Tuesday, March 3, 2015

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.

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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.


The basics,part two

First, if you HATE to shop, deligate this to someone who doesn't, provided you can trust them to be diligent at their efforts.  One time, we needed some things at the grocery store to fill on because I had been recovering from an operation, and no one had shopped for two weeks.  I sent my husband to the store to buy a weeks food.  He came back with two pomegranates and beer.  LOL.  I decided  it would be better off if I sent my college age daughter with a budget.  She came home with two bucks to spare and enough to make meals for a couple of weeks of things I normally buy.

Ther are a lot of places that sell food these days.  Every week, I pick two of the chain stores based on what my needs are, and what prices they have.

Warehouse stores, over-stock stores, the dollar store, and drug stores also sell food.  Many times the alternative stores have better prices.  They only  buy bargains, so they don't have a wide variety,but what they do have many times is a really good price.

The big key here is that you have to know your prices.  You don't have to know all the prices in the store, but every family has key things that are their stock items that make up the majority of the non- perishable food in their pantry.  It's usually 10-15 items.  You can't know if something is a bargain if you don't know what the rock bottom price is in the first place.

We go to the chain stores once a week.  We go to Costco on a need basis .  We go to Winco when they send us a coupon.  It is a ways away and last time I went, the prices weren't that good.

We go to the grocery outlet and big lots when we are in the area for other things.  Grocery outlet has a wide variety of cheese, some is a good price, some isn't.  You need to be really mindful of the pull dates at overstock stores.

I hit the dollar store once a week for the Sunday paper.  They keep it all week.  The dollar tree takes coupons.  By watching coupons and not being brand loyal, you can get your deodorant, toothpaste and soap for FREE.  This is really big if you are on SNAP that doesn't pay for non- food items.  We are not on snap, but on a retirement fixed income, I take advantage of everything I can find of ot is something we can use.  I have started on my toothpaste fairy basket again.  LOL. ,last week, I got eight dollars worth of food for a buck at the dollar store.  I also buy catsup , frozen veggies, Kleenex, cotton balls, and window cleaner in bulk.

We hit the bakery outlet when we are in the area, or about every eight weeks.  I fill in if bread is cheaper at the stores on sale.  They have brown and serve baguettes sometimes, otherwise I get them from Costco.

There is a couple of posts  on the Phycology of retailers.   It really helps your bottom line if you can beat them at their own game.  It's well worth the read.

Snack foods and convenience foods are the biggest profit for retailers.  Avoid them like the plague.
That being said, there are a few things that are cheaper than homemade, or homemade is just too time consuming to go that route.  Tortillas come to mind here,  the cost on sale is so low, it's not worth it.  When in doubt, do  the math.  I factor in my time.  If I can make a decent amount per hour, I make scratch.  Besides, boxes have to have preservatives.  I want to use them in moderation.  The recipe starter at the dollar store is cheaper than making white sauce from scratch.  They don't always have basil and garlic flavors.  Last time they only had tomato.  Since I got it for free, it was cheaper.

My daughter and I made the  lemon pound cake she was buying at the big bucks coffee place.  I think I figured we made 212.00 an hour making it from scratch!   I wouldn't buy it in the first place, but the comparison was interesting.

There are web sites out there in Internet land that match up store sales with coupons from the paper and coupons that can be printed on the Internet ( coupon.com) .  You have to download the coupon printer drivers, but so far I haven't heard of any bad experiences from those that have done this.
The coupon marching site in the Seattle area is couponconnections.com .  A google search should net you the one in your area.

Couponconnections is a fast search. She posts the really good deals in red, so you can check it out really fast.  I skip over any ready mades I less the price is really lower than scratch.  I can't make a cake mix  for free, or .14.  Flour costs .075 cents a cup in bulk.  I have been finding taco dinner mixes for little more than the tortillas.  They have both hard and soft shells to satisfy everyone.  When I quit finding them, I will go back to buying shells and using my own spice blend. Most of the time , coupons are for things I don't use.  By only printing the things you will use at the first of the month, and keeping the inserts from the paper in binder clips by dare, you can make the best use of coupons without spending a lot of time clipping coupons.  It takes a matter of a few minutes to pull up the matching site and scroll through the stores in your area.  If you do it after you have decided which store to go to, you narrow your search.  Then, the printables have a link, or you can go directly to the insert and pull the coupon you will use to make your purchases.

I love the word FREE, almost as much as the words that they will PAY you to take the product home. That only happens at rite aid for me.  But, when someone pays me a penny to bring a 3.00 tube of name brand toothpaste home, I am going to take advantage of it.  If I am not going to use it, I save it for the women's shelter or the food bank.

There are mix recipes on prior posts.  Buying mixes, and ready mades and snacks will bust your budget big time in short order.  Check the price of potatoes per pound.  Now, do the math on potato chips.  The exercise is eye opening.  Besides, chips have a lot of salt in them.  We feed our children 
far too much salt,sugar,  and fat.  It is hiding in a lot of our foods.  The first step in healthier children is to stop buying sugar coated cereal and salt laden snack foods.

My daughter and I dissected a hamburger meal box.  The results are quite remarkable (see earlier post) .  Since then, they have come out with a new box that is a bit better, bit I suspect not much. I also posted alternatives to the meal box.  The key words...better, cheaper, faster.

Keep in mind, in order to keep under budget on snap, you need to average five dollar dinners.....a meal, not a person.  Do your math.  If you get full snap, divide the amount by 30.  That's your amount per day.  Or, divide the monthly by 4.2 and that is the amount per week.  There are ways to make breakfast really cheap and many times kids can get lunch free or nearly free at school.  You can have leftovers.  Because of that, I concentrate on dinners.

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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.


Went to visit a friend today and stopped by the bread  store.

Interesting observations.

Restraunt pack English muffins were cheaper than regular ones.   Sugar free cookies are not necessarily lower carb than regular ones.

I little ingenuity will use hamburger buns in the middle of winter. The price is right.   I love the word FREE when it's really free.   There are a lot of scams about free stuff.  They really only want you to listen to their sales pitches.    More BUY  my stuff.  I have been un subscribing to e mails all week.   I am sick of deleting e mails from my online and I don't have unlimited data.  

Last night we had loaded tomato soup and a cheese and ham sandwich on a hambirger bun.  

The night before we had scratch Mac and cheese and fruit salad.    I made the cheese sauce with a homemade mix for white sauce.    It took longer than I expected for it to thicken. But woth the cheese added it worked fine.  

I try for a matrix of weekly meal plans.  

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

Beef so we get amino acids and iron.
Chicken or pork because it's cheap and balances the expensive beef.  
Vegetarian to please daughter and further stretch the budget
Fish to round our menus.  

We are past due for the basics and it's the first of the month.  Don't forget to download the coupons for the month,  

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Saturday, February 28, 2015

Fred meyers

Fred Meyers ad for TOMORROW!  

