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Monday, January 30, 2023

Grocery Shopping January 2023

I have no plans to grocery shop until February. So, I'll post my end of month spending now.

Jan. 2. Fred Meyer. 3.55 lbs chuck roast ($3.99/lb), 2 16-oz containers cottage cheese (50 cents each -- marked down due to dent in side of containers), turkey bacon ($2.79), fresh mushrooms ($2.59), plus some marked down treats for my fam (39 cents box of movie candy, 2 packs Top Ramen 19 cents ea, can Chef Boyardee 64 cents). Spent $21.96

Jan. 9. Costco with my daughter-in-law. I mostly went to see what Costco carries and compare prices to those I know from shopping my local stores. What I bought -- 1 4-pack uncured turkey bacon ($10.59), 1 gigantic bag whole, pitted dates ($7.99), 1.5 lbs brown mushrooms ($5.99), 32-oz bag fresh Brussel sprouts ($4.99). My daughter-in-law used self-checkout that required credit or debit, so I reimbursed her $30 with cash after shopping.

Spent so far this month -- $51.96

January 12. My daughter wanted to go to WinCo and Walmart to pick up snacks and some lunch items for herself. I went with her and bought foods for the household. I bought 3 avocados (68 cents ea), bananas (53 cents/lb), 1/3 lb of bulk Parmesan cheese ($5.09/lb), 1 gallon whole milk ($3.17), and 2 cups of mixed nuts to make nut bars for my son and daughter-in-law for Valentine's Day ($4.38/lb). I love the bulk bins at WinCo. There's so much variety, prices in bulk beat the like packaged foods, and I can buy as little as I want and not have waste. I spent $11.29.

At Walmart, the only item I bought was the large package of Great Value fig bars. Spent $4.78.

Total spent today -- $16.07. Spent for the month so far --$68.03

January 17. Grabbed a burger at Five Guys with my 2 daughters using a gift card, located in same complex as Fred Meyer. Nothing spent out of pocket for the burger. I ran in to the store afterward to get a jar of decaf coffee ($4.99). Also checked the clearance aisle and found a can of peaches (81 cents) and a can of corn (39 cents). Spent $6.19.

Total spent for month so far -- $74.22

January 24. Gas was $3.99/gallon, inching back up.

January 26. Fred Meyer for a few items. I bought 5 dozen eggs at $2.19/dozen. That's more than double what I was paying back in 2021. I bought 1 bundle of marked down bananas (45 cents/lb) and 1 bundle of non-marked down bananas (59 cents/lb). Also, found 7 packages of turkey bacon marked down to $1.99 each and 1 can of carrots marked down (dented) to 53 cents. Total spent -- $26.94. I had a couple of non-food items and something to pick up for my daughter as well. While the eggs seem expensive now at 18 cents each, that's still a comparative decent price for high-quality protein foods. Plus, it's quick and easy to cook eggs for one person as opposed to cooking a roast for 1 person. 

total spent for the month so far -- $101.16

January 28. One daughter went down to WinCo and then Walmart to pick up some treats and lunch stuff for herself. I asked her to also get 3 things for me that I couldn't find or were not a good price at Fred Meyer (Fred Meyer was sold out of cabbage and store-brand fig bars, and their oranges were pricey per pound this week.) She bought 1 head of cabbage (82 cents/lb) and 1 package of Great Value Fig Bars ($4.78) at Walmart and an 8-lb bag of oranges at WinCo ($5.98). I reimbursed her $13.43.

total spent so far this month --  $114.59

What I bought this month

3.55 lbs beef roast
8 regular sized packages (10-12 oz) turkey bacon and 1 Costco package

32 oz cottage cheese
1/3 lb Parmesan cheese
1 gallon milk
5 dozen eggs

2 lbs fresh mushrooms
2 lbs Brussel sprouts
3 avocados
4 bunches bananas
1 can of carrots
8 lbs oranges
1 head cabbage

2 packs Top ramen
1 can Chef Boyardee
1 box movie candy
large bag pitted dates
2 cups mixed nuts
2 packages fig bars
jar decaf instant coffee

I don't normally buy so much junk (Top Ramen, Chef Boyardee, movie candy), but these were all treats and on the clearance rack. My two daughters got the movie candy, one daughter got the ramen (a flavor she loves), and my husband got the Chef Boyardee.

