Saturday, May 31, 2014

Suddenly Saturday

I had a family emergency and still didn't get to go to QFC.    I did get to SAFEWAYS.   I got a piece of chuck.  It was three dollars a pound and we haven't had a real piece of beef in a long time.   I also got chicken for a buck a pound.   Cod is four dollars a pound at QFC and beans and tomatoes are .50.

I am still on target for my budget.   I try to keep a lot of fruit and veggies on the house.  

Working with a small budget takes a bit of a balancing act.   Setting certain figures for each category of food helps stay on track. Especially of you are stocking and don't buy a weeks worth of groceries on the same week they are eaten.   Last week, I bought no protein.  This  week I bought two.   I average one large piece of meat a week, buying bulk and cooking / and or dividing it up into meal sized portions.   I want to buy one meat a week ( or source of protein) and buy enough for the month of that meats meals.

I have a matrix for meal plans.  It makes meal planning easier and insures you are getting a variety of protein.   Yours will probably be different than mine.   I am trying to please a meat eater, a semi vegetarian and I am diabetic.   It's a balancing act.

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

Looking at the ads again this week only exemplifies that the most important tool you can have in eating on a small budget is KNOW YOUR PRICES.   Often  lately I have found the spread between prices of the same thing has been double.   These are things that are on my stock up list.   Things you can make good cheap meals from are the basis of my stock list.  

The idea  is to buy low and eat when the prices are high.   It works.  It works no matter where you are, or what prices are prevelant in your area.   I saw a weeks meals on another blog that was written in another part of the country.  Some of the prices  were more than we pay, and some were less.  
It's all realitive.  

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Friday, May 30, 2014

Good by TOP

top foods is closing in snohomish county.  they have already closed the shoreline store.   That leaves is two chains controlling our food shopping.   To me, that is very scary. Competition  is what keeps prices down.  Top had been easing their way to a alternative high priced store anyway.   

Just a note.    

I looked at the rite aid ad, not seeing much there.   

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Thursday, the ads

We got ads late because of the holiday.  

Tomatoes .98
Roast 3.49
Hagan tuna 2/1.@@
Blues 3.00@@ pint

Blues  18 oz 3.99
Chicken .99
Tillamook ice cream 3/10
Cod 3.99
Bread 2/4
Kroger beans or tomatoes 2/1


Kens salad dressing $$BOGO
Grapes 1.49
Corn 6/2
Cukes .79

5 dollar Friday
Blueberry custard pie
Berries 2 lbs or 18 ounces strawberries,, blues
GM cereal and bars 1.49$$$, buy 4


Berries 3.99
Yoplait 20/5

Cake mix 1.29
Milk 3.79
Butter 2/6
ALBERTSONS ice cream 2.99
Grapes 2.99
Cantaloupe 3/10
Cukes .69
Corn 4/2.50

I got butter for 1.50 a couple of weeks ago at FM

Tuna is .50 several places, the spread os from .50 to a dollar....that's double
Tillamook ice cream is 3.33.  For superior quality than ALBERTSONS for 3.00.  
You should be able to find coupons for cereal.  

At .50, it would be  a good time to stock your beans and tomatoes of you need to.  

That's about it.  

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Wicked Wednesday

Thos os going to be short, I have a full plate today and the ads didn't come yet, I suspect because of the holiday.  Also, there were no inserts in Sundays paper because of the holiday.  

I went tomcostco yesterday.  We were out of our usual Costco stuff.   .  There were jeans on a instant rebate type offer, as well as dishwasher detergent.   A bonus pack of extra pods with three dollars off.,
I always get bananas and nuts and dairy.   Tortillas are always cheaper.  I keep the, in the fridge.  They last a long time.  

We also went to big lots and the grocery outlet.    Big lots had fruit sauce with no added sugar or corn syrup for a buck and a pizza crust for a buck.   Recipe starters are .50.  I am not finding any more coupons and big lots doesn't accept coupons or snap.   It's still a good time saver and cheaper than scratch.  

Grocery outlet is cheaper on coffee.  Coffee, pork, and beef are on the take a hike trail along with cheese.   We got cheese and they had cranberry juice cheap.  

 Buffalo chicken wrap.  Wraps are a way to cut your carbs.  A usual tortilla has about ten carbs , as opposed to about thirty plus  for a two slice of bread sandwich.  

Chicken strips cooked
Hot pepper sauce

Shredded lettuce
Shredded cheese
Chopped tomato
Blue cheese dressing,  

Brush blue cheese dressing on tortilla.  
Place chicken strips on a bowl with some melted butter and a couple of drops of hot sauce .
Place chicken strips in center if tortilla.   Add remaining ingredients.   Roll tortilla.

