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Grocery Geek: What We Spent in January

Want a peek into our grocery cart? Here’s how I’m grocery shopping and feeding eight people a healthy, mostly whole foods diet on the cheap.

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Grocery Geek: What We Spent in January

The Pantry Challenge is always a time of introspection for me, when it comes to grocery shopping, meal planning, and budgeting. I rethink purchases I made in the past that were hard to use up. I critique my meal planning process. I analyze our budget, knowing that the pantry challenge helps me offset my occasional overspending during crazy months.

One of the interesting take-aways is how optimistic I can be in my shopping. You know when you see something and you’re sure you can work magic with it once you cart it home?

Consider that ginormous can of garbanzo beans I bought a few years ago. A few years ago. Let that sink in. Also ginormous. I mean, seriously, it was like 6 pounds. I finally opened it this past week and then had to divide it and freeze most of it because who really uses 6 pounds of garbanzo beans in one week? I kept putting off dealing with those beans for years when it really would have been better to open that can as soon as I brought it home. 

The month of eating down the pantry went by quickly, aided by the plague of 2017. We didn’t completely empty our stores, so we will continue the process until I can thaw the freezer. My daily posts are at an end, but you can continue chatting about the PC here.

Here’s how the grocery shopping went down this first month of 2017:

Grocery Geek

Grocer Geek is my regular report of how I shopped for groceries, what deals I found, and my running total of how we’re sticking to a budget for groceries.

Here’s the rundown on my shopping this week. As you read, keep in mind who and how I’m shopping:

My grocery shopping profile

To update you on my grocery geekiness:Grocery Geek: What We Spent in January

  • I’m feeding eight people, ages 53, 44, 19, 16, 14, 12, 10, and 8. Five of those people are males. They eat A LOT!
  • I’m shooting for a budget of $1200, per the USDA food cost reports the last time I added up for people of our demographics. I live in Southern California where produce is cheap, but meat and dairy are not.
  • I’m trying to feed us mostly unprocessed foods, with a few “healthier” convenience items thrown in and a junk food splurge* here and there.
  • I work at home and teach five of our kids, so I don’t have as much time for fiddling in the kitchen as I would like.
  • I no longer use coupons on a regular basis, though I do love the coupons that Ralphs offers.
  • I have at least ten grocery stores within 5.5 miles of my house. It is easy (for better or for worse) to stop at several stores to get the best deals.
  • We mostly eat at home. My husband and college age son often pack lunch and breakfast to work, but sometime have lunch out. My husband and I enjoy a date once a week. FishPapa takes one child out to “dinner with dad” once a week. We eat out as a family on average once a week.
  • BEFORE YOU JUDGE ME FOR EXTRAVAGANCE, please read this post.

What we spent in January:

Grocery Geek: What We Spent in January

Costco

  • milk $4.89
  • dried plums $8.69
  • romaine (6 heads) $2.99
  • big bag of baby carrots $4.79
  • organic eggs $6.49
  • minus returning the bad mochi from last month

Total spent $30

Sprouts

  • mushrooms $3.49
  • pears $0.98/lb
  • cilantro $0.50
  • eggplant 3/$1
  • green AND red bell peppers 2/$1
  • hot house cucumbers $1.50
  • organic broccoli $0.98/lb
  • organic apples $0.98/lb
  • pink grapefruit 2/$1
  • roma tomatoes $0.88/lb
  • serrano peppers $1.49/lb
  • XL avocados $1.99
  • bananas $0.69/lb
  • sparkling water $1.10

Total spent $42

Ralphs

  • tomato sauce $0.79
  • tomato paste $0.89

Total spent $5

Sprouts

  • mushrooms $3.49
  • cucumbers 2/$1
  • ginger root $2.99/lb
  • kiwi fruit $2.50/lb
  • limes 4/$1
  • organic baby spinach $5.00
  • organic broccoli $0.98/lb
  • organic granny smith 3# bags  $4.99
  • organic fuji apples $0.98/lb
  • pink grapefruit 2/$1
  • red bell peppers 2/$1

