Monday, September 30, 2013

Rite aid trip

Just went to rite run....

I got my candy for 25 percent off...I love chocolate for no carbs!!!!!

I also got the Mac and cheese cups my granddaughter loves for 2.00 for four,  they are 1.39 each.  W up rewards.
And taco kits for 1.50 with up rewards and a coupon.  That is really close to the price of a package of taco shells.  You can get both hard and soft shells in the same package and taco seasoning and sauce.

There is still a clearance rack, not much there at Lynnwood. I did get a Sid video  for baby for 1.75.
They have chairs, Mickey and princess and stools, and lap trays .  

That's about it.  

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Monday Madness

I can't  believe it is Monday.  It seems like I just posted  a Monday madness , don't know where the week went.  We had chicken tacos last night.  I have been working in my studio a lot lately.  It's crunch time.  I usually have more done by now....just messing around.  tacos, refried beans, and rice is a good quick meal.  I used a pound of shredded chicken and put the sauce mix from the kit in water and reduced it and added the chicken. I would have used scratch, but I got taco kits at Rite aid with rite aid bucks and a coupon for the same as buying the shells.  With care, I have rolled over the rite aid bucks for several months now.  I will go for better than free toothpaste today or tomorrow.  I took about twenty of them to the women's shelter Friday.  I'll start another batch.  My husband is jokingly calling me the toothpaste fairy.  Ha ha

Retailers have studied ways to get you to spend money. They have studied human behavior and use the norm for their own benefit.  If you want to stretch your buck and not fall into their plan to spend a lot of money, you need to shop with a definite plan and be strong and stick to it. By shopping wisely, you can live better ; make the most of what you do have.  There is a certain sense of security in knowing if something happens, you still can feed your family.

Sending you free money is one way, or a coupon to give you a dollar amount off a certain bottom line on your receipt.  I spent a little amount the previous week, so that I could spend more this week.  I matched the things in the ad that I could use over a period of weeks and use the 10.00 off cart coupon, specials, store coupons and manufacturers coupons.  The bottom line is I got a 61 percent discount.  I bought some ready mades, but they were cheaper than making them from scratch.  I have another coupon, they expire October  15.   I'll watch for another good week to match up.  In the mean time, I got the equivalent of 10 almost dinners for 46.89.  I bought a few things because I was hosting a party, and some fruit pops that I got for a little more than a buck for six for the baby and she is teething. But,  had I bought potatoes and veggies with the rest, I would have had all the ingredients.  I have them, because I stock.

If I had got the same coupon from a department store, I would have passed.

I purchased three pounds plus of chick steak.  I intend to cut it up and make stew meat out of it.  I'll cook it in the crock pot and break it done onto family sized portions.  I can make soup or stew, or serve it over rice or mashed potatoes.  I could do the same with home made meat balls.  When you make soup in the slow cooker and use precooked meat, just make the soup without the meat,mand add it the last half hour to 45 minutes to heat through, or heat it in the microwave and put it in the soup.  Recooking  meat in the crock pot will either make it fall apart or make it tough!

When I get grill packs for a dollar, I debone the chicken breasts.  I use the bones to add to the pot that I cook the legs and thighs to shred the chicken and make stock.  That makes chicken breasts about as cheap as you are going to get them.  Deboneing a chicken breast is easy.  There are videos on the Internet.  Basicly, you just run your knife along the large bone and pull away the meat as you go.  Slowly and carefully.

Citrus Chicken

4 pieces of boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 tsp chopped garlic
1 t butter

1 small lime~ wash the lime! zest 1 teaspoon on peel.  Squeeze 2 tables juice.
1/4 tsp ginger
1/4 crushed red pepper flakes ( optional)

1 orange

1) rinse chicken and par dry.
2) cook chicken in a skillet with the butter and garlic, about 8-10 minutes, turning over mid way through your time.the chicken  should be tender and the juices should run clear.
3) in small bowl, combine remaining ingredients EXCEPT the orange.
4) peel and slice the orange, cut the slices into quarters, saving any juice.
5) add juices to the skillet and place orange slices on top of the chicken.
6) reduce heat, and cover.  Simmer 2 minutes until the sauce is heated through.

I would serve with rice and a salad or brocolli.

Notes: chicken is a buck when you get it on sale.  De inning your chicken saves a ton of money.  Oranges were a buck a pound last week.  This should be a quick meal.  Start the rice cooking while you make the chicken.  Zap a veggie while you are plateing the food.

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Sunday, September 29, 2013

Chicken E nchilada Soup

Yesterday, it poured rain and the wind was more than strong.  Thankfully, we kept our electricity.  My daughter and I decided it was a good day for soup.

We adapted a recipe from to meet the criteria for cost and so we didn't have to go out on the rain and wind to get anything. LOL


1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can corn, rinsed
1/2 cup chopped red pepper
1  - 10 ounce can enchalada sauce
1'can cream of celery soup
1-1/2 cups milk

1 cup shredded pepper jack cheese

 1 family sized portion of shredded chicken.

In a 3-5 quart slow cooker, dump everything but the milk.slowly stir in the milk.  Cook on high 3-4 hours or on low for 6-8.  When almost done, break up your cooked chicken (last 1/2 hour) and add it to the cooker to heat through.

Top with cheese,  we had tortilla chips with it also.


This recipe called for cooking raw chicken breast .  I am a "chicken-- " pardon the pun!) to cook raw chicken in the slow cooker.  I don't know about bringing the chicken to temp soon enough.

I precook meats so I always have either chicken cubes cooked or shredded chicken.  I always have a few cans of corn.  I don't usually buy frozen.  I picked up cream of celery soup when our grocery store closed for 1/2 price.  Otherwise, I might have made a cup and a half of cream soup from my base.  I would look for a sale about thanksgiving time and stock up for the year.

I got enchalada sauce for fifty cents at ALBERTSOMS.  Enchalada sauce is one of the easiest things to make.  At it's usual price of more than a dollar, it is a rip off.  I watched a lot of videos on the Internet when I was stuck in bed a while ago.  All it is is a white sauce that you make with water instead of milk and add chili powder to instead of milk.  I used the recipe on the food channel the first time----it will knock your sox off!   I would prefer a bit less chili powder.  LOL red peppers I diced when they were going bad.  They were 3/1 at grocery outlet.  The cheese was from the dollar store, I used part of a chunk.

Black beans .50
Diced tomatoes .48
Corn .33
Red peppers  .25
Enchalada sauce .50
Soup .60
1 cup shredded cheese .75
Chicken 1.00

Total 4.71.

If my budget was larger and I was feeding teen children I would maybe replace the cheese top with a dollop  of sour cream and make some quesadas.  That still would put you really close to the five dollar budget.

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Saturday, September 28, 2013

Suddenly Sunday, early edition

My husband needed a tool at the dollar store.  He picked up the newspaper for me.  This has the p and g insert as well as the smart source.  They, however don't have a lot of good stuff in them.  I see Yoplait yogurt.

Fred Meyers has some good sales.  That is, of they have the product.  Often times, like almost every time I go, there is so,etching on ad that they are out of.  I guess that boosts their profits.  LOL

Note: @@ means with a in ad coupon.  $$ means that there is a coupon to be had.

Apples and pears are .98.
BUTTER 3/5@@
Rib roast 2.99
Grapes 1.49
Country oven bread 2/3@@
Acorn squash 1.00
Yoplait yogurt is 10/5@@$$

Pizza 3.99$$

Dryers ice cream 2/5@@

Always check coupon connections if you are in the Seattle area for matchups.  Sometimes , lately, I have been unable to make it work, but it is a good starting point.  She does the hard work for you.

Colgate total toothpaste 2.99 with a up reward of 2.00. A coupon for a dollar at makes it a money maker.  A WHOLE PENNY.

Jiff peanut butter 2/5 with a 1.00 up reward when you buy 2 . Nets 2.00 each

That's all I found.

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Suddenly Saturday.

Yesterday we went shopping. The total for the month was just over 60.00.  Yet, I have still growing stock.

Both SAFEWAYS and ALBERTSOMS had good buys.  But, I had a ten dollar coupon for SAFEWAYS so it was the deal cincher .  I saved 61 percent, a personal high and I didn't buy 90 bottles of hot sauce.  LOL.  It took me an hour to prep for the trip, most of that was finding the coupons for the pasta that SAFEWAYS computer didn't like anyway.  I got pasta for .50 and some of the packages were packages with additional product.  Pasta is an easy way to stretch a buck and still feed hungry mouths,  it's probably why so many of our mothers served it for extended family dinners.
It's a crowd pleaser and with French bread and a salad, it is a well rounded meal.

Last night we had family over and we had pizza, salad and cake and ice cream-- another good family meal.

By carefully sticking to your list, adjusting for unforseen  circumstances, and planning wisely, you can stretch your food dollar.  I like 1/2 price.  I really like 61 percent.  When you buy one or two things that aren't on sale, it lowers your percent off.  However, it is not realistic to shop like the television extrememcouponers.   Some of the things they do are not allowed by the stores .  Plans change when the register won't accept your coupons and they get their large numbers by purchasing large quantities of things that they  will never use to clutter up their food storage.  Making logical decisions is the key.

