Monday, March 2, 2015

February's Grocery Budget, Stock-Ups and the plan for March

I spent less out-of-pocket for groceries and stocking up in February, partly because I was using gift cards we got free from King Soopers for transferring prescriptions, and partly because the items I purchased were less costly items (oats are less expensive than beef!)  I took advantage of some specials on chocolate too, since there is a lot of talk about chocolate prices rising in the near future.

Stock-Up Purchases in February

            8 cans of tuna (.50/ea. at King Sooper - paid with free gift card)
            8 lb. ham (.99/lb at King Sooper - paid with free gift card)
            3lb. (6 packages) cream cheese ($1/ea. at King Sooper - paid with free gift card)
            8 jars Ragu spaghetti sauce (.69 each at King Sooper - paid with free gift card)
            4 boxes (12 oz) Ronzoni thin spaghetti (.19 each at King Sooper - paid with free gift card)
$12.99 for shredded cheddar, 5lb. (Costco)
$  7.89 for dried seaweed sheets (Costco)
$  6.73 for rolled oats (.69/lb. Sprouts)  My oat storage bucket is re-filled!
$  8.55 for raisins (1.99/lb at Sprouts)
$  6.29 for chocolate (M&M's, $1.50/12oz. bag, on sale and w/coupon at Walgreens)
$  2.46 for Nutella (thee jars, .82 each after sale (Target) and coupon, price matched at Walmart)
$  9.00 for Spam ($1.50/can after sale and coupon at Safeway)
$  4.00 for Libby's canned vegetables - corn, green beans and peas (.25/can at Albertsons)
$    .98 for 12oz. bags of oyster crackers (.49/ea. at Albertsons)
$  1.18 for 2 bottles of barbecue sauce (.59/ea. at Albertsons)
$ 60.07  Total Spent on Stock-Up Items

When I do the math, it shows that I spent about $16.50 each week on things we used week-to-week - milk, fresh fruits and vegetables, or items we needed for the weekly menu (this past week I bought pepperoni and cottage cheese for calzones, for example.)  Some of that was cash, some was the credit at King Sooper.  Overall, I think it was a pretty good month.

I have lots of wheat berries (and a mill), so I've been baking our bread.

Planned Stock-ups for March

March is the only month I ever buy corned beef, because it's the only time I ever find it on sale (for St. Patrick's Day).  I am hoping the price will be good this year but if not, we will go without.  It is also generally a great month for sales on cabbage and potatoes.  Cabbage is good in so many things, and it keeps well in the crisper drawer, so I will buy as much as I feel I can reasonably store.  With Easter at the beginning of April, March will also probably be a good month for stocking baking supplies as needed, as well as ham.  The price of butter seems to be going down a little, so I am hoping that a sale and coupon will net something close to $1 per pound.

I ended February with $61.68 still in the grocery budget.  This is due to having the store credit from King Sooper for transferring prescriptions.  Our grocery budget is $180 per month, but if I get something like that King Sooper credit, it is in addition to the $180, and helps me stock up or get us a special something now and then.  All this means that I'm starting March with $241.68 in the grocery budget, plus I still have approximately $23 credit at King Sooper to spend.  I'm hoping for some good prices on beef, though that is not typical of March - we shall see!

homemade blueberry-almond muffins with coconut sugar 
Do you keep a pantry?  Do you buy ahead for items that keep?  I find that it helps me keep our food expenses low, and it also keeps us stocked in case of an emergency, like a blizzard or bad storm.  What deals did you find in February, and what are your plans for March?


  1. I did really well in February. I had $90 of my $250 budget leftover but put the extra in our big home improvement budget. Those gift cards you have been getting are great! Deals like that are very few in our area but we cannot take advantage of them since we don't take any prescription drugs. In that we are blessed!

    I can't remember everything but I did stock up on cereal, mozzarella cheese, Parmesan cheese, lots of canned tomatoes, Goldfish crackers for visiting grandchildren, applesauce cups for baby Bella which is way cheaper then baby food, canned white kidney beans, coffee and pancake syrup. The balance would be perishable items. I don't think I bought any meat other than the spiral ham.

    I went through my canned goods shelves yesterday and got everything dated with a sharpie and organized so that it can be used better. Now I know what needs to be used in a timely manner. I was happy that I did not need to pitch anything!

    In March I need to buy some meats that we are low on or out of. I need sour cream and will soon need whole wheat flour. We really do not 'need' much of anything but I am sure I will end up buying some wants like jars of queso that there will be a bogo on and a coupon to match. Those are handy for nachos though and that makes a great lunch when hubby is home. I will stock up on cabbage this month, too. I still have two $10/$50 coupons that I can use at Bi-Lo or Publix. I hope to be able to do some real deals to take advantage of those. I will check my bread flour supply as those sales are probably going to start again. I also need a bag of self rising cornmeal which often goes along with the flour sales here.

    I cannot imagine not having a stockpile and stocked pantry to draw from on a daily basis. It would drive me nuts to have to run to the store and pay full price for everything that we need. I love being to be able to cook just about anything without having to think about supplies.

    1. I have to agree, Lana. I have gotten used to having a pantry in the basement - some home-canned items, some bulk items like wheat berries and flour, and then nonperishable items that I get on sale and with coupons. I grew up this way too, so I've always done it to some extend - even in college (I didn't live in the dorms.) I would pick up an extra here and there so that there were always some backup items in the cabinet in case a car repair needed to be done or some other incident meant I needed to spend less for a week or two. :)

      It sounds like February was a good month for you...and it sounds like we have similar March goals. I hope you're able to find everything to fit your plan.

  2. I stumbled upon tuna for $.39/5 ounce can. I got a dozen and wanted to get more. I also stocked up on canned diced tomatoes. I usually buy at Aldi but these were from our local store for $.50 a can. I got a dozen of those, too.

    Like you I grew up with a pantry of mostly home canned preserved items and stuff Mama bought on sale. I have never really been without a pantry and can't imagine. I've had to live out of my pantry more than once and to keep in practice I do so at least three months out of the year.

    1. That's a great price for tuna! I remember when it used to go for .25 a can during Lent, but that has been a while. :)

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