Total spent $43

Ralphs

  • orange juice $1.99
  • milk $2.99
  • sour cream $2.99
  • potatoes $3.99
  • lemons $3.99
  • eggs on clearance $2.49
  • clearance bread $2.29
  • minus $5 off order

Total spent $30

Costco

  • milk $4.89
  • eggs $6.49
  • olive oil $11.99
  • avocado oil $9.49
  • bread $4.59
  • sourdough bread $3.69
  • Tillamook cheddar $8.99
  • ham $8.35
  • Greek yogurt $6.39
  • cream $9.89
  • salt $2.79
  • butter $9.99
  • minus $99 rebate check

Total spent $8

Grocery Geek: What We Spent in January

Sprouts

  • carrots $0.77/lb
  • potatoes $2.49/5#
  • mushrooms $3.49/lb
  • cilantro $0.50/bunch
  • green bell peppers $1.00/3
  • green onions $0.50/bunch
  • opal apples $0.88/lb
  • pink grapefruit $1.00/3
  • XL avocados $1.66
  • bananas $0.69/lb
  • onions $1.00/2 lb
  • chips $1.99
  • buttermilk $2.69
  • salami $5.34/8 oz.

Total spent $32

Grocery Geek: What We Spent in January

ALDI

  • eggs $0.54
  • milk $2.40/gallon
  • organic cayenne pepper $1.99
  • quick cooking barley $1.69
  • sliced sourdough $2.29
  • 30 ct corn tortillas $1.39
  • soft taco size tortillas $2.15
  • organic gala apples $3.99/3lb
  • kiwi $3.89/2 lb

Total spent $24

Ralphs

  • organic celery $1.99
  • romaine lettuce $0.99
  • sourdough on clearance $0.99 to $2.49
  • orange juice $2.50
  • strip steaks $3.99/lb
  • bag of lemons $3.99
  • minus $5 coupon on meat purchase

Total spent $27

Walmart

  • hot dog buns $2.78
  • hamburger buns $2.78

Total spent $6

Ralphs

This shop was not typical of the previous Pantry Challenge shops. The items with an asterisk* were items that were a stock-up price, so I went ahead and got several of each.

  • sparkling water $3.29
  • whipping cream $4.99
  • frozen vegetables $0.88 to $1.00*
  • Starbucks coffee $4.99 (limit 2)*
  • refried beans FREE with coupon
  • frozen shredded potatoes $2.49 (when you buy 6)*
  • fruit snacks for snack day $1.49 on clearance
  • Daisy cottage cheese $2.49 (wyb6)*
  • Daisy sour cream $1.79 (wyb6)*
  • canned beans $0.99 (wyb6)*
  • canned petite tomatoes $0.99  (wyb6)
  • 2# baby carrots $1.99
  • mushrooms $0.79 on clearance
  • poblano chiles $1.69/lb
  • English cucumber $1.99
  • cilantro $0.69
  • romaine $0.99
  • blueberries $0.99
  • broccoli and carrots $1.49 on clearance
  • broccoli crowns $1.69/lb
  • scallions $0.99
  • grape tomatoes $0.99
  • jalapeno peppers $0.99/lb
  • bananas $0.69/lb
  • 10# bag potatoes $2.99
  • avocado 2/$1
  • power bar FREE with coupon
  • whole wheat bread $3.59
  • kettlecorn for snack day FREE with coupon
  • pork shoulder $1.49/lb*
  • pepperoni $$1.49 to $2.49 after coupons and wyb6 discount*
  • horseradish $2.69
  • conversation hearts 3/$1

Total spent $109

Total grocery spending for January $356

I am thrilled with this great start to our year. Although the most recent USDA Food Cost report (November 2016) states that a “thrifty” family of our makeup can expect to spend $1310.10 each month to eat all meals at home, I’m going to try to keep that number to $1200 or below. I’m doing some strategizing and will be sharing my thoughts on this in the next day or two.

With this budget in mind, I’m thrilled that our January spending was so low. We ended up “saving” over $800 by using up what we had instead of hitting our budget limit.

How was YOUR grocery shopping this month?

