Sunday, March 30, 2014

Rite aid saga

Last week I bought baby food for five  bucks using a dollar reward and got six dollar reward back.
This week, I took the six dollar reward, bought four  cans of albacore tuna, a pair of jean leggings and spent 16.50 and got five dollars rewards.

6 dollars worth if baby food
8 dollars worth of tuna
16 dollars worth of leggings.
30.00 worth of product.

Spent 16.50 OOP.

45  percent savings.

Sunday ads

 Fred Meyers

Broccoli .78
Triscuits  3/5 @@
Coffee , FOLGERS 5.99@@
Ground turkey 2/7@@
Barilla 1.00 - look for coupon

Peanut butter 1.88

Veggies 2/1 limit 6@@

Sour cream or cream cheese 1.00

Rite aid has decoded not to put theor ads in the Sunday paper.  I went on line.   Electric toothbrush nets a buck with coupons.   Pantene shampoo nets 1.50 again with a coupon.  Bumble bee good tuna is 1.50 with up rewards.

Puffs tissue is a buck

Today's dinner made easy from Betty Crocker has strawberry cream cheese cupcakes.   Cream cheese os a buck at Fred Meyers and it uses preserves, so you could actually sub blueberry or raspberry too.  

That's about all.

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Saturday, March 29, 2014

Post freaky Friday

Ok, I did  shop yesterday.  All in  all, I got a lot of very good buys and used coupons for REAL food. I heat so much that coupons are just for junk food and you can do better using store brands.   I used to think that too.  But, I am finding coupons for lettuce, eggs, yogurt, whole wheat pasta, solid albacore tuna, and sirloin tips.   I stand corrected.   I saved sixty percent at ALBERTSONS. Many veggies and fruit were a buck.  Apples were a buck a pound and of you bought the sack, it was three more dollars off.   I passed on the dollar a carrot organic carrots. LOL.  Grocery outlet and SAFEWAYS I saved almost as much as I spent.

I will be batch cooking hamburger and I picked up a mix of cheeses at grocery outlet so we will have Mac and cheese this week.   I love being able to cook once and have everyone eat.

My basis for groceries on the cheap is three hundred dollars a month. That is the average I am finding for snap.   We have three adults and a baby on the family.  My daughter supplements for her and the baby, but we still provide the regular food.  I would equate that to three adults. My average for the last 12 months is 67.00 a week.    We stock.  We didn't eat 67.00 a week.   The USDA stats for my husband and I is 83.00 a week for a thrifty diet.

It's not hard to spend more money on food.  I feel that if I show how to do it at rock bottom, it will cover everyone's senecio and one can always add a more expensive cut of meat.   Bottom line, it is silly to spend twice the price for the same thing because you can't wait for a sale.

Planning your trip and shopping from the ads can save you time on the stores and a lot of money.  I had already planned my trip yesterday.m I knew that ALBERTSONS had blackberries for a buck and SAFEWAYS had strawberries for 1.50.  I try to keep a lot of fresh fruit around.  It is healthier than the cookies I picked up from grocery outlet.   A treat is always nice too.   Balance.....moderation.
Go over the ads, pick the best two stores, and shop.  Get in and get out.  The more time you spend on a store, the more money you will spend.   Don't go to the store hungry, your willpower wains.
There are some weeks lately that I can't see enough at any store to warrant the trip.   Then I wait and see of Fred Meyer has any better.   Even though Fred Meyers and QFC are both Kroger, prices are not the same.   I had forgot my coupon book when we went to Fred Meyers.  Good thing , because the same thing was at QFC for a do,lar cheaper.  Add my dollar coupon and I saved two dollars.   That made real beef ( not ground) 2.99 a pound.   I am to the point  this  week, that we shouldn't have to shop next week. I probably will only go for bread and milk and I do have yeast so I can make bread if I had time.

I am an antique dealer, work 2 days a week, teach card making, write this blog, belong to a women's group, and keep house and care for my granddaughter.  I don't spend my whole day shopping or planning my trips.  Once you get it under control, its actually faster and more efficient to plan your trip and shop two stores.  

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Friday, March 28, 2014

Freaky Friday

It's Friday. I'm over budget this month by two bucks.   I have been under budget the last sox months by about nine  bucks a week.   I think proces of produce has contributed to it.  I have been sticking pretty close to two dollars a pound for meat ( average) and have pretty much stayed to the target prices on staples.   That leaves the veggies.  

Staying in track with your budget is a matter of knowing what prices you are going to pay and staying on your range and portion controlling your protein.   I do that by rotating the meat purchases based on the sales.  One meat usually per week, buy as much as you are going to eat in a month, and cook and   portion control it in freezer bags.  

This week it's  ground beef because it is 2.99 for 9 percent hamburger.   Last week chicken was .80 a pound.  I cooked about ten pounds.   Whole chickens are cheaper than parts usually.   When I can find grill packs , I debone the breasts and cook the rest for shredded chicken.  Good on tacos or BBQ chicken sandwiches.

Paying 1/2 price for food means you can have more food and stocking assures that you never have an empty pantry.  

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Rite Aid has baby food for free until Next Sunday.  Even of you don't have a baby, it is a nice thing to buy it and take it to the food bank.   I can just about guess that there will be a mother with a baby that really needs the food.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Terrific Thursday- what to do with what you got

It's probably no secret that one of the stores of choice this week is ALBERTSONS.   I did go to QFC last night because I had to pick up meds for my husband.   

I bought a blueberry pie , cheaper than buying the blueberries  and two BBQ beef tubs because I had coupons and they were 2.99 a pound.   Beef is so expensive that 2.99 a pound is more than realistic price.   Normally, scratch cooking is cheaper and better for you.   Strawberries were good, and salad was on sale. 

Frozen Mac and cheese is .50 at ALBERTSONS. There  are coupons that net it .30.   That's about ot for ready mades.  We buy a few when they are cheaper than scratch. 

Now would be the time to stock tomato paste, frozen juice (1.00'and 100 percent juice ) tomato sauce. Taco seasoning is never a bargain at a dollar! There are lots of fruits and veggies for a buck at ALBERTSONS.  Skip the organic carrots at a buck a piece!    Wash and peel your carrots instead.   

Hamburger is 3.99 with a coupon,   CHEAPER at SAFEWAYS.  

We did chicken for a rotation meat  last week. I also picked up sausage cheap.  This week it should be hamburger.   I make meatballs, crumbles, meatloaf and taco meat.   Ot os the hardest of the a meat rotation, but of you are averaging the time, it's still really manageable.   

Beans and tomatoes are .80 at TOP.  That's higher than my target price.  I, however,haven't found them cheaper lately,except at Fred Meyers a couple of weeks ago and they were on a coupon with a limit. I did see them before and suspect that they will show up on a rotation like the milk does.  

My meat (protein) matrix is 

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

I have BBQ beef and hamburger this week for the rotation ( 3.00 lb) 
Last week was chicken at .80 a pound.  
Pork loin was 1.79 a few weeks ago, and sausage was 3.33.  
Eggs were  1.67 last week, and cheese was 2.50 a pound last week at FM.   

Average less than 2.00 per meal for protein.   That makes for a very believable five dollar dinner.   ( that's five dollars for a proverbial family of two adults and 2 school aged children total, not PER plate.  

Now that vegetable are coming down on price at least for now, it is still very believable to put healthy dishes on the table.  The term healthy is realitive.  We are not eating ding dongs and .28 cent a pound mystery chicken; we are also not eating strawberries that were grown in water from Mars or five dollar a gallon milk.   We are eating low fat, sugar, and salt.   I defat anything I can defat and buy lean cuts of meat ( 9 percent hamburger) . 

