Sunday, December 17, 2017

Meal Plans

Meal plans are an organizational tool to save time and money.

  • Roast chicken breast with oven roasted root veggies:  potato, carrot, radishes. 
  • Buffalo chicken pizza
  • Pork roast, mashed red potatoes, peas and carrots 
  • Pork sliders, Oven roasted french fries, veggie platter 
  • Salmon cakes, rice medley, peas 
  • Tacos, refried beans or nachos 
  • Christmas Eve potluck 
Notes:  a lot of piggy back here.   One meat makes two dinners.   It saves time and energy when its a busy time of the year.   Salmon cakes are either scratch or they are inexpensive at Winco.   

An interesting note, my observation was that Fred Meyer and Wino were the cheapest prices for food in our area.  My friend sent me an article from the local paper.   Their basket research study validated my observations.   

All of these meals would be a four plus one is five meal.  Four people, one meal, five bucks.   
Some would be cheaper.   Salmon is right there with store bought salmon, less with scratch.  
All are easy and quickly put together.   

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Did someone say Pork Loin ?

QFC and Fred Meyers (Kroger ) have pork loin today only for .99 a lb.  QFC when they at 11 am had 7 cases.   I bought 2 1/2 loins.   You can buy up to five.   You do need to download a coupon and spend an additional ten dollars.

Pork Loin :  8.5 lbs of pork loin
Blueberries 2/5
Turkey breast 7.99
Bread 1.25


Cutting the pork Loin is on

Fred Meyer Sunday ad

NOTE:  the .99 pork loin at qfc and Fred Meyers needs you to download a digital coupon.  

Merry Christmas ad

New York Holiday roast 3.77

Kroger turkey .69

Clementines 5 lbs 4.77

Kroger sliced ham 1.27

Kroger bacon 2.99 lb -3 lb package

Ritz , nabisco crackers 3/5

Canned vegetables bogo

Green beans 1.49

Yams .99

Broccoli, cauliflower .99

Friday, December 15, 2017

Bullets: Things that never spoil

This is from research on the internet, there are a few that I am questionable on (????)

  1. Honey
  2. Salt
  3. Water 
  4. Clarified butter ????
  5. Cornstarch ????
  6. Pasta 
  7. Rice 
  8. Vinegar 
  9. Maple syrup
  10. Sugar 
  11. Alcohol 

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Things that are easy in the insta pot.

Things that are easy in the insta pot.   Since I started working harder at getting the lowest possible price for our meals, I started cooking more scratch food.   Basicly, scratch food is cheaper and more healthy because you can control the salt, sugar, trans fats, hydroginated oils and HFCS.   There are no preservatives or anti caking agents.  

I set out to find efficient scratch cooking.  I spend a little more time shopping and planning trips, so I spend less time cooking.    This methodology has to work for working parents too.   The insta pot is a great tool to cook efficiently .   Its efficient in itself :  a slow cooker, rice cooker, and a pressure cooker.   It also sautés and some make yogurt.  

Things to cook in the insta pot.

  • Hard cooked eggs:  I also cook them in the oven.   
  • Chilli:  you can cook the beans, sauté the meat, and cook the chili all in the same pot. 
  • Vegetable bean soup.
  • Chicken breast from frozen for casseroles, nachos, chicken pot pie, enchiladas.  
  • Beef stew 
  • Cumin spiced pork sirloin with avocado salsa.
  • Pork shoulder
  • No stir risotto
  • Bacon, corn and potato chowder 
  • Winter squash soup
  • Stock
  • Roasted rosemary red potatoes 
  • Pot roast 
  • Shredded chicken tacos 
  • Ziti
  • Creamy chipotle tomato soup 
  • Chicken soup
  • Tomato and white bean soup
  • Barley mushroom stew 
  • White rice
  • Tuna casserole 
  • An many more.....

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Grocery Outlet Haul -

Grocery outlet and DT.

DT has chocolate covered. Graham crackers.

Grocery Outlet:

Colored peppers .50
Old El Paso enchaladas kit.   Seasonings, enchaladas sauce, and tortillas .99
La Victoria salsa. .99
2 very large sugar cookie dough=pillsbury  rolls at bogo 1.99
Sliced cheese 1@ 2.00 and 1 @ 2.39

ROCHER diamond candy box.  7.99

Total 18.33 less candy is 10.34

Weekly chain store ads

Holiday ads are not usually the ones that tout great bargains.   The ads leading up to a holiday usually have better prices on the typical incidental items.  The price of the protein is usually the star. In this state, because liquor is purchased at grocery stores and drug stores, there is usually space taken up with liquor.


Spiral ham 1.39
Shank ham .99

Buy 4, save 4
BBQ sauce .99
Marshmallows .99
Puddings, .99

Stove top stuffing 1.25
Coffee 5.99

Bacon 3.99
Cranberries 2/5

Chuck roast  BOGO
Spiral Ham 1.49
Bone in ham 1.29
Apples 1.49
Butter 2/5
3 lb clementines 2.88
Cheese 2 bs 4.99

Spices BOGO
Duncan Hines cake mix BOGO
Pillsbury rolls 2/4$$

WITH ADDITIOAL 10.00 food purchase
Boneless pork 1/2 loin .99 a lb
You can buy up to 5.  

This sale is also at Fred Meyer

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Let’s talk freezers.

Freezers can be a messy catchall if you aren’t careful.   Most of the new refrigerators have a large drawer or door above or below the refrigerator section .   I’m afraid that it would become a dark hole things get lost in.   Looking at the new refrigerators, i am not seeing a lot that isn’t stainless steel and the same style.  Surely, there are other styles.   I did see a couple of side by side refrigerators.   I guess its a trade off—the black hole or a refrigerator that you cant get a large tray into.  

My downstairs upright freezer has crates from the dollar store that organizes foods by category.   Its easy to find what you are looking for if people put things away properly.   LOL.  The side by side upstairs has four drawers.   I labeled the drawers :   Chicken, beef, pork , fish.   The fish drawer gets to share with vegetables.   The door has vegetables and pizza 🍕 toppings and sauce.  

Separating meats into drawers makes it easy to check at a glance if I need to replenish our stock.  
Last month I have :

  • End of November with the last Safeways twenty percent off basket coupon, I purchased 2.99 sirloin roasts.   That made them 2.40.   I cut some for stew meat and ground the rest for hamburger in my food processer.  It took about 20 seconds a batch.   I put stew meat into 1/2 pound bags (2 lb total) and ground 10 bags of 1 cup each of  hamburger that I cooked.   
  • This week, I purchased boneless , skinless chicken breast (foster farms) for 1.77 a lb.  I spent 6.07.   I put the breasts (about 1/2 lb a piece ) in individual bags and put the bags in a gallon bag that I labeled with a date.   I had some split chicken breast from before, or I would have bought a second mega pack.   If split chicken breasts are cheaper, I cut the ribs off, cook the ribs with water in the slow cooker overnight (add a few pieces of onion and carrot, celery) and bag the boneless, skinless chicken breast in quart bags, then a gallon bag.    In the morning , you have chicken stock, and you can pick the bones for more meat—just right for chicken salad, a casserole, or Soup.  
  • Next week, (Saturday) pork loins are .99 at Fred Meyers.  I will probably make stew, roasts, and pork chops out of one.   About 7 lbs or so.   
  • Sausage , cheese, beans, and fish are other rotation proteins.   Pinto beans are cheapest at the DT- 1.5 lbs or a dollar.  They are non gmo and grown in USA.   
  • Sausage has gotten pricey, I have made my own, but you can still get it on sale and there are coupons. 
  • Cheese has also been pricey lately—as much as six dollars a lb.   I want to pay closer to two dollars a pound.   I have been able to do that so far.   
  • There are always coupons for pepperoni.   

Rotating protein allows you the luxury of purchasing your protein at a RBP and always having food in the house.  Buying bulk and sometimes butchering and/or cooking it in mass saves time and money.   With already cooked hamburger, you can make tacos, or taco salad , or spaghetti w meat sauce in minutes.   The insta pot makes cooking meat from frozen in minutes. 