Pork chops 2.48
Strawberries 2/5
Shrimp 6.88
Butter 2/4@@
Good hamburger 4.99
Apples 1.29
Pears .99
Lettuce .99
Oranges .79
Pie 2.99
Ground turkey 7 percent fat!   3.99
Chuck roast,London broil.    4.99 

Butter has a shelf life ( fridge or freezer) even if you have one, it pays to get more and wait for another sale unless you only use butter for company. ! LOL 

Making meatballs, taco meat etc ahead when ground beef is on sale saves time and money. It saves  a lot of time-- one  clean up, you can make dinner in a few minutes  and avoid take out when your life goes south.   

Not much difference in fat content between beef and turkey.  Beef  is a buck more,but has iron and some amino acids turkey doesn't.   

Note you will tend to eat more chuck roast or London broil per servimg than hamburger.   
A splurge os wonderful, but nt always the best choice if you are in a strict budget.   

That's about all.   

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Thursday, February 26, 2015


Today,we went to Winco.   I spent 37.04.   I didn't count my husbands beer or non food items in my calculations,

I only bought things that were cheaper than or as cheap as I could get elsewhere.

Sirloin ( pork) was less than two dollars a pound,
Pasta sauce was .97
Cake mix fun fetti   .88
Instant mashed potatoes .87
Parm. 2.28
Hummus 3.98  large
Grapes 2.48
Olives .58

The beer was two dollars cheaper.  That was enough to pay the gas in our little car.

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Wednesday, February 25, 2015

The ads including th new Hagens at 155th and aurora ( Joann's)

Hagens :   Forst there is a 5 dollar off 25 dollars coupon.   Got my attention.  

Eggs .99@@
Tomatoes 1.29
Nalley chili 1.00
Apples 1.00 lb
Celery .79
 Honestly, there isn't twenty five dollars worth if groceries I would buy!  


Blues 2/5
Strawberries. 1,99
Spareribs 1.99

Five dollar Friday
Hillshire farm sausage$$


Yoplait .38@@

Buy 5 save 5
Dreyers 2.99
Cake mix .99
Fries, frozen 1.99
Steams less veggies .89

Milk .99
Oranges .99
Yoghurt .50
Butter 1.99
Grapes 2,99

That's about all.   Not much there.  
QFC is the best place for perishables.  Modest seem like there is any place for stock items.   Pizza and cake  in time for DG birthday!  

Something on another post bears discussion.    Sometimes ot is best to cost out the things that you are making from scratch.  Not always is homemade cheaper.  Better sometimes, but not necessarily  cheaper.  I have not cost bread flour.   I. Guessing that homemade artisan bread is cheaper.  Since it is on sale for almost four dollars and the whole bag of flour costs something like six.   Brownies, on the other hand,mat the cost of cocoa, are cheaper on sale for 1.00 a box mix.   Bakery is not cheaper.   Usually convenience starts with $$$$$.!    

Sirloin tips with a coupin are cheaper than homemade and are a good go to when you are in a hurry.  
Certainly always cheaper than going out.   The family went out one day this week.  I stayed home not knowing what my new meds would bring me.    They brought me home a chicken Cesar salad.   It fit into a shallow six inch bowl.  I couldn't find the parm.   It had a slathering of dry bread cubes and the dregs of some pieces of chicken.   EIGHT dollars!    I could have bought a whole five pound chicken and a head of lettuce for that!  

Meat still seems to be the stumbling block for a thrifty budget these days.    Everything except chicken seems to be about double what it was two years ago.   They are sure playing that drought card a long time!     Pork tenderloin was always two dollars.  

On another note,mi did our imcome  tax.  We had to draw out of retirement accounts to make it last year.  I thought we were going to have to pay a lot of tax!    I dug up every deduction that was legal on the schedule A.   To my surprise, we have a very little tax bill.  It probably was because my entire ssa check amd them some went to medical last year!   And I thought I was economizing in food for the fun  of it!   LOL

Happy shopping .  Today is the day I need to clean the fridge and make good use of anything that needs to be eaten.  

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Monday, February 23, 2015


Yesterday we had to go on a road trip.  It was a beautiful day to do it.   Peaceful rode ( husband doesn't have a radio in his truck).   We stopped on the way back and had a hamburger.  Then we stopped at Fred Meyer and got apples, oranges, and milk.  Milk was two dollars a gallon woth coupon  in 1/2 gallon containers.   They are easier to handle and cheaper than buying a gallon container.  

Incorporating shopping with other errands cuts gas consumption.   Shopping at more than one store saves miney.  I only buy what is on sale.m occasionally I find something that never goes on sale, but not often.    It takes some management , but well worth it in the savings.   If I went to the store and just bought what I felt like eating everyday, we would not have anything but food.   I am trying to maintain a quality of life on a very meager budget .  

I am sitting at 75.29 a week this month.  USDA stats for  TWO of us for economy meals is 85.40.  Adding daughter and granddaughter is another 62.60 or 148.00.  Now, my daughter supplements her and her daughters food.  We don't supply all of it.  Still, I am about 12 percent under not including supplementing.   I was considerably lower last month, but I stocked canned goods while they were on sale.   I got chicken noodle soup for .42 instead of 1.59 and pasta sauce and diced tomatoes for .80.  

Buying low and eating  high is the back one of groceries on the cheap.    I try to hit a middle of the road for meal plans.   We are not eating steak every night, but our steak is beef, not chicken tried oatmeal either.    Nothing wrong with either, but people's lifestyles are different.   I am retired, but I don't know how I got as much done as I did when I worked.   I always have something more to do.   I can't do some things that I have always done, and husband is picking up the slack at his own rate of speed.    But, somehow, I still do a lot.   LOL.    Shopping is not my whole focus.  I do keep well informed on the prices of things, and what is in sale any oven week.  There are some stores that I don't get flyers on and just go when I'm not finding good prices in the ads that I do have.  

Some things are on sale seasonally.   The time to buy turkey's is at thanksgiving.   Baking supplies are best bought at Christmas.   Frozen pizzas are best Super Bowl time.  Picnic supplies , Memorial Day. Stock when the prices are low on anything that will keep.   I bought about two. I this supply of pizza. It's one of the things I can make and satisfy everyone in the house.  Making two separate meals, even of daughter makes the second one. Leaves us double the dishes.    Not my favorite task.   I have been doing dishes since I was nine years old, and I'm tired of doing dishes!  LOL.

That's about all.

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Saturday, February 21, 2015

Easy chocolate pudding cake. No special ingredients!

We always had a recipe growing up for cookies that  took ingredients that mom always had on hand.   A vanilla brownie and snicker doodles .   We also made a caramel pudding cake that I think came out of a Betty Crocker booklet.   It was called ranch or cowboy or something like that. Mi lost the recipe and it wasn't in my mothers things when we cleaned out the house.   Anyone have that recipe, I'd really like to try it again.  

I found this on the Internet.   It's in the oven baking as we speak.   I used half real sugar and half fake.

Chocolate Pudding Cake

3/4 cup sugar
1 cup self rising flour*
2T cocoa
1/2 cup milk
6 T melted butter
1t vanilla
Pinch salt

Mix together ingredients and spread in GREASED 9X13 pan.

Mix together and sprinkle in top of wet ingredients in pan,

1/2 cup sugar
1/2'cup brown sugar
1/4 cup cocoa

Pour 1-1/2 cups HOT water over ingredients in pan.
Bake at 350 for 40 minutes.

