Sunday, October 1, 2023

Food Spending.....the September 2023 Report

 Onward to September's Food Spending Report.....

Here are my FOOD BUDGET spending totals for September 2023.

I have posted September's totals on the Total Grocery Savings Page located HERE and have updated the Totals there.
I am listing subtotals for each store I purchased from in September.  If you aren't interested in that much detail, just skip to the bottom for the Totals Sum.  My spending includes Food, Toiletries/HBA, Cleaning Products, Paper Goods. We are a family of 2(and 2 dogs).
OOP  $1.75
VALUE  $2.99 
Savings  41.47%

OOP  $248.50
Qs/Gift Cards $200.96
Value $449.46
Savings  44.71%

OOP  $67.42
Value  $104.03
Savings  35.20%

OOP  $145.12
Qs/Gift Cards $29.85
Value  $174.97
Savings  17.06%

My best Store Savings Total was at Kroger with a savings of 44.71%.  My worse rate was at Walmart with 17.06%.  

I shopped at 4 different stores in SEPTEMBER.

TOTAL Spent in September......$508.12
TOTAL Coupons/Sales/Gift Cards....$293.52
TOTAL Value of Items Purchased.....$801.64
TOTAL Savings of........36.61%

This closes out the SEPTEMBER food/toiletries/etc. spending.

THOUGHTS & COMMENTS for this month....Well I didn't keep spending at $350 or less as I had liked to.  Blame Ibotta, store deals(I'm looking at you Kroger!), inflation and being hungry when I shop(well, nowadays it doesn't matter when I shop, I am ALWAYS hungry!lol).  I can't believe what things cost so I tend to want to stockpile when I see something we use on special(because in this economy you know the price is only going to increase with time).  I also can't believe with how little I eat since June that it costs so much to buy food(see comment above about inflation).  Plus I think Hubs is taking up the slack in the eating department. ;-)  I am just glad I don't have three ravenous children at home to feed anymore!

The Monthly food spending savings percentage went DOWN by 3.85% in September to 36.61% compared to August's 40.46% savings average.  Between all factors(and no Rite-Aid where I use to get "paid" to bring things home from there)it's nearly impossible to have a savings rate of more than 30%....and achieving that 30% is with trying very hard!  Since we have an adequate income and food should be a pleasure in life(no way am I going to eat unseasoned rice and beans for my remaining days like some people)I will buy quality food and pay the price at the register.  I may not like the price but I will deal with it.

With 9 months accounted for, I have spent a Total of $3,774.20 on groceries/HBA/paper goods/etc. in 2023.

2023 Yearly Grand Total Spent....................$3,774.20
2023 Yearly Grand Total Value of Items.....$6,286.93
2023 Grand Total Saved...............................$2,512.73
2023 Yearly Savings Total..............................39.97%

The average per month amount spent is $419.36 in 2023 at this point.

Not predicting what I will spend but I'll be keeping tabs on the grocery bills in October. We'll be gone for a week this month and I won't be up to cooking much the week we get back(and maybe the following week).  Not sure if Hubs is up to filling in as cook or if we'll be getting takeout instead.  We'll see how much is spent on food this month.  I hope to have a low spending month, even with the crazy inflation these days.

Remember that I withdraw all my cash rebate monies(Ibotta, Coupons dotcom, Shopmium, Checkout 51 and other miscellaneous rebates sent to my Paypal)at the end of the year and add it back into my food budget, so at the end of the year my food spending will go down.  The other savings apps like Fetch, Shop Kick, Kroger Cash Back that let us get free gift cards(or $ off your grocery total-Kroger), those are added back in when I cash those points in along the way.  Alexa app gives me Amazon credit onto my account but I don't buy food on Amazon(sometimes I buy dog food there)so I really don't know how to count that.

At the end of the third quarter of the year, I've accumulated--$962.99 in Ibotta(most in my bank account as I don't like to leave Ibotta monies on the platform), $309.40 in Paypal from Shopmium ,Coupons dotcom as well as an odd rebate or two from another source, $43.35 in Kroger Cash Back I haven't spent, $36.78 in Shop Kick, $62.20 in Swag Bucks to redeem, $16.75 on Alexa for Amazon gift cards and some points on Fetch that aren't even worth considering at this point.  Without counting the Fetch that's $1,431.47 in cash or scrip total to put toward the grocery spending in 2023 which lowers my OOP on food spending to $2,342.73 give or take at this point in time.

If you have other ideas or guidelines you follow please leave a comment and share your thoughts with us all.

