Monday, September 28, 2015

Sausage and hamburger bulk.

One way to stretch a dollar is to buy sausage and meat in bulk.  This time I only bought two pounds of ground beef at Fred Meyers for 3.99 a pound. I also bought three pounds ofmjimmymdean sausage for 7.99 at Costco.   It is 4.99 a pound elsewhere.    A HUGE savings.  

I sliced off four sausage patties and fried and defatted the rest of the sausage.   One ,eat is sausage and egg breakfast for dinner and the rest can be used in pasta sauce. Quiche. Pizza, vegetable bean soup.  Probably 9 meals.  

The hamburger I made two hamburger patties and made a meat loaf with the rest.   3 meals.  

Total 12 meals
Sixteen dollars
1.34 a meal.  

Meat loaf : add eggs, homemade bread crumbs, 2 T catsup, onion, garlic, Italian seasoning 

Sausage ready for freezer , date with marker ( dollar tree) 

Defeat sausage , cook, drain, pour boiling water, drain.    

Hamburger patties, with cereal liner I between.  

Fried sausage before de-fatting 

Pics aren't in order, I don't know what I did when. Downloaded. Sorry.   I set aside enough meat for patties, cooked and de-fatted the sausage, and made a meat loaf.   Cooking both on batches saves a lot of time and space on the freezer.   ( you can store things flat) 

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Fred Meyers ad. My take on RBP

Its hard these days to pick the RBP because there is a shake up in the food industry here and grocery prices have taken a hike up.   I watched a u tube if a lady in Texas, I was very surprised with the prices.  I know that she has a lot of kids to feed and she coupons and "shops" the sales, but the oryxes were a good forty percent lower than we have in the PNW.   

The ads 

Shrimp 5.99
Apples .99
Note: the cheese is,not a bargain......just because something has a coupon, doesn't mean it's a bargain, I want as close to two dollars a pound as I can get for cheese.   

Bacilli pasta and hunts pasta sauce.   .79@@. Note Braille pasta hasn't had a coupon recently that I could find.  That's a good price.   The pasta sauce would normally be a good price, but the dollar tree has it for .75 when you buy four with an in store coupon.   

Yogurt is 10/5 and there are coupons out there.   Get them while you can.  We get a new batch in a few days,  

Pears .99
Cantaloupe 2.00

Rock bottom Prices 

I got Campbell's soup for .59 this week at Safeways with a store coupon @@ and a manufacturers 
Almost everyone will take both except Winco.   Stacking coupons is the best way to get the lowest price possible on an item.   

I got frozen entrees for .68  at QFC using a coupon.   Favado has a link.   

Any pasta under a dollar that is a good brand is a good buy.   Brailla  for .79 is remarkable.   

I try for meat at two dollars a meal ( three of us eat meat). That is the same amount I spent in 1970 for three of us,   I have to admit that we are eating different.   We no longer have a roast very often and steak is out of the question.   My husband has esophagus issues and the cost is prohibitive on our budget.    I can still average two dollars a meal or less.   That is what you need budget for a five dollar meal.  ( four dollars a day) we actually spend less than four dollars a day per person.   

Last night we had pork tenderloin. Baked acorn squash and honeydew melon .   

I have got diced tomatoes and beans for fifty cents lately at Fred Meyers.   

Sliced black olives are .70 at Winco.   We use them on vegetarian pizza a lot.   Also nachos 

Seasoned mashed potatoes are .87 a pouch RBP.   Occasionally I get them cheaper at Winco.   

Frozen vegetables  are always under a dollar, I prefer a pound if I can find them. 

I got frozen French fries and tater tots for .60 for two pounds with a coupon at QFC.   They are cheapest on the five pound bag at grocery outlet.   

The few times I buy a cake mix or brownie mix, I get them for a dollar.  That is close to scratch.    
Oatmeal I buy at Costco.  I want cereal at a dollar a box.   I got 12 ounce box of Cheerios for a dollar at Fred Meyers with stacking .   

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Saturday, September 26, 2015

Meal plans, why bother

Lots of feed back.... why bother with meal plans,.fly by the sear of our pants....I may not feel like eating that that particular day.  

Meal plans are just that..a plan.   Plans can change.   It's a starting point.   They are good because ....

  • They keep you balanced.   I started to wrote plans the other day and looked at them more carefully....I had way too much processed food.    Time for a re-write.   I try for no more than once a week.    Processed food see not popular with the foodies, so they are some of the more reasonable foods in the store.  
  • I try for two dollar a pound average for protein.  It would be real easy not to have a variety of meals.  
  • Making a plan and a list of things that need to be used up saves money by not wasting food and you don't have to eat the same thing three days in a row.  
  • Having some meals planned that are quick and efficient will stave off the fast food gremlins when you day isn't going as planned!    
  • Posting meals should keep family members from eating the rice you pre made for tonight's dinner.  lol
  • It takes away the " what's for dinner" delima at four in the afternoon.   I'd rather be taking a nap!    ... Really!    

