Friday, May 31, 2013

Analysis of couponing

Happy weekend!

I have done the extreme coupon thing-- 6 coupons in one transaction.  I took all the .50 off each item Buy Five at QFC and  found every coupon I could find. And, I found a coupon that made the crest toothpaste free.  

Most coupons are for things I wouldn't buy.  Some of these things I wouldn't buy if they weren't soo cheap!  

HORMEL chili 1.29. Less QFC discount .50 makes .79 less .55 on two coupon nets .52.
La Victoria salsa is 1.99 less QFC discount .50 is 1.49 less 1.00 on 2 is 1.00
Dingy Moore dinners 1.99 less QFC .50 is 1.49 less 1.00 makes it .49.  
Bacon bits are 1.99, less QFC .50 is 1.49 less 1.00 made them 1.00
I got chilies for .79. , a bargain to fill on to ten.  

I would have normally bought the chilies when I find them on sale as well as the salsa and the chili.  
I don't think I would ever buy the dinners, too expensive, but I like a lunch on the shelf for those hectic days and the size is perfect for my granddaughters lunch when they were fifty cents.  Add a fruit cup and she has a good lunch..I haven't figured out the bacon price, but I probably wouldn't buy them again either

.  They will come on handy on the boat.  We have a very small old but comfortable boat.  I have no stove and the kitchen is two feet square. I still manage to make the same dinners as I make at home, but I have an electric frypan, and a electric saucepan to do it with  and I have to use one at a time. I have thermos bowls to keep things hot.  I am a real fan of BBQ and one pot meals! lol

As far as coupons go, I think I will stick to things I would normally by, which probably will be few and far between. I have enough toothpaste to last me the year., I paid a buck total.    If I can find healthy cold cereal near free like the coupon ladies say, I will get some for summer.  I don't want to coupon unless I can make it worth my while.. Like in ten minutes or less.   I can make more money cooking from scratch and stocking at rock bottom prices.  Speaking of rock bottom prices---Beans and vegetables are 15/10 again at TOP.  That makes the, .67 .  That's stock up time.  I found veggies for .59  at  BARTELLS, ,but you can't count  on reaching sales of the same food product at Bartells.    This is a good time to stock up.  Beans are a good staple, full of fiber and protein.

I am running out of things to talk about.  I would appreciate any suggestions you may have.  There is a comment section below.  

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Thursday, May 30, 2013

Shopping trip.

After  the excitement of a car wreck between a little old lady and a school bus, and the grocery store being robbed of 300 dollars worth of cosmetics.  I didn't know that  QFC had 300 dollars worth of cosmetics.!  Anyway, after all of that, I went shopping before I went to work.  

I used all the sales I could find as long as it was things that we could use.  I got crest toothpaste for FREE .  I got HORMEL items mostly for a sale price along with coupons.  I got  shelf ready meals for my granddaughter.  I picked veggies and rice for fifty cents.  I got two loan mashed potatoes on the shelf for .42 a package.  I got milk for a buck a 1/2 gallon.  

Fresh fruits were a good price and frozen veggies were a buck.  I was trying to keep the budget down so that I could start using from the stock on hand.  

I wound up saving 65 percent.  I saved more than I spent!   I'm happy in a state that won't let you get overages!!   I am not going to spend a lot of time clipping coupons and I refuse to pay for them.  I Did want to  experiment to see how well I could extreme coupon.  

The next experiment is to see which is the least expensive...sliced black olives or the whole ones in the can.  If anyone knows, I wouldn't mind a bit if you commented back about your findings! 

The  bottom line was 30.01.

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The ads



  • Olives, regular and sliced
  • English muffins
  • Carrots
  • Roma tomatoes
Strawberries  2.49
Bloes 2.79

Zucchini 1.00
Head lettuce 1.00


country ribs 1.59
Grapes 1.28
Chuck roast 2.99

Milk 2.59
Butter 2/5
Sour cream 2/3
Strawberries 2/5
Apples 1.00
Radishes , onions 2/1

Mix and match 5

Dreyers 1.99
Bars and drumsticks

Chicken of the sea tuna .47 l@@@
Ground beef 7 percent 2.99 limit 10 @@@


Blues 3.88

Frozen veggies

Buy 5
HORMEL cooked entrees

Stag chili nets 69
HORMEL chili 79
Chicken chunks .79
Chilies 79
Bacon bits  1.49. Ck for a coupon
salsa 1.49
Hormel completes...Normally I wouldn't buy, but with coupon they are .49/ a very cheap lunch. 

Be sure to get on the coupon web sites. .  I got coupons that stack with the .50 off multiple group sale.  They total 4.55 and save 9.55.  For ten products.  Or you spend 12.16 minus
4.55 is 7.61. Total Retail is 17.10/  Final cost is 7.61.  A savings of 55 per cent.


cherries 2.99
Corn 6/2

Five dollar Friday
Sub sandwich
3lb strawberries
Milk 2.79
Sargento cheese buy 2, get 1 free.  Ck for a coupon

London broil, 2.99
Loin pork chops 2.99

Blues or raspberries 2.99

Coupons. SAFEWAYS,  ( I don't know if you can stack these coupons

Salsa 1.49

That's about all.

I am not sure about some coupon policies, ill have to investigate.  There are coupons out there for some of these items.  I get the coupons today, maybe.

Looks like QFC is at the top of my list this time .Maybe ALBERTSONS.  .

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Better, cheaper, faster

Recipe of the equivalent of a can of cream of xxx soup

2 cups powdered nonfat milk
3/4 cup cornstarch
1/4 cup instant vegetable boullion
Any spices you like...a couple of teaspoons TOTAL

Store basic recipe in air tight container.

To substitute for one can of condensed soup: Combine 1/3 cup dry mix with 1-1/4 cups cold water in saucepan. Cook and stir until thickened. Add to your recipe as you would one can of soup.

Cream soups are getting higher and higher in price.  I can remember when they were a quarter, now they are as much as 1.25.  Dry milk is more expensive than liquid milk, but I found it cheaper at Winco and I didn't check Winco bulk section.

Earlier posts have...

  • Taco seasoning
  • Baking nix
  • Rice mix
  • Salad dressings
  • And many many more.   
The Internet is a good resource for finding the equivalent of many ready made foods from scratch.  

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Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Chapter 3...Cooking From Scratch

Most times using a mix or buying ready made foods will derail your budget.  If you want to know if it is worth your while to make something from scratch, do the math.

  • Price the lowest price for the ready made item
  • Cost out the ingredients for the scratch version, don't include less than 2T oil or spices etc. 
  • find the difference in price.  If the ready made is lower STOP
  • If the ready made is higher, time yourself while making the scratch version.  
  • Divide the portion of an hour time you spent by the amount of savings.  
  • How much are you making an hour for your time?  
The last time my daughter and I checked it was 212.00 an hour for lemon pound cake.  And that was not what it would be when I found ingredients lower.  A pound cake would be 1.76 instead of 2.50 a slice.  20.00 a loaf.  

Making things from scratch does not have to mean taking a lot of time.  Many times it takes the same amount of time.  I only count actual cooking, not passive cooking.  Passive cooking lets you so other tasks while you let the dish cook.  