 It's a realistic healthy on a low income budget.   I'm not convinced that all the hype about our food supply is worth the expense if I did have the money.  What was healthy eating back in the day, is considered terrible eating now.  I am convinced that eating a low fat, salt and sugar diet and eating a variety of foods in moderation is a good plan  on a limited budget.   Moderation  is the key.   

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Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Wicked Wednesday

The ads are here.

Baby food is still free at rite aid until next Sunday, if you don't have a baby, please think about the recipients of the food bank.  I got applesauce.

Coupons for tuna and zap ems  and cereal are good nets. The tuna is for sold albacore, and the cereal can net  .99 when you buy milk.    Zap ems are a net of .30.  


ALBERTSONS has theor quarters sale on again along woth a dollar sale.

Roma tomatoes  1.00
Blackberries 1.00
Carrots 1.00 EACH  ... NOT
Oranges 1.00 lb
Apples 1.00
Eng cukes 1.00
Bean sprouts 1.00
Salad 1.00

Small tomato sauce .25


Strawberries 2/4
Tillamook ice cream 3/10
Oranges .99
Pears .99
Pie 2.99

Buy 5, save 5
Freshetta net 3.99
Pasta sauce .99
K cups 4.99

Check for coypon matchups for the   B5 S 5


Ground beef 2.99 for 10 percent fat
Strawberries 2/3

Five dollar Fridays
Blues 2/5
Salsa 3/5 - check for coupons


top round roast 3.49
Lettuce BOGO

Beans, tomatoes 10/8. Note this more than my target, but I'm not seeing less except for fm with a limit was .50 a couple of weeks ago.

Butter 2/5

That's about it.

There is no one store that gets out and grabs me as the best store.   Since we have found pork and chicken cheap lately, I am left with hamburger.  It is 2.99 at SAFEWAYS for ground beef ( 10 percent) or 3.49 for roast at top to grind your own,

If I was short on beans and tomatoes I would go for some of the .80 at top.   I was only short black beans and stocked at .50 at Freddie's.   Tomato sauce and oaste are really cheap at ALBERTSONS.  I used tomato paste for the pizzas and added herbs the other night when we had individual pizzas. It was cheaper than opening a large can of tomato or pasta sauce.

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Yesterday we went to ALBERTSONS. We needed a monthly egg run.  I found some stew beef that was reasonably priced for beef, that is these days.

We had make your own pizzas last night.  My daughter had purchSed a jar of pesto at Costco.  Really expensive.  I remember posting a chicken pesto penne recipe back a while.  I found another recipe for inexpensive pesto.   My husband is not too anamoired with pesto, but the rest of us are.


2 cups fresh spinach leaves
1/2 cup basil leaves ( fresh)
1/4 cup chicken broth
1 t olive oil
Pinch of salt
2 tsp minced garlic

Process in food processor or blender.  

Use it on salmon or other fish, on pasta, in a chicken or turkey panini.   Or ??????

Sometimes a little splurge will wake up a tired  menu  even on a limited budget.  Pesto is easy to make from scratch.  You can use just about any green herb, olive oil, and nuts  to make pesto.  You can buy small packages of nuts at the dollar store.

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Monday, March 24, 2014

Monday Madness

We did go to Fred Meyers yesterday,  I loaded up on. Veggies and fruit.  Coffee and some sausage.  That gives me sausage, chicken, and cheese for a start on Aprils meat.   I already have hamburger in the freezer.   Eggs are on a cohpon for 3/5 at ALBERTSONS.  

We also went to Rite aid.  We had a dollar up reward loaded.   I purchased four baby foods for sox dollars and got a sox dollar up reward loaded to our card.  My husband bought beer.  I'll take the baby food to the food bank tomorrow.   

Even with a slow week sale wise, you can still eat well for less.  It helps that you have stocked when other things were on a good sale.  

What to do with what you got.   
I roasted two chickens yesterday. I used both ovens because I haven't had good luck with two chickens in the small oven.  They took forever to get done and I wound up finishing them off  in the Microwave.   I separate them into breast portions.mdark meat and soup bones. 
I got two individual packages of pizza crusts, like bomb oil and we can have make your own pizzas. We like buffalo chicken  pizza.  

Chicken pot pie continues to be a favorite here.  
Sausage is good with potatoes and peppers.  
Friday night  we had fish and chips and Saturday night we had Mac and cheese with mixed veggies.  
I will probably round thos out with tacos and spaghetti with meat balls.   

My usual matrix for meals is 
2 beef
2 pork or chicken 
2 vegetarian
1 fish

I digress.  Let's take this from the top.   By using stair step and precooking techniques, meals can be varied, inexpensive, and not a lot of work for the cook.  

  • Friday/ we had fish and chips and coleslaw.  
  • Saturday/ Mac and cheese with veggies / strawberries.  Shell macaroni ( .50) basil recipe starter ( free w coupon at dollar tree) pesto grated cheese ( grocery outlet) broccolli ( 1.00 a pound) melt the cheese in the recipe starter on top of the stove on medium heat in a saucepan.  Add to cooked and drained Mac and place on baking dish with par boiled broccoli.   Top with more cheese and bake until heated through.  
  • Sunday/ roast chicken ( roast two and separate into breast portions for dinners, legs and thighs, and soup bones.  ) make three cups rice) strawberries  and mixed veggies.   ( chicken .79 lb, ) 
  • Monday/ buffalo chicken pizzas.  Pizza crusts ( dollar store) ranch dressing, chicken pieces with Tabasco or heat to your choice ) blue cheese and motts, sliced olives ( .50 ALBERTSONS)  lettuce salad with tomato ( Fred Meyers ) 
  • Tuesday/ bean and rice burritos.  Lettuce salad (last night.  ) rice from Sunday.  Beans .50 Fred Meyers) 
  • Wednesday/ tacos , refried beans. Rice with salsa, lettuce and tomato.   
  • Thursday/ meatballs and spaghetti.  Fruit cup with mixed berries and grapes.  
There is a week.  Most of it  was precooked, meatballs, taco meat, chicken, rice.  Cheese was 4.99 for two pounds at Fred Meyer.  Peppers were on sale as well.  Chop remaining peppers and freeze.  Peppers can be added to pizza.   Last week, Fred Meyers had tomatoes or beans for .50 on an ad coupon. Pasta  can almost always be had for less than a buck a pound with coupons.  Barilla is on coupon in Sundays paper.  Match it up with a sale.   I have found that you will eat less pasta and pizza dough of you fill the top of it  with a lot of meat and veggies.   I have a recipe for pizza dough on an earlier post.  It is made in the food processor and quick, but not as quick as premade.  Of course, if you have time, it tastes a whole lot better. 

Stair stepping and precooking meat makes meal time easier and takes no more time than eating out of a box.  I tend to cook things  that I can make that will satisfy our very diversified family of tastes.  I dont want to , nor will I cook three separate meals.   

My Fred Meyer trip is on Facebook under janes groceries on the cheap.  You will probably notice that  I bought a lot of fruits and veggies and things that are not on the meal plan for this week.  Buying what is on sale and rotating meats affords you a variety of food without laying top dollar for so,e things on your plate.   

The main object of groceries on the cheap is to NEVER PAY FULL PRICE for your food.  Sometimes that is impossible, but like the old saying save the pennies and the dollars will take care of themselves, if you concentrate on the core items on your target list, you should be ok.  Don't forget you aren't going to buy ready mades and junk food and trying to buy from extreme grocery stores will he shooting yourself in the  foot.   

Divide your monthly budget by 4.2.  That is your weekly allotment.  If you spend more one week because there are good sales, then you have to spend less the following week or visa versa.   Have a good idea of how much you are spending on the food groups. Map it out on paper of you need to.   
That way, you won't spend too much at the beginning of the month, and run out before the month is up.   You want to wind up with five dollar dinners.  It is truly believable, but not of you buy ten dollar a pound ground  beef  that comes from mars.   Do the math   You don't have to do it all the time.  Just get a feel for what prices you are paying and how they relate to a five dollar  budget.  

