Monday, February 19, 2018

Getting started

This concept of just buying what you need to supplement what you already have sounds overwhelming esiciakky if you now barely make it from payday to payday.   It is possible.   It takes time,   I maintained and built our stock last year on 55.05 a week fir 3 of us,  my daughter pays for her daughters food, we just supply her groceries that are meat and dairy because she is vegan.  

First, take some baby steps to lower your food bill with the idea that you can use the “found” money to stock.   Try cutt8ng out any pop and snack type chips etc.. Buying  a whole jar of applesauce and a few snack cups from the DT that have screw on lids will help.  

  • Buy a bulk bag of flour, rice, and oatmeal .  This is about 25.00 at Costco.  

  • This is a breakfast go to that costs eight cents a serving and feeds a family of six with a little fruit for a buck.   

  • Rice is dirt cheap per serving.   I use the insta pot, but my mother used the microwave to cook it.  Rice pudding, rice with either a Chinese , American, or Tex mex flair works with a lot of meals.  At two cents a serving, it stretches your starch budget.  
  • Flour is a good versatile means of cooking.   pancakes. Waffles. Muffins,   Bread, cookies. Noodles , pizza dough,    The last calculation for Costco flour was eight cents a cup.  That makes pizza dough nineteen cents.   My daughter paid two bucks and she still had to roll and bake it.    It takes about three minutes and you do t ha e to knead it.    My granddaughter at 4 could roll a crust,  you can also pat it into imdividual pizzas 🍕 or into a large circle or rectangle to fit a cookie sheet or baking pan.   Muff8ms are a great go to for breakfast.  They cost pennies vs dollars fir ready made.  

  • Next, use what you saved on inexpensive shelf stable food that your family will eat and that you use on a regular basis.   Right now, Winco has green beans and corn fir five bucks a case.  That’s the price of a big bucks coffee.    That’s 41.5 cents a can.   I saw them well over a dollar at FM this week.   
  • Anither mainstay at this house is diced tomatoes.   Watch for a sale. I paid as little as 39 cents.  I only buy diced.  You can put them through the food processer or blender and make sauce,  reserve the “juice” and replace the water when you make rice.   You can use the drained tomatoes in salsa oron top of nachos instead of fresh in a pinch.   I use them for stock with vegetable or chicken stock in soup.   I want .49 or less 
  • Invest in beef boullion and chicken boullion .  The price of about three boxes of stock will give you many cups of stock .  Another pennies vs dollars.   About 3.50
  • Pasta sauce can be really expensive.  Look for sales and sales with coupons. has a new load the first of every month.  You are allowed to print two coupons.   Check them early for coupons.   I want close to a buck. 
  • Try to set aside five bucks a week.  No room ?    Use the flat free boxes from Costco and put them under the bed if you have to 
  • Keep you eyes peeled for inexpensive meals your family will eat that scratch cook efficiently.  If it takes all day, it isn’t sustainable.   

Sunday, February 18, 2018

DT and FM hauls

Dollar Tree

Cranberry, whites chocolate cookie mix
Thomas Bagels
12 grain bread
Hoagie rolls
Pizza sauce
Total 5.00

Fred Meyers

Cantaloupe 1.50
Prego pasta sauce 3/5
Granny Smith apples   2.01
12 English muffins 1.67
2 pears 1.07
 bacon  4.49
Strawberries 1.67
DT bread

Total.    18.10

Total 23.10

Meal plans

Meal  plans make it easy to stay on track and avoid the take  out demons.  

We are still trying to eat down the freezer in preparation for a bulk meat purchase.  

  • Sausage bean soup. Bread 
  • Pizza (sausage) you guessed it, hold from the soup for a second meal 
  • Baked potato bar - chicken, sour cream, sauce
  • Chicken fettuccine, green beans
  • Tuna cassarole with peas
  • Tacos, refried beans, Spanish rice 
  • Breakfast for dinner 


  1. Sausage was FREE at QFC.  Hold some (1/4 ) pound fcooked for pizza
  2. Pizza....scratch crust .19 cents. Use cheese for two dollars a lb . Fm has it 2.50 buy5, save 5 and Winco had it fir 1.2X an 8 ounce bag last i was there 
  3. Baked potato bar.  Use cook once, eat twice chicken and sour cream .  Potatoes were 1.99 for 10 lbs at Winco last 
  4. Chicken fettuccine-recipe on blog 
  5. Tacos use cheese and taco meat already cooked, Spanish rice usessome tomato boullion or sauce from cut to,atoms you saved. Scratch refried beans - insta pot or slow cooker.  Freeze leftovers 
  6.  Tuna cassarole, use homemade soup base and frozen peas 
  7. Breakfast for dinner - anything you want including quiche, salad, or pancakes or waffles.  Turkey bacon is at the DT. 

