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Monday, November 30, 2020

November Grocery Recap

Another month of spending more than I intended. While I don't feel I was panic-buying this past month, I was definitely emotional-spending. I bought a lot of treat foods and just generally didn't care (all that much) that I would be spending more than I had planned. However, I can also see that almost half of my shopping covered 3 holidays, 1 family party, and our now continuing Friday pizza & movie nights. My household budget allows an extra amount to cover holidays, in addition to the grocery budget. 

In addition to party, holiday, and treat foods, there are certain produce items that I like to buy for my family this time of year, and I'm willing to spend a little extra for them, such as the clementines and avocados. What is conspicuously absent this month/this season is a turkey. And I'm not feeling all that sad about it. I have to admit, the bratwurst were pretty delicious this year.

I shopped twice this month, both times at Walmart, three weeks apart and spent a total of $189.45. In addition to what I bought, I am also heavily (very heavily) leaning on my stock-up pantry for November through February. Our fridges, freezers, and pantries remain very full. I'll shop again sometime in mid-December.                          

Here's the breakdown of all of my November grocery purchases:

Some of these items I ordered specifically for Thanksgiving. (obv. I bought more than needed just for the holiday and plan to use at other times this month and next)
1 pack bratwurst sausage for Thanksgiving, $2.96
1 pack bratwurst buns, $1.98
spicy mustard, $1.27
3 bundles of celery, $1.26 each
4 cans cream of mushroom soup, 50 cents ea
2 10-oz bags frozen mushrooms, $1.98 each
pint whipping cream,  $1.98

I bought the following for our Christmas tree decorating party, again with planned extras for rest of the season
6 lbs clementines, half at $3, other half at $3.98
large box Ritz crackers, $1.96
2 litre cola, 67 cents
Little Smokies sausage, $2.87
16 oz cream cheese, $2.87

I bought the following for holiday baking
3 8-oz cans mixed nuts, $2 ea
2 2-lb bags powdered sugar, $1.62 ea
1 pound pecan halves, $9.48
24 ounces dried cranberries, $4.94
2 bags chocolate chips, $1.74

other special occasion foods
1 bag mini marshmallows, 88 cents, for hot cocoa
2 large packs of pepperoni, $7.47 each, for Friday pizza nights this winter
2 bottles sparkling cider, $1.96 ea, for Christmas and New Year's dinner
20-oz bag frozen sweet potato fries, $2.73, for a treat some night

The rest of the items were just for general use.
3 heads iceberg lettuce (25 cents each, so I figured why not?)
30 bananas, half at 42 cents/ lb, half at 38 cents/lb
2 Folger's decaf, $6.32 ea
1 Folger's regular, $8.12
regular mustard, $1
soy sauce, $1.62
sesame oil, $2.98
raw honey, $7.93
2 boxes toasted oat cereal, $1.23 ea
4 bags oyster crackers, 80 cents ea
2 jars applesauce, $1.98 ea
6 dozen eggs, 96 cents/dozen
12 gallons 2% milk, $2.18 ea
2 gallons whole milk for making yogurt, 1 at $1.50, 1 at $2.18
2 lbs popping corn, $1.83
2 whole butternut squash, $1.18 ea
80-ct corn tortillas, $2.44
4 avocados, 58 cents ea
1 bottle ketchup, 88 cents
large bottle BBQ sauce, $1.88

In addition to buying special foods to lift our spirits, I also think I'm spending more for many of the individual items because I'm not shopping around for the best prices or watching for sales. Also, I think for me personally, I buy more when I'm putting in an order to pick-up than I would if I were shopping in-person. It's super easy to add an item to my online order. In contrast, when I'm shopping myself in the store, I think twice about a lot of items and often skip an item or two that don't seem absolutely necessary. 

I will say that I continue to compare unit prices. I may be emotional-spending, but I haven't lost my mind entirely!

So, that's my personal analysis of why I continue to spend more on groceries than I have in past years. And I'm more than okay with it. There is a time and season for everything. This is my season to spend more on food.


  1. You spiced nut recipe is now a regular on my Christmas treat list, so when Aldi started having sales on nuts, I made sure I purchased some. I also bought clementines today. I can't have them but my family enjoys them. I feel like it's more important now than ever to keep up with fun holiday food traditions and like you, I'm trying to stock up. Partly because I am concerned about possible shortages in items I want. I'm not really concerned about food being completely unavailable but in this season of rapid change, there's something comforting about having preferred food available.