Serve hot or cold

* self rising flour substitute is 1 cup flour. 1-1/2 tsp baking powder, 1/2 tsp salt.

Chocolate... Did somebody say chocolate!  

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Friday, February 20, 2015


We had to go into town today. Not make best use of our gas, I tagged along and went to grocery outlet and the dollar store.  

I got tissues and nail supplies at the dollar store.
The grocery outlet netted hummus, ice tea for three for a dollar. Ham slices and half price jimmy dean lunch entrees.   Split peas were more than last time,but still cheap.  Offer was more than I got ot at Fred Meyers last time. They still have Cheerios with added protein for a buck. Also, animal cookies were a buck.  

The bottom line still is you need to know your prices.



Thursday, February 19, 2015

The ads

QFC has a two week ad.    We need to refer to last week.  

SAFEWAYS ad ism it worth mentioning,   Not even five dollar Fridays,    I'm not sire which SAFEWAYS are tuning to ALBERTSONS.   Apparently the 25th of them,onto some are becoming Hagens. But not in our area.   Everett and shoreline.  

ALBERTSONS has their quarters ad again,   I see some stocking possibilities .  Pudding for the backpack gang is .80.   As is pasta sauce and I am low.    Ditto diced tomatoes.  I was paying .67 for diced tomatoes, but I am not seeing that lately,   Fred Meyers has had some good prices last summer.  

I hear Kroger is going to only carry organic veggies.  That doubles or triples the cost of fresh veggies.   I hope that Winco gets into the top building soon.  I would hate to go back to the fifties and only,have canned veggies in the winter when we can't grow our own,  


Eggs 1.:9@@
Bacon 2.99@@

Yogurt .50 ( Tillamook)
Entrees .75
Ramen 3/.50
Small tomato sauce .25
Bc muffin mix .25
Bumble bee tuna .75
HORMEL chilli $$ 1.00
Beans .75

Refried beans$
Sunflower seeds
Healthy choice soups
Pasta sauce
Diced tomatoes
Microwave pasta bowls ( backpack??)

That's about all.  

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Some of those things I don't buy.   Some are on the backpack list.  

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

5 things I never buy cheap

Economizing on food sometimes is a necessity,sometimes  is a conscious decision.  Either  way, if you are on  a budget, you still have to be mindful of quality.  

Five things that I will never buy cheap.  

  1.  Tuna fish.   I opened a can of chicken by the sea tuna.  I thought it was a good brand.  Yuk.   It looked like cat food to me.m. Kirkland has albacore tuna.   I think bumble bee is ok too.   If anyone has experience with bumble bee, please comment.   
  2. Hot dogs.   I will only buy Hebrew National or Nathan's.    We don't have them often, but I still don't want the garbage that os on cheap hot dogs.   
  3. Butter.,      Margarine is not good for you.  The more dense the fat,the worse it is for you.   My nutritionist told me that a little butter was better than margarine.   I think the work she used was skim.   ( in other words, not a full oat on a roll.    
  4. Mustard.  Life is too short to use dollar store mustard.   Que.  the man in the rolls Royce!    
  5. Chicken,   Washington or Oregon grown please!    

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Saturday, February 14, 2015

The rest of the story......

I finished the rest if the shopping on Friday.    The dollar store netted the largest box of plastic wrap I have seen that wasn't the economy box from Costco amd some deodorant,    I was hoping for coupons to match, but there weren't any.

SAFEWAYS had shrimp and chicken as well as salad and strawberries.    Im still plugging along for the year at 65.00 a week.   That's for my husband and I and supplementing daughter and granddaughter.    That's considerably less than the thrifty plan for the two of us.  

The shoreline SAFEWAYS is going to be a Hagens  the 25th of the month.  We have a Safeways and an ALBERTSONS at the same intersection.  No word as to what is happening with those stores.  Since themsafeways is in disrepair, I am guessing it will close.  They haven't bothered to fix Broken  freezers etc.  

We had eggs, hash browns and mixed berries last night,  pizza tonight. Tommorrow I will roast the chicken.

Guess that's all.    

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Thursday, February 12, 2015

Fred Meyers

We hit Fred Meyers today.    All the winter type clothes were sixty per cent off the last marked price.   Scarves were as low as forty percent of 7.97.  

I don't have the bottom line yet because the coupon book is in the car.  As soon as I can, I'll post and get monthly average.  

I went armed with  a list of items we needed to replenish.  I used the last of the bread flour  to make parm peppered Italian bread.  

I found blue cheese and hummus marked down cheap.   We like boxed tomato soup with basil and blue cheese.   Milk was a dollar and butter two dollars.    Cottage cheese was two dollars.    I picked up a no sugar added cherry pie for three dollars.  
Other than getting staples we needed and dairy, there wasn't much of what I would call  a stocking
item.    Keeping eyes peeled for bargains helps the bottom line.   I stick pretty much to just what's on sale , keeping in mind things we are just about out of if they are in our need to have list.   I keep one ahead on things that we use occasionally.  When we open the back up tome, I start looking for a sale, or if we are running low on a stock item, I start watching,my right now, I'm watching for does tomatoes. I want to pay less than .80.  Closer to .70 would be better.   I have got them for as little as fifty!  

Tomorrow chicken noodle soup is  10/5 and I have coupons that may or may not work.  Last week they worked, but it was my understanding that electronic coupons don't stack.    Chicken is a buck.   Shrimp is on five dollar Friday.  

I usually work on a matrix for meal plans.  

2 chicken or pork
2 vegetarian
1 fish or shellfish

Since we have four dozen eggs, I am trying to make breakfast  for dinner  once a week.  
We have lots of Pozza in the freezer at this time because the six dollar pizzas on wiper bowl Sunday weekend were less than three bucks.    Taking advantage of soecials and adding appropriate coupons is a good way to get the most from your food dollars.   Sometimes it can make the difference whether  you have a decent quaility of life, or you just get by.   You don't buy the things that you need on a regular basis when you need them, you buy them when they are the cheapest and you try to buy as many as you will need until they go on sale again.    Of you pay half price,you can afford twice as much.  That will help to assure you of not running out before you find another sale.   I buy facial tissue at the dollar store unless I can find it on sale cheaper.

That's about all I have for today

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Wednesday, February 11, 2015

The ads

This is a holiday weekend so imam not holding my breath for good buys.   Usually the ad space is taken up with buy my holiday stuff.  


.50, when you buy six
Cheerios, when u buy six$$

Oranges .99
Pork loin 2.99
Cascade ice 1.00
Yogurt 20/10

Strawberries 1.99
Chicken .99
Free milk when u buy 4 kelloggs cereals $$ ( have to calculate if it's a good deal or not.  
Cucumbers 1.00
Lemons .50

Five dollar Friday
Bath tissue$$
Chicken noodle soup10/5

Ice cream 2.69@@
Yogurt 3/.99@@

That's about it.  @@ - in ad coupon     $$ you can probably find a coupon.   See newspaper or coupons.com

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The ads, later......

