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Grocery Shopping

November 4th, 2022 at 03:40 pm

My first grocery trip of the month was actually two -- I bought raspberries at Sam's for $6, and then I spent $19 at Aldi for 3 lbs of frozen chicken breasts, crackers, bread, a block of cheddar, and granola. There were many things on my list I couldn't get, but I'll get by. I still have plenty of leftovers in the freezer. Today I'm planning to make hot pockets using crescent rolls and leftover sausage gravy mixed with cheese.

While at Sam's, I bought gas ($31) and toilet paper ($24).

My shopping took longer than expected and I got hungry, so I bought a pizza slice and drink at a local pizza place ($7). 

Variables are at 9%.

October Recap

November 1st, 2022 at 02:00 pm

Housing - $746

Vacation/Travel - $217

Utilities - $192

Clothing - $182 (Coat, shoes, jeans)

Groceries - $98

Personal - $75

Gifts/Charity - $72

Medical/Health - $38

Phone - $32

Gas - $31

Eating Out/Takeout - $30

Furnishings/Equipment/Decor - $23 (kitchen stuff)

Entertainment - $17

Laundry - $16

Household Supplies - $13

Grand Total - $1782

Variables - 111%

It was a pretty frugal month, except for the splurge on clothing. The coat and shoes, however, have long been on my list for replacement, and I got good prices. The jeans came from Goodwill.

The vacation cost is for a hotel room over Thanksgiving, already paid for.


October 31st, 2022 at 09:16 pm

Happy Halloween, everyone! It's very dreary here, but warm enough for trick-or-treaters to enjoy their evening!

I gave each grandchild $10, so that's $40, and I also bought some more candy, which was $8.

Tomorrow I'll do the October recap, but I can tell you now, I did not keep my variables in check -- I spent 111% of my budget. Not TOO bad, I guess, except that that doesn't even count the $217 I spent for the Thanksgiving weekend hotel room. And with Christmas spending coming up, it will just be harder.

Last Grocery Trip of the Month

October 28th, 2022 at 03:31 pm

My friend decided that she was going to drive herself to the infusion center, so I did not drive down there to be her chauffeur. She's an adult, so I respect her decision. I have already heard that she made it there and back safely.

So that left me free to perform my final grocery shopping trip of the month. I spent $23, bringing my total for the month to $99. I went to Mariano's, because I wanted to buy popcorn. While I was there, I bought other things I cannot buy at Aldi. 

Here is the SHORT list of what I got:

Popcorn (bag of kernels, not microwave)



Bay's English muffins

Kozy Shak pudding

That's it!

I will say the creamer came in a large bottle -- 2 quarts! It was the best unit price. It should get me through next month easily.

I bought the butter, even though I still have a couple of sticks in reserve, because it was on sale, and I expect that butter prices will just get worse.

I bought some non-food items as well. I spent $13 on Halloween cards and candy (counted as a gift). I spent $19 on face serum -- probably not the best place to buy that. I should have waited till I got to Walgreens.

What I did get at Walgreens -- a fresh bottle of B12, which cost $12.

I have plenty of food in the freezer and pantry to make meals this week, so don't worry about my weird sounding list. Smile



October 25th, 2022 at 04:46 pm

I booked my hotel room today for Thanksgiving, using the Amtrak booking service to earn points for future train trips. Surprise, surprise, the full amount is already being processed on my credit card. I thought it would not be processed until I check in. Well, it's no big problem, I have the money. Just didn't expect to be spending it now. Two nights were $217. Not sure if fees will be added later. 

This amount would have taken my variables over 100%, so the cost will be taken out of savings. My variables are now at 76%.  But only a few days left in the month.

HOWEVER, I'm leaving on a short trip tomorrow to help a friend who needs transportation to get an infusion. So there will be some cost in that.

Since I will be away from home on Thursday, I won't be doing my final October grocery shop then. I may do it when I get home on Friday, or I may just try to guts it out till the end of the month. It would be awesome to spend only $76 on groceries this month!

Today's Grocery Shopping

October 20th, 2022 at 05:46 pm

It's my grocery shopping day -- third out of four this month. I spent $29, unintentionally going over my $27 limit. I'll make that up next week. I'll have to count more carefully -- not in my head!

