Saturday, March 31, 2018

March Grocery Shopping - Week 4

March 31 Grocery Shopping

On Tuesday, when I went grocery shopping at two stores and stocked up, I didn't think I would go grocery shopping again, before the end of the month! 

But, one of the stores had advertised that their specials this week would include daughter's favorite brand of coffee on sale for $4.99/12 oz. package, if bought in multiples of two ($6.99 if bought singly; $9.99 regular price).  And, their strawberries were on sale for $1.25/1 lb.

So, since I had $20.50 leftover in the March grocery budget, I decided to buy some coffee for her and a container of strawberries for myself.  At first, I was going to buy only four packets of coffee, but then, I decided to splurge and get six, two of each flavor, and use $10 from my gifts/miscellaneous budget for the two additional packages.  The coffee has been put in the fridge until her next visit home.  

The coffee came to $29.94 and I spent a total of $31.19 for the six packages of coffee and container of strawberries.  

3/31 Receipt

The receipt tells me I spent $31.19 and I saved $32.74!  LOL!  I love it when the receipts tell me I "saved" $X, because I never look at it that way!  Simply because I most probably wouldn't have bought those items at full price!  I might have bought a single packet of coffee at full price if daughter was visiting this weekend, because we have come to the very end of the coffee I had bought for her, on an earlier sale.   She usually leaves two packages here and takes the rest back, with her; with any luck, I am able to buy more coffee on sale for her before her stock runs out!  She has tried buying other, less expensive brands of coffee, but doesn't like them as much.  So, she will pay full price for this particular brand of coffee, if she has to, which isn't that often, because I buy it on sale for her. 

So, in March, I have spent:

3/6 = $7
3/14 = $13.73
3/27 = $19.43 + $14.34 = $33.77

3/31 = $31.19 
Total = $85.69

March grocery budget = $75 + $10 from the gifts/miscellaneous budget = $85

I have gone over the budget by $.69, but I am not going to stress about that!  I will make up for it in April; my April grocery budget will be $75 - $.69 = $74.31.

While I was at the grocery store, I made a note of few of the prices.  This store is one of the major grocery stores here, part of a chain of supermarkets, not one of the no-frills/discount stores or an ethnic grocery store.  I shop at this store when they have good sales (like the coffee) and some other items like bread and milk, but not for a lot of my fresh produce.  If I shopped here for my produce, my grocery bills will be higher!

Grocery Item
Supermarket Grocery StoreNo Frills Grocery StoreEthnic Grocery StoreComments


 $.99 @

 3/$.99 = $.33@ (this week)


 I will buy from No Frills store

Apples (small); various types


 not advertised


Apples (large); various types



 $.49/lb (Golden Delicious)

 They always have one kind of large apples on sale, each week, but the variety changes from week to week; last week, it was Granny Smith apples on sale


 $.99 @






 n/a; usually $.69 or less

Green beans




Green bell pepper



 $.39/lb (last week)


 $.50 @


 3/$1 = $.34@

Broccoli Crowns 



 $.49/lb (last week)

Blackberries (6 oz)



 $.99 (last week)

 Strawberries (1 lb)



$2.99 (last week) 

I try to buy them at $.99/lb., but I will pay up to $1.50 if only for me; $2.99 only if I am buying for the almsgiving or rosary gathering. 

Obviously not an exhaustive list, but just to give an idea of prices and comparisons.  I could do a similar table for meat/fish, too, if anyone is interested.  Ham is on sale this week, with prices varying from $.99/lb.(full half ham, fully cooked, bone-in) to $1.49/lb. (spiral sliced, fully cooked; same brand as the $.99/lb ham.) to $2.49/lb. (spiral sliced, fully cooked, store brand) at the supermarket store.  The full half ham is $1.99/lb at the no frills store and the spiral sliced ham is $2.49/lb. (same brand of ham; the "no frills" store has the same parent company as the supermarket store).  Often, these special, seasonal items sell for more at the no frills store than at the supermarket!  One really has to study the prices; one can't assume that the no frills store will automatically be less expensive.

I am blessed that I have several stores in which to shop (there are more stores in my neighborhood, but these are the three stores I go to on a regular basis), a car, and I can drive myself to my grocery store of choice or all three if I wish to.  Not everyone has these options.  However, if I had to pick only one store because I have to rely on public transit, then, the no-frills store would be the most convenient (1 bus), although they didn't list a lot of specials in their sales ad this week; the other two stores would require taking two buses and transferring.  Doable, but not as convenient, especially on the weekends when the buses don't run as frequently.  

If I could only shop at the regular supermarket grocery store, then, I would buy what was on sale this week:  green beans and Brussels sprouts at $.99/lb. over the broccoli and asparagus at $1.99/lb., for example.  Apples at $.99/lb. (often 2-3 apples per lb) over a single mango for the same price.  And, I would have bought the strawberries (I had some after I came home and they were delicious!).

How did you do with your grocery shopping, this month?  Did you manage to stay within budget?  Did you go over?  Did you come under?

This is what happened when I tried to take the picture of my grocery shopping:

Coffee, Strawberries, and a Photo-bombing Dancer! 
I had to distract him with a broccoli leaf so I could take the other picture, at the top of this post!


  1. I'm afraid I went over my grocery budget by around 25%. Like yourself I saw offers that couldn't be ignored - even though I have ample stocks of food in my freezer and cupboards. I fear I will never get out of the habit of shopping for a family when there are now just two of us. It gets eaten of course and I never, ever waste food, always finding some way of using up leftovers or things nearing their eat-by date. My budget runs from 25th of the month as this is the date I get paid and when I do my main shop. I am already well into the 24 March-25 April budget. Overshopping - it's my biggest failing.

