Stay Connected

Tuesday, November 29, 2022

November 2022 Grocery Journal

It began snowing this morning! A very light dusting.

Nov. 4. I was needing some unsweetened cranberry juice. My daughter went out and bought it for me. Spent -- $4.99

Nov. 9. I'm thinking through my shopping this week. It's been over 2 weeks since I grocery shopped last. I had the opportunity 🙄 to go through my freezers 10 days ago, when our kitchen fridge/freezer stopped working. This appliance is only 13 years old, so it came as a complete surprise. I had to quickly unload everything and find places in our other freezers/spare fridge for everything, so as not to lose anything. In the end, I did have to throw out some fish and some meat fat. The rest was salvageable and caught early enough in the thaw process. But the upside, I was able to see what we have in all of the freezers. I came across about 4 dozen frozen eggs in containers of 4 to 6 eggs each. This means I won't need to buy eggs this month. We still have a case of 5 dozen fresh eggs in the fridge. Between the fresh and frozen, we should be able to get through December on the eggs we have. We do need milk and whipping cream for Thanksgiving. We're going to roast a whole chicken instead of turkey. While there are deals on turkeys, I don't have enough on my list to make the minimum spend. I'll be looking for a deal on potatoes.

On the fridge -- the repair guy said it was a dead compressor controller module. He said these typically fail after 5-7 years in newer fridges. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that this replacement will last longer than 5 or 7 years. Fridge is fixed and we didn't lose too much food.

Nov. 11. The first of my twice a month grocery shopping trips. WinCo doesn't have an online database of their prices. Walmart does. So I checked the prices on items I needed for Walmart, wrote them down, then shopped WinCo first. When I got to WinCo I first checked potatoes -- super expensive, over $3/10-lb bag. I skipped potatoes. They had acorn squash for 38 cents/ lb. I picked up 10 acorn squash. Truthfully, at first I picked up 6 squash. Then after shopping around the store I decided to increase it to 10. Sometimes, even I have to talk myself into buying the larger amount. Next I checked the dairy section. Cheese was over my price limit of $3/lb. Milk matched Walmart's price of $3.16/gallon, limit 2. I picked up 2. Whipping cream was lower at WinCo, $4.88 for a quart, compared to Walmart's $4.98/qt. I bought 1 and will hold off on opening the carton until Thanksgiving day. It should keep until Christmas (sell-by date is Jan. 1, but after opening, product deteriorates faster). I bought two 30-oz jars of whipped salad dressing for $2.78 each. Whipped salad dressing is typically less expensive than mayo, and my family doesn't notice the difference. The mayo was $2.88 each. And I bought some holiday treats/gifts, not part of grocery budget. Total spent at WinCo -- $24.61

My other stop was Walmart. My daughters were with me to pick up their own necessities. Walmart has great prices on the things they needed. Although I didn't need anything (I'd bought what I needed at WinCo), I did go in and check the clearance sections. I found a 26-oz bag of trail mix marked down from $5.68 to $3.20 (works out to $1.96/lb). When I find snack treats like this, I buy them for when we have guests over. I'll fill a bowl with this trail mix on Thanksgiving day for the "before dinner" period when my son and daughter-in-law are here.

Potatoes were even more expensive at Walmart. I'll be checking less traditional sources for potatoes in the coming weeks. Gas was $4.89/gallon this week at our "cheap" place.

Total spent today -- $27.81

Total spent for the month -- $32.80

Nov.14. I won't have a car for a while again, so I decided to go to Grocery Outlet (a salvage store) this morning, hoping to find a better price on potatoes. Their potatoes were over $3/10-lbs, too. Fred Meyer is just up the hill, so I'll swing by there for potatoes, as they're advertised this week for $2.79/10-lb bag. That's the best price I'm likely to find this fall. Anyway, at Grocery Outlet I did find a spiral sliced ham for $1.29/lb. I think this is a good price for this year. I'll use this for Christmas dinner. I also found Hillshire Farm beef summer sausage for $2.49. The sausage will be for our tree decorating party. Total spent at Grocery Outlet -- $19.08.

Next stop, Fred Meyer. I had a few things on my list for here. As I shopped both online and in-person this month, I've been comparing prices on specific items, milk, eggs, butter, various meats, potatoes, pretzel twists, mixed nuts, cheese, and peanuts. Fred Meyer looked like it would be the place for several of these items. I picked up 3 of the 10-lb bags of potatoes, a bag of small pretzels for making chocolate-covered pretzels for a gift ($1.50), a 34-oz can of mixed nuts (also for a Christmas item) for $9.99, a 34-oz canister of roasted peanuts for $4.49 (less than Walmart's price), and 2 32-oz blocks of cheddar and 3 32-oz bags of shredded mozzarella for $5.99 each. My limit on cheese is $3/lb. Total spent at Fred Meyer -- $54.30. I could have qualified for a turkey at 69 cents/lb with my purchases today, but I'd already decided I didn't want to deal with taking the turkey apart. It's a lot of work, very messy, and I just don't like doing this. I'll still have to take apart the whole chicken I plan on roasting, but that's a much smaller bird and shouldn't take as long.

