Friday, July 31, 2015

Haul from Haggens and Safeways, 46.00

Haul from Safeways and Haggens.  

I had a coupon for five  dollars off of 25.00 I got from my daughter.    I bought hamburger, six  cans of black beans, and four GMO free ears of corn and a cucumber.   
At Safeways I bought 2 bags of shrimp and took advantage of the Five for five sale with 2 BBQ 
sauce , 2 salad dressings with a coupon, and a package of French fries.  

Hamburger hack!

Hey Jane. How do you tell which hamburger is cheapest?  

Haggens has 20 percent fat hamburger for 3.99.  QFC has 8 percent fat for 5.99.    I have a five dollars off 25.00 coupon.    

Let's skip the coupon for now.   
The math : 

20 percent fat hamburger calculates to 3.99X 1.20 or 4.79 a pound 
8 percent fat hamburger calculated to 5.99 X 1.08 or 6.47 a pound 
Difference.  1.68

To evel the playing field, the twenty percent hamburger can be defatted to being it down to about three percent fat or less.   

1) fry the hamburger over medium heat until no longer pink.  
2)  Drain it into a colander ( over a pan if you don't want the grease down the drain.). 
3) Now, pour boiling water over the crumbles.   
4) portion control it onto freezer bags after cooling a little or return to skillet and make taco meat.    

This technique is supposed to reduce your fat by at least 17 percent.   

Now, 3.99 X 1.03 is 4.11 for the cheapest 
And, the more expensive sis 5.99
Difference is 1.88 a pound less.  

Five things you can make

Fove things you can make from a package of ham cubes.  I used to be able to find ham cubes at grocery outlet.  Last time I found them at Winco, the time before at QFC.    They are between three and five dollars.    The packag is a pound that packs a lot of punch!   I wouldn't make all of these on the same week, but it am be frozen on portions and lasts quite long I'm the fridge.

You,can make  :

  1. Ham and scalloped  potatoes 
  2. Ham and pineapple pizza
  3. Ham and peppers pizza 
  4. Ham in scrambled eggs 
  5. Ham in Cobb salad 
  6. Ham in Mac and cheese 
  7. Ham in split pea soup
  8. Ham on bean soup ( white)
  9. Ham in potato soup
  10. Mixed with grated cheese and mayo on a toasted sandwich or on English muffins.   

You save able to get four ,ears from a pound package.adding other forms of protein.
Anyone thinking of other ideas please feel free to comment.  

Thanks for stopping by


Thursday, July 30, 2015

Books for reference....on the cheap!,

Books for cheap. good, fast meals.

The first one is from the grocery outlet for free.    The next two are from th dollar tree for a buck.  
Full of quick , cheap , meals your family will eat.  

Dinner. Fast and easy.....4 +1=5

Dinner tonight is ham and scalloped potatoes and chopped broccoli.    

Ha, cubes are between four and five dollars for a pound .  A pound can go a long way.   Ham and scalloped potatoes, omlettes, split pea soup, topping for stuffed baked potatoes!  

From cookbook bought at the dollar store.

Good and Cheap

I just  downloaded Good and Cheap .  It was 10.00 on kindle.   There are some good basic recipes that are very usable,  Flat bread is one, also homemade tomato soup that won't cost a fortune.  Although the box kind when on sale is easier and cheaper.

Most of the recipes, honestly, are very sofisticated.   My husband wouldn't touch them with a ten foot pole and most kids I know wouldn't either.   I get low cost ethnic working for economy meals.   Some of those ingredients are not cheap, or easy to find in a regular grocery store.   Low cost food recipes only work if your family will EAT the food.

I am glad each book you buy goes to someone that needs to eat on the cheap, but only a quarter of the recipes work for us.

I started this blog because I was hearing that there were people on SNAP that were feeding their children hamburger helper with six dollar a pound hamburger, juice boxes laden with sugar, a individual fruit up with 16 grams of sugar for dinner,  

You can do better than that.  Besides, that total cost was ten dollars.   When you had an allotment of three hundred dollars,.   Do the math.  That simply won't work.   But, it is a stretch to believe that this person would resort to cooking all day and eating lentils for dinner.

My plan uses real, regular food.  It does take some effort.   I get that some people have issues and may have problems with shopping and organizing.  Hopefully they can overcome those problems, or delegate the job to someone that can.   The reward is not running out of money before you run out of month and having something in the pantry at the end of the month.   No one should have to wonder where the next meal is coming from, and no child should endure the insecurity of no food in the house.   SNAP gives people the money, it's up to them to use it wisely.

Off the soapbox!  

Thanks for stopping by
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Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Just dropped by .

I just dropped by grocery outlet and dollar tree today after running an errand in the area.   I got jalapeƱo cheese for 3.00 a pound.   A little bit added to your Mac and cheese makes a tasty difference. 

They also had confetti pancake mixes for .50.   Thought they would be fun for grandchildren.   

I also read an article on a lady that wrote a book to teach people on snap recipes for eating in four dollars  a day.   I am always trying to read other people's take on economy and making it on a tight budget.    She had me at tofu and lentils.   I live with a man from the mid  west  that is old and not too good at changing his ways.  We would have to draw the line on tofu and lentils.    Let's talk real food.  
Real food at bargain prices.  I'm not seeing many really good prices these days, but I still am hopeful thy you can make it for a family of four on a budget of 325.00 or so a month.  I have averaged 80.00 for the last three months.   Last month I spent the same amount, but,  we went to more stores in search of low cost foods.  

Tonight we had tomato, basil, blue cheese soup and toasted cheese sandwiches.   We are still enjoying dollar a pound grapes.   Tomato soup from grocery outlet,about two bucks.  Bread from Winco arm.88, less .20 Ibotta rebate.   Cheese was from a brick, about 1.50. Total.   3.84.   Plus grapes 

The ads


Peaches 1.89
20 pct  ground beef 3.99
Haggen  vegetables, beans, tomatoes .70
Butter 2.99
64 ounces. Milk 1.69
Corn 2/1
Cucumbers .79
Haggen cheese 5.99@@

QFC two week ad
Peaches 1.29
Shrimp 5.99

Buy 5, save 5
Net prices
6-8 ounces cheese 1.49
Dr eyers 2.49
Yo plait 10/5

Bumble bee tuna .59@@
Grapes 1.99

Five dollar Friday
Aunt Jemina syrup 3/5
Colgate toothpaste 4.6 5/5

Buy 5, save 5
BBQ sauce
Mayo 2.99
Ice cream 2.99
Nathan's 3.99

Grapes 1.99

Buy 6, save 3
Sausage 2.99
Beef franks 3.99

Bumble bee .59@@
Bread .99

These ads are really hard to read and confusing because they look the same with man same prices.  
Haggens has a few stock up prices.    QFC has a two week ad.  

That's about it.  

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Breakfast for dinner..

One  way to cut expenses on food is to have breakfast for dinner once in a while.   Some people do it one a week.  

Scrambled  eggs (6) 1.00
Biscuits .50 Grocery Outlet
Sausage.  1.50 ( Costco)
Grapes  1.00
Total 4.00

Monday, July 27, 2015

How rite aid rewards works.

This is a good example of how the snowball effect works.    Unlike the old register rewards type of system rite aid had, you can't buy something with a reward in it with a reward.    But, if you work it, you can get lots of your personal products free or nearly free.  