Meals to cook when you have nothing to cook.

Its no secret, the basis of Groceries on the cheap is to stock when things are at a RBP and rotate what you buy.   It takes a while to get to that point, but you can do it even on a low budget.   The key is in the budgeting and not buying junk food.    Oh, cue the groans from the junk food lovers.  Lol.    Hey, it’s not even good for you!

Having the luxury of knowing there is always food in the house 🏡 takes a lot of stress away,   They have proven that poor people have a shortened life span because of the stress.   No child should have to grow up wondering where the next meal is coming from.

 Oh,  what do you do before you commit to a life change ?

There are meals that use ingredients that are really cheap,  it helps to set yourself up with the basics
and a few appliances as soon as you can that make life easy.  This is especially true of people that are trying to juggle many hats.  An insta pot and food processer are basic tools that make kitchen life efficient,    I saved enough to pay for  the insta pot just not having to buy ready  rice and canned beans.

Let’s get to it
  •  Potato soup with or without bacon or ham 
  • Cheezy potato soup 
  • French toast.  There are oven recipes out there 
  • Mac and cheese 

  • Spaghetti and meatballs 
  • Omelets - fill with cheese and any vegetable you have
  • Frittata - rice, eggs, corn, cheese 
  • Impossible pie 
  • Cheese and bean enchaladas
  • Hot dogs and oven fries , veggie sticks -if you are really short, make dough and make pigs in blankets.   Buns aren’t hard to make, but they are time consuming,   
  • Baked potato bar 
  • Fried rice 
  • Burrito bowls 
  • Rice and beans 
  • Soup-  any but vegetable bean costs out at about 2.50 for 6 quarts.!  
One if the first bulk buys I would make would be a 20 ish pound if rice and flour and a ten pound bag of oatmeal.  I buy ours at Costco, but I’m sure sams club has  them if there are still sams clubs around.    Of you don’t have a membership, you can usually find someone that will help you that does. 

A serving of oatmeal costs  .085 .  That makes six servings less than a buck including a splash of milk and a little fruit.   

Beans are a penny a serving and rice is three cents.   Buy them at the DT, 

If you can make your own pizza crust and a quick dozen muffins, that saves bundles too.   A pizza crust with Costco bulk flour costs about 19 cents,    It takes about 3 minutes,   My 5yo granddaughter can do it,    Muffins can be done in about 5 minutes and any child over ten or so as long as they are able to handle the oven without burning themselves, can bake muffins,   My mother had us baking at 9,    

Unless it’s in sale  elsewhere, buy bread at the DT.  They also have brown and serve rolls.   Not the best ones I ve ever had,  it they work if you have to.   Learn how to make peasant bread,   It’s easy, again a older child can do it, and it takes no kneading. I would handle the oven.      It is rustic like the name Implies , but it is a good accompaniment to a good bowl of soup or stew.

  I want food I can make with not much hands on cooking.  It was that way when I was holding down sometimes 2 jobs with three kids and a house to run, now it’s that way for health reasons.    It just works.    

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Saturday night, I have six people and 60 bucks.

Fred Meyers has chickens tomorrow for .87.  Get a five lb one,    This should yield you 2 legs, 2 thighs, and one breast cut in two for a meal.   Add potatoes and a veggie .

Take the broth and rice (DT) and some veggies and make soup in the slow cooker.  Add rolls or biscuits .