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Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Terrific Tuesday , recipe addition

Another what to do with what you got.  It's  officially spring now that Memorial Day has happened, right?    Although the backyard fairy hasn't done his magic in our backyard.  Usually by Mother's Day we have the deck planted and the deck furniture   up.  Last year we had a mishap with the wind and the top of the table is now in a bag, reduced to tiny shreads of glass.   I found a table that was in disrepair, but had good glass, so we are making a good table out of two.  

I digress.

Betty Crocker this time had a piece on foil packets.   I have done a blog on foil packets before. I will try to find it and repost.    Basically, it's the concept of taking a square of heavy foil, ( or a double piece) spraying ot with Pam and building and dinner in a mound.   Seal the foil and grill it off or bake ot on the oven.  It makes for a no mess dinner ( no pans, no dishes) . Kids love ot and mom loves the no dishes.   You can also tailor the packs to suit different tastes.

This is the second time I have done this blog today.  The first one fell apart!  LOL
So much for doing a blog at three in the am.

I have done blogs on foil packets before.  The kids love them,  they are like camping out;and moms like them because there are no dishes.  They are a good way to do dinner ahead and not have to cook in a hot kitchen.  They can be cooked in a oven or on the BBQ.  You can use up leftovers and tailor each persons packet to their taste.

Veggie Chicken Packet.

uses bone in chicken breast. Sometimes I have purchased them for 1.25 a pound.

For EACH packet

2 T instant rice

1chicken breast 1/4, or about 4 punches. ( the size of the palm of your hand.
1/ cup sliced carrot
2onion slices, separate into rings
1/4 cup peppers, sliced thin.
1 T water
1 T w sauce
2tsp soy sauce
1 T butter

Place rice in the center of a 14 inch square piece of foil

Top with chicken and veggies
Mix liquids together
Pour over chicken.
I would cup the edges of the foil first.
Dot with butter.
Fold foil around chicken and seal.
Place n baking pan and bake at 350 for 65-75 minutes or until chicken is done.
Open foil carefully, there will be steam!!!

I know the purists would say that I am filling the landfill, you can use used foil.

It would be a good recipe for a busy day. Even a older child or a culinary challenged spouse could put the packets on pan and get them started in the oven. LOL

You could also use already cooked chicken and shorten the time. Yhen you would just worry about how long the rice and veggies would take to cook. It would really be fast if you used leftover rice, maybe even finely chop the pepper in with it. I have a thing about white food. It needs colour. LOL

There is an earlier post on foil packets. It's a good thing to do when you are working late and you can fix them ahead for someone else to shove in the oven. Kids like the's like camping.

There are a lot of foil packet meals on the Betty Crocker website that are updated with more

sophisticated flavors.

Basically you take a 12 in square piece of foil ( or splice two smaller ones together) and layer

A gravy or some kind of liquid.

Wrap the foil around the dinner and seal.  Make individual packets.  The foil becomes your dish.
Bake at 350 to 400 until done.

I started this blog to help people cook good nutritious meals on a tight budget. it came to my attention that some people on SNAP were running out of money before they ran out of month. we eat on about 1/2 of the USDA statistics for a thrifty plan. It is doable. no, we are not on SNAP. In the process, I have learned that other people that want to get out of the kitchen faster because they have busy lives and people that like trying a new recipe like it as well. It can't help anyone if they are not motivated to try. Not having food in the house at the end of the month should be motivation enough. It doesn't make your child or children feel secure when they know the cupboards are empty.

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Sunday, May 25, 2014

Suddenly Sunday no inserts but ads .

Olives .99@@
That's about it.  

Fred Meyers

Pork chops 2.28
90 percent hamburger 3.98
Grapes 1.99
Tomatoes 1.28
Broccoli .99
Roast 3.99
Ice cream 2/4@@
French fries 3/5
Tuna 10/10
Nalleys.chili 10/10

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Saturday, May 24, 2014

Shopping Trip

I did go to SAFEWAYS yesterday.  I had gone to Fred Meyers on Tuesday, so I didn't need a lot.   I had a five dollars off twenty coupon.  We got a hive pizza for five bucks.  We can get two meals off of that pizza adding a green salad.    Corn on the cob is 6.2 or three for a dollar.    We usually have half of an ear each.   Corn is a real treat, we do t get ot often.  Now is the time to stock up on picnic bums because they are cheap.  Or better yet, go to the bakery outlet Monday.   The bread that doesn't hit the groceries after the weekend run is there.