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Comments

  1. Great job on your total for the challenge! You did a fantastic job, considering the crud factor!! I don’t know if I could have stuck to it with all of that going on.
    My total was $34!! Obviously I had way to much food and this month has taught me that I really don’t need to continue my bargain hunting like I was.
    My fridge and pantry look really empty at the moment. My freezers are showing white space but there is still plenty of meat and frozen veggies that need to be used up before I buy more no matter what the price!
    I will be shopping this weekend for February and hope to keep this month under $150. I plan to buy what I need for my menu plan and no extras.
    Thank you for hosting the Pantry Challenge again. I really enjoyed it and learned alot from you and everyone else!

    • Wow! Only $34. That’s great!

      • Thanks Roberta!
        Like my post says we obviously had way to much food in this house!!
        I will be continuing the Pantry Challenge and will really try to buy only what we need for the meal plan until I can get the old stuff out of here.
        You did a great job as well!

  2. I’m always impressed by your shopping prowess, Jessica. I’m really looking forward to the time that Sprouts opens near us (this spring/summer–woo-hoo!).

    We did pretty well this PC (thanks, again, for hosting). We spent a total of $148.68, which is about 67% lower than our 2016 monthly average. I’ll be continuing with the PC into February, although I will have to stock up on a few essentials that we used up during January. I have one salmon fillet, one pound of ground beef, one pound of ground turkey, and some packs of frozen pulled pork in the freezers (plus beans, lentils, and eggs), so we’re still in pretty good shape in terms of proteins. Depending on the sales, I may or may not buy any more meat/poultry during Feb. Our garden is starting to produce, so we may even get by with fewer produce purchases, and our hens are starting to lay again. I see frittatas and omelettes in our future. 🙂

    • How do you freeze eggs?

      • Ooops, sorry. That wasn’t clear. The beans and lentils are in the pantry, and the eggs are in the fridge, not the freezer. They’re all just part of our protein stockpile.

        I have, however, heard that eggs can be frozen, but I’ve never tried it. Maybe some of the other contributors can weigh in on the matter.

        • I’ve frozen eggs raw but beaten (like in quiches) but not whole in the shell. Cooked eggs in things like breakfast burritos also work well.

      • You can freeze eggs several ways. If you are going to use them for a specific purpose (maybe a cake) you can freeze the # of eggs you use for the cake together. I usually freeze mine individually though. I crack each egg into a silicone muffin pan and beat it up slightly with a fork. When they are frozen I pop them out and put them in a freezer bag. They sometimes get a little thick and gloppy so I don’t use them for egg breakfasts but they are just fine for anything that will be beaten. We have our own chickens and I use the frozen eggs for my baking during the winter when my girls aren’t laying many. Hope this helps.

  3. I spent around $140 this month, less than half of what I usually spend. I wish it could have been less, but we all had the crud the week before and after Christmas, and we had a depleted refrigerator when the PC began.
    We will keep on keeping on with the PC. We have way too much in the freezer outside!
    Our garage refrigerator died last week. Luckily, it was all but empty. ( I wanted to yell HAHA at it, as the last one that died was full and we didn’t find it in time. What a waste that was.) I am not sure we will replace this one. I am thinking that the lack of extra space will diminish spending temptations.
    Thanks for hosting us Jessica! I look forward to it every year.

  4. Heather M says:

    Pantry Challenge was a big success in our house. We ate out/did take out a little less than usual (we go in spurts of “being good” and mostly eating at home and then doing a little more takeout/dining out). That’s a separate category in book, too. I’m not very good at tracking our spending all year. Something I should be better at. Maybe this year I will be. I didn’t include our seltzer/diet coke/san pellegrino in the spending total, because it’s practically a different budget category in our house. I also don’t include other household items in this (like paper towels, cleaning supplies, etc). But in terms of food, we spent a grand total of $211. For us that’s incredibly good. And I had to restock a few things, like mustard (what??). But we also have been eating down the fridge/freezer because of it almost being dead and we’re getting a new one any minute. I normally can’t have the protein supply be SO low, but it is and it will make the new fridge process easier to deal with! Very pleased with how it went.