Pudding comes to mind.  It takes just about the same amount of time to cook pudding from scratch and you can control the ingredients.  hamburger meal mixes take the same amount of time than cooking it from scratch.  I have a no Brainer pasta recipe that is as cheap and actually takes less time.  

Your slow cooker and food processor can be your best friend here.  There is something very satisfying about coming home from work after a long day and smelling dinner cooked!  Many tasks can be performed quickly.  There is a recipe for easy pizza crust on an earlier blog.  

There are many mix recipes on earlier blogs.  Mixes are expensive and easily made from scratch in a short amount of time.  If you make something like tacos frequently, make a batch.  

There are several cooking styles for lack of a better word, that help you get out of the kitchen and make it easier to scratch cook.  

  1. Prep and forget it.  Use your slow cooker or oven to put your ingredients together and go do something else.  
  2. Prep ahead of time.  I usually cook my meats when I have a relaxing time, not after a long day at work.  That way I can defat my ground meat and portion control it.   You can  make meatloaf, meatballs, crumbles,and taco meat.   Make  a roast and serve roast for dinner that night and slice it thin for sandwiches.  Portion control it in meal sized bags and freeze.  both pork and beef roast works here, 
  3. Stair step.  Cook double of something and use part if it for another meal.  Rice for under meatballs or sweat and sour chicken.  
  4. Roast a chicken and cut it into 2 breasts, the dark meat and the bones.  The dark meat  can go into a Mexican dish or casserole, the bones can be soup, the breast meat can be a Sunday chicken dinner or chicken pot pie.  Deli chicken is twice the cost of raw chicken at a target price.  NEVER buy a chicken that is under three pounds.  That is the break even point for the ratio between bone and meat.  More is better.  Roasting your own chicken is easy, quick, and gives you more chicken for your money.  
  5. Fast cooking, like chips, hamburgers and hot dogs.  I only buy Hebrew national or Nathan's hot dogs.  This is a case where cheaper is not better.  in the summertime when it is hot at dinner time in our kitchen, I make a salad bar ahead of time and we add a entre that can be BBQd. .  
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If you have questions, please feel free to comment. Getting feedback just makes my day! LOL

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Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Chapter 2. Shopping Wisely


I'll  repeat my self....Never pay full price if you can help it.  

Fresh fruits and veggies are at their peek when they are in season.  They are also at their best price.  Its a win, win situation.  

Buy Meat when it is on sale cheap.  If  good hamburger is not  cheap, see if a top round or chuck cut is cheaper and grind it yourself.  If you don't have a mixer with an attachment, or can't use someone else's, use a  grinder  our grandmothers used.  They are really cheap at estate sales and antique stores.  Or, use the food processor.  Sometimes I get 7-9 percent hamburger for B1G1 at SAFEWAYS and that makes it 2.75.  Prices are rising.  The  t thing you can do is make meatballs or meatloaf with a combo of ground beef and pork or turkey.  Ground chicken is hard to work with.  

When the Grocery ads come out , take a piece of computer paper or a clean side of paper out of the recycle bin and draw lines on it to quarter it. 

Now, top each quarter with a store name.  Take the ad, and write down :
  1. Anything that is on your stock list that is cheap
  2. Anything on the protein list that is cheap and
  3. Any produce and dairy items that are a good price.  Milk is always on sale somewhere.  Sour cream , cottage cheese and butter is cheapest most often at Costco.  
Now, cross off. Anything that is cheaper somewhere else, and anything that you already have enough
stock of.  Post the cheapest  price on stock items to your data.  

Pick the TWO stores that have the best buys on the things you need.  You  are picking two stores because you get the advantage of finding the best looking produce and not any one store has the best buys on everything.

 Plan your route to maximize your gas budget.   Or, shop in two different times to coordinate with other errands to make best use of your gas. Is the SAFEWAYS close to the gym or the kids school or your work?

Check a coupon connection site in your area to see if there are any coupons that will help you.  
Many are printable on the computer.  If you don't have a printer, a neighbor or family member might be able to help you.  Don't spend a lot of time on this,  you should be able to do this on the time it takes to perk the coffee in the morning.  Don't believe all you see on extreme couponimg.  Most of what they do is illegal in many states.  In Washington the major chain stores will not allow you to  buy a .99 cent item with a 1.00 off coupon.  You can't get overage.  And in Washington you can't double coupons.  You can get some doubles with a coupon sometimes at ALBERTSONS.  But, you can't do more than one per item.  In other words, see if you can quickly find a couple that will help you. The  dollar store will take up to 4 coupons on an item and that is your best bet for free food or almost free food.  

Bring your ads, your coupons, your list, and any just 4 U list you might have.

Use your list, get in and get out.  The more time you spend in a store, the more money you will spend.

Put  blinders on to the ready made or convenience foods.  Pre made foods and mixes are for the most
part expensive.  The first letter in most of the convenience foods is $. Just buy the things on your list. 
Mindful of your bottom line.  Some weeks you will spend less, and some weeks you will spend more.  You won't build your stock in one week.  It takes time.  
Only buy cold cereal when you can get it nearly free, and never the sugary stuff.  Growing up we got cornflakes or wheat puffs in a bag during the summer.  It was oatmeal in the winter,  Occasionally cream of wheat.  Oatmeal is a very versatile food.  It is cheapest usually at Winco.  Don't buy individual packages.--of anything.  It's really easy to make it in the microwave. I c water, 1/2 cup oatmeal. , 1-1/2 minutes on high.  Use a larger bowl.  

A few exceptions...cake mix when really cheap, instant  mashed potatoes at times , tortillas, refried beans.  I got cake mix 1 for free and one for .14.  Flour is 7.5 cents a cup.  At that rate,  cake mix is cheaper.  I usually keep one on hand for emergencies. 

Hamburger meal  boxes are about the most expensive thing in the regular grocery store.  See an older post.  Dissecting cheeseburger macaroni.  

Don't overlook the bakery outlet, alternative overstock stores, the dollar store, drug stores, and warehouse stores including Winco.  Sometimes they have the best buys on some things.  Do overlook the yuppie stores or what some people call the whole paycheck stores.  Sorry, this low a budget doesn't work well with these stores.  .  They are sometimes cheaper if you are an alternative eater.  

That's all I can think of now.

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Next.  Cooking from scratch....better, cheaper, faster.  

Chapter1. Planning and organizing

  • This blog is about groceries on the cheap.  I try to take a practical approach to getting dinner on the table for 1/ 2 what the average family spends.  The USDA has stats on what food should cost you based on family size and ages.  They have four budget levels.  

It does take some time to set yourself up.  Every family is different so no one can do it for you.  
once you are set up and get the hang of it, you probably will spend less time .  

If it all seems like too much work, take baby steps at it or delegate some of it to another family member.  Some of it could be a good learning tool for children.  Use organizing and math skills they will take with them the rest of their lives.  

There are a lot of people out there that are touting cheaper groceries, you usually can learn something from each of them.  I have been reading everything about the subject for years.  When it was brought to my attention that people were running out of money before they ran out of month on SNAP(food stamps) I started this blog.  With our economy and food prices rising , many people need to eat well for less.  