*  How much did you spend on food/toiletries in September?

*  Do you track your yearly food spending?  It's really not that hard or time consuming; just have your receipts and either track it in a notebook or on a spreadsheet.

*  What was your savings percentage buying on sale and/or with coupons versus buying at regular retail price last month, if you track that sort of thing?

*  What are your methods for keeping your food spending in check?

*  Is anyone out there up for tracking expenditures and trying to spend less but still eat well?


Saturday, September 30, 2023

Great Road Trip of 2017.....Part Eighteen/Day Fifteen

Part One of the Great Western Road Trip is HERE
Part Two of the Great Western Road Trip is HERE
Part Three of the Great Western Road Trip is HERE
Part Four of the Great Western Road Trip is HERE
Part Five of the Great Western Road Trip is HERE
Part Six of the Great Western Road Trip is HERE
Part Seven of the Great Western Road Trip is HERE
Part Eight of the Great Western Road Trip is HERE
Part Nine of the Great Western Road Trip is HERE
Part Ten of the Great Western Road Trip is HERE
Part Eleven of the Great Western Road Trip is HERE
Part Twelve of the Great Western Road Trip is HERE
Part Thirteen of the Great Western Road Trip is HERE  
Part Fourteen of the Great Western Road Trip is HERE  
Part Fifteen of the Great Western Road Trip is HERE 
Part Sixteen of the Great Western Road Trip is HERE
Part Seventeen of the Great Western Road Trip is HERE

So the next morning after Kim made her overnight waffles, she and I headed out to shop.  
Hubs and Joel took the rental car and went out to do "guy stuff".


We hit Big Lots where I picked up some of these candy cigarettes for my younger two kids who were still living at home.  Nostalgia set in on me.....Candy Cigarettes were a big deal back when I was a kid.

BL also had skeleton animals that made noises and their eyes lit up when you pushed a button.  Back in 2017 these were a new thing.  I took a quick video of a buzzard and some other critter going off but I guess I had deleted that over the ensuing years.

Kim wanted to show me "her" Rite-Aid.  She said it was small and never had anything. Hahaha

Well here's a photo of the outside of her R-A.  All I can say is that her's is waaaay bigger than the one in my old town, like 4 x the size of it!  Heck, they even sold alcohol and had some specials on such so I picked up a few items for my two kids who still lived at home(and were well over drinking age).

Then it was back home(after hitting the Mickey D's drive thru for Diet Coke for Kim).
Their cat was being useful.
Holding down the tablecloth on the dining room table and being all adorable.

Then I went wandering around Kim's yard.  I found her chicken coop.

I had a conversation with her chickens.....

There was this old sign near the coop I am guessing Joel picked up somewhere on his work.....

Then we were off to Washington state(just over the Snake river from Lewiston Idaho)because Kim had to pick up some stuff(including sewing supplies for her business).

So I was able to cross off another state on my list of the US states I'd never been to.

Going over the bridge we saw the Port of Clarkston WA sign.  A few years later we'd go back to Washington for a cruise.

Meanwhile Hubs and Joel went to a museum about Jack O'Connor.  He was a famous sports/hunting
writer for Sports Life Magazine.
HERE is info on the Center devoted to him and a bit about his life.

Then they went to the Spalding Site on the Nez Perce lands.  Info HERE.  Hubs sent me this photo.........

No clue what this was all about.

Back to exploring Kim's backyard........

She had an homage to me on the deck! lol

Then there was the garden that went on for days.  And being August the harvest was coming in fast and furiously.

She also had a small koi pond on the end of the deck.....

Here's some of the day's picking.  That zucchini must have been a good hider to avoid detection until it got THAT big! lolz

And then we made a quick trip to the Dance Studio.  Kim had sort of sold it to someone at this point but she was still having to go in and help this new owner out and she was also still building dance costumes for shows.  I know she loved her dance studio but it was a real drain on her(both financially and physically)at that point.
I waited in the car while she ran in to deal with something.

Then after we got back to the house, Hubs and Joel returned from their adventure too.  It was decided to go out for dinner.  We all loaded into the car along with Kim's mom and off we went....

Some mural art on walls near the river.........

Downtown we passed by a historic cabin in the square.  It is known as the Miranda Cabin and is said to be oldest surviving structure in Lewiston, Idaho.