Pasta has a 8 YEAR shelf life.  Fresh fruits and veggies don't.  Canned goods are usually good for
three- four years, except meat and fish.  Expiration dates are not etched in concrete.  So,e things are perfectly good a bit past the pull date.  We throw away , so the article I just read says, about 40 percent of our food.  That's terribly wasteful.  That being said, I would not feed my family anything I had a doubt about.  Better safe than sorry.

The meats I bought were fridge stable.  They have expiration dates.  The coupon companies restrict you to printing two coupons.  For a regular family, that's probably all you need.  Most of the time, ready mades are more expensive than ready made.  Most of the time is key here.  With drought prices, some meat entrees are cheaper than scratch.  Ready mades still have preservatives and such in them and buying four items that will spread over a month is good judgement.  It is limiting your exposure while you eat scratch the other six days.  If  I have to work the late shift and the till doesn't balance, having a five minute meal in my back pocket is a good thing.  if you know ahead of time, the slow cooker is a boon too.  I get brown and serve baguettes at Costco or the bakery outlet.  They also make bread sticks.  Fifteen minutes and you have a hearty stew or soup and bread.

Again that word I always come back to. MODERATION? !

Groceries on the cheap is based on five dollar dinners for the average family.  That being two adults and two school age children.  We have, basically three adults and a child.  My daughter purchases some alternative foods for their semi- vegetarian diet and buys her lunch.  I am estimating that we are providing three meals.  That might be a little stretch, but I am also doing it on 1/2 of the USDA stats for a thrifty budget.

Every few months, the USDA posts a chart with the food at home costs for meals in four different price budgets and breaks down the age and gender of family members.  SNAP adjusts the thrifty stats with the cost of living index in your area.  That's why buying a bunch of junk food and ready mades will burn your budget.  Scratch cooking doesn't have to take all day of non-passive time.  Oven meals and slow cooker meals are a great help.  Slow cookers are at yard sales, estate sales, and the goodwill often.  New ones are really inexpensive.  I really recommend them to the busy person with a family that wants to eat on the cheap.  A lot of slow cooker recipes lately call for a can of this or that.  Most of the time you can substitute with an ingredient that doesn't cost an arm and a leg.

A good cheap substitute for cream based soup is the recipe starter at themdollarmstore,  it's .50.  You will have to adjust the amount to compensate for the condensed soup.  You can make a cream soup base with a recipe on a older blog.  Again, reduce the amount of liquid the recipe calls for by part of the amount the recipe calls for.  You are trying to make the same consistency of the original product.

At .50 a can for the basil or garlic sauces, it is cheaper than white sauce from scratch.

With a pasta cooker from big lots, you can cook pasta in the microwave with passive time.  No stirring, or watching.  You measure the pasta, fill the oval pan to the correct mark, and set the time on the microwave.  When you done, you use the strainer lid instead of a colander and have less dishes.  They are five bucks at the big lots.  Another version at my store that sells tv things,  it is one tv gadget that makes a lot of sense.

Not watching the pasta pot allows you to heat your sauce, add meat, and make a salad while the pasta is cooking with a whole lot less stress.

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Friday, September 27, 2013

The ultimate extrememcouponers coupoming

I did my errands and we went to SAFEWAYS.

I spent 46.89.   I saved 74.70.  For a savings of 61 percent.

Most of it was meat that I got for less than scratch made.  By the time that I used my SAFEWAYS cart coupon, manufacturers coupons and the sale prices the savings were remarkable.  There were a few things on my list I substituted other things for.    Brownies for a birthday cake , vegetables for the chicken dogs for granddaughter, but I  stayed pretty close to task.

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Finally Friday / Safeway 10.00 coupons

It's finally Friday and I have errands.  I bought  a punch at Michaels. This the third time I bought something at Michaels that was either broken or used.  I am also going to take my toothpaste stash to the women's shelter.  I have been getting toothpaste for cheap or free for months.  Driving my husband crazy,  he kept saying , we don't need any more toothpaste !   LOL.  imagine his surprise when I start the stash again!    I get to work a whole year on it this  time.

I digress,were talking about food.  groceries on the cheap is not about hoarding.  It's about stocking enough of the staples that you use on a weekly basis to last you until it goes on sale again.  Sales run on a 8-12 week cycle.  Now enter the drought situation to mix things up.  Try to keep a at least three month supply of the things that you use weekly.  Things like mayonnaise, catsup and mustard, I keep one ahead and when I open the back up one, I start looking for a sale.  That stuff usually goes on at picnic time.  Catsup and mustard are always at the dollar store.

This won't happen overnight.  It comes a can here and a box there.  If you are short on space , get inventive.  I once used an ottoman that had storage in it.  One lady took a garbage can and put a wood round on top and covered it with a cloth.  Some people just have two of the storage boxes from Home Depot that have tops in the corner of the kitchen.  Whatever works.  Growing up, we always had a storage room in the basement.  When we moved into a new house, Dad would put up shelves.  My parents would also mark the top of the cans with the date it came in the house .
We didn't have the convenience foods that we have these days, but they are a sure way to inflate your food budget to the max.

I am going to make quick breads this week end. at here is a good apple one I found on Betty Crocker, an orange one on the food channel, and I got a pumpkin bread box from Costco.  With the cost of pumpkin it is cheaper than scratch.  My son makes pumpkin pie from scratch, but I haven't ventured into that yet.

Ok, as promised, I am reading the SAFEWAYS fine print.  It's so done, I am using a magnifying glass.  Basically, the ten dollar coupon includes all FOOD  items after sales, except dairy,  it has to be used in one single transaction before Oct. 15.  There are two of them,  if you aren't going to use two, be a good neighbor and share with someone that will.  That random act of kindness can really make someone's day.


HORMEL ready made entrees are on 5 dollar Fridays.  There is a printable for a buck.  They are almost a pound to 22 ounces,  scratch is higher if you are talking beef,  some of them we have tried are yucky to coin my granddaughters expressions.  The beef tips are good.  And they are a good way to make a five minute dinner.  They will feed a typical family of four, or three adults.
There is also one on Lloyd's ribs.  That makes sirloin tips about 3.20.  , the same price as a pound of sirloin.

Digiorno pizzas are on also.  There is a coupon for 2 dollars off two.  Also a net of four.  Or 3.20 net.

Remember you are also getting another twenty percent off od you keep your spending to fifty dollars.

Eggs are 1.25.  Net with the coupon 1.00

Frozen fruit bars are 2.49  and there is a 1.10 coupon net 1.39 less twenty percent 1.13.  I'm thinking they would be good for kids sore throats,   Sooth the throat, vitamin c ???? LOL

Just for you coupons need to be store coupons to make the manufacturers coupons work. I checked, they work.  So, you can use a Safeway coupon, a manufacturers coupon, and also get to bucks off of fifty dollars.  Bring your calculator.  Note your net prices.

Golden grain pasta is .50.   There is a coupon for -50 on coupon connections.  I really like the word FREE.

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Thursday, September 26, 2013

Terrific Thursday

It's Thursday already.  This week in some ways has flown by.  A bit of frustration  with insurance companies, but it's behind us now, so we trudge on.

I still haven't found time to research the coupons and the ten bucks off SAFEWAYS yet.  Otherwise, I am not seeing much to shout home about in the ads.

Oranges are a buck at ALBERTSONS.  I like to make orange quick bread because it is inexpensive.  I found a recipe on line that takes the whole orange.  I have made them in the past that just use juice and the rind.

ALBERTSOMS also has whole fryers for a buck a pound.  If you have not used chicken this month yet for your once a month choice, it would be a good time.  The difference in price between a deli chicken and from scratch is remarkable.  You don't know where the chicken from the deli comes from and you should NEVER buy a chicken less than three pounds.  There is too much bone to meat ratio. In other words, you are paying for too much bone .  We don't eat the bone.  ALBERTSONS deli chicken is 5.99 for contrast.  It is probably 2-3 pounds.  At three pounds, that would be two dollars a pound.  It takes ten minutes to put a roast chicken on the oven.  1/6 of an hour .  Six times three bucks is 18.00 an hour.

I wash the outside.  Clean the cavity and dump some salt in it.  Stuff it with anything I have got laying around.   An apple, piece of onion, lemon or orange, maybe a piece of rosemary if I have it in the garden.  Massage the skin with olive oil.  Sprinkle some salt and pepper on it and shove it on the oven on a roasting pan.  Roast off at 375 degrees.  I have a thermometer with a probe.  It beeps at me when the chicken is up to temp.  I also check it with am instant read.

ALBERTSONS also has eggs on coupon for .98.  Eggs for dinner is a good way to cut your dinner costs, a very inexpensive source of protein.  My family loves quiche.

I always check coupon connections in case I missed something.  A lot of coupons are for things I don't buy because even with a coupon, they are too costly. There are, however, some things that  are regular items that are cheaper.  Tillamook yogurt with a coupon last week was 2/.25. Instead of .70.  I would have not bought it at that price, but at .125 cents, we can drizzle it on fruit and have a good desert.

