Monday, December 28, 2015

Answer to a letter......

Dear groceries on the cheap,

I have a long commute from work.   By the time I get home the last thing I want to do is cook a meal for an hour.   What can I do to escape the drive through.  We want to turn over a new leaf and save money on the new year.   Signed, Janis in Chicago.    

Dear Janis, 

I can totally relate to your problem.    My family arrives home late during the work week.   We have an active three yo to watch while I cook and I'm old.     By that time of day, my get up and go has got up and went.    My solution may help.   

The grocery chains usually offer a loss leader of protein each week.  They usually rotate the kind if meat.   I buy a months supply of that particular meat  when it's on sale. Like if it's chicken, I will buy two chockens.  that's enough to get us to the end of the month.   I batch cook the chockens and seoarate them into eight meal portions and freeze them.    If it is hamburger, I make a meatloaf or meatballs, taco meat, and crumbles.    Pork loin gets cut into pick chops and a roast.   The roast can be roasted off and sliced thin for BBQ pork sandwiches for a weeknight meal.   

I make meal plans ahead for a week.    I have a matrix that suits our family.   Yours can be whatever suits yours.    With a plan, I may deviate from, I at least have a plan.  I don't have to think of the answer to what's for dinner!     

With th protein cooked, the rest of the dinner falls onto place with little effort.   I also keep a stack of pizzas I get on sale cheap to augment a really bad day.   I can add meats and cheese and dinner is virtually a no brainier.   Salad is always on the vegetable bin.   

From a chicken , I get 
  1. BBQ  chicken pieces from the legs, and thighs.  Just thaw and brush with BBQ sauce and stick in  the oven with French fries and make a salad or fruit plate.   
  2. Chicken pot pie using Bisquick crust.   
  3. Roast chicken with mashed potatoes, and mixed veggies.    ( salad) 
  4. Chicken breast sliced over dressing from dry bread cubes, Apple, cranberries, and some chicken stock, poultry seasoning.   
  5. Chicken soup in the crockpot.    
We all know how many thousands of recipes that ground beef or sausage there are.    Keep frozen veggies and a bag of salad on the fridge.    

Hope this helps.   


Budget detail for 2015

it is interesting to nite that we have had the big shakeup in our food chain stores in this part of the country.   Winco opened in our area mid- October.  

1 Q 2015.    Weekly average 74.70
2Q 2015.                                79.75
3Q 2015.                                81 07
4Q 2015.                                76.40
Average per week             77.98

That is up about three dollars from last year.   The third quarter is not a big surprise because that's when the new lack of canned goods hots the warehouses and the previous years pack goes on sale cheap.   It's a good time to stock.    Note we did not eat that much food a week, I have a bigger stock of non oerishavles on the pantry and freezer.    I am still running about half of USDA stats and less than the stats for snap.    We always have fresh fruits and veggies in the house and I mostly also accommodate a vegetarian and a diabetic and two picky eaters.    My daughter and granddaughter mostly eat lunch out of the house on weekdays.  

Soup series no. 4

Betty Crocker chicken gnocchi soup.  

Sunday, December 27, 2015

How to cut your grocery bills in half. And balance

That's a simple answer to that.    Is the same answer to how to loose weight.   To loose weight, you either have to exercise more, or eat less.    To cut your grocery bill in half you either need to eat 1/2 as much, or spend 1/2 the amount for your food.    Since I am already below my target weight, as well as the rest of the family , we spend 1/2 on food.  

My daughter was expressing interest about a guy on the internet eating interesting food on three dollars a day.   I stopped to calculate the amount we spend per person on food on a normal basis.    I spent a whole lot over Christmas, buying more and more expensive items because it was Christmas and we were feeding extended family.   Because if the way we grocery shop, it is hard to break out.   I'm averaging 75-80 a week and that covers having a large stock of food ( non perishables) that is carried over from week to week.   We , I estimate actually eat about soxty five dollars a week-- about two dollars plus change.    A little disclaimer, my daughter and her daughter eat lunch out of the house  five days a week.   My daughter buys their alternative options sources for a few meals.   That could only be done because I almost n e v e r pay full price for food.    If I can get a good brand of food , and get it for 2 or 3 for the price of one, it seems ludicrous buy one and then pay fill like the  next week for another.   🍎
Last night, we had taco pie.   We made two pies, one from real hamburger, and one from TVP.  My daughter ate the TVP, we ate the hamburger, and cooked something  different for granddaughter because she isn't fond  of taco pie.   We put  tomatoes, lettuce and sour cream on the pie.

Now, we are going back to my series on soup.   We like soup, and it is a good way to stretch the dollar and is filling and warm on these cold, blustery days.   Some of the time, it can be cooked in the  crockpot which makes meal  time flexible and a lot less hectic.

We went to Fred Meyers for probably the last grocery shopping trip of the year.    I did buy good
quality grocery bags with Christmas motives on them for .37.   I plan to "wrap" our resents in them next year.   One of the ways you can cut the expense of a lot of household things is to buy things with seasonal icons on them and use them all year.   One time my mother found kitchen towels for a dime.   She each of we girls a dollars worth.    We used them for years.    I don't really care what pattern my kitchen towels are, they just need to dry the dishes.   LOL.

 Eating a well  balanced diet is key to good health, in my opinion.    It has been that way for years.  .  Grandparents are living to be well past their 80's .   So many people are taking whole food groups out of their diets.  Some are at the advice of their doctors because of health issues. Some, I suspect are doing it because it is the "thing" to do.    Taking a food group out of your diet is a big step.  You are upsetting the balances in your body.   If you are not going to a nutrition expert and finding out what you need to put the balance back, you are asking for trouble. You might be trying to fix something that isn't broke. And breaking somethng  else.    It's kinda like not buying makeup to save money, and then going to the big bucks store and buying a five dollar coffee.

We all know that too much fat, sugar and salt are bad for us.   Our bodies need a certain amount of those things  to run properly.   Even a diabetic diet has to have some carbs.   When you take whole food groups out of your diet and you don't get good expert advice on what're eat  in its place, you are laying with fire.    Moderation is the key in my opinion.  Add being a icky eater and .....

The media and Facebook etc. is full of articles everyday about how some food item is causing some disease.   There is almost always a contradictory article.   Now I just  read where we should  be eating  butter because vegetable oil is not good for us.   Don't eat butter because it causes heart disease, don't eat vegetable oils because it causes cancer-- and on it goes.

   I put  well balanced food on the table.   I buy the best quality I can find .   I just buy it in sale.    Almost every basic item in a grocery store goes on sale at sometime.

Now, if the picky eaters ....that's a whole other topic!  

Thanks for stopping by


Sunday, December 20, 2015

New Years coming.......5 easy to do hacks to cut food costs

Five easy steps to start saving money on food.

  1. Start saving the crusts from bread and any leftover buns.  Breadcrumbs can be as much as 2.40 a pound,    Why pay that for someone else's dry bread?    I put bread crusts on a sheet pan and leave them on the counter for a bit.   Then I put them on a cold oven and let get dry.    Break them up and pulse on a food processor.    When I didn't have a food processor, I went outside with a box grater and a sheet pan.   The birds got the flying crumbs left over.  
  2. Make your own pizza sauce.   Until I watched some grocery hauls, I didn't know that there was a thing called pizza sauce.   I buy small cans of tomato sauce when they are about .25.  I use part of one and add Italian seasoning to it.   The remainder I freeze for another pizza or put in meatballs or loaf.   
  3. Put two ( or more ) snack or quart bags in the freezer door.   When you are chopping anything that can go on a pizza. Chop a little more and place in a " vegetable bag".   Ditto  cooked meat.  I put meat on its separate bag.   When you have enough, make individual pizzas.    
  4. Save the little bits and pieces of cheese and make 4 cheese Mac and cheese.   
  5. Research mix recipes ( see older blogs) and start making one mix at a time to replace any mixes you usually buy.   Ranch dressing is the one of the easiest.   
Five easy hacks.     

Thanks. Jane.  

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Fred Meyers ad

Fred Meyers ad for tomorrow
Just a note that anything that is a typical holiday meal ingredient is price matched at Winco.  

Rib eye roast 5.97.  Limit
Broccoli .99
Butter 2/5@@
Blues 2.99
Starbucks pods 5.49@@
Tillamook ice cream 2.99@@
Bacon 2/7@@
Oranges .88
Green beans 1.79
Ny roast 4.97

That's about it

Tools.- kitchen management

Kitchen management .   Organization is one of the keys to saving money and not wasting food.  
A few forms done  on the computer make it quick and easy to manage shopping and dinner.  

