Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Productive Tuesday/March Grocery Shopping Week 3

I stayed up late, last night.  It was 2:30 a.m. when I went to bed.  I was ambitious and set the alarm for 8:00 a.m.!  But, when it went off at 8:00 a.m., I turned it off and slept again.  I was dreaming that I was being shown the preserved body of Moses (somehow, I knew it was Moses; I have no idea why I was dreaming of Moses!), when the telephone rang.  It was just a few minutes after 8:00 a.m., and it was my cousin P.  I thought she was calling to tell me that something had happened, a medical emergency or a death in the family.  But, no, she was calling to ask me if I had a fax machine.  No, I don't.  I have a printer which can make photocopies (and scan, according to daughter - it is her printer, actually, and I rarely use it), but that is all.  Cousin asked if I had been sleeping and I said yes; she apologized for waking me up and told me to go back to sleep.  I guess she forgot that I told her I wasn't going to work, today.  Anyway, I didn't want to fall asleep again, so I woke up and had a cup of tea.

I checked my emails and replied to blog comments.  Then, I decided I will at least get started on some of the paperwork:

- I had received a bill in yesterday's mail from one of my medical providers - it was for a copay for an office visit in December 2017, when I had met my deductible for copays for the year and wasn't required to pay a copay.  I had received a letter stating so from my insurance company, and, although the letter said they had sent notifications to my health care providers, I had also taken it upon myself to make photocopies and hand one to each doctor/clinic I went to during the rest of the year.  I know I gave a copy of the letter to the front office of this particular doctor, but, apparently, it never got to the billing office.  So, this morning, I called their billing office and they claimed they didn't have a copy of the notification.  Then, I called the insurance and gave them the information and they said they will contact the medical provider's billing office and take care of it.

- Then, I paid the gas bill ($214.53) and the municipal services bill (water/electricity/sewer/trash collection services; $197.37).

- I realized my checkbook cover (yes, I still write checks) was a bit grubby, so I took it off and washed it. 

Checkbook Cover
I made it with some scrap fabric that I had - it is fully lined and it has two pockets inside:

Checkbook Cover - Inside

I keep the checkbook in one pocket, inserted so that the check leaves face up and the check register in the other pocket.  The elastic loop in the middle holds a pen in place and I keep a book of stamps in the same pocket as the checkbook - that way, anytime I want to pay a bill, I have everything I need on hand (yes, I know, one can pay bills online, but I like to support the post office).  When closed, the other elastic loop goes around the button to keep the whole thing closed.

- I did a little bit of filing, including the receipt from the water pressure regulator replacement, yesterday.

The small pile of mail from yesterday, that was on the coffee table has been dealt with.  The slightly larger pile of mail on the dining table (from last week) has also been dealt with.  This is progress for me.  There are more piles of paper (mostly filing), to be dealt with, in the family room; I have started on that, as well, but not finished.

I called the pharmacy to request a refill - they need to request reauthorization from the doctor for it, but I spoke to one of the pharmacy workers whom I know by name, now, and she is one of the more reliable ones, so, hopefully, I'll get my medication filled without a lot of drama!  Fingers crossed on that one!

Then, I put away the dishes that were drying from yesterday, cleaned that side of the sink (I have a double sink, but I keep the dish drainer in one side, so that side of the sink gets cleaned only when the dish drainer has been emptied, completely).  Then, I washed a few more dishes from last night and this morning.

I am looking at the clock as I type this and it is 1:00 p.m.  I still haven't gone grocery shopping!  But first, I need to eat something for brunch! 

It is now, 9:30 p.m.

After I wrote the above, I responded to a few more blog comments and then, had brunch - the last tortilla (from the packet bought on 2/19) with some fish curry.  Then, I cleaned the bathroom.  Finally, around 3:00 p.m., I went grocery shopping!  I went to two stores and bought everything I wanted:

3/27 Groceries
I went to two stores.   Bought most of the items shown in the picture from the first store.  Bought the milk, butter, mangos, and bread from the second store.  Butter was on sale for $2.59/lb., which seems to be the new stock up price for us!  There was a limit of 4 packages, so I bought four.  However, the store ads that came out, today, show that it will be on sale for this same price, next week, too.  I might or might not buy two more packages.