Monday, December 11, 2017

Monday Kitchen Managment and notes

Notes:   I know that often times scratch is better.  Especially when you are a good , experienced scratch cook.   I have been learning how to cook about everything we eat scratch.   The more scratch cooking I do, the more money we save.   Food prices have gone up 45 percent over the past few years, but scratch cooking has reduced our grocery bill by 24 percent.   That being said, if something is cheaper to buy ready made than scratch, I’m going to take advantage of it as long as it is good quality.   Case in point, kroger (Fred Meyer) has buy a Marie Callender Pie and get the ice cream for FREE.  That made out pie 1.00.   I cant make a large pie for a dollar.   Pasta sauce is another thing that is cheaper to buy than make, especially with sales and coupons.    I got sweet potatoes for .33 a package.   Sweet potatoes here are a dollar a pound.   It doesn’t pay .   It is also convenient and we have sweet potatoes with pork or chicken often.  

On to regular stuff.....

Kitchen Management is a tool that takes a hour or so, and saves a lot of time and energy during the hectic dinner hour.    Basically, you prep and rotate deep cleaning chores so that you are more efficient in the kitchen.  

  1. Wash kitchen floor. 
  2. Wash and disinfect countertops, sinks and drains.   
  3. Clean out refrigerator and dump anything dead.   
  4. Wax south end cupboards. 
  5. Wash potatoes in vinegar water for baked potatoes, and oven fries, oven roasted veggies.  
  6. Mark meal plan to thaw chicken breast.
  7. Wash carrots for oven roasted veggies.   Buy radishes.  
  8. Straighten the pantry.   

Sunday, December 10, 2017

25.00 Fred Meyer haul

Planning a 25.00 Fred Meyers haul.
The grinch aka Car repair man. Stole christmas......LOL. (We still have a decent food stock)

Chicken Breast (rotation meat) 1.77. Lb - approx 6 lbs.

Milk .99

Blueberries 2/5

Pie and ice cream 4.99

Cranberries or fill out

ACTUAL:   21.52

Marie Callender’s Pie.  4.99
Ice cream FREE. Retail 3.99

Cranberries 2/5

Blue berries, l lb 3.99 frozen vs 12 ounces for 5.00

FF chicken breast 6.07

Milk .99

Hamburger buns , dayold dated 12/15  .69

Meal Plans - week of 12/11

Meal plans are a good tool to save time and money .

  • Baked Potato Bar 
  • Pizza 
  • Chicken nuggets, oven fries, veggie sticks 
  • Baked chicken , mashed potatoes, salad 
  • Tuna cassarole , peas and carrots 
  • Sausage with oven roasted veggies 
  • Breakfast for dinner 

Notes:   We still have ten pounds of potatoes we got for a dollar.   Baked potato bar, oven fries, and oven roasted veggies should be a good thing.   Pizza is a staple around here....making scratch pizza is a really cheap dinner.   Breakfast for dinner is another staple that is more fun than it is inexpensive.   

A finger food dinner is a good thing around Christmas time with Christmas movies.   

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Fred Myers Sunday ad

A lot of space is being taken up with ready made trays and booze.

Boneless pork loin .99 -a lot of hoops to go through:   Spend an additional 10.00, SATURDAY, 16TH ONLY, DOWNLOAD DIGITAL COUPON.

Blueberries 2/5

Celery .99

Kroger turkey .69

Del monte veggies BOGO. This is a bargain if they are a dollar or under.

Marie Callender Pie at 4.99 - get a carton of ice cream free.  The ice cream is 3.99 elsewhere in the ad.   I purchased that ice cream for 2.50 last week.   This is how they manipulate the prices.   That’s why knowing the RBP on things is a good idea.  Still, this is a good buy.  

Pillsbury rolls 2/4 $$

Milk .99

Oranges .67
Butter 2/5
FF boneless, skinless chicken breast 1.77

Sirloin. Steaks 2.77 - cheaper than good ground meat

Friday, December 8, 2017

Friday Recipes

Note:  this week I am not going to shop.   We don’t necessarily need to and I didn’t find anything that reached out to me shouting “buy me” !    I did purchase a box of bisquick at costco.

Today I am making an apple pie  and spareribs along with a pasta salad.   We are using up what we have in stock.  

I will take you along on Dinner: better, cheaper, faster.  
That fits with my mantra:   Spend less time cooking, and more time planning a shopping trip and your pocketbook will love you for it.

Spareribs.  Brown spareribs in a little olive oil in a skillet.  Place in (slow cooker/insta pot) and pour a beer over top.   Set insta pot on slow cook and let cook for 6-8 hours.  

Pasta salad starts with suddenly salad I purchased for .75 last summer.    Add tomatoes, black olives, and any vegetable you have hanging around.  

Apple pie is one my husband’s mother used to make.  Its part custard and part apple pie with a crumb topping.   ( bisquick cookbook).

Sometimes, it is just a good thing to balance dinner with a desert.   Add fruit to the vegetables in the salad and you have well balanced—protein, starch, and fruit and veggies.  

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Staples that don't break the bank .

Buying staples that don’t break the bank on bulk sales is a good way to always have food in the house without a lot of capital outlay.   A good sale, properly planned can save a lot of money.   Its a matter of taking advantage of a good sale.

  • Canned veggies are at best regularly .68 .  They can be more.  They have a good shelf life an are a good go to in the winter when the quality of fresh is not as good and the cost is expensive.                              Safeways had case lot (12) for .49 each.  Cue in a basket coupon for 20 percent and the cost is .39.   A case was less than five dollars, you have a case of green beans.  I only buy canned green beans and corn.  
  • You can almost always find pasta sauce with coupons.   Canned pasta sauce is almost always less than a dollar at Winco.   The sauce in a jar can be close to a dollar with coupons and sales. Don’t use a coupon without matching it with a sale if you can help it.   Pasta sauce is one thing that is cheaper than making it yourself.   You can always add spices and meat if you want.   
  • Pasta has a eight YEAR shelf life.  Buy it when you can get it with coupons and sales.   I usually buy Barilla at less than a dollar.   Never pay more than a dollar.   Its sometimes at the dollar tree.   
  • Dried beans are a lot cheaper than canned.   With the insta pot, they are about as fast to make as opening the can.   (Hands on time) .   I keep a few for emergencies in case out power goes out, but it’s pretty easy to store dried.   The dollar tree is the cheapest for pinto beans I have found.  They are non GMO, and grown in USA.   
  • Flour and rice are cheapest in 20-25 lb bags at costco.  I am assuming that they are comparably priced at Sam's club.   A food safe bucket works best for us and you can sometimes get them at a bakery inexpensive.   
  • Diced tomatoes are a good shelf stable staple.   Instead of buying numerous forms of tomatoes, if you stick to diced tomatoes, you can pretty much make them work for any recipe.   You an always drain them reserving the juice for soup, and processes them in a food processor or food mill to make tomato sauce.  You can also use drained tomatoes for a salad, salsa, or to top nachos when tomatoes are expensive in the winter.   Lately, I have been getting organic diced tomatoes for .50 at Dollar Tree and Grocery Outlet .   I also got them for .39 at safeways on their stock up sale with a basket coupon .   

With those few stock up items, you can do a lot to make a meal in a pinch.  You can also get tortillas at the dollar tree and costco inexpensive.   

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Chain store ads - Alberways

QFC last week was a two week ad


Grapes 1.47
Ice cream 2/5

Cheese 4.99@@
Bread .88 @
Extra lean ground beef 2.99@@.

Oranges /or apples 1.49
Red delicious apples .99

Pillsbury Bisquits 1.00 $$
di Giorgio pizza 5.99 $$

Cookie mix 2/5 $$ still cheaper at DT, but DT only. Has chocolate chip the last time I looked.  