Cooking and shopping on the cheap takes a three pronged approach :  planning and organizing, shopping wisely, and cooking from scratch.  

Planning and organizing.  
Most of this is a one time only affair.  
  • List seven dinner entres that use inexpensive sources of protein.  This doesn't mean that you are Doomed to never eating a steak again.  Protein should cost around 2.00 per meal AVERAGE. the target price for dinner is five bucks.  in our house, that would be cheese, beans, chicken, pork, some cuts of beef, pork, tuna and shrimp and some fish.  Later, add more to come up with 14.  I keep a three ring binder that I have had for forty years.  
  • Go over your typical recipes amd list shelf ready items that you use often to prepare these dishes.  These are your stock items.  in our house that would be beans, refried beans, diced tomatoes, pasta sauce, some chili,pasta, instant mashed potatoes, some corn and green beans, black olives, I keep one of some other things like condiments and mayonnaise so I don't run out in the middle of cooking.  Keeping one ahead means I don't have to remember to put something on a list.  
  • Now, make a list, either in a small notebook or on a spreadsheet of your stock items,  start making note of the prices in the ads and/or the prices you are paying for those items.   List the item, the size of the carton, the price , where you got it and the date,  soon you will see a pattern.  Grocery stores go on an 8-12 week cycle.   Most families will have 10-15 items.  If you are in the Seattle area, I post them periodically.  
  • The object is NEVER pay top dollar, or full price.  When something on your stock list is at rock bottom price, buy as much as you can afford, as many as the store allows, or as many as you need to replenish your stock.  If I use something once a week I keep 24.  If I use it once a month I keep 6.  If you don't have storage space.  Get creative.  In an apartment I used a wicker foot stool.  My SIL  uses an extra closet.  

  • Create  your meal plans from the stock on hand and the perishables in you fridge, and the meat that is on sale for the week--do it in pencil so you can change it if something is out of stock at the grocery store or doesn't look good.  
Next, smart shopping.  

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Sunday, May 26, 2013

The little things that count

It's  the little things that count.   Sometimes when I am making a card, it's that little bow or button that makes  the difference between whether a card is over the top or just a card. likewise,  all the little thinges you do sometimes taking just a few minutes can make a real difference with a food budget.

Finding and using one or two coupons.

Signing up for a store card, or rewards card

Taking time to plan your meals and recognize days that you need a super quick and easy meal.  

Taking the time to defat your ground meats and put them on portion controlled bags.  

Making taco seasoning.  Five minutes once or twice a year saves a lot.  

Today, we went to rite aid.  Toothpaste was 2.99.  It had a up reward of two bucks.  I also had a coupon for .75.  I got four.  That makes four tubes for a buck.  

I have watched a lot of extreme couponing and read a lot lately.  I don't believe in hoarding or buying 93 bottles of hot sauce when no one I know could ever use that much in a lifetime! LOL But, there are lessons to be learned from watching them. The toothpaste senecio saves 11.00.   Saved three dollars on pepperoni and tissue at the dollar store, and the pepperoni retails for 3.50.  Four packages would be 14.00.  I paid 2.00-- a savings of 12.00.  Free brats was a 4.99 savings.  

Last big shopping trip it was a buck off of eggs, and .75 off of dill pickles.  
And, I spent a limited amount of time clipping some coupons.  I only bother with the things that I would actually buy if I didn't have a coupon.  My only exception would be if I had something for free and I felt we might like it.  

I guess I am saying all those dimes, quarters and dollars add up and pretty soon you are a lot of money  ahead.  

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Ps I ran on to a guy on the Internet that was cooking 5 dollar dinners
he made. Loaded potatoes, tuna patties, pork chops, Mexican rice and refried beans, and quesidas.
And pizza.  Each five dollar meals.  

Better, cheaper, faster

PS again....I called the SEATTLE TIMES.  They will deliver the Savings Source and Proctor and Gamble coupon inserts to you for free if you don't have a subscription for the paper.
206-464-2111.  They come out on Thursday.  

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Target prices

French fries 1.00.  Dollar tree
Pasta. Less than 1.00....last time .49
Diced tomatoes .48 to .60.
Pasta sauce .78-.85
Soup less than .75
Chili 1.00 or less.  Last time 2/ 1.45
Beans ie kidney etc. .67

I used to pay 2.00 a brick for cheese.  Now I saw 8 dollars this week.  I can still get two dollars a pound.  If  left in the shrink wrap. It lasts a long time.  ALBERTSONS has two dollars a pound this weekend with a coupon.  Check the ad and coupon connections.  I didn't get it because I am we'll stocked.

Black olives...less than a buck. I find my best luck at Winco.

Refried beans.  Fifty cents is nice, but I haven't found that for a while. I like. .78 , I just for a case for 7.00.  I need to check Costco again.

Instant mashed potatoes.  I get some in a pack with a lot of varieties.  Retail about 1-29.  I get them for as low as .88 My limit is a buck.

Greenbeans and corn. .50 range.  Bartells had Libby's for .59.  I for green beans for .33 at Winco.

That's 12items even of you count French fries which really don't meet the criteria.

Watch for a good price and buy when the price is good.

If you are on snap, you can't do that unless you watch the junk food and individual packaged stuff and stick to five dollar dinners. You have to save some money aside for stock.  Your reward is that you will be stocked and never have empty cupboards.  Eventually you will see a day when you can
Plan a months worth of meals from your pantry and just buy your perishables.

start by cutting out the junk food, and buying what is on sale cheap of the protein and vegetable line.
Look for the target prices on your staples.  Watch the inserts and for coupons to ,
match up with good buys.

FREE IS A VERY GOOD WORD. If you have access to a computer, join the rewards /store cards of the chain stores.  If you don't have a computer, borrow a friend or relatives computer to at least do a one  time only to get the specials.  Sometimes stuff is free.  This week I got a yogurt for free.  Paired with .40 off of six yo plaits on sale for .50. Made for two almost free yogurts.   the two averaged .05 each.

QFC gives free stuff too.  I got eggs free and frozen vegetables free.

Frozen vegetables are a buck at the dollar store.
The Dollar Tree takes coupons.  If you can match up any coupons, the item can very well be free.
Must make sure that the item doesn't exclude trial size and the brand names match up.
I got 2pepperoni and a box of tissue for free.  Three bucks can translate to 2.5 pounds of cheese or a pound of hamburger

Big Lots does not take snap.

I refuse to take a large amount of time on couponing and the extreme couponing tricks don't work in this state.  I don't think you can get overages, and the only double coupons I have ever heard of is when ALBERTSONS print some in the Sunday paper occasionally. certainly not free reign.  taking every item off the shelf unless their is only six or so left of a product is rude.  Leave something for the next person.  I never buy more than 6-10 of a product.   Am not the only one  that needs or wants to get a bargain! LOl

I don't want to spend more than an hour prepping  for a shopping trip including meal plans.  Give yourself a few weeks to get the hang of it.  I figure If I  save four thousand dollars a year, it is worth my time.

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Watching other shoppers.....