I am operating on the lowest budget I can .  If you get more money, or your family os a different size, you will need to adjust accodingly.  I am working in the Pacific Northwest.  Prices vary from state to state, and so do the snap allotments and wages.  I suspect that some prices are lower, and some are higher.   The basics are the same.  The prices will be different.   

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Sunday, March 23, 2014

Sunday ads

My daughter picked up the paper yesterday.   There was no rite aid ad.   I looked at the coupon match
  up site.  I don't see a lot except for free baby food.   I am sure that if you don't have a baby, the food bank would welcome it.


Milk 2.29
Tissue .99
Bumble Bee Tuna .69

Fred Meyer

Strawberries 2 lbs 2.98
Chicken .99.    Cheaper at SAFEWAYS
Tillamook cheese 4.99@@
Milk 4/5
Bread 3/4@@
Smoked sausage 3/10
Pears .88
 Grapes 2.48
Coffee 5.99

That's about all.   Be sure to check the matchups.  

I am going to prep in the kitchen this morning and I need to get some work done on my studio.  

I entered into a group discussion on what constitutes junk food,   I steer clear of a lot of meal boxes etc, not because they could in some people s eyes be junk food, bit because I stick to a strict budget.  I want to prove that a good, well balanced diet can be had with the amount you can get from food stamps.   I think it takes a little education, it's  a whole different way of looking at food shopping and preparing meals.  There os an entire generation of children out there that have been allowed to be picky and think that food comes out of a box.   That isn't necessarily the most healthy way or the least expensive way to eat.  

To me, the definition of junk food is anything that comes up in the empty calories venue.  If you can look at it and the food value is zilch, it's probably junk food.  Things like potato chips, ding dongs,  pop tarts , pop etc.    I only bake peanut butter or oatmeal cookies.   I make muffins that have oatmeal and real fruit in them.   If  sugar is the main.ingredient, you probably don't want it.
It surprised me to see that there are some extremists out there that think pizza , anything in a box and cookies and anything that isn't veggies in the freezer case is junk food.   What about fish, shellfish? Potatoes, frozen fruit?  

Again, look at the nutritients.   If it's full of fat, sugar  or salt, it's probably junk food.  Pizza to me is protein and veggies on bread.  I don't think that it is much different than eating a sandwich. Kids just love it.  While I am not a big fan of letting a child dictate the dinner menu , cooking what they like within reason sure makes life easier.   Pizza, pasta, burritos come to mind.  

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Saturday, March 22, 2014

Suddenly Saturday

It's Saturday.  I  just spent a delightful few hours with friend at a belated mardi gras party.  I don't think I have ever had jambalaya.   It was quite good.  They skipped th shrimp because of allergies, but was still really good.

I did not get the newspaper yet, so tomorrow's ads will have to happen tomorrow.

We had an interesting discussion at lunch about how many homeless children there are, even in communities that we would expect to be affluent.    This last recession has hurt a lot of oeople really hard, something our legislators don't seem to have grasped.   The meat prices  have drastically gone up and the bargains are becoming few and far between.   I am noticing it on a regular basis.  I only spent 20.23 this week.   Fortunately, I could do so  because I have stocked when prices were low.   We will see how I adapt when my stock is depleting.

Groceries  on the cheap takes a whole different approach to buying groceries.  Many people go to the store weekly, or more often and buy just what they need for the weeks groceries.  Doing so, they pay top dollar for their food.  With groceries on the cheap. You buy what is on sale and rotate your purchases so that you always have food on the pantry/ freezer and you are just adding to it.  Of course, perishables have to be purchased on a regular basis.  Dairy, except milk, has a far out pull date , so I get it on bulk at Costco often.  Fruits and veggies I buy what is on season at the cheapest price ,  taking quality into consideration.  

I rotate the meat of the week and buy enough for a months worth of those meals.   In other words, if we eat chicken twice a week, I want eight meals worth of chicken.  That is two chickens for us.  I got it for .80 a pound this week.  That's unusual, I feel good of I can get it for a buck.   I usually rotate chicken, pork loin, hamburger (9 percent ) and sausage or cheese.   Last week I bought cheese,the week before pork loin.  

The bottom line os that you never want to pay full price for anything-- but especially the corrections that you buy on a regular basis.  

More tomorrow.


Friday, March 21, 2014

Beat the hate to shop blues

Despite all the jokes that women love to shop, I hear there actually is people that hate to sh.  I suspect it is because they don't have the. Knew, or they are an indecisive personality.  The obvious solution is to either, get over it, because some shopping os a fact of life, or delegate the job to someone else in the family that doesn't have a problem with shopping.

Making a game if it can help.  SAFEWAYS has a just for you coupon for five dollars off twenty.   I want to see just how much I can get for my 15.00.  Obviously, the  closer to twenty dollars you stay, the bigger the  percent of savings.

I know I want two chickens if I can get them big enough.  And, blue bunny ice cream is a no Brainer.  After that, it's a matter of winging it.

Back later with my results!

My total was 15.23.  I spent another five dollars at the dollar store.  

I got
2 -4.5 lb chickens
2 lbs strawberries
6 loaves of sandwich bread
Ice cream

At the dollar store I got pizza crust, French fries and pepperoni.

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Thursday, March 20, 2014

Terrific Thursday

I have discovered that some of the rewards specials from Walgreens are really all coupons and you can't use more than one coupon per item if they are manufacturers coupons.  Scratch two toothpastes.

Chicken is really cheap at SAFEWAYS, limit 4.  I can roast two at a time, but need to use separate pans.  Otherwise, the air doesn't circulate enough to get all of them done.
The Internet is full of delicious chicken recipes.  Try to get ones that are closer to 5 pounds, certainly well over 3 pounds.  

SAFEWAYS has blue bunny ice cream for 3.49.  It is a good alternative for people on special diets. Low fat, low sugar.  I sometimes get a coupon.  

None of the grocery chains have mass bargains again.  I guess it will take diligent watching.  I got beans and could have had tomatoes for ..50 with a limit.  It just means you,need to buy the limit every time it's on a coupon in order to stock of they are items on your target list.
I am also not seeing a lot of regular food on coupon other than store coupon.   I think it might be time to explore Winco again.

I did get salsa at business Costco. It was 5.59 for a gallon.  We go through a lot of salsa ( mainly my daughter) and I can't make or buy it for that even with coupons.  

There are a lot, a whole generation of young adults that think that dinner comes  out of a box. Dinners in boxes can be very expensive and lack food value. There are ways to cook dinner better, cheaper, faster.   Many things don't take any longer to scratch cook than box cook.   It's a matter of being organized a little.

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Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Wicked Wednesday. The ads

The ads


Cod 2.99
Strawberries 2 lbs 4.99
Eggs 3/5@@
Ice cream 2.99@
Skippy peanut butter 1.99@@
Veg oil 1.69@@
Cheese, Brandon, 2/6

Whole chicken .79
Five dollar Fridays



Tomatoes .99
Broccoli .99
Top round roast BOGO. Nets 3.25

Buy 5. Save5

BREYERS nets 2.49
Pasta sauce nets .99
Freshetta nets 3.99
Orzo wheat bread nets 1.99
Post cereal nets 1.99
24 ounces frozen fruit 3.99

Peanut butter 1.99@@
Black olives .99
Zucchini .99

Case on point.  Not everything just because it's in a sale flyer is a sale. Darigold butter at top is 3.29.  It is 2.00 with a coypon at Fred Meyers.   Huge difference in cost.  Very many if those and you have a weeks groceries for free.  

