Sunday, June 30, 2013

Sunday deleted itself. ARRH

happy Sunday

I will do a quick recap. Just love maritime wifi.

I have started to read the Tightwad Gazette.
She covers ways to fix things, repurpose things, and how to in general, save money on just about everything.
She also covers how to look at a mix that you really love, and figure out how to DIY. I have purchased mixes before and dissected them. Sometimes you would r e a l l y be surprised what you are paying for...or maybe the right word is aren't paying for. If you really like something, buy one and figure out how to make it yourself.

Teaching a child how to grocery shop and be frugal about it is a lesson every child should learn. you hope they will never HAVE to use it, but it's a good lesson to have in their back pocket. Kinda like sewing on a button and heming a pair of pants and changing a flat tire. I like the idea of groceries on the SNAP allotment just to raise awareness of hunger in America. One idea was to do it for a month and give the savings to the food bank.

With coupons, you can get toothpaste for free frequently. I am saving it for the women's shelter. A good low cost way to help the community-- you have to pay the tax!

The Tightwad Gazette talks about the snowball effect. It kinda goes like this: If you save money and reinvest the money to buy something that will save you money, it gathers momentum and you save more money. surely, the money I have in CD's aren't gathering much money. Saving 50 percent on your groceries is more than you will get in any bank now. I don't ever remember in all my 60 plus years when a bank paid 50 percent on anyone's money. LOL

I had an anonymous commenter that stumbled on to my blog. First, thank you for writing. Second, I would love to know how you stumbled onto my blog. Finally remembered that my children set up a thing on Facebook. Mi will have to get my children to teach me how to use it! Thank you for bringing it to my attention!

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Saturday, June 29, 2013

Suddenly Saturday

About the only thing I haven't talked about is vegetables lately. It's the best season for vegetables right now...I know, surprise tell me something I didn't already know.

Buying the vegetables that are in season is the best way to save money on groceries, compare the ads. One of the best reasons to go to two stores a week is so that you have a selection of produce. if the berries look awful one place, you can get them another. The other reason is that you have two sources of rock bottom prices. root vegetables are good in the winter. Please note that baby carrots are just regular carrots that have been cut. ,y MIL thought I was whacko when I told her that! Then she found one that had missed the machine! Sometimes on sale they can be as cheap as whole carrots, bit sometimes not.

One of the best ways to cook root vegetables is to oven roast them place cut vegetables on a baking sheet with sides. Drizzle them with olive oil and sprinkle them with herbs. Roast them in a 375-400 degree oven until they are tender.
Try to cut the vegetables the same size helps too. Parm cheese is also good.

Red potatoes
Radishes, whole
Green onions ( put them in later)

This time of year, we eat a lot of mixed berries.
Corn was a quarter an ear this week as opposed to last year when we didn't have much.

We eat green salad most of the year. Costco pretty much keeps the same price all year round.
Bananas are always cheaper at Costco. The experts will tell you that organic bananas are a joke.

Someone did a study on washed lettuce in a bag. it was more healthy to eat it straight out of the bag than it was to rewash it. it is also at times cheaper than making it from scratch. I would prefer the field greens from Costco, my husband would prefer the iceberg lettuce kind.

Field greens with a fruit and balsamic or fruit vinaigrette is really good.
I also like iceberg lettuce, apple, chicken, grapes and walnuts.

In the winter, my mother often gave is cottage cheese and fruit.

In our garden my husband planted kale, green beans, peas, tomatoes, Swiss chard, corn, squash, a pumpkin for the grand baby, and we have rhubarb and rosemary. I have a pot of herbs on the deck because it is easily reached from the kitchen.

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4+1= 5. 4 people--1 meal--5 bucks.

better, cheaper, faster

Friday, June 28, 2013

Finally Friday

Its Friday again, my grocery shopping is done for the week.  I averaged 70.50 a week for the second quarter of 2013. The first quarter it was 74.70, for an average of 72.60.  I have a comfortable stock, and I buy for  my husband and I and we and supplement my daughter and granddaughter.  The amount we spent is well below the USDA statistics for thrifty cooking.  Their statistics are for what you actually eat.  It doesn't factor in stockpiling.  I am try up tring to get the weekly amount down.

Last night I got JELLO pudding cups for 1.00 less and .80/2 coupon.  There were 1.00 coupons, but I couldn't find them in my paper.  It made them .69omformfour servings.  I don't think I could make tapioca pudding for that.  I probably  wouldn't have purchased it, but I get a little lax on my standards for vacation.  Cooking with a electric frypan and saucepan in a 2 foot square kitchen gives me the excuse to be a little lazy. on the boat, we have storage and efficiency

Last  night we had hotdogs for dinner.  They weren't on the meal plan, but they were close to their pull date.  I think what I am trying to say  is there are times  when we break the rules. We just can't make a habit of it or we will break our budget.

I'll finish now that we are settled in.   Had to quit midstream, literally.

I talked about foil packets in an earlier post. It  is one of the easiest way to beat the heat and satisfy diversified tastes.  Basically, you place a double thickness of foil on the counter.  Place  a starch on the bottom and layer meat and sauce and veggies.  Seal the foil into a package and grill them or bake them.  If I was grilling them I would start with precooked  starch or corn on the cob.The smaller  the vegetables are cut, the faster they will cook especially something dense like carrots.  There are some really good sounding packet recipes on the Betty Crocker website.  great for camping.

That's about it for now

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Thursday, June 27, 2013


Yesterday I want to ALBERTSONS.  Just one store this week.  I saved 52 percent.  ALBERTSONS does not have store cards anymore.
I got Kraft BBQ sauce for .29.  I got mayo for 1.49 and Cheerios for 1.38.  All with good buys and a coupon.  I got Hebrew national for BOGO and bins for .88.  When it comes to a holiday sale, it pays to go with he flow.  Adjust your meal plans to compensate for the rock bottom sales.

I am starting to read  The Tightwad Gazette again.  I tend to be a in moderation person and take what makes sense to me and leave the other data behind.  It's been several decades since I read the book.
More later.  I have been researching everything I can to bring grocery bills down.  There are still a lot of people that are hurting.

  The cost of food is still going up, and we all have to deal with the effects of the drought.  Nobody is talking about  it, but cheese has doubled in cost, as well as beef.  our house has adjusted to beef by only buying cuts of beef under three dollars a pound  which is  up from two dollars a pound from last year and  only eating beef twice a  week.  We added two vegetarian meals to the meal matrix.

It is my hope that I can help people get through a hard time and lower their grocery bill.  Many times, the discressionary spending is the only place that gives your budget any wiggle room.   You can economize without resorting to cheap hotdogs and mystery meat.  Make it a game.  If you have children old  enough to surf the web, let them find coupons to match your grocery list.  it is good for them  to contribute to the household and it keeps them  out of trouble in the summer while they learn how to save money.

 One  lady on extreme couponing referred to coupons as free money. That  only holds true if the  coupon is for something that you need. I used to figure that coupons were a waste of time and that you can get generic for just as cheap or watch for sales and be better off.You can  still watch for sales and buy low and be better  off.  But, if you can quickly match up a sale with a coupon for an item, it is much better.  Finding a coupon  for regular food is just about impossible.  None the less, you can google a specialty item coupon and hit the jackpot sometimes.

I am a diabetic.  Blue Bunny makes ice cream with low fat and low sugar.  it is really good,and I googled it and found a dollar  coupon. Because I gave them my e mail address, they will send me more!  If you need specialty foods because of a medical problem, google the item, or write the company.  You might get some coupons.

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Wednesday, June 26, 2013

just a note and COUPON MATCHUPS

I was surfing the web waiting for my meds to kick in.   Found a really good video on u tube.  It wasn't her subject that caught my eye, it was the fridge behind her. She  had a magnetic calendar for her appointments, a meal plan calendar with shopping list, and a goals of the week sheet with a honey do list section on the bottom.  The only problem I saw was that I have had magnet boards before that scratched the  fridge.

Her subject was meal planning. I thought it was interesting that she included her husband  in the process.    It wouldn't work with mine, his suggestion would bet bacon, bacon, bacon!  LOL

She obviously, has small,children.  Made happy face plates with crackers, bologna , cheese stick and apple slices, raisins, and craisens in the mouth!   Cute.


Kraft mayo is 1.99 and there is a coupon in the ad for .50 off netting 1.49. Limit 2

Hebrew national hot dogs are buy 1 get 1.  Looking for a coupon.

Yoplait is 10/5. Printable coupon for .40 off of ........

buy Five nets 1.88
Fiber one bars
fruit roll ups

There are coupons for Cheerios

Check coupons,com. For printed coupons.

I guess that's it.

