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Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Senior shopping day

Three very full hours from the minute I drove out of the driveway, until all of the groceries were put away. Gosh that is exhausting. I made myself some lunch then went to sit down for an hour and work on some writing.

What I noticed --

  • not as many deals as last year
  • orange juice, peanut butter, and soy milk prices are high
  • meat is still largely unaffordable 
  • egg prices are slowly rising
  • no butter deals (yet),
  • almonds are a bargain this year 
  • Fred Meyer is carrying more and more whole grain versions of traditional, house-brand favorites, such as hot dog buns and saltine crackers, and at the same price as the non-whole grain
I thought about not making a list (I know, stupid, stupid, stupid), because I didn't want to spare the time writing stuff down. Then, I played the tape to the end (a mental thing where you envision the whole process and what will likely happen). In my mental tape I realized that not having a list would mean that I would wander aimlessly throughout the store and my shopping would likely take twice as long, and I would be more exhausted because I would be making choices on the spot for the whole grocery trip. So, I went online and loaded coupons to my card, read the sale flyer, and made my list. 

I spent a lot, but I got a lot. The above photo is what I bought (minus a bundle of bananas, and a bag of zucchini that I left on the counter). I filled the trunk, then added a few bags to the back seat of my tiny car. I went early (thank you, change back to standard time), and that was a big help. The store was not terribly crowded, and I had pick of the markdown produce. I passed by the markdown stand twice, once at the beginning, and a second time just before leaving. I was able to score additional produce by making the second pass. Between sales, mark downs, coupons and the Senior 10% Discount, I saved a lot.

My family will be very happy that we are so well-stocked. As mentioned in comments the other day, managing the kitchen is a big job. It's not something that we just do in our free time, or as a hobby. I think we forget just how time-consuming and exhausting this job is. 


  1. Oh, it is a huge job!

    I went to Kroger last Thursday, and yesterday to shop their Mega Sale (buy 10 items, mix/match, and save $0.50 per item). I bought pasta at $0.49/pound, canned veggies and diced tomatoes at $0.49/can, cake and brownie mixes at $0.69/box, Cream of Chicken soup at $0.49/can, to name a few.

    It was so time consuming doing the shopping, making sure I was buying the Mega Sale items in multiples of 10, putting everything in my car, and then rotating items in the pantry and putting everything away. I like the stock-up prices this time of year, but I'm always ready for January when I'm stocked and there aren't that many deals. After putting away everything from yesterday's Kroger trip, there isn't much room in my pantry left.

    I had one issue at Kroger yesterday with the Mega Sale. When I looked at my receipt, I noticed my total for the Mega Items was 49 and not 50. I brought it to the cashier's attention and was told she couldn't fix it. While waiting in line at the Service Desk. I counted all of my Mega Items again to make sure I hasn't made an error. I came up with 50, so I went over my receipt and realized that one can of Cream of Chicken soup hadn't scanned. I was refunded $5.36 ($0.50 X 10 items = $5.00 + $0.36 tax). I'm not sure why the tax, since these were all food items. Kroger actually refunded me more than was due me. I was charged $0.50 too much on 9 items, which would have been $4.50, but I wasn't charged for one can of soup, which was $0.49. I should have only received $4.01. I always find that Kroger is more than generous when something doesn't scan correctly, or I am overcharged.

    Our Holiday sale prices on butter started last week at $2.49/pound. The regular price on a pound of Kroger butter had been $2.79. I used to see $1.89 or $1.99 per pound during the Holidays. Not anymore, it seems.

    Have a lovely day!

    1. Hi Angie,
      I agree -- I've had similar experience with how generous they are when I've been incorrectly charged. I really appreciate that I don't have to argue with them over a return or price correction, as I do with another major chain.

      Even at $2.49/lb, butter is so expensive. I remember when one of our stores had it for 99 cents/lb, with limits, several years ago.

      I hope you are able to stock up enough so that when January rolls around you can just sit back and enjoy your surpluses. Have a great day, Angie!

  2. I wonder if you hadn't made a list how well you would have done? You have spent so much time and effort on the grocery process, I wonder if you're mind would have just gone into automatic? However, a list always beats winging it. Good for you for going back even though you were tired.

    1. Hi live and learn,
      I would have wandered, and forgotten a lot of items. I really do need a list when I shop. Have a great day, live and learn!

