Tuesday, July 30, 2013

The ads. With coupon update!

As I said in the last blog, I did make a form for analyzing the grocery ads. I may tweak it later.

Note : To my dismay, most of the coupons that match ALBERTSONS mega sale on coupon connections are at their li it and no longer available. I'm not sure about suckers, it says spread and the ad says jam. All the coffees are gone!

Peaches .99
Corn 4/1.00
Pasta 1.00
Pork Tenderloin 2.99
Hebrew national hotmdogs 2/6
Tillamook ice cream 2.79

Buy 5' save
Pepperoni 1.99 cc
Crest 1.99 cc
HORMEL sausage 1.99


Yoplait 10/5 cc
Beans, veg, tomatoes, hagan brand 15/10 *****

Grapes 1.29
Cheese 4.99@
Nalley chilli 1.00
Chicken thighs 1.29

Nectarines 1.79

Five dollar friday
Blues 2/5

Yoplait 10/5
Milk 2.59

Just 4 you
Mayo 1.99

Chicken .99
HORMEL meats buy2/ get 1
20 percent beef 2.99

ALBERTSONS Read carefully, this is confusing. Cc means that there is a coupon on couponconnections.com
*****means that this is a serious rock bottom price stock item. as usual @ means there is an in ad coupon.

Chicken .99**
27 percent ground beef 1.69 week end only
15 percent beef 3.49

Blues 2/6

.50 off in ten item batches. Prices are net before coupons
Cheerios 1.99
Jiff 1.99
Foldgers coffee 6.99 cc
Crisco veg oil 1.99
Jam 1.49 cc
Cake .99
Brownie mix .99
Hunts pasta sauce .79 *****
Refried beans .88
K cups 4.99 cc

Bud light 5.99/ 12'pack

That's all

Thanks for stopping by

Please share



Pasta is not the best buy for a buck. Better than normal, but not rock bottom. Pasta sauce is at rock bottom within a penny. Jam nets a buck, pretty much rock bottom for'a name brand. Cake and brownie mix is cheap, but not my rock bottom. My rock bottom is free and .14 cents to average .07. I wouldn't wait for <>~>|€ to freeze over!
Coffee is at my rock bottom with coupon. Look for Cheerios and Jiff coupons, they must be out there. Back to school sales are in full force!

I have not done the math for HORMEL b2G 1. That's a third off.

Coupon matchups

Coupon matchups are when you find a good sale price and match it up with a coupon. There are web sites that do it for you. Couponconnections is a lady from Lynnwood, Washington. Krazycouponlady is another one. I'm not sure where she is located. Stacymakescents is from Virginia. I think she covers that on her u tube seminar. she is really funny and it is a fun video to watch. If you are not in a double coupon state, you'll have to take what she says about that with a grain of salt. Do a search on u tube and investigate the lady or ladies that work in your area.

They are very informative and you can watch them at your leisure.

The sites make it easy to coupon, they do the work for you. It takes time to do it yourself. Be sure to check the package sizes when you match a coupon. I keep my inserts in a binder clip. When I find a good match up for us, I go to my stash and clip the coupons I need. it saves a lot of time. I don't want to spend more time on couponing than I have to, I only buy a few things they print coupons for.

The ONLY place I have found in the PNW where you can make money on a coupon is Rite Aid. yesterday the mouthwash and toothpaste was FREE to begin with. A wellness card was all that you had to have. If you had a coupon to go with it, you were money ahead. Essentially,they paid me to take the toothpaste out of the store. I had the wrong coupon for the mouthwash. I would have been better off buying two toothpastes, but I didn't have another coupon.
I should have been better prepared.

All I paid for the toothpaste, mouthwash, glue, ruler, and notebook was part of the sales tax.

Wallgreens has the same kind of deals as well as CVS. We don't have CVS stores, and Wallgreens is not convenient for us. I usually only go there when I am leaving the Er at two in the morning LOL
we are supposed to get one in our neighborhood, they are building it. I am basing that info on the u tube videos I have watched.

I buy the Sunday paper at the dollar store. They keep them all week. You need to look at them, they don't always have the inserts. The first week of the month is best. The coupon class we went to suggested that you get one paper for every member of the family. That could get expensive. Since most of the things that there are coupons for are not on my shopping list, it's probably not worth the expense. you don't want to spend more money on the paper than you get money back on coupons. My husband does enjoy the funny papers and sports section !

I think if I found a really good coupon, I would see if someone wasn't going to use their coupons, or buy another papered it made sense to do so.
I have been averaging about six dollars a week on coupons. I usually have a savings printed on my receipt of 46-48 percent before I started couponing. Shopping wisely and eliminating the ready mades and snack foods is how you get to 1/2 price food. Couponing is the icing on the cake!

Most of my coupons are printables and I made a coupon binder for them. I used a binder I got at the flea market for a buck, and two page protectors I got at the dollar store. Page protectors were on the three for a buck list at rite aid, but ere were none with that price. Total cost 3.00 plus a set of picture sleeves. The picture sleeves work better for printable coupons since I don't clip newspaper ones till I need them. I
It is important to plan your trip and get your coupons together before you hit the checkouts.

Off the coupon subject of couponing...

The Betty Crocker website has a recipe for pizza bread. It sounds really good and a good after school snack!
I was going to share it, but am afraid of copywriting issues.

Our favorite still is banana blueberry bread.

I am working on a meal plan, specials list form or forms.

I guess that's all. Back to the ads and recipes Tommorrow.

Thanks for stopping by

Please share


Monday, July 29, 2013

Monday madness

Today we went to rite aid and I got toothpaste, mouthwash, and paper supplies totaling a out nine dollars. The end out of pocket cost was 1.38 including tax.

We then went to Fred Meyers. I got sandals for the granddaughter for 2.00 along with some veggies and pasta sauce for .89.

I am not a Fred Meyer shopper usually. I had never got their ads before I started looking into couponing. I don't buy a lot of mixes etc, so I never saw a need to coupon. What one lady said on one of the numerous u tube videos I looked at while I was sick made sense to me. If you can coupon the things that you need that are necessities, that leaves more money for food. I still won't buy anything with a coupon that I wouldn't ordinarily buy unless it is free or near free and I can still use it. Today's mouthwash was free, and the toothpaste was more than free. The school supplies were free. Ice cream was 2 dollars, but I don't have a lot of room in my freezer right now. I froze corn on the cob when I got it for .20 and blueberries.

I just finished working on a coupon binder and some binders of recipes I downloaded from betty crocker website. I get them in the e mail periodically. I really like a lot of them. They use inexpensive sources of protein often and have a lot of vegetarian.

I guess that's all

Thanks for stopping by

Please share


Sunday, July 28, 2013

Coupon alert, updated

Rite aid has a up rewards on dental health stuff. Various crest products pay 2.99' get 2.99. I just love that word free. Dreyers ice cream is 2/6. When you buy 12.00 there is a 4.00 up reward. Maybe good if you can share the buy with your neighbor . There are coupons that give you money back to buy these. Also there are school supplies for free with a rewards card. The tea ismcheapermwith a coupon and rewards too.m the mayo is not a good buy I got some for 2.22 not long ago and my sister got hers for free.

The last update....I got it all for 1.38 OOP!

Fred Meyers ads run Sunday thru Saturday.

Tomatoes .88
Cherries 1.99
Peaches 1.49
Wallace Wallace onions.77
Squash .79
Cucumbers 2/1.00

Guess that's all

Thanks for stopping by


Seriously sunday

My daughter and I went to the couponing class. She showed how she got some things for free. She was from Oregon; we don't get double coupons in Washington, except the rare time you can get a coupon for double at ALBERTSONS.

The cost of the class was free, and she served brunch and had door prizes . A remarkable display of generosity. Thank you Kristin and The people at the Open Bible Church. She mostly dealt with Target. I did t know that target has a second coupon thing that gives percentages off plus using target and manufacturers coupons.

Stacking coupons is when you use a manufacturers coupon with a store coupon. You cannot stack an electronic coupon. Electronic coupons are the coupons you load on your store card. Coupon policies are on the stores websites.

Kristin had a concept that tailors the amount you buy to the degree of rock bottom price as opposed to my wait till it's the lowest and keep six months. She generously gave is a chart of rock bottom prices. I didn't find her prices realistic for this part of the country. Still, the concept was there. It was a neat chart.

You can get the Sunday paper at the dollar store. Not every time does the Sunday paper have coupons in it. It's best to check before you buy it. She recommends that you buy one paper for every member of your family. I would buy one and look at it. If it has coupons for something. Want, to back and buy more.

A coupon binder is a good thing If you are going to be a serious couponer. She did stress to plan tour trip and have your coupons ready before you get to the checkouts. I like to use the couponconnections web site and pull from the inserts that I have clipped together and dated if I need a coupon. I keep my printable ones in a box with dividers. It is less paper to deal with.

Most coupons are not for basic food which is what I usually buy. We buy few cosmetic and household products. She makes her own laundry detergent and the savings are remarkable.

I look for ice cream coupons, especially blue bunny because it is lower in carbs. I find plastic snack lunch bags for my granddaughter for her school lunches. We use plastic reuseable bowls a lot too. Toothpaste is free often.
I find pasta coupons often. Some of the ready made meats have coupons and paired with a sale, are cheaper than scratch. You still have to deal with the fact that they have preservatives in them. I guess that the moderation word is appropriate! I pass most generally on the box mixes. I keep a cake mix for emergency purposes and some brownie mixes when I can get them for a buck. The last cake mixes I purchased were .07. Considering that it costs .075 for a cup of flour, that was cheaper than scratch!

I had done a lot of research before I went to the class. Since I was sick and had a lot of time to surf the Internet, I watched a lot of videos. My daughter had not. What I took away from the class was that Kristin ( I'm terrible at names) spent a lot of time putting together a wonderful class. The basics were covered and it was presented well with a lot of handouts. It was a fun morning with my daughter.