First I bought mouthwash and some wet and wild eyeshadow.   The total was Twenty dollars with tax.   ( we have almost ten percent tax here) I got 16.00 rewards.    Net paid 4.00, most of which was tax.    It cost two dollars for sox eye make ups and the mouthwash was free.  

I then turned the 16.00 into four packages of candy on sale and two ice teas on sale.  And bought sox dollars worth  of things for  my daughter that she gave me cash for.   Not a good deal.   I bought things that had rewards on them and didn't get rewards because you can't buy rewards with rewards.  

Next, I got smarter.  

I bought two 10.99 cans of folders for eight dollars each with a four dollar reward.   That made them six bucks each with no tax.   Snowball because we have coffee from home, no big bucks store stuff .  

I bought an electric toothbrush, toothpaste with coupons and an ibotta.  They paid me to buy the toothbrush.    I bought 10.00 worth of sox for granddaughter and got them 1/2 price, amd a box of dried cranberries on sale.    The toothbrush and toothpaste were more than free with rewards and coupons, and the half price sox were paid with a four dollar reward from the coffee and 1.09 cash and the overage from the tooth brush.  

For 17.09 cash I got

  1. 22.00 worth of folders coffee 
  2. 10.00 worth of children's sox ( six pair) 
  3. Oral B electric toothbrush 
  4. A 3.50 - 4.2 ounce tube of crest toothpaste 
  5. 4 ounces  of dried cranberries 

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Rite aid haul.

Haul from rite aid..   As close to extreme couponing as I get!    Electric toothbrush, toothpaste, 10.00 worth of sox for granddaughter, craisens........for the price of the craisens and tax 1.09.  

Things I never buy........never say never!

My mother told me one time never say here goes.   Things that I almost never would but. Don't have problems with others buying.   In other wirds, my personal prospective coming from a groceries in the cheap prospective.  

10.  Bread crumbs.  Why throw your old bread ends away and buy somebody's dry bread for up words of two dollars a pound.    It only takes a few minutes.   Ditto stuffing mix.   

9.  Boxed meals.     Pound for pound, they can be the most expensive sundry in the store.    You are paying for a minuscule amount of pasta and an envelope of dry ingredients most of which are things I cannot pronounce.   

8. Deli chickens.   You are paying dearly for someone else to do ten minutes of work.  Never buy a chicken that is less than three pounds.  You are paying more for the bones  you can't eat than you are for the meat.   You don't know where that chicken came from.   At five bucks for a three pound chicken, you are laying 1.67 a pound for what you can buy for .88 a pound and you know where that chicken came from.  Buying a five pound chicken gets you a whole lot more meat for your buck.   

7.  Boxed Parmesan cheese.   If Parmesan cheese is too expensive the day you buy it, try any number of dry cheeses.  They will give you the same flavor boost, but for less money.   Invest in a micro plane or a fine grater.  Betty Crocker has one at the dollar store.   

6. Potato chips.   Haggens has them for 2.50 for 6-8 ounces.  At 8 ounces, you are paying five dollars a pound for potatoes.    In contrast, Winco has five pounds of French fries for about 3.50.  You can cook them in the oven and have less fat!   

5.  Boxed Mac and cheese.   Home made is just so much better.   And it doesn't take much more time.  

4.  Fruit juice in little boxes.   Many of them are ten percent juice.   So, what's in the other 90 percent.  I suspect sugar if some sort and preservatives.   

3.  Canned peas.   I'm sorry, they are just gross.   

2.  Microwave popcorn.   And air popper and regular popcorn ( Costco is cheapest) is cheaper and better for you.   You can control the salt and butter.   

1. Fruit in bags.    If you get one rotten apple. You have not saved anything,   One time I got a entire bag of rotten apples.  

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Scratch Mac and cheese

Home made mac and cheese.  

Cook I package of seashell pasta until soft according to package directions.   I cook it in the ,corporate so I can cook the sauce while the pasta is cooking,  

Make white sauce from homemade mix ( Taste of Home) .  Add 1 cup grated cheese.   I use a combination of cheeses. ( a good way to clean out the cheese bin ) .

When pasta is done, drain well and pour into greased 9X13 pan.    Add cheese sauce to pan.  
Place in 350 degree oven for 20 minutes Or until sauce is bubbly.  

You can make a topping of bread crumbs, grated Parmesan cheese and dried parsley and add to top of casserole before it goes on the oven.

Serve with chopped broccoli or mixed veggies.  

A very economical, comfort food meal.  


I spent 19.00 at Winco, got .45 on ibotta.    Blues were 3.00 for 18 ounces, apples a buck. Olives .99 with a .25 ibotta.   Bread was .88 with a .20 ibotta.  Low carb tortillas, also gluten free.   Hunts pasta sauce was .95.  

I did get a win in the paper department.   I was getting 1/4 sheets of black for layering at michaels.   They don't have them anymore.   I bought 50'sheets at Joanne's.  They were five bucks but the nice lady at the checkouts, used my phone  to get a fifty  percent coupon for me and I paid 2.50.   You can download a coupon on the spot on your phone and get fifty percent on an ite not on sale.   I then took the ream to office max and the guy cut all two hundred sheets into quarters for 1.50.   For four dollars, less than the cost of 25 cut sheets at michaels. I got 200.   Score!  

I got  two papers at the dollar store.    The red plum is still coming in the mail.   The other coupons were mostly for back to school, lots of personal Heigene, but not much food.   Unfortunately, my printer is acting up and I blew two coupons ea of some high end because they won't scan!  

Guess you can't win them all.  

At rite aid, there is folders coffee for 8.00 with a 4.00 reward.   You, have to buy twelve dollars worth of either protein bars or coffee.   We bought two coffees and got four dollars, net sox bucks a can.   It's been running closer to ten bucks.   Score!    Sale ends today!  

Fred Meyers ad, tomorrow.  

Milk .99@@
Grapes .99
Broccoli .99
Kale .99
 Blues, rasp, 2/4
Strawberries 2 lbs 3.99

That's about all!



Friday, July 24, 2015

Nice to know. ......

I wrote Foster Farms, the chicken people.    In light of all the Facebook  reports that the country of origin was going to not be printed on our meat and that the FDA wasngoingnto allow chicken  to be processed in China.  

Here is the news.   Foster Farms chickens are raised in Washington, Oregon, and California  and are processed there too.   Foster Farms has no plans to change this practice.  

I was   looking for a so called loss leader protein this week.  I, personally, don't need one.   Ground beef is supposed to be 5.5-6 pounds for 17.00 at Costco, according to FAV ADO.  My husband went  to  Costco  today, I had work at home to do.   you don't have to have a Costco membership to shop at Costco.   According to what I have read, you just have to have a Costco gift card.  

I was trying today to come up with an alternative cheap source of protein list.  

Turkey bacon is two bucks at Winco, a buck for A name brand at the dollar store.  
Pepperoni is .50 for Hormel at the dollar store with a coupon.  
Eggs are two dollars at agreed Meyers for grade A large, they are .99 for medium at Albertsons.  
Cheese is five dollars  a brick with coupon .  

I just heard that six ounces of protein is good for most of us a day and most of it  shouldn't come from meat.  Some of it should come from eggs.   Remember when eggs were supposed to be really really bad for you ?   I won't even go there!    

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

The so called ads

There were no coupons in last weeks paper.   There is supposed together each of smart source and red plum and a PN G this week.  