So much is interrelated and providential. I expanded my potato beds this past season. I would have no idea that potato prices would have nearly tripled in my area stores. I am grateful for the bonus garden potatoes and the 30 pounds of commercial potatoes I bought today. And my hubby was super stoked when he saw me bring in several bags of spuds. He's one who doesn't like to be limited in his potato intake! And all are glad I bought a ham today. We'd been talking about forgoing a ham if I didn't find a great price.

Total spent for today -- $73.38.

Total spent for the month so far -- $106.18. That's not too bad, especially since I was buying foods for Christmas as well as November.

What's left on my list to buy later this month? We do a breakfast of mini donuts, juice, and coffee the day after Thanksgiving. I've got the juice and coffee, but I need the mini donuts. This is definitely a splurge for us, but treats are good for morale. I'll also need more milk before the month is over. Oranges and clementines will also be on my next list. Our garden is still producing, plus we have a lot in the freezers and pantry.

Nov. 23. The car was finally ready for pick-up. My daughter got it just before rehearsal. She's offered to  stop by WinCo and get the post-Thanksgiving Day donuts for us, as well as some black pepper. I'm grateful she'll do this shopping for me. She did kind of get excited about buying donuts and bought 4 bags of mini donuts at $2.49 each. The black pepper from bulk bins came to $1.38, for a total spent of $11.34. I'd planned on spending about $5, but oh well.

Total spent so far this month --$117.52

Nov. 28. I drove one daughter to and from work today. We needed gas. $4.55/gallon at our cheapest place. It's down from $4.89, but still so, so, so much higher than same time 2021. With one car for 4 adults, we split the cost of gas. So there's that.

Our milk has lasted through the end of this month, thankfully. I found some frozen milk and began using that whenever cooking or baking called for milk. I also thawed some of the frozen eggnog as a milk-based beverage. And I mixed up more cocoa mix for the family to enjoy. And, I didn't need to open the whipping cream on Thanksgiving. My son and daughter-in-law brought over some pumpkin spice  flavored whipped cream to top our dessert. I'll open the whipping cream in December and surely it will keep until New Year's. I do have shopping on my list of activities for later this week. Once again, I don't need a lot, just more milk, oranges and/or tangerines, avocados, and I'll check for deals and clearance items. 

I am still harvesting produce from the garden. I picked 5 heads of cabbage this week, brought them in, washed, and have them tucked away in the fridge. The Brussel sprouts will keep even in this light snow for another week or longer, as will the kale. I'll go out and harvest all I can in a day or two to chop and freeze for winter meals.

So that's it. I spent $117.52 for November.

What I bought:

fruits & vegetables
bottle unsweetened cranberry juice
10 acorn squash
30 pounds potatoes

2 gallons milk
1 quart whipping cream
10 pounds cheese

spiral-cut half ham
beef summer sausage

2 jars salad dressing "mayo"
large bag of trail mix
large can mixed nuts
large container roasted peanuts
bag of pretzel twists
4 bags donuts
black pepper

It doesn't look like I bought very much, does it? No worries. We have packed freezers and pantry. In case you're wondering, the donuts lasted 5 days.


  1. I also skipped the turkey this year and roasted 2 chickens from my freezer. I had potatoes in the pantry, some sweet potatoes, fresh carrots from dad's garden that I boiled and toped with brown sugar and butter, my son brought a boneless ham he receives as a work bonus, my daughter made a golden mushroom soup/cheese whiz/green bean casserole. I made homemade buns (2 dozen), homemade chicken gravy, cranberry sauce from my freezer, homemade squash pumpkin pie, cream puff dessert (homemade), corn from my freezer and we had 10 people over for dinner. There were lots of leftovers and everyone got to take something home for a meal at a later date. I had enough leftover for dinner the next day for two of us and I was able to make a layered casserole for Sunday's dinner. I did not hit the stores at all for any of my preparation. We had an enjoyable day!

    1. Hi Alice,
      your Thanksgiving dinner sounds like a yummy and fun gathering! Great job doing it all with what you had.

  2. As always, I find it interesting to see the things you shop for versus what you eat. I shop much the same way, as in filling in categories rather than buying for specific meals. Also interesting to see the price differences for things. For instance, gas is currently much cheaper here (has just fallen to under $3 per gallon recently), but dairy is much cheaper where you live, or at least milk and cream seem to be. (I haven't shopped for cheese for a bit.)