I didn't know about Target's three coupon policy, and that target has deals that give gift cards and you can do multiple transactions to make best use of coupons scenarios. I don't usually shop at Target the one time I checked food prices, they were high. I didn't think our Target had much food.

I guess that's all.

Thanks for stopping by

Please share,


Friday, July 26, 2013

Suddenly saturday

Today is the extreme couponing class. If I can sneak in a blog,I will, if not, I'll post after we get home. Last nights dinner was home made pizza. We had chicken and black olive on one and pepperoni on the other.

I got a box of blueberries at SAFEWAYS and froze them. We like blueberry banana bread and blueberries are rich in anti-oxidents.

I am over budget, but I have stocked a lot because of stores closing and getting well below target prices. I suspect that next month will compensate for it. I still averaged 70.00 last quarter and under 75.00 the quarter before.

The object is not to pay full price, and not have so much that anything goes to waste, that takes some food management to see something that needs to be used up and incorporate it into your meals, even I'd you have to change your plans. Meal plans can be altered, but you can get into real trouble if you don't have one. It's to easy to fall into the drive through or take out trap if you are tired and hungry and you have no plan and everything is frozen. Having things that cook quickly and defrost quickly save the day.

Chicken cubes, taco meat and hamburger crumbles work fast in a pinch as well as eggs.

My daughter and I dissected a hamburger meal box. We did a whole group of blogs on the subject. What came out of it was a scratch recipe for cheeseburger macaroni and a reprint of my no brainer( my nephews description) pasta.

No Brainer Pasta. Named because my nephew when he was single got this recipe and called it a no Brainer because it is so simple.

1) grease ( spray with cooking spray) a 9X13 pan.
2) pour a 1 pound package of UNCOOKED, DRY pasta in the pan. You do have to open the box! LOL
3) open a can of pasta sauce. Add pasta sauce and ONE can full of water to the pan. Stir.
4) cover with foil and cook for 45minutes at 425 degrees or until pasta is tender.
5) uncover, sprinkle with grated cheese and any leftover meat you have and bake at 400 degrees for an additional 10 minutes or until cheese is melted. Allow a few minutes to rest for the cheese to cool a bit.

Meantime, you can set the table and make a salad. I love passive cooking!

I have been getting pasta as low as .38 and as much as .51. Hunts pasta sauce for .77 and .78.
Cheese is still at 2.18 on a big sale. I have stocked. Use any meat you have left over.
Cost 1.80 plus a left-over meat. ...about the cost of the box alone. I paid over 2.00 for the box.

I have been getting a lot of good recipes from Betty Crocker. I signed up for them on her website and they come in my e mail. The Betty Crocker web site also has coupons and a ap where you can google an ingredient
you need to use up and it tells you recipes that call for it. A real useful tool.

I guess that's all,

Thanks for stopping by

Please share


Finally Friday 7/26/13

First of all, I need to address couponing. My daughter and I are scheduled to go to an extre couponers couponing class Tommorrow. There is a video on u tube ( Stacymakescents). She is from the south, so some of her ideas don't make sense for the entire country, but she is funny and I learned a lot. There seems to be one website that has a relationship with manufacturers to make coupons available. it is necessary to download aoftware to print the coupons.
I have had no problem with the software, and I have listened to lots of videos on u tube, no one has reported any problem. Stacy addresses the issue in her seminar. I am throwing ideas that have worked for me out there, what and how much you take from it, is your call.

We had shrimp vegetable pasta last night. The pic is on Janes Groceries On The Cheap Facebook page. I am yet again trying to eat down the stock. It shouldn't be hard this week, there are no good specials. I got some vegetables and a chicken from IGA Wednesday. I still need to fill in some vegetables and SAFEWAYS has Kleenex on a coupon that is not part of the food budget. When you stock ahead and there is a slow week, you are not stuck paying full price. If I had to go shopping this week, I would go to Winco and the bread store. The bread store only because we are due and it is on the way so I make best use of our gas. We get 50 miles per gallon on the highway. But still I like to be as efficient as possible.

Ok Meals. I need to roast off the chicken I bought Wednesday. It is really fast to put a chicken on the oven to roast and go about getting other chores around the house.

How to roast a chicken

1) wash everything well after using it with raw meat. I have a glass cutting board that I can put through the dishwasher. Not so good on knives, but sanitary.

2) wash the chicken, clean out the inside if needed. Salt it inside. Stuff the inside with anything you have hanging around. Today it will be a piece of onion that I have from last night. It might be a lemon, orange or an apple. Drizzle it with olive oil and rub in in--both sides, top and bottom.

3) season it with salt and pepper, Sometimes I add thyme, rosemary, or lemon pepper.

4) I have a thermometer that plugs into the meat and has a timer that sits on the counter. You program the timer to the degree of done that you want and the meat you are cooking. It buzzes at you when the meat is at temp.

5) place chicken on roasting rack in oven at 375 degrees. I set the oven for 1 hour, 20 minutes, but let the thermometer do it's thing.

If you don't have a roasting rack, rough chop potatoes and carrots and put the chicken on the potatoes and carrots.

buying a chicken.

Never buy a chicken that is less than 3 pounds. Three pounds is the break even point for the ratio between meat and bone. In other words, you are paying for too much bone, and not enough meat. Most deli chickens are three pounds or less. You, most generally, are paying twice the price for deli chicken and getting less meat. You are better off getting a 4-5 pound chicken at a dollar a pound. I am still finding chickens for a buck a pound.

I use a breast for a meal. The other side of the breast is cut up for chicken Cassarole or pot pie, or buffalo chicken pizza. The dark meat is portioned for BBQ or another meal. The bones are saved for soup. If I had a larger family and chicken was a buck, I would roast off enough chickens to cover one meal a week for the month.
It takes very little more time, the same oven, and less work.


1) roast chicken, mashed sweet potatoes, salad
2) buffalo chicken pizza, salad
3) hot dogs, potato salad ( the last of the hot dogs)
4) sirloin tips on rice, salad, fruit
5) vegetable sauced spaghetti, salad
6) Mac and cheese, green beans
7) salmon, pesto potatoes, carrots, glazed

These meals total less than 30.00 for four people. The power of 1/2'price shopping.

I guess that's all

Thanks for stopping by

Please share


Thursday, July 25, 2013

Coupon alert!

Be sure to check coupon connections. I missed a coupon in the Safeway ad for Kleenex. .79
Hot dog or hamburger buns .99

That's all



Four plus One equals FIVE!

The basis for dinner when on a thrifty budget is five dollars for dinner for 4 people. Based on the hypothetical
Family of two adults and two school aged children. USDA stats are on the Internet based on levels of budgets and size and age of family members.

the secret to five dollar dinners is to keep the protein cost to about 2-3 dollars. If you average this, you can afford a more expensive cut of meat ever so often.



Buffalo chicken Pizza
roast chicken
BBQ Legs and thighs
Chicken soup
Chicken pot pie
Chicken and dumplings
Chicken noodles
Chicken burritos
Chicken salad

And many more

Ground beef is another very versatile protein. ground meat can be ground turkey, pork, or beef, or a combination of them.

Meat balls
Pasta dishes
Stuffed peppers


Sausage (dinner)
Sausage, Cassarole
Loin roast
BBQ pork sandwiches

Then there is rice and beans , cheese, eggs in any number of dishes
Breakfast for dinner is a real fun way to mix things up.

Bean and rice burritos
Mac and cheese

Just a few ideas, the Internet is full of them I just saw a recipe for chicken chimichangas on Facebook. I need to figure out a substitute for cream cheese or see if the cost of it makes the dish prohibitive. I just love chimichangas! I don't get them since the restraint that I got them at charged us twice for the same meal and I had to fight three months and write the attorney general to get my money back. Apparently not all the chain restraints are owned by the chain!

I think the point is that you can eat really good on a budget if you get your basic food 1/2 price.
Buy your stock items and protein at rock bottom prices and buy your veggies in season. The vegetables taste better and cost less...a winning combo. The trick is being flexible and knowing your prices.

Thanks for stopping by

Please share


Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Things your grocer doesn't want you to know!

I used to be the accountant for a wholesale grocer years ago. It probably will come to no surprise to you that the stores have spent great time, money and effort to ensure that you spend more money at their store.

They know that most people go right when they enter a store.
They know that the longer you spend in a store, the more money you will spend. That's why some stores are constantly changing their layout.

The more people you bring with you, the more you will spend.

People are lazy. They look in the middle of the shelf. Grocery stores get "rent" called slotting fees from manufacturers to show their product on the eye level shelves.
So look down and up on the shelves for the better buys.

It is no accident that the toys are next to the kids sugary cereal. Or that they have impulse buys by the checkout lines to tempt you while you are waiting.

There are stores that shall remain a secret that have a 42 percent markup. Probably because the more exoctic foods and the fancier the store, the more markup they have to have to make a profit.

Never go shopping when you are too hungry. You will be tempted by too many impulse buys.

That is one reason going to the store every two days to buy two days worth of dinners is a budget mistake. Another is it wastes time and gas. Going to a store only because they have the friendliest checkout personnel is another dumb thing. If going to the grocery store is your social time, you need to get a life! Lol

After you get yourself set up, you will find that you spend less time on the whole FOOD thing than you did before.

My whole life isn't getting food cheap. I run two businesses, write a blog, belong to a service organization for women, work, and run a house and Im a grandmother.
I just budget my time, like I budget my food budget.

I found a book on ground meat recipes for 3.00. It has a lot of good recipes. Anytime you can find an inexpensive bool from "Taste of Home" it is a good investment. I have written for them, and many other home cooks have as well. Their recipes for the most part are down to earth recipes that are very doable. If they call for a mix,just adjust the recipe to scratch.

