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Thursday, June 3, 2021

May 2021 Grocery Recap

I shopped twice in-person and once online in May. I used Walmart online for a large supply of coffee before prices went up, spending $66.38. I shopped at WinCo twice in May, once early in the month, spending $101.75. This includes convenience food groceries to make Mother's Day brunch for 6 people ($31.14) with lots of leftovers. And the second time in late May, spending $117.40.

My total spending for the month of May -- $285.53

Here's what we've been spending for the last year:

Aug 2020   $92.18

Sept 2020  $182.30

Oct 2020   $304.52

Nov  2020  $189.45

Dec  2020  $77.98

Jan  2021  $54.07

Feb  2021  $184.66

Mar 2021   $152.77

Apr 2021  $447.19

I think I'm good on what we've spent. It averages out to about $197 per month over the last 10 months. We are still using some of the supplies that I bought last summer, items like meat, pasta, peanut butter, applesauce, raisins, TVP, rice, powdered milk, dried beans, and some canned veggies.. So the $197/month is in addition to the value of the items bought last summer. Also, our garden is beginning to produce for the season, so we can get by with fewer produce purchases for the next few months.

What I bought this month:

10 lbs fresh carrots
3 bunches bananas
fresh tomatoes
bag of apples
frozen peas
banana chips, bulk
dried apricots, bulk
dried papaya, bulk
5 cans frozen orange juice
5 frozen apple juice
3 frozen grape juice

4 lbs cheese
12 lbs butter
7 gals milk
3 dozen eggs
Parmesan cheese, bulk

3 big bags toasted oat cereal
4 boxes bran flake cereal
17 boxes assorted crackers
mini chocolate chips, bulk
5 bags butterscotch baking chips
salt, bulk
sunflower seeds, bulk
popcorn, bulk
dry roasted peanuts, bulk
ground cinnamon, bulk
cocoa powder, bulk
corn starch, bulk
1 bottle mustard
2 jars mayonnaise
20 lbs whole wheat flour
hot dog buns
6 jars instant coffee
6 jars instant decaf

for Mother's Day:

chicken Cordon Bleu entree
frozen roasting vegetables
broccoli slaw
dinner rolls
frozen peach pie
chocolate candies, bulk
canned cinnamon rolls

Items I noticed price increases on from April to May: orange juice concentrate, apple juice concentrate, sugar, chocolate chips, Parmesan cheese, cheddar and mozzarella cheese, mayonnaise, milk, eggs, bananas, popcorn, vegetable oil, crackers, cookies.

I am still in stock-up mode. I've been watching entire categories of foods for price increases and remembering recent price paid on several items. The crackers probably looks crazy. I noticed some of the house brand crackers had been marked up, but not all of them. So, I bought many boxes at the old price. I expect to see these same items priced 20 cents more per box the next time I shop. Another example -- I had bought bulk Parmesan cheese in April and early May. I noticed by late May the price per pound had increased 20 cents. I'm glad I bought when I did. The butter I found on sale for $2.48/lb. That's about as good as I think I'll find for a while. And I've finished stocking up on whole wheat flour for the year.

I mentioned to my cracker-loving family (that almost sounds like some sort of euphemistic insult, doesn't it?) that when the crackers and dry cereals are gone, we'll go the homemade route again, meaning oatmeal and granola for breakfasts, and snacks like homemade muffins and popcorn in place of crackers. My husband is trying to gain some weight, so I like to keep nuts and dried fruit on hand. You can really bulk up the calories in a bowl of cereal or oatmeal with dried fruit and nuts. The least expensive nuts/seeds for snacking seems to be peanuts and sunflower seeds. We like them well enough, not our favs, but good in a pinch. 

Chocolate chips went up by almost 50 cents a package in early May. I had been buying a few packages each time I went to WinCo, then stopped when I saw the price increase. Late in the month I saw butterscotch chips for 98 cents/package. I bought 5 packs. To supplement our chocolate fixes, I stocked up on cocoa powder. If chocolate chips are going up in price, I expect cocoa powder will too. 

And finally, I got a pretty great deal on coffee online. I stocked up enough to last about half a year. The decaf had a confusing label on the website, calling it "ground" when the image and description indicated it was instant. I took a chance and ordered it. It was instant and this made the price outstanding. I think with the mixed messaging on type of coffee, the product wasn't selling, so it was marked down.  Great deal. I got it for almost 1/2 price. When I checked the website this week, the coffee was still marked down, but not nearly as low as I found it at the beginning of the month. However, it's still labeled "ground" but pictured and described as "instant". 