 That's about it

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Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Terrific Tuesday

Yesterday , we got a lot of work done and I made a pumpkin bread and a slow cooker of soup so that I could bring some to a sick friend via another friend.  One of the ways you can  score big on  saving money is to think outside the box and have food that is not traditionally in the season.  Pumpkin quick bread was two dollars a loaf ( krustez) at Christmas time at Costco. It is 1/2'price at grocery outlet now.  That is cheaper than buying the Pumpkin.  

Sausage bean vegetable soup.  

2 cans diced tomatoes.
2 cans beans of choice
1 quart chicken stock
1/2 pound sausage cooked and defatted.**
4 stalks of chopped celery,sautéed in  olive oil.
3 small carrots, sliced and sautéed in olive oil
Parsley, basil, garlic powder.

Dump in slow cooker.  Cook on low 6-8 hours.  

** I cook meats in batches! usually one kind a week.   Portion control it and freeze.
It saves time, energy, and cuts out waste.  If you buy one meat that is on super sale per week and buy enough that week to feed the family once a week for a month, you can rotate meats and have a variety of foods while maintaining a cheap stock.

I use a matrix to plan meals.  Planning meals makes life easier.  I don't necessarily have a particular meal for a particular day, but I have a plan.   My object os to provide a variety of foods and not eat hamburger seven ways in a week because it was in sale that week.  

2 beef
2 pork or chicken
2 vegetarian ( breakfast for dinner? )
1 fish or shellfish

I get a couple e mails from Betty Crocker every week.  They are full of good ideas for new meals.  Some of them call for  ingredients that are costly, but  I can usually work around them and still get a good tasting new dish.

In case you haven't noticed, I like quick and easy meals.  If I spend more time planning a shopping trip and shopping, and less time cooking, I am money  and time ahead.  I can get two stores taken care of in an  hour or less depending on how far apart they are.  A little planning and matching coupons can be remarkable.  I usually muli task so coupon matchups are a no Brainer.

If you save six dollars a week, you can save over three HUNDRED  dollars a year.  To bill gates, that is probably nothing.  To me, that's an extra retirement check!  

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Monday, March 17, 2014

Monday Madness - Happy St Patricks Day

 Happy St Patricks Day!   Most people will be having corned beef and cabbage tonight.  Since my husband doesn't like either and my daughter and granddaughter are semi vegetarian, that ain't gonna happen!   LOL

I am going to make soup and bread this morning for a sick friend.  If I make a large batch, we will have dinner made. I have never tried Irish soda bread.

Yesterday's shopping trip didn't net exactly what I had expected in the matter of the Kleenex. The boxes were 85 count boxes.  The ad didn't show it as clearly as I would have liked it.  Still at 1.69 for six   boxes,  was still a very good buy.  We did get deodorant for free .  That's toothpaste and deodorant for free.  I have never found toilet paper or soap yet.  I've got soap really cheap, but not quite for free.  I hear it can be done., but I'm not there yet.  I am thinking of the people on snap and snap doesn't cover anything but food.  If you can get the heigene necessities for free, it frees up money for other things.   Rite Aid has Pyrex laundry detergent, buy 1, get TWO.   We didn't need any, but that sounds like a really good buy.   But, I really needed sugar free turtles!   LOL.  All in all, I got two packages of Russell stover "turtles and two deodorants and spent .50.

We had pork chops, baked potatoes, strawberries and peas for dinner.  Fred Meyers has really beautiful strawberries reasonable.  They were really ripe and needed to be used ASAP.   Also, they had apples for .88 and pears for .88.  We like a apple and cottage cheese salad or apple and blue cheese.  Butter is 2/4 and it is Darigold.  The sandwich rolls were a dollar cheaper than SAFEWAYS,
Black beans were .50 a can, limit six. Beans and tomatoes were all on sale, but black beans is what we were short of.   Total bill 25.00.   That was it for this weeks groceries.

I have been watching people lately in regards to spending habits since I started this blog.  There are a  lot of people that will save and scrimp on some things, and then blow what they saved on something  else.  It seems ironic to me that a person that will be hell bent to use a quarter on an inch of scotch tape wrapping something will go to the store and pay full price on something they can get for free.   My mother used to call that penny wise and pound foolish.  .  It just doesn't seem consistent with the mindset. My mother didn't want to spend money on anything that she didn't have anything to,show for when  she was done.  I can count on my fingers the amount of times I got to go to a movie.  Or eat in a restaurant.

Years ago, there was a theory that everyone will pick one thing to buy the best quality off even if it is mustard.   Food for thought.

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Sunday, March 16, 2014

Sunday ads

The ads for Sunday. I went over the drug store ads.  There is a lot of candy anticipating Easter,but I'm not seeing a lot of other good stuff.

Rite aid
I have a two dollar up reward to use.,,

My sugar free turtles are 2/3, also life savors.
Reach toothbrush 2.99 with a yow dollar up reward nets .99
Sure deodorant, or brut.  1.50, 1.00 coupon on paper, .50 up reward FREE

This is a good example of why it is not a good plan to just go to the store and buy what you need.  

Kleenex tissues are on a coupon in the paper for .30.  Good anywhere you buy them.
They are 6.99 at rite aid.  Nets 6.69.

Walgreens has the same tissue for 4.99 with the same .30 coupon.  Two dollars cheaper and there is a 3.00 reward.

That's a turn around of Five dollars.

Olives .99
Campbell's soup .75 chicken noodle or tomato

Fred Meyers

Pot roast 3.48
Apples .88
Butter 3/4@@
Eggs 2/3@@
Bumble bee tuna .69@@
Kroger beans or tomatoes 2/1@@. This is a good stock item. Limit 6.
Nalleys chili .89

That's about all.

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Saturday, March 15, 2014

Suddenly Saturday

I totally missed Friday.  Unexpected events totally consumed my Friday.  Sorry.   I didn't grocery shop because I didn't have too!  That is precisely why I show the way I do.  An unexpected event can happen and an incident you have no control over can completely redirect your day.

Groceries on the cheap takes a whole different approach to grocery shopping.  Instead of going and just buying what you might need for the week, you buy what is on sale and stock to carry you through until the next sale.  You, after you get yourself stocked, never are stuck without anything on the house to eat.  This saves money because you are not tempted to get take out or go out because you can't get to the grocery store at your regularly stated time.

We are taking steps to simplify our lives somewhat.  We are retired and find that making some changes will make life easier.  I would have  never dreamed three years ago that I would have a darling granddaughter that brings joy to is every day. But, she also brings grocery carts, strollers, dolls, stuffies  and a mirage of other stuff!  Our house was already full before the latest addition!   I decoded to get one box of things out per week either to the goodwill or the store.  It's time for me to get Easter stock out.

I digress.  We had a beef stew and a green salad with field greens, blue cheese, and pecans in it for dinner.  My granddaughter has decided  she likes turkey meatballs.  I would really like to know how to cook them, Gerber  graduates taste good, but they are really expensive.  I know that ground turkey isn't cheap and it has a different texture than ground beef. I think I will analyze the ingredient list!  
May be try small batches until I get them to her liking.  My daughter made her bow toe pasta.  She told her that it was Minnie Mouse pasta!  The child is a really picky eater.  I'm not used to working with children that are picky eaters.  My mother would have never stood still for it.  I understand that she has a little stomach and need to spread her meals out.

Precooking your meat and putting it in portion controlled packages os a good way to stretch your dollars and make mealtime less hectic.

Knowing the real sale price on a product affords you the luxury of not paying full price for anything.
I saw a really good quote on Facebook today.  It soda something like,  if you don't criticize me for using coupons, I won't criticize you for throwing your money away.  LOl.  Still, I say, I'm moderation!   I won't buy a years worth of something we might not even eat.  That is wasting money too.  But, keeping a stock of the things you do eat on a regular basis just saves time and gas.