I got turkey for sandwiches with a coupon.  They had croissants for five dollars a box.  It's a great, but it love them for sandwiches.   I rounded out the shopping trip with grapes and berries.  

Just for you is a savings tool from SAFEWAYS.  You sign up and can load basically coupons onto your Safeway card.    That's where I got the five dollars off of twenty.   I see they think 1.2@ for whole chicken is a bargain.    You have to know your prices and keep a heads up.   This is hard at this point in time because prices are rising.  

I went to the goodwill yesterday.   They are a good source for food magazines with some great ideas (.50) and cookbooks, so,e of them are cheap. Also garage sales.    I found an old crockery cookbook with an abundance of soup recipes.   We like soup for dinner. Especially when it is cold.   I found the organic roasted red pepper and tomato soup at Costco.  It's about two dollars a box there, upwards of four at the regular stores.   I add fresh basil if I have it and  some blue cheese...yum!     Round the meal with either toasted cheese or cheese and triscuits and fruit.

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Wednesday, May 21, 2014

25.00 a Month!

I guess the reason why a blogger says she feeds her family for a hundred dollars a month is because she tries to do that and she has done that in the past.

In December of 1971. I spent 25.00 a month on groceries!

Just for a challenge, I decided to use the ads this week and buy as much as I could to make meals for a family of four .  I'm not going to include the basic stock  items people have in their pantry...flour, bisquick, oil etc.


Corn 6/2
Buns .99
Cheese 5.99
Hot dogs 3.99
Sausage 2.99
Chili 2.00
Pasta 1.00

Five dollar Friday
Ribs 5.00
Peanut butter 3/5


Corn, 4/1
Buns .88


Hebrew national 2/6
Ball park franks 2/3
Yoplait 10/5
Pork and beans 2/1
Ice cream 2/5


CORN 6/2
Grapes 1.98
Blues 5.00
Sausage 2/5

That's about all.

Now, let's see how much dinner  we can come up with for 25.00.  Break down a 25.00 budget means 3.57 a day.

I am going to assume that the household has staples ? ( cheating a little) and the meals are not
necessarily what I would feed my family.  They are edible and have nutrition, just not necessarily what I would feed my family all in one week.  I'm pickey, I would only buy Nathan's or Hebrew
national hot dogs and I try to only feed us processed meats once a week.    I'm going to work off the grocery ads and my stock prices ( cheating here too.   )


Oatmeal , or fruit muffins

Peanut butter sandwiches. Or tuna.
Tuna was .69 at Fred Meyers.  I got bread free at the bakery outlet.


1) hot dogs, with buns corn on the cob, lettuce salad $3.15. You can cut this. by a buck if you make pigs in blankets.

2) Pepperoni pizza, green salad.
     Tomato sauce can .25 ALBERTSONS, yeast, flour, oil, ( stock) pepperoni .50. With coupon at the dollar store.   Cheese  2.69 grocery outlet (1/2)  1.35

3)  bacon quiche, green salad   Eggs 2.00 at Fred Meyers , turkey bacon 1.29 at Walgreens,  cheese 4.00 at FRED. MEYERS last week.   Total  1.63 plus a dollar for green salad.   2.63

4) spaghetti, sauce,  sautéed squash, black olives, tomato, herbs    2.75

5) bean and rice burritos ,   1.00

6) Mac and cheese , peas and carrots. 2.80

7)  stuffed green peppers , 2.56. Peppers are .50 at Fred Meyers. Using stock hamburger @ 3.00 a pound 1/2 lb

Total dinners 17.24, or 16.24 if you made pigs in blankets from bisquick.

That leaves 7.76 for milk dairy, breakfasts and lunches and bread.
That a) has too much prosessed meat, and bare bones cheese.   It assumes that you have a stock that isnt counted in the figures and doesn't have enough fruits and veggies to suit me.

I would prefer to stock at low prices. But my average is around five dollars a dinner, or 35.00 a week for dinner only.   That does, however provide ample fruit and veggies .

Milk is 1.25 this week at Fred Meyers ( until next Saturday) .  Peppers and cucumbers .50,
Squash 1.00 a pound.

In other words, if you shopped wisely, and didn't replenish your staples, you could  eat.  I'm not sure the nutrition is there, not enough protein and veggies.  

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Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Terrific Tuesday

There are a few basics that sum up groceries on the cheap.