Pizza casserole or pizza

Mac and cheese , vegetable

Rice and beans
spaghetti sauce and spaghetti
Fred Meyers
Milk 1.79
Check the spaghetti for .50 spaghetti
Prego 3/5
Check the space by the eggs English muffins should be a huge package for 1.67. (3/5)

Total 12.93


Carrots 2.28 fir 5 lbs
Potatoes 10 lbs 1.99
Celery .99
Peas 1.00, sometimes .88 and corn
2 cans diced tomatoes .58
4-8 8 ounce pkgs of cheese at about 1,28 a pkg.   I think they are Winco brand.   Get regular and pizza cheese if you can
1 pkg meatballs 2.00


Dollar tree
Pizza sauce
3 pizza crusts - unless you can make it yourself -  pizzas are 2  indiciduals to a package, cost of home made is .17.
Macaroni - try to get a value added box.    Normally I would have bought boxes when I can get them for .76 with coupons.
Bread -5

Total 12.00

Total 46.75

Add eggs 2 dozen where ever they are close to a buck.  Winco did it lasts week.  Add some fresh fruit at a dollar a lb or less .  

Following the on the cheap way gives you the luxury of not being stuck.  If I had a few bucks, I would buy a case of green beans at Winco.  

Chicken Alfredo

Chicken Alfredo  - serves 4

1 lb chicken breast , cooked and cubed.
1/2 lb fettucini
1-1/2 cups milk
5 T butter, cut into small pieces
Dash of nutmeg, pepper
3/4 cup parmesean cheese

  • Cook the pasta according to package directions, 
  • Bring the milk to a boil in a skillet, reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes 
  • Remove skillet from heat , add drained pasta to skillet
  • Toss, add chicken, spices, and most of the cheese. 
  • Toss again and pit remaining cheese on top 

FM Sunday ad

buy 5; save 5

2 lbs cheese 5.00
Frozen fruit
Snap peas .99
Skippy peanut butter 1.99

Strawberries 3/5
FF chicken whole or thighs .87
Milk 1.79

.99 sale
Blood oranges

Prego 3/5. Look for coupons

Friday, February 16, 2018

Feeding hungry mouths on a budget

Protein and grains stay with you.  Carbs go into your bloodstream quickly.   Fat fills you up.

Ideas you can use,   Kids, especially growing teens just can’t get enough to eat.

  1. Have a number  - like maybe 4 - things that are FREE.   That is to say, they can make themselves and eat when they are hungry provided it isn’t an hour before dinner,   With my children it was air popped popcorn , ramen noodles, beef and bean burritos, and  PBand J. I would change the ramen out to a baked potato 🥔 these days,   They are things that get protein into the children and aren’t garbage,   
  2. I would buy a bulk bag of flour, rice and oatmeal.  @@Costco. That would be about less than 25.00.  You can make bread for as low as .25.  Easy bread.   You can get orowheat with healthy grains and bagels, buns, etc at the dollar tree.  There are some coupons out there.   Save the inserts.  If you don’t get the later, it’s a dollar at the dollar tree (DT) and you can get it Saturday.   Mark the date on the front.   Rice in bulk calculates to a few cents a serving.   Oatmeal is less than ten cents a serving and fills a kid up.   Use 1/2 cup per serving.  We add fruit and a splash of milk.   
  3. Buy meat  in bulk and limit your choices to things you can get for an average of 2.00 a pound,   Buy limiting to a pork, a beef and a chicken, you can buy in bulk and rotate what you buy based on RBP sales.  Recently we got pork loin for a dollar at Fred Meyers.  I got chicken for a buck in bulk at Zaycon.  I get boneless skinless chicken breast at FM for 1.77.  You can almost always get whole chickens for a buck a pound.   Hamburger is more expensive, we just eat it once a week.  If another cut is cheaper, we grind our own.   Not serving a piece of meat is always a stretcher.   Sloppy joes go further than hamburgers.   Serve children smaller portions and offer seconds if they eat the first portion ...and their veggies .    
  4. Eggs are a good source of protein and I can still find diktat a dozen eggs.   My family loves impossible pies.   A good dinner that stretches.  
  5. Growing up, we never saw a can of pop, a bag of potato chips , a specialty child food., or a fresh piece of fruit except bananas that were given to us.  No kool aid.  We just didn’t see junk food.   I do always have fresh fruit in the house fir granddaughter.   Snacks didn’t happen.   
  6. A lot of child friendly recipes can be made cheap.   Cheese pizza cost 1.05.  Burritos can be made with a combo of meat and beans,  
  7. Beans (pinto) are cheapest  at the DT.  Made in USA, no gmo. 
  8. Hearty soups can simmer a,omg in a slow cooker and are a good , cheap meal.  
  9. The more cheap, efficient, scratch meals you can make the better, the less ready made foods the better.  

