Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Terrific Tuesday: the basics, shopping

It's New Years Eve.  Hope everyone has a happy and safe holiday.

The second step on groceries on the cheap is shopping.  We have already talked about the prep for shopping.  A little time on the front end, saves gas and money  on the back end.

First, don't overlook stores other than the chain stores when grocery shopping. Me go to two chain stores weekly most of the time.  Sometimes, we only need a few things and the bargains just aren't there.  There are some weeks now when we don't have to shop at all.  There are warehouse stores like Costco, SAMs club, and Winco.  Winco does not need a membership.  I didn't see a lot of bargains the last time I was there.  There are overstock stores like grocery outlet and big lots.  They have a limited amount of food buy what they do have can be at good prices.  You need to always check pull dates.  But, it has been my experience that checking pull dates everywhere is a good thing. Don't overlook the drug stores.  I have got really good buys at rite ado with up rewards and coupons. And I just got really good buys at Bartells.

Groceries in the cheap doesn't leave you much room for ready mades and mixes or kits with a few exceptions.  There are some things that are either cheaper than scratch, or are just too time consuming to warrant making the from scratch.  Other things are just as easy to make from scratch than they are from a box.  I get cake mixes for free or almost free.  We don't use a lot of them, but I do make chocolate decadence and lemon pound cake occasionally.

The basic mantra of groceries on the cheap is never to pay full price.  Stocking is a way to never be stuck having to have something and paying full price or more than full price, heaven forbid.  !?! lol
Paying full price is wasting money.

This isnt about hoarding, nor is it extreme couponing.  Taking a moderate approach to these ideas can be very beneficial to your pocketbook. There is something about not running out of food before your in out of month that gives one a sense of security.

There is a whole blog on ways the retailers try to get you to spend more money.  70 percent of all purchases on a grocery store are impulse buys.  Don't fall into their traps.  Bring your list, the ad, your coupon book.  Get in the store and get your food and get out.  The more time you spend in a store, the more money you will spend.  The more people you take with you, the more money you will spend.  If you have small children, leave them with someone if at all possible.  It's hard to deal with the I have to go to the bathrooms and the trying to get out of the cart and fall on our heads and concentrate on what is a good buy and what you have a coupon for.  It's just not efficient.  If I have to take our grandchild, I also take gramps and he pushes the cart with the car attached to it while I shop. I usually get on and out in about 15 minutes or less when I can concentrate on what I am doing. M

We go to the bread outlet about once every 6-8 weeks. The savings are remarkable and we generally get something for free.  If I'm not going to use it, I dry ot and make breadcrumbs.  Never pay good money for somebody else's dry bread.  The  same goes for stuffing or breadcrumbs.

When buying bagged fruit or veggies, weigh a few bags.  They have to fove you the weight on the package, but some have more weight than others.m the same goes for lettuce priced per head.

Buying the fruits and veggies that are in season affords you better prices and better tasting produce.  Tomatoes were on sale thos week.  It's late December.  They looked horrible.  Better then to use frozen vegetables and the fresh fruit in season instead.  My mother used to make apple and celery salad with walnuts.  Canned pears with blue cheese and walnuts os good too.

Grocery outlet has a large variety of cheeses, some cheap, some not.

The important thing to remember is that no one store has the best prices  on everything.  By going to a variety of stores, you can reap the best of what is offered.

We go to two chain stores a week.  I plan our trips to use the least amount of gas.  When I have errands in the next town, we hit the alternative stores.  Costco is on a need basis, since we generally buy meds and necessary paper products.  Once every six weeks or so we make a trip two towns away to the bread outlet and Winco sometimes.  I group errands together so I don't waste gas going to several stores.  I probably spend less than the person that gets one days worth of food at a time.

This basic post is something I do monthly.  I do it off the top of my head.  Please feel free to read other posts.   Some are better than others, and I remember different things.

I learned a lot from my mother who grew  up during the depression.  I also have read everything I could find on the subject for years and adopted anything that passed my logic test.

I started this blog when it was brought to my attention that people were running out of food before they ran out of month on snap.  It is totally doable to eat well on full SNAP. It does take some effort.
Years ago, I found myself a single parent with little money and almost never any child support.  Rent took almost 1/2 my pay, and daycare took the other 1/2.  I set out to learn anyplace I could how to stretch a buck.  I started writing this on the hopes I could make someone in the same boat rode the storm a little easier.

I have found that many people that read this blog are not on snap.  They read ot to be more efficient on the kitchen , for a new recipe, or to see where on Seattle the best buys are.  What ever the reason, I'm  glad you are reading!

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Monday, December 30, 2013

Monday madness, time for the basics

It's that time of the year, time for New Years resolutions.  Why not make yours to lower your food bill.  Maybe free some money for a real vacation this year, or start that college fund you need to start for your children or grandchildren.  The average family can save about four thousand dollars a year.  To some that might not be a lot, to me it is huge.  We are living on a fixed income and I don't want to tap into our reserves yet.

This is the time of the month that I usually cover the basics of groceries on the cheap.  No one thing makes 1/2 price groceries happen.  It's a collaboration of things-- a little planning, a little savvy shopping, and a lot of scratch cooking.  It's changing some habits for the good.   Looking for a select few coupons helps too.  If there is a dollar coupon on something that you buy and you don't use it, you are getting screwed.  You are wasting money.  Meat has taken an increase of thirty percent on average.  Social security went up 1.5 percent.  Our medical went up more than the increase in social security.  Snap took a five percent cut.  Between the increase on meat costs and the decrease in snap funds, it is even more important to watch your food dollars.  A little efficiency in the kitchen and shopping can make great strides in lowering your food bill and putting good food on the table for your family.

First: planning and organizing.
If this isn't your bag, make it your bag or see if you can delegate it.  I remember taking in the bill filing for my mother because she didn't like to do it.  I wound up being an accountant for 45 years.  LOL. Even young grade school children can clip coupons,. Print coupons from the computer, and circle things you buy on the ads.  older children can scan the coupon matchups.  It's a good learning tool.

1) identify your needs
A) list the cheap sources of protein that your family will eat.  I am up to a between two and three dollar a pound limit for meat.  In our house that means some roast beef, hamburger, whole chicken or grill packs, pork loin, sausage, eggs, beans and cheese and rice.  I am attempting to add pork shoulder.

B) gather your recipes that use these sources of protein and list them on a piece of paper.

C) make a list of the shelf ready ingredients that you will use to make these dishes.  There should be around ten to fifteen, give or take.

D) now devise a spread sheet or notebook to track the prices of these items.  You want to find the rock bottom price for each ingredient.  ( RBP) .

The object is to never pay full price for your staple items.  You want to stock enough to cover your needs until they are on sale again.  Supermarkets run sales on a product every 8-12 weeks on average.
If I use an ingredient once a week, I keep a supply of 24.  Once a month will net me six.  Things like mayo and mustard, I will keep one ahead.  When I open my backup, I start looking for a sale to replace it.  You could very well start with a three months supply.

Meat sales rotate usually by the month.  If you buy enough of the meat that is RBP to last you for meals of that meat for a month and batch cook it, you will spend less time on the kitchen and save a bundle.  When chickens are .79 to a dollar, I buy two and roast two.  It is NEVER a good idea to buy deli chicken.  See previous posts, the explanation is timely.  The cheapest price I have found for bulk sausage is Costco.  Chicken sausage when I find it is cheaper at  grocery outlet . ( watch pull dates) .
Pork loin is under two dollars often at several stores.  You can cut off pork chops and roast the rest
for sliced roast or BBQ sandwiches.  Both hamburger and chicken recipes are very prolific on the Internet and on cookbooks.  Batch cooking hamburger is a little more work, but very rewarding in time savings.  Meatballs are very versatile as are hamburger crumbles, taco meat,and  meatloaf.
When a roast happens to be cheaper than good hamburger, I grind my own.

When the ads come out, go through them.  Section off a piece of computer paper ( I usually forge it from the recycle bin) top a section with the chain store.  Write down the RBP. Meat for the week.  Also anything on your staple list that appears to be the best price.  Now add the perishables ( dairy and produce) that are on season and cheap that will fit in  with your meal list.

Clean out the fridge and note what needs to be eaten soon and what you need to buy in the produce and dairy line.

When you are done with all the stores, cross off anything that is more expensive and anything that you have enough stock of.  Pick the best TWO stores.  This roves you the best selection and the best pick of produce.  ...more on shopping next section.

Find the coupon matching site for your section of the country.  Hook up with the stores you have picked and check for coupons. Many are printable.  I buy one paper from the dollar store.  I used to get the inserts from a friend.

Make your meal plans after you get home from the store.  I use a matrix to assure us variety.
Ours is

2 beef
2 chicken or pork
2 vegetarian
1 fish or shellfish

This works for us, your matrix may be different.

Next: shopping wisely.

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Sunday, December 29, 2013

Betty Crocker new recipes for the year.

Yummy recipes.  Remember to make enchalada sauce you make white sauce and
Substitute the flour with chili powder and substitute the milk with water.  There are a lot of recipes on u tube.  Unfortunately the new version of u tube doesn't have a search engine.



Don't know how to link.  This is on the Betty Crocker web site.  Several really good sounding recipes.  Remember that if you are trying to keep thongs cheap, you can scratch or substitute ingredients.

