Monday, October 3, 2016

Monthly Shopping Goals: October 2016

October is usually a pretty depressing month when it comes to prices on groceries in Alaska and this year is no different.  When I went shopping Friday I noticed a bunch of things at Fred Meyer had jumped in price in preparation for winter.  I've seen this happen pretty much since I moved here.  As soon as tourist season is officially over you see the prices start to creep, but as soon as the "winter months" start, they know that they have resident Alaskans held hostage for the winter, and so the prices don't so much creep as leap.  For instance, I noticed that the normal price on Pringles (unfortunately one of the things my son considers to be "food") went from 1.69 a few weeks ago to 2.19 Friday (I decided to wait and hopefully there will be a sale at some point) and that's just an example of a decently "cheap" item normally.  And I saw many more things that had lept in price when I wandered around the store.  So, to say that I'm glad that I'm stocked up on a few things is a vast understatement.

This month I am hoping to fill the pantry a bit more with things that I need and/or I got at a good price that we use a LOT.  For instance, I am ordering a lot of 12 containers of Kraft Parmesan cheese off of Amazon this month.  My son eats pasta with olive oil and Parmesan cheese on it at LEAST twice a week, sometimes as many as four times (and that's not counting the pasta he takes for school lunches).  I had ordered some Parmesan cheese in bulk years ago off of Amazon and had been using it slowly but surely to supplement the big containers I got at the store, but I finally ran out and when I noticed the price of a big container of Parmesan cheese is up near 10.00 (I mean GEEZ!!!) I decided that I needed to get the bulk order from Amazon as we'll definitely use it.  Unfortunately my kids are Kraft cheese snobs, they won't "do" generic brand Parmesan cheese, so this was definitely the most cost effective option for me.

This month is also going to be seeing me reducing my weekly grocery budget back down to 50.00, since produce sales are pretty much over for the year.  I might go over here and there to get some good deals on produce, but I'm figuring for now reducing it back down won't harm anything.  My freezers are PACKED full right now (to the point I'm wondering where I'm going to fit the chicken thighs I bought Friday into them *laugh*), so at least I'm prepared to start having to live more out of the freezer in the coming months.  God has been good to me when it came to sales, making sure I had money to buy meat when the sales hit and other things (like produce).  I am very very grateful as with dividends already spent before they are even in, I am going to need all the help I can get to hopefully get dental bills paid off on time (thank goodness that tunnel finally has a little light at the end of it.  Two more teeth to go and my husband's mouth is done for the time being!  After that it's just getting a permanent false tooth put in here and there as we have money.  Yay!!!) and the other monetary trains moving smoothly in the coming months all the while TRYING (I hope not in vain) to save money and put some pennies back into the bank.

Some things have gotten added to my list this month in the way of spices and/or herbs as I have come to realize looking through my spice cabinet that I have to replace some of them as they are over 14 years old and a lot of them just don't TASTE like anything anymore so they need to be replaced.  And in some cases, like with allspice berries, I went to mull apple cider (thank goodness I hadn't started the canning process yet!) only to find that I'd put an empty container back into the cabinet when I used the berries last (I'm assuming last Thanksgiving as that's the one time of year I use a decent amount of them for the turkey brine).  The same thing happened with my powdered ginger, although I'm not quire sure when I used that last.  I replaced the ginger and allspice berries last month, adding them to my Amazon order as I ran into them super cheap (the powdered ginger was 2.22 for a decently big container and the allspice berries were less than 4.00 for a HUGE bag of them...what I'm going to do with all of those berries I'm not really sure, but it was a LOT cheaper than than the nearly 10.00 the store wanted for a tiny jar of them).

So, here's my list of things that I'm hoping to get this month!