Kitchen management/ meal plans 

  • A spread sheet can track a RBP  of an item and where you got it.    You are not tracking every item you buy, just the ones you buy on  a regular basis.   For most people, that is  about fifteen things.   
  • Analyzing the weekly ads just takes a piece of computer paper divided in sections,  often mine comes from the recycle bin.  
  • Coupon book.   A binder from the goodwill, plastic sheets for baseball cards/ and or photo sleeves , and a package of dividers from the dollar store.     Add a cheap calculator, small scissors and a red pen Ina pencil case from the dollar store.   
  • Meal plan / kitchen management sheet has columns for what's on the fridge that you need  to eat, what you need to buy to fill in, and days of the week to make meal plans.   A matrix tailored to your families likes makes planning easier.    

Coupon book.  

Coupons are found everywhere.   On packages, electronic ones ( harder to manage) I guess mark them in your grocery list.   Newspaper inserts .  Some inserts come on our mail now.   Some are in the Sunday paper.  They don't come in holiday papers and Proctor and Gamble comes the first  Sunday of the month.     You can buy the Sunday paper the saturday before at the dollar tree. You can download coupons from your computer, two per month per coupon at   Filter food only. Pick just the ones you would likely buy and do it early on the month.   The coupons come out 
the first of the month, there is a limited amount of coupons that can be printed, and when they are gone, they are gone.    They will e mail you if more are loaded.   

Ibotta is a rebate tool.   I check the Ibotta list after I get home from the store.   If there are things I bought, I check the item, take a pic of the bar code, and take a picture of the sales slip.    It's an easy way to save a few extra dollars.    I, working towards an Amazon card but you can have Starbucks, movie tickets, wall,art and a host of others.    

Hope this helps.    A little planning can save a lotion time and money.     Once you are set up, it doesn't take much time.   

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Winco and Costco's

Winco had five pounds of French fries for 3.18.   We are having them for dinner.    They don't look bad.    Klondike bars are 2.96, saurkraut 128 in jars,    Costco has finish tabs for the dishwasher for 14.49 less 3.50.   Bananas are 1.39, 3 lbs bacon are 14.99.

That's about it.  

We hav had birthdays and Christmas parties.    Soup thread will continue next week before Christmas ..  

Happy Holdays.


Tuesday, December 15, 2015

The ads

Safeway and Albertsons

spiral ham 1.68
Rib eye roast or New York  7.77
Mandarines 3.88
Yams .99
Pineapple 2.99
Chuck roast 3.99
Pork loon crown 3.99
Pork loom 3.99

Same food, different prices

Food.                                           Albertsons.                                Safeways
Fresh turkey.                                    1.99.                                        1.99
Butterball.                                         2.19.                                        2.29
Pie.                                                    6.99.                                        7.99
Brown and serve rolls                        2/4.                                          2/4
Brie                                                    9.99.                                       9.99
Pistachios.                                          3.99.                                        2/5

Bottom round 3.99
1/2 ham 1.88
Ground beef 3.99 ( 7 percent)
Salmon 9.99

5 dollar Friday
Chicken tenders
Berries 2/5
Cupcakes (12)

Ground beef 3.69(15percent)
Coupons  -   The same for both stores.  
Cool whip .88
Bc cake mix .99
Campbell's soup .79
Cascade ice .50
Red Barton 3/10

Bottom round 3.99
Shrimp 6.99
Salmon 9.99

Friday only
Berries 2/5
Chicken tenders
Most th

Or-----for anything that is a typical holiday meal check Winco first they will match the best price.    Saves a lot of hassle.  


Ham.  1.69
Cooks portion 1.29
Mandarines 3.88
Broccoli. .99
Rib eye.  9.99
Sirloin tip roast bogo. Ref price 6.99
Butter 2/5
Tillamook 5.99
Turkey 179
Berries 2/5
Blues 299
Shrimp 6.99

Beef tenderloin 19.99 a pound   -

That's about it



Monday, December 14, 2015

Soup no 3 Cheezy potato

Cheesy potato soup from thembetty Crocker on line cook book.  
Picks without bacon and parsley garnish.  
Easiest soup I think I ever made.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Soup , no. 2

Tomato basil, Gorgonzola soup and crab cakes.


Soup series - No 1


Soup series no. I

Crockpot soups are a good way to have a hearty, hot dinner on cold, blustery, days.   Especiall when it's the  busy Holiday season.

You,can sign up for e mail at Betty Crocker , or they have an online cookbook.   It is well worth the
effort to download.    You can plug in something that you need to use up and they will give  you a recipe.  

Happy  Holidays.


Fred Meyers and notes

Fed Meyers ad

Milk .99@@
Ribeye 5.97
Turkey breast 149
Shrimp 6.99
Cool whip .79@@
Hills hire sausage 2/5@@

Umpqua  ice cream 2.99
Kraft dressing 1.99
Gold medal flour 1.49
Cheesecake 12.99
Pumpkin pie 3.99
Apples 1.29

Spiral ham coupon 10.00 for flame crafted bone in

That's about it.

Winco has they will meet the lowest price of the chain stores on a select list of holiday fixings.  

I have started a series of soup recipes.   It's that time of year and I downloaded a bunch of recipes from Betty Crocker.  

Last night we had a sausage, bean and potato soup and cheesy biscuits.  
Tonight we are having crab cakes. But I'll start the rest ifmthemstory Sunday.  

Thanks for stopping by

Please share


Wednesday, December 9, 2015

The ads


Simple truth chickens are .99 a pound,  I can't find anywhere the answer to the question, where are they from?    I did find that they are a brand of Kroger and that they are being sued for mislabeling?  Or something of the nature.  

Grapes 1.68
Milk .99

Buy 4, save 4
Kroger ice cream net 1.8
Sugar .99
Freshetta 4.99
Nathan's 2.99

Sirloin tip roast 3.99

five dollar Friday
Naval oranges
Oatmeal, peanut butter, bars 3/5

Brown or powdered sugar .99@@
Butter 2/5@@
Flour 1.89@@

Buy 5 save 5
Cereal 2.99$$

Buy 4. Save 4

15percent hamburger, bottom round, cross rib 3.99

Coupons the same as Safeways.

That's about it.


Winco haul

Winco haul 36.13 less .25 Ibotta .  

Chicken thighs .68 a pound, grown in the Pacific Northwest.    

stretching your protein dollar.

By far, food is the most expensive discretionary so ending category on a least of the necessities and protein is usually the most expensive category of food.  

Meat prices have risen remarkably in the last year or so.    It is not unusual to pay five dollars a pound or more for what we used to pay two dollars for.    Chicken is still a bargain for a buck a pound for whole chickens.    It takes about ten. Invites to put a whole chicken on the oven to roast and another ten to disinfect the kitchen. Counters and utensils.  Rotisery chicken is at least 1.67 a pound at Costco.   The chicken comes from draper valley.  Chicken breast is the most expensive way to buy chicken..sometimes as costly as beef.   If I want a boneless , skinless chicken breast, I buy a picnic pack when it is 1.25 a pound and break it down into meal portions and debone the breast.   It takes a few tries, but it's not hard to debone a chicken breast.  

I bought a pack of small eye of round steaks from Winco last week,   They were 9.09.   We had 2 of them that I cooked in the grill pan.   Last night I cut them across the grains very thin and stir fried them with stir fry veggies from Costco in the freezer section.    Add brown roce and dinner was done.   I still have enough for another meal or two.   Four meals for 9.00 is 2.25 a meal.  That is close to my target cost and I can average it with Mac and cheese or breakfast for dinner.  

I have been getting hamburger for about three dollars a pound for the good low fat kind lately.   When I do I make meatballs, meatloaf, taco meat and/or crumbles.   Portion control goes a long ways to stretch your dollar.   There are a lot of recipes for ground beef out there.  The recent information I have read lately says that we need six  ounces of protein a day and some of that should come  from eggs.  Yes, eggs.   I would refer you to an earlier post.   Moderation, in my opinion, is the key on food.  Remember when eggs were bad for you!   Times change and I for one am not going to buy into  all the hoopla.  Of you take a food group out of your diet , you need to replace the nutrients that you would get from that food group with something else.   Unless my doctor tells me something is not good for me to eat and I consult with a nutrition expert( not my cousin or the lady next door) I'm going to eat a variety of things in moderation from the basic food groups.   Just my opinion. I do believe all of us. Should watch our fat, sugar, and salt consumption.  

