more concentrated flavors of the fruit, than pectin-added).

      I think I'll give challah a try later this month. It sounds like it would be a delicious change for us.

    4. I did not know that about non-pectin jam, although it makes sense. I've always used pectin to make my jam. It's easier (though more expensive). I did gift four jams to our friend who gave us a bunch of firewood (he had just cut down a bunch of cherry trees in his orchard & wanted the wood gone). He took a picture of the jams on his family's Thanksgiving table & sent it to my husband. It was awfully sweet that those jams were so appreciated, even though I felt he got the raw end of the deal on that trade.

    5. And your friend was probably thinking that you got the raw end of the deal!! You took care of the chore of getting rid of the wood!

  8. Hmm. Was trying to decide if I've shopped more or not as my budget has stayed the same. However, I have been extra aware of stocking up on sale items or great deals the past few weeks so I think that, despite spending about the same, I've been able to put way more in the pantry/freezer. An extra ham and turkey, quite a few pounds each of sweet potatoes and regular potatoes, brown sugar, coconut oil, butter, baking chips, unbleached flour, my high protein chocolate milk (favorite protein source while hiking), cranberries, pomegranates, oranges (though we've been eating those like crazy), etc... . Good feeling to be stocked up with winter coming!

    I think you got an amazing amount of food for what you spent. Lots of tasty meals at your house will come from it!

    1. Hi Cat,
      It sounds like you have, indeed, been stocking up, even if you didn't spend more this month. It's nice to have all the baking supplies, on hand, for the winter months.

      Yes, I think we'll be eating well, and many of the meals will be simpler to prepare. So that's a win!

      Have a great day, Cat!

  9. You did an excellent job this month, and have a lot to show for the money!

    November is definitely the month I spend the most on groceries! I was over my grocery budget by almost $400, and depleted most of my surplus. I only have a $50 surplus to roll into December, but there are few items on my list right now. I'll be looking for markdowns on some holiday treat items, and buying some dairy, eggs, and produce. That's about it. Besides, my pantry is so full, I honestly couldn't fit much more in it! I feel kind of worn out from all of the grocery shopping, toting, pantry organizing, and spending. On the other hand, I feel blessed, and relieved to be stocked for awhile. I'm looking forward to less shopping this month, and even less in January!


    1. Hi Angie,
      You and I are in similar positions with our grocery budgets, having really spent into the surpluses, and now little surplus left for December. But we're also very well-stocked, so won't be needing as many of the basic items, but can use our regular grocery budget for some stocking up in December. January is always a fun month for the budget, for me. There are not very many bargains, so I just don't shop much! That's something to look forward to.

      Have a wonderful day, Angie!


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