    Also, Jessica, I’m super impressed with how low you kept your spending this month, with 8 mouths to feed! Great job!! I’ll be hanging out over on the pantry chatter at least until we get the new fridge. Hope to see people there. 🙂

    • Laurie in CA says:

      Heather, is the old chatter page from last summer still active? If so, can you give me the link, I don’t have it anymore.

      • Heather M says:

        Jessica has set up a new one. The link is at the beginning of this post in her chit chat before the grocery lists. 🙂

    • Heather, we also go in rounds of being “good” and eating at home, and then doing a bit more eating out. I’ve found it tends to revolve around how my “work life” is going! If work is stressful with super long days then I find that our eating out habit comes creeping back up! Over the past 6 months I’ve really worked at balancing out my job so that it doesn’t impact my home life! Not easy, though!

      We also don’t count our “fizzy drink” consumption as part of our food budget, as it deserves its own category in our house as well! Sometimes I think it can get a bit out of hand!! But, we all have our vices! Mine is Diet Pepsi and Orange San Pellegrino!!! We don’t count household goods either, as they are mostly ordered through Amazon subscribe and save.

      • Heather M says:

        Sarah, so glad to hear we aren’t the only ones with the fizzy drink thing! 🙂 I’m impressed you’ve been working so hard at balancing work-home. Depending on career/job, that can be a trick. Great work being more mindful of balancing. Frankly, when life is crazy, takeout/eating out can be a relief.

  5. Laurie in CA says:

    Wow Jessica, that is an incredible total! Especially when you consider how many meals are served out of your house a month. This whole group of ladies are very inspirational. We have so much to be grateful for and being better stewards of our available resources is huge. There is a BBC series that is available on YouTube called Wartime Farm https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CUsU5s0ofYo. It’s about how England was rationed and had to be very resourceful to provide food on the table during the World War II. I highly recommend watching it.

    Day 31
    B – macadamia nuts and half an apple for me, I was out of the house early so I don’t know what hubs had for breakfast or lunch. I know he ate at home and we had plenty for him to chose from.
    L – l/o chicken tenders and roasted veg soup for me
    D – stew in the crockpot, crackers for hubs

  6. Cleaning out the fridge today..caved and fed the last of the rice and the last of the soup to the animals. They deserve a treat too. Used up the last of the chicken I fried earlier to make chicken enchilada casserole. One of my favorite casseroles to make out of bits and dabs. Thawed out chicken stock and tomato sauce from the freezer. Cooked an onion some carrots and garlic. Added the chicken stock and tomato sauce and after pureeing with my stick blender I stirred in some leftover white gravy mix to thicken. It will make good lunches this week with grilled cheese sandwiches. Will cut the ends off my two loaves of homemade bread and cube it to make stuffing when I finally bake that turkey tomorrow. There’s squash in the garage to cook for pie. The crust and some cranberries will come out of the freezer. I will refreeze the turkey neck in a package in preparation of the crabbing trip we will get to take this fall with all the money I plan to save by continuing my pantry challenge. Woohoo! Groceries for January totalled 148.88. Planning for 50$ a week we are already seeing some$ saved to go towards the vacation fund

  7. Day 31
    B: Banana bread, oranges
    L: Hamburgers, French fries
    D: Chili, drop biscuits

    I can tell I am learning from the Pantry Challenges. The first couple of times I participated my cupboards were still full at the end. This year the fridge, freezer and pantry are all nearly empty. I have learned that there are some items, which we rarely use and to only buy 1 at time. The box of jumbo pasta shells for example that took us 2 years to use. The box of pizza sauce I finally threw out when it expired after languishing in the cupboards is another. I still need to work on my meal planning processes. I know I could trim another $50 a month off the budget if I did a better job.

    This year we saved enough during the pantry challenge to pay for about half of the cost of my crown at the dentist this month. The PC was definitely a win for us.