Here's what I got at Aldi for $29:

5 lbs. of potatoes

Flour tortillas

Worcestershire sauce

Hot sauce

Canned crushed pineapple

12 oz. hot dogs

Hot dog buns

Crescent rolls


1 lb. hot Italian pork sausage

1 lb. butter

1 dozen eggs

I didn't intend to get hot sausage! Totally picked up the wrong package. I hope it is not TOO hot.

I bought crescent rolls because the can I had on hand popped in the fridge and turned to cement. What a waste! I'm going to have to check this one every day; can't let that happen again. I like to use up leftovers in homemade "hot pockets" made out of crescent rolls.

I also bought paper plates for $7. That is tracked in a different category.

Possible meals on tap this week:

Hamburger Stroganoff

Mac & Cheese

Cottage Cheese & Pineapple

Sausage Gravy & Biscuits


Hot Dogs

Barbecue Beans & Sausage

Loaded Potatoes


I also have four servings of cannelloni in the freezer. So there's going to be more than enough to eat. Next week I'm going to have to get chicken and ground beef, so that might be the whole order. Oh, and I will have to get creamer next week, too. Can't do without that!


Pay Day

October 19th, 2022 at 03:53 pm

It's Pay Day! Which, anymore, just means I pay off my two credit cards and update my spreadsheets. Everything else is automatic. The big news is that today I was able to transfer $1500 to savings. I still haven't hit my $5K emergency fund goal, but another month like this would do it. I also have a little more than $2K in a different account for the bathroom remodel. I am rethinking that, as I clearly have to replace some tiles in the tub area now. I can't wait to have the money for a complete overhaul. They are white subway tiles, so I don't think they will be difficult to match. I just hope the wall behind them is okay. 


October 18th, 2022 at 01:11 pm

I noticed this morning that I had two email reminders that my condo assessment fee will be paid by autopay in a few days. I saw this before, but it occurred to me this morning that there shouldn't be TWO messages. I opened them up. One was for the smaller payment that I entered earlier this month, in order to take advantage of the credit I have for slightly overpaying. The other was the regular payment. Yikes! They would have taken two payments out of the bank! So I got online and deleted the regular autopay. I will have to go back in and set it up again once the smaller payment is made. Sheesh. Autopay is not always easy.

Free Food

October 17th, 2022 at 04:30 pm

No more spending to report, but I did get some free food. On Saturday, after my grandson's last baseball game of the season, my son bought pizza to celebrate. Then on Sunday, we all met up at my ex's house and ended up staying the day. Not only was I fed all day but I was sent home with bagels and salad. The salad was the kind that was very heavy on toppings. I ate one serving last night, and then fished out any remaining lettuce and drained it of dressing. I'm going to make an omelet with what's left -- lots of tomato, cheese, bacon, olives. I'm expecting it will be very good. The bagels went into the freezer for another day.

I had made cannelloni on Friday, which didn't turn out great, since the sauce broke. But I had a serving, and this morning I divided and froze the rest. I have more sauce and cheese to add when it is thawed and heated.

I had been thawing a chicken breast, and this morning I sauteed it. I've not decided what to do with it yet.

All this is to say I'm really ahead of the game on food this week; I don't know if I'll be buying much on Thursday.

Grocery Shopping

October 13th, 2022 at 08:49 pm

I went to Aldi today, expecting to spend $15. I spent $13, because there was nothing else on my list that was $2 or less! Here's what I got: lactose-free milk, dried cranberries, cottage cheese, mozzarella, sour cream, and cream cheese.  I know, lots of dairy! And me, lactose-intolerant! I'm planning on making cannelloni, and I for sure will take my lastase pills when I have a serving.

I had a good day with my son and grandson yesterday which started out with bad luck for them -- a flat tire. I picked them up and took them to the DVM, which was their intended destination. GS got his learner's permit. The traffic was terrible and the place was packed, so it took quite a while, but it was good to have the time together. Afterwards, we went to a casual dining restaurant, where I was treated to a late lunch.

It's turning cold today. Makes me think about how heating oil prices are rising, which I'm sure will result in a rise of assessment fees. It happened last year, and I think it's going to happen again. Frown

New Coat

October 12th, 2022 at 04:54 pm

I have a lightweight winter coat (I guess you could call it a fall coat, though I wore it often in winter). I bought it 11 years ago, I think, at Macy's. It has held up well all these years, but now the lining is wearing out, and not all the snaps are working. I intended to replace it last spring, when coats were on clearance, but I waited till too late, when nothing much was available. So I decided I would replace it for sure this fall, before the Christmas shopping season started.