QFC had a two week ad last week.  
Albertsons and Safeways are playing an identity crisis game.    The quarters ad is now on Safeways and five dollar is on Albertsons.    And, none of it makes the shopper the winner.
Enter  Haggens and the prices are out of he ballpark.  

Here goes the best of them.  Check Winco on FAVADO, but they are the best prices , not necessarily the true ones.   Prices vary by store.  


Ground beef  7 percent 3.99
Salad kitsv2/5
Yo plait yogurt .38@@ limit 10.   $ $ nets .28.   Check ibotta
Medium eggs .99@@

About it.  


Ground beef 20 percent 3.99
Milk 2/5@@
Tillamook 4.99

5 dollar frenzie - guess thats not  five dollar Friday!   LOL
Blues or strawberries  2 lbs.
Cinnamon rolls or Pudding cake 2/5



 Really good news here, is that we still have Costco, Winco , and Fred Meyer.  I would suggest, tongue-in-cheek, that we use the alternative stores until Haggen corporation has decided to put decent prices on things. May be things will be better next week.  



Small investments that will reap the snowball effect.

No ads yet.  We got no mail yesterday.  

Five things that will save you money on the long run.

  1. Air popcorn popper.    I got mine at Kohls  for 14.00.   It is a healthy way to pop popcorn and takes the place of all the snack foods that can detail your food budget.    
  2. Crockpot.   Crockpots can save bucks and not heat up an entire kitchen.    It is an easy way to beat the take out gremlins when you know you are going to have a busy day and are not going to be on the mood  to set out and cook a meal.   I have heard of older ones starting fires.   This is a case where buying new is probably best.    They last a long time.   
  3. A probe type meat thermometer.   Mine was 25.00 at Costco.    It makes cooking a roast or chicken almost set it and forget it.   Raw whole chicken can be as low as .88 a pound.  Rotisserie chicken can be upwards of two dollars a pound and you don't know where it came from.  Never buy a chicken that is less than three pounds.   The ratio of bone to meat is too low and you are paying  for a lot of bone.   
  4. Automobile rags.   They are school bus yellow and are in the auto section of Costco.  They save a lot of paper towels for cleaning on general, and mopping up spills.    
  5. A microwave plate cover from the dollar store.   Saves paper towels and a lot of cleaning.  

If I was short on money, I would take baby steps and get things a little at a time.   

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Sunday, July 19, 2015

Non food items for almost free or free.

You can save on food, and I only buy food at the grocery store, pretty much.   There is always an exception.   I got deodorant BOGO at QFC and used a coupon for each .  Not every store will allow you to do that, but it doesn't hurt to ask,  net result was paying a quarter each for two deodorants.

Pretty much you should never buy personal Heigene products and cleaning supplies at the grocery store.   You are cha chinging their bottom line, not yours.  

I get almost all of those kind of products for free or nearly free.  

  1. Feminine pads are 330 for 48 at the big lots.  Twice a year everything in the store is 20 percent off.   
  2. Toothpaste, toothbrushes, and mouthwash are free at either  the dollar store, or at the chain drug stores with rewards.  Rite aid is easier than Walgreens.   
  3. Ibotta earns you money on gift cards for buying what you normally buy anyway.   That buys a twenty five dollar card from Amazon and toilet paper can  magically appear on your doorstep.   
  4. Shampoo, soap, can be cheap with coupons, or free from the dollar store.   
  5. Vinegar is close to two bucks a gallon at Costco in two gallon boxes.   Many things can be cleaned with vinegar.   
  6. Other cleaners are at the dollar store for far less than their name brand counterparts.   Bleach gel is one of my favorites for the sink and countertops.   
  7. There are school bus yellow rags in bulk at Costco in the auto section.   They do wonders to replace paper towels.   There is a cover for food in the microwave at the dollar store.    We make a case of paper towels last a year at our house.    Paper towels are cheapest and won a pick up challenge at dollar store.   A name brand basic bounty . 
  8. Shampoo is at the dollar store.   We don't use conditioner.    
Please comment if I forgot something.   

Saturday, July 18, 2015

RBP- rock bottom prices

Rock bottom prices varying with your location.    If you are in a small town where there are few grocery stores, it will be harder to find lower prices.  I would consider going to a bigger town when the stores there are having a big sale,   Some stores will mail you their flyers, some  chains have their ad on the Internet or on FAVADO.   If it is far away, consider car pooling with a friend or neighbor or grouping the trip with other errands.  

These prices are in the Seattle area.  

Flavored mashed potato packets .87 -
Diced tomatoes .5o - .67  ( 15 oz can )  Fred Meyers
Beans .50-.67. Fred Meyers - Haggens
Sliced black olives .70 - Winco
Olives 1.00 the last ones were at Fred  Meyers
Hunts  pasta sauce .80 - the last ones were at Albertsons
Refried beans - less than a buck - the last ones I found were at Costco
8 ounce can of tomato sauce .25 - Albertsons

I want ice cream for 2.50 or less.   I got Tillamook for 2.33 .
Pasta.   I want less than 1.00.  I have found it for as little as .38 the last I bought was firm.80'with ibotta and five dollar Friday at Safeways.  

I usually point out really good sales when I post ads weekly.  

Tomorrows Fred Meyer ad

FYI. There are no coupon inserts in the newspaper tomorrow .  I suspect they are coming with the red plum.  We'll see.  Our ads come really late, they come when the mail person feels like it.   This week they came in Thursday,   Makes it a little hard to shop on Wednesday!  LOL.  
Fred Meyer ads.  

Not much there this week.  

Peaches .99
Blues 2'lbs 4.99
Dryers 2/5@@
Bushes baked beans 2/3@@
Foster farms ground turkey 299@@
Sour cream .99
Strawberries 2/4
Zucchini,  yellow squash .99

Friday, July 17, 2015

The ads ,,,just got them

Note FAVADO doesn't always have accurate information.   


Grapes 1.69
Tillamook yogurt 10/4

Five dollar Friday 

Bareilly pasta  1.00
Ice cream 2/
Hormel tenderloin $$ 1.00
Cantaloupes  3/5

Extreme coupons. - extremely expensive!   
Nalleys  chili .99
Klondike bars 2.99 they have no sugar added 
Salad .99
Tissue. 160 count .99
4 lbs sugar 1.79

Lettuce .88

QFC. Two week ad 
Lettuce .99
Butter 2/5
Blues 2.99
Yogurt 2/88$$. .50 on five 
Strawberries 1.88
Grapes 1.48

Grapes 1.69
Eggs .99@@
Tillamook yogurt .38@@

Extremely expensive coupons 

DiGiorno 6.49
Ice cream drumsticks 4.99
Refried beans .99 ( cheaper at Costco)

Haggens......let's call it the whole paycheck store wantabee!   

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I just love the word FREE

There is something about the word FREE that excites me -- when it is for something I need.  
Most of the time,  if you watch and buy personal care products when you see them FREE  or near free, and not when you NEED them , you can luck out.

I want to get those things for free.   You can't be brand loyal.   You have to strike when the iron is hot, so to speak.  

I got my husbands deodorant on BOGO at QFC with coupons.   The net cost was .25 each.

This week, with coupons and rewards at Rite Aid, toothpaste and mouthwash are free.  

I with coupons have got enough oxy clean laundry soap to last us five months for 4.70.   That's less than a buck a month!    There are four of us and one of us is a toddler toilet  training!