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Wednesday, September 23, 2015

The ads

I basically shopped at the dollar tree and Costco this week.   Today we went to Costco and got the months worth of dairy and a few staples ( olive oil, etc. ) and of course, bananas and sausage.    The dollar store is good these days for cookies, coffee pods, and pasta sauce.  Hunts sauce has an in store coupon that makes it .75.  That is the lowest it has been  for some time.  

There was no QFC ad this week.  

 HAggens - two weeks,

Friday- Sunday
Potatoes -5 lbs .89
Parm bogo. - hard to tell if it's a bargain w/o cost.

Week coupon
Bread 1.69
Goldfish 1.00
Ice drink 2/1
Tillamook cheese 5.99

Chicken soup 1.09 ***** Safeways .79
Klondike bars  3.99***.  Safeways 2.99 just for u

Now, the dual companies .....LOL

Dijourno 5.00
Mission tortilla chips 1.49

.80 when u buy 10
Pasta sauce
Retried beans
Snack pack,
BBQ sauce

Notes:   Diced tomatoes and beans are .50 at Fred Meyers , pasta sauce ism.75 at the dollar store with in store coupon.( buy 4) Retried beans are as cheap all the time at Costco.

Five dollar frenzie
Tri tip roast

Jimmy dean sausage 4.99 lb ( about half that at Costco)
Soup .79@@
Kraft dressing 1.49@@
Shrimp 3.99@@
Dijourno 4.99@@
Stag chili .99@@
Folders 6.99
Tomatoes .99

Safeways has the same ad for .80 when u buy 10

That's about all.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Trip to Grocery Outlet, Fred Meyer and Dollar Tree.

Usually, when we go to town, I like to try to hit as much as possible so that I can save more than the gas we use to go.    Grocery Outlet and Dollar Tree are next door to each other.    Fred Meyer is on the way home.  

At Dollar tree, I didn't buy any food this time.   I did get 100 percent cotton shirts for granddaughter.   She , like many three year olds, is a messy painter and eater.  Having a T shirt for her to change nto that is dark and doesn't show stains, helps greatly in the stress level of the house.  It isn't a bib, because she is a "big girl" and it teaches her to change into grubbies when she is doing something messy.    I found Revlon nail enamel and Elf lipstick.   SCORE!

Grocery Outlet didn't score much.   Blue cheese for .79, five head bands for DGD, and some Tillamook cheese and vegetable stock.

Fred Meyers had some good sales.  Their ad didn't have a lot, but keeping eyes open saved a lot.  
I did splurge and bought a DVD ten per cent off for DGD.  Soup was .79.  Yoplait was 10/5 and I had a dollar coupon.   I got 20 Folgers coffee pods for 4.29.   canned tomatoes and canned beans were fifty cents.  Milk was .99.  hopefully I got enough to last until QFC has it on sale again.  Frozen entrees were .79,  

We came home and put the vegetable stock, tomatoes, beans and two carrots and celery ribs in the crock pot on high for dinner.   I added some herbs and garlic and onion.   About a five dollar pot of soup and enough for tomorrow's dinner too.  

My daughter went shopping too.  She got five pair of shoes (summer) for .50 TOTAL.   Also pants, leggings and a jacket for the baby and the total was 18.00,

I digress, back to food.  

Meal plans go a long way to make sure you eat what needs to be eaten soon in your fridge and  stave off the take out bandits.   But, never underestimate the  joy of finding a unadvertised special and taking advantage of it.  

If you are on the four dollar a day budget, or less, it is imperative that you average five dollars a dinner.  That is still doable in this climate. It certainly is not the same meals we had for five dollars even five years ago, but it is doable.   Food prices have taken a jump.   I spent eighty dollars a week for the past quarter.    I do have to say that the pantry and freezer is stuffed and we don't need to spend a lot the next month.   Still, twenty dollars per person per week is not over budget.   Four dollars a day is 28.00 and that is not counting the cost of a stock.  

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Fred Meyers ad

Fred Meyers ad

Grapes. 1.28
Milk .99@@
K cups 4.99
Campbell's soup .79
Pumpkin pie 2.99
Michelinas entrees .79
Tomatoes 2/4 (grape organic)
Roma's .89
Zucchini .99

Just a nite worth reading ...  FYI

Heritage farm chicken is Tyson.   Tyson is southern grown chicken.    Tyson as also has petition and ot earache from the government to ship their chicken to China for processing .  Rather ironic cause atone time, China wouldn't import chicken from Arkansas.   Besides the fact that it takes away jobs from the USA?   Just saying.......