Regular Stores:
  • Jack O' Lantern Pumpkin (done).
  • Dishwashing Detergent
  • Halloween candy (tootsie pops, starburst and smarties as I can use those for my son's reinforcers later if we don't get many trick-or-treaters). 
  • Keep eye on sales on baking goods and safe for son chocolate.
  • Thyme (my plant didn't produce enough to see me through winter this year, so I'm supplementing)
  • Cumin (big container)
  • Peanut free nuts (ordered some peanut free pecans from "The Pecan Farm" down in Texas.  I LOVE pecans and was so so thrilled to find some that I could buy that were safe from peanut contamination.  I used my associate fees to pay for it.  Thank you to everyone who ordered through my link.  I really appreciate it!).
  • Gillette Fusion razor with 2 refill blades (this was 4.69 after discounts and coupons a few weeks ago so I ordered it for my husband who is getting low on razors).
  • Good Sense Nasal Decongestant PE (super duper cheap for Sudafed, which is one of those meds my husband likes and, unfortunately, our medicine stores are finally shot after all of the years living off of my coupon bought stash.  An end to an era.  It made me sad *laugh*).
  • Good Sense Ibuprofen 500 caplets (once again SUPER cheap for Ibuprofen!)
  • Crystal Light (my husband agreed to start trying to drink more of things like this instead of the huge amounts of Coke he tends to consume as he knows all of the sugar in his diet isn't good for him.  I know it's not ideal, water would be more ideal, but it's a start :).
  • Kraft Parmesan Cheese, lot of 12

Bulk Store:
  • Onion Powder (I need to comp shop it and see how expensive it is as I didn't really like the prices on Amazon).

European Market:
  • SAF instant yeast (the only place local I can find it and it's decently cheap too!)
  • Hunter's Sticks (these are kind of like Slim Jims, but hand made with different types of game meat.  My husband really likes them and they are actually pretty reasonable in price, so I want to get some and stick them in the freezer as part of his Christmas gift). 
So there's my list for the month.  How about you?  Got anything on your list this month?


  1. This month I am living about 60% off the pantry and freezer so food stops spilling out. I am hoping it will let me start stocking up on a few larger things like cat food and holiday food without going over budget. A grocery store I don't shop at often sent 6 really good coupons in the mail, one to be used each week, so guess I will get some stuff there the next few weeks.

    I also am hoping this month to knock at least 5 more gifts off the christmas to buy list. I finished up 3 people yesterday, but have another 16 to go.

  2. This month I ordered 2 cases of " second " apples, I plan to use one for apple sauce and one for eating. I hope I will get them, sometimes some of the things I order don't come if they run out. The juice grade apples are just as good, just imperfect or odd shaped and half of price.
    I also ordered 5 lbs of potatoe flakes, 5 lbs shredded coconut ( this last me 1 year ), whole chicken and butter.
    I will try to spend less than usually at the grocery stores this month, but if I find good sales on something we use I will try to stock up.
    I have my fall garden planted, I think I will have lettuce, cucumbers and onions soon. I harvested my first gord and hopefully I will have more. I use them for fall decoration around the house.
    Later on I will sow spinach, kale and radishes. I also planted broccoli, black radishes, kabbage, celery and my first rhubarb little plants grown from seeds indoors. I wil see how this will work, I can already see the rhubarb did not like the transfer in the garden, its still in high 80 here. If everything goes right I should have some rhubarb in the spring.
    And forgot to say I am still haresting green peppers, hot peppers and basil.
    Sorry to hear about prices going up in the winter in Alaska, it's definitely worth stocking up in the summer as much as possible.

  3. I was amazed reading about how Alaska lowers food prices in the summer while our town, which gets a goodly amount of tourists, raises their summer prices to take advantage of what they think is making more money. We generally go two or three towns over to shop where this hasn't happened. I also feel blessed that in many cases I can go shop direct from some of the growers and cut out the middleman.

    Not much shopping this week as I did two weeks worth last week. I do, however, want to check out some bulk things on Amazon, and go over to one of the Amish/Mennonite markets for some more winter squashes and local honey and see what else they may have for pantry storage. If we get near the Costco this week I want to try to run in there and get large bags of cheese to freeze and their big block of cream cheese. I'm going to check out the Pringles prices here and see if their rise is across-the-board or just in your area.

    More rain predicted here today and possibly the shreds of the hurricane coming up the coast. I hope it goes back out to sea. Dorothy

    1. Checked today and Pringles here are 2 for $3.00. Hard to believe they're so much more in Alaska. Dorothy

  4. Hi Erika,
    You might check on Amazon for the SAF yeast. It's been a few months since I looked, but I know they used to stock it. Also, I am *so* sorry to hear that prices are going UP in Alaska after the tourists leave. I confess I was one of the tourists this year... As we visited various parts of the state (and nearby provinces) and I occasionally had sticker shock at the grocery store, it helped to think that my paying 4.50 - 6.00 a gallon for milk might be helping somebody keep the lights on for the winter. Very disheartening to hear that prices are even worse now...