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Tuesday Notes

If you haven’t guessed, I have a “thing” about saving money on food.   I started this blog because my daughter has been teaching children from low income homes for years.  She was hearing from mothers that they were having a hard time making their snap money last the month.   My daughter piped up and said, my mother knows how to do that.   I racked my brain to think of how I could help and my children encouraged me to write a blog.   Not being tech savvy , it was a learning experience.   That was over 5 years ago.

There is nothing more stressful for a mother than to not have food for your children to eat.  Fortunately, I learned a lot from my mother, and when I found myself a single mother with double digit inflation, rarely child support, and a stagnate paycheck , I set out to learn everything I could to stretch a buck.   Those days were before computer 💻 and there wasn’t much on the television when we had one.   Nevertheless, I prevailed.   I had a lot of misses.....soybeans that cooked for hours an were rocks....but there were hits too.

Fast forward 50 years, and I think I got it down.  Now its just a habit.   Even with a limited budget, you can still help those that don't have food.   I’m not sure that I am reaching the audience I set out to reach, but I hope I am helping.   Something as small as a can of pasta sauce ( less than a dollar at winco ) and a package of pasta ( often on sale with coupons) can cost less than that cup of coffe at a coffee shop or drive through.   It can make a meal for a family.

I am always learning.....yesterday I learned that the way to get good ground chicken is to partially freeze chicken thighs (boneless and skinless) and chop them in the food processor.   I have never liked ground chicken because of the fine mushy texture.   I did find that a few pulses in the food processor chopped beef  to make ground beef from a sirloin roast cheaper than buying the ground beef.   I only want extra lean ground beef.

You can have it all.....good quality, low prices, and scratch cooking without a extraordinary amount of time and energy.   It just takes a little learning curve.

We eat a variety of good food and keep a small stock for emergencies by:

  • Listing the foods that we need to cook healthy meals.  Avoid excess salt, sugar, trans fats, hydrogenated oils, HFCS , and limit processed meats. 
  • Finding the lowest prices and buying quantity of anything that is shelf or freezer stable.  
  • Buying a limited variety of meats and buying them in bulk when they are at a RBP. 
  • Finding scratch recipes that are 5 ingredients or less and making time to make your own mixes.  
  • Using every available means to cut your costs:  ibotta, coupons, digital signups for coupons.  Freebies.   We pass up unhealthy freebies, but if there is one that we don't eat and is shelf stable, its a good thing to put it in the food bank barrel.   
  • Portion control.   Its good for your waistline and good for your budget.   If you have children with hollow legs, buy certain foods that they know they are allowed to eat as much as they want for snacks.   Providing they don't have a weight issue.   When our children were teens, that was peanut butter sandwiches, beef an bean burritos, top ramen (no one knew it was bad then.) veggie sticks, and popcorn (air popped) 

Hope I helped somebody somewhere.   

Monday, December 4, 2017

Monday Kitchen Management

Kitchen management is a tool that enables you to prep for the weeks dinners and rotate deep cleaning chores to make life easier and cut stress during the dinner hour.    Anything you can do ahead for dinneer preparation, makes less work at the end of the day when quite possibly you are tired.  

Nutty chicken strips
Oven baked fries
Vegetable platter


Pasta salad

Minestroni with chicken

Beef stew,
Potatoes, carrots, celery

Salmon patties
Oven baked fries
Stuffed tomatoes

Breakfast for Dinner

  1. Wash kitchen floor 
  2. Wash and disinfect counters, sinks, and drains.
  3. Wax north side cabinets. 
  4. Wash potatoes with vinegar water.  3 days 
  5. Wash carrots with vinegar water 
  6. Make pumpkin breads 
  7. Clean out refrigerator and dump anything dead
  8. Straighten pantry.

Winco and FM hauls

Winco vegetable run

Cucumbers .48
Lettuce .98
Winco green chillis ..66 ( about 1/2 the price of the name brand )
Peas, carrots,  white corn, green beans, frozen, .88 a lb bag
Roma tomatoes 1.25
Grape. Tomatoes 3.98

Fred Meyer

.99 sale for bulk

3 cream cheese
4 cake mix ( fail:  winco has them for 88)
2 four pound sugars
1. Peanut butter

Taco shells .99
Peppermint ice cream 2.50
Ham 4.99

Raspberries 1.50

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Meals eaten last week.

  1. Turkey cassarole 
  2. Pizza 
  3. Shrimp stir fry :  shrimp , stir fry veggies, rice 
  4. Tacos 
  5. Pork Roast, sweet potatoes, green beans. 
  6. Pork roast, bread dressing , peas and carrots. 
  7. Salmon patties oven fries, stuffed tomatoes 

Meal plans week of th 4th of December

Meal plans for week of December 4 - 10th

  • Nutty chicken strips, oven baked fries, veggie sticks - Movie night 
  • Pizza
  • Ribs, pasta salad, rolls 
  • Minestroni with chicken , rolls 
  • Salmon patties, seasoned potato wedges, peas and carrots 
  • Beef stew with potatoes, carrots, celery - rolls 
  • Out : children breakfast for dinner.   

2 meatless
1 beef
1 fish 
3 chicken or pork.   This week is heavier on the chicken because last week we had pork roast and planned overs .


  1. Nutty chicken strips are a Taste of Home recipe.   Oven fries are cut, soaked in vinegar water and dried before seasoning with olive oil and garlic pepper and baked in the convection  oven.   split chicken breast is on sale this week at FM. 
  2. Pizza with the deals I got on cheese is still about a dollar a pizza . 
  3. Ribs are from a bulk package on sale.  Pasta salad is from bulk purchases in the summer -like .75 .
  4. Minestrone is from Taste of Home.  Add cube cooked chicken.  Serve with real parm an bra.   Peasant Bread is .25 a loaf and easy to make. No kneading, no second rise.   
  5. Salmon patties from canned salmon (costco-3.00 off a ‘case” . 
  6. Beef stew is from the roast bought for 2.40 a lb at Alberways this week.  (2.99 less 20 percent coupon) 
  7. Parents out....children:  breakfast for dinner.    

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Fred Meyer Sunday ad

Sunday ad....

Roast sale:  bogo : when they don't give prices , it’s difficult to tell if it’s a bargain or not.

Blackberries or raspberries 2/3

Apples 1.49

Milk 1.79

Ritz 3/5

Mix or Match - must buy 5ea at .99
Cream cheese
18 count eggs
Sugar 4 lbs
Cake mix
Peanut butter

Friday, December 1, 2017

Insta pot frozen pork roast

As usual, we forgot to take the pork roast out of the freezer.   Too. Many appointments these days.    LOL . 

I put a cup of water in the Insta Pot , added a few drops of apple cider vinegar, and a chopped apple.   I put my 1.5 lb roast on the rack and cooked it on meat for 40 minutes.   After 40 minutes, it wasnt done yet.  So, I put it on a rack in the oven and baked it 15 minutes on 375.  That finished it off.   I think that 45 minutes in the insta pot would have finished it, but this way we got the outside crispy.   

We should have a roast dinner (two of us ) and enough for a bbq pork sandwich Saturday. 

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Thursday notes

Just a few notes on bargains found this week.   This was the last week that Alberways  has a twenty percent off basket coupon.   We got them in the mail.   This is the first week that it made sense to use it.   If the prices are too high, it doesn’t make sense to use the coupon.  You need to look at the bottom line price to see if it is a RBP.   I got roast that I made stew meat and hamburger out of for 2.40 a lb.  it was really lean : probably 2 per cent fat.   When you grind your own, you can control the fat.   Sirloin is one of the least fat cuts there is.   We also got coffee for 4.80 cents a ‘three pound ‘ can.
Sour cream for 1.00 as well as cottage cheese.   Eggs were .78 a dozen.   Apples were 1.18 a lb.  
Conversly, a cake mix was 1.79. I did t buy it.  I paid .79 for the same cake mix a few weeks ago.  

Buying food just as you need it at full price is one of the worst mistakes you can make if you want to keep your food budget down.  The difference between finding the RBP and using all the tools you have at your disposal ( ibotta, coupons, basket coupons, stacking coupons, checking the scratch and dent shelves) makes your grocery bill drastically different.   We operate on about 40 percent of the USDA. Stats for poor people.   We eat normal food.   The last 3 nights , we had a turkey casserole with the last of the Thanksgiving  turkey , pizza, and shrimp stir fry with vegetables, shrimp, and rice.  