Thanks for stopping by.


Tuesday, July 23, 2013

The ads

I got the ads today so I thought I would give You a heads up early. I went to Fred Meyer, they hd no hamburger, they did have black beans for .50.


BREYERS ice cream 2.99
Raspberries 3/5
Grapes 1.28
Cucumbers .69

London broil 2.99
Blackberries 2.00
Tillmock ice cream 2.99
Butter 1.99@@
Hagn tuna.88
Lettuce .69@@
Coffee 5.99@@
Plums 1.49
Zucchini 1.00

Cantaloupe 10/10
4 lbs blues 9.99
Strawberries 2/5
Plums .99
Club sandwich 5.00

Cantaloupe .39@@
Tombstone pizza BOGO
Butter BOGO
Cherries 3.99


Strawberries 2/5
Corn 2/1.98
Chicken .99
Eggs 1.49
Butter 1.98@@

That's about all. I am seeing plenty of fruit and vegetable buys, the only stock item I am finding is tuna .
I would say that it would be a good week to investigate winCo or rely on your stock. I think that there is a coupon out there for pizza.

Thanks for stopping by

Please share


Fred Meyer and sloppy joes

I was not sleeping last night and got up for a little snack of some berries and watched Diners, Drive-ins and dives.
There was a guy making sloppy joes. He used a mixture of carrots and celery first, then added the meat. He used tomato paste and a little vinegar. I didn't see enough of it, it was fast, so I'll have to experiment. It just dawned on me that adding some veggies would stretch the hamburger and get some veggies in unsuspecting husbands or kids!

On to Fred Meyer. Their ads run from Sunday to Saturday and come. The newspaper. Imbought the newspaper from the dollar store, that is the second time that I didn't get the coupons, I was supposed to get coupons free from the times and that didnt happen either, I think that I will stick with getting my coupons on line for free. It's hard to find coupons for real food anyway.

Grapes .98
Strawberries 2.59
20 percent hamburger 1.99, limit 2 ****
Butter 2.00@@@
Vegetables, beans, or tomatoes 2/1.00 Limit 6 @@@
Fred Meyer coffe 5.99
2 lbs blues 4.98
Plums 1.49

@@@ means coupon needed from the newspaper ad. I don't know of there are any in the store.

The formula for ground beef price check is :

Price times 1. XXX. XXX is the percentage of fat. 2.00 a pound , twenty percent fat is 2.40.
Remember to fry your meat, drain it, and pour boiling water over it to reduce the fat. I return it to the pan with some water and the taco seasoning if I am making taco meat.

Thanks for stopping b

Please share


Monday, July 22, 2013

The basics, part 3: cooking from scratch

Cooking from scratch strikes fear in many at heart. But, it's not as hard as its meant to be. I like to tell the story my daughter tells. She has been teaching low income and homeless kids for several years now. One day, she was eating with the kids and had brought some leftover Mac and cheese. A child at the table asked her of that was xxxxdelux Mac and cheese. She told her, no, it was some her mother made. The girl was in shock....your mother made Mac and cheese?

There are a lot of recipes that are as easy as making to same thing from scratch. Really, scratch cooking is a matter of mastering a few techniques. There are videos on the television and u tube all the time. There is a Martha Stewart series running on PBS. Whether you like her or not, she covers the basics quite well.

There is not much room for ready made food in a thrifty budget. That being said, there are a few things that are as cheap or cheaper ready made, and a few that the time involved to make them isn't worth the difference I price. Refried beans and tortillas come to mind. Instant mashed potatoes, some times of the year are cheaper in the pouch.
Beans have a very short fridge life. It is not safe to keep rice and beans very long. It is easier for me to use canned, especiallY if I can get them cheap enough.

The crock pot can be your best friend in the kitchen. There is something to be said for coming home after a long day to dinner waiting for you.

Pre cooking a batch of something takes almost no more time than cooking once, and you have several dinners done.
There are books out there that cook a whole months worth of meals in one day, and then the majority of dinner is done all month. I haven't the stamina to do that. I find that if I take one loss leader or really cheap meat a week and cook enough to cover us for the month, I am better off. I've paid the least I could for the meat, I have been able to control the portions so I have no waste, and I have cooked once and cleaned the kitchen once!

The major grocery chains rotate what they put on sale cheap. Typically, I

cook sausage crumbles from a log of sausage I get from Costco.

Cook 9 percent ground beef from Costco wholesale or SAFEWAYS

Cook several chickens when they are 1.00 a pound. ( see previous blog on the difference between deli chicken and scratch chicken) a real eye opener.

Cook a pork loin or beef roast

Cut up beef or pork cubes from a steak cut and braise them.

When the meat is already cooked, it makes cooking dinner really fast and less stressful at the most hectic time of the day for many families.

I did a whole series of blogs on a hamburger meal box. It, too, is a real eye opener.
There is my answer to hamburger pasta bake, my nephew named it no brainier pasta.

Basically, the more scratch you can make something, the cheaper it will be and the more nutritious it will be. The more control you have over what it has in it. There are many recipes that are what my grown children call no Brainer. When a recipe is really easy, and takes almost no non- passive time, it is easy to enlist an older child or spouse to start diner of you are going to be late.

When I make meal plans, I use a matrix so that we are well balanced and everyone is happy some of the time since I have a family with varied wants. My matrix is different than yours probably is and mine might change beforemthemdrought effects are over!

2 Beef
2 pork or chicken
2 vegetarian
1 fish

That's all I can remember to say. Please feel free to read other basic posts. I do it at least once a month.

Thanks for stopping by
Please share


The basics part 2, shopping

To recap from yesterday. We have analyzed the grocery ads and picked the best TWO stores this week. We do this to make best use of specials and give us a couple of choices for the best produce. Plan your route and incorporate any other errands to maximize your gas.

Prepare for your trip.
1) check coupon connections,com or the coupon matchup in your area for any matchups that will work for you. Many coupons these days you can print right off your computer. Many are for garbage you don't need anyway, but I can usually gleam a few bucks. I have been getting toothpaste for free. Gathering enough to take a bunch to the women's shelter. my husband jokes that ill be the toothpaste "fairy". LOL. I have been getting Yoplait coupons a lot.
if you haven't already signed up for store cards, do it. Many have web sites you can download coupons from.

2) bring your grocery flyers, your list, your coupons, any list of coupons you down loaded on your store card. Get in the store, , get your list , and get out. The more time you spend in a store, the more money you will spend. There is a whole blog on the Phycology of retail.

3) Keep your eyes open. There are a lot of stores that carry food. Each one has their specialty items and their individual attributes.

WinCo and Costco are warehouse stores. At WinCo , you have to bag your own, so bring a helper and your walking shoes, it's huge. Costco has good prices on household necessities like TP and laundry soap.
The bananas are cheaper and lots of veggies and dairy are pretty stable prices. Winco has a very large bulk bin isle and is a price stable store, they have low prices all the time, no specials. Some things are just about rock bottom prices. You won't get the best buys on soap etc at the grocery store. The grocery stores margin of profit is too much.
This is probably a no Brainer, but the fancy alternative, we sell no xxxxx food stores are not your best friend for low income shopping.

The Dollar Tree has a fair amount of food. Sunflower seeds, pepperoni, and frozen vegetables are always low priced.

The bakery outlet covers your bread And a occasional cookie buy .

We have over-stock stores. Many times what they do have is a lot cheaper. Big Lots has a twenty percent off the entire store ever so often. I can usually score hunts diced tomatoes for the lowest price. hunts peels their tomatoes with steam, some other companies peel theirs with chemicals. grocery Outlet is good for regular coffee and cheeses. They have a wide selection of specialty cheeses and most at a good price. Their produce is not as good as I would like. Some prices are not cheaper than sale prices elsewhere, you have to know your prices.

Occasionally our drug store has good food buys. Not so much since the food isles have been replaced with booze.

Don't overlook the alternative stores, always check pull dates.

No ONE store is going to have the best prices.

We go to 2 chain stores a week. We hit the warehouse stores about every 4-6 weeks, and we hit the alternative stores when we are in the area for other errands. We hit the bakery outlet about every 6-8 weeks. I fill in with sale bread and refrigerator bread.

Set your grocery allowance per week. If you are on SNAP, divide the monthly allotment by 4.2. if you spend more one week because you have stocked or got a good meat sale, then back off the next week to compensate.

When you shop, you should get to the point where you can buy

A bulk meat purchase at a loss leader price.
Fruits and vegetables in season to round out your meals, and bread and dairy.
A stock item, or two that is at a rock bottom price.

Basically you are filling in your stock and adding your perishable you need to fill out your meals.

By purchasing a loss leader meat once a week and batch cooking it, you have a variety of meats, but you are getting your meat at the lowest price and making the most efficient use of your cooking time.
I rotate chicken, pork sausage at Costco, hamburger, pork loin or beef roast or London broil. It depends on what meat I can find cheap. I rotate the meat in the freezer and add a couple of vegetarian meals.

The object of your shopping is to feed your family real food, but not pay full price for anything.

The dreaded topic: junk food.
If you are on SNAP, it is based on the figures from the USDA chart for thrifty meals. It is on the web and updated every month or so, a couple of months delayed. It does not afford what my mother used to call peanuts, popcorn, and cracker jacks. In other words, the unhealthy food is not part of their plan. The good news is that of your children just HAVE to have a sugar coated cereal or other snack food, most of them have coupons you can find and they can be almost if not free if you live in a state that has double coupons. The mean person that I am, would let the kids find their coupons and sales to match them. If they want the junk food really bad , they will invest the time, if not, they will eat good nutritious food.

Admittedly, this shopping plan takes a little more time. You are trading some time for money. I always could find the time.