Foster Farms has assured me that their chicken comes from wa, ore, and ca.   They are processed in those states ass well and they have no plans to change that plan.  When you buy deli CHICKEN you  don't know where it came from,  

that's about all

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Wednesday, September 16, 2015

The ads

Finally got the ads today.    I went to qfc today.  Frozen potatoes are a dollar for two pounds.  

Country style ribs 1.99
Oranges .99
Yo plait 10/5

five dollar Friday
Cantaloupes 3/5

Apples .99
Top round 3.99

Oranges .99
Berries 2/5
Freschetta  3.99$$
Pork shoulder 1.99
Michelinas entree .88
Kroger veggies and potatoes 10/10

Top round 3.99
Ribs 1.99
Oranges .99
Ice cream 2.99
Milk 2/5@@
Apples .99
Mjb7.99$$ coffee


Dinner for a song!

At the dollar tree. Buy four with in store coupon , makes them .75 each -  far out pull dares.    Watch for dented cans.   

Getting organized.

Meals on a budget takes a bit of organizing.  It used to be that you could have a few tried and true recipes and rotate them to make meals that made everyone happy.    Now, people decide they need to be vegetarian or gluten free or whatever, and it takes a bit more to keep up with plans.

I have binders I picked up at the goodwill and print recipes from Betty Crocker on line.  Sometimes someone will give a new one to me,   Plastic sleeves are at the dollar store. The office big box stores have them, but I don't see the need to have super good quality for this use.   If you have the recipes under plastic it saves them from getting messed up with splatters while you cook.    I also have my personal recipe binders from the 80's .

I recently found recipes that are designed to make ahead the night before and put in the fridge.   You can come home from whatever and stick them in the oven, or in the crockpot the next morning and have dinner ready.   I find this desirable because our meal time is late because of schedule issues and by that time, I'm wasted.  The last thing I want to do is spend an hour cooking dinner AND watching a toddler.   LOL.   Before, it was nice to come home from work and shove something from the fridge to the oven and sit and watch the news with a glass of ice tea, or have time to get a load of laundry in before dinners.

I'm in the process of separating the recipes into other sub groups.   I have deserts and sides on one book and main dishes in another.  

I have developed a meal plan work sheet that helps with using up what needs to be eaten  soon and listing what you have to work with and what you may need to buy to fill in.    Most of the time  I don't need anything but I don't stock any speciality items like avocados etc.

Mohave a small closet /pantry on my kitchen.   I have different items in sections on shelves.  I can tell if I see white space whether or. It I need to watch for a sale.   This doesn't come fast, but eventually you get there.   When you find something 1/2 price  you buy two instead of buying one.  You have spent your regular money, and you are one ahead.   Eventually you get to the point where you only buy the sales on its,a the you use in a regular basis and the perishables you need.   Once a month I go to Costco and buy eggs, sour cream, cottage cheese.  I watch Fred Meyers for milk and buy as much as I think we will need before it goes on sale again, watching our consumption and pull dates.  Usuall I can rotate between qfc and Fred Meyer sales and cover ourselves.  I haven't had to pay full price for milk in a while.

We get Winco on October 22nd.  I can't wait.  It is no sere that I am not a anzmoured with the merger or buy out of albertsons and Safeways.  It has created a big upheaval in the grocery industry and now Haggens has filed chapter 11 stating that they have lawsuits pending from the ,eager and owe wages.  My daughter was stiffed out of three grand worth of wages, it os,not a good thing

At least now, we have Kroger and Winco along with Costco and grocery outlet to stay the tide until things level out. I suspect that the two stores will merge, and unfortunately, stores will close and jobs will be lost.

Being flexible and changing meals to adapt to the rising cost of some food items, knowing your prices on your staple ite,s and stocking when it's a RBP are tools you can use to keep your grocery down to a manageable amount.

The Internet can be a wonderful resource for recipes and ideas.

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Sunday, September 13, 2015

Fred Meyers.