So I went to Macy's! And I was pleased to find that many coats were 30% off and there was a great selection. I picked a Ralph Lauren, which retailed for $255, but I ended up getting it for $157, because I agreed to open a Macy's credit card, getting another 20% off.

My grandson, who says I've been wearing that original coat as long he's known me (and he's fifteen!) will be glad to see I have a new coat. Maybe. He might not notice at all, knowing kids!

In recent months I've bought a new winter hat and boots (and I deliberately picked the coat to coordinate), so I will be all decked out when the cold weather comes.

I haven't reported lately on my variables. I am up to 57%, and I'm not yet even halfway through the month. Of course, the coat really threw it off. But it is a reminder to be careful now.

Tomorrow is grocery shopping day, and I'm going to try to do it for $15. Might be a bit of a challenge!

Panera & Goodwill

October 9th, 2022 at 04:38 pm

I went to my grandson's baseball game yesterday, and afterwards went to Panera for lunch.  It was $12 (and delicious!) Panera is quite near Goodwill, so I decided to stop in before I went home. I'm so glad I did! I found a pair of jeans, Dockers, which fit perfectly and seem brand new. I suspect they have never been worn. They were tagged at $6.99, but they were having a half-price sale on pink tickets, so I got them for $3.49! I also bought a few Christmas/birthday gifts. My total spending was $14.  I was bummed when I got home and looked at the receipt and saw that they had charged me for a reusable bag. There was a stack of them at checkout, but I did not take one. Then, as I went through the list, I realized that they did NOT charge me for two Christmas stockings. So it evened out. In fact, a little better than evened out.

Today I'm cooking. I'm baking carrot-cake muffins from batter that was in the freezer. I'm boiling carrots, most of which will go into the freezer. I'm making cinnamon applesauce. And I'm cooking chicken to use later in fajitas. I SWEAR I'm going to make them this time! Some of the chicken will be saved for chicken pot pie.

I'm using the timer on my phone! Since I have multiple things going, I'm just setting it in 10-minute intervals and I check everything. Hopefully, no alarms will go off today.


October 8th, 2022 at 04:02 pm

I went to the gym yesterday, which is close to Food4Less. I popped over there to pick up scrub pads (I nearly ruined a pan, get to that later). While I was there I checked out the produce clearance and I picked up six Gala apples and 5 navel oranges. Then I spotted another clearance section of regular items. Usually I don't find much I want in those, but this time I found lasagna noodles, a Cracker Barrel mac & cheese kit, Reese's cereal, a brownie mix, a bag of dry lima beans, and a small pack of mini donuts. The total for all of these items was $12. (Not counting the non-food scrub pads, which were $3.) Some are not so great nutritional choices, for sure, but they were so cheap! And I have been sorely missing having treats on hand since I started this challenge.

I was under by $2 on Thursday shopping, so this will set me back by $10 on my upcoming trip. I don't think that will be a problem, as my list, so far, is not large.

So, the pan. I had a plastic jar of honey, in which about a half-inch had crystallized in the bottom. Bright idea -- I would set the jar in a pan of water on the stove and let it warm up to its original state. Well, I completely forgot it. Until the smoke alarm went off when I was in the shower. I didn't burn the building down, but I sure made a mess of the pan. It is a stainless steel pan, so it can take a lot of abuse, and I did manage to clean it up, though it took a lot of soaking and a lot of elbow grease. That was a relief. I was all set to go to IKEA and get a replacement -- I like that pan so much. But it's fine.

I guess I need to make a rule that I can't leave the kitchen when anything is on a burner.


October 6th, 2022 at 05:28 pm

I just came home from my first weekly shop of the month. There will be four this month, so the amount to stay at or under is $25. I spent $23. I bought bread, biscuits, coffee, creamer, powdered sugar, parmesan cheese, canned tomatoes, canned tomato paste, canned mushrooms, granola, and sandwich cookies.

I'm planning on making chicken pot pie, spaghetti, and chicken fajitas (an idea left over from last week). Other meals will materialize, I'm sure. Last week I unexpectedly found I had the ingredients for jalapeno poppers, so that made two meals. I still have leftover soup and quiche. Plenty of eggs.

I did make a couple of purchases from the "hall of shame." Household items, so not from the grocery budget. One was a set of three small stainless steel meal prep canisters with plastic lids. The other was a knock-off of Command hangers. The total for those was $13.