First of all, Fred Meyers has butter for two dollars.   I'm not sure  who, (as soon as I find my ads......my granddaughter has been role  playing....seeeen looking at the ads while sitting in the potty chair?..LOL.  ) chicken is a buck somewhere also.  

The new woman's day appeared on my inbox.   Some really good recipes for economical meals.   Remember they have a magical figure for costs.   Costs, I have found vary between states and parts of the country.  Your availability and competition has a lot to do with how much you pay for food.  I can only report what is happening in Seattle.   Still, using a buy low and eat high mentality will service you well.   It's no great surprise, our great grandmothers did it all the time.   They got fruits, vegetable etc in the summer when it was low price or from the farm and canned to last the winter.   It's the same concept.   BUY YOUR NECESSITITY FOOD WHEN YOU CAN GET IT THE CHEAPEST, AND

ITS A DIFFERENT COMCEPT.  You are not necessarily buying just what you need for a weeks dinners except for perishables.  

  • I buy eggs once a month when I can find them for 1.25 a dozen on sale.  They have a month pull date.   I try to make it a point to have breakfast for dinner once a week.   
  • Dairy - sour cream and cottage cheese is cheapest at Costco and again , it usually has a month or so pull date.   Milk I get when I can find it for 4/5 or a buck at Kroger stores.   
  • Meat or protein is best purchased in bulk ( whatever the proclaimed loss leader special is that week.  Buy enough of that particular item to last you for a months worth of that meal.   Ie :if you eat beef twice a week, you need 8 meal portions.   Cook it and freeze it in meal sized portions if appropriate.   Rotate in a four week cycle. You are spending less for meat and cooking it more efficient.  
  • Staples like flour , sugar etc I keep a reasonable amount on hand and look for sale when I'm getting low.   My flour is low now because my daughter made play dough.  Play dough is better home made because you can make it edible. Mlike you,never heard of a toddler eating it!    LOL.  
  • Basic staples like tomato sauce, pasta sauce, pasta and other staple shelf ready items are bought when they are on sale.  I keep a three to six months supply.   When I see it dwindling, I look for a sale.   When I see something like pasta sauce ( a staple here since it is a fill on if we are having meat and daughters are non red meat eaters) I buy it.   The savings are remarkable. I have got ot as cheap as fifty cents.   I never pay 1.59.   
Some things I make from scratch.  I don't make something that is really labor intensive or that I can get cheaper ready made.   It seems the drought of several years ago is still having an impact on beef prices, as well as many other prices. As predicted, some ready made meats are cheaper than scratch.   I am still able toget pork sirloin to cut self and whole chicken for reasonable prices.   Coupons make other proteins within reason.   

January costs were 64.00 a week.  February is shaping up to be about the same.   I was 85 gross one week and 40 the next.   I am seeing a shortage of tomato on the pantry shelf and need to start a list of a few things that are running low.  Vegetable oil and a few of those things I keep one ahead and replace them when I open the last one when prices allow.   

The bottom line is NEVER pay full price for anything.   

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Sunday, February 8, 2015

Armed with coupons

Our shopping trip Friday was quite productive.    I spent forty dollars and got four bags full.   That's what a  bag of groceries cost me on the eighties!  

I went armed with coupon binder, the ad, and my just for I list.  Bought mostly protein, fruit and veggies, and some bakery.  

I am reading of people that spend a thousand dollars a month on food.   I have never spent a thousand dollars on food a month.   Not even when I had three adult children living at home.    LOL

Good food doesn't have to cost a bundle.   It does take some effort to go to more than one store and pay attention to prices.    We lost our top foods, and there is no plans for us to get a Hagens.   ALBERTSONS and SAFEWAYS are merging , so Basically we are loosing 2 stores.  If I go to Fred Meyers I have to go one town over.   QFC and Fred Meyers are both Kroger.    That means we have two grocery stores controlling the marketplace.  That isn't good for consumers.  The less competition, the higher the prices.   I sure hope that Winco goes into  the top foods building.    There are alternative stores that carry a limited amount of food.  Some are priced way too high for a budget minded person.
When food is  twenty to a hundred percent higher than the rest of the stores, it's just plain gouging .  One of those stores  has a 42 percent markup.   Generally, the more speciality foods, alternative foods a store has,the higher prices you are going to pay.  They are going to charge high prices because of you are passionate about eating special foods, they will charge what the traffic will bear.

I buy inexpensive cuts of meat, but I won't buy cheap meat.   My mothers advice of buying the best quality you can afford is good advice on anything you buy with the exception of throw away things.   My mother didn't buy  much throw away things.   Those things are usually cheaper at the dollar store.
Any single use item doesn't have to be quality.  Ditto kids coloring books, stick pens.   For the store where they would disappear in a week, I bought stock pens at the dollar store.   They doesn't last long enough to run out of  ink!   I guess I'm saying use common sense.

Guess that's all.

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Wednesday, February 4, 2015

The ads

Milk 2/5@@
Lean ground beef 3.99@@

Buy 4 save 4
Prices are net
Mayo 2.99
Green tea 1.49


Oranges .99
Milk 2.79

Five dollar Friday
HORMEL dinners, BBQ beef
Cheerios 3/5

There should  be coupons for the meat and Cheerios.  Coupons.com had precious few real food coupons this month.  

Sirloin roast 3.99
Berries 2/5
Milk 4/5
Tillamook yogurt 20/10
Butter 2.49
Refried beans 1.00

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Saturday, January 31, 2015

Five reasons not to buy a rotisserie chicken

Five reasons not to buy a rotisserie chicken

1)  Most of them are three pounds or less.   The cost is anywhere from five to eight dollars a piece.   The cheapest I have found is five dollars for a three pound chicken.   That is 1.67 a pound,   Chickens are a buck a pound or less all the time.    That is about 70 percent more.

2) The  ratio of meat to bone has a break even point of three pounds.  It is never a good buy to buy a chicken less than three pounds, and  a five pound chicken is the best buy.

3) you don't know where that chicken has been.   I only buy Washington or Oregon grown chicken for reasons I won't delve into here.

4) it smells so good to have a chicken roasting in the oven.

5) you can use your own seasonings and make it taste better.

The biggie is that a five  pound chicken roasted at home gives  you a lot more bang for your buck.
A chicken takes me about ten minutes tops to pu in the oven.

Wash the inside of the chicken and scrape it out with a spoon.   Dump a handful of salt on the cavity ( a couple of tablespoons. ) stuff it woth anything you have hanging around. -- short of the kids  dirty sox! LOL.  ... An orange, apple, lemon, onion, etc.

Massage olive oil on the skin, top and bottom.

Pit in roasting pan and roast at 375 degrees until done.  I use a meat thermometer that registers 179 degrees for well done chicken,   Juices should run clear and the leg should break away easy.

Wash everything that you touch with raw chicken well.   I use a glass cutting board and put ot through the dishwasher or disinfect it along with the counters , sink, and any implements I use.
That is standard procedure for any raw meat!   Don't cross contaminate raw veggies with raw meat.

I cut a chicken apart and break it down to the bones, dark meat, and cut the breast in two.