I have to tell myself that what other people buy at the grocery store is none of my business.   Really wanted to say something to the girls in front of me at the checkout line.  I exercised some restraint and kept my mouth shut. Not an easy thing for me to do.  LOL . I'm sure they spent over a hundred dollars and could have been poster children for the how to waste your money society!  LOL

I had to look really hard to find some real food.

If you are trying to eat on SNAP or below, you need to buy REAL food.  If you are having trouble adjusting to "on the cheap" start with baby steps.

  • Start by limiting yourself to shopping once a week.  pick the same day each week.  
  • Cut out the junk food.  Be sure to buy some popcorn.  It is not cheaper in the bulk isle at TOP.  I checked.  Top is   cheaper than Costco.  
  • Write your list of things that you use often.  This is a one time only chore.  I call these my stock items.  Delete things that are not real food. packaged things like box mixes.  
  • Go over the ads and post to a sheet the cheap meat and veggies and the stock items that are at a target price,  Set yourself a limit of 2.50 a pound for meat average.  If you go over, find a really cheap source of protein to average it with.  Vegetables limit is a buck to a buck and a quarter.  
  • Make a meal plan for the week.  Use the things that are cheap in the ads.  
  • Start by finding one rock bottom price and buy six of something you use a lot of.  Do this at least a couple of times a shopping trip. Start backwards.  Make a list of dinners that you like and use a cheap source of protein and the major ingredients.  I would suspect pasta is one of them.  
  • Keep an eye out for coupons for things you need to buy.  Most of the ads I find are for toiletries and cleaners I don't buy.  I have found some lately for yogurt and eggs.  Eggs are a good source of cheap protein.  
Pick one thing a week to work on, maintaining the thing from the week before.  If the kids are old enough, involve them.  There are things they can help with and they will be learning valuable lessons they will carry with them the rest of their lives.  

When my son got his first apartment, his first purchase was a garbage can and two bottles of bleach.  
he said that he didn't want to live with someone else's germs and the bleach was on a really good sale!

On the cooking side of the equation, the more processed a food is, the more it costs, generally,  Cheese is sometimes cheaper grated than in a block.  I went to the Tillmock factory.  They mold huge bricks of cheese.  Then they put it in a machine to cut it into two pound blocks,  the leftovers go on a bin and go to the shredder.  It should be less expensive.  Costco wholesale is cheaper than regular Costco and has a better variety of cheese.  just remember to bring a sweater , even in the dead of summer.  It is COLD in the dairy room.  

Cooking whole chickens is a lot cheaper than buying parts.  If you learn to cut up a chicken and debone breasts, you will be money ahead.  Just be sure to disinfect all your surfaces and your implements after you are finished and wash your hands often anytime you are working with raw meat,  Don't have raw veggies anywhere near raw meat until you have washed your cutting board.  I have a glass one that I can run through the dishwasher.  It's not the best thing for keeping sharp
knives, but a lot safer.  Just sharpen you knives often.

Bread crumbs are something that , in my opinion, should never be's a waste of money you are paying sometimes upwards of two dollars a pound for someone else's dry bread.  Why throw your crusts and extra buns out so that you can pay for someone else's!  I put the heels of the bread in the
oven to dry. I don't turn the oven on.  If I have finished baking something ill put the broiler pan with the bread on it on the oven that has been turned off.  When I have enough I either whirl them in the food processor, or take them outside on the deck and grate them with a box grater on a sheet pan.  The birds get the leftovers ! LOL

I get French fries at the dollar store.  They are cheaper than s ratch and save a lot of time.

Tortillas are cheapest at Costco, I don't think the time it takes to make them is worth the savings,

If you want to know whether it is worth your while to make something from scratch, do the math.  How much per hour are you getting for your time.  !

Roasting  off your own chickens is a real moneymaker.  You save half, and get more meat for your buck.

Grinding your own hamburger can be a moneymaker if you are looking for 9 percent or lower hamburger.  If hamburger is too expensive, look for chuck or top round meat that is cheaper and g rind your own.  A mixture of the two works really good.  if you don't have a kitchen aid mixer with attachment, you can use a meat grinder our grandmothers used or a food processor.

We don't like the taste of some of the ready made meatballs, so I batch cook my own.  I use a portion scoop to regulate the size and a rack on a sheet pan to bake them in the oven.  There are a lot of meals you can make from meatballs.

Using a pasta mix is just over the top stupid in most cases.  Read the ingredients before you ever put a mix in your cart.  The ingredients have to by law be listed in order of volume.  Cheese whey is what is left over after they take all the good stuff out of the milk to make cheese.  It's glorified WATER.
THERE IS NO CHEESE IN CHEESE WHEY.  Your first clue is that the nutrition list has ZERO cholesterol.  I've never seen a cheese without it!  That would be wonderful if it wasn't a fantasy!!
You can do the same thing with the added  benefit of passive cooking. Cheaper and more nutritious

I guess my time is up.

thanks for stopping by,
If you have questions, please leave a comment.
Please share


4+ 1 = 5
 better cheaper faster


Friday, May 24, 2013

Planning shopping trip

I thought I would go through my mindset for prepping for my shopping trip.
The fridge and pantry are about  full.  This is a small fill in the holes trip.

  • I have printed the ads post on my blog.  
  • Analyzing it, I pick SAFEWAYS only.  They have more of what I need on target prices.  
  • Printed Just 4 You list.  .  
  • Checking egg, salsa, and yogurt stock.  yogurt is free
  • Making meal plans from what I have.  
  • Marking the things on the ad that I want and adding what I need. I am we'll stocked, so I am stocking at a minimum.  
  • Checking for coupons
Grabbing the ad , just4 you list, my list, coupons.  

  1. Hot dogs, potato salad, veggie plate, corn ( buns , dill pickles)
  2. Sausage bean soup, bread
  3. Tacos, refried beans, lettuce and tomatoes  ( ICEBURG LETTUCE, salsa)
  4. BBQ pork sandwiches, corn, fruit salad ( raspberries)
  5. Salmon, rice,  fruit salad
  6. Chunky veggie pasta, salad, bread
  7. Mac and cheese, green beans
2 beef
2chicken or pork
2 vegetarian
1 fish

Hot dogs were B1 G1 last week.  On sale this week too
Sausage is cheapest at Costco
Hamburger/taco meat was Batch  cooked when it was on sale.  
Pork was on sale earlier in the month and we sliced it thin and froze it, buns were on for a buck.  
Salmon was at Winco for free.
Cheese was two dollars a pound at ALBERTSONS
Pasta sauce was .78 and pasta was .50.

Thanks for stopping by
Please share

4+1= 5
Better, Cheaper, Faster

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Chocolate, did somebody say chocolate???

This is a recipe for chocolate waffles woth warm berry compote for the top.  You can sub water 
for the booze.   Or maybe orange juice?  

Thanks for stopping by


If you join Betty Crocker kitchens , they have a program where you can plug in what you want to 
use up and they will offer you choices.  It's free along with coupons and where the ingredients are 
on sale...not target prices, but featured in the ads of grocery stores near you.  Market is Kroger,
 is QFC. LOL

The ads

Here is my breakdown of the ads.
this is a holiday weekend.