Oatmeal is 2/3.  A really good buy.  Oatmeal is a really good healthy breakfast.  It cooks quickly on the microwave.  I cook it for a minute, and then for an additional 30 seconds.  If it isn't stiff enough, an additional 30 seconds.  This keeps it from boiling over.

In addition, I use it on banana -blueberry bread and oatmeal cookies.
Sugar is 1.49 for four pounds.  Cheaper than the sale at rite aid.

That's about all.

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Please share.  I would be interested in teaching a class at a church or civic center in the Seattle area, I am trying to reach people that need to know this information.  Food stamps are taking a cut in November and just a WAG, more people will need to learn ways to stretch a buck!


Tuesday, September 24, 2013

The Ads

The ads


Milk 2.59
Yoplait 10/5$$
Dreyers 2.99
Peaches 1.49
Pork shoulder roast 1.79

Week end only
6/2 corn
Cod 3.99
Pork 1/2 loin 2.99
Butter 1.99


Bogo meat sale
Sirloin roast 2.75net

Meat 2.99 lb
Pork sirloin
Loin roast or chops
Country ribs
Eye of round.

( some   of that doesn't sound like a bargain.)

Brown or powdered sugar 1.00


Chicken 1.00
15 percent ground beef 2.69
Salad .79
Oranges .99
Sugar 4 lbs 1.49@@

Eggs .98@@
Butter 1.79@@

Mac n cheese .69 limit 8@@
Dijornno pizza 4.99@@ $$??

Remember the 10.00 off 50.00 coupons

Cross rib roast 2.69
Pork Loin  chops 2.29

Apples .99
Bread .88
Pot roast 2.99
Cod 5.00

Mega buy 4

Diced tomatoes .79
Pasta .50

Just 4 you

Johnsonville sausage 2.49
Nalley chilli .89

5 dollar Friday
Lloyd's ribs
3 lbs grapes
Digiorno pizza
Eggs 4/5
Cream cheese 4/5

I am not sure if you can match coupons with the just for you.  You can with the five dollar Fridays.
I think there is pizza coupons out there. As well as HORMEL or ribs.

Check the reatrictioms on the 10.00 coupon.  Ypu could score well if it doesn't exclude the five dollar Friday prices.

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Terrific Tuesday

I got the ads for Fred Meyers and rite aid Sumday.  Nome of them were anything to write home about.

I am going to have to use so,e divine intervention to find something in the store that is a bargain to use my up rewards before they expire.  LOL. The CBD ravioli that I got 8/5.00 at big lots is 1.50 each at rite aid with the up rewards.  I wouldn't touch it with a ten foot pole, but it is on the list for the title 1 schools weekend packs.  I can make two entire dinners with desert for the 12.00 they would cost at the rite aid-- for a family of four.  It sounds like the criteria is  individual packages of things that older kids can make themselves.  no child should go hungry.

By using shopping strategies , and stocking, something like spaghetti and a green salad and a pudding can be had for 6.00 easy.  Ditto a chicken dinner .  Chicken, mashed potatoes, mixed vegetables. Ice cream.

The  Sunday paper has another ad for ALBERTSOMS.  Cheese is 3.99 with a coupon in the ad.  Apples are .88.  Often apples are discounted another dollar if on a bag at ALBERTSOMS.  Tillamook yogurt is .25 with a coupon.  There are manufacturers coupons out there too.  I got BOGO.  Jiffy pizza crust didn't exist.  Tomato sauce was .25.  Tomato paste is cheaper at Costco last I checked.
Sour cream is .75.  Tuna and clams are a buck.  You can make a hearty meal with two cans of either thing.  Cured bandages are a buck and there is a coupon out there.  Check couponconnections if you are in the Seattle area.  Other areas have coupon match up sites too.  Google for the one in your area. They match up good sales at your local grocery stores with manufacturers coupons to get the most bang for your buck.

You can use a store coupon with a manufacturers coupon.  In Washington, I have never seen it where you get money back for using coupons at grocery stores.  At SAFEWAYS, if your item is .99 and you have a coupon for a buck, you coupon is not usable with that transaction.  You can make money at rite aid.  Yes, I'm some instances you can make money by buying a product.  That is, you get the product and they pay you To buy it.  You, however, can't like you see on extreme couponing, buy 93 of them!   LOL.  I still wouldn't take advantage of the offer if it was something I wouldn't use or couldn't take to the food bank.  I have seem these deals on baby food and toothpaste and mouthwash.
This helps if you are on snap that doesn't pay for toiletries or paper products.  I almost always get toothpaste for free.  I have been getting toothpaste for free and saving up.  I'm going to take a basket of it to the women's shelter for my birthday.  Sometimes I gave my mom a gift on my birthday, the ultimate Mother's Day.  She's gone now, but I can do something in her memory.

I guess that's all.  I, behind and have order to get out soon.

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Monday, September 23, 2013

The plan

Part of stretching a buck in the kitchen is to reduce waste.  When you get home from the grocery shopping trip, or before,my survey the fridge and make a note of hat is left on the perishable department.  Add the things you have in you're stockpile and the new meat and veggies you just bought and make your meal plans from the list. Use the oldest of the perishables first.  Vegetable soup, sauce for ice cream or pancakes,  Banana bread, orange bread, apple bread.   Stir fry.

What else can you think of to use up bits and pieces of vegetables or leftovers?  

Cottage cheese can stuff pasta shells, replace cream cheese in a recipe, or replace sour cream in some recipes.  Sour cream can go in some cake or pound cakes.  There is a recipe out there for lemon pound cake that the big buck coffee shop sells for two dollars a slice.

Milk can make pudding or clam chowder, or any cream soup.  You can use up a little it of a vegetable with that too.

Radishes take on a whole new taste when you roast them.

I bought vanilla yogurt for .125 last time, I plan to use it over fruit instead of whipping cream.

So next time something is about to expire, think at to with a different light!  

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Sunday, September 22, 2013

The basics, part three

To recap, we have covered in part, the planning and the shopping.  Now the cooking.  What to do with the stuff after you get it home.

Precooking your meat saves a lot of time at dinner time.  It also buys your meat when it is the cheapest in bulk, and portion controls to so you get more meals for your buck.   I have a post on almost free pizza.  If you , for instance, fry and defat sausage, and portion it for quiche or soup making, and there is a little leftover, put it in a bag in the freezer door.  Ditto any other meat you can put on a pizza.  When you are chopping a vegetable that can go on a pizza, do the same.  When you have nough, make pizza.  There is an easy pizza crust recipe on an earlier blog.  Also, I got a pizza crust package at big lots for .50.  ALBERTSONS was supposed to have one for .50 as well, but I didn't find it.  Also, there is a bisquick recipe and a fridge bread dough recipe on an earlier post as well.  Many options.  You want to pay close to 2.50 or less for cheese.  Lately, Costco has been my best bet.  Cheddar blocks I have been fitting for 2.00 a pound on a sale, limit 1.

I got clams for a buck at ALBERTSONS this week.  Two cans makes clam cakes, or clam chowder.  Add a cheese biscuit and you have a good cheap meal.

A slow cooker can be your best friend in the kitchen.  There are literally hundreds of dump and turn on recipes out there.  Just be aware of the fact that if you pay dollars each for cans of soup, or other remade ingredients , you are defeating your purpose.  There is also a recipe for cream soup base on another blog or find a good sale.  I got soup for fifty cents at ALBERTSONS.  Look for recipes that are more scratch. I post them when I find them.

Sloppy joes are cheaper to make than hamburgers.  Again, use a recipe that doesn't call for a two dollar can of sauce.   Think ahead and pull some tomato sauce fom a large can if you are making
something else.  The larger can at big lots is cheaper than two smaller cans.  Big lots doesn't take food stamps, but they don't carry a lot of food either,  so your OOP is low if you are on snap.  Buns are at the bread store for free when you buy your months worth of bread often.

I write the basics off the top of my head every month.  Please feel free to read others.  We shop at two chain stores unless the sales are bad that week.  We go to Costco and Winco about every month to six weeks.  We go to the bread store when we are out of bread and I can't get it cheaper at the store on sale.  Grocery outlet and big lots are on a need to have or when we are in the area  for something else .  I just started going to Fred Meyers and rite aid on Sunday or Monday if the ads warrant it,  rite aid has up rewards that sometimes pay you to buy something.  If I am going to need it, I get it.  Then I use my up reward bucks on something else I am going to need that is cheap, has up rewards and preferably I have a coupon for.  I have been getting toothpaste for free,  along with mouthwash.

The dollar store is a good resource for some items.  I have been getting  recipe starter for .50.  It is 2.59 at SAFEWAYS,  this is another case of buying is cheaper than scratch at 50.  I would not buy it if it cost more,  frozen veggies are cheaper there as well usually.  Ditto pepperoni.  I was getting it for
.50 for what is 3.50 at the store.

I did a blog on dinners at the dollar store, just for fun.  We did not eat the dinners, it was virtual, so I can't attest to the taste of them, LOL.  The frozen veggies and potatoes are good.  My family doesn't like shoestring.  I bought peppers to use with shredded chicken and some soy sauce for stir fry with rice.  Rice is cheap at the dollar store.