  • Don't buy junk.   Anything with no or little food value is junk.   Pop, chips, etc.   
  • identify the foods you eat on a regular basis that are shelf stable or frozen.   
  • Buy those food at RBP and only buy them when they are on a really good sale. Buy enough to last you until the next sale.   
  • Identify the amount if product you will use in a reasonable length of time and keep that stock.  Of it goes on sale before all your stock is used up, only. Buy only  enough to replenish your stock. 
  • Find easy meals that your family will eat that use imexpensive sources of orotein.  
  • Spend a reasonable amount of time checking the ads and finding matchups to coupons,   You can use a store coupon with a manufacturers coupon.   Don't buy something just because you have a coupon for it.   
  • Have a budget.  Get a feel for how much on your budget you can spend for protein, veggies and other perishables and staples.   Remember, you Re stocking.  Tht means you might buy four chickens one week, and buy a mass of canned goods another.  You need to have a feel for how much you are spending on each categories.  Sometimes,  you will spend more than a set weekly amount, sometimes less.   Keep track. 
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Monday, May 19, 2014

One hundred dollars a month, really?

I am imcensed  about a series on a local channel about groceries .  This woman claims to feed her family on a hundred dollars a month.   I say the word claims because, I am not seeing anything that backs up her figures.

For starts, she grows her own veggies.    That is hard for a normal person to do.  It's fine of you have a green thumb and the time and space.  Actually I can grow good dandelions, but that's about all.  I am lucky to get the weeds cut down, let alone grow food.  I swear I have a black thumb.   I can't tell you how many corn crops that netted us a bunch of corn stalks with no corn.   LOL

Second, I read a shopping trip.  It was for 33.00. Not 25.  She bought pop and BBQ sauce.  She did not buy enough protein in any form to feed a family of four.

I am really not convinced that she can feed a family of four on that amount of money without not counting something.  I read her blog before.  It doesn't count if she gets food from her endeavors.  Glad paid her 1500. To buy food so show what the average family wastes in a year on food.   That money   doesn't count.  When the travel, their food doesn't count.

Besides she stages in her blog that so far this year she spent 745.17 on food.  HELLO, this is  mid May, last I looked.  One hundred times 4.5 is 450.00, not 750.00.

I rest my case.  I wouldn't feel bad if I was having trouble feeding my family on three hundred dollars a month.  This woman is not for real.

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Sunday, May 18, 2014

Sunday Best

I just went through and purged marchs coupons and opened a file folder for May.   I'm a little late, but have had health issues this month.    It only takes a little time and os easier than clipping all the coupons and then not using half of them.  

The ads

Rite aid now comes in a separate mailer.

Dryers ice cream BOGO and a dollar off coupon in today's paper.

Note: the last ice cream I got from rite aid was thawed and refrozen.

Fred Meyers

Sirloin steaks 3.99
Cukes and bell peppers 2/1
Squash .99
Thin crust diGiormo pizza 3/10 $$
Bums .99@@
Cone 6/3
Berries 2/5
BBQ sauce .79@@
Yoplait 10/5
Sour cream .99
Tillamook ice cream 2/6
Smoked sausage 3/10. Look for coupon
Milk 4/5

Milk 2.49
Deodorant .49 net with cohpon in today's paper.

That's about all

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Saturday, May 17, 2014

Suddenly saturday

It's Saturday. We didn't grocery shop yesterday because I was sick. Going to clean house today.

Groceries on the cheap is based on the assumption that a person has a minimum amount of money to spend on groceries. It won't hard to spend more, or adapt to fit a special diet.   It's hard to learn how to make so on a small budget and still eat adequately.   Top ramen and potato chips for  dinner os not an adequate diet.   LOL

We had time to kill in between errands on Tuesday, so we went to grocery outlet.   I always find good, variety cheeses at grocery outlet. Often they have chicken sausage with cheese and artichokes. So,e things are more expensive. Again, it pays you to know prices.  

It also pays you to think out of the box and make things work when stuff happens.  We have a cooler in the car  and fill it with bags.   Our city and neighboring cities have a plastic bag ban and charge for grocery bags unless you bring your own.  Our city doesn't charge for the bags, but they are expensive.  We use recycled boxes at work whenever possible.

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Thursday, May 15, 2014

The ads


Yogurt .38@@
Ice cream 1.99 when you buy four.  


Berries BOGO, 2.25 ( note they are two dollars at Fred Meyers.
Corn 2/1
QFC bread, buns 4/5


Tomatoes 1.00
Sponach .89
Pasta .99
Beans 2/1@@
Tomatoes 2/1@@
Cheese 4.99 note Tillamook is 3.99 at Fred Meyers


Five dollar Friday
Lemon meringue pie
Instant potatoes .99
Berries 2/5
Corn 5/2
Grapes 2.99
Dreyers 2.99

That's about all.  

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Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Terrific Tuesday/ wase not, want not.