Then we hit the favorite gourmet dining spot Kim loves.  Being my friend she only takes me to the best places.*snort*

"Effie Burgers"

I am shocked that this place was never showcased on that "Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives" show on the Food Network!
What do they serve?   Well the biggest damned hamburgers I've ever seen!  They also serve Chicken sandwiches, Chicken Strips and Finger Steaks.  Sides are French Fries in various configurations, Onion Ringer, Mushrooms and Chicken Gizzards.  That's it. They also served drinks as well since you'd really need one to wash these massive meat bombs down. ;-)

To get a table big enough(well we had two tables pushed together)the staff had to put us in the back room next to the pool table.  I'm glad nobody wanted to play pool while we were eating there since we'd have had pool sticks poking us.

Now I tried to warn Hubs about an "Effie Burger".  If you noticed they serve "half" burgers as well as full ones.  This is because nobody(except a competitive eater or a sumo wrestler)can actually eat a whole Effie Burger in one sitting.  Heck, a normal person could eat off of one of these for two days!!
So even after warning Hubs he ordered a whole Effie Burger with cheese for just himself.  No way he was going to share this thing with me!

See the scale of that behemoth??  It's bigger than a persons head!
I had to order a half a burger for myself(and couldn't finish it, even though I hadn't had lunch that day too).
Kim, Joel and her Mom got 1 burger and split it three ways and also got fries.

A little video I took.  Sorry for the poor quality but it was mighty dark in there.

Not being a big pickle of burgers kind of gal as I took the last bites I was able I left a pile of pickle chips as well as the last of the 1/2 a burger.

And this is what was left of Hubs whole burger.  Don't make me say I told you so! hehehe

A shot of the flattop grill in the kitchen on the way out.  Dang those patties are a s big as dinner plates!

Between the alcohol advertisements on the wall and under the neon signs was one for

Me posing with the Effie's sign.  I swear those burgers were MORE than 8 inches and 1 lb. of meat!

On the sidewalk outside one solitary French fry  tried to make a break for freedom.  Run, little buddy, run!

The usual suspects under the Effie Burgers sign outside as we left.  I don't know if Hubs was holding his hat there by accident or using it to keep from losing his dinner. lol

We spent the evening back on the deck talking with Kim, Joel and Kim's mom.  At some point Kim's little sister came over with goodies.....freebie leftovers her work was giving out at some event that weekend.

I had smoker envy when I saw this massive smoker living on the back deck next to the house.  Evidently this was a retirement gift for Joel from his coworkers.  I know that Kim doesn't care for smoke meats(well I didn't back then)so it had been sitting unused.  I tried but there was no way I could figure out how to smuggle that thing into our sedan car and cart it back across the country to PA. ;-)

As the evening wound down we headed inside.  Kim went into the fridge to retrieve a candy bar for her Mom's evening snack(yes, Kim comes by her sweet tooth honestly).  2017 was the year they were putting funny sayings/words on M&M/Mars products.

Hey!  That candy bar should have been MINE!!lololz

Off to bed after packing up, as we were heading out the next day on our return trip home.


Friday, September 29, 2023

Frugal Friday....the September 29th Edition

Welcome to Frugal Friday!   And really, what a week of highs and lows it's been!!!

There are a few Frugal wins this past week so here goes....

*  Grocery shopping this week........

At Kroger late Friday, I picked up what's pictured above with Ibotta rebates and some also had digital Qs.  The boxed Kraft was given away to son in-law.
I spent $32.75 OOP on all this and got back $13.94 on Ibotta.

This is what got bought at Walmart on Saturday with Ibotta rebates and again the boxed Kraft went to the son in-law. I spent $44.04 OOP on what is pictured and got back $28.91 on Ibotta plus another $5 for hitting the Weekend Bonus between the Kroger shop and this one.
And I received $9.00 on Shopmium and $4.00 on Alexa so $15.94 OOP in the end on all this. (I also earned $3 worth of Shop Kicks too and .25¢ of Kroger Cash Back but those get counted once I cash out on those platforms.)

I'll also picked up a load of stuff on Thursday, mostly some prepackaged salads, frozen veggies as we were almost out, fresh fruit and veg to use up this coming week before we fly to Ohio, a can of tomato paste, a bag of pet treats, 3 bags of frozen chicken, and Hubs wanted a frozen pizza and a rope of Cajun boudin sausage.  That all came to $67.42 after my 5% Senior discount(since we went there on SD day).  We saved $33.06 over regular retail prices too.   I know this puts me over $400 for the month of September on food but it was either going to happen in September or October.  This is the discount grocer for Brookshire's a regional chain.  They sell Brookshire's branded items here but they charge less for them.  And I usually buy fresh produce here as it is cheaper than Walmart or Kroger.