You might notice that we only bought 1 gallon of milk for the month. Gone are the days of needing 8-10 gallons per month for my household. I'm now nearly entirely lactose intolerant, so I don't even cook or bake with cow's milk if I think I will eat any of it. (I mix up some soy milk for those recipes that I would use dairy milk.) For my family members, I stretch the purchased milk with powdered milk I have in stock. 

We are using stockpiled foods still. So, we were not needing to buy very much in January. Low spending in January is pretty typical for my household for a couple of reasons. One, I don't find very many deals this time of year. Secondly, we try to eat healthier, less rich foods following the holidays. Thirdly, we anticipate high energy bills in winter for heat, so we can offset those by spending less on groceries. And forth, Thanksgiving through Christmas is a high spending period. We like to cut back on all of our spending in January to make up for the end of year excess.

That's it for January's grocery shopping. Do you find you spend less in January on groceries than other months? Or do you pretty much spend the same amount each month?


  1. Lili, I still stand amazed at how little you spend for 4 adults living and eating at home. I have more lessons to learn from you (that's a good thing!). We did spend less and I only got the essential groceries but we spent more because it was my birthday so we had treats and that always brings up the bill when someone else does the buying. I did use a lot from my freezer and pantrybut it's slow going since two of us just don't prepare and eat a ton of food. February is short and I'm going to keep going with reduced buying and spending this month as well.

    1. Hi Alice,
      I think in every household, there's one person who seems to shop more budget-wise than the rest. But also, when you throw a birthday or holiday into the mix, if someone other than the "good shopper" does the shopping, they likely don't compare prices between stores, or plan far enough in advance to pick up deals to be used for the birthday/holiday. So this happens to us, too. The other thing, your family members likely had an attitude of "treating" you, meaning they wanted you to have special foods, regardless of the cost, because it's your special day.

      About my own family's spending, keep in mind my 2 daughters buy their own treat foods and some of their lunch items. If they want meat in sandwiches at lunch, they buy it themselves. I provide frugal basics. But when they want something different, they pay.

      I hope you had a very happy birth-month, Alice!

  2. What popped out at me from your list was the price of eggs. We paid $4.69/doz at Aldi's yesterday and that's about $.50-$1.00 cheaper than the regular grocery store. Buying in bulk is only a few cents cheaper/doz. However, we are still buying eggs because they are generally cheaper than meat and have versatility like you mentioned above.

    1. Hi Live and Learn,
      the price on eggs, here, lags a bit behind that on the east coast. I just checked the price at Fred Meyer (where I bought eggs 3 days ago) and the price per dozen has jumped 70 cents per dozen, to $2.89/dozen. So, we're seeing the price creep up, too, just a bit behind yours. I'm hoping we'll still see egg sales just before Easter. I often buy 10 dozen eggs at that time, and freeze about half of them to use later.

      I'm glad you have Aldi nearby. They sound like a good shopping resource for many foods.

    2. You are both getting bargains. I just bought a dozen eggs for $4.89. I'm using them less for meals and more in small amounts for baking and cooking (adding an egg to meatloaf, for instance). I got them from Meijer rather than Aldi--I've not been pleased with the quality of Aldi's eggs in the past--they are very thin-shelled and crack open easily. I'd rather spend a little more and not sustain any losses.

      We're using our freezer foods and canned goods more. It's always a bit tricky for me to compare prices, since they fluctuate so much when my son is home versus at college. I'm noticing a decrease in the price of milk, so that's a plus. Also, I'm SO glad I stocked up on butter, as the cost now is crazy high. I'm substituting with oil when I can.

    3. Hi Kris,
      I'm taking a different tack with eggs.
      I made meatloaf for dinner last night, and didn't use an egg. My husband asked me if I used an egg. I haven't added egg to meatloaf in many years. It stays together well-enough without it. I used 1 slice of bread, torn into tiny bits and soaked in a combo of water and tomato juice, plus 12-oz of ground beef and seasonings. When I've been concerned about it holding together because I want it to look neat and not crumbling, I make mini meatloaves, 1 per each person.
      In baking, I only use the eggs called for when I need a specific result like pumpkin pie or baked custard rice pudding. Things like muffins, waffles, pancakes, and snack cakes can be done with fewer eggs or even no eggs at all.
      I've been saving the eggs to use as eggs in meals, but still stretching those. Yesterday, I made egg salad for lunches. I stretched the eggs with chopped lentil sprouts -- using 3 eggs and1 cups of chopped sprouts. The lentil sprouts have protein, so I'm not completely reducing protein by using one less egg. I would normally use 4 eggs for 4 adults, with egg salad. A week ago, I made a ham and egg frittata, using 3 eggs for 4 people and 1 cup of ham bits taken from the ham bone after New Years.