I also went out to breakfast this morning at a sweet little cafe -- divine French toast for $13, including tip. I'm trying to avoid the dreaded fast-food drive-throughs, but I am permitting myself to have an occasional meal out in a restaurant.

New Shoes

October 3rd, 2022 at 03:14 pm

I went to DSW yesterday with a $30 coupon. It had to be used on a purchase of at least $49. That's a pretty good coupon! I didn't find shoes for $49 but found the Van's sneakers I wanted (in the kids' section -- but the shoes fit). My receipt doesn't show the price before the coupon was applied, but my end cost was $22. I do pretty well getting shoes at DSW; I don't know how they make any money!

So the month is off to a great start. 

Today I'm going to make Football Soup -- I assume the name comes from being a popular thing to serve at Superbowl parties. I seem to be attracted to recipes with funny names.

September Recap

October 1st, 2022 at 11:12 pm

Housing - $746

Vacation/Travel - $276 (mini-trip to Michigan)

Insurance - $234 (condo, annual)

Utilities - $197

Gifts/Charity - $141 (two birthdays, early Christmas shopping)

Groceries - $100

Personal - $82 (pads, face cream, a comb)

Entertainment - $51 (streaming, football pool)

Gas - $38

Medical/Health - $36 (premium, Beano)

Phone - $32

Clothing/Accessories - $21 (earrings, winter hat)

Laundry - $16

Household Supplies - $11 (bleach, glue, peroxide)

Furnishings/Equipment/Decor - $11 (plates)

Grand Total - $1995

Variables - 94%

I swept $246 to savings. This is on top of what I already set aside for insurance, property taxes, and the average cost of big ticket items.

It was a good month. I hit my goal right on the nose for groceries. I didn't eat out at all -- well, I did some but that was counted under "vacation." My spending was under $2000 and I never felt pinched. Maybe I'm just getting used to it!


Last Grocery Trip of September

September 29th, 2022 at 06:20 pm

I did my final grocery shopping of the month this morning. I had to come in under $19 to meet my goal, and I did -- $18.58. Here's what I bought at Aldi: bacon bits, jalapeno peppers, butter, cheddar cheese, bouillon cubes, eggs, salsa, refrigerated pie crusts, Ritz-type crackers.

Meals that I have planned for this coming week include barbecued chicken, chicken fajitas, spinach quiche, and football soup (a cheese soup with bacon bits, beer, and jalapeno). Other ideas will emerge as I go through the week.

I am learning so much from this exercise. I was buying too much! The amount I am buying now is much more manageable. Shopping is easier, because I have a strict list and it goes fast, and carrying the food home is much easier. I find I am not buying much junk. I am making substitutions -- for instance, this morning I bought regular butter rather than my beloved Irish butter. It will still taste good. I am putting things off -- granola was on my list, but it didn't make the cut. I'll eat oatmeal this week. I'm also finding that I do not waste anything. I scrape every bowl and pan clean! Even small amounts of leftovers get reused in some way. I work too hard to buy the food to waste anything!

In other news, I got a $20 check from the state treasurer today. It was an unclaimed fund from Google -- I have no idea what it was that I didn't claim, but I'm glad to have it now. That went to the emergency fund. I think I will be able to sweep $300 into that fund from checking this month. Would be higher, but I have to pay my annual condo insurance this month.

I was planning to buy shoes at DSW today, but decided to wait and put that purchase on October's budget.

Supposedly the weather will warm up a little starting today! Though I know it won't last -- the season is changing, after all.

I have relatives in Florida who were affected by the hurricane. They all checked in that they are safe, some dealing with minor damage. I'm so glad that I don't have to deal with that kind of weather -- just tornados and blizzards here!

Property Tax Rebate

September 27th, 2022 at 05:46 pm

I said earlier I wasn't getting our state's property tax rebate because I hadn't claimed property tax on my tax form (I took the standard deduction and did not itemize). However, I learned that there is a rebate form for those who did not file taxes -- they don't specifically say that filers like me can use it (it seems to be aimed at people who didn't file at all), but I thought it was worth a try. I did pay property taxes after all. I am entitled to the rebate as much as anyone. All told, it will only be $46, but I'm not sniffing at that. I do a lot of work to save $46!