One of the biggest wYs to save money on groceries os to be able to predict how much perishables you will eat.  It's not momey saved if you throw it away!   I try to take time mod week to survey what we have and incorporate what we have into the meal.   Often it is a day when we can oven roast vegetables and add chicken sausage at the end of cooking time.   I get good chicken sausage sometimes at grocery outlet.  It is three dollars usually when I find it.  It's hard to quote prices these days because of the rising cost of some food.

I was surprised to see cheese for four dollars.  That means the same cheese had a price spread between four and eight dollars.  Same brand. Same poundage.  Same medium cheddar.   That's half price.  That's why finding the lowest price os paramount in saving money and stretching your food dollars.  I wouldn't drive all over town for ten cents.  But, picking your grocery store, not by the friendliest checker, but by the one that has the lowest prices  on the food I need that week, or on the staple items I need to stock is a better criteria.  

The snowball effect is where you take the four dollars you saved on cheese and turn it into something you can save more money on.   Then, that momey you save can be turned into more money.  Take the money you save and add to the mortgage payment or pay more in your credit cards to reduce your interest payments.  Or, ?   Whatever you can think of to save more money.   Buy a crockpot and save yourself from going through the drive through or ordering pizza when you know you are going to have a tough day.   Ditto a food processer,   I use my food processor all the time.   It is especially good for making pizza dough, making bread crumbs, or whipping up a cake mix.  

Breadcrumbs are a real money saver.  Next time you are at the grocery store, price them by the pound.  Why would you throw your stale bread away and buy someone else's stale bread!  

I put the bread on the oven with no heat and let it dry.  Then I put ot through the food processor.  Before I had  a food processor, I took it out on the deck and grated it on a sheet pan woth a box grater.
Time well spent money wise.

If I want to know if making from scratch is better than premade anything, I do the math.  This is a concept some people can't grasp.  I call it  virtual paycheck.   If you figure the difference in cost between buying vs making and divide it by the EXTRA time taken to make the item, you will find your salary per hour.   If that is a buck, I will buy the product, providing it is somewhat healthy.   You might be really surprised.   Roasted vs deli chicken , hamburger helper, and lemon pound cake vs that coffee shop pound cake are the most labor saving we have found.   Puddong on a box is not far behind, as well as oatmeal.  

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Sunday, May 11, 2014

Happy Mothers Day

happy Mothers Day.m. I really enjoyed the cards that my granddaughter made me.  I'm sure glad everyone didn't get on the no cards bandwagon!   LOL.

This is  the day I post the Sunday ads.  Fred Meyers has a really good ad this  week.  

Butter 2/3@@
Cheese 3.99@@
Dryers 2/5@@
Bumble bee tuna .69
Berries 5/10


Eggs, turkey bacon 1.29
Finish 2/8

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Saturday, May 10, 2014

The basics, part three, cooking from scratch!

Basically, of you are on a limited budget, you can't buy meals from a box or bag and stay within budget.   I met a lady that was spending  ten dollars a day on dinner.   It doesn't take a math whizz to understand that ten dollars a day times 30 days is 30000.  If you sound your entire allotment on dinner you are either a) going to run out of money before you run out of month or b) you are not going to eat breakfast or lunch!  LOL.

The good news is that there are ways to cut your food time and spend the same amount of time , but less momey cooking from scratch.  

1) your crockpot can be your best friend in the kitchen.  Starting dinner in the morning is a good thing.  There is something very therapeutic about coming home to the smell of dinner already cooked!
2) precooking your meat when things are less hectic saves time and miney.  You can buy in bulk when the meat os cheap and portion control the meat to make it last and not waste food.   Many tomes leftovers get thrown out. We  all have good intentions.   The difference between rotisserie chicken and making it from scratch is remarkable.   Like 84.00 an hour remarkable.   No one ever paid me 84.00 an hour to do anything.  One time the figure was 168.00 an hour.    LOL

3)    Having said that, there are a  few things that are cheaper ready made than scratch.  Pasta sauce is less than a buck ( hunts) .  That's cheaper than the tomatoes.    I am finding recipe starters for .50 still.  It was better when I could get them for free with a coupon, but still at .50 it is cheaper than homemade.    I have been getting pumpkin bread for a buck a loaf.  Much cheaper than the bakery and even cheaper than scratch at the cost of pumpkin in a can.  

