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Monday, February 27, 2023

February Grocery Shopping 2023

February 3. We needed milk and a few other items. One daughter wanted to pick up some of her own foods, so the two of us headed down to WinCo. I bought 1 gallon whole milk ($3.17), 10-lb bag of carrots ($5.98), 1 head cabbage (88 cents/lb), 3.5 lbs gala apples (85 cents/lb), bananas (58 cents/lb), 3 avocados (48 cents ea), turkey breakfast sausage ($5.90/large bag), boneless skinless chicken breasts ($1.99/lb), white rice flour (53 cents), brown rice flour (51 cents), and wheat germ (38 cents). I spent $34.40.

The apples were in a 3-lb bag, priced at $2.98. However, I weighed the bag and it was 3.5 lbs, bringing my cost per pound down from 99 cents/lb to 85 cents/lb. The wheat germ was for making peanut butter energy balls, and the rice flours were for making myself some bread products that I could eat. I'll likely make pancakes, using the rice flour, an egg, soy milk, and the rest of usual pancake ingredients. The boneless skinless chicken is for lunch meat. I'll either cook and dice the chicken for chicken salad or cook and slice the chicken for sandwiches.

February 9. Several of us going to WinCo in the morning. My shopping included about a pound of grind-yourself coffee from the bulk bins as a Valentine gift to my husband (he prefers brewed coffee), $8.06, some truffles for daughters and son/daughter-in-law from bulk bins, $2.80, 8-lb bag (actually weighed 8.5 lbs) of oranges, $5.98, 3.5-lb bag of apples, $3.48, 8-oz mushrooms, $1.98, and more dates for me $2.95. total spent -- $25.25

spent so far this month --$59.65

February 14. Fred Meyer for our Valentine's lunch at home. I found chicken salad and broccoli salad marked down ($3.19 and $2.45), curried chicken salad in deli case (daughter's request) for $2.17, bacon-potato salad in deli case for $2.22, tub of melon cubes for $5, marked down bananas (49 cents/lb), a gallon of milk marked down to $2.89, frozen peas (VD dinner) for $1.25, rice-a-roni (VD dinner) for $1, jar instant decaf coffee, $4.99. Spent -- $25.77

While these deli items for a lunch were much more expensive than homemade lunch foods, I like to think that Valentine's Day is a holiday for me, too. So I took shortcuts. Our at-home lunch cost $15.03. Our Valentine's dinner also used shortcuts, the frozen peas and boxed rice side dish. For the rest of our Valentine's dinner, I made marinated teriyaki steak (steak cut from a roast bought in January), chili-lime chicken breast, scratch dinner rolls (from refrigerator dough I made over the weekend), sautéed mushrooms, and a plate of cookies (and plain rice for me). I guesstimate our Valentine's dinner cost just under $10 -- pretty reasonable for a special dinner.

My daughters spoiled me with gifts of fresh fruit, candy and snacks for Valentine's Day. These food items helped stretch our grocery budget for the month.

spent for the month so far -- $85.42

February 25. One daughter had been in the hospital for a few days and was discharged this day. The hospital is near WinCo. I would be needing a quick and easy dinner for that night to throw together once home. I decided on sandwiches and a large salad. I also needed produce, fresh and frozen. I bought 3 16-oz bags frozen green beans (98 cents each), 4 16-oz bags frozen peas ($1.28 each), 1 12-oz bag frozen broccoli (98 cents), 2 16-oz bags frozen corn (98 cents ea), 1 head cabbage (98 cents/lb), 4 avocados (48 cents ea), 2 bunches bananas (54 cents/lb), pint grape tomatoes ($1.48), 10-lb bag carrots, 6 lbs butter ($2.88 ea), 16-oz ham sandwich meat ($3.99), 14-oz turkey sandwich meat ($3.99), large red pepper (78 cents), 3-pack Romaine hearts ($2.48). Spent $53.33

One of the days my daughter was in the hospital I missed lunch and was growing very hungry and thirsty. I ended up buying myself a sandwich and bottle of water at the hospital. Spent $10.95

Total for the month of February -- $149.70

I got a few good deals this month and splurged a couple of times. I mostly cooked from scratch for almost all of our meals. And you know my family by now, we have simple food tastes.

