Groceries, Life: Jan. 21st & Jan. 28th

Wysocki Puzzle

1000 piece puzzle that we started over Christmas and finally finished. We really like the Charles Wysocki puzzles, but this one was a bugger! Sorry for the glare…

It sure didn’t take long for the semester to get busy! My internship hours fluctuate quite a bit, so I feel like I’m constantly adjusting to that. And the dominoe effect is of course that I end up juggling a lot of my other obligations to fit into the time I have left. Going forward I want to try to post here at least once a week, because it’s helpful as a record of what’s going on. And I think the juggling has more or less slowed down for now (I hope!).

One thing that I have been making time for this semester/month is sewing/creating. I find that setting aside time to work on creative projects is a really important part of self-care for me. As a bonus, I’ve been able to complete or move forward on some projects that have been sitting around for years. I’m thrilled to see that progress and it provides a lot of motivation to keep on making time for myself in that way. Here is a picture of a quilt top I finished this weekend:

Nautical 5 by 5

As an additional way to stay motivated in terms of knocking out old sewing projects, I also joined APQ’s 2018 UFO (Unfinished Object) Challenge group on Facebook. Each month they pull a number and you work on the appropriate project based on a list created at the beginning of the year. I have two lists that I’m working from (so yes, that’s 24 projects that I’ve started at some point or another…). I’d really like to get this top fully quilted, but I’m not sure if that will happen this month or next.

I’ve also been working on decluttering and being intentional about taking decluttered items to Goodwill or wherever the appropriate donation site is. I thought I’d be able to manage weekly trips to Goodwill, but for now it looks like every other week is more realistic. The good news is that I’ve decluttered over 100 items this month and shouldn’t have a problem maintaining that pace next month, too.

As far as groceries and meal planning is concerned — I have been doing both, but adapted. I often really only need to make one or two dishes each week and then we can eat leftovers or simple meals for the remaining days. By simple meals, I’m referring to sandwiches, quesadillas, ravioli, etc. It works for now. I also haven’t been taking pictures because more often than not I’m eating in front of the computer while I work on one job or another. I have been pleased that my grocery budget has stayed pretty low this month — while I’m not planning to change my budgeted amount ($300), I am also trying to really only buy what we’ll eat in a week or two. Now is not the time to worry about stocking the pantry, and in fact I’m also concentrating on moving stuff out of the pantry. Below are my two most recent grocery trips.

Jan 21 2018 __All

January 21, 2018

  • Frozen Veggie Burgers, $4.49/2 (BOGO)
  • Cheese Tortellini, $4.29
  • Pesto, FREE (w/purchase of tortellini)
  • Barilla Pasta Sauce, $5.50/4 (BOGO)
  • Naked Juice Smoothies, $3.29/2 (BOGO)
  • Maple Honey Ham, 1/2 lb. @ $5.19
  • Smoked Gouda, 1/2 lb. @ $4.00
  • Half & Half, 1 pint @ $1.73
  • Cornmeal, 2 lbs @ $1.29
  • Mayo, $2.24
  • English Muffins, $1.50
  • Bread, $4.29/2 (BOGO)
  • Donut Holes, $3.99/2 (BOGO)
  • Limes, 3 for $1.99
  • Flatout Foldit Bread, $.99/2 (BOGO + coupons)
  • Bananas, 2.47 lbs @ $1.61
  • Ranch, $2.79 (Aldi — not pictured)
  • Sweet Potato Chips, $2.99 (Aldi — not pictured)
  • Tortilla Chips, $1.59 (Aldi — not pictured)

Total: $50.68

Jan 28 2018__All January 28, 2018

This photo is really blurry, sorry!

  • Apples, $3.29
  • Taco Seasoning, 2 @ $1.34
  • Half & Half, $1.99
  • Milk, $2.95
  • Tomato Sauce, 2 @ $.29/ea
  • Everything Bagels, $1.79
  • Granola, $2.79 (Michael was with me…not something I’d normally buy!)
  • Hot Dog Buns, $.83
  • Green Grapes, 2.47 lbs @ $3.19
  • Seedless Cucumber, $1.29
  • Jalapenos, $.69
  • Avocado, $.79
  • Yellow Onions, $1.79
  • Dried Mango, $3.89
  • Spinach, 2 bags @ $1.49/ea
  • Tortilla Chips, $.99
  • Pineapple, $1.29
  • Mushrooms, 3 @ $.79/ea
  • Grape Tomatoes, $2.49

