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Monday, May 1, 2017

April 2017 Grocery Budget Journal

Going into April, I have $383.99 to spend, which includes the carry forward surplus plus allotted amount of $190. I thought about lowering the budget this month, but chose to save that for next month, instead.

March 31. As I mentioned at the end of March, I would consider any purchases on the 30th or 31st of March as part of April's spending. I stopped at Cash & Carry on the way home from an appointment, mostly for eggs, but also wanted cheese and fruit. I bought a 15 dozen case of large eggs for $14.07 (not quite 94 cents/dozen). these are sold as loose pack, which means they aren't in cartons, but are on sectioned trays which are stacked in a box. I also bought a 5-lb loaf of sharp cheddar cheese for $12.47. The sharp cheddar is 50 cents more per pound that mild cheddar, but I enjoy sharp so much more that I can use less in cooking, making this choice affordable, as well as lightening the impact on my digestive system. I also bought a 5-lb bag of shredded mozzarella, for pizzas, for $10.98. Shredded cheese whether cheddar or mozzarella, is less expensive for me. But loaf cheese is nicer for having as slices or cubes in snacking, or alongside a piece of toast and fruit for breakfast or lunch. I bought a 40-lb case of navel oranges for $15.98 (that's about 39 cents per pound), 17 bananas at 47 cents/lb, and a 5-lb bag of Pink Lady apples for $3.48 (just over 69 cents/lb). Pink Lady apples are a late fall apple, so they keep well into the early spring weeks. I spent $59.68, which always feels like a lot to me, when I'm not buying any meat. But I remind myself that I did buy 60 pounds of fruit and enough eggs for 2+ months and cheese for at least 1 month.

I know this sounds redundant but I really tried to buy foods in the most economical way possible this shopping trip. For example, I did buy a 40-lb case of oranges. As they were under 40 cents per pound, this is a very economical fruit for us. In contrast, the apples were 69 cents per pound; so I view them as the "luxury" fruit for us this week, and only bought 5 pounds. The case of eggs sounds like an unbelievably excessive amount. But in actuality, we will go through this case in 2 months. And in the meantime, I will have saved at least 5 cents per dozen in comparison to eggs on sale during Easter week.

April 4. Senior Shopping day at Fred Meyer, 10% off of house brand groceries, beauty, and hygiene, plus kitchen and household stuff and gardening supplies. I bought the lightbulbs which we desperately needed, and bath tissue, fem supplies and vitamins, as I'd planned. In the food depts, I bought 1 gallon of milk (not on sale, but I got a discount of 10%), cost $2.33, 2 15-oz jars of natural peanut butter, on sale, had coupon and got discount, $1.20/jar, 1 loaf of day old whole grain bread, 69 cents, flour tortillas, 10-ct, 89 cents, I bought 3, hot dogs, 8 ct, 80 cents, I bought 2, two 1/2 gallons of soy milk, sale, coupon, and discount, $1.75 each, 7 dozen eggs, 89 cents/dozen,  jar of salsa, freebie, Lara bar, freebie, 1 Lindt chocolate bunny, after coupon $2.50, and a bunch of vegetable gardening supplies, spending $23.14. When I checked out, I was given a $1 off coupon for any purchase, so as soon as I put my groceries in the car, I went back into the store and used that coupon for one more Lindt bunny, $2.50 after coupon. I now have enough chocolate bunnies for all four kids (if you remember, last summer I bought 2 large gold foil Lindt chocolate bunnies at Kohl's with a coupon, for 9 cents each. I've had those tucked away since then, and they'll go to two of the kids and the new ones to the other two. Total spent on food and gardening supplies, $50.57.

In the gardening supplies, I bought vegetable starts for some cool weather veggies for which I haven't gotten to starting seeds, lettuce, kale, chard, plus some new rosemary plants. I'll plant out these veggie starts, and plant seeds in the next patch over. We'll have salads and greens in a few weeks, instead of a couple of months from now.

Spent so far this month, $110.25

April 7. I was at the bank which happens to be next to a QFC. QFC has some of the better markdown prices on milk. I just don't get here very often to check the dairy dept. However, needing to go in person to the bank, I stopped into QFC. I found 1 gallon of skim milk for $1.49, 1 gallon of 1% milk for $1.49, and 1 gallon of 2% milk for $2.29. The 2% has a pull date further out -- explaining the higher price. I buy all 3, as we can use these to get through the next 2 weeks. Total spent, $5.27.

Spent month to date -- $115.52

It's near mid-month and we haven't had a lot of freebies, in the way of leftovers from events or free meals at events, this month. So our spending so far really does represent what has come into the house. I continue to use supplies from the pantry and freezer. So far, this is working, with no complaints. I will hopefully pick up some asparagus and potatoes, but otherwise, if I don't find any great deals for the rest of the month we will be fine. And we have two birthdays this month, so to be able to do birthday dinners and cake on what we have, means that we are in a pretty good place with our supplies.

