I thought I’d come up with a new monthly feature breaking down my grocery bill. How to keep costs down so I can afford a horse and everything else in my life. My motivation might get up and go after a couple of months. We’ll see.
I thought Vegetarian Cowgirl was a good definition. Though, to be more accurate, I could have called myself Pescatarian Cowgirl, though not everyone is familiar with the term pescatarian. Basically, it’s a vegetarian who eats seafood, but no other meat products. If it has claws or hooves and walks on the land, a pescatarian doesn’t eat it!
To break it down further, although I will eat seafood, I don’t eat it as often as I used to. Too expensive is the main reason. Generally I follow a plant based diet, but it doesn’t bother me if foods contain eggs or dairy products.
I’m also an Urban Cowgirl. Kind of a play on words on an old John Travolta flick, Urban Cowboy. Generally these are people who like to dress up for the part, but not active participants.
Wannabe Cowgirl? Sometimes I think I’m a fake because I’m not a working cowgirl on a big cattle ranch somewhere.
Anyway, let’s move along.
IS IT A GROCERY ITEM OR NOT?
When I track my spending on a spreadsheet, the grocery category includes all expenses I made at grocery stores and drug stores. That doesn’t mean everything is edible. I buy cleaning products, food wrap, dog treats and more that all get allotted to my “grocery” spending.
These tallies will only include the groceries I eat.
Are you curious to see what food a single woman who’s watching her pennies is buying? If so – you’re in the right place today!
JANUARY 6, 2021 GROCERY BILL
I went to the Real Canadian Superstore on January 6, my first grocery shop of 2021. Generally I prefer to shop at Walmart because the prices are better. The Real Canadian Superstore has some things that I can’t buy at Walmart. For example, I like a large bag of oatmeal to keep in my freezer. Walmart doesn’t sell large sizes.
For this grocery trip, I shopped at the Real Canadian Superstore in Greandview Corners in Surrey, BC. It’s a fairly new store, bright and clean with wide aisles, but I don’t really like shopping here. I prefer the Superstore in Pitt Meadows, but the Grandview Corners location is close to where I board my horse, so it’s convenient.
I wanted to buy a bag of apples, but they were all jumbled up, and pricing was missing for many varieties. Who else hates getting to the cash register and finding out the unknown price on something was more than you wanted to spend? The price tags I saw seemed high, like $7 and higher, so I passed.
|Shrimp Instant Noodles||6 @ 22¢||$1.32|
|Applesauce||2 @ $2.18||$4.36|
|Spaghetti||2 @ $1.58||$3.16|
|Tart Cherry Juice||1||$7.15|
|Nog Coconut Milk||1||$1.44|
|Tart Cherry Juice||1||$8.65|
|Bananas||1.695 kg @ $1.46/kg||$2.47|
JANUARY 13, 2021 GROCERY BILL
On this trip I went to Walmart in the Grandview Corners area of Surrey. This Walmart is right across the street from the above Real Canadian Superstore, and is my preffered place for grocery shopping. On this trip I mostly needed dog treats and a few other things that aren’t groceries, so I’m not including them on this post.
|Lipton lemon ginseng tea – 72 bags||1||$5.98|
|Lime powder drink mix||2 @ $2.67||$5.34|
|Walnuts – 300 gr bag||1||$7.00|
|Goldfish crackers||3 @ $2||$6.00|
|Plantain chips||3 @ $1.27||$3.81|
|Bananas||1.265 kg @ $1.46/kg||$1.85|
The total could be slightly higher because some of the items may have tax, like the chips and crackers, but probably just pennies difference. The other things in my cart like the dog treats were taxable.
JANUARY 15, 2021 GROCERY BILL
Today I stopped at Fruiticana in Cloverdale because I’m out of spinach.
|Gala apples||1.59 lb @ .68/lb||$1.08|
If I’m going to buy tofu, I buy it at Fruiticana. It’s the same brand as sold in larger chain grocery stores for $1.99, so I save a little money buying it from the green grocer!
JANUARY 27, 2021 GROCERY BILL
Today I was back at my regular Walmart to pick up a few things like laundry soap and dishwasher soap, but only the grocery items are listed! I’ve been using up all my shelf stable almond milk, so today I need to pick up more. I had Laughing Cow cheese on my list, but at the store the Babybel was beside it, on sale for $3 so I bought it instead. Ironic, I’m not a cheese person, but I’ve been thinking about it lately! The crabless cakes and veggie burgers were on sale, so I added them to my cart.
|Silk Milk (nut milks)||2 @ $3.50||$7|
|Frozen veggies – California mix||1||$4.44|
|Frozen mix veggies||1||$3.98|
|Almond milk||2 @ $1.97||$3.94|
JANUARY 28, 2021 GROCERY BILL
Today I went to London Drugs because I needed cashew and macadamia nuts. London Drugs is like a lot of other drug stores with a fairly decent grocery section, taking two to three aisles inside the store. I ran out of cashews a couple of days earlier, and although I don’t normally buy macadamia nuts, there’s a recipe I wanted to try and I noticed they were on sale when I checked the store’s flyer the night before.
