Stay Connected

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Grocery Planning For August

Our supplies were hit hard in the month of July. We ran out of so many things and had very little wiggle room to restock. I sacrificed the purchase of all-purpose flour so that I could buy more milk, fresh produce and take advantage of a deal on tomato paste. The good news is that we have a 9 or 10 month supply of tomato paste. That's a lot of pizza, spaghetti, tomato soup, and ketchup. With the all-purpose flour, I hid away a small stash (about 2 quarts) in another closet, only using it when absolutely necessary. We used whole wheat flour exclusively for everything else, pancakes, waffles, muffins, bread, and as a thickener. This worked -- we got through a long month on very little white flour. I also ran out of decaffeinated coffee. I'm on to my stock of various herb teas. They are quite good, but I do miss the taste of coffee first thing in the morning. We finished off the fresh eggs (from the 15 dozen case I bought a couple of months ago); however, we still a some frozen eggs. And we just kept running out of milk. I pre-spent some of August's grocery money on 2 gallons of milk over the weekend, as I had a coupon. I thought this would be August's milk, but I noticed yesterday that one of those gallons had been brought into the kitchen from the garage fridge. Sigh. We've gone through 10 gallons of milk this month. That is double what we had been using. I think someone must be watering the garden with the milk. What this must mean, though, is that if we're going through so much milk, then we must be going through less of something else. Produce needed constant replenishing. Even with a garden, I had to buy additional produce all month long. So for this next month, I need a better plan.

I have 13 cents leftover from July, but I pre-spent $3.98 on milk for August. For the rest of my August budget, then, I have $121.15.

Given how much milk we went through, I need to up my milk purchase to about 9 additional gallons. indicates that milk will be on sale at Fred Meyer through next Tuesday (Senior Discount day), so a gallon will cost me $1.71. Next item, even though the all-purpose flour is not on sale at Cash & Carry, I'll buy the 50-lb bag that I had planned for this past month. And I'll get my jar of instant decaf the next time I'm down by Walmart. Hopefully we can get by with an additional $15 for produce for the month, beyond the bananas and watermelon. We'll see. But I do think I need an extra $10 that isn't allocated to any item, just to be on the safe side to get us through till September.

Let's see how this all works out, now.

13 cents leftover from July, 2 gallons milk pre-bought ($3.98) -- $121.15 for the rest of August's groceries.

Cash & Carry/SmartFood Service
old fashioned rolled oats, 25 lb bag, 15.89 (63 cents/lb, check WinCo’s prices first)
Simply Value egg yolk mayo, gal, 5.97, thru 8/4
ADM hotel and rest. flour, 50 lbs, 13.09
First Street large loose eggs, 15 doz. 8.99

so far at C & C 43.94

chocolate chips 1.88
oats, maybe if under 63 cents/lb
garlic powder if less than $4.61/lb
bananas, 42 cents/lb, 6 lbs total, 2.52
corn tortillas, 80 ct, 2.29
cocoa powder, about $1 worth

WinCo so far – 7.69 (w/o oats and garlic powder)

Fred Meyer -- Senior Day
butter, Moovelous 2.51 ea, get 2 (5.04),  get 1
milk – 9 gals, 16.11
instant coffee, One of the Perks, 2.69
Heritage Farms hot dogs, 75 cents, 2 packs
almond milk, 1/2 gallon, 2.25
kroger canned tuna, 71 cents, get 2 (1.42)

Fred Meyer, so far 29.01 $26.50

decaf coffee 3.58
bananas, 42 cents/lb (if don't get at WinCo)
garlic powder 98 cents
chicken leg quarters 5.98
Great Value orange juice, 12-oz 1.23
shortening great value 3.44

Walmart so far 15.21 $14.23

watermelon, 1.98 whole (w/ raincheck)

That is $97.83, so far. A bit more than I would like to have already allocated. So, I went out to the garden to check on the garlic. Remember the garlic scapes from a couple of weeks ago? Well, some of my garlic is ready for digging. This means I can x out the garlic powder for the month. In addition, I thought I'd cut back on the butter to just 1 pound. After digging a little garlic, I made some soft butter just as I have done in the past (see this link).

