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.
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.
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.