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Grocery Spending Tracking

July 14th, 2019 at 05:53 pm

There were not really any good sales again this week, so I stocked up on some things that I've let run low and got some things we have been wanting to try (namely Larabars) and bought some items that are never on sale.

I also bought the ingredients to make homemade strawberry ice cream and homemade chocolate ice cream. Both came out well, though the chocolate almost is more of a frozen mousse/pudding consistency, but it is so good. The strawberry has a little more ice crystals in it than when I made the vanilla, but that's from the strawberries, it does that.

I really love these no machine ice cream recipes. If anyone wants them I can give you the links to the lady's youtube videos on it in the comments. The chocolate and strawberry take more time than the vanilla because there are more ingredients and you have to do a little bit more with them, but still, it took me about 15 minutes to do them one after the other. The longest parts were pureeing the strawberries and sifting the cocoa powder. Vanilla takes five minutes.

My first stop was at Winco where I spent $97.13 and bought:

2 loaves of Naked bread
4 Larabars (banana nut, peanut butter chocolate chip, cashew cookie, and cookie dough)
1 head lettuce
2 red bell peppers
2 orange bell peppers
1 bag of spinach
1 bag Mexican blend cheese
1 bag cheddar cheese
2 Walla Walla sweet onions
2 limes
2 ground chicken (never on sale)
1 turkey chub (for salads)
2 20 count bags hamburger patties
4 strawberry lemonade
1 lemonade
1 gallon distilled water (for C-pap machines)
24 cans of green beans

Then we went to Safeway and spent $188.52 and picked up:

1 box of ice cream cones (no soy, ya'all!)
2 bags of potato chips
1 jar Cheez Whiz (for my daughter, comfort food)
1 1/2 gallon milk
2 pork shoulder roasts
3 pounds of breakfast sausage (for breakfast burritos)
6 packages uncured soppresata
6 packages uncured pepperoni
1 package Canadian bacon
1 package turkey sticks (no soy)
1 package beef sticks (no soy)
3 pounds of grass feed beef
4 ears of corn
1 bag garlic croutons
2.35 pounds of red cherries
1 pound sliced cheddar (deli)
1 pound turkey (deli)
2 pound roast beef (deli)
1 pound honey ham (deli)

At Haggen I spent $41.41 and bought:

1 package soy free mini chocolate chips
2 pounds of strawberries
2 organic sweetened condensed milk
2 pints of real cream (bottle deposit of $4.00 that I'll get back when I return them)
7 bottles of organic ketchup (stock up)

Total spending was $327.06 out out of a $400 two week budget.

Grocery Spending Tracking

June 29th, 2019 at 05:52 pm

Yesterday was my two week grocery shopping trip. We hit 4 stores, Trader Joe's, Costco, Fred Meyer, and Haggen. I did not buy a lot of meat, some sausages at Costco and some ribeyes for Independence Day at FM. We have a lot of chicken and beef in the freezer from the big sales at the end of May and beginning of June so are good on that for a long while yet.

All totaled I spent $391.08 out of a $400 two week grocery budget. I do have money left from the last pay period, which is good, because I still have to buy milk and lemonade. I did not go to the store that has the milk we like because they were replacing the sidewalks yesterday and traffic is bad enough on that road when nothing is going on. We will run up there this evening and pick up milk, which will be an additional $4.99, but then I will still have about $50 left for bread and milk if we run out before next payday.

We have enough potatoes for the month so I won't need to buy any more of those next pay period.

In addition to grocery I spent $63.87 out of the $75 household budget, to get 1 container of dish washing soap, 1 mega container of dishwasher soap, 1 bottle of body wash, and 2 mega packs of Charmin toilet paper. A spendy day, but everything planned for and within budget.

At Trader Joe's I spent $88.32 and I bought:

1 pack string cheese
3 packages of frozen roasted potatoes with peppers
5 boxes of maple pecan granola cereal
2 boxes frozen mac and cheese
1 box frozen fish nuggets
2 packages pecan bits and pieces (extra for the cereal)
5 lbs of russet potatoes
12 lbs of Yukon gold potatoes
2 packages hot dog buns
1 package hamburger buns
4 dozen tortillas
2 English cucumbers
1 iceberg lettuce

My leaf lettuce in the garden has started to turn bitter and the head lettuce has another week before I can harvest one. Otherwise I wouldn't buy lettuce.

