Analyzing the 2011 grocery purchase tracking log

As if I needed another reason for Matt to mutter “neurotic freak” under his breath whenever he sees one of my charts, I started a log in 2010 to track our grocery store purchases. If you care to hear me rationalize this, read this post.
2011 was the first year for which I have complete data. In today’s thrilling post I will hit the highlights of my fascinating interpretation of the numbers. Note: these numbers include all purchases made at grocery stores, including non-food consumables such as greeting cards, cleaning products, and personal care.
Our average weekly expenditure ended up being $89.95. At the beginning of the year it was closer to $75 or $80 but I saw it spike to over $100 a week in late summer and early fall, when we were both working and I was buying nukeable diet entrees for my lunch and dinner. After I came back home again the price fell a little because I could cook for myself again. Also, after we quit smoking (a period where we saw another price spike, because we were stuffing our faces night and day with comfort food) I finally went back on the diet that helped me drop 40 pounds for our wedding, so there are still some prepackaged “fake foods” in my cart.
Ready for specifics? I knew you were!
  • The only herb I cannot seem to grow, and which simply isn’t the same dried, is basil. Basil is also the only fresh herb I have records of purchasing in 2011. We spent $25.53 on basil last year. That’ll teach me not to water the damn basil.
  • The average price of fresh meats at the big discount store where I do my major shopping (starts with a W but is not based in Bentonville) slowly rose over the course of the year a little over half a buck.
  • In 2011 we bought just three loaves of bread, and that was during the brief but bizarre period where I was working not one but two jobs. Ordinarily I bake at least two loaves of bread a week, sometimes more if we need rolls for a potluck or if we are having company. I don’t even buy hamburger buns anymore. This baking addiction is how I managed to use up over 100 pounds of unbleached all-purpose flour in 2011. (At an average price of $0.30 per pound).
  • Butter prices fluctuated madly. I never knew what I was in for, so when it seemed like a good price I grabbed a buttload and froze it. The price range was over a dollar from the lowest I paid per pound to the highest. Cheese prices fluctuated somewhat, but less quickly and over a much smaller range. So was there a price spasm for dairy in general? You’d think so, but no – sour cream and milk prices didn’t budge for me all year long. WTF?
  • Speaking of cheese, we spent a whopping $296.66 on cheese in 2011, at an average price per pound of $3.96 (less for bricks, more for shreds). That’s almost three times as much as we spent on TP (which was $95.40, for those who give a crap – HA!). Perhaps this cheese-to-toilet-paper correlation is the mathematical proof of my grandpappy’s great maxim: “Cheese is more binding.” Perhaps I have had too much coffee.(its not the coffee trust me – Matt)
  • Our next biggest expenditure was on bacon. Strangely, the price of the bacon that we buy (gourmet stuff from Oregon) is, without fail, $5.99 per pound. Always. We managed to spend $192.57 on bacon in 2011. Somehow 32.15 pounds of bacon doesn’t seem excessive to me. Is that a a bad sign? (By the by, the bacon from our own pigs was only $3.27 per pound, but as the butcher continually reminds me, there is only so much of the pig you can make into bacon. Sad face.)
  • Last but not least: eggs. Here we have incontrovertible proof that our little feather butts are headed for the freezer. Our chickens laid a measly 18.08 dozen eggs this year, (when they bothered to lay at all), leaving us to buy in 62.5 dozen to fill the (enormous) gap. I know this is little consolation to our chooks, but it’ll help me swing the ax. A little. I hope. Maybe Matt will do it for me. Again.
— Amanda

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