Total: $37.32

I’ll probably run into Publix between now and Wednesday in order to pick up a few things they have on sale this week, but otherwise I’m pretty much done with my grocery shopping for January. Right now my total for the month stands at $204.78, well under my $300 goal. So that is pleasing to me for sure! I did end up buying fast food/takeout this past week more often than I wanted to and that had nothing to do with available food in our house but with me just having an off week and not planning very well. Still, our eating out expenditures are under $100 for the month which is also my goal, so…2018 is off to a good start!

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Groceries: January 13

I decided to change my attitude about Saturday shopping since it seems inevitable that it’s going to fall here anyway. It mostly worked, although I avoided the most stressful shopping plaza so we’ll see if I can maintain my eqaunimity next week! An Aldi in another part of town opened this week and there was a $5 off coupon for only that location. But it happened to be close to a few other places I needed to visit (not grocery stores) so I just planned to do my shopping on that side of town. It’s really out of my way otherwise, so I probably won’t shop at that particular store very often. I had thought to pick up rice at the Indian grocery, but decided the drive wasn’t worth it this time (it’s closer to where I normally shop and I just wanted to be done), so picked up jasmine rice at Aldi (which is really good!).  This week I really stocked up on produce and since we’ve got a long weekend I have the time to prep it all for the upcoming week or weeks (I think I will probably freeze some).

jan-13-2018__produce.jpg

Produce:

  • Carrots, 2 lbs @ $.89/ea
  • Strawberries, 2 lbs @ 2/$5 (not pictured)
  • Mushrooms, 1 lb @ $2.22 (not pictured)
  • Zucchini, 20 oz @ $.99
  • Strawberries, 3 lbs @ $1.49/ea
  • Yellow Squash, 20 oz @ $.99
  • Grape Tomatoes, 1 pint @ $1.89
  • Green Peppers, 2 lbs @ $.99/ea
  • Bananas, 2 lbs @ $.44/lb
  • Spinach, 1 lb @ $1.49
  • Romaine Hearts @ $2.29
  • Cara Cara Oranges, 3 lbs @ $2.49
  • Grapefruit, 3 lbs @ $2.49
  • Honeycrisp Apples, 3.98 lbs @ $1.29/lb

Total: $34.09

Jan 13 2018__Pantry & Grains

Pantry:

  • Corn Tortillas, 30 @ $1.39
  • Jasmine Rice, 5 lbs @ $4.79
  • Tortilla Chips, 1 bag @ $1.59
  • Cocktail Peanuts @ $1.99
  • Tomato Sauce, 4 @ $.29/ea
  • High Protein Pasta, 2 boxes @ $2.29/ea (BOGO + $1/off coupon)
  • Pasta, 2 boxes @ $1.69/ea (BOGO + $1/off coupon)
  • Hot Dog Buns @ $1.00 (not pictured)

Total: $13.90

Jan 13 2018__Dairy & Protein

Dairy & Protein

  • Ground Turkey, 1 lb @ $2.99
  • Eggs, 2 doz @ $2.99/ea
  • Feta Cheese, 2 @ $3.19/ea (BOGO)
  • Chobani Yogurt, 2 4 packs @ $3.34/ea

Total: $18.83

Weekly Total: $61.82 (three totals above minus $5 coupon)

 

Groceries, January 6

retro-mom-money-images-Graphics-Fairy004

In the spirit of beginning as you mean to go on, I went out today for groceries. I am seriously re-thinking my plan to shop of Saturdays as a result. What chaos! I really cannot handle being out in the shops when its so busy. I’m not exactly sure how I can adjust my schedule, but in the interest of self-care (mental health!), I really think it has to happen. I did stop by Baskin-Robbins and treat myself to a free scoop of ice cream in honor of my birthday. That was nice. And gave me a few minutes to get over some of my annoyance.

Anyway, I didn’t need a lot of stuff, but took the opportunity to stock up on convenience items to ensure this semester runs more smoothly. Between the trail mix I bought today and the cracker packs and the granola bars I picked at BJs in December I should be set with healthy-ish snacks to prevent fast food or take out emergencies. I also grabbed some cans of beans because I think cooking from dry might be an unrealistic expectation right now. I also picked up a half gallon of orange juice earlier in the week when I was also picking up cold meds.