Sunday Fred Meyers and rite and

I hate to sound like a Broken record, but I would hate for people to loose money.  Rite aid reward bucks go away the end of the year, they do not roll over.  I am not using reward deals this week and I didn't use them last week.  I try to roll my dollars over with things we need that have coupon matchups too.  I have scored necessities for really low prices.  There isn't any real bargains this week.
Jello is .89.


Roma tomatoes  .78
milk ,chocolate milk , orange juice  4/5@@
Yoplait 10/5
Bumble bee tuna 1.00
HORMEL entres 4.99$$
Grapefruit 3/1
Peanut butter 2/4
Sour cream .99@@
Nalley chili .89@@


Colgate toothpaste 5/5
Jiff 2/5
Laughing cow 1.99
Hunts snack pack .99
Hunts pasta sauce .79*****
Barilla pasta .99
Healthy choice soup .99
Nally chili .99 no coupons required
Arm and hammer 2.99. 50 oz. laundry soap

I am going to Bartells this week instead of rite aid.  *** is a stock up price.  Remember to be polite and done clear the shelves.  Haha. .  There are extreme coyponers that clear the shelves.  That is just plain rude unless there are only a few left.  There are other people that would like a bargain too is my opinion.

I am not extreme Couponing , nor am I hoarding. Stocking is about buying at the lowest price and eating it at the highest price.  It's not I unlike  people that play the stock market.  They want to buy low and sell high.  It's also not unlike our grandmothers that canned the fresh crop from the farm to carry them through the winter.

Yesterday I made taco meat and a meatloaf.  We had a pork tenderloin for dinner last night, and we will have meat loaf tonight.

Ok, I have a question for you.  I remember not liking a brand of tuna.  I just don't remember what brand we didn't like.  Tuna is on sale really cheap all over.  I don't want to buy the brand we didn't like.

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Saturday, December 28, 2013


We went shopping yesterday.  Took baby with is.  I love those carts where the kids can "drive" .  I wish those cars had open roofs like some of the SUVs.  You could see better what the kids are doing.  Grandpa took her for a ride  around the store so I could get the shopping done.  I somewhat planned my trip, but there were more sale that weren't in the ad.  I think because the ads were laced with booze ads because of the holiday.   They had the decorated sugar cookies to bake for a buck.( SAFEWAYS)

I did not buy the pork shoulder at QFC because it was huge and I didn't want to buy so much when I had never cooked a pork shoulder before.  I did get a  pork tenderloin at SAFEWAYS with a dollar off coupon and hamburger for three dollars a pound.  I would have rather had nine percent for three dollars a pound, but haven't found it.  Twenty percent makes for better meatloaf.  I use a meatloaf pan so that a lot of the grease drips off into a catch pan.

Berries were a good price at QFC.  I wound  up getting one bag full of things at each store and mostly meat.  Lettuce was really high priced and the tomatoes looked bad.  We have a lot of fruit and frozen vegetables.

The Betty Crocker site has a lot of recipes for things that were hits for the year on review.  Some of them sound like really good dinners.   I did find in looking at the ads chicken breast in bulk for two bucks a pound. More course they are not toting the origin of the chicken.  And artichoke hearts for 2/5.  With those prices , you could make the woman's day recipe for artichoke stuffed chicken breasts and still stay close to a five dollar mark.  Close enough to average and make it.

I made split pea soup the other day and the peas never got soft.  The consensus is that my split peas are old.  I didn't know that split peas could get old.  I guess they are not a candidate for bulk unless you use them a lot.  We go on spurts.  I probably should have made them more often because I can make them vegetarian.  Last I saw them, they were .69 a pound at grocery outlet.  It still makes for a cheap meal that is good for a cold evening .  If I make it vegetarian I augment it with cheese and sourdough bread.  The woman's day recipe had bacon on top.  That would work with turkey bacon and regular bacon.  The woman's day ( jan) also has a recipe for beans and tomatoes, although it hear that beans don't cook well when cooked with tomatoes.  I think you have to cook the beans first.  You can cook beans in the pressure cooker, but so far I have been chicken to try.  I have cooked split peas in the pressure cooker.

I will post the Fred Meyers and rite aid ads later or tomorrow.  The rite aid rewards do NOT roll over, so I am not buying anything with a reward this week, and didn't last week.  I did get some really good buys using coupons and up rewards.

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Friday, December 27, 2013

Finally Friday

It's been a busy week even though we didn't have to work but one day.  I made split pea soup yesterday before I went to work.  The split peas never got soft.   I guess that I should use them up sooner next time.  I think they must be old.  I doesn't realize that split peas could get old.

I got the new woman's day magazine on my reader. There are week night dinners that are supposed to be thrifty.  Some are, and they appear that they will taste good too.  I got the split pea soup recipe from the article.  If the peas had softened, ot would be a good hearty soup.

One of the recipes is a artichoke stuffed chicken breast.  The cost os listed at 1.25 per serving.  I asked woman's day how , when boneless, skinless chicken breast is 3.50 a pound, and 9 ounces of artichoke hearts is over three dollars, it could cost 1.25 a serving.  Theor answer is that the price is a average of the cost in different parts of the country,.  I would really love to know how much artichoke hearts and boneless, skinless chicken breast costs in other parts of the country.  ( not the Pacific Northwest). I'm thinking if you found chicken for a dollar a pound and boned the breast yourself and bought the artichoke hearts at Costco it might come in at 1.25.  It would be a recipe that would be on the higher end of the budget, but could be balanced with an breakfast for dinner night.  I would serve it with rice and a green vegetable like green beans or asparagus would be wonderful if it was on season, or a mixed vegetable stir fry ( like broccoli, carrots and cauliflower.  ) you can still get those for a buck a pound.

I write thos blog from the perspective , food price wise, of my experiences in the Seattle area.  I know that prices vary from state to state and the shopping matrix is different depending on the city people live in. We are lucky,enough to have four chain stores and a Costco within a reasonable distance from the house.  Other people, I hear don't have as many stores in their comfort zone.  The principles of 1/2 price   shopping still work, they are just different 1/2 prices.  If there is no large store near you, then I would consider car pooling with a friend or neigh our or getting the ad mailed to you or look it up on the Internet of stores on a neighbourhood town that os a little larger.  Wait till there os a good sale to make ot worth your while and make a trip to stock up.  Buy the specials and the perishables on a weekly basis  at the smaller stores near you,  you are still supporting your local stores, but supplementing with sale chain store prices.  Our local IGA sometimes has good buys and they make sandwiches to die for, far better than the chain store deli!  

The bottom line is always the same.  You will be better off if you don't just buy what you want regardless of the price.  know your prices of the things that you buy on a regular basis. For most of us, that list is small. if something  is too high of a price, substitute it for something at a lower proce.  When I can't find yogurt at a reasonable proce with a coupon, I buy cottage cheese.  Add a little fruit and I still have calcium rich breakfast.

If you can't remember prices in your head, keep a little notebook or file,card on your purse or glove box to refer to.  A little prep before you shop can result in a huge savings at the checkouts.  I average at least 46 percent on the sales slip.  That doesn't reflect the true savings over the average persons bill.
I have a goal to save the property taxes out of our budget this year.  No small feat, but without a goal, nothing happens with me.  I have to make myself a list of thongs to do each day, or I puts and things get done,  but they are so random, you can't really see what was done.  LOL

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Thursday, December 26, 2013

Terrific Thursday

All that work, and it's all over.  I really enjoyed being with friends and family and getting to taste foods that I only get once a year.  Our family has great ethnic diversity and the cultural food differences  make for an amazing buffet spread!  

Back to reality.  It is possible to eat well on the USDA thrifty budget.  That is what snap, or food stamps are based on.  If you can learn to shop to make that happen, it is really easy to augment your budget to dot what you do have.  Adding a few luxury items when you have more money still affords you savings to use elsewhere in your budget to enrich your life .  

The basic mantra is never pay full price, my mother used to call it top dollar.  It is possible if you are not discriminating to pay more than retail for your food. You are better off paying less for consumables and more for appliances that make your life easier.  If it is easier to cook from scratch, you will be more likely to do it.  It's the snowball effect.  A good food processor is worth it's weight in gold-- well maybe not with the price of gold.  LOL.  A kitchen aid mixer pays for itself in savings. It's a once in a lifetime purchase.  Mine came with a grinding attachment.  Grinding your own hamburger can save a lot and afford you the luxury of knowing just what is on your burger.  A good crock pot is another appliance that is well worth the expense.  I keep hearing the term, unipurpose.  The crockpot is one appliance that  uni-purpose  or not, is well worth the expense to get a good one.  Ditto a coffee pot.  the alternative of lots a bucks coffee would pay for a pot on short order.  Pardon the pun!   Being able to take a few minutes in the morning and have dinner ready at the end of a hard day is well worth it.  If you don't resort to ordering in or going out for dinner, it pays for itself on one dinner!  
This week the stores are still in sock it to me it's holiday mode.  It is their attitude that everyone splurges during the holiday and bargains are few and far between.  Fortunately, I have enough food to refrain from going to the store and I have still maintained my average of twenty dollars a week per adult.  Buy when it is low priced, and eat when it is higher priced.  Buy perishable in season and at the lowest price you can find  for quality.  Buy the lowest price meat for the week, buy enough for a meal ( or two) per week for a month. batch cook it and freeze in portion controlled meal bags.
It's freezer cooking with a reality check.