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Tuesday, June 25, 2013

The ads 6/25/13


corn 4/1
Hebrew national 2/6
Strawberries 2/3.98
Butter 3/5
BUY 10
Brewers 2.49
Cheerios. 1.99
Bounty towels 6.49

Triscuit  3/5
Pork ribs 2.19
Blues 3.99
Morning star /3,.99

grapes 1.49
Corn 6/2
Dryers 2.99
Cheerios 1.88
Buns .99
Spareribs 2.29
Salad bags 1.00

5 dollar Fridays
Turkey burgers
Poor buoy
Lemon meringue  pie
Fruit gushers BOGO
Betty crockervcake mix  .99@

Ribs 1.59
Kraft BBQ sauce .79
Hot dogs / various brands BOGO
Strawberries 2/5
Grapes 1.99

Buy 5
Dryers 2.49
Yoplait 10/5
buns .88

Cherries 2.79
White bread.77
Milk 4/5 1/2 gal with 20 min purchase
Land o frost sausage 3.99

cherries 2.99
Corn 10/5
Hebrew national 6/26-7/2 1.99@
Raspberries 2:5
Strawberries 2/5

That's about all.

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Please note many of these items have coupons attached to them.

Terrific Tuesday

We already talked about the basics this month.  I got a new phone because mine was years and years old.  I'm not so sure about this rings, tweets, flashes and goes ding in the night! LOL. the best part is that I have wifi for the same price I was already paying, and the phone was FREE.  I like the word FREE!

I have been getting toothpaste for free.  I'm saving up until I get enough to take to the women's shelter.  My husband thinks I am nuts!!!!

I have been reading a lot of Betty Crocker  lately.  The recipes have been appearing on my e mail box.  they are family friendly and after fifty years of meal planning I am stuck on a rut.  I know kids like repetition , but I get tired of eating the same thing over and over and......again.   LOL

I still use a matrix of meals to assure we are eating a variety of food.  When I was a kid, my mother went on a savings kick.  She wanted to pay down the house to get enough equity to buy up.  We brushed our teeth with ivory soap, yuk and she sent my sister to the butcher for 2 pounds of ground round every day.  I got so sick of hamburger.!  My Dad got bananas for free.  We ate a lot of meatloaf and banana cream pie.

I use the matrix of
2 beef
2 pork or chicken
2 vegetarian
1 fish or seafood

My husband would  only beef and seafood if he could, my daughter is vegetarian, and I eat almost anything.  This is a good compromise that makes us eat a healthy mix of foods.  your matrix may very well be different. All  meats have their attributes, , I think variety is the key.  Every week,someone  comes out with something else that isn't good for you.  pretty soon, we will be taking pills instead of eating like I saw in a scifi picture once! LOL.

I rotate cooking the meat that is on sale the cheapest any particular week.  Routinely, the 7 percent ground beef is 2.99 at SAFEWAYS.  It used to be 2.67.  I find chicken for .99 at times.  I will only buy chickens from the northwest.  I used to be able to find sirloin tip roast cheap, but that isn't
happening lately.  Pork loin or tenderloin happens for under two bucks for loin and I got tenderloin for 3.00 at Costco.

 I try for between 2.50 and 3.00 a meal average for protein.  If you are working on a SNAP budget, dinner needs to be 5.00 for a family of 4--2 adults and two school age children.
The USDA stats are on the Internet.  Google USDA Food costs.  I heard on a blog that the wholesale price for fruits and veggies is on a USDA web site as well.  You can tell if you are being gouged at the market. I just compare prices.

I try my best to hit the middle of the road.  I don't want pre packaged foods with preservatives and things that I cannot pronounce,  cheap hot dogs, or things that remind  you of the cardboard that they are packaged in, or sugar coated anything.   I also don't go for organic everything and forge weeds out of my neighbors yard.  LOL. You  can be middle of the road healthy meals on a bare bones budget.  I think we eat quite well on 1/2 the low income stats.

Do your normal shopping trip.  Now stop and analyze your receipt.  How much is sports drinks and pop, how much is fruits and veggies, how much is protein.  How much is snack food.  In  any persons budget, more than 85 percent of your sales receipt should be for protein, produce and dairy.  Don't buy non food items at the grocery store.  You can do better with coupons and deals at the drug stores and alternative stores.

You can expect to take an hour and a half, planning your shopping trip, and going to the stores.  Don't go at dinner time and battle the loonies that don't plan their meals and grab something  on the way home from work each day.  Pick  a time when the store isn't crowded so you can make informed decisions.  Some stores are open 24 hours, you can fit in the time.    I like shopping Wednesday when the specials are fresh.
I had to switch to Friday because my co worker didnt want to split her days to work.  She wanted to work two days in a row.   I do like to shop SAFEWAYS for five dollar Friday.

I digress, we  are talking about meal plans.  using a matrix gives you an outline.  All you need need to
Do is
Clean your fridge and dump anything dead and make a note of what needs to be used up
          Look in your freezer and jot down enough meats that fit your matrix.
          Add the meat that you pick to bulk/batch cook this week.
          Survey the ads and fill in the sides that make the best use of the fresh produce that is cheap this

If you are on SNAP, take your total monthly allotment, divide it by 4.2.  The answer will be you weekly food budget.  try to stay as close to that as you can.  Under is better.  Remember, after you are set up, you are only buying your bulk purchase of meat(under 2 -3 dollars a pound) , anything at a rock bottom price to fill in your gaps in your stockpile, and fresh produce to round out your meals.

This is not hoarding, you are only buying a six months supply of the main things that you use to make meals. There should be 10-15 of them.    If you use the item once a week, keep 24 max.  If you use it once a month, keep 6.  Don't restock the shortage until you find the item at rock bottom prices.

Admittedly, this takes a little more time than going once a week to the big box warehouse store and buying whatever strikes your fancy.  But, the savings are remarkable. You  are being compensated greatly for your efforts. Especially of you are out of money before you are out of month.  A little time  is a cheap price to pay for the peace of mind that comes  with knowing there is always something in the house to eat!  No child should live with the insecurity of having nothing in the house to eat and no child should have to eat top ramen and potato chips for breakfast, lunch, and dinner . 

Enough  said.

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Monday, June 24, 2013

Monday madness.

Momday again.  I received an insert from the Sunday paper last night from a friend of my husbands.
Fred Meyer has their ads running from Sunday to Saturday.  

They have really good produce buys this week.  I can wait until midweek when I am due to shop again.  

Peaches or nectarines 1.28
Broccoli .77
Green onions, radishes 3/1
Eggs .99@
Hillshire farm sausage 2/5@
Sour cream 1.00
Butter 1.99@
Oscar Mayer lunch meat 3.29
Cheerios 2/4
Braille pasta .89@ limit 4.  Coupon for .75 any two. Makes it 2.06 for four.  

Note: there are coupons out there for the Cheerios, the Braille pasta, the Oscar Mayer lunch meat, and I think the sausage.  Check coupon  The coupons in the paper are Fred Meyer coupons,so you can stack them.  I love it when you can double dip.  

I have been watching more videos, but it all comes down to the fact that the people that are saving the 90 percents are doing it in states that entertain double coupons.  I normally save 1/2 of the national average, and nearly half of the USDA  guidelines for thrifty meals WITHOUT coupons. Some weeks I add another ten percent off.  I don't spend a  lot of time at it.  My life is too busy to spend 10-60 hours a week on couponing.  Most of the coupons  out there are for non-food items.  We don't spend a lot on toiletries.  Pretty much, we get shampoo and soap from Costco as well as Toilet paper and laundry soap.  I have been getting toothpaste for free.  A co worker tells me she got toilet paper for free too, as well as getting cash back at IGA when  her coupon was for more than the item.  I have never heard of that in this state before.  I know that some of the large  chains state they won't do that on their coupon policies.  

Just a note, Rite Aid   has ice cream buy 1 get one.  And bleach nets 1.50 after up reward.

ALBERTSONS has coupons, Basicly giving you an extra 10 percent in the Sunday  paper. 
3/30, 5/50, 10/100.  Strawberries  June 23-25.  

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I'm going to go get my coupon box and see what  matches!   

Sunday, June 23, 2013

The basics

Late start, it was a long night.
 OK.  Back to the basics, again. I have been doing this for a year.  I usually do a basic overview the first of the month.  I have been posting the basics in detail all month. The basic of groceries on the cheap is taking an methodical approach to buying your food.