I don't have enough coupons, but there is a coupon out there for 2.00 off of Starbucks k cups.   K cups are 7.00 at rite aid, buy fifteen dollars worth and get five back.

Buy 1 DiGiorno pizza for five bucks .
Buy two Starbucks k cups for 7.00 each.
Total 19.00, less two dollar coupon, is 17.00
Less five dollars reward is 12.00
12 / 3 is 4.00.

There are toothbrush coupons to make them free too.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Grocery outlet bargains

We went to the Grocery  Outlet And Dollar Tree in Kenmore.   Grated cheese is BOGO which makes it two dollars a pound.   Campbell's pasta sauce is two for a dollar.  It is a buck at the dollar tree.   August pull date.

They have a flyer at checkout.   Good until Sunday,   

Ore idea frozen potatoes 1.99
Cookie dough.  1.49
Kellogg's mini wheats 1.99
Wishbone salad dressing 2/1. I suspect that it has a very soon pull date.  
Foster Farms organic chicken 1.99 

They also have a really interesting handout...four dollars a day food.    Per person.   If you have more than two and a half.....LOL  people, that's more than your budget of you have a three hundred dollar allotment.  I do suspect that dinner menus would probably work.   Not all prices at grocery outlet are the best choices.   Some are good, some aren't.   I steer clear of any bagged produce after I got a bag of apples that were all rotten and couldn't speak to the manager for a refund.   This was at the aurora store.   Every store is owned by individuals.   

Recipe titles 
  1. Egg muffins with spinach, sausage and cheese 
  2. Avacado egg scramble 
  3. Berry baked oatmeal

  1. almond butter jelly sandwich 
  2. Lentil tomato soup
  3. Spinach and Gouda Mac and cheese 


  • Blackened chicken pasta 
  • Chicken fried rice 
  • Turkey sliders 

That's about it.     

Dollar tree still has yummy chocolate cookies in tins-- retail cost 3.99.  

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Part three: what to do with what you got!,

Note: this is a whole new way of grocery shopping for some people.   You are not buying a weeks worth of groceries.  To start off, you are only buying the specials that are truly on special and will have to fill in with what you need to make meal plans. After  six to twelve weeks, you will have your pantry built and just buy specials to rotate your stock.   The advantage of this is that you almost never run out of a staple, and you always have something in the house to eat-- all that you have purchased at 1/2 price or below.

Once you are set up, you will find that you spend less time shopping than before.   I spend more time shopping, and less time cooking.   Our family has commitments that make dinner fashionably late,   My body does not do fashionably late.  My dinners are somewhat pre-made  and I can put dinner on the table in twenty minutes or less, give or take.  If you are someone that hates to shop, ( yes, I hear there are some women that hate to shop!LOL) consider delegating it to someone else in the family, provided they will shop sensibly.

Now that  you have assessed your needs, and done your shopping, what do you do.   When you come home from the store, I first check the store and ibotta and see if I can get any rebates.  This is not necessary, but I have recently  found that we can gleam a few dollars for buying what I would normally buy anyway.    I add the perishables I bought  to my have list and put the groceries away.

Next finalize meal plans.That  doesn't mean Wednesday's meal has to be eaten on Wednesday, but it gives you a plan.   It staves off the I'm tired, it's been a long stressful day, let's drive through or order pizza syndrome. LOL I then post the receipts to a spread sheet so I can keep track how close to the USDA stats I am coming.   USDA cost of food at home.

That day or the next. , I cook the bulk item for the week if necessary.   This week it was .88 cent a
pound Washington grown chicken, whole and raw.    I then cut it up into the legs, thighs and wings
the soup bones, and the breasts and make four packages.  That's four meals from a close to sox pound chicken.   Five meals from a dove dollar chicken.

If you are on a snap budget, meals have to come to five dollars for dinner.  Based on three hundred dollars a month.   It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that if you spend ten dollars for dinner on a three hundred dollar  budget, you are either going to run out of money before you run out of month, or you are not going to eat breakfast and lunch.

I digress.   Meal plans

Meal plans done have to be detailed or take a lot of time.  Most of us have a really good idea of what sides we usually put with what main dish, so joting down the main dish does it.   I devised a work sheet with the boxes for the days of the week, a place for your matrix , and two columns for what I
need to use up, and have, and what might need to be purchased to fill in.   Being organized takes the stress out of the  whole process.  

To recap:

  1. Identify and buy only what is in a true sale if it is in your staples list.    Be logical about your staples list.  Canned lobster should not be on it ! LOL   Buy as many as you need, as many as you can ( store limits ) or what your budget will afford whichever comes first    Buy six to twelve weeks worth,   Sales run in six to eight week cycles in the east, and twelve week cycles in the west.    If you use something once a week in the PNW, you need 12 units.   
  2. Buy the so called loss leader of protein and buy enough to make your meals with it for a month.   If you eat hamburger twice a week, you will need enough to make 8 meals   Cook it and portion control it   Portion control is most important,   It cuts down on waste and makes for a well balanced meal. 
  3. Buy fresh veggies when they are lowest prices in season.   Don't overbuy unless you get a really good buy and can freeze fruits for winter   
  4. Buy dairy at the lowest price and buy enough to last you until the next sale.  If you watch, you will see a pattern.  I knew that Fred Meyer was due to have a sale on milk.   Otherwise, Costco is pretty cheap on sour cream, cottage cheese, and milk.   
  5. Grated cheese is cheapest at Costco wholesale.  Watch for sales, and grate your own if you can get it cheaper that way.  My target price for cheese is two dollars a pound   I can still get it close to that if I watch.   Grocery outlet is good for variety of cheeses.   
  6. Make meal plans with a work sheet and a matrix.  Like anything, it works better with a plan   
  7. A little work can be rewarded with cutting your food bill in half and freeing up resources for something else, or taking the stress of not having enough money to make ends meet.   
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Sunday, July 12, 2015

Day 7, main dish


Mac and cheese,homemade
frozen peas and carrots.

Next: planning your trip

In and around our town, there are several chain stores.   Two companies own the five chain stores.   We also have a grocery outlet.   Ten miles up the freeway, there is a Winco.  In addition , we have other stores that carry food.   Making sense of all, well, that could be confusing and time consuming without a plan.

Every week, four of the stores  send us ads in the mail.   Fred Meyers ad comes in Sunday's paper.
I go over the stores and circle or write  down the things that are on a stock list or perishables and protein that are a good buy.   I mark those that need an in ad coupon with a @ sign.  If I know there is a coupon for them, I add a $$ sign.

The next step is to decide  which TWO stores have the most things on your particular list of needs.
Pick two stores.   Check FAVADO for more specials and any coupon match ups.  ( more about coupons later.) check ibotta for rebates.  Don't get too excited about rebates, just note if a cucumber is the same price both stores, ibotta may give you another .20 if you purchase it at the right store.   Especially for produce, they may or may not give you the rebate.   Just take it as gravy!

When you are planning your trip, look at your worksheet to see what you,need to fill in a meal and what you need to use up.

Go, get in, and get out,   The more time you spend in a store, the mine money you are going to spend.
The more people you being with you, the  more you are going to spend.   If you pick up something, you are probably going to put it on your cart.  Don't touch anything you are not going to buy.   Unless, you are like me, and if it's something different, I want to know what the serving size is and how many carbs it has.

Bring your coupon binder, the ads, your list, a calculator.
If someone hasn't marked a price on the computer,not helps if you have the ad to show the correct price to the checker.  