  • Roast chicken dinner with mashed potatoes etc.  
  • chicken pot pie 
  • Chicken tacos or enchiladas. ( make scratch enchalada sauce...the canned kind can cost more than the chicken.   
  • Chicken soup
  • Buffalo chicken pizza
  • Chicken noodle casserole 

Guess that's all

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Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Shopping trip

First I went to the dollar store.  
I got a but load of health andnbeUty supplies for fifteen dollars.   Also included was a popcorn bucket and a set of pens and two bags of sugar free candy. Werthers original.

QFC was the buy six, get thre.  I did two and used coupons.   Savings was 46 percent.   The percentage would probably be higher but hubby put cheap white bread in the cart.    I got a brick of cheese for six dollars.  

Total food 20.83.

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De jiorno pizza -2
Johnsonville sausage -2
Laundry detergent
4 - 120 count tissue boxes
2 pound cheese
1 lb pasta
2 packages goldfish crackers

The ads

We went to happy hour last night.   I had a flatbread with basil, tomato,roasted garlic and white cheese.   It would be easily replicated with a bomboli or other pizza crust.  

The ads

Lean ground beef 3.99
Dreyers ice cream 2/6


Berries 2/6
Red Barton 3/9
DiGiorno 2/9
Ground beefb7 percent 4.79
Johnsonville brats 4.99$$

Five dollar Friday
Tony Roma's ribs
Ice cream 2/5


Frescjryya or red Barron 3.99
Pork chops BOGO
Cheese 5.99
Grapes 2.99
Tomatoes 1.99

Buy 6, save three

Digiorno 3.99
Johnsonville smoked sausage $$ 2.99
Dreyers 2.99
M and ms 2.49$$

Rosa Rita refried beans 1.00$$

$$ means thermos a coupon out there.  
I also saw on a video that toothpaste with coupons at SAFEWAYS was a quarter after  coupons.  I have not checked that out yet!  

Please note that some things are cheaper than others between stores.  Cross off anything that is higher priced when deciding your stores of preference.

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Monday, January 26, 2015


I made an interesting observation yesterday.    I went looking for more cupcakes for my granddaughters valentine treats for school.  I would make them, but it isn't allowed.   I didn't realize that there were two to a package, so I needed more.   ThemboxesmRe done and ready for my granddaughter to put stickers on.  

I digress.    I decided to pick up some things that I needed .  The ten pound potatoes and the often pound potatoes were sitting side by side.   There was fifty cents difference between the ten and the fifteen pound bags!  

I got a pumpkin pie ( 10 inch) for 3.99.  You can't buy he pumpkin and cream for 3.99.
Strawberries were 2/5, and I needed eggs.   Killed me to have to buy eggs.  I usually find them for 1.25.  

I have saved receipts and am going to post them to a spread sheet  today. I know the figure is going  to be remarkably low and I have a lot of food stocked.   From the sounds of the weather madness on the east coast, I hope others are well stocked too.  

I buy canned  beans.  Beans have a very short fridge life.  As does rice.   Of all things that can become tainted fast, they are in the top of the list.   The beans also go bad.  I tried in vein to get split peas to become soft-- they were old.    I don't buy a lot of dried  beans at a time for that reason.  

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Friday, January 23, 2015

Interesting article!


This is an interesting article about how one guy made ot through a week on food stamp money.  
The prices are much higher than I pay, but then, again, it's New York.   The wages are higher too and selecting out one week is much harder than doing a month or more so that you can develope a stock amd pay less than top dollar for your food.  

Thos month I have spent less than 225.00 on food. I have a lot of stock and a lot of perishables still in the fridge.   I should make it easily until the end of the month.  

I bought a large package ( about three pounds ) of pork loin roast.   Today I cut several pork chops off of it and cubed  the rest of it and pit it in the crockpot for stew, or fried rice etc.  

I still have a chicken to cook Tommorrow or the next day.  

The trick is to manage meat ( or your protein) .  That is the biggest expense in the food department,  
If you pick what you find really cheap you can average your meat costs and still afford a more expensive cut if meat every now and then.  I try to get beef into us twice a week.   It is a good way to keep yourself from becoming anemic.   We eat a lot of fresh  fruit and veggies-- more fruit than veggies because I have a hubby that grew up on the fifties when everything was canned or cooked to death.    LOl

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Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Winco trip

We just got back from Winco.   I spent 69.22 on food.   Beer was two dollars less than Rite Aid  and one dollar cheaper  than wallmart.  

The pic is on the facebook on janes groceries on the cheap.   I got a lot of dairy, meat, and staples.  I got two cucumbers and a five pound  bag of carrots.

Yoplait eight pack. 3.58
Pork sirloin ( right at two bucks a pound) 6.57
Cottage cheese 4.28
Sour cream 2.51
BBQ beer 3.18 net of coupon and there is another dollar coupon  on the tub
American cheese 2.98
Butter 2.98
Nathan's hot dogs 3.97
Canned beans .67
Green beans .68
Olives .94
Sauerkraut on glass 2.10
Hard rolls 2.48
Cucumbers .58
Bomboli 2 pack with sauce 5.98
Noodles 1.02
Instant potatoes .87 with coupon .54
Little debbie cakes ( treats for school) 2.96
Hunts pasta sauce .97
5  pounds carrots 2.38

That's about all. I only bought what was cheaper than other stores.  Winco takes coupons, but you can't stack coupons.  They take debit cards,  but no credit cards.  You have to bag yourself.  

The savings are remarkable.  I can't wait until they come to our neck of he woods.  

Friday, January 16, 2015

Shopping trip

My total before the trip for the month was 64.00.  I spent forty two dollars at SAFEWAYS  and thirty dollars not including beer at QFC.  136.00 for over three weeks total.  

SAFEWAYS had chicken for a buck a pound.   QFC has a ten inch pumpkin pie for 3.99.   Pie crust was a buck.     I did splurge and buy lefsa.    I got blues, strawberries, oranges and apples.  Frozen potatoes were a buck for two pounds.  

I pretty much replenished the perishables We  still have staple items.  

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Wednesday, January 14, 2015

It's a Winco kinda week.

We got the ads yesterday, such as they are.   Not much there.  

ALBERTSONS has eggs, cheese, and Yoplait and apples.  

QFC has oranges for .69, roast for 3.99,  and frozen potatoes for a buck!  

SAFEWAYS has blues 2/5, tomatoes 1.99,,chicken ,99, salad dressing 1.49, Hillshire farms sausage 3.99,

Five dollar Friday
2lb ground turkey
Blueberry custard pie

That's about all I see.   Unfortunately, my daughter informs me that welfare out of pasta sauce.  That's a first for me and there are no sales so far.    Thus, a trip to Winco is in order.   I sincerely hope that the top building is the new home for Winco.   It will save us a lot of gas.   We can't shop too often, ots too far away.  

Be sure to check the coupon matchups.  

Saturday, January 10, 2015

What t do with that stale baguette.

I saw a clip with Rachael Ray and Sara mouton.m take a stale, rock hard baguette.  Put it under running water.  Douse it good.   Wrap in foil amd put in a cold oven and turn the oven to 300.  Bake for 12-15 minutes.   Ots miraculously bread again instead of a baseball bat!    LOL.  