  8. Stephanie M. says:

    Tuesday:

    B – I skipped breakfast

    L – Roast turkey sandwich

    D – Roast turkey sandwich again; hubby away on business trip so I didn’t want to cook. LOL

    My challenge went very well. I was able to empty my freezer of all of the odds and ends, the cooked leftovers, most of the bags of frozen veggies, all of the breakfast items, various breads and rolls and nuts, most of the Christmas cookies, some home made slices of cake, all of the snacks in the house, and most of the meat and fish. I have very little left in the meat/fish drawer. I did go do a little food shopping over the weekend just to buy 2 packages of chicken and some snacks for the pantry. Other than that, we are definitely NOT on overload around here.

    I’m afraid what I spent this month doesn’t look anything like any of yours. I budget $800.00 per month on grocery shopping; this is not only for food but for toiletries, etc. Normally, I do spend that much. This month though, I kept it to $400.00. While I know that seems so high compared to everyone elses bill, the way I handled my challenge was to buy what I needed to make meals with what I had in the freezer. I’m not very good as substituting things as a rule. So if I needed sour cream or a certain veggie or starch or whatever I needed, I went and bought it and was able to cook the meal the way I wanted with the meat I had. This money was also spent on staples like bread, produce, toiletries, eggs, etc. But at the end of the day, I still did not spend the usual amount that I normally do and I got rid of most of the meat in my freezer along with so much more, so I am happy! 🙂

    • A 50% savings is still a win!

    • Great job Stephanie!
      Everyone makes their own rules in this challenge and 50% is awesome!
      We started this challenge with way to much food! A friend of my DIL had a farm stand and we bought alot of veggies from her this summer plus we had a huge garden. Our veggie supply of corn, green beans, asparagus and tomatoes and peppers is over the top! It will probably last till June.
      I am determined to stop buying sale items when I already am blessed with so much food!

    • Danielle L Zecher says:

      I like your idea of using what’s in the freezer as a starting point. I think that works better for me too. I’ve learned that if I just throw something together that we don’t really like, we just won’t eat it. That’s the downside of living so close to everything, I guess, temptation is right there.

      I think you did good to cut your spending in half.

      • Stephanie M. says:

        I would rather spend the money buying what I need to make a meal from the meat I have in the freezer so that we eat it and like it. Trying to substitute things using only what I have and ending up not liking the meal and throwing it out because we’re not going to eat it isn’t saving money. That’s how I ran my challenge and by spending what I did, we ate the meals we like and I still got rid of most of it.

  9. I spent more than I wanted to, although $75 still isn’t bad. Then again, I was reimbursed about $100 more per diem for last week’s business trip than what I actually used, and that is a food allowance, so did I really spend anything at all? Hmmm.

    I guess you could say it was a win, in that we were really careful and did not buy anything that was not a necessity. The pantry doors – known as kitchen cabinets – can actually close now. I can see what is in there and used up some very aging items. The freezer, unfortunately, did not see the same progress. Grrrr. I know I kept taking stuff out, and yet it is still crammed full. I’m honestly a bit annoyed about that. So yes, we shall carry on!

  10. Tuesday 1/31

    Breakfast – Banana nut muffins

    Lunch – Chicken salad sandwiches

    Dinner – Baked chicken thighs, potato salad & baked beans

    I am really surprise how little I spent this month but thinking since we had the yuck the first week and a half, even though we ate it was some thing quick or from the freezer along with we used a $20 gift card from Christmas our total out of pocket for January was $33.93. Don’t think we have ever had a month that low and will probably never happen again but Wahoo that was so exciting. I will be running to pick up a few things that we need in the next couple days but figuring we can still get by with what we have for now.
    I will definitely be continuing on with the PC to use up what is still in the freezer and pantry. I learned this past year how little we really need to get through a week so will continue to only buy what is needed or what we are out of, when I see it is on sale not pick it up only because it is on sale.

    • Stephanie M. says:

      I can’t even imagine how anyone can spend so little in a month. I wish I knew the secret. If I buy several yogurts, some eggs, some bread and some produce, I’m already past that amount. How do you do it? I must be doing something really wrong here. 🙁 Recently, Paul and I went to Walmart to stock up on cleaning supplies – this is something I’ve never done before, normally I buy cleaning supplies/dishwashing detergent/laundry detergent, etc. as I need them and I buy them in the grocery store. But I got some coupons on line and we went. We spent $108.00 just on that and that was not put into my monthly spending. The good news is that I won’t need that kind of stuff for a while now.