Store 1: 
2 lbs.+ chicken drumsticks (6 drumsticks) @$.69/lb = $1.78
1 lb. package ham cold cuts = $1.99
2 cans mackerel (15 oz. cans) @$1.49 = $2.98 (I had used up the cans I had on hand)
6 cans coconut water, @$.79 = $4.74 + $.30 deposit (a treat)
1 bottle soy sauce (500 ml) = $1.99 (was out of soy sauce)
2 lbs.+ apples (4 apples) @$.49/lb
2 containers (6 oz. each) blackberries @$.99 = $1.98
1lb.+ red potatoes @3lb/$1 = $.39
1 green bell pepper @$.39/lb = $.16 (the red, yellow, and orange bell peppers were $.99/lb)
1 cucumber = $.34
Carrots @$.39/lb = $.30
Green beans @$.99/lb = $.42
Broccoli @$.49/lb = $.19
Red lentils @$1.29/lb = $.81
Total = $19.43

Store 1 Receipt
Store 2:
1 loaf white sandwich bread = $1.00
3 mangoes @3/$.99 = $.99
1/2 gal. milk = $1.99
4 lbs. butter, @$2.59 = $10.36
Total = $14.34

Store 2 Receipt

For the most part, what I bought today were this week's specials (the milk and soy sauce were regular priced).  That is how I shop - I buy what is on sale and plan my meals around what I've bought.  According to the grocery ads that came out today, with next week's specials, papaya will be on sale for $.49/lb, so I didn't buy any for $.79/lb. this week.  I needed eggs, but they weren't on sale; I still have one egg, so I will wait to see if eggs go on sale after Easter!

So far, in March, I have spent:
3/6 = $7
3/14 = $13.73
3/27 = $19.43 = $14.34 = $33.77
Total = $54.50
Amount left in March grocery budget = $75 - $54.50 = $20.50

I doubt very much if I will go grocery shopping between now and the end of the month.  Most probably, I will carry that $20.50 to April.

In between shopping at the two stores, I put gas to the car ($3.34/gal; I spent $27.00)

I met friend A and her husband at the first grocery store - they were doing their weekly shopping, as well! 

After I came home and took the pictures of the groceries and put them away, I made myself a ham sandwich and had it with a cup of coffee.  Later, I ate one of the mangoes.

I will cook the chicken, tomorrow.  I asked the butcher to cut each drumstick in half for me - it cooks faster, that way, and absorbs more of the spices.  I'm not sure if I will make a curry with all of it and freeze some or if I will make something else.

I feel I should have done more paperwork in the evening, but I didn't.  Instead, I exchanged emails with a friend, wished my niece's son for his birthday, sent an email to my sister-in-law, and spoke on the phone with cousin N who called to check on me.  Later, I video chatted with my daughter.

Today, I am grateful for:
- Cousin's call in the morning wasn't about any emergency or bad news
- I was able to wake up early (for me) and get a few things done
- Insurance will probably take care of the medical billing
- I had a successful grocery shopping trip
- Keeping in touch with family and friends

Plans for tomorrow include going to the office!

How was your Tuesday?  Did you have a good day?


  1. Our Tuesday was nothing like we imagined it would be. The realisation over the weekend that we must take urgent steps to replace our elderly car meant our day off was taken up with visits to the bank and the garage. But at midday we brought lovely sourdough rolls from a bakery, a tub of pate, and fruit - and sat in the car in the rain to enjoy a frugal picnic. Feeling poorer, but still happy!

