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Thursday, January 2, 2020

January Grocery Planning

For the month of December, I had a max of $171.68 to spend. I spent $170.64. Whew! That was cutting it close. You may remember, in order to have this much allotted, I had to borrow $30 each from January and February. So, that means that I have $106.04 for groceries for the month of January. 

Don't fret! This is not as grim as it sounds. I stocked up on a ton of food in November and December. We have lots and lots of canned, fresh, and frozen fruits and veggies, the leftovers from 1 ham and another entire ham that I have yet to cook, many pounds of grains and beans, several pounds of butter, gallons of oil, baking supplies, about 6 1/2 pounds of various cheeses, some milk, some chicken, some turkey, and some beef. If all I bought this month was additional milk, eggs, 2 heads of cabbage, and some bananas and oranges, we'd honestly be fine.

So, for $106.04 what am I planning on buying?

Fred Meyer on Senior Tuesday
6 gallons of milk (4 or 5 2% and 1 or 2 whole milk for making yogurt), $2.06 each, $12.36 total

Cash & Carry
2 heads of cabbage $1.65 each
40 pound case of oranges, $20.95
10 pounds of carrots, $4.55

1 jar of decaffeinated coffee $3.52
8 pounds of bananas 42 cents/lb, $3.36 total
5 dozen eggs $4.75

So far, these items total $52.79. If I get down to WinCo, I'll also pick up some powdered milk and powdered creamer for making more cocoa mix.

In addition, I'll be watching for seasonal foods like avocados and other citrus to go on sale as well as checking the clearance section at the grocery store for any spectacular deals.

The next few months see very few deals in the grocery stores, so I won't go out of my way to buy a lot, but will use all that I have stocked up on in the past couple of months.

Since I wrote this up, I was at Fred Meyer getting gas, so I went into the store to check for markdowns. I came away with some great deals on pecans ($5.58/lb), mixed nuts ($3.19/lb), raisins ($1.51/lb), refrigerated holiday cookie dough (49 cents -- my daughter was with me, hard to say no), and a dented can of soup, spending $18.11. Because I bought almost 4 pounds of raisins, I may buy less bananas this month. There is now $87.93 for the month of January, with $52.79 allotted for basic ingredients listed above and $35.14 for "play money."

I thought I'd be back and responding today. However, I forgot that today is the day that my daughter is taking me to a special exhibit at the Seattle Art Museum as her Christmas gift to me! Woo hoo! Looking at some of my favorite pieces of art, in person, and time with a daughter. Does life get any better?

Anyway, when I come home I'll have to scramble to make dinner and get the rest of my daily stuff done. So, I may not be online much today. However, tomorrow is another day.


  1. Happy New Year, Lili!

    May you have a blessed year.

    We were in the "normal" range of spending for Dec. We purchased a few items for my daughter because she can't find certain things where she lives and the other daughter just needed a few things so mom (me)just bought those for her. That's what we do for kids, right? These things don't go into my food budget but into a different category.

    We dug deep into the freezers and did a good job using what we had for the most part. We deliberately chose not to go out to eat at all this holiday season but made everything from scratch.

    A big hit for dinner one night was pork mojo street tacos and they were eaten very quickly. Another night was leftover pork made into taquitos. We had an instant pot roast beef with mashed potatoes (from a bag of reduced price potatoes), green beans, and corn and that was devoured within minutes. We had a cheeseburger macaroni (just tasted average) so the second night we poured marinara sauce over it (much better). We ate lots of breakfast burritos that I had frozen a while back. Pancakes from scratch with bacon and sausage (both from freezer). A chicken korma with brown rice (brown has been more popular than white lately). Salads and jello salads were made and eaten. My sister in law made the Christmas turkey but didn't want the carcass nor the broth. I took those home and froze them. Before I froze them I picked off a ton of meat from the turkey to be used in sandwiches or salads. Everything is frozen to be dealt with at a later date.

    I don't make resolutions or choose words to live by during the year but my goals are to once again try to cut down the grocery bill. I don't even know what is realistic for just the two of us most of the time and my son part of the time. Maybe $75 per week? I will be working through the pantry and using things in there. Especially things that get "lost" and get used rarely. I will find a use for those things. I have things like powdered ham broth, beef broth, chicken broth that I rarely use so I will find a way to use them.


  2. If I've learned nothing else over the years from knowing you, Lili, your larders are always full--even when you think they're not. I often wonder how long your family could eat just fine if you bought nothing else. At the very least, your family will continue to eat varied, nutritious, tasty, meals on an incredible budget. You have a talent and work very hard to make this happen and it shows.

    Have a fun at the museum. Sounds like the perfect day, especially for an art history person.