Organic, Hunts brand, diced tomatoes 🍅 are .50 at the dollar tree.   I found them at the same price at Grocery Outlet.   We have used them, they are fine and have a far out pull date.   Organic tomatoes are more than twice that price.   We use diced tomatoes for everything.   If you need them to be more the consistency of tomato sauce, just drain them , save the ‘water” for soup stock (freeze) and put the pulp through the food processor, blender, or ricer.  

Simplify your food.  By picking a basic cut of meat and buying it in bulk , you save a lot of time and money.   Pick cuts that are versatile.  The same concept works for tomato’s and basic veggies.  
Less means more.  

The food prices this week were beyond expensive.   Five dollar a pound for cheese and they ride to get you to believe that was 2.00 less than regular price.   I had just paid .99 for 8 ounces.   1.98 is a far cry from 7.00.   At a dollar for 8 ounces, you don't buy just what you need for the week.   You can freeze cheese.   When you consider that you are getting your food at at least 50 percent off, you can justify buying a 139.00 freezer at costco.   I had an extra refrigerator in my small 2 bedroom apartment.   I also used an ottoman to store extra canned goods.   My 4yo kept busy while i cooked dinner looking for the green beans !  

This is the time to stock the foods that are traditional for the holidays.   They will probably never bee cheaper.   Things like cream of mushroom soup, cream cheese, green beans, were the thing to buy in bulk for thanksgiving and beyond.   Baking supplies are the thing to look for in thee coming weeks.  Anything that can be frozen or is shelf stable with a good shelf life should be bought in enough quantity to last you at least six months.  

Anything that you use on a regular basis that you can purchase for a dollar or more less, or at least 50 percent off a realistic base price is a good thing to buy in bulk.  

Think of it this way.   I was getting 2/10 of a percent on my retirement CD at Chase and I was paying  for the privilege of having it.   Nowhere that I know of can you get 50 percent on your money.   At least not somewhere that is safe and legal.  LOL.  An added bonus is that you have the  luxury of always having food in the house.  

Studies have shown that the poor people have more stress during their lives just getting the necessities of living and it contributes to their life expectancy.   Always having food in the cupboards, reduces that stress.  

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Making best use of the Safeways basket coupon .

We have a basket coupon for the month of December.  Twenty percent off of fifty.   

Apples 1.47 
Eggs 98
Milk 1.77

Bacon 2.99 lb 

Sirloin roast (hamburger ) 2.99 lb 
Sour cream/ cottage cheese 1.25

I plan to get what I can and fill in to 50.00 with the roast.    At 2.99 less twenty percent , you are getting 10 percent hamburger for 2.39 a lb.    You stretch your meat dollar more with hamburger than you do with roast.    

The trick is to spend as close to 50.00 as possible to get the most bang for your buck.    

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Chain store ads

Not much here.    Note Safeways has a 20 percent coupon that they sent out for sales of 50.00/


Milk 1.79
Honeycrisp apples 1.47
Eggs .98@@
Top round or sirloin tip roast 2.99 ( makes for good ground beef )


4 days only
Sirloin tip roast 2.99 ( makes for good ground beef )

Buy 4, save 4

Johnsonville breakfast sausage 1.99
Brownies mix 1.49
Cream cheese 1.49 $$
Kleenex 160 count .99
NOTE: orowheat bread is at the dollar tree with coupon for .45

QFC regular
Berries 2/4
Avacados 1.00
Pie 3.99
Ritz 2/4
Mangos 1.00
Pars .99

Bullet list : Easy steps

Groceries on the cheap is not a one day process.   It takes time and a commitment.   The good news is that any one thing that you do will help you get to your goal—whatever that goal is.  

  • The easiest change you can make is to go over the ads and mark things that are a good buy—the ones that are healthy and are ingredients for a meal.   Pay special attention to any stock up items that are an extra special price.   This week, I found kroger cheese for .99 an 8 ounce package.   The same Kroger cheese was on a buy 4 , save 4 for 2.50.(the net price).  That’s the same as getting 2.5 lbs of cheese instead of 1 lb of cheese.    Cheese is a basic in our house.  There is a lot you can do with cheese and its a good source of protein and calcium.   
  • Installing a good basic cookbook to your computer or tablet helps too.   Betty Crocker has basic recipes and a search engine that allows you to put in an ingredient that you need to us up and receipts appear...LOL. They also send you a calander every year if you ask for it and occasionally have coupons.  Many times I adapt recipes to include scratch instead of prepackaged items, but the basis is there.   Not all their recipes start with a mix.   
  • When a muffin mix calls for yogurt, I have been known to substitute sour cream without a problem.   
  • Often times, when you hear about recipe from Taste of Home, you can google it and the words taste of home and you can print it off the computer.   Taste of Home magazines and books are a good resource for home made recipies.   They are discounted at Winco and sometimes I find them at the Goodwill for .50.   I read them, download the recipes I might want to keep, an give the magazine back to the Goodwill to sell again.  A win, win situation.   
  • If your family eats oatmeal, the box of oatmeal (10 lbs) is around 8.00 at costco. It makes a serving of oatmeal around .08 and takes 1.5 minutes in the microwave.   A serving of the regular oatmeal has FOUR times the nutrition as the little packets that are at least .10.   
  • Watch your brands.   Some brands on the BUYXX, SAVEXX sales are not good quality.   If your family won’t eat something, its not a bargain.   Nothing is a bargain if you are feeding it to the garbage disposal.   Ditto Organic foods that spoil before you can use them.   I bought ten pounds of organic carrots one time at costco.   It was the second day when I discovered they were rotting.   I should have taken them back , but I set out and blanched and froze the ten pounds.   If you spend a little time planning a buyxx, savexx sale, you can clean up.   Buy matching coupons with the sale, I have saved as much as 78 percent, especially when there is a basket coupon running at the same time.   
  • Eating a no meat dinner once or twice a week saves money.   
  • Learning one scratch item a month makes a lot of difference.   The difference between a take and bake pizza can be 10.00 or 1.00.   And the time is probably no more than driving to the store to pick it up or making it.   Our 5yo can make it with supervision .   Its not hard.   Ditto something like peasant bread.  A loaf of sourdough costs 3.00 here at the lowest price I can find.   A loaf of peasant bread takes about 10 minutes if you are slow (hands on time ) an d costs under a quarter.   No preservatives.   Muffins are another item that takes almost no time, but saves a bundle.   Muffins can cost up to a dollar each.   
  • Rotisserie chicken is a rip off......just saying....   another 10 minutes hands on time.   

Monday, November 27, 2017

This weeks haul 32.00

This week , we took inventory and bought just what I could fill in with that was a good price.

25 lb flour
20 lbs rice

2.5 lbs of cheese
5 lbs butter

2 doz eggs.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Kitchen Management

Kitchen management along with meal plans just takes a few minutes, but saves a lot of time and stress come dinnertime.   Also incorporated is rotating chores that keep the kitchen clean.

  1. Wash and disinfect countertops, sinks, and drains.  
  2. Wash kitchen floor. 
  3. Wash refrigerator and ‘dump anything dead” and note things that need to be used up soon. 
  4. First of the month:   Put the stove vent screen through the dishwasher.   
  5. Wash potatoes and carrots with vinegar water 
  6. Cut stir fry veggies 
  7. Make rolls for sliders. 
  8. Straighten pantry
  9. Wax north side cabinets. 

Meal plans for week of 11/27/17

Meal plans are a necessary tool to efficiently put dinner on the table.  The holiday time can be stressful with extra projects added to our already full lives.   Making double batches of dinner and freezing 1/2 is a good way to reduce some of the stress.   Having a few ‘dinners on the shelf” is another.   Teaching a teen or preteen how to cook a meal is a good thing.  It gives them confidence and teaches tem a life skill that apparently they are not getting at school.  