April 13. Needed envelopes, so I went to Dollar Tree. While there I bought 2 boxes of crackers. Spent $2.

April 13. Stopped in to Fred Meyer to get the last of the Easter basket items. While there I bought a 10-lb bag of potatoes, $2.49 (yikes!), 5-lb bag of carrots, $2.99, 18-oz packages of coating chocolate, 2-milk chocolate, 1-white chocolate, marked down to $1.89 each, 2 loaves of marked down bread, total of 69 cents (the cashier could not get the second loaf to scan correctly, tried numerous times, eventually she said I could have that loaf for free), 1 box of marked down gingerbread tea, $1.89, 3 red sweet peppers for $1, 4 marked down bananas for 39 cents/lb, 1 package of pudding mix, freebie. Total spent,  $15.31.

So far, I've spent $132.83 for the month.

April 22. I gave my son and his fiancee $20 to go out to lunch, while they visit the nearby islands. I took that money out of the grocery budget. spent, month to date -- $152.83

April 30. Totally out of milk, stopped at QFC to load a bus pass for a daughter for May, and found 1 gallon of skim milk for $2.29, and 2 1/2 gallons of soy milk, at $1.69 each. Total spent $5.67.

Later in same afternoon, same daughter and I took some time together to talk and run errands together. While out, went by Fred Meyer, and bought some Easter candy that was marked down 75%, for next year (really, no one ever eats it in our house, once I've hidden it), and also got 3 Friday freebie items, a bag of some sort of popcorn snack, 2 boxes of Sour Patch candies (they subbed this for the bags offered), and a box of Annie's Mac and Cheese. Total spent, $4.32

Spent for the month --$162.82

What I bought:

22 dozen eggs
10 pound of cheese
5 gallons milk
2 gallons soy milk

24 hot dogs

40 pounds of oranges
21 bananas
5 pounds of apples
10 lbs potatoes
3 red peppers
5 lbs carrots
vegetable gardening supplies, including seedlings for lettuce, chard, kale, rosemary, snow peas,

30 ounces peanut butter
3 loaves of bread
30 flour tortillas
jar of salsa (freebie)
lara bar (freebie)
2 Lindt chocolate bunnies
just over 3 lbs of dipping/coating chocolate for making choc-covered strawberries and other yummy things later
1 box of tea
1 package of pudding mix (freebie)
2 boxes crackers
2 movie boxes candy (freebie)
1 box mac and cheese (freebie)
1 bag popcorn snack (freebie)

This is such a short list for an entire month. Even I can see that. Next month I will have a much larger list. We ran out of a lot of items this month. I will be restocking many of those items tomorrow. I also noticed that I received a lot of freebie items this month. I was under budget by $27.18. We  more than made up for that in the mega car repair bill, though. Oh well.

How did your month end up?


  1. Hi Lili,

    We ended up shopping a little bit on Friday night so our new total is about $350 for the month. A little higher than I wanted but we needed items to get the meals made.

    It will be a busy month with two kids moving back home after the college year ends so I'm sure things will get more expensive. I'll still try to work through eating from the freezer. I pulled some pork out and it was starting to "look" freezer burned but once thawed it wasn't burned at all. I have a couple more packages like that but we'll still use them.

    Have a wonderful week.


    1. Hi Alice,
      I'm glad the pork was still not freezer-burnt. One of my kitchen goals is to go through everything that is currently in the freezers, to use things before freezer burn sets in.
      I hope your week is off to a great start, Alice!

  2. You've had less time to go into the stores may be one reason your list is short. It may not apply to you because you plan so carefully, but for most of us, fewer trips to the store means fewer chances for impulse buys and less money spent.

    The problem with hiding candy in this house is I still know where it is. :0

    1. Hi live and learn,
      I impulse buy, too. It's usually items from the marked down sections. So, in that sense, not shopping meant that I didn't buy extra of those items. I also still feel "blah" about food and cooking, so I'm not interested in shopping for special items needed for cooking, and just buying the basics each time.

      Okay, then, perhaps you can get the cats to hide the candy for you. I don't know why this works for me, with the holiday candy. It doesn't work with chocolate chips or other treats, but I would feel "guilty" if I ate the kids holiday candy.
      Have a wonderful day, live and learn!