Jan 6 2018__Pantry

Pantry/Snacks

  • Trail Mix, 2 boxes @ $3.49/ea
  • White Vinegar, $.79
  • Tortilla Chips, $1.59
  • Powdered Sugar, 2lbs @ $1.49

Total: $10.85

I ran out of powdered sugar over the holiday and like to have some on hand, although I use it pretty infrequently.

Jan 6 2018__Produce

Produce

  • Tri-Color Peppers, 2 pks @ $1.69/ea
  • Organic Bananas, 2.08 lbs @ $.59/lb
  • Lemons, $2.99
  • Jalapeno Pepper, $.15
  • Frozen Cut Green Beans, $.89
  • Frozen Broccoli, 2 @ $2.79 (BOGO)
  • Orange Juice, $3.49

Total: $14.92

Jan 6 2018__Protein

Proteins

  • Yogurt, $3.34
  • Black Beans, 6 cans @ $.89/ea
  • Garbanzo Beans, 4 cans @ $.89/ea
  • Unsalted Cashews, $12.99
  • Tuna, 4 cans @ $.99

Total: $29.19

Lots of canned beans, a big thing of unsalted cashews even though I just need a small amount for a recipe — we’ll eat them. And yogurt for Michael’s breakfast.

My total for the week is $54.96.

 

Groceries: Sept. 3 – 16

Vintage-Grocery-Store-Basket-GraphicsFairy

Buying and meal planning for two weeks at a time worked really well for us last month. I’m hoping to maintain this routine as it cuts one errand down by half and grants me a little more time each week, something I really appreciate! This weekend I went a little crazy with the meal prepping (more in a later post), but going forward I think my weekly prep sessions will be pretty minimal. I just had a few things I needed to manage to avoid waste. Anyway. That is not the point of this post — my groceries are! This trip included a stop at BJs so the total is a little high, but I think that actually we’ll pretty consistently come out under $300, too, so perhaps I’ll be able to lower my grocery budget again. We’ll see.

Anyway, this week I stopped at BJs ($84.58), Publix ($30.37), and Aldi ($43.19). My total spent at all three stores was $158.14, and quite a few of these items will last beyond two weeks so I’m hopeful that I can stay under $100 when I shop next. I did all my shopping on the same day (yesterday), but I had to combine my Publix trip with a different errand, so I couldn’t combine everything in one photo by type. But I liked doing that last time, so I just took lots of photos this week!

dairy 09_03_17

I had zero eggs left by the time I went shopping again, but that was largely due to a baking spree on Saturday. I think two dozen is probably a good amount for us over two weeks. I was also pleased to get my favorite Pecorino-Romano cheese at BJs; the shredded Parmesan from Aldi was ok, but honestly I’d rather pay more for something I really like. And I’ve got a lasagna on the menu where I’d really like to taste the cheese; I thought Aldi’s version was pretty insipid, all things considered. I do still have quite a bit of half and half, but want to avoid the stores so just grabbed another quart anyway. The dips will be for lunches and snacking; even though I still have hummus, these don’t expire for a little while and I like to have some variety.

  • Eggs, 2 dozen @ $.89/doz
  • Pecorino Romano cheese, 16 oz @ $10.99 – $2 coupon
  • Sharp Cheddar slices, $1.79
  • Ricotta, $1.69
  • Half & Half, $1.99
  • 2% Milk, $2.95
  • Marzetti Dips, $3.69 (BOGO)
  • Feta cheese, $3.19 (BOGO)
  • Liberte yogurt, FREE

Total: $26.07

proteins 09_03_17

We really liked the Tyson chicken tenders I bought last trip, so I decided to pick up the larger bag at BJs; there was also a store coupon, which brought down the price a little. These are really quite convenient for lunch salads. I don’t really need much other meat right now (there is quite a lot of chicken still in my freezer), but I do like to use Italian sausage in my lasagna and we were out. This 3lb package will last us through the end of the year. The tuna is for those times when both time and energy are against us.