If you spend more time on the front end of the "get the dinner on the table train" and less time on the back end, you will be money ahead. You get PAID for shopping, not for cooking.

There are ways to efficiently put dinner on the table that take less time, making up for the time spent shopping more than one store. Scratch cooking is tomorrow's topic.

I do these basic posts monthly Each one is off the top of my head. I suspect some are better written than others, please feel free to look at other posts on the subject.

Thank you for stopping by

Please share


Sunday, July 21, 2013

The basics, part one, planning

I started this blog when it was brought to my attention that there were people that were running out of money before they ran out of month on SNAP.  In my opinion, no child should have to wake up to the insecurity of having no food in the house.  And, no child should have top ramen and potato chips for a diet.  I can't feed the world, but I can teach people how to feed their families on SNAP -and still have some food in the pantry at the end of the month.  

I was a single parent for seven years.  It was during the time of gas shortages and double digit inflation,  I didn't get a raise for three years.  I already knew some concepts from my mother.  I set out to learn everything I could about economizing on food.  I read everything I could get my hands on.  When I was in a position to not have to economize on food, it was a habit.  A habit that afforded us a better quality of life and the security of always having food in the house.

Groceries on the cheap takes a three-pronged approach to purchasing and cooking meals-- putting food on the table.

  1. Planning and organizing
  2. Shopping wisely
  3. Cooking from scratch
I plan to cover the basics over the next three days.  I have done this about every month now, please feel free to re read older posts.  I type off the top of my head, every basic post is different.   A lot of it is just common sense.  


Like anything worth doing,  a plan is a good step to insure success.  

  • Start with a simple list.  List 7-14 meals that use inexpensive sources of protein that your family will eat.  The object is to get good food into your family's belly-- just at a cheaper price. No cheating, no boxed meals allowed.  in our house, inexpensive protein would be cheese, rice, beans, pork, chicken, ground beef and sometimes roast, and eggs.  
  • Now write a pretend grocery list that you will need to cook these meals.  You will probably see a pattern of ingredients.  You  are basically going to cook from scratch.  If you have never done that, by the time you finish this, you'll be a pro at getting basic food on the table!   
  • Make a list of shelf ready food that you will need  to make your recipes. There should, be a list of 10-15.  In our house it would be pasta, pasta sauce, refried beans, beans, diced tomatoes, black olives, instant mashed potatoes, some tuna and salmon, and some chicken noodle soup and green beans and corn.  
  • Now, we are going to track the prices on these items. Using a notebook or a computer spreadsheet, list each item and the size of the package.  Now head a line:  date, store, coupon?  Final cost.  
  • Use the ads you get in the mail to enter this data whenever  those items ( your stock items) are on sale.  Sales run in a 8-12 week cycle. You are  looking for what I call your target price.  Some people call it the rock bottom price.   This is not a  new concept.   Businessmen buy stocks low, and sell high.  You  are buying your food when it is a rock bottom price, and eating it when it is at a high price.  Why would you buy a can of pasta sauce for 1.59, when you can buy two cans for 1.57?  The difference is a second meal for the same price.  
  • When a item ON YOUR LIST is at or below your target price, buy 1) as many as you can 

  • afford, b) as many as the store allows, or c) as many as you need to fill in your self projected allotment-- whichever comes first.  If I use something once a week I try for 24 cans.  If I use it once a month I keep 6.  Things like catsup, mustard, and mayo, I keep one ahead.  When I open my shelf can, I start looking for a good sale.  
  • This is stockpiling to make sure you never have to deal with that dreaded F word....FULL PRICE.  This is not hoarding. We aren't buying hundreds of something we will never use or can't be used before it expires.  Most canned goods have a long  shelf life.  Pasta has a 8 year shelf life.  Canned meats and fish have a shorter shelf life-- like three years or so.  Not much different than our grandmothers did when they brought in the vegetables from the farm and canned them for the winter.  
When the grocery ads come in the mail, get a piece of paper and section it off in quarters,  place the name of a chain store on the top of each section.  Go through the ads and write down
       Anything that is on your staple list at a rock bottom price.  
       Anything in the produce line that is cheap that you can fill out a meal with.  
       Anything in the protein line that is on sale cheap.  

Now, cross off anything that is cheaper somewhere else.  , and anything you don't need.  
Pick the TWO best stores for the week.  Add any items that you need to replenish.

Write down a quick list of meals ( penciled in) from your inventory on the fridge and freezer and the pantry and grocery list.   Finish your meal plans when you get home from the store.  Many times , I have found that a meat on sale that  either doesn't look good, they don't have it, or it's just too big a package to be doable.  Ten pounds of pork loin that had already been frozen wasn't doable for me for example.  

That's all for today.  

Thanks for stopping by

Please share


Friday, July 19, 2013

The rest of the shopping

I finished the rest of the shopping  today.  ALBERTSONS has a good .25,. sale.  We had a good laugh when I asked where the enchilada sauce was ( it was .50) and the  guy  pointed it out right under the oriental foods sign.

Black sliced olives were .50.  8 ounce tomato sauce was a quarter.  Those are really old prices.  I am not familiar with the brand,  So  I bought a minimal of items. The red peppers were HUGE for a buck.  Ditto english cucumbers and baby carrots were a buck.  Most of the time I just buy bulk carrots, but sometimes a baby carrot is desirable.  Pork steaks were very cheap.  I didn't purchase them because I am we'll stocked and am using ground beef for my stock meat this week.
Sour cream was cheap, and I used coupons for the .50 Yoplait.

We went to business Costco.  I got ten pounds of 7 percent hamburger for less than 3.00 a pound.  Upon studying the marathon cooking recipes,I have found that many have few ingredients added to cooked hamburger crumbles.  It is just as fast and a lot more flexible to just cook and portion control freeze the crumbles.  Ir. one recipe calls for a layered casserole of a hamburger layer with cr mushroom soup and milk, hash browns, and cheese.   I would leave the  hash browns in their bag, the cheese in the fridge, and just bag the portion of hamburger.  It's so fast and easy to pull the there bags, open the soup and mix the meat and layer the casserole.  There are only two of us that eat meat, so I will be making more packages than the book calls for.  I purchased ten pounds rather than twenty.

We eat a lot of tacos through the winter.  It is easy to pull together if dinner needs to happen in a hurry.  Meatballs are a good mainstay because there is so much you can do with them and it is easy to pull as many as you need out of the freezer and be about cooking dinner.

  • Meatballs and spaghetti
  • Meatball subs
  • Meatballs with gravy on noodles
  • Meatballs with cream sauce on rice 
  • Meatballs with gravy on mashed potatoes
  • Meatballs in a vegetable based soup
I usually make up the meatball batch and portion control the balls with a portion scoop.  Bake them on a 1/4 sheet pan with a rack on top to drain the grease.  
Hamburger crumbles can go into any hamburger dish or sauce or on a pizza.  

I have started filling out a meal plan calendar that was on the book I just downloaded.  It doesn't have dates on the calendar , just boxes.  I am trying to use the meal plans based on what needs to be eaten in the fridge and pantry this paring down the pantry.  

I am still sitting close to budget, and we have stock.  The USDA stats are based on actual food eaten. In order to grocery shop on the cheap, you need to keep a stock.  Besides, of you are scratch cooking there are things that you don't use for one meal, catsup, mayo, baking staples, vinegar, oil etc.  
ten pounds of good hamburger cost me almost 30.00.  I would estimate that I can get 12 meals (for 4) out of it.  7 percent hamburger has little shrinkage and meatballs and meatloaf have extra ingredients and protein.  Off the top of my head 2.50 a meal.  That makes a five dollar meal very doable to add a starch and some veggies and or fruit.  

Thanks for stopping by

Please share


Thursday, July 18, 2013

Year anniversary and updated notes

It has  been over a year since I started this blog.  in some ways, it seems like yesterday, and sometimes it seems like a zillion years ago,  I have learned a lot, and have hoped that I could reach someone that wants help lowering their food bill.

I spent some time this afternoon, researching enchilada sauce and people's grocery "hauls" .  Enchilada sauce  is really simple, but costs a lot to buy in a can.  Basically, from what I can gather, it is a white sauce that is made with water instead of milk with chili powder added to it.  Certainly, not hard, and certainly not worth the dollar plus a can price tag.

Enchiladas took on a wide variety of recipes from cheese, bean, beef and chicken and everything in between.  Some looked better than others.  Some presented themselves as a do ahead inexpensive meal-- a good addition to a on the cheap menu plan.

The grocery hauls were a real eye opener.  I guess we have never been rich, so the thought of paying 80-150 dollars a week and not getting Any real meals out of it is just bazaar.

One. lady spent  80.00 and got organic vegetables, milk, and one pound package of sausage for the weeks meals.   The stats say that we to the grocery store on an average of 1.5 times a week and twenty percent of our grocery items are snack foods and a very large percentage of our purchases are impulse buys.  The second lady spent 150.00 , most of it was pop and snack foods.  She was 1/2 way into the video before I saw real food and I didn't ever see a real meal.  Ie, protein , vegetable, and starch.

The secret to shopping on the cheap is to buy real food, skip the snacks, and stick to your list avoiding impulse purchases.  the secret to an extremely low food bill is not to be extreme.  Extreme couponing and buying 93 bottles of hot pepper sauce doesn't work, but neither does buying every speciality food in the store.  It's buying real food as healthy as you can make it.

Yesterday we had BBQ beef sandwiches, potato salad, jello salad and cucumber salad.  The baby of the family loves cucumber salad.  tonight we will have pizza to use up our other crust.  We have been eating a lot of fruit this summer because the prices have been good and when summer  is over, we will revert back to winter vegetables.  Well enjoy the fresh fruits while we can.
 I was trying to take pictures of a weeks worth of food, but it doesn't always work.  maybe next week.  I am not a good photographer, and some of our meals taste food, but aren't exactly picture perfect!