Friday, January 9, 2015

Shopping trip

We went to SAFEWAYS today.  I was adamant that I was going to stay to twenty dollars because I had a three dollars  off twenty just for u.    Seems my just for u hadn't hit my card, but they gave it to me. I spent 27.00.  

I was careful to only buy specials that we would use.
Blackberries, strawberries, salad, beef tips, pasta was a buck. I also had a coupon for a dollar off two which made the pasta .50.  Add that to cheese sauce I got for free and we have a really cheap Mac and cheese.   It's still cheap of I add cheese and veggies.  

I digress.   I got a brownie mix for a buck.  

I used five dollars worth of coupons last week and spent 37.00.  This week I spent 27.00 and used 2.00 worth of coupons.   Total 64,00 for two weeks with 7.00 in coupons.

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Thursday, January 8, 2015

The ads , week to jan 13

Pork tenderloin 2.99
Blues 18 oz 4.99
Milk 4/5
Bread 2/4
Red Barron pizza 3/10
Cottage cheese 3/5
Yogurt 10/5
Ice cream 2.79

My just for you gives me a coupon for three dollars off of twenty.

Oranges .99
Blues, or blackberries 2/6
Barilla  1.00
Grapes 2.99
Cucumbers 1.00
HORMEL entres 5.99$$$
Five dollar Friday
Chicken, raw ( ck weight)
Cooking oil
Salad 4/5
24 ounces tomatoes

Halo clementines 3.99
Milk 2/5

That's about it.  

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Friday, January 2, 2015

Grocery trip

Just went to QFC.  Mega sale is in.  Most of the stuff is things that I don't buy, but my vegetarian daughter does.  I buy regular food for all four of us, and she buys any alternative food she wants to supplement.   We take turns when we buy take out,  she bus about every third time.   Take out is a good alternative to going out.  You are buying your own drinks and we can with careful planning and some coupons get dinner about four dollars.   Still a splurge, but manageable.


I got grape tomatoes for 2.00
Pasta was a buck, coupons for a dollar off three.  Only some varieties count, but I was able to get a reasonable selection of what dear husband would eat.  Net .67
Blues were 2.50
BBQ meat was 3.99 and I had a dollar coupon.   - net 2.99
Pork chops were BOGO, 2.50 per meal,
Stew beef 6.00 a pound
Sandwich meat, ham and turkey were 2.99 ea and I had .50 each coupons,  net 2.49

Spent 37.00. Saved thirty dollars.

What to do with what I got

1) BBQ beef sandwiches with French fries ( 2.00 a package).  Dinner 2.50 plus a salad.
2) pork chops, a gratin potatoes, green beans   2.50, .50..50 3.00
3) pizza.   , homemade crust, sausage 2.95
4) beef stroganoff. 6.50
5) blueberry waffles, , yogurt parfaits 4.00
6) red spaghetti with red sauce , green beans , French bread 2.97
7) baked cod, oven roasted root veggies, bread  5.00

Does not include staples, does include some food purchased in other weeks.  25.50

Not quite a hundred dollars a month, but pretty good in my book.   Add breakfast and lunches and cost of staples and you are well under 75.00 a week.  USDA  stats  for two of is is 85.40 , September figures.  

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Top 10 things I buy at the dollar store

First  of all, not all dollar stores are alike.   We have a Dollar Tree.

Some lady told me that the dollar store just had cheap ??!!.   True,  there is throw away junk , but there is also good things  a whole lot cheaper than other stores.

Top ten things I buy at the dollar store.

1) facial tissue.   120 count

2) cleaning supplies - window cleaner, soft scrub for my sink, disappearing sponges for the black marks on walls, and grease on the stove, regular sponges with a scrubber on the back.

3) cotton rounds for taking off makeup.  Nail files. Soap and toothpaste are free with coupons.   Toothbrushes are two for a dollar.
4) coffee filters , napkins.  ( the quality is not the best on napkins, but they work and they are a throw away,  we usually use cloth napkins, but use paper when we are having tomato based goods that would stain bad.   Years ago, I found material really cheap, and made napkins.  .  They cost me a dime.

5)  gloves for children.   Kids loose gloves.   There is no sense in buying or making mittens to be lost.

6). Oberto sausage and pepperoni.   The same size package is upwards of three dollars with the same far out pull date.

7)  The Sunday paper.  You can get it all week.

8) spices  and sprinkles.

9) balloons for parties.

10) googelie eyes , school supplies , children's cardboard books, word seek books, coloring books,

Guess that is it.

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Thursday, January 1, 2015

Top 10 things I buy at costco

Borrowing an idea from another post, here are the top 10 things I buy at Costco

1) gas.   By far the cheapest around here.   Sometimes it is as much as a buck under the competition.

2) meds  --over the counter meds.

3) liquid soap

4) toilet paper , occasional paper towels.

5) rags from the automotive department.  I use  them for the kitchen.   Change them often, especially if I am cooking raw chicken.

6)  Bisquick, a start for many quick recipes that saves time and money.

7) nuts , my granddaughter and her gramps favorite snack!

8) bulk sausage

9) grated cheese at the costco's business.   It comes in five pound bags and is far cheaper than the grocery store even on sale.

10) sugar free coffee syrup at Costco business.  The savings are remarkable.

10.5.  Boxed tomato soup when they have it.  It is far cheaper than the grocery store and I add blue cheese and basil.   Yum!

Bananas.   Far less expensive than any store I've seen.

That's about it.   Some  of those things  a year expense.   Some we buy often ( gas) .

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Sunday, December 28, 2014

Slow cookers

Just a quick one here.   Slow cookers can be your best friend in the kitchen if you know you are going to have a busy day or you don't feel well.    Put  something in it, the recipes out there are plentiful.   Look on the Betty Crocker  web site.   Sign up for e mails for the things you are interested in.   They sent me a calendar for free.   Anything with chocolate and cherries on it can't be bad!   LOL.  

When our freezer went out, we still had chickens with ice crystals on them.   I needed to cook four chickens in a hurry.  Some I roasted.  Some I found a recipe for in the crockpot.   I shun away from raw meat starting on low.   I think it has to come up to temp faster to be safe.  Just a fetish if mine.  
This recipe is super fast ( I was recovering from hip surgery) and did the trick.   You put a cut up onion on the bottom of the pot.   Make a slice rub.   Wash and dry the chicken, rub it with slice rub and cook it on high on the pot for an hour a pound,   I think you could reduce the cooking time a little .  Watch it the last hour and pull ot when it is done.  It provides itself a lot of chicken stock.   The breast meat on top is in tact.  The meat that cooks in the juices is fall apart done.  Great for enchiladas, pot pie. Tacos etc.    it's a no Brainer if you need to cook a chicken and have no time,

The entire family including the baby loves sausage bean soup.   I leave the sausage out for the vegetarians.   It's another quick and easy cheap dinner.    Start dumping :

2 -15 ounce cans of diced tomatoes.   2 cans of beans of your choice.  ( I use two different kinds.) a quart if chicken stock or veggie stock, two to three cups of veggies, chopped and astute until limp.
Use anything you have, I use mixed peppers, onion, celery, carrot.  

Cover and cook on high for 4-6 hours or on low for 8-10 hours.  