I buy the .25 cans of tomato sauce for pizza , and to make a little sauce for the grandbabys    lunch.
It's worth it because there is no waste.

There is a recipe for No Brainer pasta on an earlier post.  It is my answer to a burger meal box.  Less non-passive time, so simple anyone can do it, and a lot cheaper.

If you once learn how to read the labels of the food in boxes, you will be amazed and probably almost never buy a box of something again.  I buy ready made in moderation.  If something is cheaper than scratch, which is not too often.  I got a cake mix for free, and another for .14.  A cup of flour costs .075 cents in bulk.  At seven and a half cents a cup for flour, it eas cheaper to buy a cake mix,  I like to keep one on hand so that I have it in case I need desert quickly.  We often have ice cream or some kind of fruit.  We are coming on to apple season.

Buy your fruits and vegetables in season, they will taste better, and be cheaper,

A good exercise would be to list the meats or other protein sources on a piece of paper, or on the computer, and then list under them the things that you can make with them.  The kids can brainstorm with you if they are old enough.  It gives you a variety of meals.

Pizza, soups, sloppy joes, oven dinners, hot sandwiches, all take almost no time to make.  An ovn dinner that you can put in the oven and walk away to do other thongs is a stress less dinner.

Thanks for stopping by

Please share. I am writing this blog to hopefully help people save on their food bill, because they have to, or because they want to. SNAP monies are going to be cut in November I hear.  Many people are still unemployed or under employed.  It is possible to eat for less and still eat good, somewhat healthy meals.  I can't help people if I can't reach people.  I am not saying that your food is going to magically appear cooked on your table.  It takes a little planning and work, but the rewards are worth it.  no child should have to wake up to empty cupboards at the end of the month.  The insecurity of that is a terrible  injustice.  And, no child should have a diet of top ramen and potato chips.
 Good food on the table cheap is doable.


Saturday, September 21, 2013

The basics, part two

To recap, we have talked about identifying dinners that your family will eat that use inexpensive sources of protein.  We have identified the shelf ready items that you will use to cook your meals.  And, we have set up a system to track prices so that you can fond the rock bottom price of these goods.

We talked about how to make meal plans and set yourself a matrix to use as a guide.

Now, grocery shopping.

No one store has the lowest prices on everything.
A lot of stores, besides the chain stores, sell groceries.  Many have a limited selection, but along with that comes cheap prices.
Because of that, and because produce quality varies from store to store, you need to pick two stores a week to go to.  Try to pick stores that are close together, or that are on the way home from something.

When the ads come in the mail, sit down and mark off a piece of computer paper in quarters.  Mark each quarter with the name of a store.

Now, start writing the items that are on your stock list that are at or near  rock bottom prices.  Write down the meat items that are low priced; as well as produce and dairy.  Be sure to note if you need an in ad coupon.

Cross off anything you don't need and anything that is cheaper elsewhere.  Now pick the best two stores.  Take your list, the ads, the coupons.  Get on the store, get your list and get out.  The more time you spend in the stores the more money you will spend.   Don't pick up anything you don't intend to buy!  If you can help or, don't take your children with you.

Now check the coupon matching site in your area.  In the Seattle area, it is
They will tell you of there is a coupon that matches the store ad.  There are printable coupons and coupons that come in the newspaper.  Our dollar store has the Sunday paper all week.
I wouldn't worry about coupons until the rest of the process is under your belt.

Pretty much, any dinner on a box or bag is out of  bounds of you are trying to eat healthy and cheap.
As is a lot of snack foods.  Stop and do the math on chips.  The dollars per pound is remarkable.
To keep on a thrifty budget, you need to make dinners five dollars average.

Buying food wisely will afford you good food on a limited budget.  The USDA stats are on the Internet.  It is based on size of family, age of family members, and has three or four income levels.  SNAP is based on these figures and the col index for your Area.

There are a few things that are stupid to buy at any price with any budget.
Soda pop and bread crumbs come to mind.  It is really stupid to pay big money for someone else's garbage bread.

My daughter and I dissected a hamburger meal box.  It is on an older post.  It was a real eye opener.
I ll say it again, I never met a cheese I didn't like; and I never met a cheese that had zero cholesterol.

There are a couple of posts on what your retailer doesn't want you to know.  Not falling into traps can save you a lot of momey.

Developing a stock is no different than our grandmothers canning the harvest to get them through the winter.  It's no different than playing the stock market, except you have really good data to make your judgements.  You are going to buy low, and eat when the prices are high.

Don't buy bulk of anything you haven't tried already and liked.

Next time, cooking from scratch.

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The basics, part one

It's that time of month again. I usually post the basics once a month for anyone new or as a reminder.

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. Food "stamps" don't come with directions. LOL.

Groceries on the cheap takes a three pronged approach at getting food on the table, cheap. Planning and organizing, shopping wisely and cooking from scratch. All scary thoughts in so,e people. It is not as intimidating as it sounds.

Planning and organizing.

Start by identifying the sources of protein that your family will eat. These need to be economical sources of protein. In our house that would be

Some cuts of beef

Now, list at least 7, preferably 14 meals that your family will eat that use these ingredients.
Gather the recipes if you need to.

Go over the recipes and list the ingredients you will use to make these dishes. ( the staple items: shelf stable.  )

These will be your staple items. You should have 10-15 items.
In our house that would be
Diced tomatoes
Refried beans
Some corn
Some green beans
Instant mashed potatoes
Pasta sauce
Black olives

The basic mantra is "never pay full price" you want to pay about 1/2.
When your staple items are on sale for the rock bottom price, you buy
1) as many as you can afford
2) as many as the store will let you buy or
3) as many as you need to fill I'm your space., whichever comes first

If I use something once a week, I keep 24. If I use something once a month, I keep 6.
Sales run on a 8-12 week cycle. Some people operate on a three month supply. I would prefer not to be on the edge. This won't happen overnight.

The money will happen because you are paying half price for your food.why pay 1.59 for a can of pasta sauce when can get two cans for less than 1.59. That is how you build stock.

There is not a lot of room on snap for expensive snack foods and ready made meals. There are tricks to make cooking as easy as the boxes! LOL. Taste better too.

Keep a notebook or a spread sheet on the computer of the items on your staple list.
Record on each top of page or line

Item and size of package
When purchased where, for what price and if you used a coupon.

Soon you will see a pattern and know hour rock bottom price. I post these periodically, bit that will only work if you live I'm the Seattle area, and my staples Re your staples.

Meat is a different schedule of sales. They usually rotate every week of the month. If you buy the loss leader every week on a rotating basis,you will be saving money and time.

Ie : chicken Grill packs were a dollar pretty much at all the chains a couple of weeks ago. I bought ten pounds of chicken. I de-boned the breasts (4 halves) and cooked the rest of the pack (hindquarters) I'm wTer with onion, carrot and salt and pepper. When the meat was falling off the bone, I let it cool, strained the broth and froze it in ice cube trays, and shredded the rest of the meat and packaged in on meal sizes portions. I have enough tp have chicken two nits a week for the rest of the month.

You can do the same with sausage, hamburger, and pork loin and sirloin roast.

You buy in bulk at the lowest price and cook ot all at once, less work and leas clean up. A win win situTion.

Make meal plans after you get home from the store. I have a formula. Your's might be different factoring what your family ears.

Ours is
2 beef
2 chicken or pork
2 vegetarian
1 fish

I do it after I shop because often something is on unadvertised special, not available, or doesn't look good enough to eat.

Tomorrow: shopping

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might be different according to your families tastes.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Meals for 28 days

Before I start the basic thing again, I thought I would do four weeks of main dishes on the cheap. you can eat a variety of meals and still stay on a thrifty budget. It's not all about the top ramen!! LOL

My matrix ( outline) for variety and nutrition is

2 beef
2 chicken or pork
2 vegetarian
1 fish

Yours might be different. I am trying to satisfy a meat eater, two semi- vegetarians and I eat about everything. I don't particularly like picky eTers and am trying to introduce the baby to a variety of foods within her mothers guidelines.

Week one

Chicken soup
Chicken breast
Tuna Caserole
Mac and cheese
Beef vegetable soup

Chicken breast
BBQ thighs
French cheese sandwich

Chicken stir fry
Clam cakes
Meatballs and spaghetti
Sausage and potatoes
Cheese sandwiches, tomato, blue cheese and basil soup

Pork chops
Chicken pot pie
Meat loaf
Meat balls
Split pea soup
Shrimp stir fry


There are some repeats because kids especially love some things. There are some things that do well to feed a split household. ( vegetarian/ meat eaters, )

Chicken is a mainstay. I can almost always find it at least once a month for a buck. I get ground beef for less than three dollars a pound in bulk and make taco meat, meatballs, meat loaf, and beef crumbles.
I got sausage with sales and coupons for 1.33. There is a recipe for pizza crust on an earlier post. Fast and easy.
I have been getting shrimp on sale on five dollar Fridays. Pork chops and pork loin is still about two dollars a pound. Eggs almost always are a bargain.

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Friday shopping

We went to the doctor, got our flu shots, and went grocery shopping.

ALBERTSONS has a mega sale on. Most of ot didn't have coupons to match it, but still I saved more than 53 percent. I'll get back with the actual amounts.