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Thursday, March 13, 2014

Terrific Thursday

Yesterday we did the survey the fridge day.  We had pork chops I took from a pork loin, rice and beans, and fruit salad.

We have a project that has to b done Friday, grocery shopping isn't going to happen. If I was on the habit of going to the store just to buy 1 weeks worth of groceries at a time, we would either be not eating, or having cereal for dinner or, worse yet, going to the drive through.

I'm not seeing much good buys in the ads.  And, I really done like the ads not giving me enough information to make educated decisions and plan my trip before I go.  There should be some law about advertising something without telling a price.

I made rice in the rice cooker.  Had better luck this time than last.  That was Monday and we've been eating off it for three days.  That's about the safe time in my eyes. I'd rather throw a little away than give  someone  a sick stomach or worse.

It came to my attention when I was going through the ads to warn people that sometimes buying a large yogurt ( or other things) is not your best alternative.  Case in point.  Tillamook yogurt or Yoplait are on sale and many times I can find good coupons, sometimes as low as .12.  Buying a 32 ounce carton can open yourself up to no portion control and wasting yogurt.  Sometimes ,  two small items are cheaper than  1 large one.

I recycle as much as I can.  Yogurt containers can become seed starters.  The inside bags of the cereal or a cake mix can become the wax paper between hamburgers or pork chops in the freezer or used to roll out pastry or hold cookies waiting for their time in the oven.  The cardboard can be used for book covers or art projects.

A not of caution, many times I have  found  lately, the grocer or manufacturer will list something in ounces, rather than pounds and ounces.  It makes it harder to recognize a value.  The number is highland you don't stop to figure out that 20 ounces is only 1-1/4 of a pound.  I notice that Costco will list their breakdown as per ounce.  It takes some math to figure out how that translates to per can so you know if it is a bargain or not.  That , sometimes, is a problem when you are being run over by someone else's cart.  Stopping at Costco is a dangerous proposition.  LOL. It's easier to compare prices when you are on a level playing field.  

I guess that's all

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Tuesday, March 11, 2014

The ads

Got the ads, this will be quick. Mots almost eleven o'clock.


Dryers 2/6
Yogurt 10/5 $$ ( Yoplait)

Buy three cereals, select from select Cheerios, Quaker granola bars or post, kelloggs for 2.49 and get free milk. This could be a good buy if you can find coupon matchups.

Grapes 2.99
Hebrew national 2/7
Johnsonville dinner sausage 2.99@@


Corned beef 1.99
Cabbage .48
Coleslaw .77

Free milk and eggs when you buy
5 General Mills products
75 products to choose from
Nature valley granola bars, cake mix, Cheerios.  The granola bars and Cheerios are 2/5 and the cake mixes are 2.00 without coupons, you are probably not going to save anything.m those are pretty inflated prices.  Not knowing all the products, you would have to go to the store and compare what you normally buy and check prices.  I know there are coupons  for cake mixes.


Beef chuck or cross rib roast 2.99
1lb strawberries 1.99
Corned beef 1.99
Cabbage or red potatoes .49 lb
Cheerios.  3/5
Lemon  pie  5.00


Cabbage .49
Corned beef 3.99
There are some bogos , identical products, buy no prices
Cream cheese  essential brand 1.00

Bogos ( good buy not known, they are not telling base prices )
ALBERTSONS ice cream
Kens salad dressing $$

That's about it.  I'm not seeing much, especially when ALBERTSONS can print an add without telling you the price of the product.  And TOP foods aren't telling exactly what's on sale either.
QFC is over proces on most everything.

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If anybody gets to the TOP foods orAlbertsons   maybe they can put a comment and tell what exactly is on sale.  We have a major project this  weekend, so it am probably,not going to get to shop at least until Sunday or Monday.

Terrific Tuesday

It's Tuesday.  I will get back with the ads later today.   I have two appointments today and have got to get some work done in my studio.

I thought I would talk a little about food storage.  I try to use glass as much as possible and managed to fimd some glass jars here and there.  I did  find pickles in glass jar at grocery outlet.  I have some peanut butter jars ( old when they sold pea it butter in square jars) I just usually, write the contents on the lid of I might have a question later with a marker.  I write the expiration date on the eggs on the top of the lock and lock keeper.  It washes off with a scotch brite  type sponge.  I get them for three for a buck at the dollar store.

I think there are a group of people out there that are totally against the dollar store because they can't see past the cheap decorations etc.  Every store these days offers a wide variety if things to suit a wide variety of needs.  Not all dollar stores are created equal. A smart shopper will look past the garbage ( whatever that is in their eyes) and see a bargain.  I put the sponges through the dishwasher.  I hear you can out the, in the microwave, but I don't know what that would do to the scratchy part.
Some food is cheaper at the dollar store.  Last time I was in there the lady ahead of me had done her grocery shopping there.  The operative word is SOME, and some of ot os cheaper with a coupon.
I found Betty Crocker scalloped potatoes and used a dollar coupon.  I find pepperoni and get it for .50 instead of three dollars at the regular chains.  Sometimes frozen veggies are cheaper, the frozen peppers are icky!   Sandwich bags are .50 with a coupon.  Toothpaste often can be free as well as deodorant and soap.   FREE is a very good price especially of you are on SNAP and can't buy those things with your allotment.  If you aren't on snap, everything you get free leaves you more momey for food.

I watch coupons for most personal products.  Often they are for expensive things that you really don't need in the first place.  But,for the basics everyone  needs it is a good thing.  Last week our deodorant netted a quarter a stick.  Toothpaste was free. Soap was free.  ( 6 bars) not being brand loyal is  a real help.  Those prices came from rewards and coupons.  You can really score big at the drug stores if you again look past the things that you don't need and stick with necessities.  Take advantage of up rewards and coupons.   Again,meet on and get out.  Remember if you touch something  it is likely to jump in your cart.  Think before you toss things on your cart.  I still walk the isles  that have things I am likely to buy.  That's how I spied the cottage cheese at Walgreens that I had a coupon for.  I don't clog my coupon binder with every coupon that is out there.  I only put the things I would likely buy if the price was right.

Sometimes,  I find at the dollar store what I haven't been able to find anywhere else.  I was looking for pounders.  (  the glasses they have at bars). I could buy them cheap at Costco wholesale, but you had to buy 24.  I never found them at the goodwill.  I found them at the dollar store.  They are just the right size for a 12 ounce drink with ice.  I'm not  real fond of the  decor on them, but they work.
Page protectors are a lot cheaper.  I use them for my personal cookbook.  That way I can pull a recipe out of the three ring binder and use it, the recipe stays clean and I can put it back.  I got small binders at the goodwill so I don't have to have dividers.  Main dishes are in one and everything else is in the other.

I buy Kleenex if I can't find it cheaper elsewhere.  Last time I got 175 sheets at ALBERTSONS for .75.  

Some things are cheaper elsewhere, some are not,  again it all comes down to know your prices.

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Monday, March 10, 2014

Monday Madness

Yesterday we went to Rite Aid and Walgreens.  I had rewards in both stores.  I planned my trip with coupons and rewards.  I spent nine dollars and change.  I saved more than 50 percent.

I got
2- 3 bar packs of Irish spring soap
2 deodorants.
2 Russell Stover chocolate packs, sugar free
1 daisy cottage cheese
1 total toothpaste
1 fingernail polish.

Most of thos stiff was necessity type items, except for the chocolate,   OK, that's debatable and the fingernail polish.  I do go to work, and I think bare nails are tacky.  ( just my opinion.  )

The point I am trying to make here is two fold.
1st, don't go into a store with blinders on.  You don't want to buy the store out of key chains, but keeping an eye on the food isle can sometimes reap a good buy.  Case in point, cottage cheese-- I would have never expected to find cottage cheese at Walgreens,but I had a fifty cent coupon and it worked.