The Ryvita crackers were on sale so I stocked up, and I was nearly out of Tic Tacs and they were also on sale.
|Ryvita crispbread||2 @ $2.50||$5.00|
Ever since I’ve been working on leading a healthier lifestyle, I’ve bought more Tic Tacs in the past three years than the past 50 years! I bring up the Tic Tacs in my post Motivated by Fear: my Weight Loss Plan.
JANUARY 31, 2021 GROCERY BILL
My last groceries of the month. Wow! It sure seems like I’ve been in and out of a lot of grocery stores for someone who’s trying to avoid crowds! This was just a quick stock up trip to Fruiticana. I wish I’d had bananas on my grocery list when I’d gone into Walmart on January 27, because I only had a couple left at home.
Here’s a little trivia. Did you know that bananas are the biggest selling item at Walmart?
I’ve been out of spinach and for a week. Due to the cold weather, I decided to sub in my Super Easy Instant Pot Vegetable Barley Soup and I used up the last of my spinach in it. I suppose I could have just made more soup using what I have on hand and done without spinach awhile longer, but I really wanted to get bananas in the house.
|Bananas||2.9 lb. @ .79/lb.||$2.29|
A FEW EXPLANATIONS
Yes, I really did buy two different brands of tart cherry juice to give them a try. Apparently tart cherry helps with arthritis but by consuming a ridiculous amount of tart cherry juice, a couple of glasses a day. As you can see, that juice is expensive, for about one liter. I don’t tend to drink a lot of juice, but I thought I’d give it a try. Verdict? Not planning to buy them again. They were OK but out of my price range.
Rice cakes was not on my list, but I couldn’t resist the caramel chocolate chip rice cakes. It’s been months since I bought one. I was very good, I only bought one bag!
Instant noodles was also not on my list, but I spotted the shrimp flavor of the no name brand on sale @ 22¢ each. They’re normally 38¢ apiece. There was a limit of 6 at the sale price, so I grabbed them.
I’m not sure how much the coconut holiday nog normally costs, but it was marked down to $1.44 so I thought I’d give it a try. It was probably at least double that in the weeks leading up to Christmas. I wanted to make my eggnog pancakes for one.
Believe it or not, Maria cookies was on my shopping list! I can’t find a big box of them anywhere else except at the Real Canadian Superstore. They’re a Spanish cookie. The Spanish word for cookie is galleta. When I was in Spain this type of cookie was referred to as Buena Maria. It’s sort of like a digestive cookie. Or an Arrowroot cookie.
I referred to them as digestive cookies in my post Dunking, Spanish Style.
I didn’t notice the big box of Buena Maria cookies in the Superstore today. But, I did notice the Superstore now has a no name brand of Maria cookies and it was on sale at $2.88. Normal price is $3.48. I bought one to check it out.
I find the No Name Marias a bit sweeter than the Gullon Galletas, and also crunchier. They’re good enough for my evening snack. I might switch to buying them based on better value, at least when they’re on sale.
My bad purchases are actually healthy items.
I don’t normally buy produce at grocery stores. I prefer a produce store called Fruiticana.
Seeing as how I was already in the Real Canadian Superstore and with Covid, I don’t want to hit too many stores, I bit the bullet and made the purchases. Popeye spinach cost $3.98. The same brand, same size at Fruiticana is $2.99. And that’s a recent price increase. Spinach was $2.29 for a long time up until around October, 2020.
The mini carrots cost $2.98, and they cost $1.59 at Fruiticana for the same size, one pound.
Applesauce costs $2.19 at the Superstore? Yikes! And that’s the no name brand. I bought a same size jar at Walmart a few weeks ago and it was $1.59 or $1.69, I don’t quite recall.
On the January 13 Walmart trip I wish I hadn’t bought the condensed milk, I thought it was a good price, and wasn’t sure what I had in my cupboard. Turned out I had at least one at home. Also I regret buying the $2.97 crackers. I had enough crackers to last awhile and I misread the price. Thought they were a dollar cheaper. Or I could have just got ripped off at check out. A common occurrence at Walmart.
TALLY IT UP!
And the final amount for my groceries in January, 2021 is … ta da!
And six times I went inside stores to do grocery shopping. Although most of them were very quick trips, and all but Fruiticana have self-check outs, I still thought that was kind of a high number for groceries during Covid and trying to self-isolate.
In fact, it’s pretty much about the same number of trips I hit the stories during normal times!
I’m not fearful of shopping. I wear face coverings and I don’t spend a lot of time inside the stores. As soon as I get in the car I use hand sanitizer, and I wash my hands when I get home. And I wash them again after I unpack the groceries.
I feel like I’m staying safe. It’s hard to justify paying extra money to have someone else do the shopping and either deliver to my house or for me to pick up at the grocery store. It’s kind of inconvenient. It also prevents me from noticing a special on at the store that I might want to stock up on.
How are you doing with you grocery shopping? Do you still shop or have you switched to deliver or pick up service? Do you find you’re spending more money or less money on groceries?
This post was published on February 1, 2021.