In addition, I thought we could use oil that I flavor with herbs and garlic from the garden. Have you ever seen flavored oils for dipping bread? The oil base is usually olive oil. Desperate times call for desperate measures, or so they say, so I just used my ordinary vegetable oil (that I bought in a 35 lb box a couple of months ago -- gee, I knew that would come in handy). For this first batch I chose rosemary, garlic, and kosher salt. The salt is completely optional. I just thought it would ease the transition between salted butter and oil for my family. I made just a very small jar of this seasoned oil. In case you haven't heard this, you shouldn't make flavored oils with garlic and then store at room temperature or for too long. There's a slight risk of botulism growing in homemade garlic-infused oil that is kept unrefrigerated or for too long. (See this article for more info.) The FDA recommends using homemade garlic-infused oils within a week and to keep these oils refrigerated. So, that will be on my radar for the beginning of next week. I'll plan a dinner that incorporates any remaining seasoned oil for Sunday or Monday. (Hmmm, pasta salad might be good with this oil.)  After making the oil, I made something else that can be used for spreading on bread -- pesto! I know this won't last more than a day or two, but it will be very appreciated, here. We should be able to manage just fine with buying only 1 pound of butter this next month. (I still have 2 pounds in the freezer, but I'll be saving those for the holidays.)

This now brings me to $94.34. That will leave $26.81 for wiggle room, extra produce as we need it, and a little leftover in case I find a great sale on something. Another tight month, but I think we're doing okay. I'll be stocking up on oats for the cold weather season. (It's not that far off,  shudder.) The mayo is on sale and will replace our current container sometime this fall when it runs out. The eggs will last at least 3 months, perhaps 4 months. Our stockpile of staples is very slowly growing.


  1. You are doing so well! In relation to the milk, if you have milk powder it can be reconstituted and added to a partly finished bottle of milk. In small quantities (ie. 1/4 gallon of reconstituted milk to 3/4 gallon of fresh milk) and in milk that has been refrigerated overnight it can barely be detected. In New Zealand, even though we export dairy products to the world fresh milk is still more expensive than powdered. Melanie

  2. Your frugality is amazing Lili!I always enjoy your shopping posts and the thought process behind them. I'm curious. Does your family use that much milk mainly for drinking? That is a LOT of milk.

  3. We used to go through 3-4 gallons of milk every week when everyone was home. Now we're back to a gallon a week. It helps that my husband has stopped drinking it like water. Knowing you, however, you've probably calculated the nutritional value of milk and have worked that into the menus.

  4. A very interesting and thought provoking post. I'm going to try the dipping oil. Does everyone in your house drink milk as their beverage of choice? That is a lot of milk.

  5. For myself, my husband, 17 year old son and 22 year old son, we go through 10 - 12 gallons of milk per month. I'd say your milk usage is right on target. Your budgeting skills amaze me. :)


  6. The 25 lb. bag of oats at Winco is almost exactly the same price (at least at ours). Also, Winco & Walmart carry gallons of almond milk for $3.99. Walmart carries the Silk brand for $3.96/gallon. Often times the Ibotta cash back app has $1 rebates on the Silk gallons, so that makes them even cheaper. We go through a lot of almond milk around here. Keep up the good work, Lili. We have a couple of large dental & medical bills we need to pay & sometimes it's so discouraging. I'm trying to change my mental mindset to "I'm blessed to have insurance that pays some portion of these bills," and "I'm blessed to have access to good medical care." You're doing great! I'm sure your family appreciates all of the effort you put into providing for them. Melissa

  7. Hi Melanie,
    I was just comparing the price of dry milk to fresh the other week, and for me, right now, I can get a better deal on fresh milk than on dry. But this is something that I've found can vary, so it's worth it for me to routinely compare the two prices. I can buy dry milk in 55 pound bags at our restaurant supply (Cash & Carry) for a little over $100. I mix 1 lb of milk powder to make 1 gallon of non-fat milk, at a cost right now of about $1.81/gal. I'll do better on fresh milk for this month, with fresh milk at $1.71/gallon. The other thing I have to take into consideration, though, is the dry milk that I can buy at such a low price is non-fat. For a lot of people, this is't an issue, but in our household we have someone with an absolute nutritional need for higher fat milk. So, if dry milk were cheaper than fresh, I could buy the dry for the rest of the household, but would still need to keep whole or 2% in stock for the one individual who has battled an eating disorder. Like I said, this is something that is specific to my household. Comparing the cost of dry milk to fresh is still worthwhile and a way for households to save money on milk.