You can use manufacturers coupons and a store coupon and an ibotta on one item.  Unless you are at Winco.   We don't have double coupons ( at least that I have found) and rarely are you allowed to make money on a coupon.   Like a lot of TV programs, extreme coupons is not a reality.  The only way you may be able to make money is when you shop at a drug store that has bonus points that turn into cash on your next purchases.   Be careful, they Re no bargain if they raise the price to give you restricted dollars.

The most important technique for saving money at the grocery store is to KNOW YOUR PRICES.
MY MOTHER USED TO SAY THAT SOME PEOPLE WOULDNT KNOW A BARGAIN IF IT GOT UP AND BIT THEM IN THE Butt!  Don't be that person!   There can be as much as a 75 percent difference between the most expensive and cheapest price on the SAME item.   Put that 75 percent in YOUR pocket!

2nd rule.  Don't buy sundry items at the grocery store.  That's where they make their most profit margin.  You are much better off buying paper products and cleaners at the dollar store or an off price or big  box store.   Again, know your prices.   You can almost always get laundry soap and toothpaste, deodorant etc almost free with coupons.

3rd rule
Don't buy snack foods or copious amounts of sugar coated cereal.  Most kids will just eat cereal and there is,not enough food value in them.   If it isn't on the house, they won't eat it and your budget will be much better off.   We grew up with no pop, candy, cold cereal, except cornflakes and wheat puffs on a bag, or Popsicles or Kool aid in the house.   We didn't snack between meals.   We were not allowed to be picky, you ate what was on the table, or you didn't eat.  Nothing more till breakfast.
We all survived and we eat almost everything.  Ready made stuff for the most part is very expensive and some dinner kits are ridiculously expensive and you add the food value.  You might as well just make it more nutritious in the first place.   LOL. There are a few convenience foods that are cheaper than scratch and worth the price  when found on super sale.

That being said, I always had a few items that my teenage children knew they could eat all they wanted, whenever they wanted.  At the time beef and bean burritos were a quarter.  My daughters favorite was top ramen.  We always had peanut butter and jelly and bread and cut veggie sticks.
It satisfied to hollow leg syndrome.

Big lots has everything in the store twenty percent off

Big lots haul.  I spent 19.00 and saved 58 percent of retail.

Revlon fingernail polish
Tissue ( based in dollar store prices, not the full mark up of drug store prices.
Suddenly salad.
Mustard ( big)
Candy ( Werthers  original sugar free)



   There has to be people that with the high cost of food and a limited discretionary budget, need to cut the costs of what they eat.   If for no other reason, to not throw their money away paying full price.   Sooner or later, most regular staple items will go on sale.  Some things like BBQ items only hit in May and July.   Some things like holiday baking items and turkey only hit on November time frame.   Most staple items hit every eight weeks in the south and east, and every 12 weeks  in the west.   The object of stocking is to pay the RBP on your food.   There will be things that are harder to find. I concentrate on protein, staples, and dairy.   Fresh produce I buy in season.   If something is too high I substitute something that isn't or use a frozen substitute,   Frozen veggies are fresher than what we get in  the stores.   They are picked and then packed almost immediately.

Everything starts at the beginning.   If you are  new to this you are probably overwhelmed and don't know where to start.  Start  with baby steps.   One thing at a time. Lay  your ground work. This takes some time, but once it's done, it's done; you only do it once.
  1. Write down the sources of protein your family will eat.   With us that would be  chicken , Beef, pork, beans, cheese,and eggs.   
  2. Now write down 7 to 14 meals you can make from these ingredients. Gather the recipes if you need to. Cuts of meat need to be inexpensive.  I try around  two dollars a pound.   
  3. Write down a list of the ingredients you will need to make these recipes. Now make a list of the things that are most prevalent. In our house that would be diced tomatoes, beans, black olives, chicken noodle soup, re-fried  beans, instant mashed potato packets, chili, tuna, salmon, small cans of chilies.   
  4. Start to look for best price you can find these items. This will be your rock bottom only want to pay rock bottom price.  When something goes on a real sale, you buy, as many as the store will let you ( limit with in ad coupon) , as many as you can afford, or as many as you need to buy to replenish your stock.   If we use something twice a week, I keep 24, if I use it once a week, I keep at least 12 , things like catsup and mayo, I keep one ahead.   when we use the backup. I start looking for a sale . 
  5. Just took an inventory. I can usually tell if we are short something by looking at the self  and seeing  the white  shelf bottom.   
  6. Make meal plans when you come home from the store.   Make yourself a matrix based on what your family likes and will eat.   Our matrix is 2 beef, 2 pork or,chicken, 2 vegetarian, and one fish or shellfish,   It makes it easier to plan meals to have some perimeters.   I have made a meal planning work sheet so that  can list the things we  need to use up after assessing the fridge, and a list of things I need to pick up at the store.   I then pencil in a meal plan, and finalize it when I get home from shopping.  
Next: shopping.   The plan and the trip.  

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Make it up!

Directions, not in order that my daughter did with a bag of fruit and veggies she got free to promote.

We needed to make up a recipe .  Since it was due last night.  (Can we spell procrastinate! LOL.   ), I did it on the fly.

Put  two cups product in a saucepan and cooked it with enough water to barely cover from frozen.   Drained fruit mixture into a bowl , reserving liquid.

Took 1/2 cup reserved liquid and made a slurry with a Tbls. Of cornstarch.   Returned liquid to saucepan and added slurry.   Cooked, stirring with whisk until thickened.  Added back fruit.
Served as a sauce over already cooked chicken legs.

Mixture included carrot, sweet potato, peaches.

The ads and more.

Fred Meyer ads

The paper tomorrow comes with a smart source.   You can use smart source coupons, in ad coupons or sales and ibotta on the same thing.  

Fred a eyes has yo plait yogurt for  10/4.  The smart source has a coupon for 50 off of five.   Now five yogurts cost .40 ea less .10 or .30 each.   Sometimes if you just pay  full price , they are .85 each,! There is no ibotta on them.

Cherries 1.77
Spareribs or pork chops 1.97
Milk ,99@@
Hebrew national 3.99
Corn 6/3
Blues, organic, 4.99
Broccoli .99
Cucumbers 3/2. .20 ibotta, but I'm not sure how you would redeem it.
Lettuce .99
Strawberries 2/4

Bar tells, tomorrow
Hormel  hash 1,99
Top ramen 6/99
Gummy candy .99

That's about all.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Meal day six

Day six.    Same theme ?....

The ads

The ads are always late on holiday weekends.   Also, there are no coupon inserts.   I think I have separation anxiety...just kidding!  

Strawberries 3/5
Salad kits 2/5
Chicken legs or thighs .98
Milk 1.99@@


Blues 2/5
Strawberries 3/5
Salads 2/5
Chicken .88

Five dollar Friday
Ice cream 2/5
Yo plait 10/5
Broccoli .99
Lettuce .88

Hag gens
Berries 1/3 flat 8.00
Milk 2/5
Peanut butter 1.99
Hagen beans 2/1@@ limit 6
Yo plait 5/2@@

Berries  2/4
Milk 4/5

Digital coupons
Pasta sauce .99
Ice cream 2/5

I have seen  a drastic increase in prices since Haggen  has taken over Safeways and Albertsons.   I don't really know why the attorney general ok'd that merge, but it hasn't done the prices of groceries any good.   I will really be glad when Winco gives them some competition.   Kroger has digital coupons, but I have lost my card, so I can't take advantage of them.   Prices are still high.  

