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Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Grocery Shopping Journal, September 2022

September 5. My daughter was at Walmart picking up some lunch and snack foods for herself. I asked her to pick up a container of vegetable shortening (Crisco type) for pie making. She bought Great Value brand, 48 oz, for $5.18, up $2.06 in one year (August 2, 2021-- I bought 2 containers of shortening for $3.12 each). I had thought to buy 2 containers, but changed my mind when I saw the price. I'll try using part vegetable oil and part shortening in my pie crust recipe and see what we think of such a blend and make this container last longer. Vegetable oil is still cheaper than this price on shortening here. And I forgot to ask her to pick up mayonnaise. So that will go on my next list.

September 7. My other daughter has to drive south right by WinCo every late afternoon/evening for rehearsals this month and next. She was planning a stop at WinCo on the way this day, so I asked her to check the price on mayonnaise and give me a call from the store. She did, and mayo was about $1 cheaper at WinCo than at Walmart. I asked her to pick up 3 jars for me, and I reimbursed her when she got home. Total spent $7.44.

I'm almost fully stocked for winter. I'd rather have my stock and not need it, than need it and not have it.

For the month so far, I've spent $12.62. I'll be needing milk early next week. That's when I've got a Fred Meyer shopping planned. I've been adding to my list. I also need eggs and pepperoni for pizzas. I would normally buy a few bananas, but I've been slicing and freezing the bananas as they get too ripe. We mostly use bananas for smoothies, which is what I'd planned for the frozen banana slices. No need for new bananas right now. The other item I want is some instant decaf coffee. I ran out a couple of weeks ago and have been missing it. I think I'll hit up Fred Meyer Tuesday early morning, in hopes of scoring markdowns.

I used a gift card to Five Guys on Thursday, Sept. 8. This was a Christmas gift from 2020. I finally got around to using it for a "Little" burger. Little in quotes because it was huge. I opted for bacon, too. $10 deducted from the gift card. Five Guys still has the free peanuts, but you now have to ask for them instead of helping yourself. The cashier was very generous with the peanuts and I still have a bunch left. I'd rather have roasted peanuts as a side than French fries any day. I asked for a cup for water. I don't drink soda or milkshakes. I said the burger was huge. I was hardly hungry at dinner after the Five Guys lunch. It was a beautiful sunny day with a warm wind. I ate outside on Five Guys' patio. Out of pocket -- $0.00

I went to the Farmer's Market to pick up a birthday gift for a friend. I no longer do food samples -- a side effect of hyper awareness of contagions these past couple of years. Too bad. I passed up some yummy looking samples. I had thought to buy some produce while there, but I couldn't bring myself to spend $4/lb on peaches. I had a great time anyway. Some good music, lots to look at, and I did get the gift -- locally made. Wow! Two outings in one week. I may have to forfeit my Hermits of America membership card.

September 13. We needed milk and jalapeño peppers (for salsa), so I planned to go to Fred Meyer this morning. I got out early, hoping to catch some markdowns. My first stop is always the dairy cooler to check for milk. Nothing marked down today. I bought 2 gallons of 2% (for drinking/cereal) and 1 gallon of whole milk (for yogurt). This is a much lesser amount of milk than what I usually buy. It was $3.39/gallon which is on the high side for my budget. I do have some frozen milk I can use for baking and cooking, which will stretch what I bought. But also, I've noticed my family isn't going through milk as quickly as they used to. So, maybe this purchase will last 2 or 3 weeks. I also bought bacon (marked down to $3.79/12-oz, bought 3), chopped pecans (marked down $3.99/16-oz, bought 2), Nathan's kosher hot dogs (marked down $5.49/28-oz, bought 1), bottled salad dressing (marked down 79 cents, bought 1), dried lima beans (marked down 89 cents/16-oz, bought 1), 5 dozen eggs ($8.29), instant decaf coffee ($4.99), pepperoni for pizzas ($2.79/6-oz, bought 2), 3 bananas (49 cents/lb), jalapeños ($1.39/lb), and a whole chicken at 99cents/lb. Total spent --$63.65

Spent so far this month on food -- $76.27

September 20. One daughter has the car for several days, cat-sitting. She earns money while also working on her next book. I can't go to a store, so we use what we have on hand and I save money. It's a win for both of us. I will need milk around the end of September or very beginning of October and will shop again then.

September 28. I'm making my list for the next time I shop. I have some coupons (eggs, frozen veggies, cheese) specific to Fred Meyer to use before the 4th of October. So my next shopping will happen between now and then. I'll also need milk for drinking at that point. I've been mixing up powdered milk this week. I don't like to use too much of our powdered milk supply, as it works out to be about $5/gallon. But it's handy to keep in the pantry for weeks like these, when shopping is delayed for a few days. For produce, I'll wait until I drive south to the produce stand on the highway. I'll make that trip in early to mid-October to pick up some long-keeping items like squash and pumpkin and a 25-lb bag of carrots, if they have some in stock.

Total spent on food in September -- $76.27

bought in September

3 lbs vegetable shortening
3 30-oz jars mayonnaise
3 gallons milk
2 lbs pecans
36 ounces bacon
28-oz pack kosher hotdogs
1 bottle Ranch dressing
16-oz dried lima beans
5 dozen eggs
1 jar instant decaf coffee
12 ounces pepperoni
3 bananas
about 1 lb jalapeño peppers
whole chicken

Right now, it looks like we don't buy much food. I stocked up on basics during summer, plus our garden has produced well for us this season, beginning in April. We may not have every vegetable growing in our garden, but we have enough variety to satisfy us. If I had to name a couple of veggies that I wish we had, corn and eggplant would top my list. But otherwise, I think we're all pretty happy with what we do have from our garden.