There was some discussion on Facebook about grocery stores.   The newspaper was discussing the difference between whole foods milk and safeways milk, safeways was more expensive.   This milk was six dollars a gallon.   I am comvinced that people with six figure salaries can afford food from those kinds of stores.   The rest of us would like to have a roof over our heads and clothes in our backs too.   LOL.   The discussion changed to the most expensive and the cheapest stores.   The Everett herald some years ago made up a typical grocery basket list.   Then they sent people out to price the list at chain grocery stores.   At the time qfc and Fred Meyers were owned by separate companies.   qfc was the most expensive and Fred Meyers was the cheapest.    Now I would love to do that experiment, but don't have the manpower.   My best guess would be that Haggens is the most expensive and Winco would be the cheapest.   Safeways used to be my go to grocery store, but things changed when Haggens took over.    I, convinced they are slowly merging the two stores.   it will be interesting to see the end result.  

Fred Meyers ad

Stone fruits are .99 ( plums, nectarines, peaches
Butter 1.69@@limit 2
Cheese 4.99@@ limit 2
Cheerios. 1.49 @@$$ limit 4. Nets a buck with coupons
Foster farms grill pack .99 ( note :  only one time in five have I found grill packs when they were advertised.)

The coupons this week are good.   Werthers original candy ismamdollar off two.   They are at the dollar tree.   Also. There is a coupon for soup.   I think it is at the dollar store too.   There are name brand foods at the dollar store.    Anything with a six in the start of the bar code is from China.    Dollar store has a limit per transaction in coupons,  I think it is four.   When you score a match up, it is usually a good price .  The dollar store is already a bargain in most cases, and add a coupon, it's really a bargain,   So,e things, however, are more expensive than a grocery store sale price.   It still boils down to know your prices.  I have the handful of staples we buy memorized.   But, numbers come naturally for me, I was an accountant for years.   Many people use a price book, either a small notebook they can carry with them, for a spread sheet in the computer.    My tablet has a spreadsheet.

Friday, September 11, 2015

The ads

Rather disappointing ads this week.   That being said I don't need to buy anything but ice cream, and it's on sale and its my favorite brand!    SCORE!

Being flexible goes a long ways in doing groceries on the cheap.  

Haggens is filing for bankruptcy.   The way they raised prices doesn't surprise me, but apparently or stems more from the circumstances around purchasing ALBERTSONS and SAFEWAYS.   I think they are working towards combining the two stores.  Their ads are looking more and more alike.   The prices have made a remarkable increase, and I, not liking that two companies control most of the chain stores and the lack of competition.    The shopper looses in that scenario.    We do have WINCO coming in and they are advertising for workers, so it must be sooner than expected !   And,mothers is Costco, grocery outlet, the dollar store ( for a select few things ) and big lots.

2 week ad until 9/15

Beef chuck or eye of round roast 3.99
2 lbs carrots .89
Red potatoes -5 lbs 2,00
Johnsonville brats 1.99
Re fried beans .79
Fiona paper towels 2.99$$
Cheese 4.99
Tillamook ice cream 2,99

Buy 5, save 5
Net prices
Ore idea frozen potatoes 1.99
Oatmeal, 1.88
Cookies 1.99

Freschetta  pizza 4.99@@

Tillamook sale
Buy 10.00
2 lbs cheese 6.99
Yogurt 20/10
Sour cream 5/8
Sliced, shredded cheese 3/10
Ice cream 3/10
Ice cream bars 3/10
Sliced cheese 2/10

Cantaloupe 2/cucumbers, bell peppers 1.00


Chicken .99
Broccoli, tomatoes .99
Milk 4/5

Buy 5, save 5

Freschetta 4.99
Apple juice .99
Klondike bars 2.49


Five dollar Friday
Johnsonville dinner sausage
Chicken strips FF
Cheese -2 lbs
Digiorno pizza
Angel soft tissue $$

Can't elope 2/5
Cucumbers, green pepper 1.00

Bs brownie mix 1.00

That's about it.

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Wednesday, September 9, 2015


What do you do when you aren't on snap and you don't have any sum of money at a time to stock.
The sad truth is there are a lot of people on this world, and each one of us has a different personality.    There are two kinds of people that land on snap.   There is the person that has just lost their job, had a baby, or fell on temporary hard times, and the person that is a generational welfare person, and probably some that are in between the extremes.    I would venture to say that there will b some people that are too lazy for whatever reason to make the effort to put nutrition on the table with little resources.   Sometimes , it is because they don't know any better, sometimes it may be because of mental illness.   I won't try to address the latter, I'm no expert by any means.  If it is just because they don't know how to cook, or don't know how to find bargains, or what to buy, or are overwhelmed by the magnatide of their situation, I can at least steer people on the right direction.  