My daughter went to Big Lots after work.  Shoreline store is going to be a goodwill so everything is 1/2 price.  She stocked up on presents she knows are coming up, and got a potty seat for the baby before she needed it.  Big lots was already cheaper, and then she got 50 percent too.  She got a Madam  Alexander doll for the baby that was marked down, and then 1/2 price.  The  food was almost gone.  The  Lynnwood store is still open.

There is an extreme couponing class NEXT Saturday.  My daughter and I are going to go.  I did not use any coupons this week.  I pretty much stuck to fruits and veggies and bread.  The great buys just weren't happening this week.

Thanks for stopping by

Please share


Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Downloaded book

Today I did something  I almost never do.  I downloaded a e book on once a month cooking mostly because it also had an extra bonus of batch cooking with ground meat.  She has a wide variety  of recipes and a mirage of tools to make monthly cooking a doable project.  I, however, am too old to pull that one off.  I don't have the stamina anymore.  Batch cooking is the best I can do without help.

The book printed quickly and I was able to bind it in three sections.  I bound the hamburger
Extra separately.  I'll try it as soon as I get ready to batch cook again.
Most marathon cooking can be broken down to several sessions.

The frugal moms guide to once a month cooking by Candice Anderson.  It's on her website and you can download with pay pal.

Thanks for stopping by

Please share


The ads such as they are , updated

I guess we can't have good buys all of the time.  I for one am well stocked.  It's weeks like this that it is quite evident that it pays to stock when prices are rock bottom.


 Bone in pork chops 1.29
Peaches 1.28
Ylait .50
Eggs . 79, limit 2 FSS only

.25 tomato sauce, paste
.50 Beans , canned tomatoes, chopped olives
.75 crescent rolls
1.00 olives

HORMEL lunch meat 2.99


Grapes 1.27
Milk 2.59
Country ribs 1.99

Blues 4.99
Pork shoulder 1/79
Yoplait 10/5
Cherries 2.99
Lettuce .99


Round steak. 2.69
Pork loin 1.99
Milk 2.69
Nectarines 1.79
Cherries 1.77
Blues Friday only 2/5

Thats about it.  There is a wide variety of prices on produce.  pork loin seems to be a good stock meat.  I am not familiar with the essentials brand at ALBERTSONS, but if the quality is there, the price is pretty much rock bottom.  nhave not seen .50 beans for some time.  As well as .25 tomato products. I think if you haven't used this brand before, I would buy one of what I needed to stock, and try them.  If I liked the quality, I would go back for more.

Otherwise, I would be tempted to go to Winco, even without an coupon.

Thanks for stopping by
Please share

Protein Stretchers

I thought I would talk about what you can do to stretch the protein when you are making a dish with little protein.

  I ran across a recipe for a ham and veggie casserole with  a little,white sauce with cheese on it. I n that case I would mimic the tasts of the sauce and make a cheese biscuit to go with.  These  would also taste good  potato soup,or a salad with some meat in it.

I get a bag of ham cubes (about a 1/4 inch dice ) when I can find them.  I used to get them  cheap at grocery outlet.  I got them the last time at QFC.  They are not cheap at QFC, I watch for them.  Winco has  them cheaper if we get up there. H am is a strong taste and we can get several meals out of a 4 dollar or less bag...
  • Ham, peppers and pineapple pizza ( split pineapple can from a sweet and sour pork or chicken. ( stair step)
  • Ham and cheese quiche 
  • Split pea and ham soup
  • Ham and scalloped potatoes
  • Ham and cheese pasta
  • potato and ham Cassarole 
Potato and Ham Cassarole 

Cut up:
2 Cups  russet potatoes, cubed
1 Cup carrots, sliced
1 cup celerymchopped, sliced

Cook , covered, in a microwave safe bowl with 1/2 cup water with a dash of salt about 5 minutes .  Add 4 T chopped peppers and onion ( TOTAL). Stir,  cook an additional 3-4 minutes or until the peppers and onion is crisp tender.  

Grease a microwave safe Cassarole.  Transfer the veggies to the casserole.  make 2 cups of white sauce with cheese,  pour sauce and 1 cup ham cubes into casserole and stir.  Heat for. 3-4 minutes.  
Cheddar Biscuits  
place in food processor
2 cups flour
1T baking powder
2 T sugar
1/2 tsp salt

Pulse dry ingredients together.  
Add  6T butter and pulse until butter Los the size of peas.  
4 ounce cheese, grated and pulse 3-4 times (seconds). 
Add  3/4 cup milk and pulse just long enough to combine wet and dry ingredients.  Do not over mix.  

Pat dough flat.  Cut Bisquits.  Bake 20-25 minutes at 450 degrees.  

Another way to boost protein is to add a pudding or creme brûlée for desert.

Thanks for stopping by

Please share


Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Found recipes

I, while cleaning up the computer stand  waiting for the repairman to do his thing, found some sauce recipes that are much cheaper than purchased sauce.  Sometimes a sauce makes the difference between  something is really good, or ho hum.

Teriyaki Sauce

4-1/2 tsp cornstarch
1 T brown sugar
2 cups beef or chicken broth
2 T soy sauce
2 tsp minced garlic
1/4 tap ginger
Red pepper flakes

Sweet and sour sauce

4 tsp cornstarch
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ginger
Dash pepper

1 can pineapple chunks
1/4 cup vinegar

In a small bowl, combine first four ingredients. Drain pineapple, reserving juice.  Stir juice and vinegar into cornstarch mixture, stirring until smooth.  Stir into pan juices after cooking the meat of choice.

Microwave cheese sauce

In a micro safe bowl, melt 30-40 seconds
2 T butter

Stir on 3 T flour, salt and peppers till smooth paste.

Gradually add 1-1/2 cups milk
Cook 1-1/2  to 2 minutes until thick and bubbly, storing after 1 minute.

Stir in 1/2 cup grated cheese until cheese is melted.

Thanks for stopping by

Please share


Terrific Tuesday

Another beautiful day in the Pacific  NW.  Last night , and today, we were having Internet issues.  I fixed pigs in blankets, potato salad, and fruit salad.  The pic I was trying to cut and paste just magically appeared and disappeared.  I swear our computers are possessed this week.  Tonight I am bringing a salad to a potluck.  I am going to carry out meal plans well into the next week.  Because of the extreme circumstances this past week, we have an abundance of food.  Flexibility is key when you are trying for meals on the cheap.  Taking advantage of any deals you can find, and recognizing when a deal comes along stretches your bucks a lot.

I found skillet dinners with the ALBERTSONS double coupons for .49.  The difference between these and the other box dinner is the second ingredient in this box dinner is CHEESE.  the second ingredient in the other box is cornstarch!  Somehow, I would rather eat cheese than cornstarch.  !

A good thing to learn when trying to shop on the cheap is how to read the ingredient chart and nutrition chart on the back/side of packages.  I do realize that a processed cheese is what a lot of people, including me generally won't touch with a ten foot pole.  But, I also realize that sometimes desperate times call for desperate measures.  the kids love it, and it is better nutrition than the alternative box.  The price and convenience for the price makes it a good emergency ration.  that makes dinner less than a buck even when you add a veggie plus some lrft over meat.

The ingredients in a package are usually on the side of the package.  They are listed by volume.  the more of something that is in the package, the higher it is on the list of ingredients.  Sometimes, I break down what is in the package to either figure out how to make it myself, or price it so I know how close to scratch it comes cost and nutrition-wise.  Some  things  are just a joke!  

Nutrition charts can be a real eye opener.  If you are counting carbs , deduct the fiber from the carbs.  If you are counting sugar, deduct alcohol sugars.
if something is labeled cheese , and it has no cholesterol, it's a problem.  LOL. Check the fat, salt and sugar.

For the most part, making something from scratch is better, cheaper, and faster. There are a few things lately, that because of the drought on prices, ready made is cheaper.  Anything on moderation.

Your main object is to get to the end of the month with food in the pantry after serving your family good, nutritious food all month.  It is doable and can be fun if you make a game out of it.  let the kids if they are old enough hunt for coupons and sales to find their healthy snacks for almost free.  An older child can analyze the grocery ads and help with dinner.  Setting and attaining goals is a good life lesson.  It builds self esteem.  Having food in the pantry at the end of the month gives a child and yourself a sense of security.

Ah, back to trying to fix the computer!

Thanks for stopping by

Please share



Sunday, July 14, 2013

Monday Madness

Today, my daughter and I went to the dollar store and I got the Sunday paper.  ALBERTSONS has coupons for double coupons.  Three per residence and one per transaction.  Coupon connections has some coupon scenarios , but most of them don't appeal to me.   I don't know if I am going to try today that game tomorrow or not.  it would be fun to pull off an extreme couponing, but with real food.

Dinner was sweet and sour pork, the picture is on my Facebook group.  I have yet to figure out how to add a picture to the blog.  I did it, but it erased itself.  LOL.   Can you tell that's am tech challenged.

There is a extrememcouponers couponing class at the church of the open bible in Edmonds on the morning of the 27th.  My daughter and I are planning on going.  I am always trying to learn something new.

OK, extreme couponing.  The gal tendered all transactions in the same order.  I got ice cream topping, mixed berries Ill save for the dead of winter for .39.  I got two cheesy skillet meals for .49 each.  they have real cheese in them and probably .50 worth of pasta.  Coupons 6.55.  My husband bought beef jerked meat BOGO and I just about covered  the cost with coupons.  !

Thanks for stopping by

Please share


Sunday Notes

Since  we went to the alternative stores and really stocked because I only go about every month to six weeks.  I am still only over budget 30 dollars for the month which is a really attainable save.  It all averages out.  The object of groceries on the cheap is to pay rock bottom prices for your food.  Never pay full price.