It takes  a three pronged approach.
  1. Planning and organizing 
  2. Shopping wisely
  3. Cooking from scratch

  • First, gather seven recipes for dinner that use low cost sources of protein.  Start with seven and expand to 14 so that you have a variety of meals.  
  • Make a list of the staple items that you buy frequently.  These should be non perishables that you can stock.  In our house that would be beans, refried beans, pasta sauce, pasta, mashed potatoes, canned diced tomatoes, a few tuna, salmon and green beans and corn and a few chicken noodle soup.  
  • Start a data base on your stock items. You should have  10-15 items.  you are going to record, the item, the size of the package, the store, the date, and the price you paid for it, coupon!  
          Pasta, 16 ounces
           Date.                       Store.                         Price.             Coupon                Net
          6/5/13.                      SAFEWAYS.             .88.                1.00/2                 .38

You can use a tablet or a spread sheet.  The idea is to find the rock bottom price for your item.  Stores operate on a 8-12 week cycle.  You, like playing the stock market, want to buy low and eat high.  NEVER get stuck paying full price.  The difference between buying 1 can of pasta for 1.59 and buying two cans for 1.54 is getting two meals instead of one.  you are going to stock the items on your list.  If  I use something once a week, I stock 24, if I use it once a month, I stock 6.  by doing that, I almost never get stuck paying full price, and I could skip shopping and survive if I needed to.  

  • This is new, I just started trying to incorporate some couponing into  the mix.  Rarely , do I find a coupon for real food.  But there are some out there.  I don't want to spend a great deal of time couponing.  but, I have been taking an additional 6.00 or so off my bottom line.  That is approaching ten percent.  If I wouldn't normally buy the product, I don't entertain a coupon unless it makes it free or dirt cheap.  
  • Check ( in the Seattle area) for coupon match ups.  If you can download a coupon, or if you already get the paper, clip what you would normally buy.   Don't want to spend more time on couponing than it takes the coffee to drip in the morning!  ...note: if you are not in Seattle, there are other websites that include your area.  Do a web search.  
  • The first issue to address is smart shopping does not include snack foods..what my mom used to call peanuts, popcorn and crackerjacks ! LOL.   just basic food.  popcorn is a good snack food of it is air popped.  As is a piece  of fruit or some cheese and crackers.  snack foods can take up to  twenty percent of your food budget.  That s  a good place to start cutting.  Basicly many of them are empty calories-- lots of carbs with little food value.
  1. The nuts and bolts-- When you get the store flyers, take a piece of paper and divide it in quarters.  Label each quarter with a name of a store.  Now, write down anything in the ad that is on your stock list at a good price, and anything in the meat and vegetable/fruit line that is a good price.  Now, cross off anything you don't need to stock now, and anything that is a lower price elsewhere. 
  2. Clean your fridge and make a note of anything that should be used soon and what you have to make meal sides.  Pair them with what's on sale to round out a tentative meal plan.  
  3. Add anything you need to replace to your grocery list.   IE: I have hot dogs, I need buns and coleslaw .  We need salad fixings for Speghetti.  When you are up and running, you should be able just to buy one meat item in bulk that's at a rock bottom price, and fresh fruits and vegetables to round your meals.  By buying one bulk meat a week and buying enough for a month, you can rotate your meat and never pay full price.  
  4. pick the TWO cheapest grocery stores that week.  Plan your trip adding any other errands you need to make to use the least amount of gas.  Bring your ads, your coupons, your list and any list from your reward cards and a cooler.  
  5. Go to the store, buy what's on your list, and get out.  The longer you spend in a store, the more you will spend. don't pick up anything you don't intend to buy.  
  6. When you get home, jot down 7 meal plans from what you have and have bought. use the oldest perishables first.  I use a matrix of 2 beef, 2 chicken or pork,  2 vegetarian, and  1 fish.  
  7. Dinners should average five dollars a dinner. 


  • Batch cooking is a way to save time in the kitchen.  you buy one meat in bulk when it is at it's lowest price, and cook and portion control it for meals.  you can get a months worth of food in your regular fridge freezer.  Make a couple of hours time when the house is less hectic, and you save a lot of time when the hectic dinner hour rolls around.  Save a few no Brainer meals for the days you know are going to be especially hard.    Hamburger, roast chicken, pork loin, and roast beef work well for this,  lately, I haven't been doing much roast beef, I haven't found a cheap enough sale.  
  • Basicly, to make 1/2 price meals, and be able to feed a family of four for 75.00 a week. You need to make 5 dollar dinners.  Meat( protein) should average 2-3 dollars a meal.  
  • The slow cooker is your best friend.  many recipes are put there, you can put dimmer I'm the crockpot in the morning and have dinner waiting for you  you when you get home.  
  • Tacos, hot sandwiches from the meat you have batch cooked, and pasta are all meals that go together in a flash. 
  • Check a precious post for my recipe for No Brainer Pasta.  It is my answer to a Hamburger Meal Box.   Better, because you have more  nutrition and more product.  Cheaper, because it is cheaper per serving, and faster because most of it is passive cooking.  Please read my blog on dissecting a hamburger meal box, it is a real eye opener.  
  • Bottom line is that anything that is premade and boxed is off the table, with a few exceptions.  Scratch cooking doesn't have to mean that you slave over a hot  stove all day.  there are a few things that are ready made that are either cheaper, or are not practical to cook from scratch.  Beans have a short fridge life.  if you get them cheap enough , canned ones are a better buy without waste,  I don't make tortillas or refried beans.  Instant mashed some times of the year are cheaper than scratch.  When I can get tomato roasted red pepper soup from Costco, it is cheaper than scratch.  

I guess I have bombarded you with enough.  If it all seems overwhelming, take it one step at a time. . If some part of this just isn't your bag, think of the savings, if that isn't motivation consider deligari g it to a family member that is more suited to the task An older child can do more than you think and they will be learning good life's lessons.  

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Saturday, June 22, 2013


Saturday, the one day a week that I get a hot cup of coffee!  Its beautiful and peaceful here, and I have to do the business books and get the clothes replaced for the boat.  My husband emptied the  chest of drawers to be washed .  I have gone down two sizes since last summer, so I have to restock from home and  wash what I can still wear.  I batch cooked all yesterday morning into the afternoon.  Our meat is cooked and ready to go and plenty left over for the house sitter.  Batch cooking means that dinner will  be a snap tonight.

My daughter thinks I should address the issue of special diets.  I think the first question is , are you on a special diet because it is the "in thing" to do, or is it because the doctor says you have an health issue.
Most of the time, you can buy regular food and make healthy choices to accommodate your diet.  healthy doesn't have to be expensive.  I buy whole wheat products, and defat my meat, and live on a low carb diet.  Low sugar, low fat, and low salt doesn't mean that you have to buy all the items in the grocery store that claim low xxxxx.  Some of them have chemicals that aren't good for you in the first place.  It's clueless to me why if something is the "in" diet, suddenly everything has No xxx. On the label even if it never HAS  had that xxxx in it.  They use it to raise prices. If it is special, it  must cost more.

If you are a vegetarian , you don't have to buy the vegetarian equivalent of meats.  Our doctor would prefer that the baby not have soy based equivalents.  Soy is one of the crops that failed, and is going to continually get more expensive as we work through the effects of the drought.  My fear is that after the drought, the suppliers will assume we are used to paying high prices and inflate the prices for more profit.

There are grains and rice and beans that make for whole protein.  If you insist on buying the fake stuff, PCC is less expensive than some other stores, probably because they have more volume.  if you can make do with things from the chain stores, you will be better off if you are trying to make it on SNAP.  Quinoa ( I'm probably spelling it wrong) is at Costco and is a whole protein.  Rice and beans make a whole protein. Eat a lot of fruits and veggies and supplement.  My daughter eats a lot of Mexican.

There is a web site that has coupons for alternative foods.  Stacy talks about in her video.  Stacymakescents,com.

 I have  to admit, I am clueless on gluten free.  I assume that you can just eat no bread or pasta.  We pretty much lived on meat and vegetables when we were kids,  Thats what my dad liked.  If you avoid bread and pasta and get your starch from rice?  And buy a minimum of alternative thickening agents etc.  Obviously, the least amount of specialty products would keep your costs down.  My  normal budget is about half of the normal amount of the SNAP base for thrifty cooking. That leaves  you a little wiggle room.

Basicly, SNAP is based on regular food for a minimum cost diet.  They are talking meat, veggies, and grains.  There  is no room built in for specialty foods at an inflated price.  If  you choose or your health issues dictate you eat a specialty diet, you have your work cut  out for you.  I balance the vegetarian and my diabetic diet, but my daughter buys her own fake food.  There are some meals that she can eat too, or that I can make and pull her portion out and add our meat.

I'm not trying to be mean, the reality is , if you are on SNAP, your budget has no room for specialty foods.  you are going to have to work hard to incorporate regular foods that meet your criteria into your meal plans and use a minimum of specialty foods or find them at a reduced cost.  Most diets can be adjusted by using regular foods or some specialty items  are the same price.  As a diabetic, I just eat foods that aren't on my diet in moderation.  It s not what I can't eat, it's how much of it I eat... A full serving or a teaspoon! LOL.

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Friday, June 21, 2013

Finally Friday

It is  Friday and the weekend chores are here again.  I grocery shopped on Wednesday and Thursday because we have a project we need done this weekend.  I need to roast off a chicken and cook a marathon batch of ground beef for our vacation.  I intend to get food ready and frozen so that I can make easy meals.

