Saturday, June 30, 2018

The Basics

Groceries on the cheap takes a different process of buying and cooking your food..   The net result is that you can feed your family well on four dollars a day each.   Four dollars is the proverbial amount of money that some say SNAP is based on.

Besides eating on four dollars a day, we also grew a pantry on that budget.   One of thee premises of groceries on the cheap is to have a basic stock on hand for emergencies.   Studies have shown that when people have to worry about where the next meal is coming from, they reduce their life expectancy.

This methodology is based on principles.   The more you incorporate them into your routine, the more money you will save.

  1. The biggest:   NEVER pay full price.   Find the RBP on the things that you use on a regular basis. When you find an item that you use a lot of at a lowest possible price, buy as many as you will need until they go on sale again or as many as you need to fill in your specified amount of stock.   Keeping a four to six week supply of non perishables is a good benchmark.   
  2. Plan your meals and portion control.   Portion control is a dirty word for many people, but your doctor will tell you that it is really important for your health.   The other word is balance.   Eating a well balanced diet has always been a good idea.   
  3. Buy things at their lowest possible price in bulk quantities when it makes sense.   We buy oatmeal, rice and flour.   Oatmeal when purchased a Costco in bulk costs . 085 cents a serving. A serving of regular oats equals 4 servings of the envelopes of instant oatmeal, nutrition wise.   Flour is a real bargain when you use it to efficiently make bread and bakery items.   The savings are remarkable.   A loaf of artisan bread can cost upwards of 2.50.  The actual cost is a quarter to make peasant bread and takes about ten minutes hands on time.   
  4. Efficient scratch cooking.   Another time and money saving concept.    Besides, you aren’t eating things you can’t pronounce.  Or soap!    Yes, there is soap in some foods your children want to eat. 
  5. Plan your meals.   The best way to avoid temptation is to take it away.   If you have meals planned and prepped, life is easy even if you are tired. 
  6. Use any trick that comes your way to cut food costs.   Waste not, want not—use up bits of things leftover and salvage a little of something before you make a dish.   Pulling a little sausage away from a tube of sausage you are using for breakfast just means you can use some of it for a pizza another night.   Ibotta, coupons, discount food stores, all help in making you get more for your buck.  

Friday, June 29, 2018


This blog is about a different way of buying your groceries.   A lot of people have a lifestyle that buys just what they want when they want it.   And, if it works for them, that’s all that matters.  

Some people, however, have time or budget constraints.   Give it because they are saving for that iconic trip to Disneyland or because they have fallen on harder times and need to stretch their money.
Others, have a full plate and need to be more efficient in the kitchen.   I have heard more than one retired person say they wondered how they worked, they are so busy.   Many of us have been through working all day and then coming home to dinner,dishes, laundry, and kids that need help with baths, etc.  

This blog is based on helping people save time and money on the biggest discretionary budget item .

Knowledge is funny, you never know when it will become useful.  As an accounting major, I never understood why I needed to know what happens when you produce lesions on the upper hyperthalamous of a rat.   Knowing how to fix food when you have limited resources may come in more handy.  

I remember a Fourth of July when we went with the boat to a Hidden Harbor at what seems to be in the middle of nowhere.   My husband got the flu.   We couldn't get home and there was a small deli and no grocery stores for miles.   It wouldn’t have mattered how much money we had, what we had was what we were going to eat.   I managed to stretch the food in the six square foot pantry and bar refrigerator for a week.   Life happens , and the more educated we are, the better we survive.

I don’t take money, I am here to help people that may need to get our of a jam— time or money wise.
I can’t  do that  if I can’t  reach people.   Please share.  You never know who you might help..   Its good give people food when they need it....we do that, but it’s also good to help them help themselves.   Knowledge is power.   Pass it on.  

How did she do that?

This is one of those...not quite a five dollar dinner.   I have not counted spices or anything that cost less than a dime.   

Salmon cakes 
Seasoned rice from homemade mix 
Green beans (frozen) 

Green beans were purchased for a dollar a bag.  They are frequently a dollar a bag at Winco and Safeways.   I used a third of a bag for 2 people. 

Rice costs 2 cents a serving.   Rice mix is made from chicken or vegetable dry bouillon, parsley I dried from the garden, and spices.   

Salmon cakes were made from homemade bread crumbs with Parmesan, onion and garlic, a slice of red pepper that was chopped fine., and an egg with a can of salmon from Costco..   

This would be a six dollar dinner for four people.   
One of those days where you can still average five dollars a dinner because some dinners are a lot cheaper than five dollars.   

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Thursday Grocery Haul / QFC

QFC had a coupon for 5 percent off of 20.00 basket .

Cherries 3.74

Blueberries 3.49

Pizza 3.99

Kroger cottage cheese 1.99
Kroger sour cream 1.99

Sargento cheese 1.99 less coupon for 1.00 off two
Done twice

5 percent savings (1.31)

Total 19.85

The Franz bread store

English Muffins
9 carb a slice bread is 4/5 or 1.29 each

Bread sticks.....humungus sack. 2.00

Total 8.29
Price does not include the percentage off for hubby being old and a vet.