We top with grated parm or other hard cheese of we have it.  

I either make bread, or heat brown and serve baguette that I can still get at business Costco or sometimes at the bakery outlet ( franz on 164th on Lynnwood. )

There is always chocolate decadence!  

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Saturday, December 27, 2014

On dishes .

There seems to be a misconception on dishes out there , especially for the younger generation.
So here are some facts to clear things up.

The health department won't allow ironstone dishes used in a place where one is  feeding outsiders.   Ie a nursing  home or adult family home, bed and breakfast or eating establishment.   They chip easily and harbor germs.   China chips less easily.  Restaurant      china is porcelain and is more durable.    Restraunt china can be purchased at Costco wholesale cheap.   I bought a set of plates and coup soup dishes we use all the time for every day.  I also have a set of buffet dishes that are open stock at pier one, they were three dollars a plate.  

Good china with a good or silver rim can be washed in the dishwasher if you do it properly.   Rinse the dishes after scraping them with a rubber spatula, in a dishpan of sudsy water ( dawn ) .  Put them in the dishwasher with no soap and no heat dry cycle of you have an old less energy efficient dishwasher.   It's the old fashioned heat cycle and the harsh detergent that kills the gold.

Sterling does not have to be polished nearly as much as the stainless steel fridge.   If put away properly and kept away from painted walls, it  only,needs polishing once a year.   It does need to be polished though.  If let to go black, it is not good for it.   A silver tea set last I checked was in the thousands of dollars, it needs to be polished and put in tarnish cloth bags.   Ditto other sterling Halloware .    Mustard and other acidic foods will pit sterling.

Children need to learn what the finer things in life are and how to take care of things and treat things with respect.  My granddaughter at two knows how to open my I pad and how to use one finger to carefully navigate to her sites.  She also knows that china is not to be used as a frisbee.  LOL.  I think it is a mistake to raise a bunch if hooligans that don't know what a seafood fork is for.   We are loosing a heritage that is a shame to be lost.

We are living in a throw away society where electronics go obsolete  on purpose and it soo important to have the latest and the finer things in life are not important.   I think we are loosing something here.   When was the last time you set a table and all ate at the table for dinner?    I a, as guilty as the next person at this.    We need to do it more often,   It builds family and I think is being lost on the electronic bustle of our lives.

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Friday, December 26, 2014

Almost free pizza

I got a bread machine for Christmas!   But, I have a pizza crust recipe that uses the food processor and is quick , and simple.  No rising!  

Almost free pizza takes some planning.  But not much.  Take a couple of freezer bags, and mark one veggies and one meat.   If you don't like mixed meat, mark each separate.   Every time you are chopping a veggie that goes on a pizza, set a little aside for the pizza  bag.  Same with leftover meat.  Chicken pieces, ham pieces?   When you have enough, make pizza.  All the chopping is done and you have saved a little from each meal.  

Study a pizza menu from your local take out and get new ideas for pizza.  
Buffalo chicken pizza os a favorite.  

You can also set aside a little pasta sauce from the pot next time you are making pasta.  Or I use a 8 ounce can of tomato sauce.  It's .25 every once in a while from ALBERTSONS.   Just add onion and Italian seasoning,  

Cheese is cheapest at the business Costco.   It comes in five pound bags.  

The recipe for pizza crust os on an earlier post.  

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Christmas breakfast

It's Christmas.   Merry Christmas.    I don't usually worry about cost of food for the holidays.   We are bringing food to family and I don't skimp.   Besides, the specials are not what you are going to find Christmas week.   I did get ingredients that were not perishable ahead of time when I found good prices.  

We spend Christmas morning just the five of us.   My son hasn't made it to Chrostmas for a lot of years now.   That would be a fun experience with his three girls.   We have breakfast and open packages after breakfast.  Santa, of course, came last night and I'm sire will be opened first thing.  

We are having
Belgian waffles
Fresh fruit
Sparkling cider
Sweet rolls.  

The table setting is centered with  crystal trees under a bed of snow and tiny lights.m. The tablecloth is a Waterford blue woth snowflakes.   The goblets are clear with blue and white snowflakes.  
We don't all sit down for breakfast at the same table often, I want ot to be festive and memorable.  

Next week it is back of economy!    I got a bread baker for Christmas,so we will be making bread.  I haven't cost ot out yet, I'm not sire it is cheaper than buying bread at the bakery outlet.  
It is a misconception that scratch is always cheaper than ready made.mmsometimes scratch tasts better and has less preservatives, but it os,not especially cheaper so,stores.   You have to do the math, If the math says I am not saving a legitimate amount, I don't bother.

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Sunday, December 21, 2014

Fred Meyer ad

New York roast  3.99
1/2 roast 4.88
Broccoli .99
Crayons 1.00
Frozen veggies .99
Frozen potatoes 1.99
Blues 2.99
Jello 1.00
Oranges .78
Celery .59
Radishes  2/.88
Green beans or Brussels sprouts 1.99
Lettuce .99

Women's pjs  16.99

The ads... A joke

I got the ads this week.  They are pretty much a joke for those trying to keep a budget.   Christmas week is not the time to buy your traditional Christmas dinner.    They know that you are going to buy the ingredients at any price and they take advantage of that.  

Case in point.   Sparkling cider or juice.  I got it for 3/5 at SAFEWAYS a few weeks back.    It is,now 2/5.   And the list could go on!  

We finally saw that the ribs  were  back at SAFEWAYS.   We have a rain check on them. Mom course, they didn't come back until after the coupon  I had expired!  Can't win them all.  

When we were growing up, we had a dinner menu for holiday .  We had turkey,dressing, gravy,sweet potatoes that were mashed, a marshmallow put in the center of a ball, and  rolled in corn flakes, creamed baby onions. Green beans with bacon, a green jello salad with green pepper, pineapple and cucumbers, mashed potatoes and a relish tray with green and black olives and stuffed celery with cream cheese and cheney's  choice!  

Christmas dinner was prime rib and Yorkshire pudding.  

The year my youngest was born, I had chicken chow mein in the hospital.   LOL
Held a ice,cube on my mouth so my fever would go down so I could  get to my moms house for leftovers!   LOL

Random thoughts.

I made bread in the bread baker this  week.   We don't eat a lot of bread, but there os something about hot bread from the oven that tastes so good.   I especially like it with homemade soup.  

One year most of the family was in Europe and we had soup and a mixture of salad the kids brought home from macdonalds after shift.   One year I made stuffed pork loin for part of the family that wasn't in Europe.   I got a call in the middle of cooking that my Dad had had a massive stroke.  I really don't know how I finished dinner.  My mom had a lot of support around her.  I finished dinner and presents without a word,and got my MIl to take the kids home so we could go up north to the hospital.  

There have been good and not so good Christmases. They all have been memorable.  

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Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Meal plans

This is a repeat!   Prices have changed and I have had to make adjustments to compensate.

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.