At Costco I spent $196.63 on groceries and bought:

1 box organic blackberries
1 box organic blueberries
1 2-pack sharp white cheddar shreds
2 2-packs avocado spray oil
1 container of pure maple syrup
3 packages of Kerrygold butter
1 10 pound bag organic sugar
1 container cashews
1 wedge Parmesan cheese
1 wedge Romano cheese
3 12 piece sausage packs
2 24 count organic eggs

At Fred Meyers I didn't get much but spent $54.36 and purchased:

20 pounds of ice
2 family packs of crackers (forgot them at Costco)
6 big ribeye steaks ($5.99/lb)

At Haggen I just got a few things and paid $51.77.

1 loaf Naked potato bread
2 packages Fearless Franks (uncured)
3 pounds red cherries
1 flat local organic strawberries
3.5 lbs of organic sweet yellow onions

It was a good shopping trip and I was happy on the price of most items.

Quick Fill in Grocery Trip and Little Errands

June 7th, 2019 at 06:59 pm

We did a running around errands trip today, plus a few grocery items. We started out at Office Max where I spent $23.35 out of the household budget for a ten pack of Post-it notes, plus some colored Post-it flags for marking book pages. I use post it notes for just about everything.

The flags I needed to mark the pages in a recipe book. DH found the Pressure Oven Cookbook at MIL's house last night, but it is a totally unorganized book. Nothing is sorted into categories and it isn't in alphabetical order or anything. So I am going through and marking anything I want to make and each category gets its own color.

Chicken will be red, beef will be blue, pork will be orange, lamb will be purple, veggies will be green, deserts will be blue, and casseroles will be pink. Then at least I can know what pages to check. I may put a corresponding dot next to each dish in the table of contents, too. On the bright side there are only about 10 recipes out of 126 that don't appeal to me.

After Office Max we went to Dollar Tree where I spent $6.35 and got:

6 foil baking pans (2 pk)
2 bottles of a clean pizza sauce to try
1 place mat (son eats at his desk on a place mat and his old one was falling apart)

Then we swung over to Spice Hut to get some ground white pepper, but they were out. I left my name and number for them to call me when they have it back in stock. It can be hard to find white peppercorns.

Then I did a quick fill-in trip to the food co-op and spent $65.37 there. Not all of that as grocery, some was household.

For grocery I got:

6 ct duck eggs
12 ct pastured chicken eggs
1 loaf of Avenue French bread
1 loaf of Naked potato bread
4 Japanese sweet potatoes
1 big box (with 4 little ones) of local strawberries
1 lb of Belgioioso American Grana cheese (a type of Parmesan that is extra long aged

So that part was $49.64.

Then I got 2 bottles of liquid African black soap in the pump bottles (unscented) for $17.37 out of the household budget.

After that we swung into the Walgreens on that side of town to pick up glasses cleaning wipes because our store was out. I only spent $1.95 because I had $10 worth of points that I cashed in.

Finally, I went so Safeway because they had boneless skinless chicken thighs on sale for $1.99/lb. I spent $45.92 there to stock up on some more cheap chicken.

I got 6 value packs of the chicken
1 5 lb pack of cut watermelon

I may go back tomorrow and get another 6 packs. I have $50 or $60 left in the grocery budget. I'm not sure. I'd have to look. Payday is a week away so I may need to leave some money for milk and more bread.

Anyway, a lot of errands, but I got a lot of the little things done that I've been putting off.

Massive Grocery Shop Plus Some Food Rambling

May 4th, 2019 at 02:56 pm

I went and did the two week grocery shop, but I also stocked up on a lot of chicken. I went to four stores in one day and boy is my body telling me I overdid it today. Although it might also have to do with some weeding last night.

Safeway has boneless skinless thighs (and breasts) on sale for $2.99 a pound in my area. I was going to get some bone in skin on chicken elsewhere for 88 cents a pound, but they were all out of it and didn't have more in the back, which was annoying.

