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Wednesday, October 3, 2018

An October Afternoon

(These are the window clings that I bought last year at Dollar Tree. I saved them on their original plastic sheet, tucked in a drawer. Took me all of 5 minutes to put them up for the season. Second year using them -- if I use them for ten years, the cost will amortize to 10 cents per year. Not bad!))

Hi friends!
I'm back, that is, back in the best capacity that I can be for now.

One of my thoughts has been centered around how I can continue blogging when I'm down, tired, busy, or sick. I'm just going to try a few simpler things. For today, I'll catch you up on my start for October.

Okay, only the 3rd of October, and I am 3/4 done with October's grocery shopping. I have 4 stores at which I shop, and I've been to 3 so far. I hit Dollar Tree and bought all of the snacky stuff, plus a bunch of breakfast items, and bread, loads of bread. I hit the jackpot with their bread rack. They hd just put out a bunch of Oroweat -- English muffins, bread, bagels -- and I really stocked up. I think we may have enough bread in the freezer for 2 months. At $1 per loaf, it was a steal. They even had one of my all-time favorites, Honey Wheatberry.

Following Dollar Tree, I hit up WinCo for their great deals. WinCo has a fabulous bulk bin section. Some of the items in the bulk bins are as inexpensive as buying the institutional sized package at Cash and Carry. I keep a mental price book for the various staples. With this, I can quickly determine if something is a great buy or not. So, at WinCo this month I picked up various bulk bin staples, like whole wheat flour, ranch style dressing mix, chicken soup base, dried veggie soup mix (good for quick lunches or snacks for one), TVP, and some candy for Halloween treats. I also bought bagged cereal, frozen juice concentrate, breakfast sausage and turkey bacon, kielbasa, corn tortillas, produce, and a few other pantry items.

Next stop, Fred Meyer for Senior discount day. I as able to get out early for my shopping at Fred Meyer. I have found that this is key for getting the marked down deals and regular sale items, especially now that our Fred Meyer has switched their sale-cycle to Wednesday through Tuesday. FM sale-cycle used to run Sunday through Saturday. So, on Senior day, there would still be plenty of the sale items available. Now with the sale cycle completing on Tuesday, (the day for senior discount), they are often out of the sale item. They will give me a raincheck, but when I come back to buy the raincheck item, it's no longer senior day, so I don't get the senior discount. Anyway, something peeving me about FM these days. So, I did get out early -- ran a brush through my hair, no shower, no make-up, grabbed my shoes and jacket and left. I bout enough milk, eggs and butter to get through the month, as well as coffee (decaf for me), more produce, hot dogs, applesauce, apple juice, and lots of meat. I found Italian and breakfast sausage on clearance, plus got a great deal on ground beef and chicken thighs. Yesterday afternoon, I spent some time dividing up the ground beef. This afternoon, I've been diving up the chicken thighs while cooking a couple of chicken and mushroom casseroles (one for tonight and leftovers for tomorrow, and the other for the freezer).

My last shopping stop will be Cash and Carry. But that will have to wait until we have room in the fridge and freezer. We're topped out right now. In recent months, I have limited my shopping to one stop per month at each of the 4 stores. I make these stops at the very beginning of the month, and I believe that this is working out pretty well for us. I buy a wide variety of produce, and we eat the short-keepers first, like berries, leafy greens, bananas, and any marked down produce I found on the rack. By the end of the month, we're eating cabbage, celery, carrots, onions, squash, apples, and oranges, as well as frozen and dried produce.

Among my chores this afternoon, I also washed a bunch of salad greens to keep in the fridge. I break leaves off of a head of Romaine, wash, then wrap in a tea towel and keep in the fridge in a plastic bag. I was tempted to buy the bagged lettuce for quick lunch salads, but I knew that if I spent 5-10 minutes washing my own lettuce, I would save a couple of dollars on salad greens.