More hummus — I had a coupon for a free pack of singles when you bought two of the 10oz size; of course my cashier had a problem both reading the coupon and then taking off the appropriate amount. I pointed out the correct amount to be removed, and it was eventually corrected but not without a little stress. (First she tried to take off $2.99, claiming that she could only take off the lowest amount, but neither product cost $2.99. And the coupon clearly stated that the singles were supposed to be the free item. Ugh. I hate correcting over coupons, especially when others are waiting in line. But I also feel that I shouldn’t be intimidated by the process when I’m not doing anything wrong! The actual amount to be taken off was $4.99. I had only two coupons, too. This is why coupons stress me out.)

We ran out of crunchy peanut butter and I just grabbed a small container at Aldi, since I forgot to stock up when the larger containers were available.

  • Tyson Chicken Strips, frozen; 3.5lbs @ $13.99 – $2.50 coupon
  • Sweet Italian Sausage, 3lbs @ $7.99
  • Cocktail Peanuts, $1.99
  • Tuna, 4 cans @ $.99/ea
  • Tofu, $2.99 (BOGO)
  • Hummus, 2 10oz @ $3.99 (BOGO)
  • Hummus, singles @ FREE
  • Bush’s Cocina Latina beans, $1.69 (BOGO w/coupon)
  • Crunchy Peanut Butter, $1.39

Total: $35.49

produce and bread 09_03_17

Since I bought just the bagels this time, I decided to combine produce and bread. Everything is spread out on the table instead of on the stove, so it looks like a bit less fresh stuff. I do still have cabbage and carrots from the last trip, and actually just used up the last of the fresh broccoli and peppers last night. So I’m pretty confident that this should last us the next two weeks without a problem. This is all pretty typical stuff for us; my biggest ‘excitement’ was realizing that onions, romaine and the baby spinach were all cheaper at BJs than at Aldi. And the grape tomatoes from BJs are by far the best I’ve bought anywhere. Since these are a favorite snack of mine, I am happy to pay a little more for them.

  • Mushrooms, $1.29
  • Grape Tomatoes, $5.49
  • Celery, $1.39
  • Mini Cucumbers, $1.79
  • Seedless Watermelon, $2.99
  • Romaine Hearts, $1.99
  • Broccoli Crowns, $1.69
  • Pink Lady Apples, 3lbs @ $4.49
  • Strawberries, 2lbs @ $1.29/ea
  • Pineapple Chunks, $.99
  • Seedless Grapes, $1.98
  • Yellow Onions, 3lbs @ $1.49
  • Raisins, 4lbs @ $7.99
  • Baby Spinach, $3.69 -$1 store coupon
  • Bagels, $1.59

Total: $40.43

snacks & pantry 09_03_17

We could also call this the convenience and junk food category, I guess. Right now I am feeling unapologetic about the Diet Dr. Pepper as it really is a nice pick me up during the day and the cans are easy to take with me to school and/or my internship site. The peanut butter crackers and Nature Valley biscuits are similarly convenient for lunches/snacks on the go. Those almond butter biscuits are pretty amazing actually. After my baking spree this weekend I ran out of all-purpose flour and almost depleted my white sugar and canola oil supplies. Those and the coffee beans are pretty much essentials! I also bought a bag of white cheddar puffs at Aldi that somehow escaped getting in the photo.

  • French Roast Coffee Beans, 40oz @ $19.99 – $5 store coupon
  • KA All-Purpose Flour, 10lbs @ $6.49
  • Canola Oil, $1.89
  • Lance PB Crackers, 40 ct. @ $6.99 – $2 store coupon
  • NV Breakfast Biscuits, 30 ct. @ $12.99 – $3 store coupon
  • White Sugar, 4lbs @ $1.49
  • Org. White Cheddar Puffs @ $1.49
  • Diet Dr. Pepper, 4 12pks $5.29/ea (B2G2)
  • Sourdough Pretzels, $3.49 (BOGO)
  • Tax (on soda) @ $.75

Total: $56.15

This time the snacks were the highest expense category BUT these will mostly last through the whole month. I’ll probably need to buy more pretzels or something crunchy the next time I shop, but otherwise we’re set. I’m pretty consistently spending between $40 and $50 on produce every two weeks, which seems to be the right amount for us. I may grab a few bananas at some point mid-way through these two weeks but maybe not. Michael hasn’t been eating them as regularly as usual and I eat them only rarely. They are easy to freeze, but I have plenty in the freezer to use up, too. So maybe we just need a break from bananas!