  3. Thanks for validating that grocery management is a lot of work. Especially if you are trying to be mindful of a budget! I do feel that unless you do the shopping on a regular basis, people just don't "get it". Thankfully I don't have far to drive, so that helps, but every week I go to Meijer (after checking the circular online and making a list) and then to Aldi (same preparatory process). Yesterday was extra challenging as I was shopping for my daughter's birthday party. I was purchasing fun items that I never otherwise buy (Oreos for the crust of an ice cream pie, hot fudge sauce, etc.) and I'm not as familiar with those items are located, so it took me awhile. In the summer I have to remember to bring a cooler with me ... during my Aldi run I also plan on going to the bank, the library, and often picking my mom up for coffee (you know me and my 94 cent latte day!)--it's a very full morning and, yes, I'm ready for a sit-down lunch break at the end of it!

    Sorry for all my blathering .... just identifying with you, Lili! I'll have to check out our almonds and see if they area good price here. We haven't had many super deals here yet, either, but maybe next week!

    1. Hi Kris,
      To give you an idea on almond prices for our area -- last year, the sale price on raw almonds in the bulk bins was $4.99/lb. Yesterday the sale price was $3.99 -- same store. On the flip side, sunflower seed prices are higher this year over previous years. I forgot to check pecan prices, but I should get another chance. i still have pecans and walnuts in the freezer from last year.

      Your birthday pie for your daughter sounds wonderful. The theme must be chocolate. I hope that she has a wonderful birthday celebration.

      I think that's wise to use a cooler in summer. I try to do the same, especially if I'm picking up meat. The big 10-lb chubs of ground beef that I buy are too long for my cooler, so I bring several plastic bags, several ice packs, and newspapers in the cooler. Then I wrap the chub in layers of ice packs, newspaper, and plastic bags. A little extra work, but in summer, with ground beef, I don't want to take chances.
      Have a great day, Kris!

  4. Y'all are SO right! Unless you have tons of funds and purchase lots of ready-made foods, dealing with feeding whatever size family you have is quite a task.
    Since there are only 2 of us, I have to be so careful to freeze excess products that may spoil if I just leave the whole amount in the fridge. All the planning, actual shopping, putting away, prepping, cooking, cleanup and dishwashing is no walk in the park. I try to look on it as a challenge so that I don't become discouraged.

    1. That's a good attitude, JoAnn. It is a challenge. With only 2 of you, your challenges may be different than a large family, but trying to keep foods from spoiling is quite a task, especially if you're buying the larger, economical packages of foods.
      Have a great day, JoAnn!

  5. Groceries...blah, blah, not at all a favorite thing to do. I just can't say that there are any really good deals lately. Yes, they state the deals in advertising but they are not really good deals. My local Save A Lot used to have lots of discounted meats but lately very little discounts and when there is a reduction, it's not very much or the meat looks terrible. Meijer never has much of a discount anymore on anything. Rather disappointed. Meat is unaffordable for us right now. We have a little bit of chicken and a pork roast that I got over the weekend divided up into about 4 meals. No beef except ground that a got a while ago. Sometimes I just want a roast beef but I can't afford that right now. Aldi meat is still too expensive but other items in the store are pretty good so I'm trying to make that store work for me. Eggs were .69 at Aldi where at Meijer they were 1.99 per dozen. I'm not sure why such a big difference.

    I had a rather big haul last week so this week will be very small.


    1. Hi Alice,
      at least you are stocked from last weekend. It's nice to have that extra amount to get through a couple of weeks without much shopping. All I can think with the eggs is supplier. Maybe Meijer uses a much more expensive supplier, or they are cage-free eggs there. Or maybe Aldi uses the eggs as enticement to shop there. I am always shocked at the regular price of eggs at some stores. I try to find them on sale for under $1/dozen, so seeing them for $2.50 or $3/dozen sounds crazy.
      Have a great evening, Alice!