  3. Sounds like good planning on your part, Lili. I know you will make it stretch better than anyone. I loved your tins you made for Christmas. We were gifted one in December, so I'm saving it for that very reason. You always have such great money saving and inspiring posts. :)

  4. Hi, Lili, as usual, your planning and thrift blow me away! I am intrigued by the special exhibit that you are visiting and how long it will last. My son lives in Seattle and his girl friend is a fine arts grad. We will visit in late March or early April to see the cherry blossoms. I wish you and yours a very Happy and thrifty New Year! Bonnie

  5. What a great gift your daughter is giving you! I hope you have a wonderful time seeing art that you love with your daughter. She knows you well.

    The nice thing about this time of year is that it's a good season to make soups, which are naturally frugal in nature. Looking forward to hearing your creative meal ideas.

    Speaking of which, Alice, how do you make your pork street tacos? That sounds like something my family would love.


    I just put this in my instant pot with a bunch of pork and let that cook. Then I lightly sauteed corn tortillas in a skillet just until a bit soft. We just served the pork right from the IP into the tortillas and dressed them with sour cream and lettuce and salsa. It was so good.


  7. I've fallen so off the bandwagon of frugality, because we assist our grandson with his spending wants and needs. So there went the purse strings. It's not a situation I like, because I'm frugal by nature. My husband and I do our best daily to live as frugal as we can, while our grandson doesn't care as much. We allow him a budget, because I want him to learn money management but it's a struggle to teach someone frugality who is not raised that way. I want him to learn from experience with guidance and not tell him what he must do. That's the primary reason I've been MIA. My focus has changed from being a tightwad frugalist to spending all my time learning art, and not thinking about finances so much.

    Hope you have a wonderful day with your daughter!! How sweet that she wants a shared experience with her mother as a gift to herself as well.


  8. Thanks, Alice. What cut of pork did you use? I don't have an instant pot--do you think I could use a crockpot?

  9. Kris,

    I'm sure a crockpot would work just fine. I think I used pork steak I had in the freezer. I know it had a bone in and there were 4 pork steaks. I am sure anything would work. I'm not a lover or pork chops but I feel like that would be good because of the juices it is cooked in. We just about licked that pot clean so I may have to make that again.


  10. Hi Alice,
    It sounds like you did very well throughout the holiday season, using what you have and taking advantage of the not-wanted turkey carcass from your SIL. The meals that you made sound delicious. I love brown rice, myself. But I'm alone on this in my family. I do, however, control the grocery purchases, so brown rice it is for the most part. I occasionally will buy a small bag of white rice, just to please the rest of them. To me, brown rice has a nuttiness to it. I love that.
    Happy New Year, to you, too, Alice!

  11. Thank you for your words of support, Live and Learn. You're probably right -- we could likely eat for a long time on what we have, combined with the garden and foraging. I think this month's grocery budget will go well, as I bought so much during November and December.
    happy New Year to you and your family, Live and Learn.

  12. Hi Belinda,
    Thank you for your kind words. I do believe that you do as well with your grocery budget! I'm so glad that you received a tin that you can re-use next year!
    Wishing you and Happy New Year, Belinda!

  13. Hi Bonnie,
    That is so wonderful that you will be visiting your son and his girlfriend this spring! I hope that the weather cooperates for you, both so you enjoy your time and that the cherry blossoms will bloom on time. North of us (Skagit Valley), we have a region where they grow the bulk of the nations tulip and daffodil bulbs. The fields are beautiful in late March through April, if you have a chance to drive north while you're visiting.
    If you didn't see on Friday, the exhibit I saw was title Flesh and Blood, High Italian Renaissance and Baroque paintings at the SAM. It runs through later this month. I hope your son and girlfriend have a chance to see it.

    Wishing you a happy and thrifty New Year, too, Bonnie!

  14. Hi Kris,
    I know -- she really planned a great day just for me. These are the types of gifts that I most appreciate at this stage in life. My other daughter has planned to take me out to lunch on a few occasions to some favorite quick serve places. We went to one favorite spot on Friday -- a place where they serve the very best chicken strips that I've ever had. So good, and they didn't disappoint.

    Wishing you and your family a wonderful New Year, Kris!

  15. Hi YHF,
    you're doing the right thing for your grandson. It's a fine line to walk, helping a young adult learn about finances. If you do too much for them, they don't learn from natural consequences. But on the other hand, there are so many lessons that we can teach from our own experiences, to save them from some devastating financial consequences, so it makes sense to give more guidance. With our daughters, I think they are learning how to budget pretty well. I know that it's disappointing to them that money just doesn't go as far as they'd like, but that is how life is for most of us. They're doing well with this, as I'm sure your grandson is, too. You're providing a wonderful opportunity for your grandson. He'll do well because of the type of help that you and your husband have given to him.
    I'm glad for you that you have art to dive into. It's good to have a passion, and this may be your season for a passion in art.


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