      I've been using more oil in place of butter, too. Brownies do well with half oil/half butter, even all oil if needed. When I saw the price at Fred Meyer on their store-brand butter of $4.95/lb I about fell over. I'm also very glad I stocked up when I did.

      I agree, the lower milk prices are very welcome. I'm seeing it go on sale periodically again at Fred Meyer.

  3. I typically do a pantry challenge in January. I had hoped to spend just $50 for the month but exceeded that by the price of a whole pork loin which was 1.57/# ($17). It will provide lots of meals for the future, at a decent price, and I've already fixed pork chops which my DH had requested. Going into February, I plan to continue to shop very intentionally to continue to make room in the freezer. Shrimp are beginning to come in and I want to be able to stock up on that.

    Your price on eggs is impressive as ours are 3.97 now I think. I am finishing up the last "cheap" eggs I bought. Chuck roasts are on sale at that price here starting tomorrow. I will pick up 2. My DS and DIL are expecting a baby (!) and he had requested a roast when we come-our version of "Meals on Wheels" :) I like to have one in the freezer bought on sale in case of company, or for a Sunday dinner. 3.99 seems to be the "stock up" price for them nowadays. I will restock some fresh produce and other items we are now out of (cheese) but hope to keep the spending lower in February as well. We have some large bills in the future and want to make a bit of room in the budget for them.

    1. Hi Lynn,
      This is such an exciting time in your family's life. I'm so glad you will be able to bring a roast for the new little family. I'm realizing now that I should have bought 2 chuck roasts when I saw that price. They were $7.99/lb last week.

      Good luck with your lower spending goals for February!

  4. I am curious what your experience is with the latest version of Cash an Carry? I believe it's Chefstore now. Is it still a good place to get bargains? What do you like to get there?

    1. So, Chefstore is a mixed bag for bargains. They have eliminated the least expensive option/brand that I used to buy and are now often sold out of the "hot sheet" deals. But they do still have some bargains that I can't get anywhere else -- yeast in large bags, 25 and 50-lb sacks of grains, beans, sugar, molasses in 1-gallon jugs, #10 cans whole tomatoes, 29-oz cans tomato paste, 25-lb bags fresh juicing carrots, 5-lb bags of shredded cheese (when on sale). All of those items are cheaper, unit price-wise, than buying in regular grocery stores. Sometimes butter goes on sale. Right now, they have the 1-lb block (not divided into sticks) of butter for $3.75/lb. Butter at Fred Meyer this week is $4.95/lb.
      I hope that answers your question. I find them to be a good shopping resource for some items, particularly when I want to really stock up.

    2. Thank you for the info Lili! I tend to get muffin papers, teriyaki sauce, and beans and lentils there and was wondering if there was anything else I should be picking up. Probably will check out the shredded cheese next time.

  5. Can I ask what you do with dates? I realize that is probably a weird question. I like them but have never really baked with them. Are they for snacking?

    1. Hi Ruthie,
      Not a weird question, especially since that was such a large bag of dates. We snack on them, especially me. I eat them in place of a dessert that I can't have due to allergies and intolerances. But also, we add them, chopped, to cooked oatmeal and Cream of Wheat. And I've chopped them fine to use in cookies, in place of most of the cane sugar. Also, there's a filling recipe for for bar cookies that calls for dates, that I've made before. But mostly, I think we're snacking on them. So good!

  6. Sorry, I missed reading this post earlier. Costco prices in Hawaii are almost the same as in your state. I saw Brussel sprouts recently at your price. I compared Costco prices to the mainland on vacation before and they were pretty much same, maybe with few exceptions like dairy. I got lucky and stocked up on eggs a few weeks ago, 18 eggs for a little over $3, now it's insane. Yesterday I bought sirloin steak for $3,99/# at Safeway but it was dry and tough and more like a round cut. I was surprised we spent $361.80 in January, less than $561.59 in December which is more like our average .


    1. Hi Laura,
      Now that surprises me that Costco prices in Hawaii are about the same as my area. I would have thought that shipping to the islands would increase your prices.

      Wow, that's quite a difference in grocery spending from December to January! $200 extra is a huge savings.


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