 Cheerios 3/5
dreyers 2/5. Weekend only

Hebrew national. 2/6
Corn 2/1.00
Yo plait .50


corn 4/1.00
Grapes 1.98
Buns .99
Brats 2.99
Blues 2,99@@
Cheese, Tillamook 4.99@@@!@
Milk 1.99@

Hebrew national 2/7
Buns 2.99
Fran's hamburger buns 2/5


Corn 6/2
ALBERTSONS ice cream. 1.99
Poultry franks 1.00

Johnsonville brats free when you buy grillers?@@@ in flyer
Bums 1.99
Berries 2.99
Strawberries 5.99 for 3 pounds
Potatoes 1.25 for 5 pounds
Lettuce .99


Corn 6/2.00. W/e only

Hebrew national  B1G1
Dreyers 2/6
Nalley chili 1.00
Eggs .99@@@@

5 dollar Friday

S'mores ingredients
Strawberries OR raspberries or blueberries 2/5
Bake pizza
Cookies, 50 count
Mahi mahi filets
Chicken franks 5/5


THERE are coupoming match ups.  See
A dollar off Tillamook cheese makes it 2.00 a pound at ALBERTSONS
Check out.

Note the variance in hot dog buns and hot dogs.

You can use a manufacturers coupon and a store coupons .

Thanks for stopping by


Wednesday, May 22, 2013

good recipe file recipes

I found several recipes on Betty for really good picnic and summer food.
Most of them call for a least one Betty Crocker  product.  Many of them are adaptable to use other ingredients or making from scratch.--cheese garlic biscuits are just a bisquick biscuit with some garlic powder and grated cheddar cheese.

Slaw dressing calls for Greek yogurt.  I got one for free this shopping trip.  But, sour cream or less plain yogurt would work too.

One calls for suddenly salad.  I would look on the box and get an idea do what was in it.  I for pasta for .49 a pound this week.

look on the website for
Grilled corn with lime butter
Pesto dipped accordion potatoes
BBQ beef with creamy slaw with cheese-garlic biscuits
Layered Mexican Party Salad, you can adapt to feed less people
Layered summer fruits salad with creamy lime dressing.  I would adapt the dressing and the quantity
Triple chocolate bars sound really yummy and expensive.

thanks for stopping by



Yesterday, we had to run  an errand in the next town.  I had downloaded a couple of coupons from the Internet and  got one from the insert in the ads.  I went to the dollar store and got two HORMEL
 pepperoni and a box of tissue for FREE.  I love that word free when it is something I would use.  I won't pay for coupons.  If you spend money buying a newspaper you wouldn't ordinarily buy, it's not free.  Most of the coupons are for things that I wouldn't ordinarily buy.

We didn't get the ads yet this week.

Mushrooms were on sale this week.

4 boneless , skinless chicken 1/2 breasts.
Salt and pepper

Flatten chicken breasts to 1/8-in thick. Salt and pepper.

Mix until smooth

2 T flour
1/2 cup plain Yogurt

Cook mushrooms and 2 slices of red pepper, drain well.
Mushrooms and red pepper mixture
1/2 cup (2 ounces) white cheese
Parsley and chives

Put mixture down the center of the chicken.
Roll up the chicken and tuck in ends.
Place seam side done in greased baking pan

1 T plain yogurt
1 T dry bread crumbs
Pinch of paprika

Brush yogurt over the top of the breasts
Sprinkle with bread crumbs and paprika.

Bake in 350 degree oven for 20-25 minutes or until  chicken tests done.

Another fast and easy dinner is  Loaded Baked Potatoes.

Bake large Potatoes.  Figure a large potato for adults, and 1/2 a potato for school age children.

Gather anything that would taste good on a potato

Sour cream
And anything else you can think of

Serve with a salad.
I learned this from my grandmother neighbor.

Thanks for stopping by


4+ 1 = 5
Better, cheaper,  faster
remember ,pretty much , you get paid for shopping not for cooking

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Repost of pizza crust and other mixes

Pizza Crust, easy

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

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

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


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


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

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

Monday, May 20, 2013

Repost of No Brainer Pasta

I talked about no brainer pasta a few days ago. Here it is. TADA!
It's not the most sophisticated dish In the world, but a teen can easily handle it. They may need some help with the oven.

1-27.5 ounce can of pasta sauce
1 pound of DRY pasta.
8 ounces (two cups) Grated cheese
Leftover meat

1) put dry pasta in 9x13 pan
2) mix together 1 can of pasta sauce and 1 can of water. You should have 7 cups.
3) pour over pasta and stir.
4) cover with foil and bake at 425 for 45 minutes.

5) uncover, Put cheese and any leftover meat on top.cook an additional 10 minutes or until cheese is melted.

NOTE. The reason why this is faster, is that you can take the five minutes to get it in the oven and then walk away to get something else done. No watched pot here.
You have enough time to make a salad and set the table and still check the mail. LOL

You can pair the pasta with the cheese and the sauce variety. Wagon wheel pasta with cheddar and regular sauce and hamburger crumbles makes cheeseburger macaroni.
A Italian spiced sauce with a white cheese and pepperoni makes pizza pasta. Use your imagination.

Cost: pasta .88, sauce .80, cheese 1.00. 2.68
This makes a 9x13 pan. Serves 6 .45 a serving

Hamburger mix is 2.33 serves 5 or .47 a serving

Meal plans

1) no brainer pasta
2) chicken thighs ( see older post)
3) Roast chicken dinner
4) salmon
5) Mac and cheese
6) tortilla soup
7) meatballs with cream sauce and noodles

Thanks for stopping by

Please share with Facebook or twitter.


Ps. The picture shows the dish with hamburger crumbles and a vegetarian alternative. It needs to be stirred to look more appetizing. You could put a little parm on top!

Monday Madness

 Have you ever noticed that the covers of woman's magazines always have either desert or something with tomato sauce and cheese on them?  
I figure some researcher has figured that we are attracted to what we consider yummy foods.

I have been researching saving at the grocery store to see of I could  gleem , any new ideas. Most of the articles I see are a rehash of what I learned I'm the 70's. Most of the extreme componers  are buying toiletries  most of which we don't buy in the first  place.  We buy razors, deodorant, and soap and toothpaste.  Not all states will allow you to get the extra money in cash.  It used to be that the coupons said  not redeemable for cash of them. Cash value  1/20 of a cent.  Our state doesn't double coupons.  ALBERTSONS has some coupons that let you double like three or four coupons.  And, it doesn't make sense to buy 93 bottles of hot sauce when you can never on your lifetime use them.  Now, of you are buying for the food bank or a shelter, I can understand the mass amounts.  I applaud
 that. I try to keep a six month supply.  That allows me to eat things before they expire.  the only thing that I have more than a six month supply of is pasta.  Pasta has an eight year shelf life.

Food of the Day.   PASTA

The pastas of today have great variety.  We have whole wheat, vegetable, and I just found white added fiber.

I like to pay a dollar or less a pound.  I got it for .49 this week.

It's a good fill  me up and as late, there are a mirage of recipes to make it healthy and varied.

Almost any combination of meat and veggies that can go on a pizza can go on pasta.

Summer brings pasta salads.  You can gleem ideas from the pasta salad mixes.  The mixes are far to expensive for something that you still have to do the majority of the work.

