October 29, 2009

End of month report—Thank you Walgreens and Earth Fare!

I like seeing what Money Saving Mom posts on her end of month reports, and I thought I might start doing something similar for our grocery budget. 

We budget $350 each month.  This includes all groceries, paper products, cleaning supplies, toiletries, medicines/herbals, and hygiene items (razors, deodorant, etc).

In October we spent $349.94—how’s that for close to the mark!  We have 6 cents left to be used for next month’s budget.

With that money we bought $729.16 worth of items.  If I’m doing my math correctly, we had a savings of 52.11%. 

Walgreens really helped us to stay on budget this month.  Because of their great moneymaker register rewards deals, we were able to “make” money on purchases there to be used towards other part of our budget.  For example, I purchased 4 of the Zantac boxes, making $5 off of each of those after coupons and RR.  We do not use Zantac, but I’m hoping to pass these on to someone who does and help with their expenses a bit.   I also picked up a number of the Vaseline lotions, making $1.50 off of each of those after RR and coupons.  I’ll use some of these and others will be added to the stocking stuffer pile for Christmas.

Earth Fare deals helped us to add some nice items to the pantry and fridge towards the end of the month.  I visited there today and spent $0.54.  I received lunch (tenderloin panini, chips, and a drink), 3 lbs of apples, and 3 free items from the pantry swap for free.  The total if I had paid would have been just over $26!  April was an especially nice cashier, and I told her how impressed I was with all of the people I encountered working at the Bearden location.

What did we purchase with that money? (These are the major purchases/bigger ticket items)

$90 for half of a locally raised lamb

$90 for CSA basket this month

$19 for organically grown, grass-fed, locally raised milk

$15 for locally raised eggs

$10.40 Local honey and molasses purchases

I caught some good sales and  bought or stocked up on--a new mop head, 2 boxes of canning jars, Halloween candy and treats, organic carrots, organic salad mix, Sure-jel, butter, yeast, chips, bacon, Fruit Fresh, canning salt, Ragu, beans, crescent rolls, mandarin oranges, dryer sheets, baby wipes, baggies, and dishwasher detergent. 

I purchased the following items because I needed them—yogurt starter, polysporin, large bandages, pasta, toilet paper, organic cereal, crackers, breakfast items, camping supplies (chocolate and marshmallows for smores), chicken, peanut butter, and sodas.

Many items were free including—Zantac, Vaseline lotion, Emergen-C, Chapstick, tuna fish, razors, Tabasco, dental picks, organic chocolate milk, Healthy Choice frozen dinners, canned evaporated milk, 3 lbs organic apples, organic salad dressing, organic jelly, organic peanut butter, Chex Mix, candles, kitchen gloves, sandwich bread, Dove conditioners, 4 packs Trident Layers, Palmolive Pure and Natural dish soap, Halls Refresh, and Crystal Light drink mixers. Bananas and eggs were also free because of the scan right promise at Kroger.  (This was the first time I had bought eggs at the grocery store in over a year.  Because of this purchase I’m reminded of why I purchase locally grown eggs!  Our farmer has lost many of her chickens to coyotes, and I’ll be purchasing some eggs from other friends who have chickens next month).

Among other things we were able to donate the 8 conditioners, 22 Crystal Light drink mixers, and 4 crescent rolls.

What will I stock up on next month if the price are good?  I plan to pick up a turkey or two to put in the freezer to roast.  I’ll be on the look out for good deals on spices, extract, canned pumpkin, canned vegetables, sugar, and brown sugar.  Three Rivers Market is having a fantastic sale on organic butter, and I’ll be buying a case of it.  (I’m Southern, and I use a lot of butter when baking!)  The other big ticket item of the month will be maple syrup.  I decided to not get the maple syrup when it was on sale at Amazon to help us stay on budget.  I’m now glad that I decided to wait. 

So, what could you glean from this post to help with your budget and shopping?  Did you notice that there wasn’t much meat, lunchmeat, cheese, etc?  I stocked up on those items last month and because of that we did not need to purchase many of those items this month.  Because we stockpile, we rarely have to purchase items because of necessity.  All of the items I listed that were needed except for the yogurt starter were on sale, and many of the times I also had a coupon. 

Did you also see how I was able to make money on items from Walgreens and use that money to go towards the general grocery budget?  Many of these items will be given as stocking stuffers or donated.  I wouldn’t buy them if they would end up in the trash; I’m NOT encouraging you to be wasteful.  I am encouraging you to think outside of the box when it comes to your budget and how to make it work.  Yes, this did require more work and a few more trips to Wags this month than I normally would have made, but I always scheduled those trips around other errands so as to not waste gas or time. 

I hope this is helpful to someone out there.  Happy Budgeting!

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