I did buy lots of fun foods. For example, I bought a box of frozen corndogs from WinCo and some bags of sweet potato fries from Dollar Tree. You see where I'm heading with this, right? Friday night, a night when everyone wants a restaurant dinner (fast food or other), I have corndogs and fries planned. add in some apple wedges and a salad and my total cost for the family is under $3 ( with free apples and tomatoes from our garden). And I still have an easy dinner night.

Well, dinner is in the oven and on the stove. I need to clean up the kitchen before serving, so I'll wrap this up. I hope that you are having a wonderful October. Another time, I'll post some fun things that we're doing this month. Have a lovely evening!


  1. So great to have you back! We will be grateful for any and all posts you are able to share with us...thank you! I wish you good health very soon!!
    Your meals and shopping are spot on. Great ideas. Also like the window clings. Happy Fall!

    1. Hi Linda,
      I hope that you're enjoying a lovely beginning to fall.

  2. I love that you share your wonderful tips on saving money on groceries.
    Take care!

  3. I am always glad when you post, great info as always. Happy fall!

    1. Happy fall to you, too, Nancy! And thank you for the kind words.

  4. Glad to hear from you, Lili. I was thinking about the other day and hoped you were doing okay.

    One stop per month at each store certainly takes some planning, but that's your specialty. Since you like to calculate things, have you figured out how much time you are saving by cutting back on shopping trips?

    1. Hi live and learn,
      Okay, so in thinking about your question -- going to the grocery store is more than just hopping in the car and getting what I need. It may mean changing clothes, making a list, taking a kitchen inventory, making some preliminary menus, loading e-coupons to my loyalty card, and making an extra stop for gas to get there and back. On top of that, we don't live close to any of the low-cost grocery stores. The bargain places are all a 15-20 minute drive during non-peak traffic times. So, in my very long-winded way, I'm saying that a single trip to the grocery store could take 3 hours of my time. My guess is that I would make 2 additional shopping trips per month, if I shopped in a more traditional manner. So, I'm probably saving 6 hours of time per month.

      More important for me, though, is I function best working in blocks. The blacks may be daily or monthly. It's about shifting, mentally, from one type of task to another. I can work extremely intensively on a single project, then move to the next "project" and so on. I get more done by working in blocks, like this, than I do if I try to switch gears frequently. So, shopping all in the first week of the month (or mostly so, as I have to wait for Cash and Carry until we have room in the fridge) means that I don't have to even think about grocery shopping again for several weeks.

      If I had a regular drive that took me near my favorite grocery stores, then it would make more sense to shop more often.
      Have a lovely afternoon/evening live and learn.

    2. I think everyone probably works better in blocks. Studies have shown that when people say they are multitasking, they are not doing anything very well and productivity is not great. Focusing on a block at a time is another great example the you give for everyone.

    3. Oh, if I could count how many dinners that I have burned or ruined while trying to do other tasks while cooking! Multi-tasking rarely works well for me. It's nice to know I'm not alone with it.
      Thanks for the kind words, live and learn.

  5. Missed you. Glad you were not gone for good. So many of my favorites seem to be stopping.

    1. Hi Sandy,
      That is so sweet of you to say.
      Have a lovely afternoon!

  6. Glad to see your post today, Lili. I was worried about you!

    My strategy is to not shop. That saves money, right? Only essentials AND leave hubby at home! He likes dropping things into the cart! NO!!!!


    1. Hi Alice,
      I am so sorry to worry you.
      Oh definitely, staying out of stores is a big help to the budget! You know, as much as I love the company when I grocery shop, I do think I spend less when I shop alone. It's not that I feel pressured to buy extra things; it's that I want to do nice things for my family members, so I'm more inclined to add treats to the cart when they come with me. And all of those treats to add up. But as we've talked about here, before, buying treats from the grocery store is almost always cheaper than eating out. So there is that for which to be thankful.

      Have a wonderful afternoon, Alice!


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