I have used alternative stores to fill in with some good buys and we can still brave the ten mile trip to Winco and The five mile trip to Fred Meyers.  

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Thursday, July 9, 2015

Meals, day five

continuing with the hot weather theme......

Fruit salad, potato salad, cucumber salad, BBQ  beef sandwiches.

Dollar store and grocery outlet haul

Dollar tree and grocery outlet haul.  

Dollar tree
Chex granola , gluten free
Jello , sugar free
Cookie tins
Salt and pepper grinders full of coarse sea salt and pepper
Individual pizza crusts 2/1.00

Grocery outlet
Small pasta sauce in jars .50
Cheese sticks , 1.00
Alaska smoked salmon 5.00


Wednesday, July 8, 2015

This weeks menus , day four.

It's still not here.   Back to my normal go to.   We detoured with a date night to ourselves and a pot luck night.

Day four

Corn on cob, fruit salad , potato,salad, leftover shrimp, ribs, cherries for desert.

Day five coming soon!  

how to plan.

My food averages  1/2 price.   Our USDA stats for thrifty meals comes to 146.00 a week.  I spend 75.00.  That's almost half of the total figure and that includes keeping a stock.   Actual cost of eaten food is probably a little less.  

Eating on the cheap does not have to consume a lot of time.   I have more time now that I'm not working at a job, but still have plenty to keep me busy.  

  • I  write once a week I write  this blog.   
  • Once a week, usually Tuesday, I analyze the ads ( here) and figure out which two chains have the best buys on what we need.   
  • Once a week , about Wednesday, we clean  the fridge and take note of things that need to be used up soon.   
  • After deciding which stores we need to go to, I plan my trip.   Check FAVADO for prices on  things that aren't in the ad and coupons that might me stacked.  
  • Then, I check Ibotta for any rebates at that store that I might take advantage of.   
  • I take a cooler, my coupon  binder, the ads, and a calculator with me. All this is probably an hour expended.   
  • When I get home, I post the receipts to a spread sheet.   
  • Once a month , I download coupons,  file the new coupons, and throw away the expired ones.    
  • Once a week, I make out meal plans. The same day I clean out the fridge and list what we need to use and what we need.   
Not including shopping time or cleaning the fridge, this  is about six hours a month planning time.  

At a savings of three hundred dollars a month, that's about fifty dollars an hour.   

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Example of why you plan

Yo plait yogurt .85.  On sale for .50.  Coupon .50 off five.   Now it's .40 ( half price ) in comes Ibotta .20.   Now it's .20.   That's roughly 25 percent of retail.

Snowball effect.....take the .20 yogurt, add a glass of fruit juice, freeze in a mold ( at the dollar store or better ones at Fred Meyers) and you have icy treats for .30 instead  of four dollars.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Cheaper,---scratch or ready made!

Ok, it's three in the am and someone woke me up.   LOL

Five...or more things that are cheaper scratch or ready made .....

  1. Bread crumbs.    The last I checked , bread crumbs were 2.40 a pound!   Why throw your crusts away and pay for someone else's dry bread?   
  2. Chicken breasts.   Boneless and skinless chicken breasts are expensive.  Grill packs are a buck a pound.  You can divide a grill pack up into meals and debone the breasts and freeze them.  As an added bonus, you know where the chicken came from.   Not all chicken has a state of origin.  
  3. Lemon juice on a bottle is far cheaper than fresh squeezed.    ( not always the best on fish , but works for many things,   
  4. Seafood cocktail sauce is easy and tastes better than in a jar and lots cheaper.  No waste.   
  5. Ditto tarter sauce,   
  6. Salad dressing from scratch do not last as long as bottled.   With coupons you can get bottled dressing for free or close to free.  Sticking to a few favors assures you can use them up quickly.   
  7. Tomato soup is far cheaper from a box or can than it is from fresh tomatoes unless you grow a bumper crop.   It takes lots of tomatoes at a dollar or more a pound to make a pot of tomato soup.    
  8. Chicken soup is cheaper made from scratch!    As is chicken stock.   
  9. French bread is far cheaper from scratch than it is store bought.   
  10. Hunts pasta sauce on sale is cheaper than buying the tomato sauce to make it.   

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Monday, July 6, 2015

1024.70 a month

The amount the average family spends on food.  Hard to believe, since for a lot of people, that would be a good portion of their income.   I am maybe guessing that figure includes some serious eating out.
None the less, we are a family of four adults and a child, and we spend less than a third of that.   I am not going to pretend that we spend a hundred dollars a month on food because I did that in 1970, but we do spend around 300.00 a month on food.    I have noticed that we are spending about ten percent more this last quarter than the quarter before.

In our area, one grocery chain bought two others.   Now basically, we have Kroger and Haggens.  We do have Costco and grocery outlet and are getting a Winco soon.   I'm hoping that gives us more competition. I'm wondering if prices have gone up that much, or if I have a lot larger stock built.  Or, if there is some other reason.   I'm still at an average of 75.00 a week.

I'm dong this by using a variety of tools.   It's constantly changing, I am still learning and trying new ways to stretch the proverbial grocery dollar.

  1. Ibotta gets you cash back for buying foods that almost never have coupons. 
  2. Fav ado  tells you sale prices even when the store doesn't have ads like Costco and Winco so you can compare and it tells you of there is a  coupon and where to find it. 
  3. Coupons can be downloaded monthly on   Only download what you think you might use.   Match coupons with sales for the best buys.
  4. The Sunday paper has coupons, along with the flyer that comes in the mail with the rite aid ad. I only clip what I know I will I use.  Date  the insert and file it so that you can use it later if you find a match up.   
  5. Use the store ads to compare prices and find the RBP on the staples you need and the protein of the week and your perishables.   
  6. Pick two stores and plan your trip.   Buy only what is on your list and get on and get out. The longer you spend in a store, the more money you will spend.  Don't pickup anything unless You are going to buy it.   
  7.  Buy only amounts of perishables that you will up before they go bad.  
  8. Take a day mid week and assess what's on the fridge and use up anything that is in the edge.  Think fried rice or soup.    
  9. Compile recipes for the entrees your family likes to eat.  Make a matrix to helping meal planning.  Plan your meals on a worksheet that has a use up and a buy column before you go to the store.  Be flexible and take advantage of unadvertised sales of you see them.   I once got a whole bag of peppers for a buck, and whole chickens for .50.   Find recipes that your family will eat that are quick and easy. 
  10. Spend more time planning and shopping, and less time in the kitchen.   You get paid for shopping, not for cooking.    
  11. Once you have your basic planning done, ( that's another blog! ) it doesn't take much time to plan a trip and shop.   I don't take hours to plan a trip and I don't take twenty hours a week to coupon.   The time I do spend is well worth the effort.  It affords us a better quality of life.   It means  we can have more than just food and meds.   
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Sunday, July 5, 2015

This weeks menus, a work in the making , day 2

Sunday :  it's still hot here like the hottest it's been in years.    My take is to make salads early in the day, add to them all week, and cook a main entree to go with.   Tonight  my husband is cooking tuna melts.

