Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Busy Tuesday and April Grocery Shopping Week 1

April 4 Groceries

I have had a busy day, today.  First, I returned the packages of fish and beef steak to the grocery store and they refunded me my money ($13.96).  So, yesterday's grocery spending of $36.20 has now been reduced to $22.24.

Then, I went to the ethnic grocery store and bought some fresh produce, a couple of healthier snacks than chips and chocolate (cashew nuts and dried cranberries), some shrimp and chicken.  Chicken leg quarters were $.49/lb.  I bought three leg quarters; I asked the butcher to cut each one into three pieces for me and he did.  It makes it easier for me to clean and cook them.

I bought:

1 bag (10 lb.) potatoes = $.99
1 papaya, @$.49/lb = $1.15
Chicken @$.49/lb = $1.47
Shrimp @$3.99/lb = $2.99
Raw cashews @$6.29/lb = $3.52 + $3.62
Apples @ 3 lb/$1.00 = $.47
Snow peas @$2.99/lb = $.27
Dried cranberries @$1.99/lb = $2.16
Green beans @$1.39/lb = $.71
1 cucumber = $.50
Onions @$.20/lb = $.29
Broccoli @$.49/lb = $.35
2 cans mackerel (15 oz); @$1.69 = $3.38 (cheaper than the store brand at the supermarket, which was $1.99 per can)

 I spent a total of $21.87 on groceries at the ethnic store.

April 4 Grocery Receipt

April Grocery Budget = $75 + $8.07 carried over from March = $83.07

Amount spent on 4/3 = $36.20 - $13.96 = $22.24
Amount spent on 4/4 = $21.87
Amount spent to date = $22.24 + $21.87 = $44.11
$83.07 - $44.11 = $38.96

Oh, but this is going to be an interesting month!  The first week isn't even over and I've spent over half the grocery budget!  Those chocolates, cookies, chips and ice cream I bought really added up!  Snack foods can be expensive!

After I came back from grocery shopping, I had brunch - pastrami sandwiches and a banana.   Then, I went to the animal shelter to drop off somethings I had collected for them.  On the way back, I stopped at the garden center and bought two bags of potting soil (bought the smaller bags than try to carry a big bag!) and some packets of vegetable seeds (green bush beans, okra, tomatoes) and a packet of cat grass seeds for Dancer.  I took a look at the vegetable seedlings, but they were rather expensive, I thought.

$3 each for tomato and pepper plants
I did find 6-packs of tiny tomato seedlings for $4.48; I might end up buying one if I can't find any in the dollar stores.  I didn't take a picture of that price tag because my attention was drawn to this:

Container Grown Tomatoes

It looks like there are 3 or 4 almost fully grown tomato plants in the planter and with a tomato cage!  Good for a patio garden, I suppose.  I loved the price!

Almost $16!

The smaller plants were more affordable, but one didn't get the planter or the cage:

Less Expensive Option
Well, I suppose if the small plants are 4 for $12, then, 3 or 4 almost fully grown plants in a planter with a tomato cage for $16 isn't too bad!  And yes, people were buying them!  I preferred to spend $1.59 on a packet of seeds.  If they grow, they grow.  If not, well, I'll continue to buy my tomatoes from the store for under $1 per pound.  They were $.79/lb. at the ethnic store, today and I didn't buy.  Starting tomorrow, they'll be $.49/lb. according to the sales ad and I might buy some.  I generally don't eat raw tomatoes, but add them to my curries and make chutney with them.  I spent $19.25 at the garden center, today, on 2 bags of potting soil and 4 packets of seeds. 

After I came home from the garden center, I had a cup of coffee.  Then, I picked a bagful of curry leaves and several lemons to give my friend, along with her food containers.  I also took her some carry out food containers, too, that I had washed and saved for her.  She has a very generous heart and is forever giving food to people, so the containers will come in handy.  When I took the curry leaves and containers over, my friend invited me to have some dinner.  At first I declined, since I had just had coffee.  But she insisted and started to serve me a plate, so I sat and ate dinner!  Rice, chicken curry, pork curry, bitter melon, cooked greens, and lentils.  Then, she served me more rice and curries in a container to bring home with me!  She was getting ready to serve a second container so I'd have enough for two days, but I insisted that one was enough.  She wasn't happy about that, so she took something else from her fridge and put that in the bag with the container of food!  It is something called "pittu" that is made with flour and coconut and steamed.  It is a little bit like cous cous in texture, and maybe eaten with curries or with sugar.  My daughter loves pittu, so I accepted it with a grateful heart and put it in the freezer for when daughter visits next. 