    1. Oh, Angela, I'm sorry you needed to replace the car, but glad you were able to do so and enjoy a nice picnic in the rain, as well! I hope the new car gives you years of good service and many more picnics! :)

  2. I noticed that your groceries are neatly and attractively arranged for the picture. Does it take you long to do that?

    1. LOL, Live and Learn, no, I just try to set them down in an organized way when I take them out of the bags - with the fresh produce together, the meats together, etc. I do take some of the produce out from the bags so they maybe seen. Dancer will come and inspect (he was happily munching on a broccoli leaf which I had tossed to him to distract him while I took the picture).

  3. I have a dog. It doesn't matter that it is a weekend, or Daylight Saving's Time, or there is no early morning appointment to attend, he makes sure I am up at 7 AM...every morning. I can't shut him off or push the snooze button. *laugh*
    You had another very productive day. And I am always amazed by all those groceries spread out for only $33.77, and that includes all that dairy and other stock up items you bought. I will likely go back out today or tomorrow for sweet potatoes again for 79 cents a pound to cook up and take with me for Easter dinner, some more frozen berries and I'll make sure I have enough frozen veggies to make a vegetarian stir fry supper to serve my son and his fiance when they come on Good Friday. I have not been a practicing Catholic for decades, but not eating meat on Good Friday has been well indoctrinated. I ran out of eggs as well, so I made myself oatmeal this morning. It was really yummy. That used to be my favourite breakfast until my doctor took me off grains. Now I can only eat it sparingly. Enjoy the rest of your work week. This will be a short one for you.

    1. Susan, Dancer used to cry and cry at 6:00 a.m., demanding his breakfast, because he was so used to me getting up at that time (before treatments). And he used to get very upset if I was napping around 5:30 p.m.! But, now, he's learned to wait until I wake up - he'll come running the minute he hears me stir or the alarm goes off, meow, get close to my face to see if I am really sleeping and then, he'll plop down next to me to wait. The advantage of a cat over a dog is it doesn't have to be walked or taken outside to do its business. I clean the litter box daily and he digs to China and back, every day! At least, that's what it sounds like!

      Almost everything I bought yesterday was on sale. That brand of butter is usually priced well above $4 (regular price on store brand is $3.49 and I try to wait for a $2.50 sale, but buy it on sale for $2.99 if I have to). Also, in general, the prices of fresh produce at the first store is better (not to mention, there is a wider choice). But their bread, milk, and butter is more expensive. I cherry pick my way through the sale items at both stores. Regular mangoes were $.79 at both stores, but the 2nd store will have them on sale 3/$1.00, next week (starting today, actually - the sales cycle is Wed to Tues). Grapes were selling for $1.99/lb (and higher, depending on type) at both stores, but a 3rd store was selling them for $.89/lb. I didn't feel like going to a 3rd store, yesterday, so I didn't buy any grapes this week. I have plenty of fruit between what I bought, some leftover kiwis in the fridge, and fresh oranges from the tree. :)

      I think the sweet potatoes at the 1st store were priced about the same as your prices. I passed them up in favor of the red potatoes that were on sale.

      The occasional vegetarian meal is good, and you can eat fish on Good Friday, right?

    2. You're right. I can eat fish. I forgot about that, darn it. I am cooking fish in the oven right now. Oh well. I think my son's fiancee is bringing some chicken to add to hers and my son's meal.
      Yes I had also forgotten how annoyingly persistent cats can be. How is it that cats can move so quietly and stealthily when stalking, but when they want your attention they can be so boisterous. And I get your description of "digging to China and back" because that is one of the most irritating sounds when you are looking for peace and quiet. I laughed out loud when you described Dancer getting really close to your face to see if you were REALLY sleeping. He knows better but it is nice that he plays along with you. *laugh*

    3. Well, if you aren't serving fish on Good Friday, maybe you can add an egg dish to the menu.

      Dancer makes a weird sound when he wants to know if I am sleeping - it sounds a bit like "merrow?" with a questioning intonation, almost. "Merrow? You up?" He's digging to China, right now, as I type!

  4. Wow that's a great price for the groceries! I seem to have two good weeks and then I slip again. Sigh. This week I'm using freezer stuff again. I really need to dig out some new recipes. I'm getting tired of cooking the same things.

