Stay Connected

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

January 2018 Grocery Journal

I didn't post an itemization of December spending at the end of last month. In totaling the receipts, I spent $330. Yeah -- a lot for me! But, we entertained guests on two occasions and had an additional two nice meals for our family, within that $330. I had an entertaining and holiday meal budget of $80 for those four events, so, only $250 came out of the grocery budget. That amount was still over by about $70, and I had overspent the previous month by $62 -- sooooo, I begin the new year $132 in the hole.

Jan. 2. Senior Discount Day at Fred Meyer. I did well. 2 lbs of whole wheat pasta (90 cents/lb), whole wheat saltines ($1.34), 4 loaves of day old bread (79 cents/each), 2 jars of peanut butter (1 free, 1 for $1.25), 2 jars of applesauce ($1.79 each), 2 gallons milk ($2.33/gallon), 7 bananas (49 cents/lb), 12 marked down apples for about 50 cents/lb, 1 head of green cabbage (49 cents/lb), 1 lb marked down mushrooms ($1.89), 1 green bell pepper (50 cents), 3 protein bars (90 cents each), 2 lbs of cashews ($4.04/lb), 2 cans tuna (71 cents each), 1 lb tofu ($1.61), 1/2 gallon soy milk ($2.24), 5 lbs potatoes ($1.59), 5 lbs carrots ($2.69), box of 8 donuts (99 cents), 24-oz jar salsa ($2.25), 2-pack fruit cups (freebie). I had a $5 off any purchase coupon on top of the deals and sales. My total spent on food was $51.42.

Jan. 4. WinCo for some ice cream and cocoa toppings (they've got a great bulk bin selection). I remembered cash and my own bag -- woo hoo! Small amount hot/cold chocolate milk mix (48 cents), instant dry milk ($1.13), coffee creamer (45 cents), chocolate sprinkles ($2.30), 2 candy canes (6 cents each), mini marshmallows (98 cents), rainbow sprinkles ($1.92), peanuts (81 cents), plus some baking cocoa for brownies (65 cents), 3 lbs onions (98 cents), 2 cans olives (88 cents each), olive oil ($5.06). 6 cent refund for bringing my own bag. Spent $16.58. I bought lots of many ingredients, enough extra for decorating birthday cakes this spring, and Easter fairy cakes.

Spent so far -- $68.00

Jan. 13. One daughter needed to pick up a few things for herself at Fred Meyer, so I gave her a ride and checked out the produce while there. I bought 1 large, marked down veggie tray for $4.49, 16 marked down apples for about 50 cents/lb, and 2 half gallons of milk for 99 cents each. The apples will be great for lunches and the veggie tray is for an after church lunch on Sunday. we don't need as much milk as we used to. I think the 2 half gallons will get us through the end of the month. Total spent -- $10.47

Jan. 8. Daughter picked up ice cream for the family, and I reimbursed her. $2.50

Spent so far -- $80.97

Jan. 20. Fred Meyer for produce and to use "freebie" coupons. I bought 1 head green cabbage (49 cents/lb), 1 large cucumber (79 cents), 1 27 oz bag Asian salad mix ($2.29), 2 marked down bananas (39 cents/lb), 5 bananas (49 cents/lb), 6 marked down apples (about 66 cents/lb), 1 loaf whole wheat bread($1.50), 1 package hot dogs (89 cents), 2-pack Chobani yogurt (freebie), 1 Lara bar (freebie), 1 bag kettle corn (freebie). Spent $9.74

Spent so far -- $90.71

Jan. 27. More produce and bread at Fred Meyer. I bought 6 marked down apples (about 66 cents/lb), 1 large cucumber (69 cents), 2 lb bag of carrots ($1.29), 5 bananas (49 cents/lb), 3 small yogurts (40 cents each), 1 soy yogurt ($1.39), 1 lb sharp cheddar cheese ($2.99), 1 loaf of whole wheat bread ($1.50), 1 Epic Bison and Cranberry protein snack bar (freebie -- was super delicious and I might buy this sometime in the future). Spent $11.63.

Spent so far, for January -- $102.34

Jan. 30. A splurge for my lunch -- I stopped at Safeway while getting supplies to repair a broken tail light lens. I bought a large cup of mixed berries and a vegetable and cheese tray. Total spent $7.48.

Spent for the month of January -- $109.82

We're living off of frozen and pantry foods, supplemented with smaller purchases of produce, bread, and dairy. In addition to buying "regular" foods, I also picked up a few treats for our family, including cocoa mix and sprinkles/marshmallows, ice cream, cashews, and donuts. These treats keep us from buying more expensive take-out snacks, like coffee shop cocoa, donut shop pastries, or ice cream cones, yet we still have the satisfaction of a nice treat.

So, $109.82 -- I think I did a great job keeping grocery spending down this month. I had $68 in the grocery budget at the beginning of the month (after subtracting the amount I had overspent in December). I am still over, but now only by $41.82. I'll carry that overage into February's budget. For February, I'll have $158.18 for groceries.