There is a recipe for cheeseburger macaroni from scratch on an earlier post.  ( See below)
It's a real eye opener.

Repost of hamburger dinner box

In  order to expose the true value of cooking from scratch and the actual cost of dinner mixes, I bought a box of  a cheeseburger dinner mix.

The actual cost of the box was 2.09. That works out to 5.77 cents a pound for the whole box.

The amount of macaroni in it is 4.23 ounces, about .21 cents

When you subrtract the amount of the macaroni, that leaves you 1.57 OZ for the sauce. That means, that you are paying 1.88 for 1.57 ounces of cornstarch, salt, and spices, dry milk and cheese Whey.  The ingredients have to be listed in order of volume. Cheese whey is the last on the list. There is more cornstarch than cheese Whey. and the total of all of it is 1.57 OUNCES.

That's about 13.28 a pound for cornstarch, tomato powder, salt, parsley, paprika and cheese whey.
Cheese whey is what is left over after the take the solids and fat out of milk to make cheese.  

You still have to add the hamburger. And milk.  

Scratch hamburger macaroni is cheaper, more nutritious and doesn't take much more time.

My daughter and I tested it.  I made more product and the difference in time was 3 seconds

My Cheeseburger Macaroni

Cook 1/2 lb macaroni until done.

Sauté 1 celery stick, finely chopped and 1 slice red pepper, chopped in 1T olive oil until soft, add tsp each of onion powder and garlic powder.

Add 3/4 pound hamburger and cook until no longer pink (or use already cooked hamburger.

Add 1 can of diced tomatoes,drained and 1/2 can tomato paste.

You can add the tomato "juice "to the pasta water if you don't want to waste it.
Simmer 15 min until flavours blend.

Add cooked macaroni and pasta water if needed to make it the right consistency.
Add 1 cup  of grated cheese and cover. Cook on low heat until cheese is melted

1.75 for other ingredients plus hamburger and you have more nutritious food.
You are getting a whole cup of tomatoes,plus the tomato paste instead of less than a tsp of dried tomato and a cup of real cheese.
Serves 6

Other ideas for pasta

Mac and cheese
Macaroni salads

With veggies and herbs
With pasta sauce
With meatballs

No brainier pasta ?.pair a hunts sauce with an appropriate cheese and pasta
  • Wagon wheels with hamburger and cheddar cheese. Sauce with meat
  • Vegetable pasta, chunky vegetable pasta sauce, mozzarella cheese
  • Rotini, Italian sauce, pepperoni, mozzarella cheese
  • Elbow macaroni, taco meat. Spicy white chees
  • Any combo your imagination can conjure up.  Use typical flavor combinations
  • Italian
  • Greek
  • Mexican
  • American burgers
  • German sausage
No brainier pasta on an older post.

Thanks for stopping by


I talked about no brainer pasta a few days ago. Here it is. TADA!
It's not the most sophisticated dish In the world, but a teen can easily handle it. They may need some help with the oven.

1-27.5 ounce can of pasta sauce
1 pound of DRY pasta.
8 ounces (two cups) Grated cheese.
Leftover meat

1) put dry pasta in 9x13 pan
2) mix together 1 can of pasta sauce and 1 can of water. You should have 7 cups.
3) pour over pasta and stir.
4) cover with foil and bake at 425 for 45 minutes.

5) uncover, Put cheese and any leftover meat on top.cook an additional 10 minutes or until cheese is melted.

NOTE. The reason why this is faster, is that you can take the five minutes to get it in the oven and then walk away to get something else done. No watched pot here.
You have enough time to make a salad and set the table and still check the mail. LOL

You can pair the pasta with the cheese and the sauce variety. Wagon wheel pasta with cheddar and regular sauce and hamburger crumbles makes cheeseburger macaroni.
A Italian spiced sauce with a white cheese and pepperoni makes pizza pasta. Use your imagination.

Cost: pasta .88, sauce .80, cheese 1.00. 2.68
This makes a 9x13 pan. Serves 6 .45 a serving

Hamburger mix is 2.33 serves 5 or .47 a serving

Meal plans

1) no brainer pasta
2) chicken thighs ( see older post)
3) Roast chicken dinner
4) salmon
5) Mac and cheese
6) tortilla soup
7) meatballs with cream sauce and noodles

Thanks for stopping by

Please share with Facebook or twitter.


Ps. The picture shows the dish with hamburger crumbles and a vegetarian alternative. It needs to be stirred to look more appetizing. You could put a little parm on top!

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Shopping trip

Our usual shopping day was premted by my having to play store detective.  I waited virtually all day for the perp to show up.  I stalled him as long as I could waiting for the police to show up.  The guy was huge and had a purse bigger than mine!  LOL

So, shopping happened yesterday.  I don't like to shop Saturdays, , it's too hectic and I couldn't watch the register because the rest of the family was lost in the store.  I spent more than usual, but I stocked some really good buys.  ALBERTSONS had pasta and cake mixes for .49 if you bought a total of ten products on their list.  I had two Duncan Hines coupons.  That made two of the mixes .07 cents each.  
It costs .075 for a cup of flour.  Yogurt was 10/5 and I got an additional .40 off.   2 pounds of cheese were 4.88.  Apples were a dollar a pound and I got an additional 1.00 for buying a bag.  I got grillers with a coupon for buy one, get brats for free and got the  grillers for five bucks.  I got Nathan's hot dogs buy one, get one and eggs for .79.  

If you can match a coupon with a special it's better.  That being said, I am not going to spend an exorbitant amount of time couponing.   I want to spend less time than it takes the coffee to drip in the morning.  I quickly look at once a week.  And download any coupon from .com --anything I see that we NORMALLY buy or matches with an ad price that we normally buy.  I'll try something new if it is free or nearly free.  

Couponing was a little awkward, but I am sure it will  get better and more efficient.  I have done the organize and shop sales bit  for so many years that its second nature,  I download my add blog and my just 4 You savings list. gather my coupons I keep in an envelope from the recycle bin and the ads.
I don't need a grocery list. Because, by buying just what's on sale and milk , we are set because we stock.  If there are no good meat buys, I just don't buy meat.  

The object is to never get caught paying full price, or what my mother used to call top dollar.  Almost everything I buy is at rock bottom prices.  Buying seasonal is preferable because the fruits and veggies are at their peak, and the meats are the lowest prices.  Not having to go to the store because there is nothing in the house to eat is liberating.  I didn't  have to panic when I was to nervous to go to the store after Fridays Unscheduled work shift.  

To those naysayers... You go all over town to shop.....I plan my trip to hit the stores I want in the least amount of time.  I am lucky to have stores clustered together to make a tight circle either ast or north of us.  Alternative stores are near other errands we need less frequently.  The normal family can save about 4000. A year....has a hefty amount to pay down the mortgage or go on a nice vacation. !!!

That's about it.  

Thanks for stopping by


4+1 =5
 better cheaper faster 
 basically you get paid more for shopping than you do cooking.  

Ps.  Lets do the math.  5 cake mixes at 2.79 is 13.95.  5 pastas at 1.39 is 6.95. Less .85 coupons totals

I paid 4.90 less .85 or 4.05.  Eighty per cent savings.  