Total spent 33.28

at QFC, we got flu shots and lettuce and a cucumber for a total of 2.50.

Total 35.78.

Tomato sauce .25 sauce for noodles for the baby or pizza sauce base.
Tuna 1.00
Clams 1.00

Yakisota ? Noodles FREE WITH Coupon

Milk 2.00 gal
Yogurt 2/.25 with coupon
Cheese 3.99
Steak bog2

Cinnamon rolls 1.49

Veggies for stir fry. 1.00

Lettuce for tacos, salad
English cucumbers 1.00

QFC had raspberries 2/3. But there weren't any. The plums on sale were few and far between as well.

I did the math. It was 52 percent.

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Thursday, September 19, 2013

Finally Friday

It's Friday and the end of a very stressful week. Yeah! One of the ways you can lower your food bills is to gussy up regular inexpensive food. It makes dinner special, and Nobody knows that it's cheap foods.

French toasted cheese sandwiches

1 tablespoon butter
1/2 cup chopped mushrooms
1/4 cup chopped onion

8 slices white bread
6 slices assorted cheeses

2 eggs
3 t milk

1) cook onions and mushrooms. Drain off any liquid.

2) layer cheese, vegetable mixture, cheese and bread.

3) beat eggs and milk.

4) dip both sides of sandwich n egg mixture.

5) spray skillet with cooking spray. Brown sandwiches on both sides until cheese is melted.

Clams are on sale for a buck this week.

Clam cakes

2 egg whites, beaten
2/3 cup bread crumbs
2 T chopped olives
2 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp w sauce
2 cans clams, drained
1 T butter

In bowl, combine egg whites, 1/3 cup bread crumbs, mustard and w sauce. Stir in clams. Cover and chill 20 minutes. Toss 1 t melted butter with remaining bread crumbs.

Shape clam cakes using about 1/3 cup mixture for each. Coat each on bread crumb mixture. Place on greased baking sheet. Bake in a 450 degree oven for 10-12 minutes.

Notes: one of the most expensive thongs in the store is bread crumbs ounce per ounce. Save the heels of your bread. The leftover baguettes. I dry them by placing them in a cold oven. When they are dry I process them in the food processor. Before I had one, I grated them on a sheet pan outside. ( so that the birds ate the mess. Why pay for someone else's garbage??..

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The word convenience starts with $.

I just read an article on how we waste 40 percent of our food in the us. Just because something has a sell by and use my date, doesn't mean that you need to use it my that date, it means to is not at it's peak of freshness.

Mid week should be use it up day. Maybe have a leftover night. Incorporate any bits of things that need to be used up in the next couple of dinners. Check pull dates and use oldest things first.

There are some things where it doesn't make real sense not to make it from scratch. Oatmeal is one. It takes seconds more time and energy to make it from scratch. One cup water , 1/2 cup oatmeal, 1-1/2 minutes on the microwave. It does help to either ise a larger bowl, or cook it for 1 minute and then cook it for the 1/2 to prevent boil overs.

Pudding , the cooked one, is another one, a little measuring is all.

Another way to look at waste is of you are paying full price at the most costly store in town, you are wasting money.
What else could you do with that money? if you are on a tight budget, convenience is a dirty word!

Sometimes, of you use a good coupon and sale, a cake or brownie mix can be as cheap as scratch.

Many recipes that have been circulating on the Internet call for comvoence or ready made foods and many times you can substitute for scratch without much trouble.

Pasta sauce on sale is cheaper than making it from scratch. You pay dearly many times for the use of a glass jar. Both can be recycled. I can get pasta sauce for as little as .50.

We are working on providing a list of foods for children's packs. The perimeters are set for us. Thos is for children that get free breakfast and lunch at school, but don't have food for the weekend. Beef ravioli that is on separate containers was eight for five dollars. There is about a half cup of product in each container. The kids can make it themselves. But, I could make two whole 9x13 pans for five dollars or less.

on the cheap is set to help people on SNAP. When working on a three hundred dollars a month budget, you need five dollar dinners. With the savings of buying low and eating high and adding any coupons for real food or cheaper than scratch food, it is very doable. you can eat a wide variety of foods that are nutritious and tasty.

I am not going to say that some little elf is going to magically make food appear cooked in your kitchen every night.
It takes some effort and organization. One step at a time, it is doable.

1-2 price shopping can put almost four thousand dollars in your pocket a year, provided you have the full grocery money in the first place. When I was a single parent, it wasn't a matter of saving momey, it was a matter of survival. LOL.

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Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Coupon matchups

I already did the ads, but I have coupon matchups.

Tillamook yogurt is FREE at ALBERTSONS with coupons. Ditto brawny paper towels at QFC.

See coupon connections.

Sorry for the short post. Busy day!


Tuesday, September 17, 2013

The ads

We also received a Safeway coupon for ten dollars off 50.00 for two weeks.

I don't see a red plum.


Green beans, beans, tomatoes 15/10
Broccoli .69
Black olives @@ limit 4


Milk 1.99
Apples .88
Cheese 3.99@@
Tillimook yogurt .25 @@ limit 8 $$
Jiffy pizza mix .5
Tuna .75
Tomato sauce .25
Clams 1.00
Tomatoes 1.
Carrots 1.00
Lettuce 1.00

raspberries 2/3
Broccoli .99
Yoplait 10/5 $$


beef sirloin too 2.49
20 percent ground beef 2.49
Pot roast 2.49
Grapes 1.48
Corn 3/1
Pills bury cake mix .99
Pears .99

5 dollar Fridays

Boston cake
Raspberries 2/5
Cheese 2lbs grated

That's about all.

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Terrific Tuesday

It's Tuesday. The ads come today on the mail along with the red plum insert. I usually do a blog the night that they come out. That, however doesn't help the people that do not live in the Seattle area. knowing the prices of the staple items that you buy is you best hedge against busting your budget. Find the least fancy stores in the area, it does matter if the stores are clean, but they don't need to have fish tanks and waterfalls! LOL. In a store, space is money and if it doesn't have merchandise in it, then what is in the other space has to be priced higher to make up the profit.

Know your prices. If you don't have access to a good store with decent prices, consider venturing out to a larger town and carpooling with a friend or neighbor. You can find grocery ads on the Internet. ou can request the ads be mailed to you if you find a store in the next town that works for you. Consider shopping every two weeks and make it worth Your while when you do go. Do your homework and go the weeks that there are good buys on your staple items.
Once you have a stock built, you may be able to find fresh produce and dairy and only go once a month if necessary.
We are fortunate to have four chain stores within a five mile radius of our home and a warehouse store. I realize that everyone is not as lucky, but you can work around the obstacles. Is there a chain store close to work, or school, soccer practice? Just keep a cooler in the back of your car. I have had a small car most of my adult life. When I was first married we lived in the country. I had to go into town to shop. I often shopped on the way home from work or on my lunch hour. I was lucky enough to use the fridge at work until the end of day. There are ways around obstacles. I think they call it creative problem solving!

What problems do you face in trying to grocery shop on the cheap? I can only write from the prospective of my own experiences.

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Monday, September 16, 2013

Monday madness

Yesterday we went to Fred Meyers and Rite Aid. We also cleaned out the fridge and scrubbed the bins. my husband threw a roast in and I made a blueberry buckle. We had roast beef, mashed potatoes and an Italian vegetable medley. Blueberry buckle for desert.

Rite aid had coffee for 5.99 with up rewards, trick or treat candy ( M and Ms just jumped on the cart! ) and Mac and cheese in individual packets was 2.00 for six servings. My granddaughter takes her lunch and her teacher has specific requirements. I never fed my kids Mac and cheese from a box! LOL. How times change! Fred Meyers had butter, cheese, milk, pasta was .88. There was coupons, but I didn't find them. I'm still under my budget.

Tonight I have a meeting, so we will have roast beef a jus sandwiches. Stairstepping.

We had a thunder storm last evening. I was cooking the dinner. I was hoping the power wouldn't go out. It did for a split second, just long enough to have to reprogram the oven. Thankful that the stove didnt have to be reprogrammed because my son is in Arizona and he's the only one that knows how. We only had one choice in stoves. There is only one available in the US. It speaks three languages and has whistle and bells to program. The first time I tried I managed to get it to lock out Sundays and speak French. Getting it reprogrammed when I don't know French was a challenge!!! Key in son. He is a wizz.

Watching for good buys on things you really need everywhere you go, is me way to stretch your budget. There are many stores that carry food. Often the stores that only carry a few things have the best prices. They buy overstocks and special buys. We have big lots and grocery outlet. The dollar store has some. No one store has the best buys on everything. The last time I was at Winco, the prices had taken a big jump. I still found some bargains.

We have QFC ( Kroger ) ALBERTSONS, SAFEWAYS, and TOP. We are fortunate to have all of them within five miles of the house and Costco too.