You can still get pork at a reasonable price.  Sausage is cheapest at Costco.   There are a lot of coupons for sausage and port tenderloins.   I try to limit our processed meat consumption to once a week.   Pepperoni is fifty cents a package for Hormel with coupons at the dollar tree.   A few sliced added to vegetables and olives on a pizza goes a long ways.  Buffalo,chicken pizza so another pizza alternative that stretches a piece of leftover cooked chicken.  

From a whole,chicken I get, 2 chicken breast halves. BBQ chicken from the dark meat, and soup from the bones.  Usually for meals from a five pound, four to five dollar chicken.   The break even ratio for a chicken is three pounds -everything after that is gravy.    In other words, if you buy nature pound chicken  you are paying for half bones, and half meat.  

Using eggs, cheese, and beans and rice for a few meals a week, stretches the protein budget.

If you have a soup or something that is lower on protein tan you want, consider adding a yogurt parfait, ice cream, pudding, custard  or other desert or side dish that boosts the protein.  

Thanks for stopping by

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Sunday, December 6, 2015

Notes on drugs.....

I discovered a few things lately that might help people that have to take drugs.    Unless you have fantastic insurance, allergy meds and diabetic test strips can be cheaper over the counter than buying them with copays at the pharmacy.    

The generic Zyrtec was two dollars more than the copay for a month to buy a years supply at Costco.  
Nose sprays are a lot cheaper too. 

Test strips can run a dollar each.   I got 100 test strips for less than 25.00.    Before you fill a prescription, you may want to check Walmart, SAMs club, Costco or Amazon.    

Just a thought.    I'm all about loving well on a small budget.    

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Fred Meyers

tomorrow's Fred Meyers ad

Pineapple fresh .99
Apples .99
Ex peel shrimp 5.99

Canned fruit 100
Kroger ice cream, 1.99@@
Sour cream/ cottage cheese .99@@
Fred Meyer coffee 4.99

Mandarins 3.99
Pears .99
Whole fryer .99

About all.   My guess is that  I would lick chicken for our stock meat this week.  

Thanks formatoppingmby

Please share


Thursday, December 3, 2015

Reprint...and your food has what in it?

And your food has what in it? 

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

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

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

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

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

Enough of a soapbox.

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

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

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

Thanks for stopping by

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Tuesday, December 1, 2015

The ads

Ads are here.  


Seasoned chicken breast b1 G3 free.   No origin on meat @@
Round roast 3.88
Apples .99

Five dollar Friday
Pacific cod
Berries 2/5
Pomegranates 3/5
Donuts - a dozen
English muffins 3/5

Milk 2/5@@
Vegetables/tomato sauce 2/1@@
Oranges .79
Limes 4/1

Chili .99

Seasoned chicken breast B1, get 3 @@.   No origin in meant
Apples .99
Limes 4/1

5 dollar Friday
Pomegranates 3/5
Berries 2/5
Dijorno pizza
English muffins 3/5

Milk 2/5@@
Veggies, tom sauce 2/1@@

Chili .99

Oranges .69
Milk .99

Buy 4, save 4
Sugar .99
Cheerios 1.69
Kens dressing 1.99
Salad oil 1.99
Kroger ice cream 1.88
Dryers 2.99

Berries 2/5
Apples .99

Thanks for stopping by

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Saturday, November 28, 2015


I did not go to Freddie's.    Ad to follow.   I went to dollar tree...looking for something I can't find! Lol. And Winco.   Our grocery total for November was 68.00 a week.   I'm sure it was because of Winco.   I was hitting closer to eighty.    We do have a considerable stock. It is that time of year when we have the donut hole and stock items are on sale.  

Grocery outlet had hash browns for 2.50.  --enough for about four meals.   dijourno  pizza was 1.99.  
Sliced cheese was the usual 2.39.    Blue cheese was 1.99.

Winco had several beef roasts well under three dollars a pound.    16 ounces of marshmallows were. Dollar.   Brownie mix .98, cake .88.  I noted good prices, but can't remember all of them.   Refried beans .88, taco shells a dollar, pasta .88 , but Barilla was too high.    No sugar added Klondike bars were just under three.  

Fred Meyers. Milk .99@@
Raspberries 4/5
Cheese 5.48@@$$ ( 1.00 coupon out there)
Naval oranges .99
Cucumbers 2/.99
Shrimp 6.99 lb

That's  about it.  


We survived. ,

Black Friday and I didn't go near a mall.   My daughter and I left baby with grandpa  and we went to the dollar store, Safeways, and Walgreens.    I left Safeways with nothing,   All the prices had been raised for the last minute shoppers.    Dollar tree had Christmas sox for granddaughter, some foil paper, and Betty Crocker sweet potatoes , and a soy candle.    I did get my diabetic chocolate and some 1/2 price fingernail polish.   At sixty dollars a pop for nails, I do my own.  lol.

Thanksgiving week in general is not  a good week to shop.   Winco kept up the special pricing. Other stores did not.   Stove top stuffing was 250 at Walgreens.    One of mine was a buck, the other one was free.   Knowing where and when to buy something is key.   As well as knowing what not to buy.   I usually buy very few stove top stiffing packages, also on on no buy list of breadcrumbs. ( why throw away your bread heels and buy someone else's dry  bread.) , chips other than plain taco chips for nachos, bottled pop and juices, kool aid, except for clay for the children) , hamburger helper, or rotisserie chicken unless I'm in a real pinch.

Anything that is easier to make by hand or has no food value in it is not on my list.   Bagged lettuce is healthier than when you cut it yourself.  Studies have shown there is more germs on a head of lettuce that you wash yourself at home than there is a bag of lettuce.

I am going to post meal plans next.   I try for five dollar dinners - a dinner for the typical family of four,: two adukats and two school aged children.    That is the magic. I bet that will leave enough for lunch and dinner on a for dollar a day budget ( the professed snap amount) and leave something for stock.

  1. Vegetable bean soup, sour dough baguette.   
  2. Pork tenderloin, mashed sweet potatoes, Cesar salad,
  3. Mac and cheese, peas and carrots.   
  4. BBQ chicken , seasoned potato wedges, mixed vegetables. 
  5. Tacos , refried beans, rice,
  6. Fish packets 
  7. Spaghetti, red sauce, green salad, sour dough baguette.   

1) vegetable bean soup. : combine in crockpot
     2 - 15 ounce cans of diced tomatoes , 2 cans of beans, drained and rinsed. ( I I've two different beans) , a quart of chicken or vegetable stock ( from better than bullion) , 2 carrots , two celery ribs, chopped or sliced and sautéed  until limp.   Cover and cook on low for 8 -10 hours.   Serve with arm cheese.   

2) pork tenderloins I got on sale on five dollar Friday at Safeways with a two dollar coupon found at  Betty Crocker makes sweet potatoes in a packet available at the dollar tree.   Ceased salad was left over from thanksgiving,    If it wasn't thanksgiving. I might make a green salad.   

3) Mac and cheese.   I use any shaped pasta I can find cheap that is a good brand. Economy isn't about buying the cheapest thing you can find.    The last batch I got was rotini brand for .49 at QFC.   When I can, I get double fiber.   Cream soup base recipe is on line.  It comes from  Taste of Home.    
I use a variety of cheeses, clean out our cheese drawer.  Grocery outlet is a good source for cheese.   
My target price is two dollars, I have been finding it for 2-2.50.  Mixed vegetables were cheapest at Costco for a five pound bag.   

4) BBQ chicken is from chicken parts set aside from roasting a chicken. Hear them on the oven and brush with BBQ sauce.   Seasoned potato wedges are made in America at the Dollar Tree and 1.5 pounds are 1.00. 

5) taco shells are cheapest at Winco as are refried beans (.88) rice makes a complete protein for the vegetarian.   Hamburger was purchased ( 7 percent) for 2.99 at Fred Meyers.   I made meat balls, a meat loaf, and fried the rest as crumbles and froze it.   

6) fish packets .  Fish was at Winco.  Layer on parchment on individual packets : spinach, cooked rice, white beans, fish, a green vegetable.   Seal parchment to make a package, and bake on sided cookie sheet or pan for 30 minutes at 400 degrees, or until fish is done and flakes. 

7)  add meat to hunts pasta sauce ( I paid .75 at the dollar store with coupon, but it's always a dollar or less someplace. ) pasta was .49 for veggie pasta at QFC.   Baguttes are at Costco wholesale or the bakery outlet for about a dollar a piece.  There is also some at the dollar store.  