It is very cold today, for the time of year, and our boiler doesn't get turned on till later in the season, so I slept under a pile of quilts last night. I'm wearing a velour jacket, and I'm trying to keep moving. I hate these early cold spurts. So inconvenient for those of us who have radiator heat.

Anyway, since my oven is pretty dirty anyway, I turned on the auto-clean, which is making my kitchen, at least, quite toasty.

After lunch, I'm going to go the library and the gym and to Best Buy to have them look at my computer. Webroot keeps telling me I have too many temporary files, but for the life of me I can't find them or figure out how to delete them. I have a maintenance plan, so I might as well use it.

Birthday Party

September 26th, 2022 at 03:42 pm

My grandson's birthday party was great! Food was ordered in, from a local restaurant, and of course there was cake and ice cream. We played cards all afternoon and there was lots of laughter.

The restaurant, for some reason, threw in a lot of extra packets of ketchup. Enough to fill a sandwich baggie. They were about to be thrown away (horrors!) and I claimed them, sealing my reputation as a cheapskate. I don't care. Throwing away ketchup during a tomato shortage is just ridiculous! I think I'll make barbecue sauce.

I'm waiting for the 29th to arrive so I can use a coupon for DSW. It's a good one, $30 off a $49 purchase, and I need a new pair of sneakers. Of course, they will be more than $49, unless I can find them on the clearance aisle, but I have my heart set on Van's, so it's doubtful I will find them marked down.

It's very chilly today, so it's a good day to do some cooking.

Thursday's Shopping

September 23rd, 2022 at 09:25 pm

I completed my fourth $20 grocery shop (out of five this month) at Aldi yesterday. I spent $18.  If I can stay under $19 next week I will have accomplished my $100-or-under goal.

This week I bought half & half, bread, graham crackers, cream cheese, spinach, carrots, Swiss cheese, creamer, and stuffed tortellini. The half & half was a concession -- the recipe (for roasted red pepper pasta) called for heavy whipping cream, but it just cost too much. The recipe turned out fine with the substitution. The half & half not used will serve as extra coffee creamer. But I bought creamer anyway, because I don't want to risk running out.

I also bought nighttime facial cream at Sam's ($52 for a two-pack), and Poise pads at Walgreens ($25 for a jumbo pack). A lot of money spent, but the unit prices were good. (These things do not come out of the grocery budget.)

This morning I went to the bank and withdrew $50 for my grandson's birthday, and $20 in quarters. I was not short on quarters, but I get them whenever I go to the bank, just in case!

Tomorrow I'll have lunch at my son's house, in honor of my grandson's birthday. That will help with stretching out food this week, though I have plenty, and I'm not worried.

Onions, onions, onions!

September 21st, 2022 at 04:35 pm

Yesterday I chopped and froze all but two of the onions in the bag I bought the day before. Lots of tears rolling down my face! The other two are baking in the oven this morning and I'll use them for French onion soup.

Today is my payday -- one of them, anyway. I have my Social Security payday and then my RMD payday. This is the SS day. I paid off my Discover and Chase cards, as usual. Everything else is automatic.

I may have mentioned this before -- I have been slightly overpaying my assessment fees because I entered the wrong amount on the payment site when the rates went up. It took me a while to catch it because the statements are so confusing. The only way to get that money back is to make a one-time adjustment on the site, thus making a lower payment, and then change it back to the correct amount. I'd rather have the $5 than give it to them, so I'm going to take care of this as soon as the current payment clears. It makes me nervous because I'm afraid I'll screw it up again. Maybe worse!


September 20th, 2022 at 07:16 pm

I went to Food4Less after my gym visit and spent $3 on produce and $6 on bleach. I had intended to get the bleach at Sam's, but they were selling it in packages of three big bottles -- honestly, I don't have the space and don't use it that much. So I got one bottle at Food4Less. Shocked at the price, though. When did bleach get so expensive?

The produce I bought -- from F4L's produce clearance shelf -- was 6 red peppers, 5 kiwis, and 3 pounds of yellow onions. Pretty pleased with that. I have chopped and frozen 4 of the peppers and roasted the other two -- I'll make roasted red pepper pasta tomorrow. Later I'll go through the onions to make sure they are all fresh. I think French onion soup is in my future. The kiwis I'll just eat once a day. I've already had one.

Today it's supposed to be hot -- though it hasn't gotten there yet. Then a cold front will pass through. I took an early morning walk to avoid both. We'll see what tomorrow brings. I'm ready for Fall.