By the time I came home, it was 8:00 p.m.  I handwatered the front garden and watered the back garden with the sprinklers.  Then, I washed the dishes and wiped the kitchen counters.  I was wanting to cook the shrimp, but decided I had done enough for today.  I didn't want to overdo things and get too tired, especially since I am planning to go to the office, tomorrow.  I will cook the shrimp and chicken, tomorrow.

My cousin called me, today, while I was watering the front garden (I had my phone with me).  She called about something she wants to do but isn't sure if she's doing the right thing or not.  So we talked about it for awhile and I told her I will find out some information for her.  Eventually, I asked her if she got a ride to her uncle's birthday dinner, if her daughter was able to drive her.  She said her daughter had made other plans, but another cousin's husband was able to give her a ride.  I am glad she was able to find a ride.  That other cousin had called and left a message on my answering machine and I called her back in the evening, but I had to leave her a message in my turn.

I had texted another cousin (from the other side of my family), last night, to inquire how she is feeling (her mother had told me that cousin was having a sore throat and was on antibiotics).  She texted me back today, in reply, saying she still has a sore throat.

I also called another friend to check on her and she said she's feeling like she's coming down with something.  I guess it is still the flu season.

So, for those who are thinking about the balanced life goals - today, I said my daily prayers (spiritual), touched on the finances by spending mindfully at the grocery store and garden center, communicated with daughter (replied to her good morning text, emailed her pictures of the worm, spoke with her on the phone twice, and video chatted in the evening), communicated with cousins (family), visited with one friend and spoke on the phone with another, touched on the environment (dishes and watering the garden),  etc.  I didn't do much on the health segment, but I took my medications, etc.  I played a couple of games of solitaire on the computer (leisure), and I cuddled a kitty! 

Today, I am grateful for:
- The store accepted the return of the fish and meat without any questions and I received a refund.
- I was able to accomplish quite a lot today, without feeling tired!
- My friend giving me dinner plus enough for another meal!
- Phone calls and texts from my cousins and "water under the bridge" and so forth.
- Virtual hugs and kisses from my daughter. 

Tuesday's To Do List:
- Bring trash cans in - DONE
- Do the rest of the grocery shopping - DONE
- Cook the fish and beef Return fish and beef - DONE
- Drop-off at the animal shelter - DONE
- Water the garden - DONE
- Call to schedule a car service
- Buy potting soil - DONE
- Dishes - DONE
- Laundry
- Litter box - Will do after I post this
- Clear/dust bedside table/nightstand - DONE
- Pay bills (the one bill that is due later this week has already been paid; others not due yet)
- Take a bag of curry leaves to my friend and return her empty containers- DONE

Wednesday's To Do List:
- Go to the office
- Call to schedule a car service
- Laundry
- Clear the dining table
- Daily tasks (put away washed dishes, wash the day's dishes, litter box, etc.)

How was your day, today?  Have you done your first grocery shop for the month?  Have you ever spent more than half your month's grocery budget in the first week as I have?


  1. When I think about chicken leg quarters, I think about two pieces. How are they cut into three pieces? Seems like you'd be cutting bone.

    1. Yes, they would cut the thigh portion into two pieces, through the bone. One thigh is often too much for me and I find it too hard to cut it at home (I cut the meat and leave the bone in place, then, pull the meat out once cooked).

  2. How lovely that your friend offered you dinner. I think impromptu dinner guests are the best sometimes!

    1. It was very sweet of her. It seems one can't go to her house without being fed! She is forever cooking and giving people to eat!

  3. A splendid day with much accomplished and a good call on not cooking the shrimp.

    I sound like a broken record but truly when you post about the ethnic store and the bargains you get I am awe struck. The markup at the regular supermarket has to be huge.

    I was happy to see that your cousin called and in a roundabout way apologized. Glad you have family around you. You also have some truly kind good hearted

    I will do my weekly shop tomorrow. When I married hubby he was a college student and I worked to support us. Those were the days of a tight budget!! Now I pretty much am able to buy whatever I want. Because you are careful and spend wisely I think your budget will even out.

    Best wishes for a safe drive to work and home.


    1. Sandy, certain things cost more at the supermarket, certain things cost more at the ethnic market. If I want to buy a box of mac and cheese, for example, or a cake mix, I'll buy it at the supermarket, as those things are cheaper there. The ethnic store is good for fresh produce and well, ethnic foods! :D

      I have a lot of food in the house and I probably won't need to go grocery shopping this weekend, except for bread, bananas, and maybe eggs. Hope you have a good shopping trip, tomorrow. :)

  4. The sunshine you sent didn't arrive yet, lol. We had a cloudy day and as the temperature never got below freezing last night, there wasn't much sap today. But we are going to bottle about 13 or 14 litres of syrup tonight from what has already been boiled. We are forecast a lot of rain, and I wish we could divert some to you as there will be people dealing with flooded basements here. We are fortunate in that we are sitting on about 150ft sand (ancient lake bed), so that really helps to soak away the rain.