One last note.  The only way you can keep the prices of meat down and maintain quality and variety, is to watch for the loss leader in any given week.   Shop  two stores, ( sometimes meat and oroduct doesn't look so good when you get to the store. Give yourself options. ) buy one meat a week in bulk - as much as you will need for that kind of dinner for the month.   Batch cook it if that is appropriate, and portion control it on freezer bags and freeze.  It makes dinner time a lot more efficient, and cooking and cleanup a cinch!   If  there are no good buys on protein, skip one and buy two another week.  

That's about all.    


Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Grocery hauls

I have been stuck in bed for some time this I made use of my time watching grocery hauls on U TUBE.   I have come to the conclusion I am  in the middle of the road between... Let's buy a whole lot of junk food and processed stuff and let's buy the most expensive food in the store and ... I'll leave that to your own ideas.    lol.

Middle of the road and moderation have been my mantra for a long time now. So many people say they are lactose intolerant, that never were before.  I'm wondering if it is because they choose or their doctors choose for them to be gluten free or vegetarian.   I'm wondering if cutting a food group out of your diet changes the PH or whatever balance in ones gut.   Not a nutritionist, just a guess.  

I saw a lot of four hundred dollar hauls that could be reduced to well under a hundred.    Knowing your prices and shopping multiple stores is the key.    No one store has the best prices on everything.    Some stores are notorious for being the best price on a particular thing or type of thing,    It doesn't mean that you need to go to five different stores in one week to buy your food.   You go to two stores, plan your trip for economical gas and time, and buy a supply.  

For those on the Seattle area....

Dairy is cheapest at Costco, except milk that is a dollar with on ad coupon about every three weeks or so at Fred Meyers.    Sour cream and cottage cheese is a dollar sometimes at Fred Meyers,    Grated cheese is cheapest at Costco wholesale, and sometimes at grocery outlet (bogo).   Sliced cheese so hands down the cheapest at grocery outlet.    I grated my own cheese from blocks a few weeks go. I found that we went through two big plastic containers instead of about 3/4 of one in a week.    I think the finer grate goes further.   My RBP on cheese is two dollars a pound.  I, coming close with coupons and watching where I buy it.    You are almost always going to spend more buying 8 ounce containers.   Grated cheese freezes well.  You can cook it frozen.  It thaws quickly.   When cheese is on sale in small packages, do the math.   It's a retailers trick to out small packages on sale, expecting people will either not know their measurements or won't bother to do the math.

I watch buy xx save xx deals.   It's a retailers trick to get you to buy a lot of stuff you don't need on the first place.   I bite on them if I can match a manufacturers coupon with the sale and l can identify enough things at a good price that we will actually use.    Usually they have a few things for a buck that you can fill in with that sometimes are a buck all the time at certain stores.

Thinking that it all averages out if you buy from one store is a mistake.   Some prices are good, others at not so good.   You are better off buying what is a good price at two stores.   You have a choice of what produce looks the best, and you are getting the best of both stores.    Lately I have been hitting Kroger and Winco.  I have found that the prices are not as good at Safeways as they used to be before Haggens bought them out.

Don't box yourself in, think out of the box.    There are a lot of stores that carry a limited amount of food.   I'm not talking the quick marts.   But if you go to a store like big lots or a drug store  for something else, keep your eyes open, know your prices, and always check pull dates.  

About all for now.



Sunday, November 22, 2015

Fred Meyers

the paper today had small inserts if ads for the other grocery stores.    Winco and grocery outlet do not have ads.   Winco you can see at favado, but they aren't always accurate.    If you have waited until the last minute to buy turkey dinner, you are usually paying full price.    Winco has lowest prices guaranteed from the get go.  

Fred Meyers.

Turkey .69 with a extra purchase of fifty dollars.
Asparagus 1.99
Satsumas 3.88
Dryers ice cream 2/5@@
Butter 3/5@@
Ritz 3/5@@
Sour cream .99@@
Cake mix 1.00
Pumpkin pie 3.99
Cranberry sauce 2/3
Cream of mushroom soup 1.00
Stove top 4/5
Olives 3/5
Crescent rolls 3/5
Green beans 1.79

Notes :
If you bought cream of mushroom soup a few weeks past with a coupon it would be .49
Cranberry sauce is bogo at grocery outlet for .40.
Stove top was free at Winco.   It has been a dollar  all over.
Pumpkin pie is a bit cheaper at Winco.   Probably cheaper at Costco if u can use their size.
Crescent rolls were cheapest at QFC with coupon and buy ten promotion.   You can still get them cheaper with a coupon at Winco.   I think 147 and there is a coupon for 1.00 off three on today's paper.
Olives ate cheaper at Winco for Lindsay and there are coupons out there.
Cake mix was .88 late October at Winco.

It pays you to buy non perishables before the holiday.  It was the time to stock up.

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Thursday, November 19, 2015

Winco and.......

Winco is the cheapest on thanksgiving ingredients.   There is a coupon for crescent rolls and black olives out there.  

Turkey.  Free with 150 more in purchases ( EX150)
.68 with ex 50. Limit one

.69 with ex 30

.63 with no limit and no ex.

Clementines 388
Broccoli or cauli.  .99
Tillamook cheese 5.99
Dryers 2.99
Berries 2/5
Green beans 1.79
Sweet potatoes .99
Cool whip 1.50
Pie 3.99
Stove top 150 ( I got it for free last week at Winco.

Yams .99
Potatoes .99
Green beans 1.99
Fold gets 6.99@@
Olives .99@@$$. Cheapest at Winco
9 inch pumpkin pie 9.99.   ( not a bargain. )

Pie 10 inch 6.99
Green beans 1.99
Potatoes .99
Yams .99
Coffee 6.99@@
Cream cheese 149@@$$

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Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Winco and thanksgiving prices

We just went to the dollar tree and Winco.   I got fruit snacks and men's sox for the homeless bags at dollar tree.  And sparkely  sox for myself...can you spell glitter!  

Winco has a gallon of milk for free and cookies.   I got the gallon of milk for us and the cookies for the daycare.   I thought granddaughter would enjoy sharing with friends at snack time.   

Crescent rolls were 1.48 and I had a dollar coupon.   
Cucumbers were .48
Pumpkin pie 3.48.  I can't make it for that.   
White bread .88
Acorn squash .68
Lindsay olives .87- $$
Small tomato sauce .29
Best ground beef 3.18
Extra large hummus. 278
Turkey is .63 a pound ... No spending restrictions.

I got .75 Ibotta.    

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Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Four dollars a day books.

There are a lot of books out there that tote that they can teach you how to feed your family on four dollars a day.  They are assuming you are paying that nasty f ford ( full price) for your food.    Some of them go on the premise of not eating meat and eating rocks for dinner.   Some are more adventurous and assume you can get your family to eat food from Mars , find food most of us can't pronounce, let alone find at a low cost.    Earth to people: you can't buy two dollar a serving oatmeal and still eat three meals a day on four dollars.    Maybe that's new math!  Ha ha .   I did find a good book on Amazon kindle for a dollar.  I'll try to link or at least identify it below.  

I'm not going to write a book.    Grocery outlet has a free one that does the job quite well.     I write this blog free of advertisements.   I'm not in this for the money,    I just want to help real people get reasonable nutrition on a small budget.  My premise is that if you spend more time on the FRONT end of the dinner on the table train, and less on the BACK  end you will be better off.   Getting your real food half off or more means you can have enough food and a variety of food and still maintain an emergency stock.  

It's just a different frame of mind,    Why pay 1.59 for a can of green beans, when you can pay .33 or .50 and get three times as much!   Then, you eat three times, not once.    You can rinse the food and reduce salt.   Don't put  salt on your food.   Don't salt food while cooking it.    There are ways to reduce salt , sugar and fat without paying someone not to put it on your food in the first place. .   It like going to the gas station and paying someone not to put gas in your car.   Doesn't make sense to me.   They leave  out an ingredient in your food and then charge you more because they saved money not putting the ingredient in  there.    Really?  

I digress.  

It's a different way of grocery shopping.   The net results is you pay 1/2 price for your food, you have a stock in case of an emergency, and you always have food on the house.    There is a certain sense of security in that idea.    And it has saved my behind more than once.

This takes time.   It doesn't happen overnight.    Even of you had a great influx of money, low prices don't happen on everything everyday.  I make up the time I spend on management by spending less time in the kitchen.  We are not foodies.  No one in this family would appreciate the fact that I spent all day in  the kitchen.    I have done the food management thing for years, even when I had three children at home and held down two jobs and maintained the housework.