We , in this area, have a dollar tree in every neighborhood, usually next to a Safeway store or a grocery outlet.   If I was trying to save gas, or had little resources, I would pick one that was near a grocery outlet.  That would be 130th and aurora in Seattle or in Kenmore.   You can go a long way to put food on the table shopping at these two stores,matching the ads, and finding coupons.   There are coupons on the Internet, but also in the paper and even of you don't have the buck for the paper, you can probably find the ads and coupons if you ask around,  often they are just put in people's recycle and they would gladly give them to you.  

As a rule of thumb, I would stay away from ready made and processed foods.   Myself, I try to limit our intake of processed foods to once a week.   If you have an completely empty pantry, I would, however resort to some boxes.  The deal breaker for me is if a box is cheaper than I can make it from scratch.   If a recipe calls for an expensive item ( a special sauce or creamed soup for example) I find a way to substitute.   Cream soups can be substituted with a cream soup base mix you make yourself, Google "taste of home/ cream soup mix.".

That being said. There are things at the dollar tree that can easily make a meal on the cheap.  

Top ramen is 5-6 packages for a dollar.  There is also bags of frozen stir fry vegetables and vegetable oil or a olive oil blend.   You can stir fry vegetables mad add the cooked noodles.  Save the flavor packet.

Add the flavor packet to some milk and flour and make a thickened sauce.  Dollar tree has tuna and noodles for a dollar a piece.  

Uncle bens rice mixes are a dollar.   There is a coupon for 1.00 on four .  That makes them .75 each.  

Grocery outlet has cheese for a buck for 8 ounces  often.   You can add cheese to any starch and add protein.  

With a coupon, pepperoni is  .50.    Even without it. 1/2 a dollar bag of cheese, a dollar pepperoni, and a dollar pizza crust from the dollar store will make a pizza .  Add part of a can of tomato paste, or there is pizza sauce at the dollar tree.  Use part of it for a pizza and add the rest with cheese and macaroni for a casserole.   I have got mixed peppers for as low as fifty cents at grocery outlet.  

Bread is a dollar, peanut butter is a dollar.   jelly  is a dollar also.  

For a treat, there are chocolate striped shortbread cookies!    Cereal is a dollar, try for the least sugar coated one,   And juice drinks are four for a dollar.  As well as applesauce.  

Oatmeal is cheapest on the canister at grocery outlet.  

I got a bag of Foster farms chicken tenders cheap at grocery outlet.    They can be cubed , cooked, and added to any casserole.  

I have gotten pancakes , just add water, for fifty cents.   And sometimes you get is near the pull date and can be had for pennies.  

Being flexible and having a watchful eye for bargains can go a long way to put food on the table for pennies, even of you don't have a lot of money at a time.  

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Meal plans from shopping trip

Yesterday my daughter and I went to Costco.    I got cucumbers, peppers, and butter.  
I am still under budget.  

Meals from shopping trip

  1. roast pork tenderloin , oven roasted potatoes, carrots, peppers, radishes.   
  2. Pizza from crust bought at grocery outlet and cheese from Costco.   
  3. Fish packets ( spinach, rice, white beans. Tilapia, green beans.   
  4. Egg cups made with tortillas and eggs, spinach and cheese, fruit ( use spinach left over from fish packets) 
  5. Pork and vegetable stir fry ( use ramen noodles only ) and stir fry veggies.  Add spinach!   
  6. Meat loaf, baked potatoes, salad.   ( peppers and cucumbers ) 
  7. Out / leftovers 
Notes : 
1) Pork tenderloin was four dollars with a coupon.    Peppers are a dollar ( sometimes .50 at grocery outlet) and radishes are .50 at Fred Meyers.    Meal 4.00
2) pizza ( 1.50 crust, .50 cheese ( grocery outlet) tomato paste .10) total 2.10
3) fish packets ( tilapia 2.50, bens .50, rice, green beans .50.   4.00
4) eggs, tortillas, spinach , cheese - 1.62 
5) pork ( from #1) top ramen .40, stir fry veggies 2.00. Total 4.40
6) meatloaf 6.34, potatoes .30, salad 1.50.   8.14 
7) leftovers. 

Total. 3.38 per meal.  
Add a bag of salad 2.68, cucumbers 1.00, spinach 1.00, tomatoes 3.00.   1.28 per meal.   
Total  4.66.    

Under five dollars a meal based on six meals.    

Fred Meyers bargains

This is going to be short and sweet.  
Fred Meyers

Grapes 1.28
Milk .99@@
Oranges .99
Bread 3/4@@
Bumble bee tuna. 2/1. Limit 6@@
Cucumbers, green onions, radishes 2/1.  Note don't buy from Mexico now.   Recall alert.  
Good ground beef 3.99
Nalley chili .99@@

That's about it.  