I am not going to run all over town to shop. I pick two stores and buy the best of the two stores. Lately, we have been going to rite aid and Fred Meyers. Their ads come out on Sundays. We can do the run in the next town . Both stores are close together. Rote Aid has the best buy on beer. I don't drink, but my husband does. I only go to Fred Meyers if there are several good buys on what we need. I try to keep fresh fruit and veggies in the house as long as I can into the winter. Me like acorn squash.m my mother always baked it in the oven with butter and brown sugar. My husbands mom added cinnamon. I pre bake the acorn squash in the microwave. Poke it with a fork a couple of places first. It makes it easier to cut if you soften it up a couple of minutes in the microwave. I can remember my mom taking the squash down to dads workbench and putting it on the vice to cut it. LOL. oh, the joys of having a microwave.

Sometimes I pan roast root veggies in the oven...any of the root veggies works. Radishes, carrots, potatoes, rutabagas, parsnips, leeks, onions. Just put them on a baking pan with sides. Drizzle them with olive oil and salt and pepper. Sometimes I add rosemary or thyme. Roast at 375 or 400 until they are tender. . Radishes take of a whole different taste.

Stir frying brocolli, cauliflower, and matchstick asparagus works too. I got a bag of peppers at the dollar store a week or so ago. I plan to stir fry them with some shredded chicken. A little soy,a little rice!

Guess I'm out of time, have to go into the studio and get some work done.

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Sunday, September 15, 2013

Fred Meyer ads

I am going to attempt to post the buys at Fred Meyers. I am doing it on line because We havent got the paper yet.

Foster farms chicken .96
Peaches and pears .88
Cheese 3.99@@
Tilamook yogurt is really cheap with your coupon. (Printable)

Corn .30
Strawberries, 2.00 a pound
Other berries 2.00 for 6 ounces

Milk .99
Butter 1.67@@

Barilla pasta is .88 $$ see couponconnections. Nets .38******£

That's about all I found on line. I will post after I go to the store. The weather is turning here; it's about time to start the winter cooking. LOL. We have gone from 90 to 60 something in the site of a week.

Ritenaid has trick or great candy with coupons at coupon connections for cheap.

That's about all.

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Saturday, September 14, 2013

Saturday notes on hunger

Its Saturday. I finally got to watch the special on childhood hunger that was on the food channel. I think that it is well and good to donate to food banks etc. A group I belong to has adopted a school ( via a church program) to make sure kids have breakfast and lunch the two days that they don't go to school.

That being said, there are a lot of people that are getting food stamps. Just getting food stamps is not enough. food stamps are bare bones money. Most of the information out there in TV land has unrealistic budget meals in the scope of a thrifty budget via the USDA. All the organic push is a joke on that budget unless you are fortunate to grow/ produce your own. That's not all bad ! In my opinion, we need to teach people on food stamps how to shop to maximize their SNAP. And, if you have never cooked from scratch, they need to learn how. They don't teach home ec in schools anymore. It went by the wayside along with cursive writing.

There are books and television shows on PBS that show you how to cook from scratch. A few basics are enough to get you by, but you do have to learn them.

There is, however, no lessons on how to shop. The native Americans have an expression, I will paraphrase because I don't think I have ever heard it for real. " Give a person a fish, he eats for a day; teach a person to fish, he eats for his life!

Giving people care packages is the right thing to do. No one should go hungry in this country. We help all kinds of other countries and charity begins at home. But, we can't give people food forever, people need the skills to shop wisely and cook what they buy that is in their budget perimeters. We have all had to do this, some more affluent than others.

This is why I started this blog. I am glad that other people are enjoying it as well,and taking from it what they can use in their lifestyles. I am not a nutritionist, nor have I had any form of home economics training with the exception of some cooking and sewing classes. I have just been in a position of being part of the working poor and having to make it. I read everything I could get my hands on for years. I still read everything that I see that can help me. Even the budget cooking shows on TV, while unrealistic for a low income budget, can teach you some things. many times you can make the meal for your budget if you have shopped wisely.

My plan has worked for years. It is sustainable and doable for most people. I just have to reach the people that need it.

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Friday, September 13, 2013

Coupon matchups for this week

I just downloaded my recipes from betty crocker and my coupons from

ALBERTSONS has chicken noodle and tomato soup for .50 limit 8. There is a coupon, you can print two, for .40 off of three. That means that for the first six you buy, you are paying 2.20 for all six. Or about .36 for soup that is a buck elsewhere on sale. 64 percent savings.

There is a dollar off three hunts snack pudding packs.....attention school title one backpack suppliers!
I am still checking if the dollar store carries it. You can only buy two of any one item and use a coupon for them.

Yoplait is 10/5". Coupon for .40 on six. You don't have to buy 10 to get the discounted price. 2.60 for six net price.

Nature valley is 1.69. (Bars) coupon is .50 on two. Or .50 on one soft baked oatmeal. I have tried the soft baked oatmeal ones...yummy and granddaughter will confer!

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Friday Focus

It's Friday. I'm exhausted after working two double shifts., I'm getting too old for this stuff. But, we went on vacation, and others need to go too. We trained a new gal so things should get better; and she is younger. LOL

We will go,shopping today, but not for much. We don't need much and I am working on averaging for our big summer months of good buys. ALBERTSONS has chicken noodle soup for .50 a can limit 8. We like chicken noodle soup for lunch sometimes in the winter. I'll have to make room in the pantry. We start making soups more in the fall and winter, so it should be paring down soon. QFC has mega deals that have coupon matchups. I don't need any of these, but if you do, it is a good time to stock up. I usually can score close to 70 percent off. There is snack crackers and the holidays are coming, Cheerios, and bars. September is coupon month,so there are unusually high coupons out there, dollar wise. They are first come, First served, so get them early.

using coupons that match up with sales can be a great budget booster. I don't buy a lot of the ready made stuff,because it can be a great budget breaker. I do buy a few things that are hard or too time consuming to make.
Just like other times in life, you have to pick your battles. A lot of things are easy to make and take minimal non passive cooking time. Those are the things that I cook from scratch. I usually do the math I'd I am in doubt. I buy crackers and I buy protein rich breakfast bars. I am diabetic and it is a good way to be able to measure my carbs and protein for a balanced fast breakfast or snack. Imonlynbuy them when I can get a good deal with coupons and sales. That's called coupon matching. When you have a store sale or coupon and a manufacturers coupon, you can double dip. It's a real money saver.

Things I buy ready made.

Peanut butter
Refried beans ( I saw a recipe for refried beans that was simple,but I can't remember where! )
Instant mashed potatoes
Cake mix
Chicken noodle soup
Tomato soup in a box

I don't buy any of them unless they are on a good sale or I have a good sale and a coupon.
We don't use a lot of peanut butter, cake mix or cheerios. I just started buying cheerios when granddaughter came.
On a good sale, these things are cheaper than making them from scratch.
When in doubt, do the math. If you are going to make a couple of bucks an hour, it's probably not worth your time to make something from scratch. But, my daughter and I have done the math a few times , and we have "made " 200 dollars
an hour before -- now that's well worth our time. Another consideration is whether or not scratch is a lot more healthy or has a lot more food value in it. As is the case with hamburger meal boxes. The new ultimate boxes have more food value, but they are more expensive too. I haven't done the math, but suspect that you are still better off with scratch. Figure out what different sauces have in them and keep them in a book. That's about all you are buying when you buy a mix-- either a pasta salad or a hamburger dinner. It's usually simple ingredients. Many state with a white sauce. It's a really simple thing to master if you haven't already. I know they stopped teaching home EC in schools. It's a pity that home ec and handwriting has gone by the way side, in my opinion. I digress...

there are some skillet sauces on SALE at ALBERTSONS for 1.49. Really? That is more than the meat that you put them on in some cases. Sauces are not that hard, and many times they are a few cheap ingredients. If you haven't already read my piece on hamburger meal boxes, please do it is a real eye opener. Before you buy a mix or meal box, read the label including the nutrition facts and ingredients. Ingredients have to be listed in order of volume. Of something has cheese in it, it should also have cholesterol. Cholesterol is a dirty word in some households, but lets be realistic. I never knew a cheese I didn't like, and I never saw a cheese that didnt have cholesterol. LOL.

Almost anything you need to know you can google on the Internet!
It has saved my many a time or given me peace of mind.

granddaughter had a visit from the Fire department at school yesterday. Someone smelled gas, so the kids were evacuated. She came home saying fireman come. Fireman come! I guess they were impressed with the red trucks. Turns out it was some paint fumes from down the street.

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Thursday, September 12, 2013

Chicken, glorious Chicken

What to do with what you got.

Chicken continues to be a bargain at a buck a pound. There are chicken recipes every where you turn. To so a bland tasting meat that takes on different flavors well which makes it a very versatile meat.

I had found a recipe for Buffalo Chicken Pizza. basically it is made with ranch dressing for a base, blue cheese crumbles, chicken cubes or bite sized pieces tossed with a little melted butter an hot pepper sauce. Mgarnishnwith red pepper chopped, mushrooms, or black olives.

chicken pot pie
Roast Chicken Sunday Dinner
BBQd thighs and legs

chicken Cesar salad ,
Chicken chop salad

Never buy a chicken that is less than three pounds.
I roast it off , rubbing olive oil on the skin and stuffing it with anything I have hanging around, Apple, inion, lemon, orange. If I am feeling ambitious, I put fresh herbs under the skin.