Key points

  1. Never pay full price  know the RBP on the things you use on a weekly basis.   We are talking shelf ready staples.   For us that would be diced tomatoes, canned beans, green beans, frozen veggies, refried beans, black olives, instant mashed potatoes , rice, pasta, pasta sauce.    Pretty soon you will instinctively know who has the best prices on those products and can watch the ads for the RBP.    Favado isn't always accurate, but a good benchmark.   Ads come in the mail and Fred Meyers is in the Sunday paper.   You can buy the Sunday  paper on Saturday before at the dollar tree.    
  2. When something is at a rock bottom price buy whichever comes first of a) the amount the store will allow ( limits) b) as many as you can afford, or c) as many as you need to fill in your self imposed limit.   ( I keep a three- six month supply of anything that isn't perishable and on my stock list or as many as I think we will use until the next sale .   This is especially true of typical holiday sales.  Like catsup in  the summer.  
  3. Use coupons wisely.    I wouldn't spend more than ten to twenty minutes a week on coupons    I date inserts, look quickly through them for things we eat on a regular basis, and file the inserts. in a monthly file folder.   I keep back three months.   Favado will match coupons for you and tell you where to find the coupons .  I don't buy anything with a coupon that I wouldn't buy anyway, unless it's free and I can use it or know someone that can     I have been finding four dollar off dog food.    We don't have a dog, but my SIL has three.    I love that word free.    It goes a long way to enhance your quality of life of you don't have to pay for something you  need.   
  4. Ibotta is a rebate ap.  when I get home from the store, I match up anything that I have purchased with their list for that store   I watch a quick video while putting the food away and snapshot the bar code and sales slip and they put money in my account,  get to ten to twenty five dollars and they will give you a gift card that you want,   Anything from Starbucks to wall mart or Amazon  it's a way to get fresh food discounted.  
  5. Sign up for store cards.    They give you better prices    QFC also gives you free things and coupons based on your purchases    
  6. Dairy perishables   I buy yogurt wherever it is less than fifty cents  there are always coupons to go with it too.    Milk is cheapest at Fred Meyers about once every three weeks or so.   It's a buck a 1/2 gallon.    Other dairy is cheapest at Costco.   The large cartons have about a month pull date   Eggs are cheapest at Fred Meyers or Costco.   Five dozen lots are the cheapest, but you may have to split one with another family, we found we don't use that many eggs . 
  7. The only way I have found to save on fresh produce is to watch for a 5 dollars off of 15 type coupon at some stores. Or using  Ibotta    Not all stores are the same on produce   I'm really picky at grocery outlet and Winco   That being said, I got oranges at QFC that were moldy in two days   We did bring them back for a refund. That didn't happen at grocery outlet.  I was told I had to talk to the guy that was running from the building!   lol.    Produce at a low cost is only good of it is edible .  You can pretty much have quality control with buying the same name brands of canned or boxed goods. That doesn't happen with produce.
  8. Know your prices, when buying protein, pick one loss leader of the foods on your meal plans, and buy enough to feed your family for the month of that particular meat or.....   In other words, if we eat beef twice a week, I will buy enough for 8 meals of ground beef when it is really cheap.    I got four percent hamburger for 2.99 a pound last week.  I also get whole wa grown chickens for a buck a pound    I've got them for as cheap as .50.   Grated cheese is cheapest at grocery outlet or Costco wholesale  buy one thing a week, buy enough for the month, cook it in bulk  and portion control it onto bags in the freezer.   This saves time and money.    Rarely have to spend more than a half hour or less cooking  dinner  ( non passive time) .   
  9. I use forms to manage it all.  Simple concise  fast forms!    
That's it on a nutshell.  I go into retailers dirty little secrets and other things in detail on past posts.  
That book: feed a family of four or more on 200 dollars a month.   
Thanks for stopping by 


Monday, November 16, 2015


we found ourselves in need of a to run and I had errands to run on the east side.   I never go to Costco without watching , but keeping in mind what we actually need and rbp's.

Kirkland T.P is 15.99
5 baguettes are 4.79
5 lbs of frozen mixed veggies were 3.49 (.70 a lb; .79 for 10 ounces at fm)
Bananas 1.39
Vegetable base is 10.99.  
Eggs 4.29 for 2 dozen - pull date Christmas!  



Sunday, November 15, 2015

Meal plans

Meal plans help to assure that food is not wasted.  i developed a meal plan template to make meal planning quick and easy.  These days, the less time spent on meal prep the better.  I spend more time planning my shopping and less time cooking,   It makes things more cost and time efficient,   I get paid to shop in savings,

Step by step process.   

The form  has a column of food on hand.   Clean and arrange the fridge to reflect the things that need to be eaten shortly.  Write  down the perishables and meat that you have in stock.   Highlite or mark with a star the things that need to be eaten soon.

I have.

  1. Cottage cheese
  2. Carrots 
  3. Acorn squash
  4. Sour cream
  5. Fresh green beans 
  6. Eggs 
  7. Spinach, fresh
  8. Blackberries
  9. Apples 

Develop a matrix .   It makes planning easy and quick if you have an outline.   Ours is 2 beef, 2 chicken or pork, 2 vegetarian and a fish or shellfish.    Yours very well may be different,    Some people go with types of meals-- like soup, breakfast, etc.   or have fourteen meals and rotate the same meals.   

A second column is for food  to be purchased.    Hold off on this one until you finish planning.

Now fill in the seven blocks .

  1. Breakfast for dinner : yogurt parfaits, eggs, toasted English muffins   Yogurt parfaits are yogurt, blackberries (or blueberries when I get them cheap) and topped with some granola.  Granola is at the dollar store (Chex) English muffins are usually cheapest at Fred Meyers .  
  2. Vegetable bean soup.   Cheese biscuits 
  3. Pork tenderloin. Baked acorn squash( with butter and brown sugar, cinnamon dash , spinach salad . I got pork tenderloin for 2.50 at Safeways a few weeks ago.  Froze it.   Squash was .68 at Winco.    
  4. Chicken nachos.    Costco is the cheapest usually on nacho chips.   Diced  tomatoes make salsa in a pinch , use up sour cream 
  5. spaghetti  and meat sauce, spinach salad. ( brown and serve baguettes are cheapest at wholesale Costco.  I keep them in the fridge and they take less than 15 minutes in the oven.   They are usually about a dollar a piece.    Pasta is on sale now for fifty cents when you buy 10 of a list of things at QFC.   Hunts   pasta sauce is cheaper most all the time than scratch.   I never pay more than a buck, the last batch I got was .75.   
  6. Sloppy joes. French fries, vegetable sticks.   ( I got carrots at QFC with a five dollars off fifteen coupon.   24 ounces ( 1.5 pounds) of seasoned potatoes made in America are at the Dollar Tree, bins Re cheapest at Winco, and I use a recipe I found in a family circle years ago. Manwich has been on sale for eighty cents lately.   
  7. Fish packets .   Tilapia is at Winco.   Layer on parchment paper individual portions ( dollar tree) spinach, cooked rice, or instant soaked in water, a few white beans, the fish, and a green vegetable.    I bought just what we needed at qfc.    Seal up the packets, and place on cookie sheet with sides.    Bake at 400 for half an hour or until fish is flakey.  
Note: it might sound like I run all over town to shop.   Not so.    I shop in bulk and freeze or refrigerate.    I usually shop two stores.   Get in and get out.   Put on blinders to anything that isn't on sale or the RBP.   Avoid snack tyoe items.amd sodas.     Use coupons when I can.  These meals average less than five dollar a meal for a family of four.  ( assuming two adults and two school aged children) .  

Hope this helps.   It's easy I be overwhelmed, but planning uses up what you need to use up and makes the what's for dinner question more manageable.   

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Saturday, November 14, 2015

Sunday ads ......turkey!

The cheapest price on turkey I have found is either free at Fred Meyers with a hundred fifty dollar purchase.   At Fred Meyers, you have a wide variety of things, not just food to purchase.    or it is .69 a pound with a thirty dollar food purchase ( the turkey doesn't count) .

mandarines   3.99
Pumpkin pie 3.99

Still buy 10, save 5
Stove top .99
Sugar 1.99
Crescent rolls 1.38 - $$
Butter 2.49

Fred Meyers
Milk .99@@ ( note it is free at winco)
Bread  3/4@@
Vegetables frozen .79@@
Betty Crocker   boxed potatoes .89
Pumpkin pie 3.99
Jello 1.00
Frozen entrees .89
Red Barron 3/10
Cool whip .79@@

That's about all.

Friday, November 13, 2015


Wednesday, my hubby went to get a free oil change and a free haircut..     Score forty dollars.    I went  to Winco and got paper towels for less than Costco with a coupon.  Like about half.     I also got another twenty cent ibotta.  