I have a 2 foot square kitchen and have to cook for a vegetarian and a semi vegetarian as well as us.  It's a challenge.  I have to cook one thing at a time.  I plan to do taco night and some foil pouches.  That way, I can put what everyone wants to eat in their packet and have my husband cook them on the BBQ....and no washing dishes in a teacup of water! LOL.  Salmon will work for one day.  Everybody eats salmon!  Speghetti!

  1. Taco night
  2. Chicken Alfredo packets
  3. Hamburger stew packets
  4. pizza
  5. Salmon 
  6. Soup and sandwiches
  7. Speghetti 
  8. Sloppy joes
That does it 8 meals that are camping, boating friendly with 1.5 vegetarians.

There  are a lot of meals that with precooking meats, can be done easy and quick.  there is no need to slave over a hot stove if you don't want to.  It just takes a little planning.  Having a plan keeps you off the what's for dinner stressor when everything is frozen.  if you precook meats, frozen is not a problem.  You can thaw and reheat taco meat in a few minutes.  While it is thawing, you can chop tomatoes and lettuce and get out the grated cheese.  Open a can of refried Beas and get it ready for the microwave.  In fifteen minutes flat, you can have dinner on the table.  

Meals from the ads

  1. Hot dogs, coleslaw, French fries  --I buy only Nathan's or Hebrew national hot dogs.  Coleslaw was a buck at SAFEWAYS and French fries are at the dollar store.  
  2. Pizza pork chops, orzo, green beans -- crockpot fare!  Betty Crocker web site.  
  3. Roast chicken , orzo, spinach salad -- chicken was a buck at IGA
  4. Tacos, refried beans -- good ground beef is 2.99 at SAFEWAYS
  5. Tomato  basil blue cheese soup, toasted cheese sandwiches. Jello parfait
  6. Mac and cheese, peas and carrots 
  7. Salmon, pesto potatoes, mixed California veggies with parm.  - calif veggies are at dollar store.  
That about it.  The salmon is well above the five dollar mark as well as the hot dogs.  The Mac and cheese and tacos and tomato soup  and chicken bring the average down.  

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Thursday, June 20, 2013

Buying food and being poor.

 I hate that word poor.  My young son went to school where someone told him that they were rich and that we were poor.  I told him we were rich in what counted.  When there is a lot of love in a house, you are rich.  he promptly told my dad that he and gram were rich.  my dad said, oh I wouldn't say that!  My son  countered to his grandfather that his mom said that if there was a lot of love in a house, you were rich.  Grandpa  replied, well if that's the criteria, she's right!

I entered into a discussion on food and the poor.  The consensus was that the kids that were poor, only could eat canned and processed foods, frozen chicken parts etc.  That mindset is the misinformation that I am trying to dispell on my blog.  You can eat low fat  meats and fresh vegetables and fruit on SNAP. .  You just have to shop smart and budget.

 It is true that you probably can't have all the FREES.  The sugar free,salt free, gluten free, and whatever free that the latest fad is. I'm not so sure they are all they are cracked up to be.  The jury is still out on Organic.  That's a discussion to have with your health care professional.  .

 You can certainly eat things in moderation and eat a balanced varied diet on a low income budget.  I certainly wouldn't feel deprived because I could not afford all the FREES.  Unless you have serious health problems , Most of us need a balance of salt, sugar ( or carbs) to be well.  The key, in my opinion is moderation.

It is  sad that so many are like the woman I ran into that was feeding her children A hamburger meal box and sugar loaded drink boxes and fruit cups for dinner.  That's  why I started my blog.  If you have good shopping skills and a desire to feed your family well on a small budget, you can do it.  The problem I have is reaching the people that need the information.  No child should be eating top ramen  and potato chips for breakfast, lunch and dinner and no child should wake up to no food in the house.

Lately I have been bombarded with third world countries trying to send me spam.  I  JUST want to help people, either get through a tough time, find a different recipe, or a new way to be more efficient in the kitchen.  I don't have any fancy degrees, I just have lived through it and want to share what I learned by  reading everything I could find to read.  I never got food stamps, but I remember a month that I spent 25.00 on food for the two of us, and we still ate balanced.  We looked forward to Sumday dinner at Grandparents home.  LOL.

Every first of the month I go over the basics for anyone new.  if anyone has an idea of how I  can reach more people, please let me know.  There is a comment section below.  You don't even have to leave your name !

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Dinner in a flash. 5 buck dinner alert

I went grocery shopping yesterday.  I went to our local IGA because they were having their grand opening and had low prices.

I got a chicken (.99) pork chops 2.31 for four) and some minute steaks.  Also veggies and fruit.  Total 30.00 and change.  Imstill have a few things to pick up from SAFEWAYS, but I should be well under my budget.

Today I made the pork chops in the crockpot.  It was a pizza pork chop recipe from Betty Crocker.  If you go on Betty Crocker website, there is a place where you can "google" your ingredient s and they will display recipes.  The total cost for the dish is  4.10  I have enough sauce left to make pizza sauce.  ( in the freezer.). I used  one of the baby's cups from her fruit cup treats she takes to school.
You could use an ice cube tray.

pork chops 2.91
Pasta sauce .77
Onion .20
Orzo .49

Total 4.37less pizza sauce .27 equals  4.10 add bread.50 and green beans  .33 and it totals 4.93.
It took me almost no time.  And when I get home from work, dinner will be made.  My husband gets the pleasure of smelling it cook all afternoon, LOL.

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Wednesday, June 19, 2013

my read on the ABC s of freezer cooking

I bought the ABCs of freezer cooking.  It came today.  It will take me longer to earn the 5.90 that it costs than it did for me to read it.  I wouldn't recommend anyone spending their hard earned money on it.
 I also bought Don't Panic, Dinners in the freezer!  it, on the other hand, is very informative with wonderful recipes and full of information and a conversion chart to multiply recipes.  Each recipe comes in single, double, and triple batches.  

Betty Crocker Dinners is free on line and has delightful recipes.  Some are over budget, but can be adapted to fit specific needs.

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Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Most common mistakes

I have been watching grocery hauls on the Internet. Mostly young gals are doing them. I am beginning to see a picture that is all telling.

The most common mistakes grocery shopping to be on the cheap instead of spending the whole paycheck are

  1. Buying  8  gallons of drinks.  Buy tea bags, herbal if you wish, and some crystal light type mix at the dollar store or big lots.  Water is a good hydrater.  .  Buy a lemon to add a slice to it and chill it.  
  2. Buying ready made mixes and meats.  Take on one meat at a time, and learn to cook it.  The savings are remarkable.  If you don't have the pans to cook it, go to the goodwill and find one.  if you don't have a roasting rack, pile rough chopped carrots / and or potatoes or onions  on the bottom, and roast your chicken on top.  
  3. Buying tons of junk foods.  Buy popcorn it's cheap and relatively healthy.  The savings more than make up for the price of an air popper on sale.  I got mine for 14.00.  
  4. If your passion is sweet, find easy and inexpensive recipes for brownies or another cake or cookie.  There is a recipe on the Internet for a mixture of 2 cake mixes that cooks in a few in the microwave.  Or make muffins or quick breads.  They can be healthy and satisfy your sweet tooth.  
  5. Not Sticking to your meal plans and not thinking things out. don't come home without the things you need to make them or you have wasted your time and need another costly trip to the store.  
  6.  The worst mistake is to go to the store hungry, with screaming kids that need a nap, and buy 
  7. anything in the store that looks good to you.  It's stressful and expensive.  you shouldn't come home broke and ready to drop from the grocery store! LOL  
Take a look at your grocery receipt and break it down as to how much is drinks, how much snack food and desert, and how much fruit and veggies.  The most percentages should be fruit and veggies and proteins.  Less than ten percent should be snacks and drinks.  

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The ads

This weeks ads

First, Rite Aid has folders and maxwell house coffee for 6.99 with a dollar reward on it.

@@ means coupon. means there is a coupon at

B utter 2.00
Yoplait 10/5. .40/6
Tomatoes .99
Rasp. 2/5
2 lb mini carrots 2.00

Buy 4
Dryers 2.49
DiGiorno 4.99
Morning star 2.99
Hillshire farm lunch meat .55

Crest toothpaste 10/10 .50
Buy 10. Get 5 free
Corn **
Royal tomatoes
Bc Mac & cheese **
Hunts tomato sauce
**corn and Mac and cheese are cheaper at dollar store and big lots.  Corn at big lots and Mac at dollar store.
Note: there are coupons at for many of the mega deal product

IGA Market Fresh
Chicken .99
Can't elope 2/3
Grapes 1.79
Bottom round 2.99
WF frozen veg .99
Cheese 4.49@ limit
IGA tomato sauce .60

chuck roast 2.49

BBQ sauce .99
Strawberries 3/3.88
Fuji apples 1.00
Mushrooms 1.00
Broccoli 1.00
Baby carrots 1.00
Eng cukes 1.00
Romaine 1.00
Nalleys chili 1.00

Grapes 1.49
Blues 3.98
Celery .89
Roma's 1.00
Lean ground beef 3.49 ****. See SAFEWAYS JFU

90 percent hamburger 2.99
Yoplait 10/ .40/6

5 dollar FRIDAYS
Hillshire farms / Oscar Mayer lunch mea
Blues strawberries 2/5
Rasp 2.00
Peaches 1.99

That's about it.