Its not what you buy, it when and where you buy it.

Winco haul

Note that cases of corn or green beans are five bucks.   That’s less than 50 cents a can.  

Sour cream 2.22
Hot dog buns 1.07
Milk 1.49
Olives .88
Strawberries 1.98
Tomstoes .99
Potatoes 10 lbs 1.98
Total 11.37

This month sitting at 50.00 a week
2016. 72.00 week
2017  55.00 a week
2018  50.00 a week

Includes building a small stock.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Chain store ads...finally

Our world has been crazy the last month.  It f8nnally caught up with me.     ......just got the ads last night .


Chuck roasts or London broil BOGO, no prices here, you have to judge when you get to the store,

Strawberries 2/5


Lean cuisine 4/6
Cheerios 1.79
Chobani 10/8
Tide 3.99
Spaghetti .50
Frizen  fruit 2.99
Grapes 2.49
Pears .99
Avocados 4 ea 2.99


Apple juice .99@@
Bread .79@@
Greek yogurt .88@@

Oranges 3 lbs 3.47
Apples .99
V8 2.50
Digiorno 5.49 $$.  There are paper coupons

Friday only
Dijorno 5.00$$

@@ means with in store ad , you can’t match with a manufacturers coupon
$$ means there are paper coupons you can use out there.  Usually in an insert or on line at coupons,com

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

QFC Haul and lesson learned.

QFC Haul

5 lbs gala apples 5.99 less 60 cent coupon or 5.39 Florida 5 lbs or 1.078 a lb

2 blueberries, , 2 raspberries 2.50 each

1 lb sausage free.  

45 percent savings

The lesson

Its not what you buy, it’s when and where you buy it.  

BC cake mix was supposed to be free with a coupon at qfc.  Somehow I messed up the download.   The reality became clear when the charge for the cake was 2.39.

Here is  the reality

QFC reg price 2.39
Safeway reg price (dec) 1.79
Winco price twomweeks ago .88

Same brand, same mix
Swing is 1.50.   That’s a lot of money.
The upshot of that is that you can compound your savings by using that 1.50 to buy something else that is at a RBP.  

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Tuesday notes

it is Tuesday and my keyboard is still broken .   They told me how to fix it, but I already tried that.  I’ll try again,  

I was watching a video about a 1940 kitchen,   Having been an antique dealer, I have a few 1940 things,  the interesting thing about this video was that it was set in England and it showed war rations and the food that was on their list.   Those homemakers had to do a lot of improvising to make a balanced meal.   It must have been a far cry from the vegan, vegetarian, gluten free, dairy free, carb free, diets we choose these days to be on today.    Just an observation

Our lives need to be balanced.   When we deviate from balance in our lives, we fail.   You can’t work and sleep and work, you need down time.   You can’t play all day. You need to do a certain amount of work. Meals need to nurture our bodies in a balanced way.  

Taking one food group at a time and finding ways to cut your costs.  Get one tackled and start on another.   Its a life long learning process.  

  • Meat can be purchased in bulk from the farmer.  Haven’t done that yet, but I’m working in it.   You can also purchase meat in bulk when it is in a good sale,   Rotate your meats,   Portion control.   If you have a monthly allotment, set a budget,   My budget for meat is 2.00 a lb.   it was 2.00 a meal in the early  70s and I had the same sized family,    We just eat different adjusting for COL.   
  • Dairy is on sale at least once a month at Fred Meyers,   I got it free last time with cereal.   I 
  • found yoplait for .25.   Sour cream 1.25.   
  • Bread is cheapest right now at the DT.   I’ve even seen bagels, dinner rolls. And hamburger buns,   They are several dollars elsewhere.  You can also make your own for pennies.   Anthree dollar loaf of artisan bread can cost as low as a quarter.   
  • Vegetables can be frozen, canned, or fresh.   Fresh in season is good, but frozen can be fresher because it is frozen soon after it is picked,   Cans are shelf stable and a good fall back on item. 
  • Making your own waffles, etc is a real money saver.  Muffins can cost as low as a fifty cents a batch.