Today we went and I got a haircut.  QFC netted a fifty six percent savings on tomatoes, pasta, and veggies.     Five  dollar off fifteen on veggies. And five off of ten items netted a lot more than just the five dollar savings.  Last week I got 69 percent plus.   ( almost 70) .   I hit three stores last week and averaged twenty five dollars each.   It was a good week to stock.   Tomatoes are .49 at QFC, chili is a dollar and I have coupons.    Pasta is 49.   You don't have a lot of selection on the pasta, but at that price, I can live with it.    My daughter is a vegetarian and we go through a lot of pasta.  

At Fred Meyers, Four percent hamburger and .99 Foster farms chicken meant that I got two loss leader meats this week.    It makes up for the weeks that I got none.    I roasted the chicken and made meatloaf, meatballs, and crumbles with the hamburger ( 3 pounds,) the chicken was 6.5 pounds.    This saves time and money.   I spend more time shopping and less time cooking.  I probably spent an hours a week shopping .  I get in and get out of a  store.   I just get what I need to buy. Impulse buys will kill your budget.   I was an accountant, so prices are easy for me to remember.  I know the RBP of the staples we buy in a regular basis.   If you know the staples, the rest will take care of itself.    I'm not too worried about the cranberry sauce I will buy once a year.    It's the green beans that I use a lot because it's about the only vegetable everyone will eat, or the diced  tomatoes that I use at least once a week.  
I know who typically has the lowest prices on certain things, but always keep my eye open.   We use few paper towels.   A 12 pack will last us six months.    Winco had brawny for 11 dollars and change and I had  a dollar coupon.  That was almost half of Costco's price according to favado.   Favado isn't
always correct.   I try to use paper products sparingly.   Not always an easy task with a three yo in the house.  

Now that I have rambled at three .v  in the morning. I hope this helps.  

Thanks for stopping by


   We have had roast chicken, chicken pot pie, and I will portion control the rest for the freezer.   We had chicken with stove top stuffing that I got for free at Winco and green beans that were  .33 .  That meant that dinner was a total of 1.33 not counting cooking supplies that are too small to cost out ( butter, salt, oil etc.  ) another night, I made meat balls, added tomato sauce that was leftover from homemade pizza another night, and peppers from the freezer.   The tomato sauce cost twenty five cents and the peppers were six for three dollars at grocery outlet.

Grouping errands saves gas.   Meal plans help use everything up.   Being flexible helps.    Last night my husband didn't get the  fish from the freezer to thaw in time, we had pizza.    I got pizza on sale with coupons for 2.38.   I just add things to it.   A bag of spinach at Costco goes a long ways.  

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

The ads...such as they are.......

QFC has a two week ad last week.  There is still time to make a planned trip.    Fred Meyers wasn't bad, I only,bought sale items , preferably with coupons,  

The only ads I got were for Safeways and Albertsons or  Alberways ha ha

Turkey free with 150.00 purchase, or .68 with fifty dollar purchase.  
It makes for sense to me to wait and see what Freddie's brings to the table,    At Fred Meyers you can buy any number of things for your minimum purchase.  

Five dollar Friday
Cherub tomatoes

Eggs 1.99@@
Crea m of mushroom soup .69@@-   Not...its .59 at Fred Meyers and there are coupons out there.  

About it

Pork chops 1.99
Eggs 1.99@@

Five dollar Friday, sat, sun

Same turkey offer

Cream cheese .99

About it.   Most of the prices are cheaper at QFC or Freddie's.  
Winco has free cookies and a gallon of free milk in a flyer in the mail.  
Most of all the prices are either cheaper at Winco or Kroger stores.  

Cream of mushroom soup is 59 at Fred Meyers until next Sunday.  There are coupons for .40 off of four.   Fred Meyers limit is six.  
Marshmallows are cheapest at Winco.  
 You can load a coupon at fc for five dollars off of fifteen dollars worth of produce.    That's 33 percent of you stock to often dollars.  
Green beans are cheapest at Winco.
Vegetable pasta is. 49 at QFC when you buy multiples of ten things.  


Monday, November 9, 2015

Budget hacks

I started this blog to help the people on snap get through the month eating somewhat healthy on a limited budget.   I developed  a plan over fifty years.   A little background: I grew up with a mother that had survived the Great Depression.  While we had money, my mother never forgot her life lessons and she was always cognoscent of not wasting money.    When  I was in my early twenties, found myself in a position of being a single parent.  It was the days  of double digit inflation.  We didn't get a raise in three years.    Nixon froze wages.  I got paid twice a month.  One paycheck went for rent, the other for daycare.   There was no earned income credit, no food stamps, and no help with childcare.   I just had to make it on what I had.   I started with what my mother taught me and read everything I could get my hands on.  Through the years,  I adapted ways  to stretch a buck.   I'm still learning.
This blog post explores ways I have found to cut costs on other necessities also.

  • Personal heigene.   Many items can be purchased for free with coupons.   I have yet to get free toilet paper, but I am working on it.   The drug store chains have reward points.   I have successfully rolled points to get some things for free.  Rite aid used to have a better plan, but I have scored with the new one too.   It's a little less  complicated  than Walgreens.   I managed to get an electric toothbrush, toothpaste, and mouthwash for free.  They paid me to take it out of the store.   This is the only senecio  I have found in this state to get overage.  Toothpaste is one of the easiest things to get for free.    
  • Coupons:   I spend very little time clipping coupons.  I do use coupons. They help a lot. Favado is a free ap that matches prices with coupons and tells you where to get the coupons and even sometimes gives you a link.   I get a newspaper from the dollar tree for a buck on Saturday( Sunday's paper).  My friend saves hers for me too.    More inserts come in our mail.   I give them a quick glance and cut any that I know I want.    The inserts then go in a file folder with the date on the insert and a monthly date on the file folder.    Once a month I download coupons from  I do it as close to the first day of the month as I can.   The coupons are limited . You  can only print two and when they are gone, they are gone.   
  • Laundry.   Necessary evil!   I don't use dryer sheets or fabric softener.   With laundry detergent, I got five months supply for 5.79.    I used two three dollar coupons. And found a rebate on a bottle.    
  • Clothes.   I watch Fred Meyers when they have up to seventy percent  off the last marked price.  I try to buy classic clothes.   Once or twice a year, we go to the off price mall and buy clothes.  We get an inexpensive off season room. At at a old fashioned breakfast diner we eat one meal and either purchase dinner at the Safeways or do Subway.   Breakfast is free at the motel.  I got 6 Christopher Banks tops for 20.00.   Goodwill is another good resource.   I got a darling party dress for granddaughter for four dollars. 
The best advice I give is to know your needs and prices.   My mother had the expression , "some people wouldn't know a bargain of it got up and bit them". Don' t be that person.  

Plan your trips.  Try not to buy anything unless it is at least half price.  When grocery shopping, stick to buying only the actual sales.   Only deviate when it is something you have to have or if you see an unadvertised special. Today. I got four percent fat hamburger for 2.99.   One time I got whole chickens for .50 per pound.   

Pick two chain stores a week based on the store ads.   Plan your trip. 
  • Check the ads from the newspaper, or favado.   
  • Write down what is truly on sale that you can fill in your meals with ( perishables), a loss leader protein,  and your stock items that are short. 
  • Check favado or your coupons binders or matching coupons.   Everyone but Winco will let you stack coupons - a store coupon and a manufacturers coupon.  
  • Make meal plans from what you need to use up and what is on sale .  
  • When you get home, check ibotta for any match ups.    
I had a huge bag of chocolate crispies I got at Winco for a dollar.  I bought a bag of mashmellows for a buck.  I barely made a dent in the cereal, we had chocolate crispy treats for 1.33 a 9x13 pan.  



Saturday, November 7, 2015

Fred Meyers ad

Here is themfred Meyers ad :  
I have found that there are usually more good buys than are advertised on the ad .   You still have to know your prices of the things that you use on a regular basis.  

Ground beef. 7 percent. 2.99
Raspberries .99
Stove top stuffing or cranberry sauce .89@@
Cream of mushroom soup 2/1@@$$
Kroger ground pork 2/5 @@
Red Baron pizza 3.29@@$$
Hefty slider storage bags.99$$
Foster farms fryers .99

@@ means there is an on ad coupon
$$ means that there is a coupon either in a insert or on line.  

Soup coupon is .40 on four and it is on
Red Baron pizza is a dollar on two and is from an imsert.
Hefty storage bags coupon is an insert and is 2.00 off of three.  

That's about all.  