I use a chicken breast for one meal. Save one for another and separate the dark meat for a third meal and bag them for the freezer. The bones go into a bag for stock.

When I bought grill packs, I deboned the breasts, saved the bones for stock. I zit the rest of the hindquarters in a
Pot with water and veggies and simmered them off. When they were a little cool, I strained the broth and froze it, and shredded the rest of the meat. That gave me boneless, skinless chicken breasts for a dollar a pound-- sweet!

I have only covered the tip of the iceberg, the Betty Crocker web site has a lot more. It is a good source for ideas.

What chicken ideas do you have? There is a comment section below!

I had double shifts yesterday and today. We had BBQd beef sandwiches and leftover pasta salad. My boss brought us vine ripe tomatoes from her garden-- best tomatoes I have ever eaten.

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Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Grocers dirty little 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.

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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Life is like a big pasta salad

Yesterday, I made a big pasta salad to take to a happy hour picnic. Reflecting on my life, I think that life is like a big pasta salad. The pasta is the base. Our moral values, or its what we are made of. The veggies and stuff that we throw into it is the life experiences that get thrown at us. We can process them so that we wind up with a gourmet delight, or not. The dressing so how we pull it together. How we find a positive, out of a negative situation.

Back in the days when we went without a 10 inch black and white tv with rabbit ears, I would have never dreamed I would have a thirty something flat screen with hundreds of channels. We listened to old time radio. Now, I listen to old time radio because I want to and enjoy it. I can listen and still work in my studio or fold clothes .

When I studied everything I could get my hands on to learn to stretch a buck, I learned valuable life's lessons. Life's lessons I am trying to teach others. Making a positive out of what could have been a negative. My mother always said that no one ever gets through life without paying their dues. What you do with the experience is the key to a " flop or a gourmet salad."

So, I write this blog to help those people who, by their own volition want to stretch a buck or because someone is in a position to Have to stretch their food dollar, can make informed decisions and eat better for less.
My way of turning a negative into a positive.

The little feedback I get is telling me that people take different things from this blog. Some like to try a new recipe, some like a way to get out of the kitchen faster, or streamline the hectic dinner hour. Some just like to laugh at my terrible keyboard skills on the I pad! LOL. Whatever the reason, thanks for stopping by, and I hope you are sharing so that I can reach more people. They can take what they want from it. I do not get paid for doing this, I am doing it to try to help people eat better for less. Better, cheaper, faster,

Again, thanks for stopping by


Tuesday, September 10, 2013

The ads sept 11th


London broil BOGO nets 2.75
Cheese 4.99@ limit 1


Campbell soups 2/1.00 limit 8
Grapes 1.28
Yoplait 10/5 $$$
BOGO meat, no prices

Dryers 2/7 *****


Corn 3/1

Dryers 2.88***

5 dollar Friday
2 strawberries
Cream cake


Peaches .99
Romas .99

Buy 5 /5 mega

Cheerios 1.50$$
Dreyers 2.49 $$
Nature valley 1.69$$$
Oscar Mayer lunch meat 2.49
Sirloin tip 2.99
Whole chickens .99
Butter 2.00

Dryers ice cream is 2.00 with a printable coupon at rite aid'and up rewards.
Rite aid also has Russell stovers sugar free candy for a buck a bag with up rewards.
They also had sox for .25 each. Adult , the kind you wear with sneakers, colorful.
And Kleenex tissues for .88, 100 count

@ means an in ad coupon
$$ means there are coupons either printable or in an insert, see coupon

Chicken is a buck at QFC!

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Terrific Tuesday

It's Tuesday in case you were confused! LOl. Sometimes, I get confused if I don't have any special thing to so in a day. The days run together when you are retired. Sometimes, I think I work harder than I did before I was retired.
I sure don't miss driving to Everett everyday. LOL

Last night we had leftovers. I made baked potatoes and peas for our meatloaf. An old fashioned dinner if I ever had one!

It still feels like summer here, we are having unusually warm September. We are going to a BBQ tonight.

Granny's macaroni salad.

1 cup medium sized macaroni, cook, drain

2 green onions, chopped
1/4 cup red or yellow pepper, chopped
1/4 cup chopped pickles
1/4 cup chopped black olives
1 hard cooked egg, chopped
1/4 cup thawed frozen peas.

1/4 cup mayo
1/4 cup sour cream
2 T milk
1T pickle juice
2 parsley
Salt and pepper.

Mix dressing, macaroni and rest of ingredients. Cover and chill at least 4 hours.

I just got a new coupon list in my in box. I haven't looked at all of it yet, I tend to wait until I get the real computer so I can print too, it's more efficient. I did find a dollar off three pudding cup packages. Some of us are gathering food for take home packs for needy children. I think the dollar store carries it. That would make 12 for 2.00.

We stopped at grocery outlet yesterday because I needed some supplies and went to Lynnwood.
They had shredded cheese. It is a little pricy at 2 dollars for 8 ounces, but there was blue cheese crumbles and several varieties of specialty cheeses. Red and yellow peppers were .50. There was five pounds of chorizo sausage crumbles for 6.99. It is already cooked and drained so that would be a good price. I passed on it.
Like any store, not everything is a bargain. You really need to know the lowest prices on the things you buy regularly.

I want to pay 2.50 a pound for cheese. I have been finding it occasionally, and have a stock on hand. I got shredded motts for 2.19 or so at Costco. I have plenty of cheddar bricks. I can always put a brick through the food processor and add a little cornstarch to it. ( natural anti caking agent). The grated cheese at grocery outlet makes really good four cheese Mac and cheese. We also like blue cheese in tomato soup with basil. I got a fresh basil plant for 3.34 cents and have been eating off of it all summer. If you add to,atoes from the garden and basil and motts with a balsamic dressing , it is really good. It's almost time to start eating cheeseburger macaroni from scratch again. My granddaughter has been eating cheese quesidas all summer.

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Monday, September 9, 2013

Monday madness, and a new post

It's Monday. Back to school for the little one, I have to still get the rest of my big order out, so it's stuck in the studio working.

Last night we had meat loaf, squash and salad.

I was looking at some retro cookbooks. We certain,y ate a lot more fat and sugar than we do now. Many recipes are really good. We just need to alter them to make them a bit more healthy. in other words, we don't need to deprive ourselves of the foods we like, we just need moderation and to make so,e adjustments to our recipes.

Many recipes call for,shortening. I think they have taken the saturated fat out of shortening. I still try to steer clear of it.

Grocery Outlet is a good source for cheese. They have a wide variety of cheeses and So,e of them are inexpensive as cheeses go. Cheese is still a good source of protein. Especially if we avoid fried foods and and fatty meats.
The harder the cheese,the better it is for you.

Three Cheese Fettuccine

1-1/2 cups broccoli
1-1/2 cups thinly sliced
1T olive oil

4 green onions, sliced
1 tsp minced garlic
2T flour

Oregano, salt, pepper

3-1/2 cups plus 1T milk

1/2 cup shredded Gouda
1/2'cup shredded Swiss
1/4'cup parm
12 punches of fettuccine or linguine , cooked and drained. Keep warm.

1) cook broccoli and carrots with a little water until crisp tender and drain.

2) in a large skillet, sauté garlic and green onions on oil. Stir in flour and spices. Cook 1 minute , then add milk and stir until white sauce has thickened. Add cheese a little at a time. Add vegetables to the cheese sauce.

Note : you could add cooked chicken to this. Serve with a tossed salad and breadsticks.

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Ps. I had to go to the next town for supplies. Stopped at grocery outlet. 4 pack of fruit was 1.49; 5 pounds od cooked sausage was 7.99.,peppers were .50.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Rite,aid coupon extremes.

We went to Rite aid. I did not go to Fred Meyers. I got a tremendous amount of things for 15.00 at Rite Aid with coupons and specials and up rewards. I got 2 ice creams for 2.00 a piece. I got sugar free Russell stoves chocolate for a buck. I got sox 4 pair for a buck. I got the baby's treats for two dollars off. And I got Kleenex for .88 a box. Basically, I got half off.

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Fred Meyers ad out

I have not got out to dollar store to get a paper. But, I checked on line.

Broccoli .77
Chicken breast 1.37
Bottom round 2.99
Eggs 1.25@@
24 ounces of sour cream or cottage cheese 1.88

Note for Beta Gals

I don't usually get instant oatmeal. It is so easy with as many steps as instant to make it from the bog box. But, we are buying food for weekend backpacks for school children.

Instant oatmeal at Fred Meyers is 1.50 net with a printable coupon found on coupon connections.

one cup water, 1/2 cup oatmeal, 1.5 minutes. Instant oatmeal without the cost.! Add cinnamon, a little apple, craisens, sugar, or what strikes your fancy!

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I will add anything once I get the paper.


Suddenly Sunday, what to do with what you have. Edition.

It's Sunday. It's beautiful out after the rain and storm. We are still having meatloaf for dinner. My husbands beef jerkey is in the machine.

I stumbled on to chocolate waffles. I guess they are supposed to be for desert. We love them for anytime. Basically they are just waffles with some cocoa in them. I can see that of they were served with some bacon and a yogurt parfait, it could be a balanced meal the kids would talk about all week! lol. As long as there is protein, starch , fruit/ and or veggies and dairy in a meal, it can't be all bad! LOL. I wouldn't, however, have it for a steady diet. Again, moderation is the key.