It is cheaper to do it myself, but my hands are bugging me and I didn't want to deal with pulling skins off and working the bone out while keeping the most meat possible intact. Since $2.99 is my buy price for boneless/skinless chicken thighs, I bought 8 of them. They were around 4 pounds each. So today we will haul out the Food Saver and divide them up into 8 piece packages and take most of them out to the deep freezer in the garage.

My first stop was Trader Joe's and I spent $96.51. I bought:

2 boxes maple pecan granola cereal
1 chive and onion cream cheese
4 frozen chicken fettuccine Alfredo
4 frozen mac and cheese dinners
2 bags flour tortillas
1 box fish nuggets
3 bags garlic naan bread
1 box peanut butter granola bars
1 bag (of six) large hamburger buns (no soy!)
2 packs Co-Jack cheese sticks
1 4 lb bag organic gold potatoes
1 5 lb bag organic russet potatoes
4 boxes chocolate truffle bars (no soy!)
1 organic Caesar salad kit (they were out of plain romaine)
1 bag organic baby spinach

Our next stop was Fred Meyer were I spent $50.47. I bought:

2 Simply Strawberry lemonades (digital coupon)
2 Simply lemonades (digital coupon)
4 boxes organic fettuccine noodles (cheaper than normal ones on sale)
2 bags English muffins
2 bunches organic green onions
2 organic red onions
6 organic yellow onions
1 bunch organic bananas
4 containers Pringles (on sale 2 for $3)
4 organic lemons
2 organic limes
1 large container cubed watermelon

Then we hustled across the street to Whole Foods where I bought only 4 items, but the meat was expensive. I spent $41.37 and I bought:

1/2 pound of uncured pepperoni
1 pound of uncured sopresatta
1 box organic strawberries
4 strawberry mochi

After that we went to Safeway and spent $145.16 and bought:

4 boxes of organic spaghetti noodles
1 box of organic lasagna noodles
1 big bag of ice
1 1/2 gallon of milk
1 package organic white cheddar cheese slices
1 box of Vital Farms pastured eggs
1 10 count box of cupcakes
8 packages of boneless skinless chicken thighs
2 pounds of wild cod (on sale for $5/lb)
1 pound of Dietz and Watson deli roast beef
1 pound of Dietz and Waston deli homestyle roasted turkey

The total on groceries spent is $333.51. That leaves me with $66.49 in the grocery budget for next week if I need to pick up milk, tortillas, or more deli meat.

I should not have to buy any more noodles for a couple of months as the noodle cupboard is fully stocked. I also don't need to buy any spaghetti sauce for a few months as I finished stocking that up the previous pay period. We eat pasta once a week, because it is fast and easy in the Instant Pot. I have learned how to do penné, bow ties, rotini, spaghetti, and fettuccine all in the Instant Pot and have been pretty pleased with the results.

I like having a three month supply of everything in the house in case of emergency situations. Then of course my extended pantry for six months of food which got us through those 10 months of unemployment a while back. My ultimate goal is a year's supply, but that takes a lot of time to build.

I need to make up a big batch of meatballs again for the freezer and then it will be even easier to just pour and dump the whole thing. I have to get DS to shred the parmesan and romano for me, though. That is the hardest part for my hands. We like it at powder consistency, otherwise I'd use the food processor or salad shooter, but the little cheese mill is all we have for it.

I am thinking about getting an electric cheese mill, but it is around $100. We do eat a lot of powdered cheese, though, and the only way to get it without the anti-caking agents is to do it ourselves. So it might be worth it. I haven't spent the majority of my allowance in ages so there is quite a bit built up in the allowance envelope. Also we have $100 from MIL that we could use to buy it from our anniversary in March. We hadn't figured out what we wanted, though I was thinking about an electric flatbread press for making tortillas and pita bread easier. I need to watch more videos of people using them and see if they are really worth the price. Does anyone here use one?

A Bunch of Gardening and a Chicken Meat Sale

April 20th, 2019 at 10:57 pm

So last weekend DS and I planted 250 onion plants, turned the compost bin, and topped off 3 garden beds with finished compost.