    1. Hi Cat,
      I find it interesting, too, to hear what others buy and what their prices are like. Yeah, if you compared my weekly menus to what I actually bought for the month, you'd wonder where the food was coming from. I do the stock-up on basics routine plus grow a big garden, then make meals from what I have. This approach has saved me more money than any other thing I could do with meals and groceries.
      I would expect you'd have better gas prices there, but I wouldn't have expected milk would be less expensive in my area than yours. Interesting.

  3. Your tree is so festive! That's beautiful!

    I wish I could have passed on our potato savings to you. They were 99 cents for a 5# bag at Meijer last week. I bought 15# but probably should have added another 5# bag to the mix. Hoping that there are more good Christmas deals. I stocked up on butter before Thanksgiving, which was $2.50 a pound at Aldi--that used to be expensive for me, but I've seen it close to $4/pound in my area. I've started using Crisco again when baking cookies, as it's a little bit cheaper and spreads out the butter usage. I don't like to use it a lot, but with my son home last week, we seemed to mysteriously go through food and snacks a lot more quickly. :)

    1. Hi Kris,
      Store-brand butter has been about $4/pound when buying a 2-lb pack, or $4.80/lb when buying 1 pound at a time, here. Name brand butter is over $6/pound. Your butter and potato prices are better than ours. I did stock-up on butter when I found some on clearance last spring, so I'm still using those. For some cookies, crisco-type shortening as a blend half butter/half shortening, works pretty well.
      It sounds like your son misses your baking and cooking. I'm glad you all had a great time while he was home.

  4. It is interesting to compare prices. The cheapest I've EVER seen russet potatoes was .39/#. Oops, we did have sweet potatoes the week of Thanksgiving for .25/#. NC is the nation's leading sweet potato producer, just so you know ;) But white potatoes are now on sale for .60/# whereas they used to be .50/#. For a brief while I was able to get russets for the .39/# price but they no longer carry the 8 lb bags.

    Gas in our resort area was 3.52 when we left on Thanksgiving. When we returned, it had dropped to 3.39 which was shocking, but more in line with prices throughout the rest of the state. We had a promotion for .30 off, so were able to buy it for 3.05 while traveling.

    Butter has become outrageous. I got some for 2.49 at Aldi while on the road. I had a rain check from 2 months ago to get Land of Lakes butter for half price, which then, was 2.97. The butter has now risen to 8.49 a pound and was on sale half price for 4.25. I was so glad my rain check specified the price and didn't just say Buy One Get One, else I would have paid the higher price. I could get 4 so I did. I should be set for now.

    I'll need the butter for some upcoming baking I'm doing. I'm going to be a grandmother! We are having a family baby shower for our upcoming baby girl. The shower itself will not be frugal, but I am doing some of the baking for the dessert table and am creating the decor with ideas from Pinterest so that part will be frugal and will decrease the cost of the overall budget. The theme is "A little snowflake is coming". (Lili, you've already had snowflakes!) I'm making large snowflake cookies for favors, pink baby bootie mints, making a snowflake cupcake cake and a few other things still to be determined. I picked up some white chocolate covered pretzel stars at Aldi that look like snowflakes to me. In the past I've made chocolate covered pretzels but have had trouble with the melting disks before so decided to buy these.

    I'm also crafting the decor. I've foraged small pinecones that I have painted and glittered and will be using vases I already have. I did pick up some scatter from the Dollar Tree and some really cute pink bottle trees. I'm using white and silver Christmas ornaments in the vases along with the pink pinecones and some snowflakes, clear glass disks and sea salt for additional snowy effects. I sent a picture to my daughter and DIL, and so far, they've met with approval! Yay!

    I've bought only a few things and hope to do a semi-freezer/pantry challenge in December as we have SO much food. I've got to get some of this food eaten. Not sure that we'll have company here at Christmas, so DH and I will need to do the eating. DD and SIL will be out of the country and son and DIL will probably meet us at my mother's house as that's where we ultimately gather for Christmas. I will take some of the side dishes for that, but my mother already has the ham.

    I supplied ham for my husband's family Thanksgiving dinner. Last year there were no leftovers but this year there were. After sharing the leftovers, I still had some and then a dear neighbor gave us another ham! So, ham we've got! Some of it needs to the freezer! It's an endless cycle, but we are blessed to have an abundance of food.

    Our garden is still producing as well. I'm picking lettuce and peppers still. The broccoli and cabbage are still growing. We'll see if they run out of time with frost, though none is predicted anytime soon. Our average frost is Nov 27th, which has come and gone.

    Forgive me for running on so. Hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving. Now it's on to Christmas

    1. Congrats on your soon-to-be-born granddaughter!

    2. Hi Lynn,
      That's such exciting news!!! Congratulations! I love the sound of your plans for the shower. You all will have so much fun. Good luck with it all.

      $8.49/lb for butter is so high, I know I'd be buying margarine instead, or using oil as much as possible and rationing out the butter in the household. I'm glad you were able to buy what you did at the previous sale price with the raincheck. Good job!