Thursday, November 5, 2015

QFC sale

QFC buy 10 save $5.00 sale  

Spent 25.09; saved 56.17
70 percent savings!   

The ads

I got the ads late as usual.   We did go to Winco and I took the apple juice that is to much  for one small child to drink to school.   It will make for a good drink with snack time.    Winco netted a lot for 22.00.   They have no sugar added Klondike bars.   It is hard to find them.   Safeways is the only other place. Have found them.   Being diabetic, they only have 16 carbs and are portion controlled.    The lady there stopped and showed me all the options I had for sugar free.   It was very pleasant to see someone take the time .
They also have some canned veggies and soups on sale really inexpensive.    Cheese was five dollars for two pounds.   I have found that commercial grated cheese goes further than the stuff I grate  at home.   I think it is finer texture and melts faster and you use less.  

Taco shells continue to be a buck.    I got stove top free as well as a brick of cream cheese.    Tulips was reasonable.

On to the ads

QFC is a two week ad  They have a buy ten save five sale going on.   I think I can score with coupons,   Favado does not have qfc on their data base, so I'm going to have to plan my trip by myself.   I will post the plan when I get it done.   It will take me some time.

Ground turkey 2.99
Alaska cod 2.99

Save five in ten items.  Net prices

Butter 2.49
Triscuit 179
Chili or chunky soup .99$$
Tomatoes, canned .49
Stove top .99 ( it's .99 at Winco and the dollar tree) but a good fill in if you aren't making your 10.
Smoked sausage 2.49
Crescent rolls 1.38
Cake mix .79
Brownie and muffin mixes 2.49
Ronzoni pasta .49
Hot cocoa .99-it too is the same price as dollar tree, but a good fill in
Kleenex 80-160 count .99. It's only a good buy if you find 160 count.   You can get Larger at times tree at times cheaper on big lot sale.

On to. Safeways or Alberways

Chuck roast 3.99
Milk 2/5@@

5 dollar Friday
Berries 2/5
Cream puffs 7-9 count
String cheese 20 ounce
Pasta sauce in jars 5/5

Bread 1.49
5 lb flour/sugar 1.79

Milk 2/5@@

5 dollar Friday
Berries 2/5
Market flowers
String cheese
Pasta sauce in jars

Bread 1.49
Sugar or flour 1.79
Veg oil 2.49

That's about all.   I have to double check the ads between Safeways and Albertsons.  They are just about the same.    Even the logo is disguised to be about the same.    I am very thankful for Winco.  
I see that haggens  at shoreline is closing.   It will be interesting to see how all this plays out.   I am thankful for Winco, Costco and Grocery Outlet  in the mean time.  With care I am back to 75.00 a week with stock.   Probably a good thing since our ssa is going to be cut.   There is,no COL imcrease , but the Medicare premiums are raised.   Net results is that our ssa checks are going down.  

That's about all.



Sunday, November 1, 2015

The ads, Fred Meyers and notes

I'm late getting the ads, toooo much Halloween!    If you are in the Seattle area, watch in your mail for a Winco ad.   It came for is on Thursday,  but our mailman is not up to snuff.    Free, yes, free things.   Don't pass them up of you don't need those things, I'm siremthemfood bank would love to have them.  

NOTE. There are buys on thanksgiving ingredients.  BUY NOW,   If you wait, you snooze, you loose,   The price goes up for procrastinators.   IF IT WONT ROT, YOULL BE GLAD YOU GOT!  (It)

They have a h u g e package of cocoa crispies ( wantabe) for under a buck.....ok. So it's a few cents.  
I bought marshmallows for a buck at the dollar store and with a few tablespoons of butter, we have chocolate crispy treats.  

Fred Meyers

Ez peel shrimp or ny steak ( like we could afford that) !   5.77
Clementines 3.99
Milk .99@@
Bread 3/4@@
Vegetables or tomatoes 2/1@@
Pasta sauce--Ragusa. .99.  Limit 4@@
Sausage 2/5@@

Berries 2/4
Pears .99

Pills bury cake mix 1.00
Sour cream, cottage cheese 4/5
Butter 2/5@@
Cream of mushroom 2/1@@
Broth 2/1@@
Grape tomatoes 2/4

Note:  @@ means there is a in ad coupon.  
Limits may apply

Bar tells
Clams 1.00
Sour patch kids .99.

About it.   I prolly wouldn't make the trip for that!  

 Thanks for stopping by


Friday, October 30, 2015

Grocery outlet, dollar tree, Winco

We went to the above stores today. sounds like a lot, but grocery outlet and the dollar tree ar next to each other.    I had found metallic papers at the dollar tree for a fraction of the cost elsewhere.  The quality is not exactly the same, but I'm getting 20 for the price of one.    Putting things in perspective, only an eighth  of an inch shows when I'm done, so the great quality is an overkill most of the time.

At the dollar tree, they have k cups for 4/1.00,  Betty Crocker sweet potatoes, and sugar free jello.    They have some interesting books.    Sally Hansen fingernail polish.   Seasoned frozen potatoes from the USA are a buck for a pound and a half.  

The grocery outlet only netted sliced cheese.  

Winco has green beans for .33.  Progreso chunky soup is .88 and there are coupons out there for fifty cents off two.   Potato salad is cheaper at around three dollars for Reese's.    Tomato sauce is.48.   I needed one for a recipe.   I usually just do diced tomatoes,but this lasagna soup takes both.
Pumpkin pie was cheaper than the pumpkin.    Toothpaste was .75.

In addition, we got a flyer in the mail with a bunch of things for free.  

Guess that's all

Meal plans next.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Safeways and dollar tree haul.

I spent nineteen  dollars at the Safeways and five at the dollar tree.  
At the dollar tree they had mashed sweet potToes and we loved them when we could get them.   I bought two.   Also  bought jello parrots ( sugar free) and a box of coffee.  

At Safeways,misused a dollar coupon for pizza that was bogo and a three dollar off twenty just 4 you.  

Pasta shells
5 nalley  chili
1 salsa
1 sour cream. - 24 ounces
2 red Barron pizza
1 bread
2 Klondike bars (6ea) no sugar added

Savings 47 percent.  

Tonight we are having acorn squash, pork tenderloin. And fruit salad.    Apples were,.48 a pound,  pork tenderloin was 2.50 ( we are using 1/2 ) raspberries were 5.00. The squash was a dollar (1/2) total cost.  3.75.   ( picture later)

There is a dollar coupon in Tillamook in my e mail.   It is is 5.99 at Safeways.    
Country ribs were 1.99, but they didn't have any.  

That's about all.


Saturday, October 24, 2015

Fred Meyers - tomorrow's ad

Chuck roast 3.99
Apples .99
Hebrew national 2.99
Sour cream /cottage cheese 2/4

Freshesetta 3.99
Tombstone 2/5$$ net 2.00

Tomato/ chicken noodle soup .89
( Winco chicken noodle soup is .33)

Kroger coffee 4.99
Grapes 1.68

That's all folks.

I got the best buys this week at Winco.  



Thursday, October 22, 2015

Winco haul


We went to Winco today.   Almost everything I buy was at least 12 percent off.  
I use a fifty cent coupon and got a .20 ibotta.   My net OOP cost was 41.99

I got

  1. Nathan's Frank's 2.98
  2. Jello chocolate pudding ( almost no carb snack.) 2-4 packs 4.78
  3. Bacon 2.78
  4. 2 lbs  mex blend cheese 4.98
  5. Chocolate cereal .98
  6. Apples .48 lb
  7. English muffins 1.48
  8. Nacho chips .98
  9. Hot dog buns .88
  10. Jalapeño bread 2.18
  11. Pizza crust 2.98 for 2
  12. Devils food cake mix .88
  13. Brownie mix - both .88
  14. Taco shells ,98
  15. Chicken noodle soup .33
  16. Large olives .78
  17. Refried beans rosa Rita .88
  18. Progreso clam chowder .88 less .50 coupon 
  19. 10 lbs potatoes 1.48
  20. 2 cans of chillies totaled 3.64
  21. 1 lb ground pork.  free
Eggs are two dollars a dozen



Wednesday, October 21, 2015

The ads. Oct 21,2015

Thenads came such as they are........again I am blessed with the thought that Winco is coming tomorrow.   It will  be interesting to see if we get better prices with some competition.  