*  Our granddog who is getting up there in dog years broke a tooth off a couple of weeks ago but 2 of the roots were still left in her gums.  Being elderly the vet is reticent to use anesthesia on her(due to her heart)but you can't do extraction on a dog without it.  They ran tests and daughter took the gamble she would pull through.  Got the word on Tuesday evening that she survived the operation and is recovering!

Cinnamon is the dog that lived with us in PA for 3 years while Daughter was finishing her degree.  She was my constant companion for those 3 years(before we adopted Chester)and I have a soft spot in my heart for her.

* Our power went out again.  This time due to a hellacious lightning storm on Sunday night(it stormed off and on all day and then into Monday and the strikes were so close a few actually shook our house).  We had nothing to eat(no way to cook or heat it)and had to go get bags of ice to try to save our freezer/fridge food.
We ended up going to a local restaurant for lunch because they had power still.  I ordered a chimichanga, which is my favorite thing to eat if it's Mexican.  What they brought me was not up to par.....

I choked down about half of the chimi only, as I was starving and as it was NOT fried as it should have been.  I'd had this before here(2 times)and it was cooked properly then.  This one was a gloppy oily mess.  Then they dumped what appeared to be processed cheese sauce on top of it(or a sort of melted Velveeta).  The beef was not seasoned beyond a bunch of salt.  The rice was not fully cooked either.  There were many crunchy grains plus it had no flavor.  I gave my refried beans to Hubs as they tasted sour and had a glob of sour cream on them which did nothing to hide the off flavor.
It was a crappy meal and I regret paying good money for it but Hubs wanted to go there.  Even the basket of restaurant made tortilla chips were flavorless.  At the Mexican restaurant I worked at in VA years ago, at least we put a good dose of garlic and salt on our tortilla chips.  These were nasty but I couldn't eat them anyway(empty carbs)so no loss for me plus their salsa has fresh cilantro in it so with my genetic anomaly it makes the salsa taste like soap.  ick.

*  Then my subpar PCP almost blew up my knee replacement because instead of doing a proper cardiac clearance on me for surgery, they did a half-assed EKG which was unacceptable to the surgeon's office.  I knew when they were preforming it that it wasn't going to pass muster as the nurse couldn't get a good reading with the inadequate equipment they were using.  Then the surgeon's office waited 4 DAYS to let me know it was unacceptable!  So I blame both parties for this.  After much gnashing of teeth and complaining loudly to all parties I got a stress test scheduled before I was suppose to fly to Ohio.  Hopefully this won't cost too much OOP but I am so done with every doctor I have seen here in Lousiana(and that isn't a typo). ;-)  I can't wait to get out of this place!!!  
Thankfully I complained loudly enough to the PCP that she had the nurse refer me to a real cardiologist to run the needed tests to clear me for surgery.  I had those Wednesday and the cardiologist called me late that afternoon and told me I had passed with flying colors.  We got the results to the surgeon in Ohio and the surgery didn't get derailed after all but it was a very stressful couple of days, mentally, emotionally and physically.  I am thankful that this cardiologist that the PCP referred me to was competent and actually he was awesome! and that they could squeeze me in.  As I am 2 months away from Medicare had the surgeon's office had to reschedule this surgery I am sure it wouldn't have been in time for me to still qualify for this program through our private insurance.
I don't think I'll owe anything for these additional tests as I've met all my deductibles and co-pays too that is a blessing as well.

*  We went to the lawyer's office and signed all the paperwork Thursday for our legal documents(will, living will, healthcare POA, Financial POA).
I brought home these very nice ballpoint pens for free(the lawyer offered them, I didn't pilfer them).  They have advertising for the lawyer on them but this side is lovely. 8-)
I thought getting to take home the pens(plus some chocolates in a bowl from his waiting room)would make the sting of having to shell out $2,400 for his services would help but no, it didn't. lol  But it was something we had to have and spend on.  Asking around I find that his rates were fairly low for what we got so my mind is at ease on all accounts.

*  I found money! Finally!!

At that place we went to that served mediocre Tex-Mex food.  Found by the door as we left never to return again.
Adios Trejo's and gracias for the nickel!

Total Found in last Week.... .05¢
Total Found this Year.......$3.10

That's all I got. 

 Just sitting home is frugal, right?

Any frugal wins in your neck of the woods?  Let's hear all about them since I don't seem to be able to find much!