Note:  when making meal plans, take an inventory of the food you already have, especially the perishables.    If you do rotation protein, you already know what is in your freeezer.    This weeks rotation. Protein would be the 87 cent a pound chicken at FM.  

Meal Plans

  • Turkey Cassarole , peas and carrots 
  • Pizza
  • Pork Roast, potatoes, carrots, celery, rolls 
  • Tourtieres (meat pie) 
  • Shrimp stir fry 
  • BBQ Pork sliders, oven fries, salad 
  • Breakfast for dinner 

  1. Turkey leftover from Thanksgiving 
  2. Pizza is a staple, a cheese pizza cost less than 1.04 considering I got cheese for as low as 1.86 an 2.00 a lb lately. 
  3. Pork roast is from a whole pork loin.  It is easy to butcher, an cuts the cost dramatically.   
  4. Pork slides are planned overs from the roast
  5. Shrimp stir fry.   Rice 
  6. Breakfast for dinner.
  7. Tourtieres ( Meat pie) make double batch - a taste of home recipe.   Google it. 

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Fred Meyer SUNDAY ad

This is a prime expample why I preach KNOW YOUR PRICES.  

FM has a buy four, save 4, promotion.   Most of it is either cheap quality, junk food, or over priced even with the discount.   I found :

Tide: 4.99 - probably coupons out there 
Ghirardelli brownie mix 1.49. ——just say YUMM
Johnsonville bratts 1.99
Tillamook ice cream 2.99

Kroger cheese is 2.49-that makes it 5.00 a lb.   I just got it for 1.98 a pound at qfc.   It was a friday coupon.   There is also a coupon for sunday for 2.00 butter.  

Orowheat bread is 2.50....It is a dollar at the dollar store and there is a .55 coupon out three.  Makes it .45 centts.   That’s a 2.05 savings.  

Now, to the good stuff.......

Foster Farms chicken parts or whole chicken .87 a lb 
Hamburger, 10 percent fat....3.99 with an added note that it is 10 on Tuesday for seniors with the in ad coupon .   Nets 3.60 a lb. 

Avacados .77
Berries 2/5
Pears .99
Cucumbers. 2/1 

Note: canned tomatoes have shrunk to 14.5 ounce cans.   They are a dollar.   I have been getting tomatoes for as low as.39 cents.   That’s a big thing.

Friday, November 24, 2017


The best part of Thanksgiving besides friends and family is the leftovers.  

I did see a lady that added chicken broth and leftover vegetables to leftover mashed potatoes and called it soup.  

Just about anything you can do with chicken , you can do with turkey.  

Turkey and noodles comes to mind.
How about a turkey and cheese quesadilla.

Turkey in a Cobb salad.

Pesto chicken (turkey) Tacos

Wild rice chicken dinner.  

Crustless chicken  quiche (taste of home) -eggs, whipping cream, chicken , cheese , bacon

Just warming a plate of leftovers is good too.  I gauged pretty close this year and we dont have a lot of leftovers.   Maybe one meal.   I bought a turkey breast because there were.only three adults and a child eating meat.  

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Happy thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving....

Last night I finished making sweet dinner rolls.   The easiest recipe I could find.   Thanksgiving is for all to enjoy.....even the cook.......

I found a recipe for rolls that start in the bread machine and you finish them off by hand.    

The cranberry sauce is scratch, but it was only cranberries, water, honey and orange peel.   Granddaughter helped by stirring and licking the honey measuring cup.   LOL

I will make pumpkin pies this morning.   

Clean up the house is to be a family affair.   Uncle is working.   

My goal is to make this a relaxing holiday.   No stress.     

Basics: Part 10 : review

The main mantra of Groceries on the cheap is to never pay full price for your groceries.  Obviously, paying 1/2 price affords you the luxury of having a built stock for emergencies.   It’s no secret that bleep happens to us all.   Being prepared is just a good thing. Paying half price for your food makes that happen without breaking the smallest of budgets.

Basically, there are small steps to take to make this happen.  One step at a time, inch by inch, this can happen even with the smallest of budgets.   The USDA has stats on how much it should cost for a variety of sizes of families and for a variety of budgets.  Google : USDA cost of food at home. 
Be sure to read the notes , there is a formula for additional monies for smaller families.   

  • Find the TWO stores that are cheaper and shop the cheapest prices on the things you need.  This is a biggie.   Its the easiest way to cut your food budget.   No one store has the best prices on everything.   Shopping two stores gives you the best chance of good produce, and a double chance of getting the lowest prices on the other things you need. 
  • 1/2 the average grocery cart is filled with drinks and snack foods.   Avoiding the snack food an pop etc will drastically lower your food bill and make you more healthy at the same time. 
  • Simplify your choice of protein.  Pick cuts of meats that you can buy for a RBP of about two dollars a pound.   Beef and salmon are an exception.   Buying cuts of meat that are versatile will make buying easier and buying them in bulk on a rotation basis will make them cheaper.   Buy as much as you will use in a month to six weeks.   Portion control it before you freeze it.  Cook ground meats and portion control them.   Putting the portion controlled packets in a gallon freezer bag will make retrieving more efficient.   It will also make it easy to see when you need to look for a sale more efficient.  Stores put a so called loss leader on the front page of their ad frequently.   
  • My mother used to say :  some people could have a bargain get up and bite them in thee butt, and they wouldn’t see it.  Don’t be that person.   Know the RBP of the things you buy on a regular basis. When they go on sale at that price, buy:  a) as much as you can (store limits), b) as much as you can afford , or c) as much as you need to meet your self imposed stock limit.   Whichever comes first.  Six weeks works for a lot of families.   If the item is a popular staple, they usually go on sale with that frequency.   If you use diced tomatoes, for example, at a rate of 4 cans a week, you need to keep 24 cans.   That’s a lot easier to do if you pay 39 or 49 cents a can instead of .68 to 1.00.   
  • Look for dairy sale and buy a months worth.  Check pull dates and check the verbage on reading them.   A lot of times, sour cream, cottage cheese, yogurt and eggs will be out a month.   Dairy usually goes on sale at least once a month. Cheaper at costco if you use that much quanity.   
  • Buy veggies in season at the lowest price.   
  • Portion control.   If you don’t put the entire roast on the table , you won’t eat the entire roast o the table.    America has an obesity problem....all I’m saying. 
  • Learn to scratch cook efficiently.   If you can, get the kitchen tools to help you.  A insta pot, blender or food processer, and kitchen aid mixer are all good tools.   There are all kinds of recipes on the internet that call for less than five ingredients.   Avoid buying too much ready made food.   One of the biggest mistakes you can make is buying a rotisserie chicken.   Chickens are often .88 a lb.   Check out the recipe for “easiest chicken ever” on the blog.   When you buy ready made mixes etc. you are paying for someone elses labor and many times it is just as easy to make the thing from scratch.   

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Basics : part 9: Retailers dirty little secrets.

Retailers (stores) have studied our shopping habits.   They have used what they found to their benefit to get us to spend more.   Knowing their dirty little secrets will enable you to not fall into their traps.
We have all heard the trick of to gong to the store hungry.   Not going with children or mates that would be likely to sneer garbage into the cart is a help also.