4) most of the time, however scratch is cheaper.  I sometimes grind our own hamburger  ( or rather my husband and I do) it is cheaper and you control the fat.   Making pork chops from a pork loin os a snap.   Cut them before you roast off the rest of the loin.   You can reheat pork loin slices by putting the, in heated chicken stock.  Do not cook the meat again.  Just bring the stock to a boil and turn the stove off.  I have been using recipe starter, basil or garlic) as a base for Mac and cheese.  Mac and cheese doesn't have to come out of a box.  It is actually cheaper to make ot from scratch and tastes better.   I have got pasta for as cheap as .38 with a coupon for the good stuff.  

Some pasta boxes have very little food value and aren't worth the expense at any price.  I got a microwave pasta cooker.  It cuts an entire step out of the cooking process.  Set it and forget it while you make the rest of dinner.

Read the ingredients on the back of the packages.  If a cheese product has no cholesterol, I would be suspect.  I have never seen a cheese I didn't like, and I have never seen a cheese without cholesterol.  LOL.  The ingredients have to be listed in order of volume.  In other words, the ingredient that is the star of the show, is listed first.  If that is cornstarch, you don't want it.    Cornstarch is cheap and doesn't have food value.  Most recipe starters or gravy type things in a jar are more expensive that the meat you put them on.   There os always a healthier and less expensive alternative.   Spices are cheap at the dollar store or at big lots.

Don't hesitate to keep you eyes open where ever you go. Drug stores have a limited amount of food, but often with coupons, that food can be a real bargain.   They do that to get you in the store.  Because you are in the store doesn't mean you have to buy a bunch of things you don't want or need.  

Big lots and grocery outlet have some things at bargain process,,check expiration dates.   NO ONE STORE HAS THE BEST  PRICES ON EVERYTHING.  No way, any day .   The trick is to shop more than one store.  I don't spend my life shopping.  I shop two stores a week usually.   If we are in the area, I hit Big lots and Grocery outlet.   We go to the bread store about once every eight weeks.  When I get a coupon, or when the other stores have slim Pickens for specials, I go to Winco.  We go to Costco on a need to go basis-- mostly for bisquick, paper products, and meds.  
If you are one of the rare few women that HATE to shop, deligate the job to someone else that can be trusted.  

Or, of you don't have a choice, writing down what is on sale that you need, getting in and getting out, saves you the stress of having to make a decision.  

That's about all for today.

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Friday, May 9, 2014

The basics, part two coupons.

We all have our preconceived notions about coupons.  I have had them too.  I went to an extreme couponing class with my daughters trying to keep an open mind.  The extreme couponing show has tainted our opinions about couponimg.  Trust me, it's  a lot of bull.  Stores have coupon policies, and most of what goes on on that show is against most of the policies.   And, who needs 99 bottles of hot sauce anyway.   I have never, well almost never, got momey back when I bought something.  I say almost never, because with up dollars at rite aid, I have been paid a few cents to buy things a couple of times.

There are coupons everywhere.   Mostly I get the newspaper on Saturday from the dollar store.  A friend brings me the inserts so I have a few.   I put the months inserts in a file folder.   I download cpupons from the Internet on  It's the main clearing  house for coupons.  Basically, as I understand it, there is on,y one data base.  The manufacturers want to track how many coupons are out there.   High money coupons go first.  There is a limit on how many can be printed.  They come out the first of the month.   Those coupons go in a binder I got at a flea market for a buck.   I use plastic pocket sheets meant for pictures.   They are just the right size.  

I only print the coupons for things I would normally buy. Last month there were almost no coupons for real food.

Every area has coupon match up sites that match what's on sale at the chain stores with coupons.   Ours is  Lately some stores are not there and current.  Google coupon matchup sites/ your major city and see what pops up.  

I check the sites and then pull the coupons from the imserts.  Be sure to wrote e date on the cover.  The date is on the spine on really really done print.  It's best to put the day you get the paper on the front.  Makes life easier.  

Walgreens and Rite aid have food and obviously heigene items.  I have done really good at rite aid.  Walgreens is a lot more complicated.   We don't have a cvs.

I can usually save about six  dollars a week.  Lately that has been harder.  

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Thursday, May 8, 2014

Back to basics

We talked about finding the things that you buy often and identifying the lowest prices.   The ads this week, tell the whole story.  Cheese is anywhere from five to eight dollars.  Same poundage and same brand.   Three dollars is a lot of money on the scheme of things.   That could buy three pasta sauces, or pasta, pasta sauce, a salad and the cheese to go on the pasta.  

Shopping  wisely takes a little time.  But sometimes it is as simple as buying your cheese at the right store and having a whole meal for basically the savings.  