Pot roast 3.99
Ground beef - 20 percent 3.99

Ground beef -15 percent 3.99

5 dollar Friday ( wed thru Friday)
Raspberries 5.00 12'ounces.   ---they are a buck at Freddie's


Chuck toast 3.99
To,a toes .99
Grapes 1.48
Milk 1.25 - 1.00 at Fred Meyers
DiGiorno pizza 4.99$$
Freshet a 3.99

Ten for ten -- you don't have to buy 10
In other words, a dollar each
Cake 1.00
Brownies 1.00

 I usually go to 2 stores and buy just what's a good buy of
Meat or protein
Stock items I am short of
Perishables in season.and dairy

I dont go to a store for one or two things unless I am already there for some other reason,   Of there is something that is a lot discounted and I need it, I will get it....the savings offsets the gas I have used .  
I had to go to Bothell for business, we stopped by dollar tree and grocery outlet on the way home.  
Folders coffee was 4.99.   It is 10.99.  That six dollars goes a long ways to filling my gas tank.  

I wrote down the specials for each chain store.    Cross off anything that is cheaper elsewhere, and I get a good feel for where we are going.    I already went to Fred Meyers.  QFC is close and we use their pharmacy.    I will probably. Check out Winco tomorrow if I can get there ( the car is in the garage because it didn't pass the inspection for license tabs.   I just love  magic surprises!

Fortunately, I don't need much.  

I have target (RBP) prices on our staples.   I just buy them when I see a really good price and buy enough to fill in my stock.  If I find we are running low, I start looking for a sale.    Rarely do I find
myself having to buy something a full price....or top dollar as my mother called it.    I got stuck on milk last week.  We ran out before Sunday Fred Meyers.  

I figure we save about three thousand dollars a year.   It takes some effort, but probably not much more than the person that goes every few days to buy their food.    It is never a quick trip to Costco.  

After a while you know where and approx. when some stores have the best prices.   Fred Meyer has milk for a buck about the third week of the month.   Costco is cheapest on dairy.  The packages are large and have a month pull date.  I go once a month.   They are also usually the cheapest on refried beans and bananas.  They are the cheapest on gas and hubby picks up bananas and nuts frequently.  

When I'm in the area, big lots and grocery outlet as well as dollar tree have certain things cheaper.  Some this are not, you have to know your prices.   Grocery outlet and Costco wholesale have the best prices in cheese.   It is a retail trick to put small bags of cheese on sale-- for as much as five dollars a pound,    Do the math.  I want cheese  for 2-250 a pound.    Already shredded is better because you use less than if you grate it yourself.  

Winco is cheapest on mashed potatoes and some canned goods.   I am not a big fan of their fresh produce, you have to pick very carefully.  

I can usually make good use of QFC with their. Buy 5, save five when I can add coupons.    I consider it a win if I can save as much as I spend.    Sometimes with coupons, I can get as much as 75 percent off.    You have to look at your bottom line.  75 percent of something you will never use is not a bargain.  

Dollar tree is good for no yolk noodles, pizza crus ( individual ones ) and some name brand items,  you have to know your prices, some things are more expensive.  Hormel pepperoni is cheaper and sometimes you can find a coupon.   I just love the word free.  

Plan you trips.   Be open to stopping at a discount store if you are on your way to or from another errand,   Buy enough of a staple item if

  1. It won't go bad before you can use it up
  2. Your stock is getting low.( have self imposed limits - I like three to six months supply.   
  3. The price is RBP or lower     

If they are out of a sale item, ask for a rain check.    Fm was out of whole chickens at .88.   I asked for a rain check and bought thighs.  In the mean time, I got one elsewhere for a buck a pound.   I can till use my ranch I in a week I can't find a sale ( limited time) 

One last thing....just because it says it's on sale in an ad, doesn't mean it's a bargain.    Safeways pasta is on sale this week for 3/5.     I can a,ways get an off brand at the dollar tree.   But, I got Barilla extra fiber for .88 at Fred Meyers.    That's half the price  and a better quality pasta.    Jimmy Dean sausage is foce dollars for 8-16 ounces.   It's about 2.50 a pound at Costco.    

Thanks for stopping by 

Please share 



Saturday, October 17, 2015

Fred Meyers ad

Short and sweet!  

I did go to target and Michaels yesterday.  I needed some light weight paper for a project and Michaels has it fairly inexpensive.     They have gone to 5X 7 card bases, though.   The 5 X 6-1/2 is now only at paper wishes.    Five by seven takes more postage.   Bummer.    

I go to target just for my makeup.  I like ELF and it is cheap enough to switch it out before the recommended time for health safety.    I found four thanksgiving placemats with crayons in the dollar spot.    Also a plastic divided tray for my craft room and spider rings for the kids trick or treat bags.  

On to Fred Meyers.  

Raspberries. .99
London broil 3.99
Salmon 5.99
Peppers .99
Milk .99@@
Progreso soup .99@@$$
Bread or buns 3/4@@
Ice cream 2/4@@
Yo plait 10/5 $$

.88 sale
Kroger canned fruit
Bumble bee tuna or chicken
CB cake mix
Cottage cheese@@
Barilla pasta @@
Colgate toothpaste @@$$

Note @@ means with an in ad coupon.    $$ means there is a manufacturers coupon either on line or in the paper.  
RBP means Rock  bottom price.    The cake mix is a RBP as well as cottage cheese.  


Monday, October 12, 2015


We had some running around to do.   Stopped by grocery outlet and the dollar store for a look see.  I knew that there was sharp cheese for two dollars and it's my husbands favorite.   I have been getting coffee pods for .25.   I got a build your own DiGiorno pizza for 4.99 and nuts.    We also got individual pizza crusts and shortbread cookies.    No yolk noodles were a dollar.

Get Jesse wrote a piece on grocery shopping,  most of it made a lot of sense and I was especially interested  in the 15 things that you are overpaying for  if you are buying organic.  

Some things didn't make sense to me, If I buy a five pound bag of potatoes, most of them go to waste.   I find ready made  potatoes at RBP and feel we are better off.   I got 2 pounds of French fries for .60 at QFC a couple of weeks ago.    That's cheaper than scratch and cooking them in the convection oven makes them crispy without oil.  

I buy canned beans because I can't predict our bean usage.   Beans and rice are two of the most temperamental food items  for spoilage.    I would rather buy canned and not be worried about spoilage.   I haven't enough stamina to cook beans and then set out to make dinner at 7 o'clock when people get home from work and watch a toddler!    It's too convenient to get beans at a RBP and have them at the ready.  

I'll have to admit we are not foodies.   I wrote this blog because I knew of people on snap that were running out of money before they ran out of month,   No child in my opinion, should have to suffer the indignity of an empty pantry , not knowing where the next meal was coming from.    Full snap is more than enough to feed a family if you know how to stretch a buck at the store and cook from scratch.      No, you can't buy steak and lobster, and you can't buy food from Mars.  But you can buy good real food our grandmothers ate and managed to live 80 plus years on!   lol.  It's using the age old secret of putting up for the winter......worked for hundreds of years.....long before the word hoarders was invented!

Age old stock market premise.   Buy low, sell high.    You buy food at the lowest price, and eat it when the price is high .  Wait for a low price again.   You buy fruit and vegetables in season and
Buy staple items when they are at their lowest price-- enough to last you Intel they are a low price again.   Buy meat at low price and cook and /or portion control.    You can rotate meats with the sales.
This week I bought seven percent hamburger and .88 a pound chicken highs. I got a rain check for whole chickens because Fred Meyers didn't have any.    A few weeks go, I bought three pounds of sausage at Costco.    Pepperoni is .50 at dollar tree with coupons often.  

I have been spending between 75-80 a week for food and. Have developed a stock in the freezer and the pantry.   I can go for some time without buying anything more than perishables.   Good thing, because this is the time of year that we hit the donut hole and meds start taking a good portion of our income.  We are a family of four.

Bottom line, is that I've paid about half of what retail is on any one item.     It's simple
KNOW YOUR PRICES AND ONLY BUY AT RBP.   Don't buy a lot of pre packaged things or dinner meals unless they truly are less than scratch!   I can get hunts pasta sauce for as low as .75.   That's about the cost of a 15 ounce can of tomatoes.   It doesn't pay to scratch cook it.

All this has been harder since Haggens has taken over Albertsons, Safeways, and Top foods.
I can hardly wait for Winco.   Oct 22nd,   Now, we have to drive ten miles and we don't do that more than once every six to eight weeks.    I buy some things from Safeways, but a lot own comes from Kroger , and Costco for some things.     I'm waiting for the dust to settle and we get some stability on the grocery marketplace.  

Food has taken a big hike and the poor see it first.    There is no increase in social security this year,
but medical insurance and food has taken a hike and the elderly see that much more than gas or housing.

So much for my take on the economy!  lol.