    Have a good week!

    1. Thanks, Sharon. I managed to snag some good deals. :) Yes, new recipes are good. I, too, seem to be cooking the same thing, over and over again. There are only so many ways in which to make a chicken curry, you know? :D

  5. You did well on so little sleep. Not sure why eggs have spiked in price. I had to give in and purchase at full price the soft butter tub with reduced salt for hubby today.

    Just finished baking a batch of Easter sugar cookies. Left overs for dinner so I think I am done for the day. Oh I meant to ask the other day, is orange cauliflower different to ordinary cauliflower?

    1. Sandy, maybe the grocery stores know that people will buy eggs for Easter, so are trying to make a profit on them?

      Apparently, there is very little difference between regular (white) cauliflower and the orange ones - more carotene in the orange ones and, apparently, more Vitamin A. There is a purple cauliflower, as well - I think she bought that, one time.

  6. Well, your dream was even stranger than mine. I dreamed that I was in Brussels and there was a street with cobbles and old buildings. I don't even know Brussels! I went in a place where they were selling odds and ends, like a yard sale and was inspecting some forks!

    I just read something that we both do! I also keep a dish drainer in one side of the double sink. That side gets cleaned while I put the drainer in the dishwasher when I feel it needs sprucing up.

    My sweater sleeve is not working out! I vow that in future I will only knit from an entire pattern instead of trying to cobble together several. Well, at least knitting is a good form of occupational therapy while watching Netflix.

    1. Funny what we dream of, isn't it? I've washed the dish drainer in the dishwasher, myself! But, every now and again, I soak it in some bleach solution to get all the stains out.

      I'm sorry your sweater sleeve is not working out! I like to sew the shoulder seams and then, pick up stitches along the armhole and work my way down. Would something like that work for you? Knitting is a good stress reliever unless one gets stressed because the pattern is not working out!

    2. I never thought of doing it that way, Bless, but it would be just my luck to mess that up as well! I don't have quite your talent, even though fixing the bought sweater with the giant cuffs did turn out well.

    3. I started doing it that way because I was getting tired of not having the right amount of stitches to go around the armhole! Here are some guidelines I've developed over the years -
      If starting at the wrist, I generally cast on about 30-40 stitches (depending on thickness of yarn), increase 1 st. at each end every 2-5 rows (again, depending on thickness of yarn, etc.) until I have about 50-60 stiches, then, every 8-10 rows until I have about 70 stitches. By that time, the sleeves seem to be long enough (if not, I'd knit a bit longer).

      If I am picking up along the armhole, I pick up about 70 stitches and sort of go in reverse order - decrease 1 stitch every 10th row, then, every 5th row, etc. until I end up with about 30 to 40 stitches at the wrist end. Hope that helps.

  7. Super grocery shopping , Bless!
    I have to comment on your Moses dreams! I have been having a string of odd dreams lately but in every one I am cooking for famous people (living or dead) and I am dream making a ridiculous number of egg dishes. It is especially odd since eggs except for hard scrambled ones make me gag. Maybe Easter (in my case) and Passover (yours) are fueling our dreams?

    1. Thanks, Anne. :) Our dreams can be very odd, indeed! Maybe I should stop snacking on jelly beans!

  8. You always amaze me with how little you spend on groceries and how far you are able to stretch your money and still eat delicious and health meals. As for your dream, I have no idea how come we end up having such random dreams about different things...makes you wonder doesn't it? ;)

    1. Thanks, Debbie. :) I think I manage to do OK for the most part. One trip to the Sri Lankan store, however, is all it takes for me to blow my grocery budget! By the way, if you ever visit So. Cal., there is a Hawaiian market that you might like to visit. :) Are you familiar with cherimoya? They had that at the 1st store I went to, for $5.99/lb (they sell for $8.99/lb at the farmers' market near my office). I was tempted to buy one, but that's the same price as salmon and more than some cuts of beef! They had carambola, too, for $2.99 each. I contented myself with the $.49/lb. apples and $.33 mangoes. :)


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