      • Sorry thought I attached my response but didn’t

      • Also, remember all the great dinners you fixed for numerous people. That definitely makes a big difference. We have the family in a couple times a year but its usually cook outs or Christmas Eve so thinking that helps make a difference in your food budget. My other response is second one down.

        • Stephanie M. says:

          I’m sure that’s part of it. I really do enjoy having friends and family over for dinner. In fact, next Saturday, February 11 is our annual Valentine’s dinner party. It’s always the same people, 8 of them and us 2 so 10 of us all together. But it gives me so much joy to do this and I can never do anything simple. So these things can get a bit expensive. And I always give out favors – that’s just my thing.

          • Stephanie, It is wonderful what you do and I’m sure your friends enjoy it more or as much as you do. So feeding 10 and feeding 2 for Valentine’s a big difference! Actually, you are the perfect hostess. I have my friends or family in and we have Pizza and wine. lol

          • Stephanie M. says:

            Thank you so much, Mona. I will let you in on all the details in the next couple of days. I’m always excited when I have one of these things and I can’t wait to share it with you. But for now, I have to go and pick up my little grandson from pre school. 🙂 Talk to you on the chatter page tomorrow morning. 🙂

          • Stephanie–I remember reading about your parties in last year’s challenge and they were awesome to read about!
            We don’t do much entertaining these days! Even with my adult children and their families my house is too small. Their houses are all big enough for all of us to fit so we go to their houses and bring alot of food or contribute money if they provide it.

          • Stephanie M. says:

            Oh Pat, that’s so nice of you to say!!! Having people over for dinner or bbqs is just something I love to do. And decorating the dinner table is a hobby and passion of mine. I will post all the details of this party in the next day or two. I was actually quite busy this morning starting to get things ready for it. The party is next Saturday night and I don’t like waiting for the last minute to do what I can get done ahead of time.

      • Danielle L Zecher says:

        Your parties do sound fabulous. 🙂 I spend a fair amount of money on feeding people too, and I think it’s worth it. I’m pretty sure everyone has their “thing” (or more than one) that they spend more than average on. I think for you (and me) that’s feeding other people. It’s not a bad thing. It makes you happy, and it makes the people around you happy. I had the opportunity to take Thanksgiving Dinner to the hospice house there last year. Hubby’s grandmother died there earlier in the year, and they were awesome. It meant we spent more on Thanksgiving, but we both thought it was worth it. Hubby had to work, and it made me really happy to do it. It sounds like your parties make you feel the same way.

        As far as what you’re spending on bread, produce, etc. do you think that might be where you live, or where you shop? I know for me, some of the prices different blogs list for what they pay for certain items is very different (sometimes more, sometimes less) than what I pay, but we live in different states. If you have an Aldi near you, you may want to check them out for things like bread and produce.

        • Stephanie M. says:

          It sounds like we have some things in common, Danielle. I am happiest when I’m feeding someone. And when we have one our parties or BBQs, everyone knows to stop eating the day before. LOL It is so nice what you did on Thanksgiving. We are planning on doing something similar next year.

          We live in central New Jersey (the tri state area) and there is no mercy on the high prices of everything here. I go shopping at a store called Shop Rite which is the most popular store here because of their variety of products and the lower prices. That’s about as good as it gets around here. We have no Aldi at least not anywhere around here. It is so expensive to live here. We both grew up here an have been here all of our lives so high prices is all we know. I think our state has the highest rate of car insurance. Just between the two of us we pay $2700.00 per year. I’m not sure how that compares to where you live. But because the cost of living is so high here, we are never outraged when we go on vacation at the prices of hotels or restaurants. It’s just what we’re used to.

  11. You and me both Mona! Great job!
    I too only plan to buy what we truly need to get meals on the table.

    • Great job to you too Pat! It is such a good feeling even if it only happens this one time to have been able to eat well and still have $$$. Hope to hear from you on the continuing PC.