Pork shoulder, pork loin, whole chickens, hamburger, sausage, beef roast are all good candidates for batch cooking.

Guess that is all for today.

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Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas .

My newspaper ads came on the mail .  As usual, I will post them, even if it os Christmas.  Most people I know won't be shopping soon.

The ads

Tomatoes .99
Berries 2/4
Pork shoulder 1.79

Yogurt 10/5

80 percent beef 1.98
Pork shoulder
Chicken breasts

Quaker oatmeal bats 3/5@@$$
Blues 4.00


pork loin. 1.49
Oranges .99

Blues 2/5( cheaper at top)


Apples .88
Salad kits 2/5
Eggs 1.69

There is not a whole lot there.  They don't usually have a lot of bargains.  In fact, I see where prices went up right before Christmas, it pays to shop as you see it on sale.  They take advantage of the last minute shoppers.

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Merry Christmas!  

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas Eve

Merry Christmas Eve

Someone hacked onto my e mail and sent a cruise ship advertisement to my friends and family off my e mail list.  I did notice, that they MISSED adding the Edmonds PD LOL. 
Totally missed yesterday.  Life was too hectic.  The girls are home from school and with doctors and business it just didn't happen.  

A non traditional desert for Christmas is brownie sundaes.  Layer a brownie, ice cream whip cream and crushed candy canes or chocolate syrup.  

Chocolate syrup

1 cup heavy cream
2 T corn syrup
12 ounces chocolate, semi sweet
2 tsp vanilla extract

1) in a saucepan, combine cream and syrup.  Bring to a boil over medium heat.

2) remove from heat stir in chocolate. Stir in vanilla.

3) serve or store on a jar and let cool completely before placing in fridge.  Be careful pouring hot things in jars.  Jar should be at least room temp.

I made grandmas apple cake.  It worked fine.  Apparently fake sugar does not always work on all baking situations.  I made lemon pound cakes.  They fell flat!   I don't know of ot was the tin pans, or the sour cream that came from Costco, so it was a denser consistency.  Baking is not my forte.

I'm bringing fruit salad to Christmas Eve.  Truly a splurge and definitely not a part of the USDA stats.
Christmas only comes once a year, right?!????

I hope you and yours have  a wonderful Christmas!!!

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Saturday, December 21, 2013

Fred Meyers and rite aid

I got the paper early.  There is no insert in the paper this week.  Rite Aids up rewards do,not roll forward.  It use or loose time.  I have three dollars and will get something we need.m there is not much on sale this week. They most generally do not reward late shoppers. LOL   I noticed that the sparkling  cider that we bought last week for two bucks was two fifty this week.   A lot of people don't care, but I like to save every dollar I can.

Fred Meyers

New York beef roast 3.47
Rib eye roast 5.88 ( through Tuesday only)
Broccoli. .99
Coffee pods 5.99@@ $$
Butter 2/4@@
Frozen veggies .69@@ ( 12 ounces) ( cheaper than tops buck for a pound.
Celery .49
Radishes, green onions 2/.88

Ham. @@ coupon for ten dollars off ham, the full price of ham is not disclosed.

That's about it.

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Simply Saturday / recipe edition

The last weekend before Christmas.  Everyone is doing the last minute preparation a for the holiday.  I thought I would post a good colorful recipe that was easy.

Mediterranean chicken

1/2 cup onion, chopped
2 tsp minced garlic
Vegetable oil

1-1/2 pounds chicken cubes, cooked
2 cans diced tomatoes
Sliced green and red peppers
Ripe olives
Salt and pepper

2 T cornstarch, 3 T water

In large skillet, sauté onion and garlic in oil.  Add tomatoes and peppers and remaining ingredients except the cornstarch and water.  Bring to a boil.  Add chicken.  Make slurry with cornstarch and water.  Add to mixture and stir gently.  Cook until sauce is thickened.  Serve with rice.

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Friday, December 20, 2013

Finally Friday, and it is snowing.

It's snowing, thank God, not for long according to the weather people.  I am done with shopping and just need to shovel out our mess since I haven't been home much the last week and do some baking.  A few packages to deliver and one to wrap.  Thos os the first time my granddaughter has seen snow.  It ought to be fun.

There are coupons matches on coupon connections , it's up and running.  One is for meat balls at SAFEWAYS for 1.50 for 14 ounces.  I am not sure about what those would taste like, but at that price we wouldn't be out much of they are bad.  LOL Top foods has frozen veggies for a buck a pound.

All of your rewards at rite aid expire at the end of the year.  I need to spend three dollars.  I am hoping that they will have some decent buys on things we need.  We did well the  last two trips.

On another note, my husband and I worked yesterday.  A couple came in, they bought a pocket knife and a butter dish.  That was their presents to each other.  I wrapped them on clean newsprint paper like we do all the things that we sell.  It was their wrapping paper.  Sometimes, I think we loose track of the real meaning of Christmas  and it gets lost with the commercialism.  We really scaled back this year, I put up few decorations, mostly because of little children in the house that don't understand yet that decorations are not toys. LOL and because I have been too sick too long.

A group I belong to has been trying to help a homeless family that just got housing. We made Christmas, but also have rounded up things for housekeeping.  I have had so much joy seeing Christmas  come together for a family that couldn't be more deserving of a nice Christmas.
I think I for the first time in years have looked at Christmas with a new perspective.

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Thursday, December 19, 2013

Terrific Thursday

Finally got the ads.


spiral ham 1.97
Tangerines 3.77
Ice cream 2.99
Frozen veggies 10/10--16 ounces
Coffee pods 5.99@@
Sour cream 2/3
Eggs 18 count 2/5

Roast beef 2.99 a 9.99
Tillamook cheese 4.99@@


HAM 1.99
pork loin 1.99
Grapes 1.99
Green beans, fresh  BOGO
Ice cream 2.99
Roast 2.99

Friday deals/ 5 bucks
 8 pounds

HAM .99
Broccoli .99
Choc chips 2/4
Ice cream 2.99
Tillamook cheese 4.99
Green beans 1.99
Organic oranges 4/3.99
Turkey .59--30.00 min purchase
Sour cream 1.00
Ice cream 2/5

Ham 1.77
Ice cream 2/5
Coffee 5.99@
Cheese 4.99@

That's about it.  I did a real quick scope this morning.  Be sure to look at match ups and cross off anything cheaper elsewhere.  Pick the two best stores, get in and get out.  I am not seeing a lot of bargains as usual for a holiday shopping trip.  Sausage is actually over priced, especially when they are trying to make it look like a bargain with free eggs.  Sausage should be close to two dollars a pound, not 3.50! LOL.  If it goes much higher, well be making  our own!

Don't forget batteries of what you bought for Christmas takes them!  The dollar store os not a good place to buy batteries.  It's a time when cheaper is not better.  Duracell guarantees that if you ruin a device because one of their batteries leaks, they will replace the device.
Just a FYI

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Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Wicked Wednesday

Well, the mail person is back to his or her ways,  no ads yet.  I checked coupon connections last week and found no update.  I googled coupon matchups, Seattle and got another matchup site.

When I make meal plans, I use a template or outline to insure variety in our meals.  Eating a variety of things gives us a balance of nutrition.

My outline or matrix is

2 beef
2 chicken or pork
2 vegetarian
1 fish or shellfish

I try to work in the fresh veggies and other perishable items that were on sale that week, finding the lowest prices in our area.  Every section of the country has different lowest prices.  If you live in a small town, supplementing your pantry with a trip to the larger town with cheaper prices if possible will help your situation.

Frittata ( vegetarian)

8 eggs, beaten
1 cup mushrooms, sliced
1 cup broccoli, chopped
1/2 cup shredded cheese
1/4 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup green pepper, chopped
1/4 cup Parmesan or other hard cheese, grated
Salt and pepper

Combine ingredients
Place in greased baking dish
Bake at 350 20-25 minutes or until ot tests done.  ( knife inserted in center comes out clean.  )

I also make impossible pie with cheese when I want an inexpensive dinner.  Add a field green and fruit salad with a fruit vinaigrette.

Mac and cheese is a hit at our house for vegetarian as well as a vegetable stir fry.

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Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Terrific Tuesday

This is the wonderful week that I don't have to cook for four days on a row!    Yeah.  I love cooking, but it's nice to have a break once on a while, and I love being out with friends and family.

I made two chickens , very large chickens on Sunday.  I don't think I would do it again in the small oven.  I needed to use two separate pans and leave a lot more air circulating around them.  I wound up microwaving them for another twenty minutes to get them done.  I have dinner premade for Wednesday and Thursday.    

There is something really comforting about chicken pot pie on a cold day.  We love buffalo chicken pizza.  When I shopped, I got a honey Dijon mustard pork tenderloin.  There are coupons out there for them.  

green bean salad 

2 cup fresh green beans, cut into two inch pieces, blanched crisp tender.  
1/2 cup cucumber, cut in half, seeded, and cut into semi rounds slices
1 small red pepper, cut into thin strips.  
Sliced red onion

2 T cream cheese! softened
1 T. Milk
1 T vinegar
2 tsp sugar
Salt and pepper.  

Mix salad ingredients.  Mix dressing ingredients.  Toss.  