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Recap. Part 3

Part three is cooking

  • If you haven't already, take the time to learn the basics.  There is a show on PBS with Martha Stewart, the chew, and any number of shows on tv.  Basic books from the library, and there is always a mom o r grandmother, aunt or cousin.  
  • There are some recipes that take no more time to cook from scratch than their boxed counterparts.  Hamburger meal boxes and cooked pudding come  to mind.
  • Sometimes it is cheaper to grate your own cheese than to buy grated cheese. Sometimes not.  Costco Business is cheaper.  I want to pay 2.50 a pound. Two dollars is better.  This is where a food processor comes in handy.  It is a very versatile  tool.  It can grate cheese, make bread crumbs, mix a cake, chop onions, carrot, and other veggies, make pesto.....and on
  • NEVER buy bread crumbs,  you are paying exorbitant prices for someone else's dry bread.   Put the heel of the bread or an extra bun or piece of artisan bread in the cold oven on the broiler pan or a rack in a sheet pan to dry.  When you have enough, process it.  n a pinch, you can use a blender.  
  • Batch cooking meats when you are more relaxed gives you the time to defat your ground meats and saves a lot of time at the more  hectic dinner time.  
  • Having a few really fast and easy meals up your sleeve, really takes stress away when you are on a time crunch and you would be tempted to eat out.  Tacos and hot sandwiches come to mind here. My husband calls it cheap and dirty.  LOl
  • Chopping any veggie that goes on a pizza when you are already chopping it for another meal and putting them on a bag in the freezer door makes for almost free pizza.  Time free..just make the dough in your food processor and layer things up.  An older child can help layer the toppings and the starter looks like a science experiment.  The kids love it.  Recipe on a older blog.  you can use the zip locks over and over.  
  • Take advantage of ready mades  when you can get them for free.  My daughter gets home really late sometimes.  She is a supervisor at a day care/preschool and some parents don't seem to have a clock.  Not so LOL.  Having some FREE ready mades can put dinner on the table quickly when everyone is starving.  I made omelette, biscuits I got for free, and fruit I had cleaned the night before.  All in the 13 minutes that the biscuits were cooking.  
  •  slow cooker meals make life easier when you know it's going to be a hard day.  
  • Formula for "is it worth it scratch cooking. Or "is it worth my time.  
  1. Cost out the ready made. 
  2.  Cost out the scratch dish
  3.   Time  How long it takes  you to make it from scratch.  
  4. find the net cost between the ready made  and he scratch item. 
  5.  Find the percentage of an hour that you spent actually cooking and times it by the savings.   
Essentially you are calculating how much you are being PAID for cooking the item.  If it is a few cents it is not worth it.

  • Ie. if 7 percent hamburger is 4.00 a pound and round steak is 3.00 a pound, the difference is a 1.00 a pound.  if you grind your own hamburger and take 10 minutes to grind it, for 5 pounds of meat you are saving 5.00.  10 minutes is 1/6 of an hour,  if 1/6 is 5.00 then 6/6 is 30.00 .That is 30.00 an hour.  A very good wage in my book.  
  • If a recipe calls for a very expensive ingredient, either consider a splurge or think of a substitute.  In other words, don't throw the baby out wit the bathwater.  Often you can come up with another o ingredient that is the same texture and bulk.  Celery for water chestnuts, green beans for asparagus.  Food substitutions is a good book to have.  I have used kidney beans for hamburger in a pinch.
Thanks for stopping by.


Four plus one equals five 
better cheaper faster
Cut your food bills in half

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Recap part

There are a lot of stores that carry food.
After your assessment of the best chain stores, pick two for the week.
our chain stores are SAFEWAYS, ALBERTSONS, QFC (Kroger) and TOP.

No one store has the best prices.  SAFEWAYS and top are more often , but when QFC and ALBERTSONS are really good when they have a good sale.

Besides the chain stores, there are warehouse stores--Costco , Sams Club, WinCo ..  SAMs  club and Costco require memberships.  Some prices are better in bulk, some are not.  I purchase some staples in gross quantity because they don't go bad fast and it just makes my life easier not to have them n my grocery list.  Cornstarch, salt, come to mind. Somethings are a good buy, but unless you can share the cost of a unit, it is not practical. Beans come to mind.   our Costco  membership pays us to shop.  Winco offers a 10.00 off of 50.00 coupon  every  so often.  It's your best bet for rock bottom.  They also have a really extensive bulk section.

Then come the over stock stores.  We have grocery outlet and big lots.  GrocerymOutletmhasma large variety of Mexican food.  They have non designer coffee cheap.  Also, a wide variety of cheeses, some cheaper, some not so much.  Sometimes the produce is really good.

Big Lots and the Dollar Tree have a small selection of food.  the dollar tree has spices, tortillas, frozen potatoes, veggies, and HOT poppers, Salami and pepperoni. Big Lots has a 20 percent off the entire store one day only some of the time.  I can usually do good with sauerkraut, diced tomatoes, tomato  paste, baby food, facial tissues, pasta and veggie chips.  My husband likes hot pickles.

I have had luck with Bartells Drug store for limited food.  Rite aid has almost nome since they started carrying booze.  We don't have  a Walgreens yet, so I will have to see.

We have a fresh food market during the summer.  Sometimes the veggies and fruit are cheaper in season.

We just got,an IGA.  The veggie section had good prices, I haven't had time to check the rest of the store.

We usually go to Costco on a need to go basis.  Bananas, TP, laundry soap are always cheaper.
Winco is further away as is the Bakery  outlet.  We hit them every four to six weeks or when Wimco has a coupon.

The overstock stores we hit when we are in the neighborhood running other errands.

Pick your grocery store by the price of their food.  I wouldn't go to a store that was filthy, but unless the condition of the store was really poor or in a unsafe part of town,  I'm ok.  Don't go to a grocery store because it is quiet,because the clerks ar friendlier, or because they have the best coffee.  you are going to the grocery store to buy your food and still have some money at the end of the month.
if you are going to the lots of bucks food store, just remember,  someone is paying for the atmosphere, the music and the lack of stuff in your food, you can guess who that someone  is! LOL
If going to the grocery store is your whole social life, then you need to get a life.  Ha ha

All I'm all, once you are organized,  you should get through the grocery buying process in the same time as you do now or less.

Thanks for stopping by




The three steps for eating on the cheap are easily attained.  If you are overwhelmed, start with one  step at a time.


  1. List protein sources that your family will eat.  
  2. Now make a list of recipes that use these items that you already cook.  
  3. Surf the net or cookbooks, or magazines to find recipes that use the protein and will suit your family.  Cooking magazines are at the library or for .50 at our goodwill,  
  4. Start with 7 and add to 14. For variety.

Target list

  1. Look through the recipes your family likes.  Write down the key ingredients that are staples.  
  2. These are your items to go on your target  list.  You should have 10 or 15.
  3. Set up your data.  Use a small notebook or a spread sheet.  
  4. Post low prices from ads each week.  
  5. Soon you will see a pattern of sales.  
Planning your trip.