Saturday, September 5, 2015

This and that

Groceries on the cheap doesn't have to be depriving yourself of good food.   It does mean that you change your priorities to not eating out a lot and not eating the most expensive cuts of meat.    We do still eat meat, those of us that choose to.    It takes a bit more time than that person that goes to one store and puts what they want or need on the basket and checks out.    There's nothing wrong with that if you have the money and it isn't your priority to save.   If you don't have the money, you are on a position temporarily that you have to use SNAP, or you just want to stretch what you do have, a little time can give you great payoffs.   If that payoff is nit running out of S NAP allotment before you run out of month and having food in the cupboard, that's a good thing,  it may mean that you can free up money to pay for your meds, or make both ends meet.   

Pairing all available ways if cutting your food costs is an easy way to save.    Planning your trip and finding ways to cook the meals quickly to make up the time works for me.  Basically, I get paid in savings to shop, I don't get paid to cook.   As long as the food is good, and people like it, it works for me.  

Yesterday's trip.    I am writing this to show an example, not to boast of my shopping skills.  I am just an ordinary person without any special talent.    I have done this for years, even when I was holding down two jobs and had three kids at home.    

I digress 

SAFEWAYS and dollar store.   

Dollar store first because it would have no perishables.    Our dollar tree and SAFEWAYS are close together.   Many others in the area either have a SAFEWAYS or a grocery Outlet near them.   It makes for a easy way to plan trios to save gas.   

Basic bounty paper towels 1.00 less a .50 coupon made the roll .50 
Dawn detergent, small bottle ( I got it for stain removal) was 100 with a coupon made it .50. 
Betty Crocker a gratin potatoes were a buck with a .50 coupon for two made the. .75.  
I got a book marked 27.95 and well worth it for a dollar.  
Four pure Apple juices were a dollar.  ( a splurge because anything in individual boxes is high, but worth it so granddaughter can help herself.  ) 

SAFEWAYS had a meat sale.   A lot of it was processed, but it has far out pull dates and I allow it for a garnish type addition to a meal and once a week.    It saves a lot of time and money,   Sometimes by seven o'clock when I can cook dinner, my body doesn't want to cooperate.    

Sirloin tips in gravy was five dollars : less than buying the meat and cooking it 
BBQ beef was five dollars.  - ditto 
Ham cubes were five dollars -   I can get four meals from a package.  
Pork tenderloin was five dollars and I had dollar off coupons.   So,e from last month and some from this, all cutrrent dated.   We can get two meals on a tenderloin and that makes a meals meat 2.00.  That was my budget when my oldest was three ( 43 years ago). .   
Tilapia filets were five dollars a bag.    

Black olives were BOGO. 
Corn 2/1 
Strawberries 2.00
Bread was 1.25 , bins .88 and there was an .20 ibotta on each.   

Most of it was either on sale really cheap, or cheap with a coupon, sale, ibotta ir a combination,   

This is the time of the month that the coupons are up on .  That takes me about half an hour to print two coupons for the things I may want.    They are filed in a binder under categories so I can find them fast.   0ther than that, I spend about ten minutes a week looking at favado to see if anything at the stores I am going to is matched with a coupon.    The coupon inserts are dated and placed on a file folder so I can quickly pull the coupons if they work.   Note the dollar three match ups are not always correct.   You have to pay close attention to the size of the packages and not all dollar trees carry the name brands.   Ibotta takes about two minutes while I unpack the groceries 
I generally can save an additional six dollars or so a week besides the regular sale prices.  Certain stores have better buys on certain things.  It os to your benefit to know what is cheapest regularly at which store. I never buy bananas anywhere but Costco.  The experts will tell you it is a waste to buy organic bananas.  Cheese is cheapest at grocery outlet and Costco.   I buy tillamook blocks whenever they are 250 a pound or less. 

Stocking affords you the luxury of only buying what's on sale.  This week, it was mostly protein next week, it may be frozen veggies and a chicken or hamburger.   It lets us eat well on less money.    My average for four of us is 75.00 a week.    That is half the USDA stats for thrifty cooking and we eat meat and facilitate a vegetarian and a diabetic diet.   

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Thursday, September 3, 2015

Retailers dirty little secrets.

If You know their tricks, you can  beat them at their own game.   I used to work for a non profit that helped small companies to bring their food products to market.    It is really tough for small companies to get onto larger stores.    Shelf space is at a premium.  

