Tuesday, January 3, 2017

December Month End Shopping Update

I wasn't sure exactly what had gone on this month so I went back to see what I spent for the month.  It seems that I failed at keeping track but did pretty well at the budget.  It was good that I spent money on the credit card because I was hunting for receipts because I hadn't even taken them out of my bag or what I bought.  Luckily, I found the receipts and the pictures of the items.  I used the last day of the month to go to a few stores and spend the rest of the budget for the month and get things that we needed for the upcoming month...even though I haven't finished a menu plan for January.

There were some freebies at Harris Teeter through the month and I got a few other great deals.  My sister in law brought me a bunch of eggs that she wasn't going to use before going on vacation and it worked out to around 3 dozen eggs which I quickly used.  My mom did buy some stuff at the store when she went to get some things for herself including my husband's special treat of Coke so that was a nice Christmas present and no money out of our pocket.  My parents also bought me a 25 lb bag of bread flour and tweleve 5 lb bags of Wegman's flour for my Christmas present.  My parents also left three bananas when they left so that I could make banana bread out of them.  I brought some apple slices home from our school party so that they didn't go bad and I put them in the blender with the rest of the applesauce in the pantry to make some applesauce bread and freeze the extras.  I got 4 single batch and one double batch of applesauce measured in the freezer to use for future loaves of applesauce bread.  I used the turkey to make turkey stock from the bones and some frozen veggies which made soup for the family and the rest went into containers in the freezer.  Great freebies that helped us stock up on things in the freezer!!

Here is what I got for the month of December and the amount that I spent at each store.  The bottom of the

Harris Teeter $25.09 + $12.19 - $6.44= $30.84

I did two check outs and then there was an issue with the price on the popcorn so I got one free and bunch of money credited back.  Amazing prices but a splurge on the New Years Eve steak treat!!!

Harris Teeter $12.28

I got some freebies on the sprinkles, trios, rev wraps and batteries.  Lots of other great deals lead to a really low out of pocket total.

Aldi $18.59- $8.19= $10.40

I got the popcorn as a gift for my father because I would never spend that much money on popcorn for myself although the flavors sounded great.  I went back and returned it because my dad said that he couldn't eat it because of dental work. 

Giant $3.06

We were totally out of ketchup and I priced it out at three stores before getting this one but super expensive when they aren't on sale and it seems that I need to get more of it because my son eats it at least once a week!!  UGH!

Harris Teeter $30.75

The tea was a gift for my mother and the rest was to stock up on supplies.  It was amazing pricing and let me get bread flour for cheaper then regular flour.

Aldi $5.71

I was out of crackers and celery and we needed lemons for making pies for the holidays so this was a little bit of a splurge because we certainly didn't need lemon pie but it is my favorite.

Aldi $10.52

I went for baking powder because we were totally out and powdered sugar to make Christmas icing.  I got the two bags of chicken because I thought we could use them.  Super glad that I did because we are already into both of them...although I found an already open bag of popcorn chicken when I was cleaning out of the freezer.  Ooops!!!

Harris Teeter $5.89

$0.27 Jiffy corn bread, $0.99 lettuce, $0.87 margarine, and $0.50 Puffs were the bargains that I got.  I also got a free yogurt and free goodness bar (not pictured because I might have eaten it right away...those are amazing and free is a great price).

Aldi $20.33 

We were out of white rice and spreadable butter so I grabbed those first.  I decided to stock up with the remaining money left in the year on our chicken so that should last us awhile.  I always say so that I don't have to go back to Aldi for awhile but that never works out for me!!

Harris Teeter $26.78

I went to the store without the right coupons this morning!!! UGH!!  I went home and bought three coupons for the Cheez-Its from Kelloggs Family Rewards.  I went to the other Harris Teeter and then the sale on the Cheez-Its actually got better!!  They were buy two and get three free so I used three coupons and ended up paying $1.40 per box (one of my coupons that I thought expired today was already expired...boo!)  The Cranberry Grape was on sale half off for $2.89.  Angel Soft was $3.07 after coupons and sale for 9 rolls ($0.34 each).  The Bounty Paper Towel was $9.97 for 12 rolls ($0.83 each) which should last us over the next two years.  The Can't Believe It's Not Butter was on sale and there were coupons for I got them for $0.60 each.  The soup was $0.30 each.  I got the Coke Life for free so that we can try them.


Total Retail $380.69
Total Savings $224.13
Total OOP $156.56

Non-Grocery Shopping Trips

Kohls $3.58 + $9.00= $12.58

I got a Christmas present, birthday gift and a Christmas gift for next year for my sister in law (not pictured). 

Target $14.10 (got another gift card back for a return about $9)

Between my husband and I, we got $160 of Target gift cards from work.  We bought this load of stuff before the holidays and went back after the holidays to get a few clearance items that will be gifts for next year.  We also bought the plates, napkins, and cups for my son's birthday party half off because they were red!!!  I stocked up on some cranberry juice with an awesome cartwheel.  My mother got us a pan which we returned and bought a less expensive one so there was a little more money to spent.  My husband volunteered the remaining money to be a clearance toy for my son so we aren't counting this into groceries because it was so many other things like gifts and toys but I don't have pictures of everything that we got!


  1. You did great! I bought a bag of popcorn chicken from Aldi before the holidays because they were out of the chicken nuggets and while my son and I prefer the nuggets, my daughter has been enjoying the popcorn chicken for her lunch. I wouldn't have bought it if I didn't see it on your menu regularly!

    Does your son only eat Heinz ketchup? I buy the $0.89 ketchup from Aldi and no one seems to have issues with it.

    Also I make my own baking powder. I think you and I might have already talked about it before so I won't rehash the recipe but if you're interested, let me know.