  12. Wow are there some really low totals out there for PC! Great successes all around. We wrapped up January with
    Day 31
    B – muffins and cut fruit ( the oranges we picked up in FL in Dec aren’t that great so using them in fruit salad)
    L – used the last of the dough to make pepperoni rolls (last of pepperoni & sliced mozzarella), made a batch of pizza sauce (4 containers for freezer, the rest used for dipping pepperoni rolls)
    D – scalloped potatoes w/ham & spinach (LO HB ham from Christmas)
    S – peanuts & chocolate
    Dessert – we shared a small bag of chocolate covered blueberries
    In town to see CPA, hubs on his hunt for original bbq Fritos, unsuccessfully, I found a marked down package of bone in chicken breast for $4.83 for my last purchase for January.
    So, my grand total for PC is $273.72 – normal monthly budget is $400 (which we often went over & never counted SAMs if we went). It’s not as good as I would’ve liked, our freezer is still full, but my pantry is well organized as is the refrigerator. Something the PC total contained that isn’t normal is my trip that allowed shopping at places I don’t normally get to like Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods and the military commissary – that total was $113.02. I got some good deals and pantry items so it helps in the long run: Annie’s products for .32 & .69, 16oz Muir glen organic tomatoes for .49, organic canned beans, tube tomato paste and more.
    I have decided to continue the challenge and to track my spending this year. I have time right now, no guarantees once garden season arrives though! I checked the USDA chart for us and we are below their $330 individual monthly total (the family total is about $371, we fall into different age groups). I had thought I’d go with $250 but after talking with hubs, we are going to go with $300 per month. We are contemplating joining Costco but I’m concerned it will make me spend more. It’s just over an hour drive so still thinking about it.
    See y’all on the 2017 PC page!
    Melissa in GA

  13. Stephanie, I don’t know how we did it this month! And I don’t remember either of us complaining! lol I actually did look for more grocery receipts and was surprised that we only went twice this month. I think because I usually get most of my medicines, cleaning, paper and laundry supplies from Sam’s (I usually have a big grocery bill when we go there but every thing last the two of us a long time so most things I stock up for the year) along with this month both of us being sick we didn’t use up much in the line of food even though we still ate our energy level didn’t let us feel like getting off the couch to get any thing other than our meals. Our oldest daughter has chickens and that helps with the eggs unless I have something that I need them more than normal we are good with those, baking bread or like we did a lot of this month used up the crackers from Christmas saved us from having to have bread daily along with lots of cookies and things leftovers from the holiday kept us going. And as you know there is still things sitting in my freezer waiting to get eaten from a year + ago. We also learned over this past year to eat the leftovers or put them in the freezer for another week which really did save us a lot instead of letting them sit in the fridge until they turned ugly colors and then just throw them away. This has been such a great experience and I can’t thank you, Felicia and tastycook for always being there to continue this wild journey that saved us so much by not waiting until it turned ugly and throw it out. It is kind of odd to me too that I was able to be so “frugal”. And I have you all to thank you that. So Thank You for the wonderful journey we had and looking forward to the next one.

  14. What a great season of savings for everyone this Challenge! While I didn’t necessarily save as much money as I did last year, I also set different limits for myself this year. My goal was to only purchase dairy, bread and fresh veggies as necessary, ensuring that as much as possible from “home” was used up first. Overall, I achieved my goal. I had also hoped to empty the chest freezer, but I realized that was a bit of a pipe dream right now. It was super, super full when the Challenge started, and it’s only Hubs and I at home.

    I purchased meat only once, and at a very good price (my original goal was not to purchase any meat at all, but we use ground meat a fair bit and had completely run out at the time of the sale so I allowed a bit of flexibility for that.) I did buy deli meat, as we were completely out and hubs pretty much eats a ham sandwich daily, or for breakfast in an egg wrap.

    I came to realize as the month went on that it was ok to re-stock items from the fridge as needed and focus more on using the leftovers and items from my freezers. We were focusing on using up the frozen veggies, and while that was ok and was a good plan to use up some that had been in there for a while, we really came to learn that we prefer fresh produce for sides at meals. And that’s ok! Just wish it wasn’t so expensive this time of year!