2nd,  don't deprive yourself unless you are stone broke. Everyome needs a little treat every now and then, even of ot os just a 2.79 bottle of nail polish and/or a 1.50 bag of CHOCOLATE!  

Last night we had beef and bean burritos.  We were supposed to have pork roast, but I took a nap and didn't wake up in time,  alas, we will have pork roast tonight.   I am trying to switch to regular rice.  I have never been able to cook it right.  My rice cooker doesn't work well either.  I upgraded years ago to an"better " one and the old one worked better.  It might just be that I haven't got the hang of it yet.
Anyway, I posted it on a blog and someone sent me a recipe for rice in the oven....score!   Double your oven use and save energy and time.

Rice and beans make a complete protein and I use them for one of our vegetarian meals often.  We also like eggs ( breakfast for dinner) and Mac and cheese.

I developed a matrix for our meals.  It makes meal planning easy and affords is a balance of types of protein.  In a day when there is always somebody that has decided  that a particular food is not good for you, at least moderation will soften the blow if one of them is actually true.  I think moderation is the key.   All these studies makes me wonder who is paying  for them and are they scewed ?   Certainly of you only eat one food, it's not going to be good for you. We  need balance in our diets.
That's assuming you don't have health issues.  I try to maintain low fat, sugar and salt .  We know that we need some of these nutrients, but too much is not good.

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Sunday, March 9, 2014

How do you spell coupon .

I went to Walgreens and rite aid coupon book in tow.
I spent nine  dollars and change

I got
Daisy cottage cheese
6 ounce total toothpaste
2 speed stick deodorants
2 pkg sugar free Russell stover chocolates
Six bars soap
1 fingernail polish

Sunday ads

I got the ads yesterday, but didn't have time yesterday.

Fred Meyers

Corned beef brisket 1.97
Pears .68
Cauli, broccoli .88
Starbucks k cups 5.99@@$$
Milk 4/5 ( second we of the month)@@
Bread 3/4
Dreyers 2/5
Grapes 2.48
Yoplait 10/5$$

Fred Meyer veggies 12 ox frozen .69@@

Toothpaste with coupon FREE with rewards.
Speed stick deodorant.  2.00 with a coupon in the paper makes it a dollar.

I've lost Rite Aid  add.   I didn't find anything spectacular.  I need to spend my four dollars up reward.  My chocolate sugar free is 2/3 .  

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Saturday, March 8, 2014


Yesterday's trip was interesting to say the least.  We went to grocery outlet.  I found good potatoes and strawberries .  The specialty cheese as non existent.   We went to SAFEWAYS, the dollar store ( one stop) and QFC on the way home.

Yogurt with a coupon
2-2lb bricks of cheese
Blue cheese

Pumpkin bread mix

Frozen blueberries
Salad greens

Beef tips (2 lbs)
Pork loin (5 lbs)

Split peas (2)

I, still sitting at sixty two or so dollars a week average.   My stock protein is pork loin and cheese.  Last night we had a bacon turkey,cheese panini  and some cherry pie.  Pie at QFC was cheaper than I could make it for and it was right out of the oven.  Yum.

Know your prices, stock when prices are low, stick to budget.  If you spend more one week, spend less another week.  Use coupons judiciously. I only used 2.75 in coupons.  Two for meat, one for yoghurt.  I am due to download recipes and coupons today.  I got sleeves for my recipe book so that they keep clean at the dollar store. Pepperoni is .50 with a coupon.  A little bit goes a long way on a pizza along with olives and cheese and peppers.  I chop and freeze peppers. They are a good addition to a recipe for colour.

I got the best quality of produce at the best prices shopping more than one store.  Blackberries ranged from four dollars to 1.50.  Frozen blues were cheaper.  They are both rich in antioxidants and easy to add to recipes.  

Breakfast for dinner  is a good way to stretch a dollar. Pancakes or waffles with some bacon and fruit works. Or make yoghurt parfaits with some granola and blueberries.  .  Kids love  it.  Quiche is another hit  in this family. Stuffed baked potatoes bar is another hit.  Bits of taco meat, chili, broccoli, cheese, salsa, sour cream.....   Mac and cheese is another favorite. You can make soup from just about anything.  Slow cooker recipes are all over the Internet.  Some of them are a bit too fat laden, or have too many expensive ready mades in them, but recipes can be adjusted or passed over for more healthy  ones.  

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Friday, March 7, 2014

Friday shopping trip

This should prove interesting. I did not really go shopping last week.  I picked up a few things on sale  with coupons or rewards at the drug stores.  To say that the food isles at the drug stores were limiting would be an understatement , but if you know your prices you can score.  That goes for the overstock stores too.  Grocery outlet is mostly groceries.  I tend to stay clear of the produce unless I am going to use it immediately.  It's not as fresh as I would like it.  You save  NO money if it goes bad before you can use it.  big lots has a few isles, but what they have can be a bargain.  I passed on the fruit cups for the backpack kids because they were set in jello.  I think they want more pure fruit.  I get no sugar added if I can.  I am truly against filling a child with  16 grams of refined sugar.  LOL

Winco had better prices last summer.  I still managed to find a few bargains and they do have the most extensive bulk food isle I have ever seen.  I do wish that they had dry milk.  There are mixes that take dry milk, but it is more expensive than regular milk.

I actually have a need list this week.  That hasn't happened in a long time.  The specials are almost non existent and the ads are getting smaller and smaller.  My plan is to go to grocery outlet, SAFEWAYS and QFC and see what I can accomplish.  

I hear that ALBERTSONS is going to buy out SAFEWAYS in our area.  It was predicted that we would wind up with a few companies controlling the grocery market.  That is a little scary to me. If that happens Kroger ( Fred Meyers and QFC) and ALBERTSONS will pretty much have the market. TOP foods is pushing a lot of organic and farm raised etc.  I don't know of they are trying to enter the specialty store market, or just trying to be a hybrid.  As it is now, I am finding the best buys at QFC and SAFEWAYS.   I am beginning to see a pattern  between Fred Meyer and QFC.  ALBERTSONS is pushing their own brand a lot, and it seems to be an ok quality and much cheaper.

It will be interesting what the justice department thinks about that move!  

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Thursday, March 6, 2014

To Thursday.

It's Thursday.  I had another bout with Mr. Barrett, so I didn't sleep last night.  Baby came up to visit really early, because her mom had to of to the dentist before work. Ugh!   I digress, this is  about food.

What to do with what you got.

There is not a lot of sales this week.  Cheese is  on a good sale several places.  If  you already have some bricks; grate it , add a couple of tablespoons of cornstarch to it, and freeze it.
I have run on to a couple of new Mac and cheese recipes lately that kick the childhood favorite up a notch.  Pasta is .79 at Fred Meyers threw this Saturday. Milk is  on sale at ALBERTSONS, as well as clams.  Can't you kist smell the clam chowder.   LOL.  I have,  however , got clams for a dollar recently. SAFEWAYS has pork loin for 1.99.  The only problem I see with that is that you have to buy the whole thing and it has already been frozen. They have pot roast for 2.99.  That would've a nice treat.   Shrimp is five dollars a pound., a nice  treat too.  I usually stor fry ot with some veggies, my husband would eat a whole pound by himself!

Campbell's soup is .69, and there are ten cent per coupons out there.

Top foods has diced tomatoes for two bucks.  That just goes to show you that not everything in an ad is a real sale.  I pay a buck for those cans.  Even of you buy two small cans for .68 each, you won't have two bucks.  Sometimes,  smaller cans are cheaper.  You really need to know your prices.

