Sunday, November 9, 2014

The new norm: grocery shopping and it's inpact on meal planning

While almost every week, there are some "staples" that need replenishing such as milk, typically my menu planning that is done mid month for the upcoming NEXT month, significantly depends upon what I bought during the current month, and was able to put into long term storage. Other factors: seasonal produce selections, shortages, price increases.

Case in point: the package of store brand, sweet Italian style, pork sausages pictured above. Years ago, the entire package would have been used to feed the family. Now: the sausages have been divided into THREE meal use packages. I anticipate that the one lone sausage will find it's way on a pizza or into a marinara for a smaller dinner (only 4 instead of 6 for instance) or a quiche, if not a stew. The remaining 2 packages of 2 links each will be the mainstay of a pasta dish, most likely. Stretching our meat proteins, substituting alternative protein sources has ever increasingly become my focus. I simply can't afford to increase our food budget, especially as we are bracing for Winter, recovering from a 1 month's loss of income in March, some planned expenditures (moving, snow tires), etc.

Another change, perhaps, is that while I have a birthday celebration coming up, I refuse to go out to eat. It simply isn't in the cards. Instead, I splurged on a LB of frozen, cleaned shrimp and we'll feast on a new garlic shrimp pasta recipe from the newspaper. $7.49 added to the cart certainly won't break the bank, and I will tally this under "celebrations" anyway.

Lists in hand (needs, wants and sales) along with coupons and ALL of the accumulated bottles/cans from beverages in the car (older kids kept promising to return theirs-a week past, so MOM brought them back!. The garage thanks me. : )

Store # 1: Stop and Shop
multiple loaves of Arnold Bread (BOGO and coupons), multiple loaves of Peppridge Farm bread (BOGO and coupons), one loaf of Freihoffer bread (sale plus cpn)-it's odd for us to buy sliced bread but these are all whole grain, good breads at under $2/loaf, so well worth taking advantage of these deals and stocking the freezer in the process; OJ (cpn loss leader), 2 bottles each Snuggle softener and All detergent (both on sale plus cpns),  eggs (free with cpn), 2 16 oz bottles coffee mate (sale plus cpn), Kelloggs raisin bran (cpn loss leader), small can coffee (cpn loss leader), 3 cans Chunky soups (sale plus cpn), 5 2 l bottles Coke products (learned to stash these away as some* will blow thru these, which I view as 1) medicinal for migraines and upset tummies and 2) a treat for pizza night or company; 2 aeseptic cartons of low salt beef stock (sale plus cpn), 2 potato box mixes (sale plus cpn), a canister of gum for Christmas stocking (cpn), 2 bottles VO5 (sale plus cpn=24 cents/bottle), 2 small bottles Pom juice (sale plus cpns), 1 small and 1 large canister of Poms aerils (cpns), aforementioned pkg of Italian sausage (sale plus store $1 off cpn of meat purchase of choice, plus $2.50 off coupon on grocery purchase over $25, brought the sausage from $4.29 to $3.99 to $2.99 to 49 cents. I am still stretching it over 3 meals. Meat prices frighten me. : (

I spent $54.74 on groceries plus $2.12 towards Christmas.
With bottle returns, coupons, I saved $49.01 and had a cart FULL of groceries. It was a good shopping trip.

Store # 2: Aldi's
5 Advent calenders (Christmas), 4 boxes tissues, plastic wrap, sandwich bags (hadn't needed to buy them since last year as we've used the accumulated, repurposed food bags from dry goods since August; sour cream, 2 boxes Panko, 2 12 packs soda (cola and ginger ale-again tucked away), 2 cranberry juices, 4 boxes "creepy cnfetti" cake mix from Halloween that was clearanced to 49 centsbox. It's a yellow cake mix with orange and chocolate sprinkles in it. It's automnal-it's fine.; 2 bags Pumpkin spice coffee (a request), 1 gallon egg nog, 2 boxes cocoa mix, 3 pkgs bagles, 4 boxes stuffing mix, 2 boxes instant oat packets, German spice cookies, maple leaf cookies, 2 qts 1/2 & 1/2, 1 gal milk, raisins (@ $1.92/lb vs "on sale" at $3 across the street at S & S), aforementioned, fzn shrimp.

I spent $72.34 on groceries, plus $4.95 towards Christmas and $7.49 towards celebrations.

Store # 3: Dollar Tree
1 bottle Pepsi (blood sugar was low-cheaper than going to a fast food window), 3 8 ct cartons medium eggs, 2 boxes instant oats, 1 aespetic carton milk, men's fleece gloves for DS who borrowed mine, 4 moisture absord gizmos for down cellar (saves using the electric hogging dehumidifier), assorted chocolates for Christmas stockings.

I spent $9.37 on groceries, $1.06 on DS clothing, $9.57 towards Christmas.

Total groceries: $136.45.
Total Christmas: $16.64
Total clothing: $1.06
Total celebrations: $7.49

1 comment:

mikemax said...

I heard on the news this week that beef prices are the highest they have ever been, after adjusting for inflation, etc. I believe it. I can't imagine anyone paying that much for ground beef! I'm thinking that quarter of beef I bought might turn out to be a bargain.