    I planned out a full 4 weeks of meals at the beginning of the month and stuck to that plan pretty well. This week and into the next several weeks I will be planning meals specifically to use up the rest of the stored meal components in the fridge freezer (enchilada sauce, pizza sauce, pre-cooked chicken, etc)

    Overall we spent somewhere between $100 and $120 for the month. For me, that’s very good as I LOVE to grocery shop and that can lead to spending where it isn’t necessary. I’ve come to really value purchasing only what is needed, and now tend to plan my grocery shops once every 2-3 weeks, as opposed to the weekly shop I was doing for the last year. I don’t mind stopping after or before work if we run out of produce or milk either, and would rather quickly pop in for 2 or 3 items than commit to a weekly large shop. I drive past at least 5 or 6 grocery stores on my way to and from work each day, and we live only a few blocks from a large store, so it’s no hardship to pick up what we need.

    I will be continuing into February with the challenge as my freezers are still fairly full and there are some pantry items that I still want to use up (lentils, dried beans, etc) I’ve loved, loved, loved following along with all of you, and so look forward to continuing with you in the next month.

    • For January 31, here’s what we ate!

      Breakfast: Me just Coffee. Hubs cereal and milk

      Lunch: Hubs had leftover spaghetti, I took chicken gnocci soup but didn’t eat it. Snacked at work instead on samosas a staff member brought in (Home made, too!)

      Dinner: Cheeseburger Sloppy Joes with leftover meat from the freezer.

  15. I am so happy to read what you all did for the month. It sounds like so many goals were achieved. I am also happy that there is going to be a continuation of the PC. I am in on that. I know I have 30 meat pkgs. left and lots of pantry items that still need used. I have done well on using up fridge items and rotating out freezer containers. I have oodles of dessert possibilities left. I spent $ 142.53 for Jan. My goal had been $ 132.50 so I feel pretty good about the total. I would have made it but our Sprouts grand opening did me in. I love the sales on produce!
    31 st
    B. egg and 1/2 a bagel with cream cheese (only 2 bagels left)
    L. l/o roast, potatoes, carrots (all gone), cauliflower and gravy
    D. l/o soup and grilled ham and cheese sandwich plus cantalope
    S. crackers and cheese

  16. Cleaned out the small bits of leftovers yesterday. Some rice and some soup and fed them to the animals. Used leftover chicken and some other leftovers to make chicken enchilada casserole. We ate it yesterday and finished it up today. Baked potatoes were turned into hash browns we ate with fried eggs. Made a big kettle of tomato soup out of frozen chicken stock and homemade tomato sauce from last summers garden. Cut up that 12 pound turkey. Froze the neck for our crabbing trip to the coast. Put the leg quarters and the breasts in a pan to bake tomorrow with stuffing. I went to town this morning to see our tax preparer. Afterwards I stopped at the store was 29.00 for dog food and grain for the chickens. Milk bread and coffee also purchased. Total ,37.96. Doesn’t leave much from my 50$ weekly budget. Gonna be a lot of turkey meals in the next week

  17. Danielle L Zecher says:

    We didn’t use up nearly as much as I had hoped, so we’ll definitely be continuing through February.

    I don’t do the best job keeping track of what I spend on groceries in a month, so I don’t really have exact numbers, but I think it’s safe to say that I spent less than half (maybe even a quarter) of what I normally spend on groceries. I’m paid the last working day of the month, except in December when I’m paid the last working day before the Christmas holidays. The groceries are one of the things that always come out of my account. Please don’t judge, hubby and I have found that it works well for us to have separate checking accounts and be responsible for different things. I know it doesn’t sound great, but it truly works for us. Normally, my checking account balance is rally low the last week in January, but that wasn’t the case this year, so I think that’s a really good sign that we saved .

    I have also learned that I will never buy over 50 cans of tomatoes in one month, even if Harris Teeeter puts them on a sale that’s cheaper than Aldi.

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