 When we were at grocery outlet I found applesauce for 4/1.00.  my husband, the doubting Thomas, thankfully, remembered to check the pull date.  They had expired months ago.  Always remember to check the pull date.  They had some really good chicken sausage too, but that pull date I checked.  They needed to be eaten that day.  I didn't feel like eating chicken sausage that close to the pull date.  They would probably been ok, but I was chicken!!!! Pardon the pun!!!!  Pull  dates are important no matter what store you go to.  We have found expired dates at many stores.  One time, I bought a pork tenderloin at QFC.  The date on the outside of the package was current, the date on the inside of the package was six months or so old.  Needless to say, I took it back.

A project I want to do is to figure out how to track a small list of staple items to see if I can reveal the sale cycles for our part of the country.  I have heard some people say 6-8 weeks and some 8-12.  It is important because you want to stock as many as you need to last you until they go on sale again.  I would want to add a few more for a cushion.  As it is now, I am keeping six months supply.  Should be keeping a book again.  I  stopped when I committed the rock bottom prices to memory.

Diced tomatoes
Canned beans
Pasta sauce

Most of these items have a huge spread between the shelf price and the rock bottom price.  The difference between buying on the cheap and buying off the shelf is about two weeks worth of food for....wait for it.....FREE.  I really like that word FREE.  It is a especially nice word if you are on a tight budget.  To me, if I can buy our food, the same food I would buy any other time, for 1/2 price, it affords us a better quality of life.  We can afford to do things that we couldn't ordinarily do.
we are retired.  To others, it is a matter of survival.  Been  there, done that too.  !!!  A lot of people have, how many college stories have you heard!!!!

Meals for the week

  1. Sausage and shrimp packets
  2. Buffalo chicken pizza, salad , strawberry shortcake 
  3. Mac and cheese and crab
  4. Sweet and sour pork with rice 
  5. Clam chowder, homemade bread sticks 
  6. Roast chicken, zucchini with tomatoes, mashed potatoes, salad
  7. Salad, ( potluck with friends) 
Chicken was a buck a pound, natural, no antibiotics, nw grown
Sausage was BOGO, and I had a dollar coupon.  
Cheese was 2.19 at Costco wholesale.  
Pork was on sale as steaks at SAFEWAYS.  
Clams were in the pantry and need to be used up.  

By buying a bulk amount of meat  on sale each week and 
Batch cooking it, you can rotate the meat out so you have variety 
And still pay a rock bottom price.  It saves time and money.  

Even of you are not into cooking on the cheap, there are ideas that can make your life easier.  Many of us have a hectic time at the dinner hour.  
or, if you are like me, I'm tired by then.  Our schedule puts dinner at past 7 o'clock.  Batch cooking means I can make dinner in 15 or 20 minutes and have time to give the baby a bath!  Such fun times, she loves the water!   

I digress

Thanks for stopping by

Please share


Saturday, July 13, 2013

Big lots alert

Big lots I'm shoreline is twenty per cent off. Store closing.  The stock is dwindling fast.  Tomorrow all stores are twenty percent off, and the shoreline store will be 36 percent off.    I usually get tomatoes when they are twenty percent off.  I got the baby her fruit cups for her lunches.  A buck is a Buck.  I found two pizza crusts for 2.40 complete with the sauce, extra large chicken noodle soup for .75 and corn for .27.    

New ways with chicken

Chicken with orzo and beans

1cup uncooked orzo
1pound chicken cubes
Olive oil
2 - 14 oz  cans  diced tomatoes
1 can white beans, rinsed and drained
1.5 tsp Italian seasoning
1 package frozen broccoli chopped, or 1 broccoli bunch, cut up.

Cook orzo according to package directions.
Sauté garlic in olive oil. Add tomatoes, beans, seasonings and broccoli.
Simmer slightly.  Add cooked chicken and drained orzo.  Heat through.  Stir gently.
Note.  If orzo is not available you could use broken spaghetti.  Orzo is cooked easily on a pasta cooker.  My daughter got  one from Big Lots for 5 bucks.

Buffalo  chicken pizza

Make  pizza dough , flatten in pan and pre cook crust or use pre made crusts.
Place 2 cups cubed, cooked chicken in bowl.  Add 2T melted butter and Tabasco sauce to taste.
Spread blue cheese or ranch dressing over crust.  Top with chicken mixture.  Sprinkle with cheddar and/ or mozzarella cheeses.  Bake at 425 for 10-15 minutes.  Let rest to cool the cheese about 5 minutes.  

Crust 1.20----or .30 if you make it yourself.
Chicken .50.  -1/2 lb at 1.00 a pound
Blue cheese dressing  1/4 of a bottle .25
Cheese 1 cup equals 4 ounces at 2.18 is .55

Total 2.40.
Add a salad and you are still well under a five buck meal.
Note when I cost out a recipe, anything that is under a couple of tablespoons is not counted.  I'm talking figuring our how much a teaspoon of butter costs.  I do count the staples in my total food bills.

Thanks for stopping by

Please share


And your food has what in it?

I'm confused, I'm irritated, I'm full up to my eyeballs of people telling us that this, that and the other thing is bad for us.  If we believed  every unscientific study and persons opinion on food, we wouldn't eat anything and the things that we ate would be on such short supply, most of us could not afford  them.

  • Don't drink diet cola
  • Don't eat fish
  • Don't eat chicken
  • Don't eat pork
  • Don't eat beef
  • Don't  eat soy beans, they are chemically engineered
  • Don't drink coffee, drink coffee
  • Don't eat vegetables unless their organic
  • Wait, bananas are a waste to buy organic
  • Don't eat apple sauce, it has arsenic in it
  • Don't eat tuna, it has lead in it
  • Don't eat preserved meats.  
  • Don't drink milk. , wait, drink milk, but it doesn't build bones like we always thought 
  • Don't eat eggs
  • Don't use aluminum foil
  • There is plastic in McDonald's food.  
  • Don't drink water out of a plastic bottle, don't drink tap water, 
  • Don't eat food packed in plastic , cooked in plastic, or packed on a tin can. 
For every opinion, someone has a different one.  I, for  one, am discusted, confused, and sick and tired of people telling me every two minutes that something more is bad for us.  Most of the time, there is no scientific research to back them up and they change their mind weekly.  

The USDA has  a lot of intelligent people working to see that we have safe food.  It probably is true that too much of any one thing can hurt you, we all need balance in our lives.  I can totally understand the concern that we are feeding our children too much refined sugar and salt.  It is hidden on all kinds of things.   Sugar and carbs and salt are a necessary nutrient in our diets--in moderation.  A thrifty diet can still  manage salt and sugar intake.  A thrifty meal plan can also afford a lot of fresh fruits and vegetables.  Wash your fruits and vegetables, peel them if it makes sense.  Eat a wide variety of them.  Defat  your meat and use the leanest meat you can afford.  A three to four ounce portion is enough.

I think what I am saying is that I am going to do what makes sense to me to provide a balanced diet for our family.  If  I can reduce our sugar, salt, and fat content, I will.  But I am not going to react to every sensationalist put there that believes every study, scientific or not about our food supply.

I remember years ago when the city wanted to put a high priced day care in a building and eliminate the no frills affordable one.  The children were getting the same education.  They colored on the back side of used computer paper.  They still colored.  I remembered telling the city council that we would all like to drive sports cars and live on mansions with servants, but the reality is that  most of cant afford them.  A fancy day care is nice, but it will do people no good if it costs more than they earn.
Ahh...reality strikes again.

Enough of a soapbox.

I am trying to teach people how to stretch a buck, because I know how.  Because some people either want or need to.  The interest rates are going up and we are getting a little more interest on our money, but getting your food for 1/2 price is like getting 50 percent interest.  I think I can safely predict that the bank is not going to give us 50 percent on our money in my lifetime.  ! LOL

I am also trying to make it believable in this day and age of soccer practice, dance lessons, work and managing a home .  We all have busy schedules.  It breaks my heart when I hear of children eating corn and watermelon for dinner...can we see pure sugar!   Or top ramen and potato chips.  It is totally doable on food stamps to eat a well balanced diet of good, regular food.  it just takes some food management skills and some effort.

Whether you read my blog to hear me rant and rave....LOL or to get a more efficient way to cook meals, or a new recipe, or you just want to save money, I hope you are getting something  out of this and that you will share so I have a better chance of reaching people that want or need to save money on food.

Thanks for stopping by

Please share


Friday, July 12, 2013

Friday meal plans and coupon matchups.,

Dinner.  My daughter made dinner in a flash.  She had macaroni already cooked.  Added a recipe starter, some milk and sour cream  and topped it with cheese and parsley.  Total about a buck OOP.
Several,dinners/lunches on that buck!  

Recipe starter is 2.59 cents at SAFEWAYS.  It is 2/1.00 at Dollar Tree.  I would not pay 2.59 because I could  make it from scratch cheaper.  At .50, it's hardly worth the time, a good in dinner in a pinch, and all on the cheap!

SAFEWAYS had a lot of meat on sale .  A lot of ready- made, not usually the kind of thing  I buy. But as predicted, ready made beef is cheaper than scratch-- at least with a coupon.  I got sloppy joe filling for .67 with a coupon.  That's two sandwiches  for .67 .  French fries are cheaper at the dollar store than they were at QFC on sale-- a little bit, not much. Buns  were 8/1.00.  That makes dinner
2.98 plus some vegetable sticks or fruit-- and almost no effort.

Lloyd's BBQ Beef was on coupon for 3.99 from 4.99.  Add another manufacturers coupon for a buck and it was 2.99.  Probably enough to fill 8 buns.  2.99 plus 1.00 for buns makes 3.99 for 8 servings or .50 a serving.  Add a starch and a vegetable.  Cucumbers were .69 at QFC.  Add a mixed vegetable salad.  About a buck a plate.