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Planning your trip

I don't want to spend more than an hour to plan  my shopping trip; a half an hour is better.
I have tried to be methodical about it.

  1. Before the ads come in the mail, check to see where the coupon matchups are.  If you are not in Seattle, look for people in your part of the country. is a resource if you are in the south.  Snoop around the Internet and find someone in your area.  
  2. Clean the fridge and note what needs to be used up and any staples you are short of ( eggs, milk, sour cream etc.  ) 
  3. When you get the ads, take a sheet of computer paper, mark it in quarters and top each quarter with a store name.  Go through the ads and write down anything on your stock list that is a rock bottom price.  Note it on your data bank.  Mark any of the perishables (meat and veggies) that is a good price.  Cross off anything that is a higher price elsewhere and anything you have enough stock of.  I post this, which only works if you are in Seattle.  
  4. Pick the best two stores on your sheet.  
  5. Pull the coupons you have for the match ups that  you will use.  
  6. Gather your list( or mine that has been marked up by you) , your coupon folder or envelope, the ads, and your just 4 you if you have one.  
  7. Plan your trip so you don't waste gas.  Add any other errands that you need to do.  
  8. Go to the stores, get in, buy your list, and get out.  the more time in the store, the more you will spend.  
  9. Stick to your list. Only add something  you might have forgotten to write  down or an un-advertised special that you really need or is too good to pass up. one time I found a whole bag of mixed peppers for .25 cents.  I took them home and cut them in little pieces, flash froze them and we had pizza toppings and colour in our pasta for months! I am notorious for forgetting the hotdog or hamburger buns.  I really don't want to pay 3.00 for them. 
  10. If you have children , try to arrange some kind of babysitting.  Trade with a friend, take them to grandmas, leave them home with dad, anything that works.  You can do a better job if you don't have distractions.  Multi tasking is too hard and stressful.  

This may sound  overwhelming, but take one number at a time. With some practice, you will get to the point where you can do it in a half hour or less.  

I am doing this blog to help people .  Who can't use a few more cents sin their pocket at the end of the month.  I have been finding toothpaste for free often.  I am hoarding it so I can take it to the women's shelter.  my husband jokes that I will be the toothpaste fairy!  LOL. If its free, why not spread the wealth! LOL. 

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A survival recipe found in a cookbook on line, check it out in the sample at  The recipe is copywriter so this is the best I can do for you.  Our Favorite Freezer Friendly Recipes is the name of the book.

Pepperoni  and cheese quiche.  Fast, easy, and 1.42 to make.  Add a salad of lettuce and any veggie
you have around and you are still under two bucks.  Pepperoni is .50 at the dollar store with a coupon.
Buy two, get a buck off.

Psycology of Retail

As I have said before, the retailers have spent considerable money to research our habits and find ways to get us to spend more money.

Advertising multiples, when you can only by one item is one trick they use. Because something is 3/1.00 doesn't mean that you have to buy three.

The longer you spend in a store, the more money you will spend. That's why some retailers change things aroumd frequently. Costco is notorious for it. If you have the mind set that you are on the clock and want to get the most bang for your buck, you'll spend less time. It's a game. I want to save as much as I can in the least amount of time.

Impulse buying is the retailers profit. They figure that 70 percent of what we buy is impulse. Often it is the most expensive things in the store that. you don't really need. We want the retailers to prosper but they can do it on someone else's dime who can afford it more.

Create your own path through the store, if you don't need anything in an isle, don't go there. The true necessities are on the outside perimeter of the store.

Sometimes, what is truly on sale isn't the featured items up front.

Exercise the hands off rule. Studies say that if you touch it, you are most likely going to buy it.

It's a well known trick that if prices have to increase, the manufacturers will reduce the size of the package instead of outwardly increasing the price.

Know your prices, the bulk isle isn t always the cheapest price.

Keep in mind that foods are sold other places other than grocery stores. Many time you can find overstocks at the dollar store, big lots, Bartells and almost anywhere. Keep your eye open, and know your prices.

Pick your grocery store based on the prices, not how friendly the clerks are or how fancy the store is, or how uncrowded it is. think about it, there is a reason why the store is crowded. Either they have just forecasted that dreaded S word, or it's because they have the best prices. You go to the grocery store to purchase your food.

Stores charge manufacturers slotting fees. Basically they charge rent for the eye level shelves. You can just bet they are going to pass on the cost. Look UP and DOWN for the best buys.

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Monday, June 17, 2013

Extreme couponing

I ran down to the antique mall and did some things I needed to do.  Then I went extreme couponing.

I got 15.00 worth of stuff for 2.00.  For an 87 percent savings.

Hefty slider bags for granddaughters Lunch.
2 pepperoni s

Just a note


Monday Madness

We made it through another week.

My  daughter bought turkey bacon....Turkey is one of the  cheapest meat in the grocery.  It was 8.00 a pound.  This is a case where buying regular  bacon and using it in moderation is a better choice.
Why is it that they put LESS something in a product and charge MORE money.  It doesn't seem logical.  LOL

Yesterday we why for a walk before dinner.  Dinner was late and we had pizza and salad.

I have been researching cook for a day and eat for a month.  I went to a class years ago.  I haven't the stamina for this norm but there are people that it makes sense for.  One lady does it because she has three children under six and dinner time was meltdown time.  It was easier for her and could spend the time with children.  Engaging the children in a quiet activity would be good too..

Having a stock ahead means you can add the few items you need new and still have money to fill in and take advantage of rock bottom prices on staples.

Instead of all day cooking, I choose go batch cook meat.  Using the slow cooker makes sense to effect a quieter dinner time as well.    I used to set aside some meals for our widowed  mothers as well.  If they didn't feel like cooking, all they had to do was  heat something up.  It's hard to cook some things for one person,

Another idea I just remembered.  If you are making a dish that your family likes, make a double or triple batch and freeze the leftovers.  Freeze item  in a freezer bag and lay it flat on a sided cookie sheet until it freezes.  It makes your bag flat and takes less room in the freezer.
You can get a months worth of meals in a refer freezer.

I purchased the ABC s of freezer cooking.  The new word for marathon cooking.  I'll give a review when I get it from Amazon.  Another good book is Don't panic, dinner is in the freezer.

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Sunday, June 16, 2013

I ran on to a video on u tube that covers anything you ever wanted to know about couponing. she is from the south, so not everything she says holds true in  the pacific nw.
I checked out her website.  She had a guest recipe contributor,  she is toting 6 meals under 100.00 in the crock pot.  Her name is KM Logan and has a book on Freezer cooking.  I think that freezer cooking is a new way to say marathon cooking, cook one day and eat the rest of the month.   Her recipes are worth looking at on Stacy's website.  Just remember you can use bone in chicken breast, and most mixes can be made from scratch or the ingredients substituted for mix.  Italian dressing is on an earlier blog, as well as ranch dressing.  I am assuming when she calls for a bottle of dressing, she is using a small bottle.  Look for veggies and dry potatoes at the dollar store or big Lots.
I think with some savvy shopping, you could get this down to 5 dollar dinners.  You could also use cooked chicken and cut the cooking time.

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Happy Fathers Day

Happy Fathers Day !

Yesterday we had BBQ chicken thighs, potato salad, corn on the cob and mixed berries.  I bought a bulk package of chicken thighs when I shopped.  We had Chicken Alfredo one night, and BBQ chicken, and I still have enough to have chicken and noodles another night from a 6.5 pound package of chicken thighs purchased at .99 a pound.

Buying meat in bulk and batch cooking makes it easier at meal time and is less expensive.  You can freeze part of it so that you aren't eating a meat until you are sick and tired  of it. You can buy a batch of something that is in a  really good sale, batch cook it, and use 1 or 2 meals and freeze the rest.  pull out the things that you bought the previous weeks and you have balanced meats, but at a lower cost.

Almost any meat works for batch cooking.  Chicken leg quarters work, as well as breasts and whole chickens.  Whole chickens on sale are about 1/2 the price of a deli chicken.  NEVER buy a chicken under 3 pounds.  Your ratio of bone to fat breaks even at 3 pounds.  Otherwise you are paying for too much bone.  between a four and five pound chicken is the best.

Ground meat Is the simplest, a very versatile meat.  Meatballs, meatloaf, taco meat, crumbles, patties, Salisbury steak!  If good hamburger is not cheap enough,,consider grinding your own from a less expensive cut of meat.