Serves 2 

Raspberry salad 

Field  greens, or torn romaine 
Diced pear
Toasted pecans, optional
Dried cranberries

Raspberry vinaigrette

Designer lettuce is cheapest at Costco.  
Pears are a buck a pound these days
Raspberries were also on sale.  
I always keep dried cranberries, they are a special treat in my oatmeal, or on cookies instead of raisens.  Also, you can use them in stuffing or rice to go with poultry.  Yum! 

One of the ways that you can save money on the grocery bill is to make it a point mid week to survey the fridge and use up the little odds and ends hiding in there.  When the Dijon mustard jar is almost completely done, make a oil and vinegar dressing right in the jar. Cover the jar and shake it.  

That's all for today.  

The ads come out today, but I have a full day, probably Tommorrow.  

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Monday, December 16, 2013

Trip to Fred Meyers and Rite Aid/ other stuff

We made the trek to the next town and went to Rite Aid and Fred Meyers.  I really scored at Rite Aid.
I usually don't buy soda except at holiday time.  We like root beer.  When I was a child, that's the only soda my dad would allow in the house.  A special treat was root beer float.  I got root beer for .10 a two liter bottle. With up rewards, four pair of panties were less than five bucks including tax.

On to Fred Meyers.  Christmas oranges were a good price, and flour was on sale.  Holidays are a good time to stock baking supplies.  I opened my last back up org flour, so I picked some more up.  Jello products were a buck.  lotts of bucks coffee makes a lemon pound cake.  The recipe for the wanta be is on the Internet.  My daughter and I made ot last year.  We figured we made about 212.00 an hour making it at home instead of. Using it at That other place.  Milk was 1.25 a half gallon.  Green beans  were .50.  Coffee pods were on sale and I had coupons.  I get two cups from a pod and it's really convenient for company.

Yesterday we went out to a house party.  We had a wonder dinner of a stuffed chicken breast with cheese and Canadian bacon,  rice, salad, and green beans with almonds and rolls.   Desert was yummy caramel flan, and a pistatisio desert.

You can have some convenience food when you budget and get most of what you buy for 1/2 price.  I am still running about sixty dollars a week, and.building  a stock for three adults.  I haven't checked the stats from the USDA lately, but considering the increased price of meat and vegetables I don't think we are far off.  

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Saturday, December 14, 2013

Rite aid and Fred Meyers for Sunday

It's Saturday.  I have the Sunday paper courtesy of my husband.  Rite aid had really good bargains using up rewards last week.  This week, flipping the up rewards is going to be a challenge.  They are advertising extended hours to closer to Christmas, but the bargains are not real prolific.

If you want to go online a listen to a video credit for a dollar and find the coupon in the Sunday paper for .55, paper towels are 4.44 a 8 pack.

No nonsense socks, tights, leggings Bogo1/2.  And a 2 dollar up reward.  Must buy 2, limit 3 up rewards per household.

Toothpaste products have decent up rewards, check coupon connections for matchups.

I'm not one to buy soda, but it is 4/4 with a 1.00 up reward for the 2 liter bottles.  ( net .75).

Quaker granola bats and cranberry juice 2/5 with a 1.00 up reward.


New York Roast 3.47 a pound

Satsuma 4.88

Milk 4/5@@

Cheese 2/3 @@

Coffee, Yuban 5.49@@

Smoked sausage 2/5@@
Vegetables 2/1
Jello products 10/10
Flour 3/5 ( 5 lb bags)

Butter 2/4
Choc chips 2/4
Peanut butter 2/4
Celery .49

That's about all,  remember Fred Meyer ads go Sunday to Saturday.

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Friday, December 13, 2013

Finally Friday

Finally Friday! it's been a long week.  Both of our vehicles are sick and the repair shop is going to have a really good Christmas!?!!!   LOL.  We really can't complain.  Both of them are paid for, and have been cheap transportation.

I digress

On to food.

Christmas baking time. I got cookie mic cheaper than scratch.  I do t usually bake a lot.  Baking can cost a lot especially when your cookies take special ingredients.  Fortunately, baking ingredients are usually on sale this time of the year and if you bake all year, it would be a good time to stock up of you find a bargain.

Rite aid has some baking ingredients buy 15.00 with a five dollar reward.  That makes things 33 percent off.  Fred Meyer had some good sales too.  I have seen butter as low as 1.50.

Betty Crocker has a month long cookie series going on.  A cookie a day.  I had an aunt that used to bake oodles of cookies at Christmas, all nummy.  I don't think even she odd that many variety,

I like creme brûlée , brownies with ice cream and a little chopped peppermint candy is a good Christmas desert.  Peppermint ice cream and shortbread cookies is a favorite,  chocolate waffles are an inexpensive treat.

Dairy is cheapest at Costco.

I like to balance the heavy meal we all have at holiday time with an easy lighter soup meal.
My mother used to call that giving  your stomach a rest.  LOl

Guess that's all I have.

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Thursday, December 12, 2013

Terrific Thursday. : what to do with what you got

 SAFEWAYS has whole chickens for .79.  And ALBERTSONS has oranges for .88.  Sounds like a match made in heaven.  It would be my pick for my batch cook for the week.  In comparison, SAFEWAYS has a chicken in the deli department for five dollars.  It is 30 ounces that is less than two pounds.  If it was two pounds it would be 2.50 a pound.  or, in other words, you could buy two for ten dollars and have four pounds of chicken.  The place of origin is a mystery.  For ten dollars, you can have over twelve pounds of raw chicken that you know came from the NW.  You are saving over 66 percent.  NEVER buy a chicken under three pounds.  You are paying too much for bone , you don't eat bone!  

Clams are a buck at ALBERTSONS, and milk is 2.59.  It might be time for clam chowder.

Note: ALBERTSONS has Colgate toothpaste for .75.  I would check coupon connections for a coupon.

SAFEWAYS has sour cream and yogurt on sale.  I can usually find a coupon for yogurt.

SAFEWAYS has cream of mushroom soup for .89.  That is precisely why I stock.  I paid .30 cents last month at Fred Meyers.  That is a savings of 66 percent.  If you can get most of your food for 2/3 off, you can get three times the food for the same amount you are spending now. now, most of us don't need three times the food, but you can still double your food and save another 1/3 .

There are bargains if you look hard.  By taking advantage of the bargains and only buying real food, you can eat better for less.  You can't always get 66 percent, but you can average 1/2 if you take advantage of the specials and stock while the price is low.  This is not about hoarding, it is about buying low and eating high.  It's about being self sufficient.

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Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Wednesday, the ads

The ads already again.


beans 2/1 @@

SIRLOIN tip roast 3.25
Dreyers 2.99
Starbucks coffee 6.99$$
Nathan's 2/6


Ham .99
Chicken .79
Oranges .99
Starbucks 6.99$$
Milk 2.59

5 dollar Friday
Family pack lunch meat
Urban coffee
24 ounces Jiff
Berries 2/5

Ham 1.47
Oranges .88
Salad .88
Cream cheese .88
Ice cream 2.99
Fran's bread 2.49
Apples 1.00
Tomatoes 1.00
Pears 1.00
Cucumbers 1.00
Organic carrots 1.00

Clams 1.00
Tomato sauce .25
Cranberry sauce .75
Potatoes in pouches .75

That's about all

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Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Terrific Tuesday/ bargain edition

It is  Tuesday.  Yesterday we braved the cold and went to riteaid and business Costco.  There are some things that you can't find at regular Costco.  I Scored big time at Rite Aid.  I needed two consumable gifts for a round about gift exchange.  I had some rite aid bucks .  I got fingernail polish for free, great stocking stuffers.  Also, when you buy 15.00 worth of baking items, you get five dollars rite aid  bucks.  I bought a 12.00 bag of m and m's and two cookie mixes that I had a coupon for.  I was four cents short,so I bought a bottle of vanilla.  The cookie mixes netted .62 each.  The whole bill was less than five bucks, including tax.

Peach and blueberry pie.
Peaches can be found on the frozen food case.  I found some at grocery outlet, cheaper than fresh last summer.

Crust for 2 crust pie.

2 T lemon juice
3 cups peaches,
1 cup blueberries
1 cup sugar
2 T tapioca
Pinch of salt
2 T butter
1 egg yolk

Mix together lemon juice and fruit.  Add sugar and salt and let stand while you roll out crusts, about
15 minutes.  Pour filling into pastry lined crust.  Dot with butter.  Cover pie with second crust.  Paint crust with egg yolk beaten with water.  Bake at 425 for 45-50 minutes.  NOTE: if peaches are wet, drain them in a colander fore mixing with blueberries.

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Monday, December 9, 2013

Monday Madness

Yesterday was go see Santa day.  Grandbaby was scared to death.  She just sat there with a blank stare!  ought to be a good picture.  I remember her income at that age screaming bloody murder!  
I was able to get a scaled down Christmas decor up and make an apple cake.  I have come to the conclusion that you can't use fake sugar for this cake.  It still didn't quite resemble grandmas cake.

I found a .25 coupon in Sundays paper for recipe starter.  It is .50 at the dollar store.  Also, coupons.com has a coupon for BBQ beef in a tub.  It os 3.99 ( about 1/2 price) at QFC and the dollar coupon makes it 2.99 -- cheaper than you can scratch cook it with the cost of beef these days.
The USDA predicted that that would happen.

Yesterday we had pork chops over the cranberry stuffing,  it was really good.