I guess it doesn't matter whether you have the same prices in your neck of the woods or not, knowing your prices and taking advantage of a good sale to use the products in your meal plans is a good way to cut your food bill. Once your stock is built, just add the things that you don't normally buy to keep your mealtimes fresh.  Add veggies that are in season and inexpensive.

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Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Wicked Wednesday - the ads

I actually got the ads in time this week, such as they are.  I, not seeing many real sales,but here goes....


MANDARINS 3.99 (3 lbs)
Broccoli,cauliflower  .99
Blackberries 2/3
Pie 2.99
Smoked sausage 3/10$
Yoplait 10/5$$
Tillamook cheese 4.99----only FSS

Tillamook cheese  4.99
Strawberries 5.98

Pork loin ( whole) 1.99
Dreyers 2.99
HORMEL entres, Lloyd's tubs bogo$$

5 dollar Friday
Cake mix/ brownies 5/5

Milk 2/5@@
Strawberries 2.99
Grapes 2.99

That's about all.   If I was going to buy a batch cook item , it would be the pork loin at SAFEWAYS. Provided it looked good and wasn't too big.  If it os too big, you might split it with a friend.

Otherwise, it would be a good week to stock up on cheese, it is 2.50 a pound several places.
Pasta is still .79 at Fred Meyers. M

There isn't  a lot in any ad, and the ads are getting smaller and smaller.  Ot might be a good time to explore Winco or Costco wholesale.

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Terrific Tuesday

It's  Tuesday.   Last night my husband made Mac and cheese with blue cheese and ham.  It actually tasted good, I wouldn't have out those flavors together. Betty Crocker this week has macaroni with ranch and bacon. Bumping the flavors of Mac and cheese up a notch can make dinner more interesting-- spice up the winter blues.

I never pay more than a dollar for pasta.  Lately I have been getting it for around .75.  I have also got it  for fifty cents more frequently,  I have got it for as low as .38.  I have not found coupons for regular pasta lately.  I have found some where double white fiber worked.   Lasagna is almost never on sale.   I have made noodles from scratch, but not since cooking school.   It's a long arduous task, and I don't find the time is  worth the difference in price.  We don't have lasagna often.

One of our favorites is stir fried shrimp and veggies with olive oil on spaghetti noodles. I can still get shrimp at Safeways  for five bucks occasionally.

We have a standard outline for meal plans. It makes the task easy.  I work the meal plan to include what perishables  are on sale cheapest and what is on the fridge that needs to be eaten.

Four plus one is five: four people! one meal! five bucks.   That doesn't mean every meal has to be  five   bucks.  It means seven meals have to be 35.00.  Averaging affords you some more variety and a treat every now and then.   If one meal is a frittata, you can afford shrimp another day.  I can still  find cheese for two bucks a pound occasionally.  I want to stay close to a max of  2.50.  They ate predicting eight dollars a pound.  It will pay you to stock a little.  Too much will go bad before you can use ot.  I grate cheese and freeze it.  Toss it with a little cornstarch to keep it from clumping together.  Most of our cheese os grated anyway.  Costco wholesale os the best price I have found so far.

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

This is our  matrix. Yours may be different.
 Starting   with a plan and  backing into it by using the perishables at your disposal is an easy way to assure variety of meals and use up what's on the fridge.

For instance. I got pizza crusts on sale cheap at Big Lots 20 percent sale. We might have a Buffalo chicken pizza this week.  

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Monday, March 3, 2014

Monday madness

I hate extremists.  I'm sure as people they are very nice, kind, wonderful people.  So I guess what I should say is that I hate extreme attitudes.  It's like it is out of balance with reality.  I think a lot has to do with the extreme reality shows on tv, some of which I don't think have a lot to do with reality.  LOL. Who really cooks their lasagna in the dishwasher.  And what savings is there in that. Or buy several  hundred bottles of pop.  No one  needs 100 bottles of pop.  I went the first  18 years of my life maybe having two glasses of pop, and that was root beer floats.  I guess I am too much of a libra and like balance and some degree of moderation and reality.

I didn't grocery shop this week per say.   I usually can get that project done on about an hour, maybe an hour and twenty minutes,  I spent more than an hour yesterday because we went to the drug stores and big lots and took the baby and her mother with too. Now I remember why I used to leave the children with their father when I went shopping.
It's just too hard to concentrate.  I had planned my trip so that I knew exactly what I was going to buy at Walgreens and Rite  Aid.  Walgreens took a bit longer because the toothpaste didn't ring up with it's Catalina.  It wasn't in  the system yet.  I think they're  still training people and getting the bugs worked out in a new store.

Big lots has a small section of food, and their sanitary supplies are the cheapest I have found .(besides the free ones I got at Rite Aid.)   They had their 20 percent day.  It was crowded and hard to move down the isles. When you a twenty percent markdown to already cheap prices, you have really good buys.  I didn't get a whole lot, but what I did get was a remarkable price.  Things that would normally cost 2.50 I got for .80.  I got chocolate ice cream wafer cookies for .80.  Craisens for 2.00.  Three pizza crusts for 2.20.     Too bad it only happens three times a year.  And, they don't take coupons or snap.

I digress.  Shopping alternative stores takes some time because they have a limited amount of product and specialize in certain products.  No one store has the best prices on everything.  I tend not to go to the alternative/ overstock stores every week.  I go when we are out of  or running low on certain  things and we are in the area for something else-- probavly every four to six weeks.  This week it just coincided with the twenty percent sale and I did not go to the chain stores.  I spent a total of 25.00.  I at least doubled my money .

It might seem that my whole life is shopping.  Not so.  I write  a blog every morning.  Other than that, I spend an hour or so a week shopping and about 15-20 minutes planning my trip.  When I can get in and out of a store with a list, I spend a lot less time that the person that wanders up and down the isles putting whatever looks good in their cart; or like the people I see that stand and ponder every selection like it's a life or death decision.

I thought this recipe I found sounded nutritious and would taste good.  There are mixed vegetables at the dollar store.  I pay .50 to a dollar for pasta.  It is .79 at Fred Meyers this week.  I make chicken stock from the bones off the chicken when it is that week. And cheese is what's left over.  It was on sale last week.

Extreme Mac and Cheese

1-1/2 cups uncooked macaroni
1 package mixed veggies California blend ( broccoli, carrots , cauliflower)

2 cups white sauce made with 1/2 chicken broth and 1/2 milk
2 cups grated, assorted cheeses

1 tsp dry mustard, or a T Dijon.
Salt, pepper

1) cook macaroni according to directions on package.  Add veggies during the last 4-6 minutes of cooking time. ( or thaw on the microwave). Drain and place in 9X13 greased pan.

2) meanwhile, make 2 cups of white sauce using I cup chicken stock and 1 cup milk.

3) add cheese until you get a thick cheese sauce and add mustRd, salt and pepper.

4) add cheese sauce to macaroni in baking pan and stir.

5) bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes or until dish is warmed through.

12 servings.

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Sunday, March 2, 2014

Pressure cooker split pea soup.

Tonight we are  having split pea soup cooked in the pressure cooker.  I have ham cubes and will fry them and add them to the half a pot that my husband and I will eat.

Today, we went shopping to rite aid, where I purchased ice cream for two dollars a carton and rolled my up rewards up to four.  I also bought a toothpaste for .75 and picked up cream of mushroom soup for .90.   It's easy to score at chicken noodle or tomato, but cream of mushroom is harder.   I got two breakfast drinks for my daughter for free. Actually, she got one, and I got one.  We paid 1.50 and got a 1.50 Catalina.

Big lots was twenty percent off  the whole store,  they do this three times a year.  I bought pizza crust.  Chocolate ice cream wafers.  They had craisens and dried prunes.  They market dried prunes as tiny fruits for kids and charge an outrageous  amount for them.   I tried my granddaughter out on craisens and she was just fine with them.  A whole big bag for less than a few tablespoons.