  1. It is no accident that there are drinks and chips and fancy crackers and bakery items when you first walk into a store.  The object is to tempt you and get you to start putting things into the cart.   
  2. It is also no accident that carts are getting bigger and bigger..  It is a natural tendency to fill your basket.   
  3. 1/2 the average grocery cart is made up of drinks and junk food.   Avoiding that statistic will save you a lot of money.   Set a separate budget for drinks and junk food.  When you see a separate ticket for them, you will spend less.  Considering that pop and chips are bad for a diet and your health, its a good thing. 
  4. Not all the items on an end cap is a special buy.   Know your prices 
  5. Have a good idea of what you are going to the store for.   Idly throwing things in the cart will bump up your bill. I don't have  a list, but I have a clear idea of the things I need.   Leaving it open to dairy, veggies and fruit, and our rotation protein is enough.  Also, I only buy things that are a good buy.   If it isn’t close to my target price, we don't buy it.   My short inventory of perishable list on our meal plan form tells me what we have to purchase.
  6. Manufacturers pay a slotting fee to the stores.   Basically they rent the desirable shelf space—the eye level ones.   Looking up and down will help you find the cheapest prices.
  7. The store brand is usually cheaper than the name brand.   Often times, it is the same product.   Those stores don't have factories.   They buy the merchandise and have the factories put a store label on them. 
  8. The music playing is to keep you in the store.  The longer you spend in a store, the more you are going to buy. Get in and get out.  
  9. The buy 10 , save 5 type sales are to get you to buy in bulk.  Often times there are a lot of junk food on their mix an match list.   Avoid the junk.   If there are shelf stable things that are at a RBP, try to find a coupon to go with them.   You can clean up if you study the list a bit.   Sometimes its just a “ We’ll pass event.”  If you can use a buy 10, save 5 type sale, coupons, and a basket coupon at the same time, you can clean up.  
  10. Many times 10 for 10 type verb-age doesn’t mean you have to buy 10. 
  11. Do the math.   Pricing smaller packages can be a bargain ....or NOT.   Check the package size.  Some of that small package cheese is 6 or 8 dollars a pound.   Buying a five pound bag at costco or on sale with coupons or not is usually a better buy.   Grated cheese freezes well.   
  12. Small packets of microwave oatmeal are not a bargain.   Even at a dollar, they are 10 cents a packet.   It takes four packets to equal 1 serving of bulk oatmeal.   A serving of bulk oatmeal is .08 an takes no more time.   Use a larger bowl than necessary.   Put 1 cup water, 1/ 2 cup oatmeal, and cook it for 1.5 minutes.   We like some cinnamon sugar and a banana or some raisins.  
  13. Retailers sell convenience at a high price.  Many things can be efficiently replicated with little hand on time and a whole lot less money.   Rotisserie chicken can cost 5.50 a lb for the meat you are going to eat.   A recent article states there are nasty preservatives in the as well.   Check out “easiest chicken ever” on the blog.   Especially if you just want cooked chicken for soup or a casserole or burrito.   

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Basics: part 8: are we eating too much?

Basics: Part 8 : Are we eating too much?

Portion control is important for several reasons, namely maintaining a good body weight and keeping a budget.    This information is from the best source on the internet I could find,  nothing can take the place of an consultation of your own nutritionist.    These are basic guidelines and should be taken as such.  I'm am not a nutritionist and you have to make your own decisions  regarding your nutrition. 

Dairy : 2-3 servings a day ( some of this doubles for protein )
A serving of dairy is
8 ounces of milk for an adult, six for  a child
1cup  yogurt
2 cups of cottage  cheese
1/2 cup  non fat milk
1 cup frozen yogurt

Vegetables - 5 servings a day

The basic guideline are for .08 grams per kilograms of weight.   In American language, that's .65 grams per pound of body weight.
Average is 56-91 grams for a male, depending in activity levels.
Average for a woman is 46-75 grams depending on activity level.   The 75 is if you are an athlete or do heavy manual labor at work. 

Animal protein provides all essential amino acids for the right ratio for us to make full use of them.    This only makes sense because animal fossils are like our own.   

In obese men, protein at 25 percent of total calories makes you feel full and helps you to loose weight.

Beef has 7 grams per ounce of protein
Chicken has 21 grams in three ounces of cooked chicken breast
Chicken thighs have 10 grams in a average thigh, 
Eggs have 6 grams - and good fat
Yogurt has 5 grams per serving average. . Greek yogurt has more.   Check the label.   
Note  bread and peanut butter.  - 15 grams of protein

My daughters nutritionalist when she was a toddler said not to give her juices.   She was better off eating the fruit.  Fruit juice from concentrate has more sugar than pop. 

Sugar, beer, and too much meat will cause your kidneys to go bad a I just read that and have some doctors info to assume it is true. 

It goes without saying, if you let your kid fill up on snack garbage, they won't have room for good food, especially if they are picky or light eaters. 

Personally, we stick to three to four ounces per person for meat for a dinner,   By the time we add breakfast, dairy, and lunch, we have more than enough to meet the RDA for seniors.   Obviously, a teen age boy in sports needs more calories and more meat,   They don't , however, need to eat a whole 2 pound roast.    Lol. 

Monday, November 20, 2017

Kitchen Managment

Kitchen management is a tool to save time and stress at the dinner hour and deep clean the kitchen a little at a time.  

Recap of meals :

  1. Hamburger soup, bread 
  2. Pizza
  3. Pork stew rolls : cranberry sauce, rolls for tomorrow 
  4. Thankgiving:  turkey, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, stuffing, green beans, relish tray , cranberry sauce , salad 
  5. Salmon and rice with peas 
  6. Leftovers 
  7. Breakfast for dinner 
Things to do : 

  • Make soup and bread
  • Wash potatoes and carrots 
  • Put thanksgiving serving dishes through the dishwasher. 
  • Gather special ingredients on tray. 
  • Make list and timeline for thanksgiving 
  • Wash kitchen floor 
  • Clean and disinfect counters, sinks, and drains.   
  • Wax east side cabinets.   
  • Clean out refrigerator and dump anything dead. 
  • Gather recipes. 
  • Fill the flour and rice canisters/ bucket 
  • Breathe.    

Basics; part 7: Oh NO - that dreaded scratch cooking

Basics : Part 7:  Oh No. that dreaded scratch cooking.....

I saved this one for almost the last.  It was one of my last hold outs.    I got our food budget down to 72.00 a week.   The stats  were close to 150.00.   But, I wanted to challenge myself to see just how low are expense can be and still eat well balanced good food.    It was a game by now,   My original object if this blog was to help people on low incomes or SNAP to stretch their food dollars so they could have good food and still build a small emergency stock.   I started cooking a lot more things from scratch and I cut our budget  to 53.00 a week and we still are building our stock. The USDA stats  are based on actual food eaten at home, they don't count  school lunches or stock .   We are sitting at 45 percent of the USDA stats.   We eat well. We eat fresh fruits and veggies, we portion control,  none of us are overweight.   We try to avoid extra salt, sugar, trans fatshydrogenated oils, HFCS and fake food. 

The words scratch cooking scares some people and they envision spending all day in the kitchen while the laundry stacks up , the house is a mess and you don't get to work.    Not so. I set out to scratch cook efficiently,    My mantra is that  if you spend  a little more time planning  and shopping wisely, you can spend less time cooking.   Of course, with a five yo in the house, the neat house doesn't always happen.   

The internet is full of scratch recipes-  some efficient, some not so much.   Developing your personal cookbook  one recipe at a time will take time.  It's totally worth it,   I have my first one from 1970.   I brought a new one up to date with more healthy choices-- times have changed and some things never change.   Grandmas recipes have just got a little more healthy, 

Spending a block of time to make your own mixes helps greatly,   You have the convenience of mixes, but not the cost  or preservatives.   Engage your children,   I have been following some people on u tube.   I have learned  a lot.   There is one family of nine  that all work together at maintaining their  quality of life.   Children as young as 1.5 years are "helping " in the kitchen. Consequently, their 13 yo can cook remarkable dinners.    It is a good thing to do at home since the schools don't have the same home ec departments they once had.  It is really a necessity if life to learn to cook.    My daughter never wanted to, my son wanted to learn to bake.   My granddaughter wants to do anything she can.   Engage them.    Mixes are good for learning fractions, counting, and children love to stir or push the buttons on the food processor.  My mother used to say that if children were helping, they weren't making a mess for you to clean up afterwords .   How true. 

 Making your own spice blends and mixes saves a lot of money,   You can get small amounts of spices in the bulk isle of some grocery stores pretty cheap. I needed dill one time .  It was six dollars for a tiny one by one inch bottle.   That much dill in the bulk isle was.    W a i t.   For it........   seventeen cents.  