Tax Relief

September 19th, 2022 at 06:58 pm

Our state is issuing $50 payments to anyone who filed taxes this year. I'll take it! It was in my bank account yesterday. The state is also making payments to anyone who claimed property taxes on their state form. I do have property taxes, but I did not itemize (for me, it's always better to take the exemption), so I don't think I'll be getting that.

I was planning to go to DSW today to use a $30 coupon on a $49 purchase. I checked to make sure it hadn't expired, and suprise, surprise, it's not even in effect until the 29th! So I'm waiting on that.

Otherwise, I'm going to the gym today, and since it is close to Sam's and Food4Less, I'll buy some bleach at Sam's and check out the produce clearance at F4L. Whatever I may buy at F4L I'll subtract from my upcoming $20 grocery shop on Thursday.

My electric bill was less than I expected it to be! I feel very lucky that we have had so many days when opening the windows is all I need for air conditioning.

Speaking of electric bill -- I submitted a claim in the class action suit against Spark Energy -- I was a customer for a couple of years after deregulation but went back to ComEd when it didn't seem like such a good deal. It wasn't. They are being sued for charging high prices that didn't align with market values. I succumbed to a very aggressive salesperson and I was glad to get rid of it. Now I'm glad I'll get a little recompense, whatever that turns out to be.

Omicron Booster

September 17th, 2022 at 03:44 pm

I got my Omicron booster yesterday. (I know that's not the real name, but it's the one that targets Omicron.) I became nauseous and achy in the late afternoon and went to bed feeling pretty bad. It took me a long time to fall asleep, because I was so uncomfortable. But this morning I seem to be fine. That's the first time I've had a noticeable reaction to a COVID shot.

While I was at the drugstore that administered my shot, I bought peroxide and superglue for $4.

On Thursday, I did my much-anticipated $20 shop at Aldi. I spent $20.46, because I keep a running total in my head and it's not exact.

Here's what I got:

Brown Sugar


Irish Butter

Lactose Free Milk

Maple Syrup

Peanut Butter

I decided upon getting the maple syrup at Aldi because it was the same unit price as the special deal at CVS, but at Aldi I was buying only 12 oz. instead of 16. As I expected, the maple syrup was almost half of the total.

Seems like a weird list, but I assure you I do have real food on hand. 

I also did two loads of laundry. All this brought my variables to 69%.

I made carrot cake muffins for breakfast this morning. I had wanted to buy cream cheese to make frosting (and then they would be cupcakes!) but I couldn't swing it. They are actually pretty good without frosting, and better for me.

Later today I'm going to a baseball game. I'm planning to take an apple and a thermos of water. Maybe a peanut butter sandwich, too, because it will be my usual supper time.


Thought it Was Payday!

September 14th, 2022 at 03:22 pm

I don't know where I got the idea that today was the third Wednesday. It's only the second. I was SO looking forward to paying my bills!  Payday is next Wednesday. It is no problem, just a timing error on my part.

I sent $34 to my Oregon son last night -- my dues for the family football pool. I never win. It's just a fun way to keep in touch with family members. Variables are now at 66%.

Looking forward to grocery shopping tomorrow. Today I'm having frugal meals of tomato rice soup and cheese quesadillas.


Enjoying Lower Gas Prices

September 13th, 2022 at 04:56 pm

I filled the gas tank yesterday at Sam's to the tune of $38. The price was below $4, first time in a long time at that station. I did get gas below $4 on my recent travels in Indiana and Michigan.

I made a few corrections in my log, and variables are now at 62%, a bit high for not-quite-yet-midmonth, but that is often my pattern.  It will even out.

I pulled out some frozen avocado yesterday and let it thaw in the fridge. This morning I made avocado toast. I was promptly sick. Don't know if it was that or something else, really. It seemed like an awfully fast reaction. At any rate, I'm throwing out what's left. I have frozen avocado before, but maybe I didn't do it properly this time. Maybe it was not fresh enough when I did it.

I'm finishing the bag of salad today, and I'm trusting it wasn't what made me sick. I had some for lunch yesterday -- I think it would have worked on me faster than that if it were bad. I'm also wondering about the bleu cheese dressing.

I'm looking forward to grocery shopping on Thursday. As Frugal Foodie has pointed out, if I buy maple syrup, it will take up a big chunk of my weekly budget, but I really want to get some. During the pandemic I bought artifical maple syrup, and I didn't enjoy it at all. Even though that's what I ate most of my life! I have gotten accustomed to the superior taste of real maple syrup. I hope I can fit it in. I don't have too many necessities on my list. We'll see.