Rite aid says that they have over 300.00 in up rewards.  I was hard pressed to find much for things I would buy.  There is fingernail polish for free( a good stocking stuffer) .  The 3m temporary hook things are bog1/2 with a 3.00 up reward.  This might be a bargain, but can't tell until I get there.
There is a 5.00 up reward when you buy an old navy ,gap, or banana republic gift card.  Holiday fleece throws  are 2/5. And ice cream is a good buy.

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Sunday, December 8, 2013

Sunday Focus| rite aid and Fred meyers

The newspaper is out and rite ado and Fred Meyers ads, along woth zillions of ads vieing  for your Christmas money.

Rite Aid

Fingernail polish FREE with a up reward.  Great for stocking stuffer
Dryers 2/7 w a 2.00 up reward nets 2.50
Betty Crocker cookie mixes 1.49 - ck for coupons

Buy three AMX gift cards, get 10.00 off @@

Popcorn Tim's 2/10 with a 2.00 up reward.  Nets 4.00

Crest toothpaste 2/6 w 200 up reward.  -'check for coupons.


Potatoes 5 lbs/ .88
Ham 1.88
Vegetables 2/1 @@ canned
Country bread 3/4@@
Ocean spray juice 3/5@@
Beans or tomatoes 2/1@@
Tuna 10/10
Ice cream 2/4@@
Tomatoes, grape 2/4
Berries 2/5
Zucchini .99
Lemons 2/4. 2 pound bags
Cucumbers, green peppers. .58

That's about it

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Saturday, December 7, 2013

Suddenly Sarurday/ 1.50 a day

I read an interesting article on Facebook yesterday.  I shared it for those that are on my Facebook.  There is a study that says the difference between a middle class and a low income persons food budget os 1.50 a day.  I am assuming that is per person in the family.  That's six dollars a day for a family of four.  Or 42 dollars a week.  We save more than 42 dollars a week shopping wisely.

Yesterday we had French fries and BBQ beef sandwiches.  The BBQ beef was 3.99 on sale at QFC and I had a dollar coupon.  That makes a pound of BBQ beef 2.99--less than making it from scratch.

Today we are having pork chops and cranberry stuffing.  Pork chops were BOGO.  Four pork chops were 2.61.  Well within my five  dollar range and I can use the leftover croutons and cranberries from thanksgiving.
Fruits were really reasonable at QFC and a good way to pump up our immune systems with antioxidants and vitamin c.

This is the first time in a week I have had to work on Christmas.  We have had a sick baby on the house and my daughter had to go to work.  My husband had to cover my shifts.  So, I'm going to try to get caught up with Christmas chores .  We have December birthdays, so I try to get Christmas pretty well organized by mid  month.  I have scaled down over the years, but I will probably ramp up next year for our grandbaby.

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Friday, December 6, 2013

Finally Friday/ recipe edition

It's finally Friday and I have a sick baby again.  Pork chops are a pleasant contrast to the turkey we all ate last week.

Pork chops with cranberry stuffing

1/3 cup cranberries, chopped
1 T sugar
4 pork chops, 1-1/4 inches thick
1T butter
1/3 cup celery
1/4 cup onion
2 T. Orange juice
1 tsp orange rind
1/2 tsp sage
1 cup dried bread cubes
Salt and pepper

oven to 375

1) In small bowl, combine sugar and cranberries.  Set aside

2) in skillet, sauté the celery and onion until wilted. Add remaining ingredients except pork chops.

3) place stuffing in a well greased  baking pan.  Place pork chops that have been salt and peppered on top of stuffing.

4) bake 35-40 minutes or until the pork tests done and is no longer pink in the middle.

Pork chops and oranges are on sale.  Bread cubes and cranberries are probably still leftover from last week.

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Thursday, December 5, 2013

Terrific Thursday/ what to do with what you got

Ok, this week has been a bust.  I have had a sick grandchild all week, and I am so far behind on my regular schedule.  We have several birthdays in December too, so I usually have everything done by mid December for Christmas except the last minute cooking.  I digress

Ok.  I see pork roast for pulled pork sandwiches or tacos for .99.  I also see ham.  Ham is rich and salty, so a little bit goes a long  ways.  We use it in eggs, quiche, pizza, soups, scalloped potatoes, grind it for sandwich spread.

QFC has really good prices on produce, watch them, sometimes they don't pick it as well as it should be.  Apples are .99. Time to make grandmas apple cake.   Oranges are a good buy and good for you.
Berries are not bad priced.  Rich in antioxidants.  I see breakfast for dinner.

After a week of turkey, chicken is probably not probably what we want for a week or so.

2 beef
2 chicken or pork
2 vegetarian
1 fish

My matrix for meal planning.  Pizza is a good non meat, as is breakfast for dinner.  Burritos or tacos work with rice and beans.  Mac and cheese is always a winner here.

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Wednesday, December 4, 2013

The ads ,finally on time LOL


Pears, apples .99
Oranges .68
Ham .99
Freshetta pizza 3.99
Dreyers. 2.99
Natural choices drinks, B6G6 nets .67
Tuna 10/10
Bread 10/10


cheese 4.99
Milk 2.49@@
Tuna .88
Nalley chili 1.00

Buy4, save 2
Cookie mix 1.99
Cake mix .99
HORMEL pork loin 8.99@@$$


Milk 2.29@@oscar Mayer lunch meat 1.99@
Coffee 6.49@@
Ice cream 2.39@@
Berries 3/10
Cucumbers 3/2


pork shoulder .99
Pork loin chops 1.99
Salad BOGO

5 dollar Friday
Alaska cod
Dreyers 2/5
Cheese 5.00
Boston cream cake

That's about it. Don't  forget to cross off anything more expensive , and check coupon connections for matchups.

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Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Terrific Tuesday, recipe edition

It's Tiesday.  I haven't seen grocery ads for two weeks.  I expect that they will be holiday themed and not much for stocking.

My friend found grandmas recipe for apple cake. It's a lot richer on vegetable oil, which probably is why the other recipes were too dry..

Grandmas Apple Cake


1-1/2 cups vegetable oil
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
3 cups chopped apple


1 tsp soda
3 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 cup nuts, optional

Combine the wet and dry ingredients by hand.  Batter will be stiff.
Put in greased 9X 13 pan and bake at 340 for 45 minutes or until tests done.

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Monday, December 2, 2013

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Rite aid and Fred meyers

I did get the newspaper today.  There were a lot of buy me flyers, but only one insert that was P&G.

Rite Aid

Peanuts BOGO
Coffee cups 5.99 $$
Cookie mix 1.99$$
Candy canes .50 net
Co air scrunchies, brushes, combs, spend 10, get 5 up rewards
Nail polish 2/5 and a 1.00 up
L'eggs underwear, sox, pantyhose, tights. B1 Get second one 1/2, plus 3.00 up reward.

Revlon.  B1 Get 1/2 off the second.  , then get a 5.00 up reward of you spend 15.00
Paperback books, B2 G1

Fred Meyers

Tillamook cheese 4.99@@
Whip cream 3/5
Butter 1.79@@$$
Dryers 2.99

That's about all I see.

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The basics, part 3: Cooking From Scratch

Ah, the dreaded word...cooking from scratch!   It's not as overwhelming as it might sound to you,  if your kitchen is organized! it can be as simple as using that can or box.  Keep like things on the same place.  Baking powder and salt, and soda should be on the same cupboard.  Flour and sugar together in the same set of canisters,  it's not efficient of you are running around the kitchen to get your ingredients together.  Another trick is to get a tray, or a baking sheet and gather all your ingredients.  That way, you know if you use an ingredient and out the can etc aside, it is on the recipe.  No forgetting to put the sugar in the pumpkin pie!   We have all done similar things in our time.LOL
You also don't get on the middle of cooking and discover you don't have an ingredient.

Having a substitute book is another cooking tool that is really useful.  You can probably google ot and find the same information,  if a recipe calls for some exotic thing that is too expensive for your budget, don't throw out the recipe quite yet, look for a substitution.  In regular cooking, you can substitute anything that you think would taste good.  I often substitute celery for mushrooms,  my hubby doesn't like mushrooms,  think same texture and bulk.  In baking some things have to be the same ingredient,  it's more precise to make things rise etc.  you can, however substitute craisens for raisens or walnuts for pecans or some things like that.

There are a few things that are cheaper to buy premade than scratch. Or, they are too time consuming to make scratch worth your while.  Refried beans, pasta, pasta sauce ( when you get hunts in a can ) and tortillas come to mind.  I buy canned beans because I like to cook ahead.  Rice and beans have a short fridge life.  They go bad fast.  Cooking and holding the beans means I can't have leftovers and still feel comfortable about the dishes freshness.

Some things are just plain stupid to buy.  Bread crumbs is one.  You are paying for someone else's dead bread and throwing your own away.  Put the heels of your bread or the leftover baguettes in the oven to dry.  I use a cold oven.  Of the oven is still warm from cooking, even better.  When enough bread is there and it is dry.  Process in the food processor or grate on the largest side of a box grater.

A French bread on the largest box grater gives you a more designer breadcrumb.  Croutons are also overpriced for their lot in life.

My daughter and I dissected a hamburger meal box.  The results were amazing.  See precious blog.
There are alternatives that are better, cheaper, faster.  My nephew coined it no Brainer pasta.  LOL

Some things like pudding in a box that you cook is just as easily done from scratch than it is from a box.  Ditto oatmeal in the microwave.  You are already measuring your water, just add measuring oatmeal and the savings are amazing.  One cup water, 1/2 cup oatmeal, 1-1/2 minutes.  If your oatmeal boiles over.  Cook 1 min, stir on craisens or anything you want, and cook 1/2 minute.  If you want it more thick, add an additional 30 seconds.  Watch it, now would be when it boils over!