I bought a chicken at QFC for a buck a pound and a tray of pork steaks at SAFEWAYS.  Sometimes it helps to look at the meat and break it down as to how many meals you can get out of the package.
Think out of the box.  Just because the meat is in steak form, doesn't mean you can't make BBQ skewers out of it, or pork cubes to use in foil packages.   Or braised over rice for sweet and sour pork.
Almost any recipe you have for chicken can be used for pork.  How about cubed small to add to a bean and rice burrito?

My granddaughter has found she really likes chicken quesida .  Does anyone know how to make a good chicken quesida?

Thanks for stopping by

Please share


Friday shopping.

Part of my friday shopping happened yesterday. We have crazy schedules this week.  Thursday is not a good day to grocery shop.  The ads start on Wednesday,mand the items on sale are picked down and not restocked.  QFC was out of sour cream and butter.mmthey found me butter and gave me Darigold instead of Kroger sour cream.  I had to ask.  I was buying daring old in bulk from Costco. It  has a long fridge life, but we weren't using it all up.m I need to make an attempt to incorporate it into some other recipes.  Sometimes I make a list of things we can make to use up the last of a product.  You can always google it  on Betty Crocker and  see what pops up.  For now, I have been getting it really cheap in smaller quantities.

I got some fruits and veggies on sale.  Cucumbers were .69 and they were large.  Peaches were reasonable as was a raw, whole chicken.  Meat is a better  buy at SAFEWAYS and I have coupons to match up.  Tuna is .69 and we are running low.  I don't stock a lot of canned meat and fish because it has a shorter shelf  life than canned veggies.

Guess that is all.  I'll repost if  I see any great unadvertised specials at safeways.

Big Lots at Shoreline  is closing.mjust a FYI.

Thanks for stopping by
Please share


Thursday, July 11, 2013

Thursday and the ads

Last night we had foil pouches for dinner. I sprayed the foil with cooking spray, sliced a couple small red potatoes, some sausage, shrimp, red and yellow peppers and topped it with some fresh spinach. I gave the potatoes a once over with olive oil. My husband put them on the grill. While he was cooking dinner, I finished a loaf of refrigerator bread. It didn't rise as well as I would have expected. Not having a lot of experience with bread, I'm not sure about what could have gone wrong. Or if it is just the nature of artisan bread. I suspect that a no knead bread doesn't rise the same. It tasted good anyway. We had a strawberry rhubarb dump cake for desert. The baby opted for "wow, wow, wow, Mac and cheese". Her words!!LOL

On to the ads...

I checked out coupon connections. There are a few good match ups.

Top Round 2.19**
Blues 4.99
Strawberries 2/5
Buy 10 mega
Pasta .70**
Kellogg's cereal 2.49**
Sara Lee pan bread 1.79

** the meat can be ground for low fat ground beef, there are coupons out there for the starred items, check coupon connections.
3 days only. FSS
7 percent hamburger 2.99@@
Salad .78 @@
Butter 1.79@@

London broil 2.69
Grapes 3/5.00
Strawberries 2/5
Hillshire farms meats BOGO **
Breakfast breads 2/4
Tea 2.99@@
Tuns 1.29 @@
Coupon deals
Lloyd's shredded meat 3.99**
Brownies .99
Fridays only. 5 dollars
Shrimp, USA, lb
Eggs 4/5
Kellogg's cereal 3/5**
mega deals
Save 3, buy 6 items mix and match
Tuna .79
Brownies .99
Tortillas .99
Muli grain cheerios**

Apricots 1.98
Cherries 3.49
Stag chili .88@@
Pan bread 1.69@@
Chuck roast 2.99
5 pounds cheese 9.99 @@@@. Buy this it's 2 bucks a pound!!!!
Raspberries 1/3 flat 9.98
Cukecumbers .69
Squash 1.00
Spinach 1.00
Blues 18 oz 4.99

Cherries 3.49
Peaches 1.98
Chicken .99
Milk 2.59
Kellogg's cereal 1.99**
Butter 2.00
Cottage cheese, or sour cream 3/5
Drinks buy 6 or more and get 3 free. See coupon connections as low as .17
Pan bread 1.79
Nalley chili 10/10
Ritz 2/4
Kroger frozen potatoes 1.99
Grapes 1.48
Cucumbers .69

Friday and Saturday only
Butter 1.99, Eggs, 1.00, cheese 3.99
Kellogs cereal 1.99, limit 2@@
Salad dressing.99@

That's about all. Be sure to cross off anything you don't need to stock and anything that is a lower price elsewhere. The best bet for ground meat this week is grinding your own from ALBERTSONS. (Top round is 2.19)
There is not a lot to stock. I would take advantage of tops cheese. he price of cheese is skyrocketing and I fear the end is not in sight. USDA projects that the drought prices will extend well into this year. dairy and beef will continue to rise. grate the cheese, toss it with a little cornstarch and freeze.

Thanks for stopping by

Please share


Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Bread dough in the refridgerator.,,


This is a web address of a refrigerator bread dough recipe. There are more out there, but this is the one that is more concisely written.

This also makes pizza dough. I have another recipe for pizza dough on an earlier blog. I think that this is more like artisan bread or sourdough.

Pizza is a cheap kid friendly meal. I got pepperoni for 2/1.00 with a coupon last month. Cheese is rising in cost, but I watch sales and have a lot stocked in the freezer. Stocking grated cheese would be a good thing to do.
tomato paste is .40 at big lots and also cheap by the case at Costco. Big lots does not take food stamps. You can also hold out a 1/4 cup of pasta sauce and freeze it when you are making no Brainer pasta. You can make a cheese pizza for really cheap. my best guesstimate is a little over a buck. if you add my .50 pepperoni, it's 1.55.

Flour costs .075 a cup if purchased at Costco in bulk. Be sure to store it in an airtight container. Salt is 4.00 for 25 pounds. I use it to clean, my daughter uses it to make paint for the preschoolers, you can use it with vinegar to kill weeds.

I don't count anything in costing a recipe that is under 2 T or too hard to break down, water and salt is too hard to cost. The flour is about .45. The recipe makes several loaves. I don't remember what I bought my yeast for, I got it bulk at Costco. I suspect, it will cost out far less than the 3 and 4 dollars a loaf that it costs to buy it.

I think what I am saying is that trying to feed your family on the cheap is doable. It may take some work, and it's a learning experience, but it is totally doable. If your situation calls for it, or just if you want to save money, you can do it. I am constantly looking for new ideas. It gives us variety in our meals. I want to learn something new everyday. learning to cook from scratch affords your family better meals for less money. The less processed your food is, the more food value it has. all those expensive FREE foods, aren't FREE. And, think about it, if it's free, they have taken something out of it, and raised the price. How much sense does that make?

Thanks for stopping by

Please share


Monday, July 8, 2013

Terrific Tuesday

After I did the piece n trying to help the lady with a 500 dollar budget, I found an old magazine with recipes that could be made o be on the cheap without sacrificing flavor. But, knowing she had a lot of kids, I attempted to find kid friendly meals.

This magazine has a lot of recipes for sides.

Oven baked fries with paprika and parm cheese. When I find a recipe for parm cheese, I use any hard cheese that I fond on sale. If you can grate it on the micro plane, a little goes a long way. My best betoften is the grocery outlet.

My pseudo grandmother introduced us to tomatoes and zucchini. Add onion, peppers and parm.

Summer squash with corn and Mexican seasonings.

Summer salad with mixed field greens, strawberries, nuts and a vinaigrette.

Bacon and clam pizza with Alfredo sauce and parm.

Pizza with fresh tomato, olives and feta. Flavored feta is often at grocery outlet too.

Panini with chic peas and spinach. Add capers, olive oil and garlic.

Remember tuna melts?

Ideas to pick me up a dinner plan on a rut?!?!

Thanks for stopping by

Please share


Sunday, July 7, 2013

Monday Madness

Another weekend gone. It's back to work for most of us, our work week hasn't started yet.
Through the years I have collected recipes for ready made mixes. There is also a book that was put out by HB books. I don't know if it is still in print or if you can get it at a used book store or garage sale.

Some things like BBQ sauce might be cheaper to buy if you find it on a good sale. I got BBQ sauce for 50 cents a couple of weeks ago at QFC.

Rice Seasoning Mix
6 T onion flakes
6 T parsley flakes
4.5 tsp garlic powder
.75 tsp EACH of cumin and pepper

For each cup of long grain rice, add 1/3 cup seasoning mix and cook according to directions on rice.

Basic BBQ Sauce

8 ounces of tomato sauce
1/4 cup EACH of ketchup, vinegar, water
2 T brown sugar
2 T Dijon mustard
1 T w sauce
Salt, pepper

Combine ingredients. Bring to boil, simmer for 15 minutes. Store in sterilized jar for up to 2 weeks.

Personally, it is more cost effective to get it on sale. Any price that is less than a buck is probably cheaper.

White Sauce Mix

1 1/3 cups dry milk
1cup flour
2tsp salt
1tsp pepper

Place 1.5 T and 1/2 cup of mix in saucepan.
Blend in 2cups water, or chicken broth.
Bring to a boil over moderate heat, stirring constantly. Turn down heat and simmer
until thickened about 3-5 minutes. Makes 2 cups.

I have not tried this, but it is a low fat way to make a white sauce.

For cheese sauce: prepare white sauce and add 2tsp Dijon mustard, red pepper flakes, 1
Cup shredded cheese. Whisk until cheese melts.


1clove garlic
1pound plum tomatoes, diced, but not peeled
1/2small onion
1/4 cup cilantro or parsley, minced
1T lime juice

For HOT version: add 1 clove garlic, 1/4 tsp hot pepper sauce, and 1T chopped jalapeño peppers.