  1. Using a piece of 8.5X11 piece of paper.  Divide it into quarters.  Mark the top of each with the name of a grocery store ad.  
  2. Now start marking down each thing that is on your target list, and any protein and vegetable that is inexpensive.  Use under three dollars a pound for protein and try for a dollar a pound for veggies.  
  3. When you are through all 4 ads, cross off anything you have enough stock of, and anything that is a lower price at another store.  
  4. Be sure to mark anything that needs a coupon .
  5. Check a matching web site for coupons. Gather your coupons as you come across them.  I don't pay for coupons.  If I run across them or find them on the Internet, I'll use them if they pair with a food that I would normally buy or is free.  
  6. Go onto  the Internet and search for coupon matching sites in your area.  I use coupon in the Seattle area. is printable coupons.  I print only what I normally buy and preferably only the things that match up to my list . Mark your list with a @ to designate you have a coupon.  
  7. Now pick the two stores that have the best buys on what you need.  
  8. Gather your coupons , the ads, and your list.  
  9. Plan your trip to use the least amount of gas. 
Go to the stores, get your food, get in and get out.  More time in the store equals more money spent.
Don't buy non food items at the grocery store.
That's  enough to confuse a newbie.  Next time shopping.

Thanks for stopping by


Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Coupon alert for the ads

On There is a printable coupon for buy one johnsonville grillers and get one johnsonville brats.  johnsonville grillers are on 5 buck Fridays at SAFEWAYS.

SAFEWAYS has normal chili for a buck. has a coupon for .55 off two. That makes one of your chilli s for .45.

Cake mixes are .49 cents on buy 10 at ALBERTSONS.  I have a coupon for .35 from last weeks Duncan Hines web site.  This week there is a .50 coupon for red velvet cake.  The cake mixes say select varieties.  I may get one for free.

Yoplait is 10/5 at ALBERTSONS.  I have a coupon from for .40 off six.

You can only use three coupons in a single transaction at ALBERTSONS.

The new IGA in town just opened.  Free eggs with no minimum in the flyer.

The vegetable prices are par with target prices.  Some of the meat specials Are not bad.  I haven't completely toured the store.  We got hamburger buns.  They were 1.39.

Thanks for stopping by


Tuesday, May 14, 2013

The ads

The ads for May 15-21


Hamburger and hotdog buns . 99
Cauliflower 1.00
Lettuce 1.00
Strawberries 2/5
5 lbs potatoes .79.  @@@
Butter 1.77  @@@
Milk 1.99 @@@


Buy 10
Pasta .49 net
Cake mix .49***
Ragu 1.29
Mustard .69
***on line coupon for .35 leaves .10
Eggs .79
Cheese 4.88
Yo plait 10/5. .40 coupon

Berries, B1 G 1
Pork shoulder 1.49

Eggs 1.00
Butter 1.99

Chicken .99
7 percent hamburger 2.99
Johnsonville grilles 5.00 5 buck Friday
Strawberries 3/5. - 5 buck Fridays
Corn 3/1.00

That's about it.  I have some printable coupons.  I surfed the net so much exploring the world of couponing, I don't know where I got them.  Be sure to get on and check out the match ups.  
It should take you less time than brewing your morning coffee.  LOL

Thanks for stopping by

4+1 =5
better cheaper faster 
remember, you get paid for shopping not for cooking.

The basics. Step 2

Last time we talked about getting your list and going to two stores, getting in, and getting out.  The more time you spend in a store, the more money you will spend.

Besides the regular chain stores, there are what I call alternative stores.  I usually hit those on a cycle.
Grocery Outlet and Big Lots have a limited amount of items.  Big  Lots have less than Grocery Outlet.  I usually try to hit them about twice a month when I am in the area for other errands.

Costco and Winco are warehouse stores.  Costco is close by, and Winco is two towns away.  We go to Costco on a need to go basis and Winco about every six weeks, or when they send us a 10.00 coupon.  When you add the 20 percent to the already low prices, you can bring you bill down to over 60 percent or more savings.  Basicly you can get 100 dollars worth of groceries for 40.00.

The bakery outlet is a ways away for us, we hit there about once every 4-6 weeks.  We try to group things together.  When you buy a month or so worth, we usually get things for free besides the low prices. If bread goes on sale for less than the bread store, I supplement.  Yhe dollar store is cheaper on several things.  I got hot poppers, French fries, and mixed freezer veggies.  Also, salami and pepperoni is cheaper.  The Cable Guys beer bread is really good with chili etc type dishes.

Sales go on a 12 week cycle.  Each store is different. Your data should tell you each stores pattern.

One of the fastest ways to break a budget is to fall into the trap of going every day or every other day to the store to buy one or two days groceries at the most expensive store in town.  the other way is to go to one convenient store and buy anything you see that looks good.  No ONE store has the best buys.  Multiple stores offer you better selection and better prices.

Group your stores and other errands so that you use the least amount  of gas.  Plan your trip.

Once you are set up, you will probably spend less time than you are now . We can get in and out of four stores in a little over an hour including travel time.

If your time is in short supply, spending more time shopping and less time cooking will make you better off.  you get paid for shopping, not for cooking.
I would be remiss if I didn't address the coupon issue.  I use electronic coupons on my store cards.  I also use coupons if they are worth my while.  My daughter and I made lemon pound cakes.  She had purchased a slice at the big buck coffee company for 2.50.  It cost us 2.26 for a loaf and about ten minutes labor. T make two loaves.  I downloaded a coupon for cake mix--with the coupon that brand was twice as much as Betty Crocker.

If I can reduce my food bill with coupons for things I would ordinarily buy, I will.  Most of the things
I see manufacturers coupons for are things that are ready made stuff I wouldn't buy in the first place.

I am investigating the drug stores, but so far, I am not too impressed.  My first try was a disaster.

I bought baby food...the stuff that was supposed to be free, was gone.  I got pouches for the same rewards.  It did cost me some money.  When I went to redeem my rewards, I wasn't in the computer.
I had my rewards receipt so they manually did it, but it took the manager three tries to get it right.
My card should be coming soon, or I'm not going down that road again.  Walgreens is supposed to be coming to my neighborhood soon.  Their rewards seem confusing, but I'll have to see .  Bartells  is good when they are having a sale on food.

The bottom line, is that you want 1/2 price or more.  If you buy your target items at 50-60 percent off or more, the rest of the items will fall into place.

Seattle has a buy your bag policy, so remember to bring your cloth bags into the store.  I have them in the trunk, but don't alwaysremember  to bring them in.

Being brand sensitive will cost you,  many store brands are as good as or better than the old mainstays.  I am particular about hot dogs and tuna.

Stores have researched spending habits and human behavior.  They no all the tricks to make you spend more.  But, that's another post.

if you have a psychological problem with shopping, delegate that job to another family member.

Thanks for stopping by,


Better, cheaper, faster
Remember, you get paid for shopping, not for cooking

things I forgot
If produce comes in a xx pound bag, weigh a couple of bags, they can fluctuate as much as 25 percent.
Look up and down on the shelves.  Manufacturers pay slotting fees.  Basicly they rent shelves.  Eye level is more costly than up and down.  The most expensive things will be eye level.
Less packaging ie bulk isle is not necessarily the cheapest? prices.