  3. So cute, 4 Lindt bunnies for your 4 kids. I'm assuming you are counting your son's fiancee??!!

    Well, we totally blew our April budget. We stocked up a lot since our Sams Club membership will end on May 6, and we intend to let it lapse for awhile. Another reason, husband's favorite snacks were on sale, as well as 50% off Target spiral hams, and an Ibotta rebate that encouraged us to spend $60 on Kleenex. And because we decided to treat ourselves more, since we are not going on vacation this winter. My father needs more attention and our children are too busy working two jobs each to have the additional responsibility of caring for him. That's fine if we never travel again. He is so healthy, I think it will be a race to the finish. On a positive note, I hope I have taken a big step backwards. My A1C blood test improved remarkably from 6.4 to 5.9, all due to watching carbs and losing 15 lbs. Our garden is certainly a contributing factor.

    I am so amazed how well you continue to do with your meals and shopping under budget.

    Also, I've changed my mind about doing more fiber art crafts. I don't care if I end up with a room full of stuff that can't be gotten rid of, although I still like to stick to the practical, like making baskets, rugs, bags and scarves. I'm having fun making my own yarn from twining different cotton threads. I love working with colors, and it is wonderful when I can mix different color threads to achieve unique colors.

    Have a great day!!


    1. Hi YHF,
      yes, you counted correctly, add one for Angie! You know, I so badly want a Costco membership (we don't have Sam's near here), to stock up on stuff and feel like I'm not missing out. I just can't justify the membership fee. I hear it went up in the last few years, so it's even more than I always thought was too much.How much is it now? I'm not sure that I spend enough annually to save the dollar amount of the membership costs.

      Great job on the A1C's!!! Does you doctor still consider this pre-diabetic, or are you in the clear now? You keep up the good work. It's not easy making long-term dietary changes. But it is so worth the effort.

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

  4. Yes, I heard that the price for Costco membership will go up in June to $60. For us, our savings on gas purchases helps with the membership cost. Costco's gas price is about .30 per gallon cheaper than other gas stations in our area, plus using Costco Visa gives another 4% cash back on gas (3% restaurant and travel and 2% warehouse purchases). Also, the location of the store is convenient to us.

    My doctor said he was pleased about the results, but I know I have to be under 5.7, which is Kaiser's lab standard for being out of the diabetes risk range. I'm hoping that losing another 15 pounds would do it.

    Thanks for your well wishes. The funny thing is the more I cut carbs the less I crave it. I do believe carbs is the killer, since glucose is necessary to the development of many diseases including cancer. I know that if I have cancer, I'm going to cut carbs to zero, and consume all animal protein and fat. Some doctors may even unprescribe medication, like statins and high blood pressure meds, if they know you are on zero carb diet (that's what I heard on the internet). Cancer cells need glucose specifically for energy production, so starving glucose in the diet should theoretically slow cancer growth. However, still not traditionally recommended by doctors since leaving treatment in the hands of patients is not their MO.


    1. Hi YHF,
      Wow, that would be something to get your A1C levels to the completely healthy range. I know these life changes are hard, so I am wishing you much strength as you continue. That's interesting about glucose and cancer cells. I will keep that in the back of my mind.
      I'll check Costco's gas prices against what I typically pay, and see if that would significantly offset the price of membership. Thanks for the suggestion.

    2. I did some quick googling on glucose and cancer cells, and found out some interesting caveats to starving cancer cells from glucose. Sorry, I should have read more on the subject before commenting. Much has been researched since I was interested in this subject in 2013. But I still think too much glucose consumption is not good. There is a correlation between diabetes and an increased risk of cancer.


  5. I spent more than I wanted on groceries in April, but did not go over budget. I was just personally disappointed I didn't do better.

    However, I did a major stock up on butter ($1.49/lb), eggs (.79 to .50 cents/doz), & Foster Farms chicken (.87 cents/lb.) Butter & eggs were procured through repeated trips to Walmart for price matching (which enforces limits in competitor's ads), but I'm often in the area, so it was worth my time. I

    I also hosted a couple of big meals in April.

    I am getting more creative with what I have on hand and the kids haven't seemed to notice.

    My husband & I didn't pay for 1 single date night restaurant dinner in April, including for his birthday (we used a gift card). I haven't bought Little Caesar's pizza for the kids in several months (I used to buy 2 $5 pizzas about once per month for them). So far, no one has complained.

    Keep up the good work, Lili! You've done a great job with meals/grocery budget while juggling all you've got on your plate lately. Melissa

    1. Hi Melissa,
      Some times we just have to accept that more was spent than hoped, and especially when you've been able to stock up on something, like the butter. Now you won't be spending more pre pound on butter, in coming months. So that was worth the expenditure. I didn't find butter at a good price, here. We are down to 2 lbs. and I am rationing.
      Good job on cutting back where you can, like the Little Caesar's. I used to get those pizzas fairly often, but we tired of them and began preferring homemade pizza. Saves us money, and we get something we enjoy more.
      Thank you for the encouragement. I know that I bit off more than I could chew, so I have now scaled back.
      Have a lovely evening, Melissa!


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