Today we worked on pulling Morning Glory, which involved digging down two feet in the beds in some cases just to get at the root system. I despise this stuff and I still have great disgust for the neighbor who planted it and allowed it to invade at least six other properties. It has invaded 3 of the raised beds and it is going to be a major pain to dig it all out, but we have to. If we leave it in it will take over any vegetables we plant.

After that I pulled the old strawberry plants out of two of the strawberry beds. I will be planting a tomato in each one and then cucumbers in one and gold rush zucchini in the other. I still have one more strawberry bed to pull.

I did buy 24 new strawberry plants, 12 Sweet Sunrise and 12 Seaside. Both are supposed to be very sweet. Anything will beat the varieties I am pulling, which are Quinalt and Tri-Star. Those are big berries, but they are not very sweet at all. I think they were bred to be stable in shipping, not to taste good. If they are good I will allow them to make runners and propagate new plants. I wasn't going to plant any this year, because I didn't want to take up bed space.

I won't be planting them in the third strawberry bed, but instead we are going to put down 3 or 4 pallets and then put the wading pool we had for the ducks on top of it and use that to grow the strawberries, that way it will be high enough for me to harvest without having to get down on the ground. DH will drill some holes in it. It already has a few small one inch cracks in the bottom, but it needs more drainage than that.

First the weeds in the area need to be pulled. We already pulled about 3 wheelbarrow loads today. It looks so much better already. I think I am going to have to pull everything out of the herb bed. It is one that has Morning Glory in it and a ton of grass. Plus I need to take out the Echinacea and divide it. Also I want to harvest some of the root for making tinctures.

We did pick a quart jar of dandelion flowers which I dehydrated. It is easier to pull the petals out when it is dehydrated. I am then going to use those petals to make dandelion jelly, which if you have never had it, tastes like a lighter version of honey. All you do is make a tea by pouring boiling water over the petals, strain it, add the proper amounts of sugar and pectin, and make the jelly. Much easier than fruit jelly. It is very good and is one of my favorite jellies. So that is on the agenda for later this week, probably when it is raining.

Tomorrow I hope to at least get through the one bed with the Morning Glory. We'll have to get DH to help, too. It's a big job for just two people to muddle through. I'd like to get it done this weekend and the other two done within the next week. May will be here before we know it and I will need to use those beds to plant the warmer weather veggies, especially since I am growing peppers this year.

I just feel a real urgency to grow, can, and freeze as much of my own produce as possible this year. I am expecting grocery prices to skyrocket because of all the flooding and the loss of farm animals in the middle states.

Speaking of skyrocketing grocery prices, I am doing my best to take advantage of meat sales right now, so I can put the meat in food saver bags and freeze for future use. Winco had chicken on sale, both legs and thighs, for 98 cents a pound. I bought 4 packs of thighs and 1 pack of legs. The thighs had 10 pieces in each pack, so I was able to divide them up into 5 bags of 8 thighs, and then the legs had 12 pieces, so I just did one bag for that. Usually I need 8 legs for dinner, but when I go to use this one, I will take four of the legs to make I really hearty chicken meat stock.

Chicken was the only meat I was really low on, so I was quite happy to see this sale. I may go back and get another 5 packs. I wanted to get 10, but didn't have the fridge space to store it until I could get it divided and frozen. But under $25 for 6 meals worth of chicken, plus what will be 4 quarts of chicken broth and some meat for wraps or sandwiches, is hard to beat.

I just really wish wings would go on sale. I still remember when you could buy wings for 29 cents a pound, but now they are ridiculously priced for what used to be considered an item only good for making soup. I blame the BBQ chicken wing industry for the increase in price. I will just have to make BBQ chicken legs when I am craving wings instead.

Keep On Keeping On

April 4th, 2019 at 04:51 pm

DH had to pick up some pure maple syrup at Costco last night, so that cost $11.59. That seems to have gone down a good bit since the last time we bought syrup. I think it was around $15 last time, so that was a nice surprise.

The last two days were kind of painful. I think it was the storm. I am sensitive to changes in barometric pressure. I swell up when rainstorms come in. I also get headaches. It's weird. But the sun is back out today and also last night was my second shot of Enbrel and my joints are feeling better again, except my left hip, which is out and my chiropractor is on vacation. He won't be back until the 10th.