September 10th, 2022 at 01:49 pm

I did my $20 weekly grocery shop yesterday. I spent $20.02 at Aldi and here's what I got: 

A block of cheddar

A bag of coffee

A bag of spring mix salad

A can of jumbo biscuits

A bag of flour

A bag of walnuts

Here are the adjustments I had to make:

I planned to get croutons and dried cranberries for the salad. Instead, I made my own croutons, and I used raisins in place of the cranberries.

I planned to get milk and granola, but that will have to wait another week.

I planned to get Swiss cheese and feta for recipes, but had to pass.

I had salsa on my list, but I will not make any Mexican dishes this week.

I was hoping to get maple syrup for pancakes and French toast, but it was obviously way out of my reach.

I wanted to get brown sugar for my oatmeal; again, that will have to wait.

I had peanut butter on my list, but I am still scraping the sides of my jar, and that will have to do.

I bought caramel-flavored coffee which was on sale, rather than the "donut shop" coffee I first put in my cart.

The biscuits were not on my list but they were cheap and adaptable for many things.

Now, bear in mind, I have plenty of food in my freezer. This is a personal challenge; I just want to see if I can do it. And if I can sustain it, that would be great!


Edit: I also spent $47 on a birthday gift for one of my grandsons.


September 9th, 2022 at 03:16 pm

What a nice little mini-vacation I just had! After totaling up the costs, I see it wasn't too expensive. The actual vacation costs -- room, food, gas -- came to $270. I also did some Christmas shopping - $32 - and bought myself some earrings and a winter hat -- $22 -- as well as a couple of plates for my set -- $11.  I also had to pay $6 for a comb, which I forgot to pack, and I bought some pebbles for the aquarium, which was a great deal at $3. That's it!

I came home very tired, but satisfied. Today I'm getting ready to do my second $20 grocery shop of the month.

Variables are at 45%, but spending should settle down from here.

Travel Plans & Labor Day

September 5th, 2022 at 05:02 pm

My short trip to northern Indiana and Michigan is starting tomorrow. BFF will be my travel buddy. I'm going to visit an old friend who is in assisted living, visit my SIL's antique store, as well as spend a couple of nights in a hotel. It will be a bit costly, but this is not a good time to stay at my brother's for various reasons, and I'll have BFF along, anyway.

Besides the $20 grocery shop, I haven't spent much at all. I got my flu shot the other day, and not only was it free, but I got a $10 credit for it at Walgreens. I turned around and bought a bottle of Beano, which was only $10 after the credit.

I went to a Labor Day cookout at my ex's house yesterday. As usual, he bought way too much, and he sent us home with leftovers. I brought home enough hot dogs and buns for three meals, along with some cole slaw, bagels, and even lactose-free ice cream! (He had bought it for me for a previous gathering some time ago, but we never got around to the ice cream.) It may have some freezer burn, but if so, it will still be all right as a creamer substitute.

But the big haul was hoodies! He has recently retired as a school superintendant, and he had numerous jackets and hoodies that he was apparently given?  All with the high school logo. Some had never had the tags removed. He wanted to get rid of them. I selected four for myself, and my son took a bunch for his family. I didn't try them on, and I don't know yet if they will fit, but if not, I'll give them back so he can give them to someone else. If they fit, they'll be great to wear to baseball games! And also to wear to the gym when it gets cooler.

First $20 Grocery Shop of September

September 1st, 2022 at 06:41 pm

So, there are five Thursdays in this month, so I will shop five times, $20 a pop. (Or less, if I can do it!)

Today I went to Aldi, and I spent just under $20. I bought eggs, apples, creamer, raisins, bread, butter, and cookies. I also bought toilet bowl cleaner for $2, but that doesn't come out of the grocery budget. For household supplies, I buy them when I need them; it's not a category in which I ever overindulge.

Next Thursday I may be out of town -- I'm planning a short trip to Michigan, which may or may not come together. If I'm on the road next Thursday, I'll hold off on the shopping until I get home, probably Friday.

I made quesadillas for lunch today, out of leftover chili and cheese. There is enough left to do the same thing tomorrow.

I'm feeling pretty optimistic about keeping my grocery spending at or under $100.

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