Precooking meat when you are more relaxed is another scratch way of doing things.  We already talked about buying the so called loss leader and cookin a months worth, rotating with the sales.
Hamburger we all know is just as versatile as chicken in making different dinner dishes.  Defating your ground meats lowers the fat content to less than a boneless, skinless chicken breast.  Remember, when you take out the fat, you need to replace it with flavor.

Hamburger crumbles can be added to a pizza, or pasta sauce or a cassarole.  Meat balls can be added to cream sauce, or a gravy over mashed potatoes, noodles, or rice.  Meatball subs, anyone?  

Chicken can be a chicken dinner, chicken pot pie, chicken soup, chicken stir fry, buffalo,chicken pizza, BBQd legs and thighs.  Wings.  Cooking a whole chicken is easy and a lot less expensive than deli,chicken.  ( see earlier posts) .
Also, see earlier posts on almost free pizza complete with easy crust recipe and secrets your grocer doesn't want you to know!  

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Saturday, November 30, 2013

Part 2: shopping

Every month I write the same blog; every month  I write off the top of my head.  Please feel free to read back blogs, some are better than others.

We have talked about identifying the foods that we use often to cook our meals and finding the RBP for them.  Basically, we might buy six cans of pasta sauce this week, because we don't have to buy the pasta that we bought last week.  The difference is that instead of paying 2.19 for pasta, we have paid fifty cents.  You actually have a stock of food, and have paid less than you paid before.m

I would be remiss if I didn't address the issue of not buying boxes and premades .  When you buy ready made and mixes, you are paying for someone else's labor and feeding your family a bunch of chemicals they don't need to eat.  If you are on a very limited budget, you just can't afford it.  There are ways to cook just as fast from scratch.  There Re a few things that are cheaper to buy in a can or box than to make  from scratch, especially of you match a sale with a coupon.

Let's talk about prepping for your shopping trip.  When buying 1/2 price groceries, you are spending more time shopping, and less time cooking.  You get paid for shopping.  When you figure your savings over going to the nearest store and buying food, sometimes the savings divided by the amount of extra time is like earning 75.00 an hour.  LOL.

When you get the ads , take a piece of computer paper and divide it into quarters.  Top each section with the name of a store.  Now go through the ads and write down anything on your stock list that is a RBP.  Write down any produce and dairy that is a good price.  Look for the meat item that is the lowest price that is on your list.  Every week, the stores pick a meat that is their featured  item and give it a RBP.  If you pick one a week, buy enough to cover that meat for a month and rotate the meats, you virtually buy your meat at the lowest price, portion control it for no waste, and cook once, eat many times.

Let me rephrase that to make more sense.  When I plan meals, I use a outline or matrix.

2 beef
2 chicken or pork
2 vegetarian
1 fish or shellfish
Your matrix may be different. This one os what works for us.
One week, if whole chicken is a buck or less a pound, I will buy enough for us to have 2 chicken Meals a week for two weeks.  I usually cut up a chicken into  2 breast portions. dark meat, and soup.
I usually buy ham cubes or a pork loin roast.  You can slice off pork chops from the pork loin and freeze.  We can still get it for 1.79 sometimes.  When good ground beef is under three dollars a pound, I get it and marathon cook crumbles, taco meat, and meatballs enough for the 8 beef meals.  We used to have roast and roast beef a jus sandwiches before beef took a double hike.
Bulk cooking is a way to cook once, divide the meat into meal sized portions with no waste and clean up once.  The meat takes the most time to cook, so precooked meat means that your mealtime os less hectic.

After you have your list of things that are on sale , cross off anything that is more expensive elsewhere, and anything you don't need .  Now pick the TWO best stores.  Check the coupon matching sites on your area for coupons.  I buy ONE paper a week for a buck at the dollar store.  I save the coupon inserts in a binder clip by month.  Coupons.com is a good web site to get printable coupons.  There are a lot of premades to weed through, but you can still find coupons for dairy and other necessities.

Plan your trip, bring the ads, your list, your coupons.  Plan your trip to maximize gas.  Of the stores are far apart, break it down to two trips that tag along with other errands.  Maybe one store is near your mother that you visit with every week, the gym, the doctor??? Whatever works.  If you have no big grocery stores on your town. Consider  arranging a carpool with neighbors or family and go once a month, or twice a month.

You don't have to buy your food just at the chain stores.  You so have to avoid the specialty big bucks stores.  If you are on a rock bottom thrifty budget, sorry, there os no room for ready mades unless they are cheaper than scratch, and there is no room for special fancy stores.  You are paying for that fancy store every time   you walk onto it.  LOL.

There are alternative stores to the chain stores.  Warehouse stores like Costco and Winco sell so,e things cheaper.  Over stock s gores like grocery outlet and big lots sell select merchandise cheaper.
The bakery outlet is cheaper on some things unless you happen onto a real sale.  We go every six to eight weeks.  Sometimes  the drug stores have food a lot cheaper.

The biggest thing to remember is to know your prices.  My mother used to have the expression,
Some people could have a bargain get up and bite them in the butt and they wouldn't see it!

It's all about knowing the best prices and. Uh ing on moderation, just enough to last you until the next sale.  It won't happen overnight.  It happens one can at a time.

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Next time cooking


Friday, November 29, 2013

The basics, part one.

Groceries on the cheap takes a three pronged approach at putting food on the table at 1/2 price of retail.

I started this blog when it was brought to my attention that people on snap were running out of money before they ran out of month.  Now, snap has been  cut five percent.  Add the fact that meat pretty much has gone up 30 percent, it is harder to make both ends meet.   I actually found that many people not on snap read my blog.  Some people either want or need to economize on food, some like a way to get out of the kitchen faster, or be more efficient, and some just like trying new recipes.

Groceries on the cheap takes a three pronged approach at cheap grocery shopping.

  • Planning and organizing
  • Savy shopping 
  • Cooking from scratch

Like about anything we do, it's always less stressful of we have a plan.  If you hate to grocery shop, it's  probably because you are short on money, you are bringing two toddlers with you, or you are a indecisive personality.  Break down the problems,and  life will be less stressful.  

  • Planning your trip and maximizing your snap money will make you have food left over at the end of the month.  
  • Leaving the kids at home is a good move.  Of you don't have anyone at home to take care of them,  try to leave them with family, or trade babysitting with a friend.  
  • Having a list, and having guidelines of what to buy, takes the decision making part out of the grocery store, and into the home where you are comfortable and the "rules" make the process easy.  
Everything starts with a plan.  This is only time consuming at first,  some of it is  done once and then you are set.  Some of ot you probably have already done unconsciously.  
  • List the inexpensive sources of protein that your family will eat.  
  • List the main dishes that use these ingredients. 
  • List the food items that you use on a weekly basis to cook these foods.  no boxes or bags of stuff here.  Just scratch food.  ( your stock list) 
For example:  our family likes chicken, pork, some beef, cheese, rice, beans and refried beans and some fish and shellfish.  

We have tacos and burritos often.  Chicken dishes , Mac and cheese, pork roast, sloppy joes, soups .....

Our stock list is beans, refried beans, diced tomatoes, tuna, pasta sauce, pasta, green beans and corn, cheese, some chili and cream of mushroom soup.  

After you have assessed the shelf ready items that you use on a regular basis, you need to track these items for a while and fond the rock bottom price for them on your area.  A rock bottom price is the lowest price you can find.  Stores operate on a 8-12 week cycle.  Maybe beans will be less than .69 once every three months.  Maybe once every four or five months , they will be .50.  You want to assess how often you use them, and how many you need to last you until they go on sale again.  The object is to never pay that nasty f word.  ( full price) .  If we use something once a week, I keep 24.  If I use it once a month, I keep 6.  Things like catsup, mustard, mayo etc, I keep one ahead.  When I open my back up, I start looking for a sale.  Thos is a out buying low and eating when the price is high.  It's stocking, not hoarding.  It's more about being prepared and being self sufficient.  If you have a stock of food and are sick, you don't have to go to the store.  

Not paying full price on your key purchases is the trick to stretching your food dollar.  
Having a personal cookbook of dishes you cook for dinner is good,  7 is nice, 14 is better.  
Planning a weeks worth of meals ahead is a good tool to stay out of the drive  through or off the phone ordering pizza.   You don't have to get real specific, the main dish is fine.  You can deviate from the plan, just have a plan.  

Next time| : Savy shopping

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Thursday, November 28, 2013

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Wicked Wednesday/ recipe addition

It's Wednesday.  I have no ads yet.  I am not sure there are any ads today.

I found a crock pot recipe for chicken thighs.

Mix together

1.5 cups chicken broth
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1T orange zest

Brown 2 lbs skinned chicken thighs  in oil. 5 minutes per side.
Place in crockpot.

Add 1/2 onion chopped in skillet and sauté until limp.
Add salt and pepper and 2 t flour.  Stir.
Pour in broth mixture and bring to a boil.

Pour over meat on crockpot.

Cover and cook on low for 6 hours.

Serve over polenta or rice.
Garnish with blue cheese

That's all for today.