A pork loin or tenderloin is another option. Imslice pork loom thin for BBQ pork sandwiches.

Roast beef  can be eaten for a roast beef meal, and then sliced for sandwiches.  Roast Beef is becoming almost cost  prohibitive.

My mix for meal plans is probably different than yours.  Try for a variety of meats to be balanced.

2 beef
2pork or chicken
1fish or seafood

Variety in your meat selection gives you balance.  Every other day someone comes out with a XXXXX meat is not good for you,  I don't quite buy all of that..  Variety at least gives you a bit of all meats,  For, , next week "they" will change their mind! LOL

I keep clams, shrimp, tuna, and salmon along with some white fish.

In order to have five dollar dinners (average) you need to keep the protein at 2-3 dollars.  If I spend a lot one dat ( shrimp will take me over the top) I schedule eggs another day, or so,etching else that is low cost protein.  Maybe burritos with rice, beans, and a little leftover meat!  

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Saturday, June 15, 2013

Alternative stores buys

My daughter and I went to get a sandbox.  We stopped at Big Lots ,  green giant corn was .33.  Chocolate wafer cookies were  1.00.

Rite aid had up rewards on dental hygene   stuff.  Along with coupons. I got two toothpastes and a 3.99 mouthwash for 2.64.

That's my BIG shopping dAy!   LOL


Friday, June 14, 2013

Suddenly Saturday

Saturday, and it is beautiful in the Pacific  Northwest.  Certainly,  a good gardening day.

On  to the topic of today.

The  goal in stockpiling,is to get to the point where you can only buy the specials that are rock
 bottom prices that you may need to fill on the holes in our stockpile, and the perishables you need to fill  in  a balanced meal plan.  It won't happen on a day, or even a week.  Just plug away at it as you find rock bottom prices on the staples your family eats  often.  One item at a time.  Sales go in 12 week cycles, and somethings are at a really rock bottom price once on a blue moon.  When that happens, stock up to the max of your level.  I try for a six month supply.It makes it easier  to make sure that you don't run  out and be forced to pay full price for something. That dreaded F word....FULL PRICE.  LOL

You don't have to be rich to do this, just smart.  Making some changes in the things we buy  and the way you buy your food makes a tremendous difference.  It makes no difference in your budget if you buy 1 can of pasta for 1.59 or two cans for 1.57. But ,  it makes a difference that you can eat twice instead of once!

Saving money on food has a snowball effect.  The money you save from one thing, means you can buy another on sale, and that savings rolls over to another sale and soon you have a stockpile.  Soon, you don't have to go to the store if you don't want to, or can't for some reason.  You have food in the pantry at the  end of the month.  It's a very  good feeling.

Tracking your prices gives you a good idea when your staple items are at a rock bottom price.

Pasta.   1 lb boxes

Date.                       Where bought.                         Price.             Coupon?              Net cost
6/10/13.                      SAFEWAYS.                       .88.                 2/1.00.                .38

You can run a spreadsheet, or use a small book that you can carry in your purse or coupon binder or box.

You will probably have 10-15 items on your staples list.  I have an idea on some things, and some things are traditionally  cheaper at some stores.

Catsup is always a buck at the  dollar store. Duh?!
I find tissue at the dollar store, but sometimes I find it cheaper at the Big Lots. big lots does not take coupons, dollar store does.  Big lots also doesn't take snap and dollar store does.

Coffee and cheese is always good at Grocery Outlet.  Coffee because it is cheaper, and cheese because it is cheaper sometimes and there is always a wide variety of cheeses, some unusual.

WinCo has a tremendous bulk food isle.  Some canned goods are cheaper and they have a wide variety of Mexican foods.

Costco is our place for bisquick, toilet paper, laundry soap, and some over the counter drugs our doctor has prescribed.  It is also cheaper on some fruits , especially bananas and I get brown and serve baguettes, because they are better and cheaper than their counterparts at the chain stores.
I keep them in the fridge and they keep a long time.

Big Lots has tomatoes  in a pinch.  When they have 20 percent sales, they are cheaper.  Also,
sometimes tea.

Our staples list

Tuna. Some
Salmon some
Diced tomatoes
Refried beans
Pasta sauce
Green beans. Some
Corn. Some
Chili. Some
Chicken noodle soup. Some
Instant mashed potatoes
Rice. Some
Tomato paste some
A few cake mixes

I keep a few of the things that are marked some.  I usually keep a cake mix and a couple of brownie mixes.  the other things I keep a six months supply.  If I use the item once a month, I keep 4-6.  If I use it weekly, I keep 24.  I keep a bin of pasta.  Pasta has a very long shelf life.

Things like mayo and catsup, I keep one ahead.  I don't want to run out of something in the middle of cooking.

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Freaking Friday

It feels weird that I am not doing the marketing today. We are all creatures  of habit.  

I watched a u tube seminar last night. It was on couponing and meal plans.  It could have been a boring , but  her sense of humor was delightful.  One thing resonated with me.  She was describing the difference between stockpiling and hoarding.  When you buy low and buy enough to last you until the next sale, you are stockpiling.  When you buy to be buying and buy things you don't use and at a quantity you can't use in your lifetime, that's hoarding.  

Last  night we had Chicken Alfredo and mixed vegetables.  It took me about 15 minutes , non passive time.  I put the pasta in the microwave and went out and talked to the neighbor..  I like quick, tasty meals, especially after I worked the second shift.  Cooking meat ahead makes dinner time cooking a lot less hectic.  Cooking is a lot less stressful  if there are  no time constraints on you.  
Pasta 49
Sauce .50
Chicken 1.50
Mixed veggies .75
Milk .12
Bread .72
Total. 4.58

The basis for 1/2 price groceries is five dollar  dinners. Breakfast and lunch will take care of themselves as long as you keep to scratch cooking and 1/2 price shopping.  breakfast can be 
Banana  bread or muffins, or oatmeal with raisins or craisens, or yogurt and toast, an egg muffin made with biscuits.  Lunch is leftovers, a sandwich...1/2 price cold cuts, or tuna, or egg salad or a salad from the night before with hard boiled eggs.  I like cheese, whole wheat crackers and an apple . 
Basically, you
  • Buy in season.  It tastes better, and it is cheaper.  
  • Buy what is TRULY on sale, Not everything on the grocery ad is really on sale.  
  • Know your prices, what is rock bottom.  Track your main grocery items. 
  • Strive for 1/2 price there is a lot of difference between 2.20 and .38 for pasta.  The same brand. Pasta has a 8 YEAR shelf life.  
  • Stack coupons when it makes sense.  I won't spend a lot of time couponing.  A few minutes a week can make a difference. Any more than that and you aren't getting paid enough.   If I spend ten minutes and save 6 dollars, I am making 36.00 an hour.  Since we don't buy a lot of ready mades and rarely is there a coupon for meat and veggies, any more time than that would be counterproductive.  
  • Sometimes, bread is cheaper at the grocery store, but most of the time it is cheaper at the bakery outlet, especially the specialty items.  I don't have time to make bread.  It would be cheaper.  When I made sour dough bread, it didn't get eaten fast enough, so I quit.  It's not a savings if it goes on the garbage!
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Thursday, June 13, 2013

Peanuts, popcorn and .........

While doing my many hours of research while being laid up, I ran on to an interesting statistic.  Twenty percent of the average grocery bill is for snacks.  If you really pay attention to the ads on tv and analyze the coupons being put out there , a lot of them are bidding for your snack food dollars.

If you spend your snack food dollars for building stock, you will be better off.  Air popped popcorn is a really good inexpensive snack.  Add some garlic powder or parm cheese if you want a different flavor...or any other flavor combo that the chips of the day are using.

Yesterday, I did our marketing alone while  my husband was at work.  I went to three stores in an hour and a half.  I , according to the receipts, saved 46,46, and 44 percent.  I stocked.  What I stock this week, might not be what I stock next week. I pretty much stuck to real food, as opposed to junk food and non food items.

 ALBERTSONS has dairy at rock bottom prices. Enjoy them while you can, the effects of the drought  have only just begun, the price of dairy is probably going to skyrocket..  It's not something you can stock, and non fat dry milk is really pricy...a lot more than regular milk. Like a box  of milk at Costco is 40 dollars.  Cheese is eight dollars a brick some places.  you can freeze grated cheese.  Meat you can compensate with other sources of protein ....a little in a casserole.  I suspect that like our great grandmothers and grandmothers during WWII and the Great Depression, we will adapt and survive.  That is  how we got red velvet cake!!!  There is a group of  videos on U tube about cooking during the depression.  It's a hoot!  

I got excited over .12 yogurt and .38 cent pasta, not to mention .77 pasta about rock bottom prices!