    1. Eloise, sometimes, going over the budget just happens! Especially easy to do this past month, with preparations for Easter, and so forth. Sometimes, those deals are too good to pass up on and as long as there are enough funds to enable us to go over, occasionally, it should be alright. But, if it happens regularly, then, it might be time to review the budget and see if it needs to be increased. Do you carry over any amounts (deficits/surpluses) into next month's budget or do you start each monthly cycle with the same amount?

  2. I blew it again. I wrote out a comment and then hit the wrong button and my message disappeared.

    I was saying that it was a stroke of luck that the coffee went on sale when you had a surplus in your budget. I also shop for the loss leaders for the week, but I do not enjoy going to more than one or two stores in a day. I pick the one that has the best overall sales on items from my list and I nearly always buy my eggs and dairy from the drug store. If the grocery store I am in has a better deal, then of course I will buy it there. If I know that broccoli is cheaper at a third store, I will not buy it at all. I might plan my route into town for the next errand so that I can stop for it. Sometimes I make it in, sometimes not. Otherwise, I do without.

    Dancer takes great pride in his role as grocery inspector. He is just so darned efficient.

    1. Don't you hate it when your comments disappear? Happens to me, too, because I don't compose my comments elsewhere and then, copy and paste. Occasionally, if I remember to do so, I will copy my comment before pressing the "publish" button, so I have a copy if the comment doesn't go through.

      Yes, definitely a stroke of luck how the coffee sale happened when I had a surplus! I remember it went on sale last year and I went over budget when I purchased it, and then, dithered about how to account for it - carry it over into next month's grocery budget or use money from the gifts category of my budget. I think a lot of the comments said to pay for it with my gifts budget!

      It makes sense to shop at the store with the best overall deals for the week. Sometimes, our time and energy must also be taken into account, as well. There have been times when I've limited my shopping to the supermarket store, even though I knew it was more expensive, because it meant just one trip for that week and it wasn't worth my time and energy to run to another store to save $.50 on one or two items. I usually do two stores a week, either on the same day or on different days; very occasionally, 3 stores.

  3. Thanks for taking the time to prepare a price chart for those of us who live in other locations. Since so much of our food is imported from the USA, it gives me a chance to see the 'add ons' [currency exchange, transportation and tariffs whatever name they chose to use] which triple prices here.

    I've given up 'budgeting' groceries in the traditional sense since DH has taken over the task. I continue my biweekly meal planning although it has become so flexible it's nearly unrecognizable as to specific day of the week. I make up a list and abbreviate the featured store and he comes home with the stuff he likes. Some meals have been odd as a re adjustor substitute.

    In an effort to keep all your years of budget categories as accurate as possible, it seems DD might have a sub category in 'gifts,' or acknowledgement as you do with Alms activities.

    Totally off topic: With your plan retire later this year, I presume you've spoken to someone knowledgeable at HR [and confirm information with your accountant as you complete income tax this year for 2017] so that there is a smooth transition of medical/pharma benefits and you have a list of dates you are eligible for any retiree benefits. There is always an 'advance' application date, to allow agencies to process and make adjustments as legislation changes. It's best if HR confirm information in 'writing,' e-mail.
    While I understand your desire to retire having completed exactly 35 years service, I hope your counter considers any vacation days accrued and possible personal days, medical days credited if they are part of your specific contract.

    2nd. Will the office move make it more practical to use a different pharmacy? When you implement your plan to retire will you choose a different pharmacy? You might check what others think of services of specific outlets.

    Some states give discounts in municipal tax to retirees. Many retailers and entertainment venues likewise offer discounts. If you ever use library services, they have AARP newsletters and magazines that offer up tp date articles. They are likely available for free with electronic service from wherever you keep our computer.

    Best wishes, stay healthy

    1. You are welcome, Hon; I like to see price comparison charts, myself. Makes it easier to see the differences, I think.

      Sounds like it's a mixed blessing that husband has taken over the grocery shopping! :D

      Good suggestion to have a line item in my budget for DD - I used to have her as one of my categories until she graduated, then I took her off. But, maybe I'll put her back on! Then, I'll be able to splurge on her without worrying about how to account for that expense!

      As for retirement plans - thank you for all the points you've raised and suggestions. I am making a note of them so I'll know what questions to ask! I have registered to attend a seminar, next weekend. It will be run by our HR and that will be my first step to find out what is available in terms of benefits, what I qualify for, and so forth. If necessary, I can sign up for a repeat session (I tend to get overwhelmed if I have too much information to process at one time!) Eventually, I will meet with a retirement specialist, still with HR; it will be at this meeting, that I will submit my official retirement notice (there will be a bunch of forms I will need to fill out to bring to this meeting and copies of all sorts of documents!)

      No, the office move will only make it more practical to stay with my current pharmacy. But that might change when I retire as I will have a different insurance plan, when I retire.

      Thank you for the well wishes, Hon. Hope you are keeping well, too. Happy Easter to you and your loved ones.

  4. I do the same thing with coffee for hubby but like you could not see myself actually paying the full price. This doesn't' work very well for anyone on a really tight budget.

    Glad you have several stores that are close to shop from.

    Looking forward to hearing about your planned retirement, especially the medical part. Not many companies provide medical when you retire nowadays. A reason many work until at least 65 in order to qualify for Medicare.

    1. You are right, Sandy; stocking up to take advantage of sales can be very difficult on a really tight budget. These special sales that require multiple buys to qualify for the sale price penalizes those who can't afford to do so. What does one do in that situation? Cut back on something else in order to afford the items on sale? Pass up on the sale items and settle for something else?

      I will find out more about the retirement benefits that are available when I attend the retirement seminar. I'll have a lot to consider, I'm sure!


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