    1. Yeah, luckily milk tends to stick around 3.69 per gallon around here, but I know other parts of the state are definitely not that lucky.

      With the prices, it is kind of weird. Especially with like Fred Meyer the prices cycle. Fred Meyer will lower their prices for a good six to eight months, usually during the spring and summer months, and then once they think they have people in the habit of shopping there they just raise the prices and see what happens. Well, what inevitably happens is that people start shopping more at Safeway, or Wal-Mart or Three Bears (a local chain), or even going into Anchorage and shopping at Costco. Suddenly they realize that their market share is slipping and then they lower their prices again. So, I'm going to wait and see, shop the sales and keep an eye out and see how long it takes Fred Meyer to lower prices back down to reasonable (in some cases). When I saw the 4.00 plus price tag on Ore Ida french fries (another love of my son's) when I can get them for 3.00 and some a bag at Carrs/Safeway, I'm thinking the wool isn't going to get pulled over people's eyes for very long.

      Hope you enjoyed your trip to Alaska. I know most people get the worst sticker shock when eating out. They can't believe that we pay about 9.00 per value meal at McDonalds, while they can get value menu items down South for less than half of that, but that's my state *laugh*.

  5. So is the pay rate better there to compensate for the higher price of food?

    1. In certain areas, yes. I can't say for sure about jobs in retail and things compared to down South as I haven't worked in retail in a decent amount of years, but I know that especially the medical field and therapy fields you can make a killing up here. We pay on average about 200.00 per office visit to the doctor and you can pay up to 400.00 per office visit to a specialist. And therapists definitely love it up here as they make good money and never hurt for work because we have a shortage of them.

      The people who normally make the best money are slope workers who work up North (way up North) in Prudoe Bay and things. With the amount of overtime they do (they normally have a two week on two week off rotation or three weeks on two weeks off, etc) and the amount of pay they make normally they can pull in about 2000.00 a week for pay. Downside to that is that families got to learn to lead a kind of weird schedule, though :).

  6. I just looked online at our website (this is where I shop & Aldi for groceries) & pringles are 2/$3 regular price. Here are some more prices for a few different things from Meijer on sale this week. Lays potato chips are on sale this week 2/$5 & the family sz on sale for $3.99, party sz doritos are on sale for $3.99 & the 10 oz bags on sale for $1.79 they're reg $4 a bag otherwise, 80% lean ground beef on sale for $3.99lb, 90% ground beef $4.49lb, angus beef 85% lean sale $4.99lb, and chicken breasts sale price $1.99lb, OM bacon $5.99 16oz sz reg price, wright brand bacon 24 oz reg price $8.49, OM thick cut bacon 24oz $7.79 reg price. I do not buy bacon at these prices cannot afford it!! So we have crazy prices to on certain things lol

    Aldi this week we can get chicken breasts for $1.49lb on sale this week. They've been doing that about every 2/3 wks & last week chicken drumsticks were .49lb. I stock up for those prices bc you cannot find it for that price anywhere else here in Northern Indiana. They also have what's called their produce picks of the week & this week they have on sale celery .69 bunch, whole pumpkins $1.99, white mushrooms .69 8oz sz, naval oranges $1.99 3lb bag & Michigan red delicious apples for $1.19 a 3lb bag. I wish everyone had an Aldi bc they save you so much money!!

    I'm always shocked at what you pay for groceries up there especially what they (grocery stores) consider sale prices of things. lol but I'm impressed at how well you were able to stock up this summer on food.

    I cannot wait for the baking supply sales that will be coming up here soon. That's when I stock up & then do not need to buy throughout the year. Saves a ton of money!!!

  7. Erika, my husband developed a frozen shoulder after surgery that he had, so I know how incredibly painful it is. he tried physio, which didn't do much, except for when the physiotherapist massaged the area. That made a tremendous difference, so much so, that he cancelled the rest of his physio appointments and switched to getting massages instead. It took about three appointments, but it did indeed fix his frozen shoulder. if you haven't tried this approach, you might want to look into it. I hope that it works as well for you as it did for my husband.

    1. I need to talk to my massage therapist sister-in-law about that. I have noticed a definite improvement when my husband massages my shoulder compared to just doing stretches. Thanks for bringing that up as I never really made the connection before!