  1. Manufacturers pay slotting fees ( basically rent ) for shelf space.   The eye level shelves are most desireable and command the highest "rent ".  It's not too far of a stretch to expect that they are going to factor  their rent into the price of their product.   Save:  look up and down.   
  2. Most of a grocery stores profit lies in impulse buys.   Write  yourself a list of sale items and stick to it unless something shouts I really can use that and the price is right.   You don't really NEED M and Ms-- that hamburger that is priced at two dollars a pound because tomorrow is the pull date, however, can be a bargain to be wreckened with.   Take it home and cook and freeze immediately.
  3. It is No accident that the toys are on the same isle as the sugar coated cereal or the candy and gum are near the checkouts.    First of all, avoid taking children to the store with you.   Some husbands can be just as bad.LOL. Leave the kids home if you can possibly find a way.   You will be less distracted and can make better decisions.   Try swapping babysitting with a friend or neighbor.    Leave them with dad or grandma....
  4. It is also no accident that some retailers change their stores around what seems like weekly.   Costco is notorious for that.   The longer you spending a store, the more money you are going to spend.   The bigger the cart, the more money you are likely  to spend.   If you have to look for something, you are likely to go down every isle.   Costco does not mark their isles.  
  5. When walking around the store, the  outside perimeter of the store has most of the dire necessities : dairy, bakery, produce, and meat departments.    The inside isles have sundry items and canned, boxed goods.    Don't go down a isle unless  there is something you need down it.   
  6. Don't touch anything unless you are going to buy it,   Statistics show of you touch it, you are probably going to buy it.  
  7. Retailers use, music, lighting, and smells to draw you in and keep you there .   They have studied shopping trends.  Focus on your list.   
  8. Pricing is another way to disarm you.   Just because something is 10/10 doesn't mean you have to buy ten.   Some smaller packages of cheese are price low until you do the math,   And find out they have exorbitant prices.   It helps to learn basic figures in your head .  If something's 3/2 it is .67 each.   3/5 is 1.67 each.   There are 16 ounces in a pound, but a cup of grated cheese is four ounces.    Go figure.    
  9. Ten dollar off fifty dollars. Those coupons are meant to get you in the store.   The more you spend over the fifty dollars, the less percentage you are getting off your purchase.   If the products are 125 percent of retail, you haven't saved a thing.   Do the math, and plan your trip.  If you have coupons, factor them on and try to stay as close to the fifty dollars ( or whatever the amount is ) I shop with a plan and my husband adds our purchases with a calculator from the dollar store.    
  10. Buy six save three.   Do the math.  check the bottom line,  if all the products on  their list are highly processed junk food, it's not a bargain at any price.  It all boils down to the first basic tool you need to do groceries on the cheap!    
KNOW YOUR PRICES.   Every item in that store has a RBP.   You can really score if you know what that RBP is and use coupons or rebates to get prices as low as possible.  Remember, the store doesn't care if you use coupons. They get reimbursed for the coupon and are paid a fee for processing them.   

I do these off the top of my head.   There are more articles on the subject on earlier posts.   

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Tuesday, September 1, 2015

The ads 9/2 15

Traditionally, holiday weekends are not the times to find good bargains except on BBQ food.  

Grapes 1.28
Cheese 5.99
Butter 2/5
Buns 4/5
Ice cream bars 2.49
Cool whop .99

Buy 5, save 5.  Net prices
BBQ beef 2.99
Cereal 1.99

Hebrew national 2/7


apples .99
Grapes 1.28
Hot dog buns .88@@

Five dollar Friday
Hormel dinners
Lloyds BBQ beef
Soup .79@@
Corm 2/1

Grapes 1.28
Corn 2/1

Ten dollars off of fifty
Apples .97
Corn 6/2

That's about it.    

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Wednesday, August 26, 2015

2nd week of meals

I did notice that a lot of the last meals had processed meats in them.m some of them were just flavoring, token amounts.

2nd set of meals

  1. Mac and cheese ( extra fiber macaroni .46 with Fred Meyer Catalina and ibotta . Add .50 worth of cheese at 2.00 a pound  ( grocery outlet) mixed veggies .50.   2.50
  2. BBQ chicken parts ( wings, thighs, legs  (1.50) corn on to cob. 1/2 ears .66 (Fred Meyers)  salad 1.50   3.66
  3. Bean soup - 3.00 ( scratch) rolls 1.60.  4.60
  4. Pork chops 3.40 BOGO last week at QFC ,  bread, Apple stuffing    Chopped broccoli  4.40
  5. Sloppy joes, oven fried potatoes , salad    .88  ( bums - Winco, sauce (scratch) .25, 2.25, salad 1.50, potatoes,1.00.   4.38
  6. Shrimp stir fry.   Shrimp 5.00, ramen noodles, stir fry veggies 1.50.   6.90
  7. Vegetarian pizza.      2.00 crusts. .10'tomato paste.  .50 cheese,  black olives .70, 25 peppers.   3.55, saladm150. 5.05

31.49/7= 4.50 a meal.     .