Breakfast for dinner is another way to cut the cost of feeding your family. Often, breakfast is cheaper to cook than dinner. I am not talking about having cereal for dinner. I usually don't have enough time to cook a real breakfast for breakfast. Like a quiche or scrambled eggs and toast and fruit, or veggie stuffed omlettes.

One way to cut costa is to use what's in season and have a group of recipes that use small amounts of food.
Like steak salad. ( leftover eye of round steak that was on sale this week? Pizza is another way to use up little bits. Ditto soup. When we were kids,sometimes my mother made depression stew. No, for you young people,She was not depressed. She grew up during the depression-- a period in our history when nobody had jobs or money. Depression stew is a stew made of any bits and pieces of meat and potatoes and veggies. Like a piece of bacon, some meat balls, potatoes and carrots.

Looking for recipes that incorporate the ingredients that are on sale that week.

Grape Broccoli Salad

1 cup broccoli florets(fresh), quartered.
3/4 cup grapes, cut in half
1/3 cup chopped celery
1/3 cup sliced green onions
1/4 cup raisins or craisens
1/2 cup sour cream
2 T mayo

Place everything but the sour cream and mayo in a bowl. Mix together the sour cream and mayo.
Fold into the veggies. Chill at least an hour.

Note: Grapes and broccoli are both on sale this week. Green onions and radishes were .50 at Winco.

Oranges were a buck last week. They are always good for orange quick bread. I have chicken breasts that I deboned from the grill pack for a buck last week.

Orange Chicken Salad
1 pound of chicken breasts

1/3 cup vinegar
1/4 cup sugar
3 T orange juice
2 T olive oil
Salt, pepper,
Dashed red pepper sauce,if desired

Mixed salad greens
2 celery ribs, sliced
1 cup orange sections
Red onion slices
Almomds , cashews or walnuts.

1) grill chicken and slice. ( or use cooked chicken cubes)
2) mix together dressing ingredients and chill.
3) toss together salad ingredients.

Assemble salad.

I would serve with a crusty bread or bread sticks.
Berries continue to be reasonable in cost. You can make a mixed berry compote or shortcake.
The strawberries didn't look good this week,but raspberries did as well as blueberries and blackberries.

We went to Costco Yesterday. I bought fruit and meds and coffee! The chocolate covered almonds just jumped into the cart!
Seems Mickey Mouse decided to sit next to granddaughter too. LOL. Can you guess grandpa is a pushover for baby granddaughter?!? LOL

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Pizza crust

Pizza Crust, easy

1/2 to 3/4 cup of warm water (105 to 115 degrees
1T dry yeast
1tsp sugar
2cups flour
1T veg oil
1/2 tsp salt

Combine 1/4 cup water with the yeast and sugar.
Let stand in a warm place till bubbly --about 5 minutes.
It will look like a root beer with a head on it.

Put flour, oil, and salt in food processor with a steel blade. Process a few seconds, add yeast mixture through the tube with processer running. Add enough water through the tube until dough forms a ball.  Process until the ball makes 25 turns around the bowl. Approx 1 count every 25 seconds. Put dough ball on pizza pan. Let rest for 10 minutes. ( a good time to assemble your ingredients.).
Put tomato sauce and Italian seasoning, garlic and onion powder in a small pot and simmer till warm and somewhat reduced.
When dough has had it's resting time, pat into a circle on pizza pan.
Spread sauce and pizza toppings on the crust. Bake 425 degrees for 15 a 20 minutes
Until the crust is golden and the cheese is melted.


6cups flour
1/2 cup PLUS 1 Tablespoon non fat dry milk
1 1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup butter, margarine or shortening cut into small bits
Mix together. Store in a cool dark place . Shelf life. Two weeks.


1/2 cup plus 2T chili powder
2/3 cup paprika
1/2 cup plus 1T cumin
1/3 cup onion powder
1/3 cup garlic powder
1 2/3 tsp cayenne pepper
2tsp red pepper flakes

Mix well and store in an airtight container. Use 2 tablespoons per pound of ground meat.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Suddenly Saturday

We went to Winco this week. It is a ways for us to go so we don't go often. I was surprised somewhat that the prices were so much higher. There were a few bargains, but not nearly as many as I had seen the last time we were there. I would have to have a ten dollar coupon before I would go up there again.

I spent around 35.00. I did ask if they accepted manufacturers coupons, and she said,yes, but not competitors coupons. Pasta was more expensive than it is at the chain stores and pasta sauce was more too. I don't usually like their produce, but they had gala apples that looked OK and salad greens for the same price as Costco. I got an a pen squash for .68 and bought some meat loaf ground meats to make a meat loaf to go with it., my mother used to make meatloaf, baked potatoes, and acorn squash stuffed with butter and brown sugar for dinner. It was a signal of fall.
It was that and the breaking out of the oatmeal box!

Since we have to bag our own groceries at Winco, I brought in the cooler bag and boxed up our groceries, using the cooler for the meat and dairy. Basicly, I got meat for meatloaf, milk and yogurt, and vegetables and bread. The whole wheat English muffins were a bargain. The yogurt wasn't bad. Had I brought in my coupon binder, it would have been cheaper. there were a few coupons at the store. I had been under the misconception that they didn't take coupons. They do not take credit cards. They do take debit cards and snap.

Friday night, we had pizza. I used the last of the white cheese. I have lots of yellow,and some pepper jack.
I used red peppers I had chopped and frozen, sausage I had pre cooked, some pepperoni I got for .50 at the dollar store and 1/2 of a .25 cent tomato sauce can and part of a .50 can of black olives. The crust was 1.25 from big lots. That totals, in my head, 1.62. Adding some green salad, we are still well under the five dollar benchmark.


When I said that to my frugal co worker,she said,someone is giving away pizza? Ha ha
If it sounds too good to be true.....

Take a couple of plastic containers or zip lock bags and put them in your freezer door.
Every time you chop an ingredient for a recipe that would also go on a pizza, chop a little more and put it in the bag. Do the same for bits of meat ( in a separate bag) that will work for pizza. Put them in the door because if your freezer is like most I have seen, of you put it on the regular part of the freezer, to might be lost forever. LOL.

When you have enough for a pizza, you can either use an inexpensive pizza crust or make the pizza crust recipe that I have on an earlier post. At .075 a cup for flour and bulk yeast,it is next to nothing to make a crust.

The pizza took almost no time, and almost no money and dinner was on the table and everybody was happy! I love easy dinners that I can adjust to please every picky eater in one effort.

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Yesterday we had thunder storms. I put a slow cooker of vegetable bean soup on before I went to work. All I had to do when I came home was to put a couple of baguettes in the oven.
Another case of having a plan and adjusting for circumstances.

Wednesday I made a quick bread loaf from a muffin mix. I got the muffin mix with a sale and a coupon, so it was cheaper than scratch. I like to make loaves instead because it is more efficient and you can portion it better.
I might think different if we were always taking them out of the house.

Sour Cream Muffins

1-1-2 cup baking mix
1/2 cup sugar
2/3 cup sour cream
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract

Mix wet ingredients together.
Mix dry ingredients together .
Mix the two together. Do not over mix.

Fill muffin cups 2/3 full. Bake at 400 degrees 15-20 minutes.

A good way to use up the last of the sour cream.

Baking your own baked goods is a way to save a lot of money and spend a little time doing it.

What kind of muffins do you bake?

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Thursday, September 5, 2013

The ads , some beef prices are decent

This is the second week that the prices in the ads are not very advantageous to a frugal budget. It is usually the case with a holiday weekend,but the prices are continuing to be high on actual food. Bargains are on processed food, a lot of cereal and cereal products.


Chicken 1.29

SAFEWAYS has a lots of BOGO meat, all are processed, non are priced.

Corn on cob 3/1
Peaches .99
Raspberries BOGO
Yoplait 10/5 $$
Milk 2.59

Mega sale
5, save 5

Cereal, bars, 1.49 $$
Kellogg's cereal, bars 1.99$$


Apples 1.29
Chuck roast 2.99
Yoplait 10/5
Potatoes 10/2@@
Pork sirloin 2.00 @@
Green peppers 2/1


Broccoli .99
Blackberries 2/5

Mega 5/5

Dreyers 2.49
Nabisco crackers 1.50
Nature valley bars 1.69$$
Cheerios 1.50$$
Skippy 1.99 $$

Round roast 2.99


Berries 2/5
Milk 1.79 @@
Canned veggies .49@@
15 percent ground beef 2.79


@@ means an in ad coupon
$$ means that there is a printable or paper coupon out there. Check coupon connections or you matchup site.

There are some meat prices for three dollars a pound. While that is a 50 percent increase in prices, it is about the best we can hope for in this climate. And, I am still seeing some decent prices on fruit.

There are not a lot of buys out there, and really not a lot to stock up on. Some snack crackers because the holidays will be upon us . It's a good reason to stock when the prices are low.

It might be a good week to go to Winco, although I haven't seen a ten dollar coupon lately.

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