    3. Congrats on the coming granddaughter and good luck with the shower. It sounds lovely.

  5. You never cease to amaze me with how low you manage to keep your grocery tab while eating well. Great job.
    We hosted eighteen for Thanksgiving. Others brought food also while we had the ham and turkey and traditional sides. I sent home food and was give food. We ate a long time from leftovers and froze lots we can look forward to.
    I am spending much more than you, yet have been able to lower my budget quite a bit by really shopping wisely and getting loss leaders. My freezer, pantry and home canned items are my work horses.

    1. Hi Linda,
      Wow, 18 is a large crowd. It sounds like you all had a great time and had the opportunity to try each other's cooking.

      I completely agree, my freezers, pantry, preserved garden produce are a tremendous help in keeping our spending down. My recent monthly spending is so low because I overspent in spring and summer building up a pantry and freezer of basics. I have to keep the spending low for the next couple of months to even us out.

  6. I’m so sorry to hear about your refrigerator, but glad it could be fixed. Appliances sure don’t last like they used to.
    Potato prices are so high. I was able to get 5# bags at Safeway for $1.29 a couple weeks ago but it was a limit of 2. I meant to go back and grab 2 more but never did. Maybe they will be on sale again before Christmas.
    I just added up my grocery expense for the month and I was under $300, which is pretty good for us, especially with thanksgiving in there. That included a box of kcups and 2 #5 bags of frozen corn from Costco-they’ve been out of corn for months, but had it when my DD’s were there so I asked them to grab 2. It was almost $50 for those things lol. I’m pretty well stocked right now so we’ll see how December goes, but I already know I’m buying a bunch of chicken wings at Costco this weekend. They are on unadvertised sale for $2 a lb, and I LOVE chicken wings so I’m stocking up lol. I found a very large Costco gift card in my wallet this week that I got last year for Christmas. I thought I used it, but I guess I used the smaller one I had. I meant to use this big one, but now I have a lot of surprise free Costco shopping I can do lol.


    1. Hi Diane,
      I'm just glad the fridge could be repaired and we didn't have to buy a new one. So I'm grateful for that aspect. And it did help me find everything in the freezers and organize most of it. I agree, appliances don't last like they used to. Our back-up fridge is in the garage and is a 1977 model. Never had a repair on it.

      Wow, that's exciting about finding the gift card! I love when I forget about something like that, then find it. It feels like found money. Now you can make your purchases and know that what you buy won't come out of your bank account! Have fun with the shopping.

  7. Potato prices in Hawaii are crazy expensive, anywhere from $4 to $8 for a 5lb bag. I bought 15 lbs of baking potato on sale for $10 at Costco several weeks ago and shared some with our grandson. We don't always buy potatoes, only when we want to prepare a dish that needs potato. I heard that potatoes are the perfect food for survival if you had to pick only one food to eat the rest of your life. I need to learn to use more potatoes and pasta (often fortified with vitamins) in our meals.
    I've had trouble using a store's online pricing to research instore pricing. Several instances with Petco, Target, Walmart and Walgreens convinced me that often online prices are cheaper than instore. Petco adjusted the price of a dog toy that was bought instore but showing $6 cheaper online. I went to Target to buy a Keurig filter that was showing $11.99 online for store pickup, but the instore price was $13.99. I quickly ordered it on my phone while in the store and picked it up as an online order later that day. I should have tried to ask for an adjustment instead (no wonder the customer service lines are always so long). At Walmart, I used the store's app to scan orange marmalade found in the clearance section that did not have reduced stickers. It scanned $1.79 but on checkout was $3.33. I showed the app pricing to the clerk and she said that the cheaper price was for online. She said online prices are different from instore but she asked for approval to give me the lower price. Walgreen is also same. I often place online orders because I scan their website for clearance and like knowing ahead of paying which coupons and other promotions will apply, whereas instore I have to pay first then find out, which sucks. It's dumb that the cashier can't see the promo information that I can see online. Recently, there were two online/instore price differences I noted, for dental floss and laundry detergent. Online it was priced as clearance whereas instore it was still at regular price.
    Gas here was $4.29 on Sunday.
    No error thar that your daughter bought donuts for 5 days!!

    Have a great day,

    1. Hi Laura,
      That's an interesting observation about online vs in-store prices. And what quick thinking to place an online order for in-store pick-up to get the lower price. I'll remember that.

      So your gas is less expensive than ours, but our potatoes are less expensive than yours. If only I could run the car on potatoes! We do enjoy potatoes here in fall and winter. And I make sure we always eat the skins, where the minerals are in abundance. If I'm peeling potatoes for something, I save the skins and roast them with a little oil and salt for a snack later.

      Enjoy the rest of your day and evening, Laura!


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