Obviously, prices have changed.  This  was from about a year ago.  I can still get chicken cheap.   Sausage has taken a hike and beef has gone through the roof!   I can still find a minute steak for a decent price.   Some cuts of beef I can find for four dollars.  That is cheaper than good ground beef . When that happens, I make my own ground beef.  ( really, my husband and I make it ) 
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Thursday, December 11, 2014

The ads


Cream of mushroom soup .69
Ham 1.99
Oranges .99
Grapes 2.99
Berries 2.99
Kiwi 2-1
Ice cream 2/5

Five dollar Friday
Chicken wings
Snack bites
Truffles 2/5
K cups


Chuck roast 3.99
Butter 2/5
K cups 5.99

Buy 4, save 4.  Net prices
Pizza 4.49
GM cereals 1.49
Potatoes, frozen 1.99
8 pack yogurt  3.49
Classic pasta sauce 1.49

Apples .99
Ham 1.97

Quarter deals
Yoplait .50
Tomato sauce  8 pz .25
Tomatoes 3/10
Salad 1.00
Pears 1.00

That's about all

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Note, I put k cups on because I know there are people that just buy them for holiday company.   It is,not necessarily what is appropriate for a bRe bones budget!  LOL.  

I have not downloaded coupons yet, but I'm sire it would be worth your while to check the matchup sites and download coupons,com.  

Monday, December 8, 2014

Off the subject

I thought I would talk about Christmas decor today.  Just to mix stuff up.  

Last year I didn't put up the trees.   We have a two and a half year old in the house.   This yeR I put up one tree and I gathered every white decoration that I had collected over the years that wasn't breakable.  I augmented them with six dollars worth of ornaments from the dollar store.   I'm using it as a test for the dear granddaughter.   She only got into the tree once.  We had a discussion before, but she forgot.   I reminded her sternly, and she has left it alone ever since.   She was playing with her play mobile toys.   The snowman told the tree that we don't touch the tree,  we just look at it.  

Decorations take in more if a presence when you group several together.   It makes more of a statement for less.   I started collecting santas years ago.   I got santas for presents and added one Santa a year.  Now the kitchen windowsill is full of santas.   I made a valance out of some Christmas material that has santas making their lists.  

I used to decorate a lot.  Now, I have cut way back, but I still decorate because I think the grandchild needs to see the traditions.  

I'm sorry all of my grandchildren aren't here to see them.   They are missing out.  I didn't have a grandmother.   Both if them died before I could know them.  

One year I was running a care center for mental patients.   We had no budget for decorations.  I bought a spray can of gold paint and a bolt of red ribbon.   Anything that didn't move got spray painted and a red bow.   We got donations of ornaments and a little elf made a chrostmas tree magically appear on our doorstep.   It was a great Christmas.   The residents folded readers digests to make a skirt for an angel and we pit them together and spray paints them gold.   We brought in greens and pinecones and sprayed the pinecones with gold paint.

My daughter saw a video making stars out of paper just using scissors and a stapler.    She works at a Christian school.   She made stars for her classroom and one for a tree ornament.   Almost no cost and equipment that any house, office or school usually has.  

This year I made reindeer food and fixed boxes / bags for it for my daughters class and my granddaughters class.   I made enough for cousins and the neighbourhood kids that were age appropriate.   It's sometimes the little things that make a big difference. It  doesn't have to cost a lot of money, just a little imagination and time.  I'm years past I made snowman soup and designed a package.    I think it was cheaper to make the snowman soup.  

Thanks for stopping by.

I would love to hear of your traditions.    Food!

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Thursday, December 4, 2014

This weeks ads

Here we go

Grapes 1.99
London broil 3.99
Milk 2/5@@
Libby veggies 2/2@@
5lb potatoes .99@@

Buy 5, save 5, net prices

GM cereals, fiber one bars    2.69
Kellogg's cereals 1.99

Ice cream 2.49
Coffee dreamer .99
Kraft singles 1.99
Cake mix .99
K cups 4.99
Grey pompon 2.49
Digiorno 4.49

English muffins 2/3
Berries 3/10

Milk 2.99
Peppermint ice cream 2/7

5 dollar Friday
Cheese pizza
Grapes 2 lbs
Boston cream cake
G cereal  3/5
Crisco oil
K cups


Oranges .69
Buy 4, save 4, net prices
GM cereal 1.49
Frozen potatoes    1.99
Pasta sauce 1.49, glass jar

Berries 2.99

That's about it

Be sure to cross off anything that is cheaper elsewhere.   Note there are usually coupons for cereal , maybe pasta sauce.  




Wednesday, December 3, 2014


We all know this time  of year is crockpot mania.    This is the time of yearning we all wish there was an extra six  hours or so in a day.  

I just found this web site.   Crockpot.com.  

Thousands of recipes.  Program the type of food you want, the size if your cooker and the ingredient you want to use.

Enough said!  

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Monday, December 1, 2014


Tonight we are having sloppy joes, garlic fries and leftover spinach salad.

Spinach salad


I'm usually more organized for Christmas by now.  My illnesses are kicking my butt.   I did make reindeer food packets thos week end and have my list .  Not having to go to work will help in the catching up.  Some things that I can't physically do I'm going to deligate. If they don't get done, I guess it wasn't important enough to the person to have  them done and well do without.  LOL

Now is a good time to find easy meals to free time to get the mirage of extra projects done that make Christmas   happen.

Our sloppy joes tonight are case in point.  The hamburger was already fried and in the freezer.  All I had to do was to bang it on the counter and put it on a fry pan.  I added the ingredients for sloppy joes and let it summer.   I put French fries in the oven on convection and got the bag of salad I had left over from yesterday out of the fridge.   Dinner was ready on 20 moniters-- most of which was passive cooking,




Shopping trip

Yesterday I braved the cold...LOL ... And went shopping.    We just went to grocery outlet.    I saved as much as I spent,     Coffee is always a. Season.  We got regular coffee and I got a package of k cups for three dollars.   I always get two cups out of a pod.  

Cheese continues to be a bargain.    I got cookies for 4/1.00 and there are foit cookies on the package.   Kinda remind me of the snowballs we got occasionally when we were kids-- a whole lot smaller .  

Cream puffs were on a sale.  Thought I would have them for holiday!   The look on granddaughters face was priceless!     Sunflower seeds are a treat for my husband.    Yoplait was a reasonable cost.  

Organic soup base and beer bread.  

Sounds like a hodge lodge, but I spent 2/3 of the grocery money and saved as much as I spent.   Shopping the.soecials that are truly soecials means that you done have to buy a weeks groceries.   You have stock and can buy what is in sale that week. I have a turkey on the freezer.  

Grocery outlet is not a bargain on everything,   I link for certain things,    Cheese and coffe are the main draws for us,   Usually you can get five pounds of fries for a small amount too.   Sometimes sweet potato fries.  

Betty Crocker has a month of December meals on their e mail this week.   Fast and easy.   A lot of them call of a ready made,but most ofmthemti,emyou,can get enough of a inspiration to make it from scratch.  

To answer a question I got, white sauce is what cream of mushroom soup is if you want to replicate a recipe without using a can.  

I try to get Christmas work done before mid month.   I am far behind other years because of ill health and having to rebuild the business.  On the other hand, I don't have to go to work so I can get more done. Things will work put.  I don't bake anymore. No one eats ot and my children bake.  

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