If you haven't guessed, this blog is about groceries on the cheap.  I started out trying to teach people on SNAP to stretch their food dollars.  No kid should have to eat top ramen and potato chips for dinner and no kid should have to get up to the insecurity of no food in the house.  I have found out that more people have been reading because of tricks to get out of the kitchen faster, or seeing a new or old recipe they had forgotten as well. In these times, it is relevant to us all.  Who doesn't like a bargain!!!!?  

The basis of this is to buy low and eat high, kinda like playing the stock market .  Buy quantity of things you use on a regular basis when they are a rock bottom price, enough to last until they go on sale again.  lately, I have been trying to add coupons to the lowest price-- Thus .12 cent yogurt and .38 whole grain pasta.  Never pay full price for anything.  you can cut your food bill at least in half.
I do this without eating junk food or a lot of boxed meals.  Quick scratch cooking and cooking ahead compensates for convenience food.

This does take some prep time before you shop. I do some of it for you, but only you knows what your family wants to eat.  After your initial organization is done, it should take you a normal amount of time to shop.  Probably less time if you  are a meal at a time shopper.

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4+1=5. four people, one meal, five bucks.
Better, Cheaper, Faster

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Coupons to match the ads

Here are coupons to match the good buys this week.  
Happy Saving. 

Tillamook yogurt.  Coupon in paper is for .24
                               Coupon on is for BOGO - limit two. 
                               Makes them .12 each. 

Barilla Whole Grain Pasta
                                Store coupon  .88
                                Coupon from 1.00 off two
                                Net cost   .38

Hormel Entrees on Buy 4
                               Store price 4.48
                      coupon 1.00 off
                               Net price 3.48
Some of the varieties are not the best tasting , in my familes opinion.  we like the beef tips.  
A 5 minute meal with instant mashed potatoes and a vegetable and/ or salad.  At the cost of
beef , the price is not bad. 

Hillshire Farm Smoked Sausage  on Buy 4, mix or match
                                Store price 2.99
                                Coupon from previous Red Plum  .75
                                 Nets 2.24

Hope this helps someone.  Every little bit helps.  

Thanks for stopping by


Tuesday, June 11, 2013

The Ads

The ads for this week

Milk 2.49
Country ribs 1.99
Romaine 2.00 we only
Strawberries 2/3.49

Newmans own sale coupons
Pasta sauce 2/3
Dressing 2/5
Salsa 2/3
Popcorn 2/3
Pizza 3.99
Canned veggies  .69 @@@@
10 lb leg quarters .99 lb

Corn 6/2
Cantaloupe  2/3

Hunts pasta sauce .77 buy 10
Milk 1.77@
Cheese 4.99@
Yogurt .24@
Ice cream 2.49@
Sour cream .99@
Butter 1.69@
Grapes 1.99
Strawberries 2/5
Plums 1.99

tomatoes .99
Grapes 1.28
Eggs (18) 1.99

Buy 4
Ice cream 2.49 buy 4
Nutrigrain bars 1.99
DiGiorno 4.99
Morning star farms 2.99
Tide 5.49
HORMEL entrees 4.48
Smoked sausage 2.99

Week end only
Strawberries 3/5
Pork loin 1.79
Butter 1.88

Hebrew national 2/7
Blues 5.99. 18 oz
Chicken breasts 1.49

JUST FOR YOU 5 dollar Fridays
SUB 5.00
Boston cream cake
Strawberries 3/5
Newmans own entrees
Muller yogurt -free

Chicken .99
Corn 6/2
Kraft singles or cheese sticks  BOGO
Kens  dressing BOGO
Pasta .88@@@

@@@@needs coupon

This is a tough one this week.  I'll have to do some analyzing.  Some of these have coupons that work with them from the red plum and the ss this week.

Remember to check coupons. on the Seattle area.  Cross off anything more expensive elsewhere, and anything you don't need.

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Internet Ideas

I have been looking at the Internet a lot lately.  If I have  free time or don't feel good..all that yard work played havoc with my back.  LOL.

I saw a lot of garbage, and recipes for stuff  I can't imagine about kippers on top of spaghetti?   Trust me, his dollar store meals are not 1/2 as good as mine by anyone's criteria.

There, however was a little girl, I wish I could remember her name, that was showing meals that you could make and freeze for a quick meal instead of buying the frozen counterparts.

She made pasta and veggies and chicken.  She flash froze the veggies with bottled Alfredo sauce, and flashed froze the chicken  alone, and the pasta again with sauce.  Each on a foil lined cookie sheet one layer thick.   After  an hour, she broke the sheet of food apart and put it in meal sized bags.

She also made pizza, par baking the crust and filling it with her toppings, then cutting it I to wedges and wrapping it individually.  My guess is that you could make whole pizza, but if there are only one or two of you, the first option would be more efficient.

maybe her name was ?

She had some good ideas mixed in with a little youthful anticks..

I just found Depressioncooking with Clara on u tube.  It's a hoot.  She is 91 years old, recanting times of the depression and cooking for her probably great grandsons.  Fun.

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Monday, June 10, 2013

Terrific Tuesday

Tuesday , the ads come out tonight in the mail.  The coupons came out in the Sunday paper.  I understand from researching, that if you wait a couple of weeks, you are better off matching coupons with sales.  Many of the coupons are for ready mades and non food items.  I am choosing to choose my coupoms wisely.  I'm not buying just because there is a coupon or something is free.

Saving money at the grocery store is more about putting good nutricion on the table for less than the stats say you need.  it's about providing your family an adequate, nutritious diet for less.  By cooking from scratch, shopping to maximize savings, and planning, it can be achieved in less time than you think.

Batch cooking enables you to save time and clean up and buy meats when they are at their lowest in price.  You can portion control the meat and have less waste.  When it is time to cook dinner, the major time consuming part is already done, and your dinner time is less hectic.  There are videos on u tube about cooking once for a month of dinners.  Some of them set aside a specific meat or dish for a given day of the week.  My mother did that for a time.  We could tell you what day of the week it was by the dinner that was cooking on the stove.  It got rather boring, and only lasted a few months.  Now, my aunt that lived four doors down made cookies every Tuesday, we NEVER got tired of that !
It  was soo unfortunate that we just had to pass her house on the way home from school!!! LOL  LOL

The only thing wrong with writing a blog, is that you don't ever know your demographics,  I don't know who is reading.  Are they people that are victims of the recession?  People on SNAP, retirees, young mothers? People  that just want to get out of the kitchen faster or try a new recipe???

Tonight we tried chocolate waffles.....with bacon and mixed berry compote.  Yumm
I got the recipe from a Betty Crocker post!!!!

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better, cheaper, faster!!!

Monday madness

It's Monday again, funny how that works, another week looms.  I have been spending my free time watching blogs about cheap food.  there are not many about good food, cheap.  It is frustrating seeing all the cut your grocery bill in half, when I already do that without coupons.  Either Washington state is a lot more rigid on their coupon policies, or they have all changed because people were taking advantage.  Clearing the shelves without regard to other shoppers is rude.
None  the less, these women are getting 15000 hits a day.  I was excited to get 10000 in a year ! LOL
I don't know how to reach more people.  I am trying to take a practical approach to this.

Onward, my focus this month is going to be to add a few coupons on top of good sales to kick up the savings a notch.  Another challenge is to see how low I can get the basic hie gene necessities, since SNAP only covers food.  I have got toothpaste for as low as free.  on to deodorant, toilet paper, and soap.

Progresso recipe starters are 2/1.00 at the dollar store.  There are .50 coupons, but they don't work at the dollar store...darn.   I have used the cheese one, it was pretty good,  I added more cheese to bow ties and peas.  it was a very quick meal when things went  a rie at our house.  Having some items that save the day is important, it is better than the drive through or ordering pizza.  I also have the challenge of cooking with one pot at a time I'm a two foot square kitchen on the boat.  Drastic times call for drastic measures.  I cook normal foods on the boat, many go out for dinner every night.  Some convenience saves my day and a lot of money.

Betty Crocker has some really good recipes this week.  Check out their website. I will try the beer bread!   Beer bread pizza sounds really good too.  If you don't like alcohol, you can always use no alcoholic beer.  There are a lot of other really good recipes too.

When I shopped, I mostly bought fruits and vegetables.  We are paring down our stock of meat.  Yesterday, we went to a BBQ, so I didn't cook.   Have three more days left to cook.  I did the math, one day we go to Happy Hour with friends, two days I work the late shift.

  1. Hot dogs, corn on the cob, mixed berry fruit cup
  2. Chicken and sausage couscous
  3. Pasta skillet

Chicken and sausage couscous 

1/4 pound chicken pieces, cooked
6 ounces fully cooked sausage , cut into bite sized pieces
2 stalks celery, cut into small chunks
2 carrots, cut into slices
1-1/3 cups chicken broth
1 cup couscous
1/2 red pepper, sliced
1 cup chicken broth
1T cornstarch

Place sausage in skillet with a little oil.  Brown meats about 5 minutes.  
Add carrots and celery to skillet, cover and cook until soft 3-5 minutes
Cook couscous,  bring 1-1/3 cups broth to a boil.  Stir in couscous, cover and remove from heat.  
Let stand. 
Add chicken and red pepper to skillet.  Stir fry until red pepper is soft.  
Mix remaining chicken stock with cornstarch.  Add to skillet.  Stir fry until  sauce is thick.  
Serve meat and veggies over couscous.  