Baking mix, pancake mix, or muffin mix are all cheap especially when you get bulk flour. 
Making your own bread can take all day, or you can make easy ones that take ten minutes hands  on time,    The time that you let something sit on the counter while you grocery shop, or do the laundry , or take the kids to the park doesn't count ! Lol. 

Anything you can throw in the slow cooker or insta pot and walk way from is a good thing. 

I don't have stock in insta pot, but I wish I Did! Lol.   It's one of the most versatile work horses in the kitchen.   It's a slow cooker, it's a rice cooker, it is a pressure cooker that is almost fool proof.  Remember to put it on seal to pressure cook , and remember to add enough water.   That s about it.   Don't put more than 1/2 full  when cooking anything that expands like pasta or beans.   Easy peasy.  And saves sooo much time!   Scratch soups in five minutes, Pork chops in three,   Chicken from frozen in 8 minutes..   considering that it is three appliances that  all  work well in one footprint, it's a real bargain. It also sautés. 

Going out on a limb and trying to do  all this at once is a deal breaker.   Terminal burnout.  Take baby steps and build your talent.   Every little thing will save money.   The snowball effect is a 
wonderful phenomenon.  It works.   Give it time. 

Daily blogs at 

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Meal Plans for week of November 20, 2017

Thanksgiving food is included in our budget calculations.  

Meal plans help take the stress out of the question “ What’s for Dinner”.  .

  • Hamburger Soup , bread 
  • Pizza 
  • Pork stew, rolls (make cranberry sauce and dinner rolls ) 
  • Thanksgiving :   Roast Turkey Breast, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, stuffing, cranberry sauce, green beans, relish tray:  pickled veggies, stuffed celery, pumpkin pie with whipping cream.  
  • Salmon, rice with peas 
  • Leftovers 
  • Breakfast for dinner.  

Notes :   Having easy meals before the holiday saves some terminal burnout with marathon cookig of a thanksgiving meal.    Doing some things ahead helps too.   A spacer between turkey dinner and leftovers is a nice respid.   

The only things I bought for Thanksgiving dinner were the turkey breast , celery i would have bought anyway, and the pies.   I would have made pies, but GO had them for two dollars.   I cant buy the ingredients for two dollars.    I did buy sparkling cider for 1.33 a bottle.    It just makes things festive.  

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Grocery Outlet Haul

Grocery Outlet is a grocery /misc store that carries overstocks.   They do not take coupons., but often you can get good buys.   Sometimes their merchandise is products that had test markets that didn’t test well.

Cream of Chicken soup , campbells .66
Pies 2.00 - pumpkin and cherry
Sparkling cider 1.33 a bottle

Deli Swiss cheese slices 2.39
Smoked Gouda 2.39
Salsa .99
Lunchables .50

Total 16.72

Sparkling cider and pies are for Thanksgiving.

Dollar tree

Whole wheat orowheat bread
Flour tortillas

Fred Meyer Sunday ad

Holiday ads are not the best times for good prices on staples.    Too much of the ad is spent on booze and snack type items.   It is, however, a good time to stock things that we tradionally use for the holiday.   Summer picnic supplies are always cheaper around Memorial Day and the Fourth of July .  It’s the time to by a years supply of catsup and bbq sauce with coupons.  Baking supplies are their best prices now through the first part of December.   Closer to the holiday, prices go up for the last minute shoppers.   Planning ahead is the key.   

The ad.....

Turkey, Foster Farms 1.29 lb
Turkey breasts 1.59
NY Holiday roast 3.99
Honeycrisp apples 1.49 

Asparagus 1.99
Cranberries 2/5
Broccolli .99
Brussel sprouts 1.99
Berries 2/5 
Celery .99

Butter 2.99
Sour cream 4/5 
Pillsbury biscuits 2/3$$
Ice cream 2/6

Orowheat bread 2.49 (note:  its a dollar at DT and there are .55 coupons out thre. 
Fruit pie 3.99 

Basics : part 6 : bulk buying—when is it logical.

Basics, part 6 : Bulk buying: when is it logical

We covered protein, the most expensive part of your food budget.  To recap, picking bulk meats that are  versatile are your best bet in reducing the cost of protein.  Eating a vegetarian meal once or twice a week helps greatly too.    Buy bulk meat enough to rotate that meal for a month.  In other words, if you want to eat Pork for two nights a week, you will need enough for 8 meals.   Portions should be around four ounces.   The RDA for protein is 45 grams for women and 55 for men, minimum, for low activity people.     There are 61 in a 8 ounce boneless, skinless chicken  breast.

 Knowing the RBP of rotation meats is key,   Chicken breasts should be no more than a dollar and a half a pound.   In most places, you can get them for that.  Seattle is one of the most costly places to live and I can get chicken breasts with ribs for 1.50 and cut the ribs off for stock, pick the bones for more meals.   Pork loins are between 1.50 and 1.79.   Good (7 percent ) hamburger is 3.77 here.   Ground turkey a dollar  a pound chub  in other parts of the country, frozen.

Buying other things in bulk only makes sense if you use it regularity,   There are three of us basically.    I can still buy certain things in bulk.  Rice is one.   Rice has a long shelf life.   It is 8.47 for 25 lbs at Costco.   That makes a rice serving pennies.

Oatmeal is close to 8.50 at Costco for ten pounds,   We eat oatmeal everyday for breakfast and I use it for oatmeal, blueberry, banana bread and oatmeal cookies. 

Flour is  6.39 for 25 pounds.  25 pounds lasts us about three months,  I make our own  baking mix, cream soup base, muffin mix and bread.   Bread cost about .25-30 cents a loaf.  It takes about ten hands on minutes.    Making your own mixes means you can control the fats and avoid hydroginated  oils and too much sugar.    Cream soup base is a lot less than opening a can of cream of....soup and takes not much more time. 

Bulk yeast is a good investment if you are going to make bread.    For little more  the cost of one packet you can have enough for dozens of loaves. 

I don't buy pinto beans on bulk because we don't eat enough to use them up before they are hard to cook.     The cost difference is ten cents a pound.  I can  get 1.5 pounds at the dollar tree for a buck and they are non gmo and grown on the USA. 

Our Winco has a bulk food isle and some things are cheaper. .   It is especially good for anyone that wants to try something or need just a little bit  - yeast comes to  mind if you just want to try bread baking.  Don't give up, it may take a few loaves to get the hang of it.   

We like the chocolate and white chocolate chips. Dry milk, and spices.    Look on your area for a  bulk isle.   Our Kroger has one, but the prices are a lot higher.

Cold cereal in bags are a lot cheaper than in the boxes.   We don't eat a lot of cold cereal.  I buy chocolate rice crispies for rice crispy treats.   Store them in a sealed canister.   

Contrary to some opinions out there, bulk buying can be a money saver.   You need to exercise caution and buy the things that you use a lot of on a regular basis.  One pound  of rice at the dollar  tree is a buck. Twenty five pounds of rice cost 8.47.   For the cost of  8.5 pounds, you can have 25 poumds,    That's a remarkable difference,    That's almost three times as much.

It just makes sense. 

Daily blogs at 

Friday, November 17, 2017

Basics: Part 5 RBP- what is it.