After you have identified what you use for meals, and the prices you want to pay, let's take a step further.   When the ads come out, I take a piece of oaper and divide it into sections.   I top each section with a grocery store.   Then go through the ad and write down what is really on sale for your target prices.  I am looking for the best prices on oerishables,  produce and dairy, and the loss leader so to speak for meat, and anything on my stock list that is my target price  or near my target price

Pick the best TWO stores. Plan trips to maximize your gas.   If your stores are not on the same area, group the trip with other errands you need to go to.  Bring your list, the ads and your coupons.   Get in, and get out.   70 percent of all tomes purchased on a store are impulse buys.  That's what jacks up your food bill.  Buy just what is on your list unless something you really need os on a good unadvertised price.   One time, I walked into the meat department and chickens were .50 a pound.  I bought two and took them home and roasted them .   That was a no Brainer.   It's the chips and bakery items etc that would not be helpful either for your budget or your health.  LOL.  

Going to two stores insures you the best of two produce departments and the best buys.  Often the store will put something on sale, only to think they are going to make the difference up on the matching item.  Pasta on sale, but pasta sauce a high price.  Hot dogs on sale, but buns full price.  Beat them at their own game.  Shop two stores and get the best prices you can find.

Buying the so called loss leader ( meat at a low price) and cooking enough for your meals of that meat for a month saves time and money.   Rotate your meats.  

Plan your meals.  You must have a plan.  You don't always have to stick with your plan, but not having a plan can derail you when the unexpected happens.  We all deal with the unexpected.  There is an accident on the freeway and getting dinner in the table is delayed by a half hour...or any number of things.  With a plan and some quick dinners in your arsenal, you can beat the drive through gremlins.  

When I meal plan, I use  a matrix to make it simpler and quick.

2 beef
2 chicken or pork
2 vegetarian
1 fish

Your matrix may be different.   I am trying to suit a variety of preferences and keep it as healthy as possible.   .  

I feed my husband and I, plus supplement my daughter and granddaughter for 25 percent less than the USDA stats for my husband and I on a thrifty plan.  The thrifty plan is what SNAP. Is based on adjusted for cost of Living.

We eat well. It works.  I am not going to tell you that it doesn't take any effort and some little fairy magically makes food appear in the pantry and cooked on the table.  

I can show you how to cook fast and efficiently and buy your food at the lowest price in your area without buying twenty five pound bags of rice and beans.

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Wednesday, May 7, 2014

New ads


Raspberries 5.00
Strawberries 2/3.98
Vegetables 2/1@@
Ice cream 2.88@@
Nalleys chili .99@@
Cheese 7.99 **

Chicken .99
Strawberries 2/4
Corn 2/1
Tillamook cheese 4.99 **@
Ice cream 2.99
Grapes 2.99

Five dollar Friday

12 oz berries
Eggs 2/5


Berries 2/4
Yogurt 10/5
Ice cream 2.99
Oranges .99
K cups 5.99 ck coupons
English muffins 2/4


Strawberries 3/4.88
Eggs 2/3@@
Coffee 2 lbs4.99@@
Tillamook 6.99***

Note. Just because a store touts a sale on multiples, it's not always a bargain.  It's a retailers ploy.  They are figuring you're not going to see the fine print, or do the math.   Break down the individual cost and compare it to your target price.   Ketchup is always a buck at the dollar store.  I have seen it less lately on specials .   Again, it pays you dearly to KNOW YOUR PRICES!

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Monday, May 5, 2014

Monday Madness

Grocery shopping done.   We are full and probably don't have to go shopping next week.  Chicken was a good buy at Fred Meyers so I will be roasting a chicken today.   It's Cinco de mayo so I think we will have chicken nachos tonight.  Nacho chips were a dollar at Fred Meyers.

Now is the time to talk basics .  I try to do that once a month around the first of the monh.   Making both ends meet after a month with extra bills os a good time to start economizing on the grocery budget.

The premise of groceries on the cheap is not to pay full price for anything.  That doesn't always work, but if you can identify the things you use most often and diligently find the best prices on those things , the rest will take care of themselves.

Take a few steps to get started, and reap the rewards many times over.

1) identify the inexpensive sources of protein your family will eat.   This is getting harder with rising meat costs, but it is doable.  I find us going vegetarian a couple of,nights a week.  But, even the cost of cheese os going up.  

2) write down the meals that you can make that use the sources of protein.  

3) write down the frozen or shelf stable items that you use to make these dinners.   No box mixes here.  Just real food.  

4) start tracking the prices on these foods.   Use a spread sheet or a small notebook.

Pasta, 16 oz
Date.     Store.   Proce.  Coupon?   Net price

Soon you will see a pattern.  Stores out things on sale about every 8-12 weeks. Some put dairy or a certain meat in on a rotating basis.