Pasta skillet
1 cup seashell pasta.  ( cooked and drained)

3/4 pound ground meat, cooked
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 can chopped tomatoes
1/2 cup beef stock
1/2 tsp cinnamon 
1/2 tsp garlic 
1 cup frozen green beans
2 ounces feta cheese ( if desired)

Add all Ingredients to a skillet, except pasta.  Cook until  frozen beans are done.  
Add pasta to skillet and stir.  
Garnish with feta if desired.  

Notes:  meat was cooked ahead when it was on sale for 2.99 a pound.  Pasta was .50 a pound.  
Tomatoes are .67 when TOP has them on sale. 
Feta  cheese is often cheap at grocery outlet.  last time I got it with sundried tomatoes.  

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Sunday, June 9, 2013

What's wrong with this picture?

not to be critical, but this gal doesn't have a clue.

Meal Plans

Hot Dogs
Steak um sandwiches

I'm over budget, I spent 51.00

grocery Trip
Watermelon, cut into cubes in a plastic container
Tomatoes on the vine
24 bottles of water
12 cans of ginger ale
16 steak umps
2 baby cans of kitty food
White bread
8 rolls of paper towels
1/2 gal milk
ready made chicken breast strips
Ready made sliced apples in a bag
1 dozen eggs
Head of lettuce
2 - 8 ea tubes of  drink gushers
2 ears of corn
16 bottles of Gatorade

I'll let you You imagine what they are going to eat, I'll bet they will be well hydrated!

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Saturday, June 8, 2013


First a little housekeeping.  Dollar store dinners was a challenge.  I have eaten the potatoes and the frozen veggies from the dollar store.  They are good.  A lot of the dry goods are the same brands that are at the regular chain stores.  Some are cheaper, some are not.  I have not eaten the meat or fish from the dollar store, so I can't offer an opinion.  of course, the dollar store does not have perishables( fresh fruits and vegetables).  I don't think I would use the dollar store as my main food store.  LOL  This  was an experiment .  I always get French fries and pepperoni from the dollar store and their mixed veggies are good.  The same brand is 1.25 elsewhere.

The dollar store has a variety of things that are necessity items, but cheaper.  It's like what we called the dime store when I was a kid.  We had Woolworth's and Sprouse Ritz. I probably spelling it wrong.  Then came the 88 cent store.  A product of inflation, we have the dollar store.  The dollar store accepts coupons.  Because everything is a dollar, if you can do a match up with the correct sizes, some things can be free or near free.  You  cannot extreme coupon at the dollar store, they will only take four coupons at a time, it is my understanding. but, FREE is a  VERY nice word to the budgeter.  I got toothpaste for free, and I got sandwich bags for 1/2 price.  our granddaughter is small and she brings lunch to "school".  The quart bags we were sending in her lunch were too wasteful.
While, it isn't a food item, (SNAP doesn't pay for personal hygiene necessities. )If you can get them for free it is best.  I have purchased toothpaste for free or near free.  I am next going to tackle deodorant and toilet paper.  Watch for coupons and sales or the dollar store, and try to match them up.  This state doesn't allow overages and double coupons for what I can tell, so it might be a challenge. If someone finds it, please let the rest of us know.  There is a comment section below.

If you have the luxury of a variety of stores to shop at, then why not take advantage of that.
I wouldn't  recommend driving miles and miles, but planning your trips to group other errands works.
I stock, I don't buy 1 thing a week.  That being said, I would not stock anything that I haven't had before or that I didn't have storage for.

It's  a trade off, you find storage someplace in your house.  My dad always built a storage room in the basement in every house we ever lived in.  the trade off is that you  never have to run to the store or borrow from the neighbor something because you are in the middle of cooking dinner  and don't have something.  And, more to the point, you never have nothing on the house to eat and you are prepared for an it you're too sick to get to the store, or an act of God has made the store inaccessible.

Last  night we had bean and rice burritos with leftover pork tenderloin.  That way, I could make some with meat, and some without.  That was three days on a pork tenderloin.  The tenderloin costs 7.50 divided by three makes 2.50 per meal for meat.

  1. Pork tenderloin with potatoes and vegetable.  
  2. BBQ pork sandwiches, German potato salad
  3. Burritos
To  make five dollar meals, you have to average two to three dollars a meal.  If you hit the three dollar mark often, you are restricted to the starch and veggie for the meal.  You need to get in at least five servings of fruits and veggies a day.  We often use fruit as a desert.  Sliced bananas or strawberries with chocolate topping is a favorite.  As is bananas with butterscotch.  Or strawberries with cream.  I make a banana bread from Betty Crocker on line, that has oatmeal, bananas and blueberries in it.  It is really fast, easy, and inexpensive.  Bananas  are cheapest at Costco.  Do not buy organic bananas.  All bananas are organic and it is a rip off in my opinion.  I have heard experts say the same thing.  

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Friday, June 7, 2013

Dollar store dinners

Now, after I got a tube of toothpaste from the dollar store for free, I have purchased nine toothpastes for a total of two dollars.  All of them are either Colgate or Crest.

I went virtual shopping via my notepad.  I forgot to bring my electronics, so I did it the old fashioned way.  It was my challenge to make a good meal from the dollar store for my five dollar criteria.

I found

  1. Meatballs, ziti, pasta sauce, and mixed California vegetables.  --5 bucks. (Two pkgs meatballs)
  2. Chicken strips, French fries, regular mixed vegetables,  - 4 bucks ( using a pound of strips
  3. Tilapia,  sweet potatoes, corn, and red peppers.  5 bucks (a pound of fish)(rice*) 
  4. Bean and rice burritos with cheese.  ( beans and rice scratch 1 lb for a buck each) tortillas 1.00. Cheese 1.00, salsa .  5.00.  * enough rice for the fish dinner. 

. Four dinners for 19.00 with beans and salsa left over.

I found (some items are cheaper on sale elsewhere) but, my criteria was a meal from the dollar store.  I did not include normal staples like butter, catsup, etc.

Chicken breast strips 8 ounces
7 ounces of meatballs
4 ounces of tilapia
16 ounces Calif  blend veggies
Mixed veggies
French fries
Onion rings
Sweet potatoes, corn and red pepper medley
Sargento cheese
Mashed potatoes
Uncle Ben's  rice blends
Elbow Mac
Raw rice
Raw beans
Pasta sauce

And some other  mixes I wouldn't buy, personal preference

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Thursday, June 6, 2013

Getting started

I thought I would write about getting started.  Most of us don't have a lot of excess money hanging  around.

The term stockpiling conjures up the image of hoarding food all over the house.  Actually, stockpiling is buying your food at the lowest price and buying enough of it to cover yourself until you can find it at a rock bottom price again.  I try for a six month supply.  By the time it goes on sale again, I still have some and can add enough to fill myself in.

I only stockpile the foods on my most frequently used list.  My stock list .  Most people have  10-15 items  they use frequently.  You track these prices for the lowest price.

If you cut out the pop, and junk food and start buying one thing at a time, the next week, buy another thing on sale. Or on sale cheap with a coupon.  This snowballs and soon you only have to buy perishables until a sale comes along.  You will find you are spending far less than you did before and still have a pantry full of food.

Today I went to QFC and bought perishables that pretty much were on sale.  I bought 2 pounds of butter, 1.97 cent berries, apples, etc.  I bought a 1.00 crest toothpaste, because with a coupon, I got 2 free.  That's three tubes of toothpaste for a buck.  That averages me 8 toothpastes for 2 dollars total.

Tommorrow,  I will hit SAFEWAYS.  they have mayo for 2.22. Just 4 you.  I am at the end of my bottle, so I will replace the pantry one.  I always keep ONE of catsup, mustard, and mayo  type of thing so I can't run out in the middle of dinner.  Otherwise, of I use something weekly, I keep 24.  If I use something monthly, I keep 4-6.  Sales run an 8-12 week cycle.  If you watch for coupons for the things you buy and track the sales prices, you will see a pattern and take advantage of the rock bottom price.

Think about it, if you are playing the stock market, you want to buy low and sell high.  You are buying at rock bottom, and eating at high prices.  Adding the perishables at lowest market prices and you have a winning ticket! LOL

This week there is not a lot of things to stock on. Butter can be frozen and it is 2  bucks at QFC.  The toothpaste at QFC with a coupon is a stocker.

Last two weeks were better weeks to stock.  Top had beans and tomatoes for .67.  ALBERTSONS had pasta and cake mixes for .49.  With coupons, I  got two cake mixes for an  average of .07 cents.

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