    Next time forget about sending the sun and send your friend who loves to cook and give away delicious food!


    1. Ha, ha, Bushlady, I wish I could send my friend, but her husband and daughter might object! Besides, we need her here to keep us fed! :D I'll send more warmth and sunshine, instead - it was 85F here, today!

  5. What a kind friend. I hope you enjoyed your lunch, it's nice to have something cooked for you.

    I usually buy a couple of tomato plants but won't bother this year as we will be away for a few weeks in the van and I don't have anybody to water them.

    Glad your family managed to get a lift to the party. xx

    1. She is, indeed, a very kind friend. And an excellent cook! I had what she gave me for my dinner, and there's still more for tomorrow's dinner, as well. I might end up buying a few plants, just because it's easier. Oh, sounds like you are planning to have a fun summer! Good for you!

  6. The pictures of the plants are interesting and I look forward to seeing more of your garden, and I'm glad you had a good call with your cousin, but you know what hit me? You paid 99cents for 10lb of potatoes! I would pay around £5 for that, even on a decentish deal. According to an online calculator, thats over six times what you would pay! Wow! This is why I love seeing the groceries, it's like an education in world economics. x

    1. I forgot to take a picture of the bag of potatoes. But, yes, every so often, the 10 lb. bags of potatoes will go on sale for $.99, especially at the ethnic stores. The loose potatoes that you can pick and choose individually were on sale for $.25/lb. Regular price for them seems to be $.69/lb. at the ethnic store. The big baking potatoes are usually around $.99/lb at the regular supermarket. Last time the potatoes went on sale for $.99/10 lb. I didn't buy because I wasn't sure if I'd be able to eat them all before they spoiled. But this time, I decided I'll plant them in buckets, as had been suggested by Sharon in a comment on an earlier post, if they start to sprout before I can eat them all!

  7. You certainly WERE busy. You got so much accomplished today. You did really well with your shopping. Do you find the prices on fruits and vegetables to be much better at the Ethnic stores than the grocery stores? They seem excellent to me. I read the other post about finding extra protein in your fish, but I couldn't comment at the time. I think that would have put me off meat for quite a while. But I agree with you. We probably eat more than we know. I just don't want to know about, thank you very much. Ignorance is bliss.

    1. Susan, yes, ignorance is bliss, sometimes! :D

      I do find the prices on fresh produce to be better at the ethnic stores compared to the regular grocery store. However, quality of the produce may vary! The quality at this particular ethnic store is pretty good as things are constantly being restocked. There is, also, a wider selection of fresh produce at this ethnic store. Most grocery stores will have one type of egg plant - the regular, large ones. This ethnic store has about 3 varieties - the regular, large ones, the Indian egg plants which are long and thin, the much smaller spotted ones which are actually about the size of a very large egg, and so forth. Then they have items one rarely sees in the mainstream grocery stores - long beans, fava beans, bitter melon, etc.

  8. That's interesting about cutting chicken thigh quarters into 3 pieces ... never heard of doing that and have never seen it done. Am always learning something new and interesting from you.

    1. Carolyn, these leg quarters include the drumstick, thigh, and a piece of the back bone. If I separate the pieces myself, I cut them at the joints into three pieces. When I get the butcher to cut them, they just separate the drumstick at the joint, but cut the thigh close to the back bone piece but not necessarily at the joint. I don't know if I'm explaining it clearly. I'll take pictures the next time. But I end up with three pieces of chicken!

  9. You have had a really busy day and accomplished alot. Good grocery finds.
    Like everyone else, who has posted, I had never heard of cutting the leg/thigh into 3 pieces.. What a great idea.

    1. Thanks, Judy. So, when you buy a leg quarter, do you then separate the drumstick and leave the rest of it as one piece? With the backbone part attached to the thigh?

  10. Ah so the world didn't end because you didn't attend the party! (I'm sure I would have read about it in the papers at the time, if it had!) Your neighbour sounds so kind and generous, giving you all that food. It reminds me of certain friends, here and in Japan, who would always load me up before I went home from a visit. Just like my Mum, too!

    1. No, the world didn't end! Amazing, isn't it? LOL. My mother, too, would cook extra if anyone was coming over, so she could send food home with them! :)


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