When meat, or other protein goes on s ale cheap, pick one meat a week and buy enough to feed your family for a month.  You're not buying 30 portions. if you eat hamburger twice a week, buy enough for eight portions.  When you get home, or shortly after, cook it and portion it in bags for each meal.  
If you rotate meats, you will save time and money.

I rotate hamburger, chicken, pork loin, and cheese/eggs.  

That's probably enough to absorb for one day. LOl. More tomorrow!

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Jane .  

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Surprise it's Sunday!

We finally got out to shop yesterday after helping my daughter take some clothes to the recycler and some to the goodwill.  

We went to the bread store first.  I can't find my double fiber bread anymore, bit got some multi grain bread that is pretty low on carbs.   They had oatmeal cookies and pea it butter cookies for two dollars.   The pea it butter are really low in carbs.   They gave us a big loaf of sourdough bread.  I was surprised how low carb it was .  The sourdough English muffins were lower in carbs than the whole wheat ones.  

SAFEWAYS netted fruit and chicken sausage.  I am not finding yogurt this week cheap anywhere.  Tillamook was fairly reasonable. But it had 38 carbs in it.   Not a viable option for me at this point in time.

On to the ads...

Walgreens has PUREX laundry BOGO.  Usually you can find coupons for it.   Walgreens lets you use two coupons for BOGO.  Not many people do.  

Vegetable oil 1.99
Olives .89@@ limit 3
Oscar Mayer lunch meat 2.50
Kraft Singles   16 pack 2.50
Cashews 1.99 ( 8 oz) or 16 oz peanuts
Milk 2.49

Fred Meyers

Apples .88
Eggs 2/3@@
Chicken .88
Milk 4/5@@
Buns .99
Peanut butter 3/5
English muffins 3/5
Strawberries 2/4
Romaine 5/5
Chili .89@@
Ice cream 2/6@@
Cheese, 8 oz 2/4@@

The coupons for real food on line this month were few and far between.   I got 13.00 worth and that included every toothpaste one and some turkey ones for my daughter.  

Fred Meyers is by far the best store this week.   There are a few things at QFC, but not as many as Fred Meyer .

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Friday, May 2, 2014

Freaky Friday

It's Friday. I, not seeing a lot of bargains, so we are not going to buy a lot.  I am running our of the staples like milk, bread, etc.   We might go to Winco instead.   That's my fall back of there are  not any really good specials here.   I might wait until Fred Meyers ads come out tomorrow to see of they ar better.   They seem to have good prices on the basics.   I think they make their money on the other stuff.  Last I looked. Their cheese was higher than the proverbial balls.  

Pasta is on sale several places.  I believe there are pasta coupons out there.   I am reading again where people have the attitude that coupons are only for things that are junk.   That isn't true.  You have to " shop" your coupons just like you shop for anything else.   There is good and there is bad.  

I can most generally find yogurt coupons. Pasta is another staple that I can generally find.  I learned to make pasta in cooking school, but it is a time consuming task that I don't choose to do.   I'd rather be playing with my granddaughter.   I can get pasta for as low as .38.   Paired with a pasta sauce for as low as .78.  And you have a very cheap meal.   I buy any hard cheese I can find.  Parm isn't the only cheese that tastes good on pasta.  I am finding recipe starter for .50 again.   It's a good way to make a fast dinner for low cost.  

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Thursday, May 1, 2014

Terrific Thursday

It's Thursday.  Yesterday I did the ads.  I'm not seeing the specials  that I have seen in the past.  .   I did see chicken for a good price again.   Vegetables are coming in and aren't tooo bad.

Betty Crocker has a lot of Mexican dishes on their post.   It's going to be 85 degrees here today. Hopefully it won't be our summer.   LOL

A remember the new coupons come out today. Download them soon so you don't miss out on the large money ones.

I had a surprise root canal yesterday.  Eighteen hundred dollars later.   I'm glad that we have dental insurance  and we only had to pay half.

We went to happy hour on Tuesday.  I had a Caesar salad and a piece of ling cod with cheese as a crust! and asparagus.   Very low on carbs.

I checked out some prices just to keep abreast of the bottom lines, target prices.   Canned vegetables are 1.29.  They are on sale for .50 with a limit.  When that happens, you buy the six  they allow you to buy until you reach your self imposed stocking number.   Figure what you use per week and multiply it  by 12 weeks.

Chicken sausage is 3.99 at SAFEWAYS.   I think it might be a bit larger package than the ones I get at grocery outlet.  I get it at grocery outlet for three bucks.  Check pull dates where ever you go.

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