I think that it is interesting that there is a lot of pizza buys in the ads lately.  I think because we are prepping thanksgiving for days and dinner still has to happen.  LOL.  It os a lot easier of we can delegate   dinner to several people/ families and minimize the stress at the last minute.

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Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Is it turkey day yet!?!!!

I can't believe the hype about Christmas spending.  Stores are open on thanksgiving and they are already advertising Black Friday.  I, for one, don't think we need to gloss over thanksgiving.  I couldn't even find a thanksgiving sticker anywhere.  It's all Christmas.

I have already got my store books done this morning, and I am about to undertake making a turkey.
We are going out to family for Thanksgiving, but I like leftovers!   The best part of thanksgiving.  At eight dollars for turkey, we can eat a long time.

Yesterday,  I made snowman soup packets for my daughters class at school. They are a packet sorta like a matchbox that I embossed with snowflakes with a poem.  I filled a bag to go in it with candy cane, hot chocolate packet, and marshmallows.  I also had the pleasure?!??? Of going to the physical therapist.  LOL.  

I digress

Sweet Potato  and apple dish

Olive oil
1/4 cup chopped onion
1 tsp minced onion
1/2 cup rice, raw

1 cup water
2/3 cup sweet potato, peeled and diced
1 cup cubed Granny Smith apple

1/4 cup frozen peas
2 t raisins
Salt and pepper

Sauté the onion and garlic in olive oil.  Add the rice and toast lightly.  Add water and sweet potato and bring to boil, reduce heat and cook until sweet potato is tender.  Add apple , peas and raisens.  Continue cooking about three or four minutes.

Serves two.

Notes, Costco sometimes has sweet potato already cubed.  I made sweet potato soup one time.  Peeling and curbing sweet potato or squash is a royal pain!  

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Monday, November 25, 2013

Let's try FM and rite aid again.

After my husband went and got the real newspaper , here are the rote ado and Fred Meyers ads

Rite aid.  Score!    Toothpaste, Colgate 3.50 with a 3.00 up reward.  .50 coupon in Sundays paper!  Limit 2......

Colgate toothbrush 2.99 less coupon .50. Less up reward, makes .50.  Great stocking stuffer!

Oatmeal cups 2/3, 3.00 up reward.  FREE.  Backpacks?.......

That's about it.

Fred Meyers

Celery .38
5 lbs clementines 4.88 ( when we went Sunday to 185th, they were soggy soft,  )
Cranberry sauce 1.00
Pumpkin 2/3$$
Black olives .99@@
Sweet potatoes .79
Tillamook ice cream, 2/5@@$$
Butter  1.79@@
Country bread 3/4@@

That's about all.

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Sunday, November 24, 2013

Answer to Susan

I can't seem to make the reply button work in the comment section.  This info is probably good for others too.

My sister was married to a type 1, and she could probably answer you better. But,here goes...
I went to diabetes school and it was probably the smartest thing I have done.  I would recommend it to anyone that is diabetic and their mates if they cook for them.  Insurance paid for it.  

First, find out from the doc or nutritionist, how many carbs he should be eating.  Get a carb book.  I got one from school, but they are on paperback everywhere.  It is better to eat your carbs with protein.  It slows the time stiff gets into your bloodstream.  That bag of potato chips is the worst snack you can have, both for your pocketbook and your A1C.  Learn to read boxes.  Lots of hidden sugar and salt.  I avoid lots of per packaged, but check the carbs on the side of the carton. Subtract the dietary fiber and any sugar alcohol.  What's left is your carbs.  There are really good Russell stover chocolates out there that are free of carbs.  You, however, just don't want to eat more than two at a time even though they say that three is a serving!    There are ways to trick yourself into believing you have had a good treat.  I use a little sugar free syrup in my one cup of coffee in the morning.  The second cup is black.  I am supposed to drink four, but I haven't got that far yet.  I had reduced myself to one, but other health issues suggest four is better for me.  

Some vegetables are high on carbs too.  Lettuce, celery, cucumbers, cabbage are really low.  Most of this   you probably already know from weight watchers.  

I bake myself.  Flour has a little more than 10 carbs per cup.  It's easier to figure carbs.  

The best thing to do is to go together to diabetic school.  You only have one life and taking care of your diabetes can mean you have a more comfortable life.  

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Bogus post : dollar tree sold me the wrong newspaper. None of these are true!

Hands down, Fred Meyer has the best prices on Thanksgiving food around, especially of you didn't wait until the last minute to buy your staples.

Turkey is free if you spend 150.00.  It is better than the if you spend at other stores because Gred Meyer has more than food and you can also get a head start on Christmas or get the other things that you may be missing! like a roasting pan etc.  bakeware is buy one! get one 1/2.

Apples are .98
Canned veggies are 2/1.00@@
Triscuits are 3/5@@@
Truffles 2/5
Cranberries 2/4
Berries 2/5
Ice cream 2/4@@
M And ms 2/5@@$$
Coffee 5.99
Potatoes(boxed) 1.00$$
Yams 2/3@@
Pumpkin 2/4@@$$
Cranberry sauce 1.00

@@ means in ad coupon
$$ means there is a manufacturers coupon also check coupon connections.

Rite Aid

Colgate toothpaste .99 net after up reward and there is a dollar coupon .  I love FREE, it's even better if they pay you a penny to take it out of the store!
Zantac 8.99 less 5.00 coupon in the Sunday paper. ( if you don't get the Sunday paper it's a buck at the dollar store all week and you will still be momey ahead!

Be sure to check coupon commectioms.  Remember a bargain isn't a bargain if it's something you don't use.!   I only take stiff even of ot is free unless I can ise ot or know someone that can.  I don't need 24 tubes of free toothpaste, but the women's shelter or food bank can use it.  It is an easy, inexpensive way to help someone.

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Saturday, November 23, 2013

Suddenly Saturday,

My sister reminded me that Betty Crocker has a series to sign up for e mails that are for 25 days of Christmas cookies.  Christmas cookies don't get eaten on thos family, so I'm not buying into it.  Other families, I suspect would enjoy them.

No bake chocolate cookies.

1 cup chocolate chips
5 T butter
14 Large marshmallows
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups Quaker Oat meal
2/3 cup  any combination nuts, raisins, craisens, any dried fruit.

1) melt butter, chocolate and marshmallows in a pan.  When completely melted, remove from heat and add vanilla.  Stir on remaining ingredients.
2) drop by rounded tablespoons onto waxed paper.
3) refrigerate 2-3 hours

From favorite brand name recipes

My daughter makes a cranberry bar akin to the bars at Starbucks.  It's a lot of layers and time consuming, but really yummy!

We have been  eating pumpkin pie a lot.  With eggs, pumpkin and the fact that there is only one crust it is pretty healthy.

we went grocery shopping yesterday.  I'm not quote done and still have to get the things for thanksgiving a little closer to thanksgiving.  But, I saved half.  I am still under budget and I got a cart full of real food.

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Friday, November 22, 2013


I have been thinking about sides for Thanksgiving.  Betty Crocker sent me some really good recipes for an alternative to the green bean casserole and mashed potatoes in the crockpot.  Also corn pudding and I found some salads that sounded good until they got to the cool whip.  I don't think that whip cream would hold up for a substitute, so I think I'll pass.  Has anybody used sour cream sweetened instead?   There was also a recipe for a muffin that used the leftover cranberry sauce.  I thought that was very clever.

I can't seem to find the links, but you can google on the Betty Crocker web site.  I have some of the recipes, but can't publish them.

There is usually not a lot of bargains during the holidays.  They know you are going to buy certain things anyway, so they don't have  to mark them down .   I found the best buys at Fred Meyers a few weeks ago.  If you waited until the last minute, you are pretty much paying full price. Turkey's remain the same price. There are coupons for a total of eight dollars off a butterball, but butterballs are more expensive in the first place-  almost double the mean price of a regular turkey ( .69).

Traditionally, we always eat leftovers several days after thanksgiving.  Probably because we cooked a day and need to rest and there is food left over.  There are a lot of leftover recipes on the same Betty Crocker web sites.

Coupon matchups are making QFC a store of choice.  My next pick would be top.

Free milk when you buy four  General Mills.
Pillsbury pie dough is on their list, and there are coupons for it.
Also cereal and fiber one bars.  I can always find coupons for them.

Betty Crocker potatoes and a buck, and there are coupons for them too.  You can add leftover turkey and a salad and vegetable and have a weeknight meal.

Broccoli is .99 a pound

I guess that's all

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Wednesday, November 20, 2013

The ads , coupons


Potatoes 10/.97
Coffee 5.99@@
Butter 1,99@@
Milk 2.69


Turkey .59
Butterball 1.89
Broccoli .99
Raspberries, blackberries BOGO nets 2.00 ea
Cheese 4.99
Celery .69
Ice cream 2/5


FREE WITH 150.00 purchase
.49 with 100.00
.69 with 50.00

Cranberries 2/4
Veggies 2/1 @@
Olives 1.00
Butterball 1.29
Cheese 3.99@
Butter 1.77@
Eggs .97@@

Bitterball 1.29
Spend  150.00 free
Spend 100.00. .49
Spend 50.00 .69

Grapes 1.99
11 inch pie 5.99

5.00 Friday
Raspberries 2/5
Bc cake .99@@$$
Pumpkin 1.49@@$$
Sweet potatoes .99
Coffee 6.99

Note @@ means there is a in ad coupon.  $$ means that there is manufacturer coupons , see coupon connections website on line.