Total 28.15

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Fred Meyer ad

Fred Meyers; done on line, its the best I can do...if you are there I would suggest getting an ad and giving it a quick look.  

90 /10 hamburger 3.77
Shrimp 5.77
I really cream bas 2/5-Klondike -sometimes they have no sugar died
18 oz blues 2.99
Brats 2/7
Frozen beef patties . 2 lbs 7.99
Cheries 1.99
Strawberries 3.99


RITZ .99

RAGU 1.29


Chain Store Ads


Tillamook ice cream 2/7
Bush Baked Beans 2/3
Butter 2.99
GM Cereal 1.99 - look for coupons



Just for You coupons
Sweet BabY Rays BBQ .49
Hot dog or hamburger buns .49
Butter 2.49
Best Foods 2.49
Store brand ice ream 1.99
Blueberries 2.99 - limit one
Johnsonville sausage 2/5
Darigold sour cream -large 1.99

Salad including spinach .99
Cherries 1.88
Hormel pepperoni 2/7

Fred Meyers on another blog.   Ive run out of space on the reader feed.

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

How did she do that?

How did she do that....meals under five dollars.
Four people, one meal, five dollars.

Four dollar a day meals means that you need to keep a dinner for the proverbial family of four—two adults and two school aged children for five dollars.

Using foods on sale and incorporating them into meals is an age old concept.   My mother did it for years.

Buffalo Chicken salad

  • Package of mixed salad .99
  • 1/2 cucumber .44
  • 2 Roma tomatoes  .50
  • 1.2 lb chicken, cooked from froze in the insta pot, then pulled with wing sauce tossed.   .49
Total 2.42

That leaves plenty for bread, tortilla chips or bread sticks and a fruit desert. 

I got yogurt for .50 for white chocolate and .38 for fruit yogurt.  Hint:  you can freeze yogurt in its own container.  A good desert with protein and calcium.   

Monday, June 25, 2018

Monday Kitchen Management

Part of the concept of 1/2 price groceries is efficiently cooking.   The idea of spending a bit more time organizing , planning and shopping, and less time cooking a meal is more efficient and cuts food costs.

Working from a meal plan, you can take advantage of anything you have an abundance of and precook or wash all your veggies etc at the same time.  This saves time and money.   You are more likely to scratch cook even when you are tired if your work is half done.

Reminder of meals:

Nacho Pot Pie
Sweet Potatoes, shredded chicken
Tomato soup, ham and cheese toasted sandwiches
Slow cooked chicken enchaladas chilli
Salmon, baked potatoes ,

  1. Wash kitchen floor 
  2. Wash and disinfect countertops and sinks and drains.
  3. Clean out refrigerator and dump anything dead.
  4. Print recipes from Betty Crocker for Nacho Pot Pie and Chicken enchalada chilli 
  5. Cook a batch of chicken breasts 
  6. Wash carrots, potatoes , and salad makings 
  7. Cook black beans 
  8. Straighten pantry. 

Things that helped keep costs down.   Eggs were .79 at Safeways, limit 2.  I purchased two even though we had 1.5 dozen in the house already.   Don’t hesitate if something is versatile enough to stretch your food dollar.   We like hard cooked eggs, even the child and cooking them in the oven makes the job easy.   We always have breakfast for dinner once a week.  Its a family affair. 

We got bread for free this weed—and healthy bread at that.   

Milk was a dollar a gallon.   Pudding is a good way to add protein and calcium to a dinner that might not have a lot of protein.  

Chicken breast was purchased in a case lot for a dollar a pound.  The chicken and pork that I purchased in bulk I incorporated into the regular budget at four dollars a day.   The hamburger was a bit more costly and I have been prorating it at 2 pounds a month.   We tend to eat hamburger once a week.  It was almost impossible to incorporate 100 dollars worth of meat into a months budget.   

Jan-March average weekly spent.   51.98
April -June so far average weekly spent. 48.96

4 dollars a day for 2 people is 56.00

Sunday, June 24, 2018

Meal Plans 6/24/18

Meal Plans are a necessary component in a plan to reduce your food costs.

Our meal plans usually are predicated on a matrix that is based on protein sources.   It provides variety and balances cost factors.

  •  Nacho Pot Pie (Betty Crocker) 
  • Pizza (scratch ) 
  • Sweet Potatoes and shredded chicken w wing sauce, salad 
  • Tomato soup, ham and cheese toasted sandwiches
  • Slow cooked chicken enchiladas soup (Betty Crocker) 
  • Baked Salmon, Baked Potato,salad 
  • Breakfast for Dinner 
  1. Use broth from bouillon or scratch broth, scratch taco seasoning, milk instead of cream , cooked and shredded chicken , not deli, and fresh cooked beans. 
  2. Pizza is scratch and cost about a dollar for a cheese pizza.  
  3. Sweet potatoes were cheapest at winco.-like 1/2 the price  of Alberways.  Shred chicken enough for Nacho Pie. The wing chicken , land the chicken enchilada soup. 
  4. Tomato soup is from a 2.00 box bought at GO.  You could also make scratch. 
  5. Baked salmon from winco.  
  6. Breakfast for dinner is a mainstay for Sunday dinner.  We all cook for a family experience. 