I am up to twelve tubes of toothpaste.  I think at the end of the month I'll take another trip to the women's shelter.

There was s o m e discussion on another thread about eating very stale dated canned goods.  My mother always said, when in doubt, throw it out,  your health is not worth saving a couple of cents.
The USDA and other sources all say that canned foods that are acidic, like tomatoes, are good for a year after the pull date, other foods like green beans are good for two.  That is the minimum amount.  Of COURSE, IF A CAN IS BULGING OR SEVERELY DENTED, THROW OT OUT.  Always error on the side of caution.  I usually try my best to rotate our stock and use things up before the pull date.  I don't use anything much past it's pull date.  You only have one body and botulism kills.

I guess  that's all

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Weaving the thread

I thought I would talk about rolling over reward dollars.  Every drug store chain that has a rebate type plan calls them a different name.  Basically it is a rebate on something you buy.  Sometimes it comes out as a Catalina with your receipt and sometimes it gets credited to your store card.  Either way, it's like money in the bank.

The skeptics would say that it's just a ploy to get you to come to the store again.  Heir right.  But, you can turn that ploy to your best advantage.  Again the retailers are hoping you fill your basket with a load of stuff.  You can beat them at their game.

I have an earlier post that outlines how much stuff that I basically needed that I got for thirty dollars. I got that by rolling over the dollars and using those dollars to get more free stuff.  It's not a bargain unless you can use the things and they are not frivolous things.  There comes a time when you can't roll over because you hit a wall.  I ended with two cases of paper towels.

Last week, I started again.  I got a tube of toothpaste for more than free using a coupon.  They paid me to take it out of the store. Part of the free was a three dollar up reward.  I will take my three dollars and buy 2 cartons of ice cream for 3.99 with a two dollar up reward.
I will pay five dollars and get a four dollar up reward.

Let's recap

Toothpaste.   Paid three dollars, got three dollars.
Ice cream, paid 8.00, got four dollars

Toothpaste, 2 ice creams, net eleven minus seven equals four dollars.

Paid four dollars for 1 tube of toothpaste and two cartons of ice cream.

I did the same thing at Walgreens

I bought a two tubes of toothpaste and paid with a coupon and their reward.
I spent three dollars and got three dollars.

I then bought a carton of eggs for 1.29, six ounces of turkey bacon, and 4 energy saver light bulbs.

2 large tubes of toothpaste, dozen eggs, turkey bacon and 4 energy saving light bulbs for 3.60.  Less than the price of one toothpaste.

Before you are sure I am a hoarder of toothpaste, I might explain that my husband has dubbed me the toothpaste fairy.  I try to get as many tubes of toothpaste as I can for free or nearly free and when I have a batch, I take them to the women's shelter.

It's kind of fun to see how long you can weave the thread. I only buy something I would buy anyway. I hadn't bought makeup for a couple of years, and I probably would not have bought such expensive light bulbs, but they were a good investment for free.

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Saturday, March 1, 2014

Sunday ads

I got the paper today so I thought I would get you a head start so you could do any match ups at your leisure.  The coupon matchup sites are probably not up for Sunday yet, but it wouldn't hurt to try or use your own instinct.  I have also got to down load this months coupons yet.  Along with fixing the old credit card machine at work and cleaning house for grand baby's  2nd try at a birthday party.

Your paper should have smart source and p and  G.  I didn't find much at P&G .  There are more Colgate coupons than there are crest.  I'm saving it because it doesn't take up much room and it doesn't matter whether it goes on thos months recycle or next!  

Crest pro health at Walgreens is 3.00, 1.50 reward, .75 in the P And G.  Nets .75.  That's still too much for me because I do it for charity and I want free or nearly free to stretch my charity dollars.
It might, however, work for you.  Also there is a Kellogg's breakfast drink or coffee drink for  FREE.  
Cream of mushroom soup is .99 .  I would check coupons on that.

Fred Meyers   Remember this is for tomorrow.

Strawberries are 2/4
Yoplait 10/5$$
Barilla pasta .70@@ limit 4 - check coupons
Fruit pies 2.99
Radishes are two for a dollar.

Note: you can't make a fruit pie for 2.99 barely.  A nice Sunday dinner treat.
Radishes are really good oven roasted with other root veggies.

Rite aid.
I have three Rite Aid dollars.  I believe that they are for toothpaste and I can't use the dollars on toothpaste that I get on toothpaste.  Otherwise, toothpaste is 3.49, 2.50 up reward leaves .99.  If there is a coupon a buck, it will be free.

FOLGERS coffee is 6.99 with a 1.00 up reward.
BREYERS ice cream is 3.99 with a 2.00 up.  Which makes it 1.99.  Limit two.

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Saturday Notes

I was hoping I was going to be able to reach some more people, but it doesn't look like that is going to happen on the venue I thought it was.  I'll keep trying.  Sooner or later I'll not the right people if I keep trying.

Kinda like the cupcakes for my granddaughters birthday.  My daughter made a batch and they were ruined. So I got up last week at six am and made another batch.  Party was cancelled because of snow.  I get to try that action again this morning. LOL

I digress.
I was thinking last night about the fact that if you have enough money, what's for dinner takes a back seat to everything else that is going on in your life.  Of you are poor, by choice or circumstance, what's for dinner takes on a more meaningful importance.  It's  like the situation that arises of you have a serious disease that is not under control. It tends to consume  your life.  

I went to the mall yesterday, something I almost never do.  I had to get a gift.  I always check the sale racks when I am there.  I found no clothes for myself.  I did find two party dresses for my granddaughter.  One is just right for Easter and the other with a moderation of a new ribbon sash will be perfect for her birthday party.  One was 90 percent off plus 15 percent.  4.65 from 54.00.  One was 80 percent off plus 15 percent.  ( 6.80) .  I love those kind of bargains.  The last time I bought myself anything it was a sweater for 1.54 including our almost ten percent sales tax.  I don't spend my life shopping, but with an evil eye, you can find bargains wherever you go.  

Which brings to mind another tip.  Lots of stores carry food.  We have warehouse stores ( Costco, SAMs club ) , overstock stores ( Grocery  Outlet, Big Lots) , the chain drug stores have food and sometimes with a bargain can be cheap.  They also have rewards and you can score big time of you are diligent at analyzing the ads and the coupon matchups.  There is also Winco which is in a category all it's own. It is no frills and you bag your own groceries. Some things are cheaper and they have a very complete bulk department.  It's a bit far for us to go on a regular basis, but we do go when they send us a coupon for ten bucks off of fifty dollars, or when the other stores are slow on specials any particular week.  ( about every eight weeks or so.  We also go to the bakery outlet at the same time. I buy double fiber bread and brown and serve baguettes .  They hold a long time on the fridge and are a lot cheaper than buying a baguette in the store.  I could make my own, but when I did we would be inconsistent in our eating habits  and I was baking bread to throw away.  It just didn't make sense.   I found a recipe for Amish bread that is sour dough, it should be inexpensive and easy.  

Betty Crocker sends me recipes weekly.  Some of them are really good.  Many can be adjusted to be on the cheap.  Many times if something calls for a mix or a food that is really expensive or you don't have, you can substitute without making a measurable difference on taste.  My sister gave me a substitution cookbook one year, but I also have googled when I needed a sub and have found a good answer.  It's well worth your while, should be a trusted site, and also gives you high dollar coupons often.  I average six dollars a week on coupons. Not exactly extreme couponing, but that totals about 312.00 a year.  To me on our income, that's a chunk of change!   That's like getting an extra pension check!   See rite aid saga-- man earlier post. 

If you are just looking to save a little money, are looking for a way to be more efficient on the kitchen, or are on a very thrifty budget, self imposed, or not, this blog can help you.  Please let me help you and someone else may need help.  

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