  8. Hi Lynn,
    Thanks. It does sound like a lot of milk, doesn't it? I use 2 gallons to make yogurt each month, so that leaves 8 gallons that were used just as milk. I didn't cook a lot of dishes that were milk-heavy this month. And for myself, I don't drink or use any milk as just milk, because I lactose intolerant. (I can eat homemade yogurt, though.) So, 3 adults drank 8 gallons of milk, here. While that still sounds like a lot, it works out to about 1 1/3 cups of milk per person (of the 3 adults) per day for the month. Both daughters and my husband drink milk daily, plus when I make granola or oatmeal, that's additional milk that is used. It all adds up. But it sure sounds surprising, doesn't it? We had been just going though 5 to 6 gallons per month, for a stretch of several months, so this month was hard to plan for.

  9. Hi live and learn,
    while I don't calculate milk consumption super closely, when planning meals, I figure whatever family members drink helps subsidize the other protein that we eat. We don't eat a lot of meat in our house, so maybe the high milk consumption reflects individual's hunger for protein.

  10. Hi Frugal in the USA,
    It does sound like a lot of milk, doesn't it? My husband as well as both daughters drink milk daily. I use it sparingly in cooking because I'm lactose intolerant. But I can eat homemade yogurt, so 2 of those gallons went into the month's yogurt. In my comment above, I indicated the calculation for 3 people sharing 8 gallons of milk for 31 days, and it works out to just about 1 1/3 cups of milk per those 3 adults, and that would include pouring over cereal/oatmeal, drinking as is, and used in cooking. Almost all of what we eat in our household is cooked from scratch, so other adults may be consuming milk and not even realize it, through the commercial preparation of foods. 8 gallons is not an excessive amount, IMO. It just sounds like a lot when you see the total.

  11. Hi Angie,
    Thanks for reassuring me about the milk consumption. It does sound like a lot when you see a total for the month.But broken down into what each family member might drink/eat daily, it really isn't all that much, just about right for their needs.

  12. Hi Melissa,
    That's good to know about the oats and WinCo's prices. Also, thanks for the info on almond milk at WinCo and Walmart. I'll check our stores, too.
    I'm sorry that your family has some large medical and dental bills coming up. Just like you said, though, we are blessed to be able to have this care and the means and insurance to help pay for these needs. It's tough, though. These are not the "fun" kind of bills to pay. Today, I'll be taking our car in for assessment and estimates on some major repairs. I've been advised that the repairs for the two problems could cost as much as $3000. These are necessary repairs, so I can't choose not to have them done. What I am telling myself, however, is that I am fortunate to have a qualified mechanic who can restore our car to good running condition, and blessed to have savings to pay for some of it and skills/ability to conserve our finances in other areas to pay for the rest.
    I pray that your family's health needs are restored and you will find peace as you pay these extra bills.

  13. I look forward to this post every month. 🌻 It always inspires me. I do not know how you do it, but you are awesome at it!
    School starts back for my 7th grader on Friday, so I'm going to incorporate a "Fill the fridge Friday". I thought of it this morning. We have this naughty habit of eating out on the weekends so I thought if I filled the fridge with food on Friday, it would be less of an temptation. This Friday I'm going to make chicken salad, sausage balls, chocolate chip cookie dough, and pasta salad. Those will be quick grabs and hopefully will detour the eating out. Thank you Lili for your inspiration!

  14. Hi Lona,
    Your plan for filling the fridge on Fridays is excellent! I think you will find that you are less likely to want to eat out. That
    s what we've discovered. Knowing that there is something easy to pull together or already made really helps us. I love the foods that you've chosen. I would be happy to come home that that spread! Best of luck!

  15. We make dipping oils all the time. Hubby has been know to make one with hot peppers that he loves and I avoid. You are great at stretching your budget. I hope your garden is abundant so you can spend the extra money on stocking up. Winter will be here before we know it.

  16. Thank you for your well-wishes on our garden, Marybeth. You're so right. I can't believe that we are now in August!


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