What I bought

2 gallons milk
6 lbs butter

20 lbs carrots
2 heads of cabbage
7 lbs apples
5 bunches bananas
7 avocados
8.5 lbs oranges
pint grape tomatoes
1 red pepper
3-pack Romaine hearts
8-oz mushrooms (Valentine's dinner)

large bag turkey breakfast sausage
family pack boneless, skinless chicken breasts
16 oz sliced ham
14 oz sliced turkey

small amounts of brown and white rice flour from bulk bins
1/2 cup wheat germ from bulk bin
1 lb + fresh ground coffee (gift)
several individual Lindt truffles (gift)
dates from bulk bins
Rice-a-Roni (Valentine's dinner)
1 jar instant decaf coffee

5 bags frozen peas
3 bags frozen green beans
2 bags frozen corn
1 bag frozen broccoli

4 small containers deli salads, 1 cut melon bowl (Valentine's lunch)

How we managed on this month's groceries

Items we baked or made for snacks and desserts this month:

Valentine cut-out sugar cookies
pumpkin pie (from home-cooked pumpkin and scratch crust)
scratch brownies
roasted pumpkin seeds
scratch nut bars
peanut butter energy balls
whole wheat bread
scratch refrigerator dinner rolls
baked rice custard
scratch caramel sauce for apple dipping
stove-top popcorn
scratch pancakes and waffles
applesauce snack cake, using crabapple sauce made from our crabapples
scratch chocolate cornstarch pudding, adding in some sweet leftovers that had been lingering in the fridge (frosting and pancake syrup)

We used whole chicken, chicken thighs, boneless chicken breasts, turkey bacon, ground beef, and beef roast from the freezer (previous month purchases), as our meats this month. We continue to use grains, beans, butter, oil, baking supplies, peanut butter, nuts, and canned fruits, veggies, and tomatoes/tomato paste from our storage. And we have been using our frozen fruit (mostly foraged blackberries, but some dried rhubarb and dried cherries from our trees) and frozen garden veggies throughout the month. Our supplies are beginning to dwindle. I can tell because I have more empty spaces in the freezers and back-up pantry.

Going forward

I've kept our grocery spending low for several months now, in order to make up for the overspending in late summer and early fall to stock-up. I can now allow our grocery budget to creep back up to around $275 per month and feel pretty good about that amount.


  1. Good job, as always! But in particular with holiday spending and the hospital curveball!

  2. Hospital stays are never fun and always too expensive even if you're just the visitor!

    Good job on the low spending. I'm digging deep into freezers and pantry's and I don't feel like I'm missing out on anything either. We have good food and I didn't have to work hard to shop for it since it was already there. Still more to go!


    1. Good job on using more of your freezer and pantry stash, Alice. I'm sure that's helping with your grocery spending in these winter months with very few deals.

  3. Even using deli and convenience items, your Valentine's meals were very inexpensive in comparison to eating out. After COVID, for various reasons, eating out has become much more expensive. Hope your daughter is doing better and you have some uneventful days ahead.

    1. Hi Live and Learn,
      Thank you.
      I think we did okay on Valentine's this year. I did stick to a budget. We haven't eaten out more than a burger or two since the beginning of the shutdowns, so I'll have to take your word on the higher expense of dining out now.

  4. Lili, so very sorry that your daughter was in the hospital. I missed reading it earlier and hope it wasn't serious, and that she's better now.
    I must say, you did extremely well on your food spending this month. I have not done as well, in fact, we spent over $500 so far, mostly from stocking up on canned yellow fin tuna in EVOO that was on sale at Costco this month. Bought 192 cans @.71 ea, yup, crazy but the tuna was so good as well as cheap. The expiration is November 2025 so I figured we'll be able to consume it by then, as well as share with whoever wants to try it. I've used it to make a pasta salad, had it plain on toast, even in spring rolls. It's an easy source of fish and because it tastes so good in EVOO, I don't need mayo.

    Have a great day,

    1. Hi Laura,
      Thank you for your kind words.
      Wow, that's a lot of tuna! I noticed the sell-by dates on regular canned tuna being fairly far into the future about a year ago. That really surprised me as canned veggies and fruit often have much nearer sell-by dates. Enjoy your bounty!

  5. I hope your daughter is doing better. It's so expensive to eat in hospitals and many times, because of the urgent nature of hospitalizations, you can't do things like pack a lunch like you would be able to do if you had forewarning. I'm glad you opted to purchase a lunch--it's important for you to keep up your strength while you are providing emotional support to your daughter

    Your applesauce cake made with sauce from your crabapples sounds yummy!

    1. Thanks, Kris.
      My family really enjoys the applesauce cake. And I like that it's so easy and quick to throw together.


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