It is possible that I may be someone who has to take two shots of Enbrel a week, but I imagine it is too soon to tell. But the joint flare could also have been the medicine wearing off. I don't know. It's too soon to tell on that as well. No nausea or vomiting with this second shot, but I took some Zantac last night to try to prevent it, and it seems like it did.

Tomorrow we have another rain storm coming in, so if my joints hurt again, then I'll assume it was the pressure and not the medicine wearing off, since I just took the shot.

I have been maintaining my weight loss, but have not been very good at losing anymore. I haven't really been trying this week, but I need to get my act together, because I still have a lot to lose. We are going to get our gym membership signed up for this weekend and I can get back in the pool again. I am going to take it easy and only walk in the pool to start, not try to swim laps or use the water weights. I need to build up my stamina. Then maybe after a week or so, I might take a class.

They have Aqua Zumba one day a week and water aerobics the rest of the week days and Saturday. I will start with Aqua Zumba as it is easier on the joints and more fun. I will have to get up earlier for the water aerobics if I decide to start that, but Aqua Zumba is at 10:30. They do have two night time water aerobics classes if I just can't get up early enough. But they are at 6 p.m. and I imagine quite crowded at that time of day.

DS will be using the work out machines and weights while I am in the pool. He isn't really keen on water aerobics, though he did enjoy them when he was younger. I think he is self-conscious to be in a pool full of women, even if most of them are middle aged to old age.

I don't really know if DH or DD will use the membership or not. DD says she will to use the pool, but she is never able to get up, so I don't see it really happening unless she changes her sleeping schedule. I'm not going to drive there twice a day. It is a bad traffic situation later in the day and hard to get in and out.

I think I am going to have to accelerate savings for the computer fund. My computer keeps restarting itself. Every day, sometimes twice a day and it is getting super annoying. It keeps saying my computer has an error and has to shut down. Ugh. I am going to try a few things to see if I can't find the error, but it may not be salvageable.

This computer has quite a few things wrong with it that they never seemed to be able to fix 100% and now it no longer has a service contract, so I just can't see throwing money at it when I can throw money at a new one. I am not sure I will get a laptop this time, though. I think I may just get a desktop instead. We'll see. With my current phone, I don't really need a laptop to take with me anymore. I only write at home these days.

Although I do like taking the laptop into the bathroom while I am taking a long bath and playing a movie, so there's that. I guess I'll figure that out once I have the money saved up. I want to save instead of 18 months same as cash, but will do that if this thing goes belly up before the money is ready.

Quick Grocery Trip and New Drug Regimen Begins

March 28th, 2019 at 11:41 pm

I had to spend DH for milk and ice. He spent $7.99. Yes, I know I can make my own ice. I don't. It's one of the luxuries I allow, since I have trouble cracking ice cube trays with my RA.

Speaking of my RA, I started Enbrel last night. It's a pen type injector. I was really nervous, but it was simple. It hurt a little when the needle went in, but far less than a regular shot. The medicine itself did not hurt.

It's not supposed to take effect for a month, but some people have had it take effect immediately. I think I am one of those people, because I slept all night on one side. Usually I wake up a couple times a night to switch sides because of the pain. I'm not saying I am pain free, because I am not, but it was easier to get out of bed this morning than any time in recent memory.

I did have one side effect, though. I threw up this morning out of nowhere. I was perfectly fine, then ate a string cheese, and 30 seconds later got all the signs I was going to throw up and then did. There was a lot of bile, but fortunately I had drunk a lot of water, so it wasn't as nasty as it could have been. Vomiting is a side effect of the drug, as it has been with almost every RA drug I have tried. However, I've been fine the rest of the day.

Also I had more energy today than I have had in ages. I am still a little sick, but I had enough energy to do two loads of dishes and 4 loads of laundry. I have not had the energy to do that since I was on steroids for that really bad sinus infection. I also made dinner, including slicing an onion. Some days I can't cut things up. This was not one of those days.

So I am cautiously optimistic. We will see. Even if I still hurt, if I am not tired all the time that will be a drastic improvement. I am used to living in pain. Having the energy to get through a day is worth more to me than being pain free. But hopefully that pain will get better each day with this drug. And I won't get any of the scary bad side effects.