  6. I've been debating if I have the mental energy to figure out the deals at Fred Meyer this week. Even if someone else does the match-ups, you still need to tailor things to your family's needs. I've also noticed that things that are advertised nationally at Kroger are in fact on sale at Fred Meyer, but a lot of those deals don't seem to be advertised in the Fred Meyer circular. So it takes a little bit more thinking on my part to come up with a plan A & a plan B before I go shopping. I'll try to muster up the energy to do that this week because this is the month for deals. Next month the prices will creep up again, and as someone mentioned above, come January the deals will be nill. Melissa

    1. Hi Melissa,
      I noticed a lot of "buy 10 items" that were not advertised in the flyer for Fred Meyer at all. I thought to myself that I would have planned better if they'd been in the ad. You are so right, come January there won't be many deals at all.
      Have a lovely evening, Melissa.

  7. I'm wondering what you consider to be good or at least "willing to buy" meat prices for you? Around here, I can typically find chicken (leg quarters or drumsticks) for 69 cents/pound, pork ribs at $1.49/lb, pork shoulder cuts at $1.79/lb, and beef (ground) at $1.99/lb. Sometimes, I like to buy the "off" cuts of pork or beef, like neckbone, for stews and things for less than a dollar a pound. Cuts like this are so much more affordable, and they have plenty of meat on them, though they are a bigger hassle to cook with, and I like the fattiness level that they feature.

    I consider these to be pretty good prices for my area (Los Angeles), especially since we don't eat too much meat to begin with. I'm wondering how they measure up to your prices?

    1. Hi Allie,
      A couple of years ago I was able to buy chicken leg quarters for 49 cents/lb. This year, nothing like that. I did buy whole chickens a couple of months ago for 87 cents/lb. I thought that was a great price, only to discover that they had stuffed the bodies with way more leftover parts than I've ever seen before, negating some of the savings I thought I was getting.

      For beef, I can get ground beef for $2/lb in 10-lb chubs at Cash & Carry about twice per year. There is never much stock, and since they're a wholesaler that also does retail, no rain checks. In the LA area, you have Smart & Final which is part of the same chain as Cash & Carry (in case you don't know). If you have room to freeze a lot of meat, you can buy wholesale amounts of meat at a really great price there -- I see boneless beef for under $3/lb, but it's in super large pieces, and need to be cut at home, wrapped and frozen. I used to do that, but don't have need for that much meat any more.

      For butter, if you do have Smart & Final near you, you can check online for their specials, weekly. Last year in late November, I found 1-lb blocks of butter for $2.09. I am hoping for something like that again this fall/winter, and I can stock-up then.

      So, my go-to meat prices are under 90 cents/lb for bone-in chicken, $2/lb for ground beef, $2.50/lb for roasts (although I paid $5/lb for a roast the other week, yikes!), pork loin $1.60/lb in large loins. I haven't found these prices recently, so we're living off of whole chickens in the freezer, and some other odds and ends. Thanks for the suggestions on cuts of meat. I'll give that more thought. Thankfully eggs have been a good buy this past year. We've eaten a lot of egg meals.

      Have a good evening, Allie!

    2. Wow, thanks for the tip about Smart & Final butter! I've never set foot in that store, but it sounds like it's worth seeking out! I buy almost all of my meat at a local chain called Super King. They are HUGE stores geared towards a Hispanic market, and they carry a lot of Middle Eastern products as well, for some reason. Most of their prices for shelf-stable products are pretty standard, but they have the best prices on fresh produce, and even better at their meat and deli counters. I frequent it just for this! Deli meat is so pricey and kind of a luxury item for us, but I like to keep some on hand because my very German husband likes nothing better than a simple meal of deli meat and cheese with bread. They have rotating specials here, where I can usually find freshly sliced to order cheese for under 3 dollars a pound and sliced-to-order turkey or ham for under 4 dollars a pound. Even better prices (and waaay fresher) than the prepackaged/preshredded offerings at Aldi!

    3. Allie, for Smart & Final, to see prices online, find the store nearest you, then go to "weekly ads," then "browse pages," then "business mailer." That will take you to the institutional sizes, such as butter in 1-lb bricks, #10 size cans, and entire pork loins. As I said above, Smart & Final is owned by the same company that owns Cash & Carry, and they have many of the same institutional products/sizes/brands. The best prices there are on the institutional size packages. Not everything is less expensive, but some things are. I hope you get a chance to check it out and see if there's anything that would work for you, there. Good luck!

  8. Oh, agreed with everyone on the butter though. It's so sad that $2.49 is considered a "good" price now. Butter is my favorite fat, and I'm an avid baker, so I consider it a staple, but these days I even feel the temptation at the store to reach for the margarine at times!


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