That's about it 


How to meal plan

We went grocery shopping yesterday.  I hit the grocery outlet and Costco.    We hadn't spent a lot so far  this month and needed to replenish stock.    I am still at 70.00 a week.   Our USDA stars  are 147.00.   Do the math.   4 people at four dollars a day is 16.00 a day.  Sixteen dollars times 30 days is 480.00.   70.00 x4 equals 280.00 or 10.00 a day and my costs do not reflect my ibotta money.m.
In other words ,

USDA per person per day is 5.25 a day
Quoted snap is 4.00 a day
Ours is 2.50 a day

Now, a caviat  is that my daughter and granddaughter eat at school during the week , so there is no breakfast or lunch eaten during the week.  And, to be fair, most school aged kids on snap  get free lunches and breakfast  at school.      Still, the difference in cost goes a long ways to exemplify the benefits of stocking, couponing, and only buying at RBP.

How to plan a menu.   I made a work sheet up to facilitate the process.    It has seven squares for menus , one for my matrix. And two columns : one for things we have,  with things that need to be used first marked, amd one column for need to buy to fill in.

You could also go at it in a different direction and theme your nights.

  1. Pizza night 
  2. Soup night
  3. Sunday dinner 
  4. Mexican 
  5. Breakfast for dinner
  6. Pasta 
  7. Fish and chips or some kind of a sandwich ( hot dogs, sloppy joes)

Anyway you approach it, having an outline goes a longways to make the process faster and easier.   

I have a matrix of 2 beef, 2 chicken or pork, 2 vegetarian , and 1 fish  or shellfish.   
I look at the list, making note of things we need to use up first ( a highlighter helps) and start writing down meals paying close attention to any day when dinner needs to be a quick one , or one that is easy like in the crockpot.    
Note any speciality items that you might need to fill in.   

  1. Split pea soup with ham cubes in freezer.   3.25 ( ham cubes 5.00/4 meals , split peas and a biscuit mix .   ( I would make cheese biscuits from scratch. This is some can cost it. ) 
  2. Pizza 2.50. Green salad with tomatoes 1.50 or 4.00 ( pepperoni is .50 with a coupon at dollar store , cheese at 2.00 a pound at grocery outlet, part of a tomato paste can, and 150 pizza crust from grocery outlet . 
  3. Roast beef a jus sandwiches , green salad.   Salad 1.50, roast beef 4.00 (Costco) rolls 2.00.  - 7.50
  4. Salmon noodle casserole.   3.00 salmon, noodles 1.00, white sauce mix.-stock, peas and carrots free from QFC.    4.00
  5. Hot dogs, buns, pasta salad, fruit.    Hot dogs, free from QFC, buns .88 (Winco) salad .75 with coupon.   Bananas 1.39/2.- .70-----2.33
  6. Eggs, bacon, yogurt parfaits, pancakes.    Eggs (1/2 doz 1.00, bacon 1.00 ( Jennne-0 dollar store) pancake mix .50( grocery outlet) yogurt .40. Blues .30, granola - too little to count ( chez at dollar store) 3.20
  7. Potato soup. 1.60 ( potatoes at Winco - on sale with ibotta) milk a dollar at Fred Meyers, bacon from dollar store package.  
Average 3.63 a meal.   Note : I didn't go to all those stores in the same week. That's what stocking does for you.   I usually go to two chains a week.  I go to the dollar store and grocery outlet when we are in that area for something else.    Costco is on a need to go basis and is in our backyard practically.   lol.  Winco is when I can't find good proces at the stores that are in our area.   We are,supposed to get a Winco next year.   

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Tuesday, August 25, 2015

The ads

We have all the ads today, most of them are not very good.  

Safe ways

Lettuce .99
Cantaloupes 3/5
Ground beef 10 percent  3.99
Chicken noodle soup .69@@. Limit 6

Five dollar Friday
Cream cakes
Quilted northern
5/5 brownie mix or cake mix
Safeway pods (12)
There are coupons for some of these

Yo plait 10/5
Cucumbers 1.00

T he evil twin....LOL.   Albertsons
15 percent ground beef 3.99
Cantaloupe  3/5
Dryers BOGO
Lettuce .99
Berries 2/6


Cantaloupe .47 lb
Oranges 1.00
London broil 3.99
Haggens tina 2/1@@
Top round roast 3.99


Apples .99
Peppers 1.00
Quilted northern/ brawny 2/10. $$$
French bread 1.00
Lettuce 1.00
Pan bread 2.00