That's it for May's grocery purchases. I won't need to go out for groceries in June until close to mid-month, as we have enough fresh/frozen milk to last another week and powdered milk to push my shopping a little further into the month. Milk seems to be the deciding factor in our house of when to shop again.

I hope you're still finding plenty of good deals at the grocery store.


  1. Milk is the main deciding factor in our house also for when it's time to shop. We can make do for a while without a lot of things, but milk is what people miss the most from their daily routine.

    1. I agree, milk does seem to be a staple for many families, Live and Learn.

  2. We use milk, almond milk, oat milk, 1/2 and 1/2 and coffee cream so we pay whatever the prices are. What I have found is ground beef prices have risen in our area. Beef has always been generally high lately but ground beef tops them all. I always buy reduced priced products anyway but the ground beef was still high even at a reduced price. I have meat in the freezer so we'll just use what we have and see what happens. It seems pork and chicken are average priced right now and better on the budget so we'll just have that instead. I also bought coffee in early May and it was on sale so I'm set with that a while. I also bought a lot of peanut butter in early May and that price was just average. Hubby is the only one to eat cereal so we rarely buy that anymore. I remember the days when I bought dozens of boxes of cereal and now NONE. I bought bulk cream of wheat cereal and bulk oatmeal so that is our choice these days.

    We still were at the $550 mark for groceries per month and that seems to be where I'm stuck so I'm going to try hard to get that lower. I feel like that is kind of high for 3 1/2 people (my son comes over several times per month and we pack all leftovers for him).

    I like your posts as they keep me accountable to myself and keeps me thinking all the time. My biggest thing is that I cannot turn down a good deal. If I see a good reduction in meat prices I'm grabbing whatever I can get and will freeze and that is why my freezer is full all the time. The beauty in that is that I can "shop" right at home for just about everything.

    1. Hi Alice,
      I have a hard time turning down a good deal, too. I've even found myself buying items that we wouldn't normally be super interested in, simply because it was a great deal.
      Honestly, I don't think your family's spending on groceries is too high. You're including pet supplies, too, and maybe household items. I suspect that my family eats less meat than many others. That's just a preference on my part.

  3. I always like your lists because it helps me know what I should look for at winco. I try to only buy what’s cheaper there. We are going this weekend so I have been working on my winco and Costco lists this week. This morning I’m going to Safeway for old people discount day. I don’t need much from there, but I am getting a few things for my daughters with my discount. If they didn’t need stuff I would probably skip going, although $1.79 butter might be too tempting to pass up lol. I won a $250 gift card from monopoly this year, but I’m trying to use it wisely. As for what gets me to the store. My things would be milk, coffee, and pet foods.

    1. Hi Diane,
      I'm sorry I didn't include prices this time. It felt like too much typing the other day. Ha ha! I was pressed for time. Woohoo on winning the gift card! That is substantial! And you're doing just what I would do with it -- spend it as wisely as I would cash. Good lcuk!

  4. It's really enjoyable to read about your shopping trips because it gives me goals to aim for. I've been having trouble with Winco dairy lately. Multiple gallons of the store brand milk have soured several days before the pull date. I finally brought a receipt in and got a store credit. Now I buy the Anderson milk or the store brand at QFC. I've also noticed that some of the other dairy like sour cream and cottage cheese have pretty short pull dates on them so be sure to check.

    1. I have had the exact same experience with winco dairy. I don’t buy milk there and I always check dates on sour cream and cottage cheese. My dd bought some yogurt there a few weeks ago that got moldy two weeks before the date. Makes me wonder if they aren’t very good about getting it into their walk in coolers or something.

    2. That's a good warning about WinCo milk. I'll keep an eye on our milk from now on, Kathryn.
      In addition to getting the credit, I would also suggest contacting the store manager and relaying your experience. He/she may be aware of the issue, but then again, may not. In any case, the manager is the one who could do something to change this. Dairy that goes bad before the sell-by date is unacceptable. I'll have to check QFC's milk prices. Thanks for the heads-up.

  5. As always, you do a great job with keeping your food expenses under control. I expected bigger price markups than what we are currently seeing but that could change at the drop of a hat.

    1. Hi Kris,
      Hope for the best and prepare for the worst. I think someone here mentioned P&G had said they'd be raising prices by Sept, so increases could still be down the pike.
      On another note -- I hope everything is going well with your son's graduation and open house!!!!


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