    Have a good evening!

    1. Hi Kris,
      I'm so glad that you like the spiced nuts. We love them too and they're easy to make, so a bonus.
      Traditions surrounding foods are among the few holiday pleasures available to us right now, so this makes such perfect sense that it's what many of us are continuing with.
      I hope your day is off to a great start, Kris!

  2. Yes, we are also doing what you do. One thing I am doing is stocking up (as I have been all summer) because I don't want to be caught unaware again and then couldn't get toilet paper. I also purchased my son his first pantry full of stuff. Baking items, canned items, boxed items, TP, paper towel, and just anything else he would need to get started. He like making homemade pancakes/waffles so no boxed mixes for him but the added expense of flour, baking soda, etc. Many of our family members have been very generous to him by purchasing him house-warming gifts. He received so much from aunts and uncles and siblings and cousins that it just blows me away.

    One thing absent from my Holiday table was turkey also! I have opted for ham and chicken and that was very well accepted. I have a rotisserie I bought probably 20 years ago and put it in the garage where we rotisserie chickens and that is very much a highlight of a festive dinner. So different than an oven roasted chicken.

    I'll continue my way of purchasing groceries for a while yet until this thing passes but in the meantime my grocery bill is a bit higher than previous years.

    Also, please pray for my daughter and her husband and his family who have all contracted covid. They are all recovering at home but the symptoms may change quickly.


    1. Hi Alice,
      I will keep your daughter, husband and his family in my prayers. I can imagine that this is frightening for you and your family. I pray that they recover without developing any serious symptoms.

      That is so wonderful about how everyone has helped your son out with his new home. With that first home, there seems to be so much that is needed and I'm sure your son is truly grateful.

      Your rotisserie chicken sounds so delicious! I'm glad for you to have had that to enjoy.

      Have a great day, Alice!

    2. Oh Alice, prayers that your family members will all recover quickly and not develop more significant symptoms. So frightening I'm sure.

    3. I'm also praying for your family, Alice.

    4. Alice, praying for a quick recovery for your family.

  3. For the first time in 10 years, I have been exceeding my budget-consistently-as well for the past several months. I have been glad to see some of the articles that confirm that, yes, grocery prices have gone up. The other thing that I am realizing more acutely now, is that as products continue to shrink,one needs to buy more. Whereas one can of beans might have been enough for your family before, now the smaller sized can requires the purchase of an additional one due to the fewer number of servings per can, bag, box, etc. And have you noticed how tiny dish washing detergent bottles have become? I have tried to figure out the other factors that have led to my additional spending. We did make some larger purchases (local shrimp-a few more lbs than we've bought previously and a box of fresh from the farm sweet potatoes-again, we typically purchase them, but they too had gone up from $17 to $20). And certainly, for awhile there, sales were non existent, as were some items. Like you, I'm not worrying about it particularly(thankfully I am still employed whereas many people are not), but still do strive to shop as prudently and thrifty as possible, I'm just finding it more difficult. I don't think I'm doing a lot of emotional shopping, but perhaps I am. I'll have to be mindful of this. I have restocked my pantry and freezer so am hoping to "catch up" this last month of the year. We'll see if I'm successful!

    1. Hi Lynn,
      Oh yes, the shrinking packages. Like you said, where 1 can of vegetables was enough for our family, now we need 2 cans, which means we're seeing more leftovers going into the fridge and some recipes needing to be altered (for instance if the recipe called for "1 can XYZ"). I've been buying liquid hand dishwashing detergent at Dollar Tree. The detergent isn't name brand, but the size of the bottle is good. If you want a name brand the bottles seem tiny.

      I am grateful that we are able to afford this increase in spending. Yesterday's local news highlighted so many folks in my area are needing food assistance, yet donations have shrunk severely.

      Have a great day, Lynn!

  4. Isn't one of the reasons that we try to be frugal is to save for a rainy day? If this year doesn't count for a rainy day, I don't know what does? I think your spending is right in line with the times.

    1. Thank you for saying that, Live and Learn. Let's hope this rainy day comes to an end soon!


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