    Laughing at your Christmas present being a bunch of flour. Leave it to you to ask for this, hahaha. Great idea :) The kids gave Greg 6 boxes of Grape Nuts, his favorite cereal, and I think it was a great gift since they didn't know what to get him (if I do say so myself since I had suggested they give him ONE box but they bested me! Now I don't have to bake it for a while, woohoo!).

    1. I prefer the nuggets and the chicken fries but my husband likes the popcorn chicken much better. I toss it in melted butter, hot sauce and blue cheese and make buffalo chicken which makes him happy and it is super easy.

      Funny thing about the ketchup is that I am sure that my son would eat any ketchup but it is the one thing that my husband and I both prefer Heinz (disliking hunts greatly but having never tried Aldi). My husband didn't want to try something different so we all had a family discussion over dinner and opted for the very expensive and not on sale ketchup instead of trying Aldi :)

      I was going to start to make my own baking soda but it needs cream of tartar which I find to be way more expensive then just buying baking powder. If I could find a way to make it cheap and easy, you know that I would be all over it. I might have also asked for baking powder for Christmas (hehe) and my parents bought it at Sam's Club so I should be set for a few months. When you live frugally, all these gifts are acceptable and appreciated!!! I loved my flour and I am sure Greg loved his grape nuts!! We appreciate a lot more then we used to that is for sure :)

  2. You certainly did great with your grocery shopping! Practical gifts are the best, aren't they? I rather like the idea of several bags of flour or boxes of a favorite cereal as a gift! :)

    1. One Christmas my husband (then boyfriend) bought me salad dressing and he was so excited about giving it to me because it was my favorite and only sold in NY and we lived in VA. It was a wonderful and thoughtful gift and it meant the world to me. Anything that is from the heart is always the best!!

  3. I appreciate your efforts to eat frugally and it is working for you. I wanted to learn some tips as we have a huge food budget, living in Canada and a family or six. Plus we are paleo which is definitely more expensive. I certainly don't mean to be offensive but are you concerned about the healthfulness of these foods on your family longterm?

    1. I had to think a lot before answering your question but the answer is no. There is balance in every menu plan and I think that we have a pretty balanced menu. The items that I buy are often stocked up at one time and one month of purchasing doesn't reflect what we are eating. I make most of our food from scratch including breads, cookies, quick breads, broths, spaghetti sauce, brown sugar, and most meals. We buy lots of other items and freeze them to use later so that they are at their freshest. Once a week we eat chicken and french fries at home which is our splurge meal since we don't eat out and my son's favorite night of the week. I find that almost every meal cooked at home is healthier then meals eaten in a restaurant or fast food. Every family makes their own choices but I am not sure what saving money has to do with healthfulness. I spend $9 on paper towels instead of $20 means that I have more money for my other things. I buy in season and on sale to get the best value and save money to do what's best for my family. We eat healthy well rounded meals like the salad that I had for lunch with my homemade dressing and croutons which was super yummy or the sandwich that my husband had with homemade rolls and seasoned oyster crackers. We eat well and frugally and I hope the same for every family!!

  4. yes, thank you for your reply. it makes sense, and my review of only your december post perhaps misled my assumptions. I think in terms of saving money its inspiring. We spend $2300 a month Canadian on food, we eat 90% organic, eat home grown produce thoughout the summer and winter (i even blanch and freeze the weeds in our yard...nettle and lambs quarters, they are super good and free!), eat pastured raised meats, lamb, beef, pork and turkey bought by the side or whole animal. buy grassfed organic dairy and butter. We eat only minimal processed food such as organic tortilla chips...or pork rinds (my treat...not organic) or packaged yogurt (I usually make our yogurt). I make all our meals at home, but don't use any flour or grain products, refined sugar (except in our homemade cider made from free apples and plums) and no legumes, and only coconut, olive, lard or butter for cooking (with some brain octane oil for coffee/cooking). i also buy some supplements and vitamins for the family. I find I am spending a huge portion of our monthly budget on these healthy foods and while I am glad for it both for taste and healthiness I am constantly looking for ways to reduce the budget, perhaps raising our own animals is next but not sure of the economics there either yet. I wont buy conventional meat or chicken and we go without a lot of things because they are expensive, often times we don't have bacon and we do buy some conventional pork gluten free sausages as they are reasonably priced. I feel the benefits of the healthy diet (our moods and happiness are through the roof compared with before), and we are not willing to go back to a diet more reliant on grains,legumes and processed food. We don't even buy cheese very much any more. However, the cost!! i know the states is cheaper but our costs are very high and so i constantly look out for tips to reduce it. I appreciate your message very much.

    1. We are certainly not eating organic food most of the times but whatever happens to be on sale which is sometimes organic but mostly not. We eat mainly chicken and ground beef because those are the two cheapest meats and we like them. The month that whole chickens were on sale for $0.69 per pound, I bought 16 chickens. When the boneless chicken is $1.99 or under, I stock up. My husband tries to tell people that coupon and sale shopping is drastically different then how normally people shop but we are used to it now. There was a recent sale on cheese raviolis and I bought 10-15 bags which we will eat over the next 6-12 months. I got four rolls of sausage free so I will cook some of that up and freeze it so that we can make sausage lasagna and sausage pizza over the next few months. Most of the things I buy in a month last for 6-12 months. I think that this same idea applies to everyone that if you have a little flexibility in your budget, you buy the things that are on sale and then you will have more flexibility in later months get lots of other items. That is my biggest tip to anyone because there are always seasons to get things cheaper and save them for later. We love banana bread and applesauce bread and I get bananas and apples when they are cheap to stock the freezer so that they are always on hand which is an easy tip and saves us lots of money. Also making chicken broth, spaghetti sauce and more from scratch. Sounds like you are doing what works best for your family and wish you all the best with cutting that budget!!


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