  1. It's amazing that you only spent $76 in September for groceries with the increase of prices that I've seen around here. Your hard work, organization, and smart shopping paid off.

    1. Hi Live and Learn,
      I also didn't buy very much this whole month. So $76 makes sense given how little I actually bought. I'm well-stocked on basics and have the garden. We didn't need very much this month. Next month may be a different story.

  2. Have you ever tried growing jalapenos? They are fairly easy and each plant gives off a lot. When I pick them I put them in a baggie in the freezer and that will last at long time. You are shopping a lot like me these days. I don't shop for a lot of food but I buy fill-ins just to fill in to get a meal ready. I also have a lot of canned items from this summer. My canner needed a new seal and that made a 100% difference so I've been going crazy canning stuff. And the freezer is full of summer produce ready for those winter meals. I let my son shop from the canned goods so he and sister can make lots of meals on their own this winter.

    1. Hi Alice,
      I have jalapeño pepper plants in the garden right now, with 2 very tiny peppers on the plants, total. Our May and June were too wet and cold for peppers this year. I hope next year it's a different story and my peppers actually produce before making salsa. Thanks for the suggestion to freeze those that I do pick. If I get enough in the next few weeks, I may make an extra batch of salsa with them.
      Good work on all of the canning! Not only will you and your husband be well-stocked, but it sounds like your kids will be, too.

  3. I agree with Live and Learn, awesome that you were able to buy in quantity yet spend so little. $75 will not stretch far here. I try to hit the sales and clearances nearly 100% of the time, yet we spend about 5 to 7x that every month. You've done well, Lili, especially since food expense is one of the largest RECURRING MONTHLY expense. It pays to get management of that system down pat.

    Have a good day!!

    1. Hi Laura,
      Well, like I said above, I really didn't buy all that much this month. My only really great deal was on the pecans, at $3.99/lb. Pecans normally sell for about $9 or $10/lb in my area, so this was a steal. I do know that next month I will be spending a lot more.

  4. You did well! Good job!

    I always make pie crust out of oil. No butter or shortening. My MIL turned me on to that. I find it easier to work with. I use an old Betty Crocker recipe. Using ice water helps with the flakiness of the crust. I think that my pie tins are deeper than what the original recipe intended, so I find that I need to use the double crust recipe for a single pie. I also double the recipe for a single pie crust if I'm making a double crust pie. Did that make sense? The single crust recipe, doubled, gives me more dough overall. Otherwise I was struggling to have enough dough to make the pie hold all the filling.

    I'm grateful that I stocked up on butter and froze it during Easter when it was on sale. The prices are crazy now.

    1. I did the same thing with stocking up on butter. But I see I'm getting low on it even though I bought over 15 lbs! Can't figure out where it all went.

    2. In my case, the butter landed on my hips. ;)

      Did you get the $1.69 deal at Meijer? More than double that price now. I'll be watching the holiday sales to see what the prices are.

    3. Yes! My husband loves butter so I know that's where it went!

    4. Hi Kris,
      Yes, I was thinking of you when I thought to do pie pastry with a blend of oil and shortening, as you'd mentioned before that you make an all oil crust. I'll be giving this a try in the next week or two. So, thank you!
      I stocked up on butter in the spring, too. I'm hoping we don't go through it all too quickly.

  5. Wow, that’s simply incredible! Even if I were able to have a garden like yours I doubt I could stay that low.
    That’s a big increase on the shortening. I don’t use it very often, and I think I have about half of a big can from Costco. Butter has actually been on sale here a lot. Not at the prices we used to see, but I have been able to get it for $2.50- $3.00 about every week. I bought a couple lbs last weekend for $2.50, I have some in the freezer too, so I’m ok on that. My Dh does not like butter, and I was able to get 2-packs of huge containers of a “healthy” spreadable margarine at Costco on clearance for $1.97!! I bought 2 of them, so 4 massive containers for less than the cost of one small one at wm. I wanted to buy more, but stopped myself lol.


    1. Hi Diane,
      it's not so incredible when you see that I really didn't buy that much this month. I do think I'll be spending a lot more in October, once I make room in the freezer for meat purchases.
      Wow! That's an amazing deal you got on margarine at Costco. Your price trends are often similar to the ones in my area. I'll keep a watch on butter sales. Thanks for sharing your info, Diane.

  6. After all these years, I still thoroughly enjoy your monthly grocery posts. Out of curiosity, do you take notes to be able to remember all that, or simply go off of your receipts for the month? I've had a very low (for us) dollar month for groceries so far, but am headed up to OKC for a medical appointment today and have a few items on a list that I prefer to buy at Costco up there, so we'll see how it ends up. Regardless, unless I go crazy up there, my budgeted amount this month was 2/3 of my normal amount and I'm only at just over half of that so far, so I think it will end well. Fingers crossed.

    Had to laugh, though about Five Guys. They happen to make my favorite fries. I could take or leave their burgers and have to get them on a lettuce wrap due to celiac disease and needing to avoid gluten, and am allergic to peanuts so I don't eat those. (Peanut oil is refined enough that I am able to eat items cooked in it, thankfully!) But those fries--they are a PMS craving and weakness. Give me all the fries!

    1. Hi Cat,
      You can have my fries -- LOL! I do like French fries, but I like them crispier than most places make them.

      As for my grocery journal, I "journal" the info shortly after shopping each time. I've kept a running monthly tally of what I've spent on groceries for the last 35 years. Ten years ago, I began blogging my tally and added my thoughts at the time. It really is a journal of sorts. Kinda funny -- some people journal about travel, their emotions, their daily interactions. I journal about grocery spending. Yes, I'm peculiar.

      I hope all went well in OKC today.


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