NOTE: The cost effectivness of this would depend on if you can get plum tomatoes cheap enough. They are often in bags at Grocery Outlet. Lime and lemon juice is cheaper if you buy it in the bottle.

Meat Sauce

2T olive oil
1large onion, chopped
2large cloves garlic
1poumd ground beef
2 - 28 ounce cans of crushed tomatoes
2 T Italian seasoning

in a Dutch oven, sauté onion and garlic in olive oil. Add meat and cook until no longer pink. Add remaining ingredients and simmer for an hour.

let cool. Makes 2quarts, refrigerate three days, or freeze up to 3 months.
NOTE: I would precook my ground beef and defat it. Then, as soon as your onions and garlic were soft, you could dump everything else in and let it go. This also sounds like a good recipe that you could dump in a crock pot as soon as the vegetables were cooked.

This is about the same cost as Hunts Pasta Sauce if you get it for .78 a can.

Thanks for stopping by
Please share this blog, you never know who you will be helping.


Sunday and another scorcher.

It's warm here today, and no end on sight.  We broke put the baby swimming pool for granddaughter.

It seems like a day when I should make some salads and grill some kind of meat--or we have hot dogs still because they were BOGO.  Thats when altering your meal plans works.

When we got back from vacation, I shopped at IGA because they had some good buys. Mi went to buy ice cream because the price was the same as SAFEWAYS, buy the box was squishy.  The guy told me that their freezers defrost every night at that time.  I don't want ice cream that has been frozen and thawed, and frozen again.  .  I guess the lesson there is to buy ice cream where there isnanbig turn around so you don't get refrozen ice cream!    Anyway, they had good produce .  At safewaysm I got good deals and used coupons on pineapple, on sale with an additional coupon.  Then, I got a coupon for more off pineapple at checkout.  I also used my last pudding coupon, it was still a buck, less the 80 cent coupon.  I had a coupon for ribs, but they were still to expensive at BOGO to make it fit the budget.

In order to make a 300 dollar a month budget work for a family of four, you need meat to cost 2-3 dollars or less average.  That means if you have breakfast for dinner, you can have some 5 dollar meat meals.  The trick is to average some vegetarian or other cheap meals to compensate.  if you are Staetimg to stockpile and bulk cook meat, maybe several of your meals at the beginning will have to be cheap meals.  in a few weeks, you will be on tune.  If you get your money all at once for the month, you may still have to ease into the rotation of you can't find cheap meats.

The thing that makes a rotation wok is that
A) the price of your meat can be more than 30 percent cheaper in bulk.
B) it is easier to portion control so you have no waste.
C) it is faster and easier to cook a large quantity once a week, than to cook meat every night.It takes no longer to cook 4 chickens than it does to cook one.  Same oven, less power bill, once kitchen clean up!

Normally,  I would rotate  chickens, pork loin, sirloin roast, and hamburger.  I can still do most of them, but sirloin beef roast is hard to find on target price.  this gives you variety with low cost.
looking at my meal plans from the 1990 era, it reminded me that I used to buy ham cubes( about 1/4 inch cubes) cheap at grocery outlet and make quiche, split pea soup, and ham, pineapple and peppers pizza.  It works, and you get three meals from a 3.00 plus package of ham.  You are augmenting the ham with the peas and eggs, the ham makes for great flavor.

I purchased a bag of split peas from Costco and my husbands siblings and us shared the cost.  It made the split peas about 1/2 price.  We are still eating them!

Thanks for stopping by

Please share


Saturday, July 6, 2013

Meals from the 90s

I spent the night in the ER last night, so this will be brief.

I cost the 1990's meals at today's prices. 1990 total was 240.00, or 60.00 a week.  -- 4 people.

The same food, as close as I can come, was almost double.  453.00

I have been doing it for about the same actual, but the "meat" has been greatly altered.

4 pizza
2 quiche
Meat loaf
2 Hamburgers
2 Tuna casserole
Pork stew
Chicken enchiladas
2 Roast chicken
Chicken pot pie
Shrimp fettuccini
Pasta bake
Roast beef
Roast beef a jus sandwiches
Sloppy joes
Pork stroganoff
Chicken casserole
Mac and cheese
BBQ beef sandwiches

Thanks for stopping by

Please share


Friday, July 5, 2013

Finally Friday.

Somehow, my mind thought  it was Monday.  I was giving the mother with the family of eight's,
problem so deep thought last night.  Not knowing her particulars, I can only guess that she has a half a dozen  boys that have hollow  legs.  I had a couple of boys like that !   I solved my problem by buying things that they liked that were inexpensive snacks.  My daughter  liked top ramen and my son liked bean and beef burritos.  They were a quarter at the time.

Now, there are a whole lot of coupons for snack foods that would make them  almost free .  There are websites that match specials with coupons.  If your stores double, all the better.  ,  I got pudding for near free, and if I had found the coupons that were  out there for a dollar, they would have been free.

Another  problem,  I suspect, is that it's hot there and they are drinking  lot of soda pop.  Soda pop is not on the USDA food list.  Food stamps don't  come with instructions.  Try making ice tea or water.  That's what we got as kids.  We survived and our teeth were better off.   I can also see a bunch of kids devour several boxes of sugar coated cereal in a day if they were allowed.

It is important to remember that the food stamps are based on the food pyramid,  snacks and soft drinks are not on the food pyramid.  Think breakfast, lunch, and dinner, or consider a hearty breakfast and dinner.  breakfast is the cheapest  meal to prepare.

The USDA has a food list on their website.

Plan your meals., buy in bulk, stock when you find the lowest price.  Portion control.
There is a recipe for  refrigerator bread dough in  The Tightwad Gazette.  It is also in the older Betty Crocker Cookbooks.    It would  make cheap cinnamon rolls. Buy cinnamon at the dollar store.
buy eggs when they are cheap.  I have got eggs for a dollar a dozen recently. muffins are easy to make and you can make them healthy and out of almost anything from zucchini, to oranges or
lemons.  Banana with blueberries and oatmeal is our favorite.  It's  from the Betty Crocker Bisquick  cookbook.

Go to the grocer and find out when they mark down milk that is near it's pull date.  Go when it is being marked down and buy as much as you will use in that period of time.  If you aren't using it fast enough, make pudding and or potato soup.

Buy meat in bulk when it is at it is a it's cheapest  price.  cook it and portion control it and make meals from it all month.  Start with seven meals.  Rotate them.

When my children were teens, I posted the meals on the fridge.  They knew the foods that I called free foods.  they could have as much of them as they wanted.  The rest of the food was off limits.  it was  for meals.  by the time kids are preteens they can understand that the food has to last all month.  I am not saying that kids have to go hungry. I am saying that they can't gorge themselves with what they like at the beginning of the month and leave the family with nothing at the end of the month.  We all have to learn some restraint in our lives.

Having a plan helps in budgeting.
My meal matrix is :
2 beef
2 chicken or pork
2 vegetarian
1 fish or seafood

Yours may be different.  one idea  would be

  1. Roast chicken at a dollar a pound or less.  (I would cook 4 at a time. ) with potatoes and a vegetable. Portion control the rest of the chicken and freeze, reserving the bones for soup.   Bag the thighs,wings, and legs and the breasts for future meals the rest of the month.  
  2. Chicken soup with noodles using one of the set of bones.  bread sticks from refer bread dough. 
  3. Spaghetti or another pasta with red sauce.  I get pasta almost free..sometimes as low as .38 and sauce as low as .77.  (Hunts)  use some hard cheese for top and a lettuce salad.  
  4. Bean and beef burritos, rice with home made salsa.  I get tortillas at an surplus store or the dollar store,  they are also cheap at the warehouse club.  
  5. pigs in blankets (bread dough) French fries, coleslaw,  
  6. Ham quiche , fruit
  7. Split pea soup
Bulk buy rice, flour, and a large package of tortillas  and twenty pounds of potatoes and ten pounds of beans and 4 boxes of oatmeal at the first of the month. (45.00)

Buy a meat that is really cheap each week.  Enough for a months worth of one meal a week.  
figure a chicken can make a meal and a soup meal, so I would buy four if they were a buck or less a pound.  Figure  two pounds a meal for hamburger.  So I would buy eight pounds at the cheapest price.  Like under three bucks.  you can get hot dogs for as low as as a buck  this time of year.  

A hypothetical list would be

4 chickens, 5 lbs each 20 pounds times 1. Is 20.00 
 ( 4 breast meals, 4 soups, 4 dark meats or 12 meals.  )
8 packages of hot dogs at 1.00 is 16.00.     (4 meals) 
8 dozen  eggs  at 1.50 is 12.00 ( one egg meal a week and one Impossible pie) 8 meals
8 pounds of ground beef at 3.00 (4 meals) 24.00
2 packages of ham cubes ( 1/4 inch) at 3.00 is 6.00 two meals 
Total 78.00

This will probably take several stores to accomplish at low prices.  
Freeze the meats and make sure hour eggs have a far out pull date.  
Divide what is left by 4.2 and fill in with fruits and vegetables and any dairy you need weekly. Along with the bread you don't bake and a stock item.   Make a blank calendar, and fill in the blanks.  

You should have 350 dollars or 85.00 a week for fruit, veggies and dairy and some stock item.    Scour or have your older children scour the net for coupons for free or almost free snacks and pasta.    Find the coupon match up for your area of the country.  When winter comes, adapt to fit the season.  Turkey goes a long way and is cheap in the winter.  

That should be believable.  

Hope this helps.  If you are not the person with a family of eight on 500. I hope you can gleem some ideas from this on a smaller scale.  I usually just try for the least expensive, but if you have kids with hallow legs it takes a little more planning.

Thanks for stopping by

Please share