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Wicked Wednesday

We still have no ads.  This would normally be the day that I do the ads.  This month they all seem to have a thanksgiving theme and are not really conducive of stocking.  That being said.  Now is the time for you to stock pumpkin of you are a pumpkin eater.  ( no pun intended LOL).

My guess is they next month will be the same.  That's why stocking when prices are low makes sense.,  The trick is to stock in moderation, just enough to last you until the next sale. this won't happen overnight.  It will take a while.  you are building one can or jar at a time.  I am not advocating buying a years worth of food on one shopping trip unless of course, you live where you get to the store once a year!    This isn't about hoarding. Mints about keeping enough of an item you use on a weekly basis to last you until it goes on sale at the RBP again.

I am still getting some things at times at the RBP or lower lately like refried beans, pasta sauce, and vegetables.

Last night was taco Tuesday.  I dissected one as covertly as I could.  There was one T of taco meat, at least a cup of lettuce, and a tablespoon maybe of grated cheese on three tacos with a garnish of about three tomato cubes.  In their defense, they were all you can eat for five bucks.  I think the guys use ot for a contest, how many can you eat!   They certainly don't have to worry about too much fat or cholesterol!  

 We had chicken, potatoes, and mixed vegetables one night last week and chicken,stuffing,and green beans another night.  Both what I would consider a decent dinner that was balanced.  My goal is to feed a family decent, well balanced meals, on a very thrifty budget.

Batch cooking meat is beneficial because it saves time, makes meal time easy when you need it to be, and allows you to portion control and not waste food.  Whether you have a bog family or are cooking for one or two you can break down bulk priced food into meal sized portions.

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Ads later when I get them.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013


I know, I have been MIA for a couple of days.  I finally got some medical attention for my headaches, bit now have another "headache. ". Seems planned parenthood, yet again, put the wrong fax number on their medical release forms.  I can't tell you how happy I was, even with my happy pills, to get seven phone calls with the obligatory s q u e e ch between five and six o'clock this  morning.
Seems none knows how to make them go away or nobody cares.  How many ways can you spell frustration.

I digress

On to food!  Glorious Food!  

Fred Meyer had pumpkin for a buck.  I have coupons for Libby.  I bought just enough to see of ot os any good.  I don't usually buy off brands of pumpkin.  We also got canned veggies that were Kroger.  They tasted fine.  They were fifty cents...more than RBP.  Cranberry sauce was also on sale as well as blackberries2/5.  Granddaughter loves blackberries--go figure.

Betty Crocker has a couple of  emails out for thanksgiving.  Seems you can put pumpkin in just about everything.  I am not so sure about some of them.  I'll try to figure a link.

There is a coupon out there for three dollars off of butterball turkey, and a coupon in the Sunday paper for another five dollars off coupons, like a rebate.  That's 8 dollars off.  You have to buy any combo of fair sides, the potatoes and the crescent dinner rolls both have coupons to match up.  My daughter says that target has butterballs for a buck a pound.  I haven't seen them advertised this week.

Turkey's are free at ALBERTSONS and Fred Meyer with minimum purchases.  Fred Meyers is a hefty amount, but it covers most everything in the store from the paint for the deck to dishes for the thanksgiving table or the kids Christmas toys.  ALBERTSONS is more generous.

My  mother always cooked the same things for thanksgiving dinner.  It is interesting that none of these recipes are liked by my husbands family, so traditions are replaced.  Such is life.

We had
Dressing with a lot of sage and celery and onion.
Mashed potatoes, gravy
Green beans with bacon
Creamed onions
Sweet potatoes, mashed, formed into a ball with a marshmallow and dipped in corn flakes and baked off to melt the marshmallows.
lime jello salad with green pepper, cucumbers and pineapple.

Of course, pumpkin Pie

YUM.   memories

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Monday, November 18, 2013

Repost: retailers secrets

As I have said before, the retailers have spent considerable money to research our habits and find ways to get us to spend more money.

Advertising multiples, when you can only by one item is one trick they use. Because something is 3/1.00 doesn't mean that you have to buy three.

The longer you spend in a store, the more money you will spend. That's why some retailers change things aroumd frequently. Costco is notorious for it. If you have the mind set that you are on the clock and want to get the most bang for your buck, you'll spend less time. It's a game. I want to save as much as I can in the least amount of time.

Impulse buying is the retailers profit. They figure that 70 percent of what we buy is impulse. Often it is the most expensive things in the store that. you don't really need. We want the retailers to prosper but they can do it on someone else's dime who can afford it more.

Create your own path through the store, if you don't need anything in an isle, don't go there. The true necessities are on the outside perimeter of the store.

Sometimes, what is truly on sale isn't the featured items up front.

Exercise the hands off rule. Studies say that if you touch it, you are most likely going to buy it.

It's a well known trick that if prices have to increase, the manufacturers will reduce the size of the package instead of outwardly increasing the price.

Know your prices, the bulk isle isn t always the cheapest price.

Keep in mind that foods are sold other places other than grocery stores. Many time you can find overstocks at the dollar store, big lots, Bartells and almost anywhere. Keep your eye open, and know your prices.

Pick your grocery store based on the prices, not how friendly the clerks are or how fancy the store is, or how uncrowded it is. think about it, there is a reason why the store is crowded. Either they have just forecasted that dreaded S word, or it's because they have the best prices. You go to the grocery store to purchase your food.

Stores charge manufacturers slotting fees. Basically they charge rent for the eye level shelves. You can just bet they are going to pass on the cost. Look UP and DOWN for the best buys.

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Sunday, November 17, 2013

Fred Meyer ads and coupons.

It's Simday.  Thos week quote a few of the grocery stores have ads on the Sunday paper.

One thing to note.  there are coupons out there, (One is on savings Star) for three dollars off when you buy some sodes.  There are also coupons for some sodes.  In the savings insert this week, there os a mail in rebate for five dollar off coupons for butterball products., T hats eight dollars off your Turkey of you can make all that happen.  I haven't researched the particulars.  I was hoping it would be on couponnconnections.  There is also a coupon for Betty Crocker potatoes, fifty cents on two.  They are at the dollar store.   Nets  .75 each.

Rite Aid has Colgate toothpaste on an up reward, nets .99 unless there is a coupon out there.  My coupon had expired.

Fred Meyers


Free  when you spend 150.00
.49 when you spend 100.00
.69 when you spend 50.00
Note that Fred Meyers sells lots of stuff.  There are some exclusions, mostly the normal stuff ( booze etc plus jewelry and fuel.

Apples .98
Butter 1.79@@
Canned veggies 2/1@@
Pumpkin pie 3.99
Butterball turkey 2.19
Cranberry sauce 2.00
Pills bury crescent rolls 1.88$$
Pie crust 2/5$$
Pumpkin 2/4$$@@
Cranberries 2/4
Raspberries, blackberries 2/5
Ice cream 2/4@@

That's about all.

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Saturday, November 16, 2013

Suddenly Saturday: what to do with what you got!

We went shopping Yesterday.  It was a short trip.  I went to the doctor, but the computer messed up my prescription , so I haven't had any relief yet. going to the physical therapist Monday.

 I did no matchups and got what we were out of fresh food wise and 2 chickens because they were .79 a pound.  When stores are gearing up for a holiday, there are not a lot of real food sales.

I don't usually bake a lot for the holidays.  Everyone has made it perfectly clear that they don't want any part of rich deserts.  I don't want food to go to waste.  I do make a "treat " for thanksgiving when I can.

Pilgrim Hats

Chocolate thin wafer cookies
Regular sized Reese's peanut butter cups
Frosting in a bag or put into a zip lock bag with the tip cut off.
Place wafer on a plate.  Place a small dollup of frosting to glue the upside down Reese's to the wafer.
Make a buckle in the center of the side of the hat.  Perpendicular to the plate.

They are really cute.  I found chocolate wafers at SAFEWAYS In the cookie isle.

I digress

What to do with what you have.
I would, obviously pick chicken for my Stock meat for the week.
Don't forget your matrix.   it makes it pretty easy to do meal plans.

Our matrix is

2 beef
2 chicken or pork
1 fish or shellfish

Fruit seems to be relatively inexpensive.  Especially apples, pears, and oranges.
Lettuce seems to have taken a hike, maybe fruit salads and fruit and cottage cheese is in order.
Making a fruit and cottage cheese salad is a good boost to protein if your main dish is falling short.
Dairy seems to still be cheapest at Costco.  Milk, however is a buck at Freddie's often and butter is 3/5.

Again, I can't stress enough that knowing your prices is your best defense against paying too much.m
Jimmy Dean  sausage is 3.99 at TOP for a pound.  It is 2.30 a pound at Costco .  Also, don't make your meal plans etched in concrete before you go to the store,  at SAFEWAYS this week, for instance, the pumpkin pies were boxed too soon and were wet.  The grapes were ugly.  You just can't predict what you are going  to find or what the quality is going to be.  no one grocery store is perfect, and no one grocery store has all the best prices.  Shopping more than one store hedges you for the best prices  and chance at the best produce.

On another note, food stamps have been cut 5 percent.  Add that to the thirty percent increase on meat prices on average, that's a big dent on an already short budget.  I really would like to reach more people that need to cut their food bill and still eat well.  I think itmos the right person at the right time kinda thing.

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