What We Spent, What We Ate

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What We Spent

This week I spent $48.50 on groceries. This brings my monthly total to $207.22, seven dollars over my projected monthly budget. I’m having a hard time feeling too upset by this, though, as I took advantage of good produce prices at Aldi that will carry me well into next month. I also was well under budget last month because of the pantry challenge I set for myself. While I think having monthly target is helpful as far as keeping spending more or less in check, I actually tend to think of the grocery budget as an annual expense that I portion out over 12 months. But I know that there are ebbs and flows in expenses over the year, so I do expect some months to be high and others to be low. I will admit to some splurge and/or dumb expenses this week, though, which I will explain below.

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I spent $1 at the Dollar Tree on graham crackers; I made cheesecake as dessert for the bookclub I hosted and needed crackers to make the crust. I had been reading about others purchasing graham crackers from the Dollar Tree so thought I would try them out. They are really tasty, and since there are only two sleeves in the box, I am unlikely to have the crackers go stale before I use them up, a common problem when I purchased the bigger boxes previously. So while they’re not necessarily a staple, I know where I’ll purchase this item in the future.

I also spent $2.23 at Walgreens on candy. This was a total impulse buy prompted by a BOGO coupon for the Snickers. I then fell to the lure of clearance priced Valentine’s candy. I don’t buy this stuff too often because we have terrible impulse control. Especially during stressful exam weeks!! So…there is not much candy left. And that is $2.23 that really didn’t need to be spent at all. I also picked up a bag of tortilla chips earlier in the week at Walgreen (for $2), which we “needed” to eat with the guacamole made with all those avocados I bought last week. So my total at Walgreens for food this week was $4.23.

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I spent $29.50 at Aldi. I really hadn’t been thinking I’d spend that much, but the prices on the potatoes, mushrooms, cabbage, carrots and green beans changed my mind. Eggs were also only $.89/dozen, so I grabbed two cartons, even though we still had most of a dozen in the fridge. I miscounted the amount of tuna I had on hand (or Michael ate it..) when I made my pantry inventory, so needed to grab a few more cans. I suppose that if I were truly trying to be uber thrifty, I would have skipped restocking this until next month, but Michael likes this a lot for lunches or dinners when I’m not at home. Then, since I had forgotten to pick up raisins at BJs when I was there earlier in the month, I went ahead and just picked up a small container at Aldi. It’s more per pound, but will get us through to when I visit BJs again. Finally, I went ahead and grabbed a few boxes of mac and cheese. I knew by this point that I would be over budget for the month, so decided to just roll with it. Again, these will be used by Michael for quick and easy meals/sides. The peppers and cucumbers I picked up for bookclub, although I didn’t use all of them AND probably would have purchased at least the cucumbers anyway.

I also ended up spending $13.77 at Publix. I had a few coupons and then had a minor cooking disaster that I had to remedy fast. The following items were on BOGO: frozen garlic bread, welch’s grape juice, barilla pasta, and cottage cheese. I had coupons for the bread, grape juice and pasta, although my Publix did not have the specific type of garlic bread available so I ended up not being able to use that coupon (annoying). Normally I would have just foregone the bread, but had decided to give myself a break and use premade garlic bread for convenience alongside the Italian-esque stew I was serving that evening. So now we have lots of frozen garlic bread on hand and it is HARD for me to resist its carby, fatty allure (which is why I rarely purchase it). I also didn’t really NEED the pasta, but I didn’t have any elbow noodles and then with a combination of coupons, I was able to get for boxes of pasta for $.32/ea. I also bought some fresh strawberries to top the cheesecake and earlier in the day I had badly burned the white beans I was cooking from scratch to use in the stew. I did not have time to make more beans from scratch so had to pick up two cans, doubly annoying because I’d considered grabbing a couple of cans of beans at Aldi earlier in the week in case something like this happened. I didn’t take a picture of this trip as I was rushing home from work to finish cooking and cleaning.

What We Ate:

I really only cooked four times this week, but each dish I made fed us for several meals (lunches and dinners).

  • Oven Fajitas, Guacamole
  • Vegetable Beef Soup, Cheese Toast/Quesadillas/Bagels
  • Eggplant Lasagna, Salad
  • Sausage, White Bean and Kale Stew, Garlic Bread, Veggies & Dip, Cheesecake, Mulled Cider/Bellinis*/Water

*I have a separate budget for alcohol — we don’t drink a ton, but I’ve found that counting it as part of my regular grocery bill skews my understanding of what I’m purchasing.

 

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6 thoughts on “What We Spent, What We Ate

  1. Hahaha I misread your post and thought one night your dinner was cheesecake, bellinis, and mulled cider and was hoping for an invitation when you have that dinner again!

    I am glad you don’t beat yourself up when you go a little over budget. I tend to keep my budget as a yearly thing too. Some months I buy very little and others are stock up months, but it all comes out in the wash pretty much on target.

    1. Well, I’d say that you zoomed in on the definite highlights of that dinner! 🙂

      And, agreed. I have never been very good with rigid rules but I tend to do well with loose guidelines!

  2. You’re doing great, Laura! I missed out on the Barilla pasta deal at Publix, even though I had left myself a note to get it before the coupon expired on 2/17! Oh well, like you it’s not like I need the pasta, I have several boxes in the pantry, but it was a very good stock-up price. I might get the garlic bread (the New York brand, I think), I saw a posting on IHeartPublix that I could get it free with the right coupons and rebates, so I’m going to gather those today and see if it’s a go or not. I rarely, if ever, get garlic bread, but if it’s free…

    Have a great week. How did you do on your exam on Thursday? How did your Book Club meeting go?

    1. Yeah, the New York brand is what I was hoping to get as well, specifically the pull apart bread, since that is what the coupon was for. But my Publix ended up being a dead end. Oh well. I appreciated not having to make bread from scratch, at least!

      My exam went really well! I have two more tomorrow, so am back at the books already. And Book Club was lovely –we just had a small group, which made for lots of good conversation. Sometimes when its a bigger group its hard for everybody to contribute.

  3. It’s good to be able to treat the grocery budget as a guideline, rather than something you have to restrict yourself to, isn’t it? I go over the budget some months and carry balances over on other months. I think it all averages out, over the course of the year. I am grateful I am able to do this, because there was a time when I couldn’t. 🙂

    Glad to hear your Thursday’s test went well and so did the book club meeting. Best wishes on the upcoming tests!

    1. Yes, I’m very grateful that I can look at my grocery budget as a guideline and not have to worry about running out of money or robbing peter to pay paul, as it were.

      I’m hoping I do well tomorrow, too!

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