  1. Mixed fruit salad (strawberries, blues, cantaloupe ) 
  2. Pasta salad with peas and peppers 
  3. Cucumber salad 
  4. Potato salad 
Costs : salads eaten all week. Some  are replenished.   
Strawberries are a  dollar at Fred Meyers.    Cantaloupe was 1.50 (1/2)  Blues 5.00 2 lbs.   
Pasta Salad was .75 .   
English cucumbers were on sale at Costco - multiples for 2.49. 
Potato salad was 3.99 at Grocery outlet.    

About 12.00 divided by four is three dollars a meal.   

Tuna melts were made from English muffins (.50) and .50 albacore tuna from wilco with a coupon.    
Cheese was on sale at Winco.    Total to serve four, two dollars.    

Monday Dinner 
Shrimp and salad 

Notes : shrimp was five dollars at Safeway's.   Bacon  Cesear salad. 

Tuesday dinner 
Part of a pot luck ( what's left) 

Suddenly salad classic , added tomatoes, black olives, peppers, parsley, 

re writing the book!

You can take almost  any recipe and remake it to suit your needs.  I have noticed with my daughter that she thinks she needs  exactly what a recipe calls for.   Not so.   You can adjust a recipe and sometimes make it better than the original.   There is a recipe circulating on social media for meat lovers Mac  and cheese.   It's got a bit too much meat to suit me and therefore , not a good on the cheap recipe.  

Use either /or a combination of leftover meat to total about 1/3 a pound for four servings

  • Cooked hamburger 
  • Pepperoni
  • Bacon 

Cook 1/2 a pound of shell macaroni until done, drain.
Meanwhile, make 1 cup of white sauce.   ( 1 T fat, 1T flour, and 1 cup milk.   Or use my white sauce mix.  
Add six  ounces of grated cheese of your choice ( 1/2 cup or so) or a combination of cheeses enough to make sauce cheesy.

Pour sauce over drained pasta in a baking dish. Stir in cooked meat.   Top with a couple of chopped green onions.  

Bake at 375 until bubbly.

Serves 4 .

I would add some frozen mixed vegetables to round out the meal.  

Notes :

  • I never lay full price for pasta .  I have paid as little as .38 a pound with a coupon for the blue box, double fiber    
  • Mixed veggies are .99 at Fred Meyers and there is a .2o Ibotta on them.  
  • My white sauce mix recipe is on a older post.   Less fat, less salt.   
  • Grated cheese is as low as 2.00 a pound at grocery outlet or 2.30 or so at business Costco.   If I can't find it cheap, I use blocks of cheese I find on sale.   Great it and sprinkle with about a tablespoon of cornstarch per 2 pound Brick   A mixture of cheeses is best.   
  • Save hamburger from your portion controlled bulk meat purchases. 
  • Turkey bacon is at the dollar store and there is an Ibotta on it if I'm remembering right   
  • There are coupons for a dollar off two normal pepperoni and you can get them at the dollar store   
Pasta.   .19
Cheese .50 
White sauce mix takes water 
1/2 pkg pepperoni .25 
Green onion @.59 bunch .10

Total cost 1.05.   

Knowing your prices and getting things at the RBP is worth the effort of you are trying to stretch a budget.   

The Sunday ads

Fred Meyers is the only store that publishes  their ads om Sunday.

Tuesday is senior day and everything, with exceptions, is ten percent.   Only private band groceries are ten percent.

Strawberries .99
Blues 2.99
Good ground beef 3 99
Dryers 2/5@@
Sour cream .99@@
Raspberries 2/5
Green onions/radishes .59
Vegetables, frozen .99
Tillamook yogurt 10/5
Lettuce ,99
Bag of peppers 3.99

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FYI. Ibotta has .20 on frozen veggies at Fred Meyers.  Makes a pound of veggies .79.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

The Snowball Effect

There is a theory in the  Do it on the cheap  community called the Snowball  Effect.  

Basically , it says if you turn the money you save on something into saving on something else, the money grows.   Like picking up more snow when you roll a snowball!   

If I save twenty five dollars on Ibotta, and spend it on a Starbucks card or movie tickets the stops.  If I get a Amazon card and spend it on something that will save me more money, my savings grows.  Maybe I buy a food processor.   Hen I make my own breadcrumbs a crust and she more money.  
never buy bread crumbs.   It is it smart to throw your bread crusts away and then pay someone 2.40 or more for someone else's dry bread.   

There are all kinds of things that would parlay money into saving more money.   Maybe toilet paper so cheaper ,  I haven't checked.  Or a blender would make smoothies if you buy them.    A fast coffee maker in the morning would save the trip to the lots a bucks coffee  stop?   A crockpot would make dinners happen when you get home from work saving take out?   
Use your thinking cap, I am sure  you can think of many more.   Cloth diapers?    Cloth  napkins!    A small freezer!   

The snowball effect.   Stretch your dollars, bye sing the savings to stretch more dollars!   

Friday, July 3, 2015

5 web sites that HELP groceries on the cheap!

I have been finding web sites lately that are a lot of help in the quest for groceries on the cheap and what to do  with them after  you got them.

  1. Betty Crocker on line cookbook.    Tons of recipes   and an ap to plug in what you have and find a recipe!
  2. Fav ado -  lets you plug in the stores around you and they will tell you what's on sale, prices and if there is a coupon for it, and where to find the coupon ,
  3. Ibotta - download and watch some easy short videos and earn  money  when you buy some groceries.   It's about the only way in this part of the country that you can make money on groceries.    Get cash for buying things that there are usually no coupons for ...milk, eggs, bananas, booze, bread, fruits....
  4.  - printable coupons   You can print two of each one.   They come out the first of the month.   Manufacturers limit the quantity printed.   
  5. Coupon grocery in your e mail box

Simple, beat the heat!

Early,this morning, I  made a pasta salad and cucumber salad.   We went to the dollar store and I picked up ice cream cookies and some Popsicle molds.   Grocery outlet netted is some potato salad.    We are having salads and open faced sandwiches for dinner tonight on the back deck where it is cool.

The kids are playing on the wading pool I bought with  credits from Amazon.   I have added some money to Ibotta account and will save them up until I get Amazon credits.    I can always use Amazon credits for toilet paper among other things.

There is a new batch of coupons on  This time I found yogurt and suddenly salad coupons and pepperoni coupons.  

Thursday, July 2, 2015


Meal planning/ grocery management work sheet.   Squares  for daily menu plans.   A box for your menu plan matrix, and columns for inventory of items that need to be use and a shopping list.  

Planning is the first step to eating in the cheap.    

Ten ways to save in your food budget

It's no surprise that the cost of groceries has gone up.   I am seeing a ten percent increase in my food expenses from the first quarter to the second quarter of this year.   It could be that we are very well stocked and the actual cost of our food at home is not  appreciably more.

Last year about this time, we both lost our jobs because a developer decided to upgrade the building we were working in.  That  left a big hole in our budget.  Coupled with the rise in the cost of living , it left me a void to fill.

I started trying to sell excess things in the house on Craig's list.  No luck.   I think they get buried in a sea of garbage.  I'm trying Offer Up.   It helps maybe to see the pics up front.
In addition we :

  • Re assessed our car insurance and got a reduction in premium, It was still a raise in the amount we pay because of price increases, but less than it would be. 
  • We reassessed our communication bill and got more for less.   More than ten percent discount. 
  • I started taking advantage of our unseasonable hit weather and hanging clothes on the line.   
  • I started filling pitchers with water while waiting for the hot water.   . I can use them to water the plants or wash fruits and veggies.   
  • I turned off the furnace and we are using fans to cool the house along with closing the shades on the hot  side of the house in the morning. 
  • I buy children's clothing and my seasonal clothes at the goodwill on senior discount day.   
I digress   Back to food.  