Basics , part 5:  RBP. What is it 

Finding the best prices on food is not such a hard task.   It can be overwhelming, but not of you break it down to a few steps

You have already--

  • Identified sources of protein  that you will use in your meal plans.    These should be less than two dollars a pound of you are trying for a four dollar a day budget.   (Snap guidelines ) 
  • Identified the items you buy on a regular basis to prepare meals from those protein sources. 
  • Now, gather your ads,    Our Winco doesn't have an ad, so you just have to visit the store. Every Winco has different prices because they work  off of a list to provide prices lower than  the competitors.  It's important to note, that no one store can have the best prices on everything,   
  • Take a short inventory of your fridge,pantry  and freezer.    This will tell you what you are missing.  
  • Now, start circling everything that you need that is a good price.   Check for coupons to  remember what you clipped.   $$.    I usually do that for people on the Seattle area.  There are some sites that work in other areas.   Try favado.   
  • Soon, you might start seeing better prices at one store over another in an item.  
  • Circle, star, or tag any item you intend to buy,   I put a check mark on anything I might have a coupon for,   The best use of coupons is when you find a good buy and can stack a coupon with it.  You can't stack an electronic coupon with a paper one. Most  all stores take them.   
  • I have a meal plan form I made in excell.   It has seven blocks in one side of the landscape sheet and two columns on the other,   In one column I have listed the things we buy on a regular basis that are perishable to fill in meals,    The second column is blank so I can either mark how many we have or note that we need it.   This  makes doing an inventory a couple of minutes. 
  • Now, decide who has the RBP  on what you need.   Here, it is usually Fred Meyers and Winco,    Occasionally, we find a good sale with coupons at Safeways or QFC.   Costco is always go to to for bulk Purchases.    I continue to check prices, but unless something is in a huge sale, you can't beat the few things I get from Costco,   Not everything is a bargain at Costco.   Look for a rotation meat.    My standby if I can't find pork loin cheap is to look at Costco business.    It's in the next town, so I don't go unless I'm out of a few things that they have that regular Costco doesn't carry.  Costco has grains 
  • that were not part of our vocabulary in the fifties, and seaweed.   But, they 
  • don't carry corn starch, or large canisters of broth granules or some spices.    I bought a larger than large sack of salt and soda.   I will never have to buy them again! Lol.  They were cheap.    They can be used for cleaning as well as food.    
  • Having a target figure ( nothing to do with the store with the red balls ) for your basics list is basic necessity  in knowing if something is a stock up price.  Try to never lay full price  for your basic needs list.    Canned veggies should be less than fifty cents,   Ditto diced tomatoes, beans of you buy canned.   I want 149-1.69 a pound for pork loins,   I want .88-1.00 a pound for Foster Farms chicken,    (Locally grown ) hamburger  3.28 or less for 7 percent fat.   I want pasta sauce in glass for close to a dollar.   In cans for under a dollar, pasta ( Barilla) should be under a  dollar...preferably .50-.75 cents.    It is always a dollar at the DT. ( dollar tree) as is canned pasta sauce and they take coupons- up to four a  day, and some won't take two  coupons for two   of the same thing.    That's not the written coupon policy, but best not to argue.  They have the last word.   I want frozen veggies for under a dollar a POUND.   Many vegetables are in 12 ounce pkg.  Cheese  should be less than 2.35 a pound.  Different stores have different prices.   
  • If you live where there isn't a variety of stores, you probably have higher prices,because there is no competition.  Consider scoping out the next big town and finding the best priced stores.   You can sometimes get the store to send you the ad, or find it on line.  Or get a family member or friend to take a snapshot of other and Facebook it to you.  Find the best sale week and go once a month,   if it isn't  near other errands you,need to do, consider carpooling with a friend or neighbor.  Split the gas bill, or take turns.    We used to drive ten mikes to Winco once a month before we got one in our town.   I hear Aldi is expanding to almost double stores.  Think outside the box.    
  • The best prices you can get with coupons is when you can find something on a mark down table and have a coupon. ( I got two cans of s and w beans for .08  total.    ) or you have a buy XX things, save XX dollar sale .  Our Kroger has those often,    You have to make your choices carefully, a lot of junk food here sometimes, but with careful planning, you can match coupons and make out.  I saved 91 percent one time.   
  • You can also make out with a basket coupon ,   That's where they give you  XX number of dollars off a XX dollar basket of food.   Do the math,    Find the percentage of discount,    A five dollar off of fifty dollar basket is only ten percent,   If the prices are already high, it doesn't  pay.  This is another time when buying what's on sale with a coupon and adding the basket coupon can make you really clean up.   IF.  You stick to buying the maximum of the blanket or basket coupon.  Any amount over will lower your percentage off.   
Why bother, my time is worth more than that!  Is the most heard excuse about coupons and target shopping.    Let's break that down.     The average family our size spends 7800 a year on food.   We are at a pace to spend 2700 dollars his year and maintain a small emergency stock.    That's FIVE  THOUSAND dollars.    That's one nice trip to Disneyland or Hawaii.    Or covers the cable and the heat bill.   Or makes a car payment.     

Using every available tool to reduce your food costs just makes sense as long as it doesn't consume you.   

Daily blogs at 

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Thanksgiving, on the dime

Winco haul 

Carrots 5 lbs 2.28
Celery 1.96
Cranberries 1.96
Turkey breast:  cook from frozen 10.88
Pickled vegetables 2.48
Frozen veggies .95, .88
Lunch 1.58

Total 22.87

Thanksgiving Dinner 

Stuffed celery, pickled veggies : relish tray 

Turkey breast 
Stuffing w apples 
Cranberry sauce 
Sweet potatoes 
Mashed potatoes 
Green beans 
Rolls/ butter 

Pumpkin pie, cream 

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Part 4: Meal Plans

We have covered the two little things that you can do to cut your food bill  and contribute to better health too.  We have found ways to get your protein at the RBP a start the journey to build a stock for emergencies. Emergencies can be as little as a snow storm, a sick child,  or the flooding of the main road so that the grocery stores can’t restock.   Yes, that happened and it was Christmas to boot.

Let’s  talk about meal plans.   Meal plans save you from the pizza delivery demons.   Being organized reduces stress.  If things are set up, almost anyone in the family can finish dinner if you are otherwise occcupied.

Have a plan or plan to fail.   There are no magic surprises if you have a basic stock of food on hand that you can make meals from.   Having a few aces in your hole doesn’t hurt either.   Always have a few easy, cheap meals in your pantry or freezer.   I buy Foster Farms chicken patties when I find them on sale .  If you have pasta and pasta sauce , you have chicken parm in a snap.

We always have ground beef , already cooked , in the freezer packed in meal sized portions.   It is a versitle base for any number of meals.

The basis for a lot of this organization is making a list of ten to fourteen meals your family will eat.
After your list is complete, and you have analyzed it for budget breakers, you can list the ingredients that you will need to stock.   This list should include economical sources of protein (2.00 a pound is my target price ) and the ingredients and side dishes as well.  Asparagus and water chestnuts are out of reach for most super economy meals.   Stick to basics.

Spaghetti and meatballs
Mac n cheese (real scratch)
Pork chops and dressing
Pork Roast
Pulled pork sandwiches
Vegetable bean soup
Chicken Roasted with garlic bread and oven roasted root veggies
Chicken soup
Chicken Pot Pie (one crust )
Chicken stir fry
Breakfast for dinner
Quiche (impossible pie )
Sloppy joes
Chicken chimichanga
Chicken and noodles
Pork stir fry
Shrimp stir fry
Baked lemon salmon
Tuna cassarole
Tuna patties
Salmon patties
Pork stew

Make a list of ingredients you will use to make your meals.  Note the things you can buy in bulk and
use for several dishes.

In our house that would be diced tomatoes, Other that tomato paste, I dot buy a lot of other tomato
products.   Simplifying your list by using versatile ingredients makes life and budgets a lot easier.

Pasta sauce and pasta are items you can find on sale often and thre are almost always coupons for them and that doubles your savings.

Buy 5 and save 5 sales can be a little time consuming to plan, but they can save a lot of money especially  if you can pair them with coupons.   I have saved as much as 91 percent with coupons.   So much for coupons are a waste of time.

Our groceries for the three of us has been less than 55.00 a week.   That is 45 percent of th USDA stats for poor people.   They call it thrifty.   We eat well and we dont eat rice and beans  as a steady
diet.   We dont have our food delivered, we dont eat junk food a lot, we cook scratch food efficiently. I rarely spend more than twenty minutes cooking dinners.   Bulk cooking and propeer  kitchen appliances help remarkably.

We have a matrix for meal planning to make the whole process fast and easy.

1 beef, 3 chicken or pork , 2 vegetarian, and 1 fish or shellfish.
This  affords us a variety of foods.

Others use a these based matrix.   Soup, Tex-mex, italian, etc.