What I bought:

2 cans tuna fish
1 package hot dogs
1 individual serving meat and fruit protein bar

Dairy Case
3 gallons milk
1/2 gallon soy milk
1 lb tofu
ice cream
6 single-serve containers yogurt (2 were freebies)
1 lb cheddar cheese

2 large jars applesauce
52 apples
19 bananas
1 green pepper
2 heads green cabbage
2 fruit cups (freebie)
7 lbs carrots
1 lb mushrooms
5 lbs potatoes
24 ounces salsa
large mixed veggie tray
2 cucumbers
large bag salad
large cup of fresh berries
small vegetable/dip and cheese tray

1 lb saltines
2 lbs whole wheat pasta
6 loaves bread
4 protein bars (1 freebie)
8 donuts
2 lbs cashews
2 16 oz jars peanut butter (1 freebie)
1 bag of mini marshmallows
assorted toppings, like peanuts, sprinkles, candy canes
1/4 lb of baking cocoa
ingredients for over a pint of instant cocoa mix
pint of olive oil
2 cans olives
1 bag kettle corn (freebie)


  1. All I can say is "WOW" with all the detail and how little you actually spend.

    I calculated my expenses for groceries last night and we were at about $295 for the month. BUT, during the month we bought some ground beef at $1.88 for a lb. and some roll sausage at 0.75 a lb. Third thing was smoked sausage links at $1.19 per pkg of 8. I'm guessing about that around $50 of the food budget wasn't eaten in January but put into the freezer so I'm deducting that off from $295 to make it more like $245 for the month.

    I am pleased with that amount as we started the year with a lot of issues again at home. We are down to one income again and a huge tuition bill for our final semester. We've paying tuition of some kind now for 20 years and we'll be done in about three months. Even though we'll be done I doubt our way of spending is going to change. I like my frugal ways and will continue with that.

    We were supposed to have a "no spend" January but when you come across deals like we did (ground beef $1.88, 1 lb. Jimmy Dean sausage 0.75, smoked sausage $1.19 and chicken 0.49 per lb.) we couldn't just let that go. So we bought those things and loaded them in our freezer. We now have a freezer full again (sigh) which is good but we were supposed to empty it this winter.


    1. Alice, I do the same thing you did--if I see meat at a great price, I snatch it up. It may negatively affect your monthly budget, but I bet it will improve your yearly budget.

      Lili, I love your attention to detail. You are aware of your monthly expenditures and make adjustments to make it all work. And your overall list of food items is so healthy! We all need the mental perk of having a treat every so often.

      My kids received gift cards to Cold Stone Creamery for Christmas. They had a half day of school last week (on a beautiful, almost springlike day!) so I took them and my mom there. I thought I had 2 gift cards--at first glance it looks like two but when our purchases were rung up, turns out it was really only one so I forked out $4 to cover the remainder of the cost. So my lesson in this is to not assume if the plastic cards are stacked on top of each other and connected that they are two $10 cards! Still an inexpensive treat for us, but thank goodness I had money on me! I think CSC is ridiculously expensive and will only do it with a gift card and coupon!

    2. You've reminded me that we have a Stone Cold gift card somewhere in our stash. My husband has started a diet, so maybe I'll give them to my kids to use sometime.

    3. Hi Alice,
      I'm sorry for your financial difficulties. I'll pray that this period will end soon for your family. Planning on maintaining frugal ways will likely be very beneficial. It sounds like you found some really great deals on meat. You'll be enjoying all of that for a couple of months. And your total is really vey low, I think. Great work!

    4. Hi Kris,
      What a fun treat! That is exactly how we've done places like Cold Stone, with gift cards. I can't imagine taking a family there, unless it was a treat like for a birthday. Otherwise, I agree -- ridiculously expensive. When my kids were growing up if I felt like they were missing some of the extravagances that other kids their ages had, I would suggest a gift card to a place like Cold Stone for birthday gifts from relatives. I hope you all enjoyed your preview of spring that day!

    5. We do the same thing. I always request DQ or McDonald's gift cards for my kids when people don't know what to buy them for a gift. We don't go to these places as a family, so my kids think gift cards are great! Melissa

  2. As always, you do a great job managing your food expenses. However, if push comes to shove, I bet you could live off what you have in the freezer and pantry for a while. That's what "savings" are for, right?

    1. Hi live and learn,
      I think we could do okay for several weeks, with what is in the freezer and pantry. I'm trying to do that, for the most part, with purchases of produce, dairy and bread. I'll continue this in February and maybe have one cleaned out freezer by the end of the month! I bet your sons would enjoy that Cold Stone gift card!

    2. And they will be smarter than I was and not mistake it for $20 rather than $10! Oops!

    3. Kris, as with live and learn's moniker -- live and learn. Sometimes, visual information that we're given is ambiguous and we make the best interpretation that we can. It's not "smarts" -- your interpretation of the gift card could have gone either way. And yes, I am so glad you had money on you that day! Do you remember in movies/TV where a diner would eat in a restaurant and not have money to cover the bill, so they would work off their meal by washing dishes? I wonder if that ever happened in real life.

  3. Tofu is a protein, not dairy, as it is vegan

    1. So true, Anonymous. I'm sure Lili was separating the purchases by general type/store location. At my local store, tofu is in the dairy section, though of course it's not dairy. :) Sara

  4. A great job, Lili. Way to go. :)


Thank you for joining the discussion today. Here at creative savv, we strive to maintain a respectful community centered around frugal living. Creative savv would like to continue to be a welcoming and safe place for discussion, and as such reserves the right to remove comments that are inappropriate for the conversation.


Be a voice that helps someone else on their frugal living journey

Are you interested in writing for creative savv?
What's your frugal story?

Do you have a favorite frugal recipe, special insight, DIY project, or tips that could make frugal living more do-able for someone else?

Creative savv is seeking new voices.


share this post