The USDA cost of food at  home for my husband and I using the thrifty category is 93.39.  This is the
basis of SNAP, plus the COL factor.   We are feeding ourselves and supplementing our daughter and granddaughter.   My daughter buys their specialty diet foods and my granddaughter eats lunch at school during the week.    That being said, our total cost including stocking, is 79.02 a week.   Actual cost of food eaten  would be less because we are well stocked at the moment. I'm have taken inventory and can tell better next quarter.   

Ways to cut food costs and lower your food bill. 
  • Stock.   By stocking the basic staples when the price is lowest, you save having to pay that dreaded F word...full price!   
  • Buying your protein on a rotating basis, using the so called loss leader for the week assures you the lowest prices and is a more efficient way to buy and cook your protein.   Set yourself a matrix for meal plans.   Ours is 2 beef, 2 chicken or pork, 2 vegetarian, and 1fish or shellfish.  Buy what you can find on sale each week and buy enough to portion control as many meals as you will need for the month.  We would buy enough hamburger to feed us 8 times.  Then I would make crumbles, meatballs, taco meat and a meatloaf enough for eight meals.   Freeze what you are not eating that week.   Next week, it might be chicken.   
  • Fav ado is an ap that lets you choose the grocery stores in your area and compare prices.   Know your prices for the staple items that you use on a regular  basis.   It also will match coupons.   
  • Use the ads and an ap to compare and find which TWO chain stores have the best prices in a particular week for the protein , produce, and stock items you need. Plan your trip.  The object is to pay RBP on your food.   
  • Coupons can be found for the things you need to buy.  Don't buy junk food or mixes with few exceptions.Sundry   items are not best purchased at the grocery store.   There is a dollar store for that.   LOL. Coupons are the best way with advertised real sales to purchase things like laundry detergent and shampoo.    The least amount of products you can get away with the better.   I never buy dryer sheets, fabric softener, conditioner for our hair.  We do buy color 
  • catchers for loads of brights that might bleed.   They are worth  the cost if they save a load of expensive clothes.   
  • is a website that has coupons for a lot of things.   They come out the first of the month.  There is a limit on how many you can print (2) and you have to go through a lot of junk to find the coupons for real food.    
  • The newspaper inserts are another resource.  I buy one Sunday  paper at the dollar store.  Another insert comes with our rite aid ad in the mail on Tuesdays usually.   I only cut things I regularly buy and file the inserts by month so I can retrieve a coupon if I run into a match up.   
  • Write the date in the insert.   It helps a lot!   
  • You can use multiple coupons on a product  at a store.   That is, a store coupon and a manufacturers coupon. Everywhere here, but Winco.   Winco will not stack coupons.  
  • You can also use Ibotta with manufacturers coupons, store coupons, and store sales.  Ibotta is a web site that lets you earn money on he purchase of certain products on certain stores.  It is a good way to get discount in milk, eggs, bananas, and other things that you almost never find a coupon for.   
  • Meal plans, inventory, and assessing your fridge for the things you need to incorporate into your meals before they go bad saves a bunch.   
Know your prices, buy at rock bottom prices, and use up everything.  

Four plus one is five.   Four people, one dinner, five bucks,   If you have a three hundred dollar snap budget, you need five dollar dinners ( average) to have enough to make it through the month,   
Do your math so you can budget appropriately.  

You can eat realitively healthy and not spend the farm or run  out of SNAP before you run out of month.  You can eat all month and have pantry items left on full snap.   Snap does discount your allotment of you have other income.  They expect you to supplement your allotment.  

I started this blog because I knew that there were people that have to be on snap and have not experienced the situation before and didn't know how to eat on the cheap.   They were eating crap and running out of money before they ran out of month.    You can have good food on a dime.   

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Save anyway you can!

I just got my husbands loaf of bread for five Cents!  Using Ibotta!   It was easy and it took only a few minutes.   I saved more than half on our food today . The  top pic is the things I got for  a song at the Goodwill with senior discount Wednesday.   I got a brand new industrial sized cotton yarn spool for 1.60.   I see a lot of dish cloths in my future.    LOL?  The bottom is the groceries haul.  .  All purchased at half price average.   Using coupons, sales. And Ibotta!  

1-2 priced food. Save any way you can. Ibotta is one way to save on things that never have a coupon.

Meal plans

Developing a meal plan matrix is one of the fastest ways to beat the what's for dinner syndrome.  Everything is better with a plan.   I am working this week with a thirty minutemdinnermcookbook I purchased at the dollar tree.   It is supposed to be five dollar dinner meals.  I'll believe it when I do the math.   LOL

I did a meal plan work sheet.  It has squares for seven days, my matrix, and two columns.  One for food to buy and one for food to use up.  


  1. ( Ham) and apple waffles 
  2. Chicken primavera rigatoni
  3. Eggs
  4. Sausage and sauerkraut 
  5. Taco salad 
  6. Fish packets 
  7. Chicken enchiladas 
Beef has taken a backseat to chicken because  of prices.   I still try to get two servings a week for the iron.   Beef is still the best way  to get iron on your diet.  At least the most efficient to get it naturally.   
Just my opinion based on information I have found from the USDA.   

The goodwill and/ or the dollar  tree are good sources for cookbooks or magazines for inspiration. Also the  online version of the Betty Crocker  cookbook has searching that will help you plan a meal from the  things you have.   

Thanks for stopping by

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This weeks ads , July 1st.

Things are a changing,    After the big merge between Haggens  buying Safeways and Albertsons, I see subtle differences coming.  Five dollar Friday's Safeways  were scaled down last week.   This week there are a few days of five dollar specials.   The ads are almost identical in layout and prices are more expensive.   I can't wait until Winco joins the party and we have a bit  more competition.   


Pork country style ribs 1.79
Corm 3/1
Melons  2/5

Hot dog buns .88@@
Tillamook cheese 4.99@@
Folders coffee 6.99@@
Bushes baked beans 2.49@@
Kraft singles 1.99@@
 15 percent beef 3.49
Radishes or green onions 1.00

Condiments BOGO.  I don't know of that's a bargain or not, prices  are not listed.   
Catsup is at the dollar tree for a buck and there are  coupons at the dollar tree for .50 off two.   That's the cheapest price I have seen it.  Not all stores have coupons, mi have seen them at aurora and Kenmore. I see wish vine salad dressing.  With BOGO and a coupon on for 1.00 off two, it could be a good score!   

Five dollar for five days...July 1-5

Dryers or drumsticks ice cream 2/5
Pulled pork or ribs 
2 salad kits 
Hills hire farms smoked sausage 2/5


Hebrew national franks 2/7
Tillamook cheese 5.99** cheaper at Safeways w coupon. 
Tillamook ice cream 3/10 
Berries 3.99
Hills hire farm smoked sausage  buy 6 2.99* cheaper at Safeways 


Bbq sauce .99@@
July 1-4 only 
Drumstick ice cream, dryers 2.49
Hebrew national franks BOGO?   

Bushes beans 3/5- cheaper elsewhere
Mission tortilla chips 1.79

Haggens -  my advice would be to not bother.  Everything is a lower price or the same elsewhere.   
Blues 2.00 pt.   
Hebrew national 3.99
Fry 2.99@@
Bushes beans 2/3@@