Saturday, June 23, 2018


Like almost everything, concept is key.  Once you get the concept of anything you are trying to do, its the jumping off point for success.

The basic concept of not paying full price for anything that you use on a regular basis is key to saving a lot of money.  People have seen as much as 1.50 price difference between the same item depending on where and when it was purchased.

It isn’t as much what you buy as when and where you buy it.

This necessitates going to two stores a week.   Buying food once a month, while efficient, is not the best for your budget.  Most of the time the word convenience means $$$$.

You can, when you shop with a plan, get in and out of a store in a half hour.   We don’t spend any more time in two stores plus than many people do going to one.   Know your store layout.   It saves going up and Dow every isle looking for something.   If you dont have a reason to go down an isle, don't go there.    Stay away from the paper goods, pet, household goods, and personal heigene isles.
Most of those things are overpriced compared to other stores.   Impulse buys count for 70 percent of a stores profits.   Their profit is your loss.

Go with a plan.   You don’t necessarily need to go to the point where you make a list.   Do your due dillaglence in making a meal plan, noting from the check off sheet what perishables you don’t have, and check the ads to see if there are any rock bottom prices (RBP) on what you use.   Check the ads for your rotation meat.

Rotation meat is a bulk meat you buy that is versatile and averages two dollars a pound.   We can still get FF boneless, skinless, chicken breast for 2.00 a pound.   Whole or half pork loins are between a dollar and 1.69 a pound.  And good hamburger can still be found for under three dollars a pound.
Add beans (Dollar Tree). Cheese (2.00-2.49 a lb ) and eggs.  Eggs need to be at a buy price of under 1.50—closed to a dollar is preferred.

Rotation meat is when you buy a four to six week supply of a bulk protein that is at a low price and rotate the protein you buy per week.  You are buying your protein at the lowest possible price and you are portion controlling the bulk package into meal sized portions.   It saves time and money.

Thats what this blog is about,   Saving time and money.   Our grocery budget is four dollars a day.   We also supplement our grandchild and grow a stock.   Its a good thing to be prepared for emergencies—big or small.   Life happens, and the least amount of stress you put on yourself the better off you are.

The thesis is that if you can do it on four dollars a day, spending more wouldn't be hard to do.

Friday, June 22, 2018

Friday Final

We hit the motherload with specials at safeways.   Taking advantage of specials and freebies:  bread and cranberry juice., is a good way to stretch your food dollar.   Use your imiganation to incorporate them into meals.   A lot of breakfast meals can cost as little as a quarter.

  1. Oatmeal , banana, splash of milk 
  2. Egg, toast .06
  3. Pancakes , fruit 
  4. Yogurt, granola
  • Toasted cheese sandwich 
  • Soup from scratch 
  • P b and j 
  • BLT’s 
  • Bean and rice burritos 

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Thursday Safeways Haul

total spent 15.23

Cranberry juice -0
2 kraft sharp cheese slices 3.98
2 dz eggs 1.58
Shredded cheese .99
Shredded cheese .99
2 percent milk .99 gal
2 lbs ground turkey 3,98

Cheries 2.72

Safeway’s haul and meals

Safeways has a number of really good prices on basic necessities using digital coupons.  I suspect that the future life of coupons will become less paper and more digital.  That , unfortunately, makes it harder to buy multiples of items and eliminates our ability to shop stores for the best prices to match with coupons.  There are still ways to make the best use of your money to feed your family the best meals possible.   Balanced meals have never gone out of style because it is the best nutrition.   

Signature Kitchens Cranberry Juice:  FREE
Sour cream, 24 ounces 1.49
Cream cheese 1.29
Kraft slices cheese 1.99
Shredded cheese .99 ( also on Saturday digital -kroger ) 
Milk -gallon .99
Eggs limit 2 .79
Ground turkey 1.99

Now what to do with what you got.   These are all really good RBP .   The trick now is to figure out how to incorporate them into your meals. 

  • Cranberry juice can be drunk as is, or with ice. You can thicken it and use it for a syrup on ice cream, pancakes, or drizzled over peaches.  
  • Sour cream is a  good base for chicken enchiladas. , an addition to baked potato bar, topping for chilli or other soups.  
  • Cream cheese can fill celery sticks, did anyone say cheesecake?   There is a good recipe for cheesecake in the insta pot. Also, a lot of recipes on pinterest use cream cheese for sauce or filling for chicken breasts. 
  • Sliced cheese is pretty self evident. 
  • Shredded cheese is at the RBP.   And useful for quesadillas, mac and cheese, sandwiches, topping for cassaroles ...
  • Milk:  besides drinking and on cereal, you can make bread pudding, or pudding.  Scratch pudding is not much more work than the box kind and a lot cheaper. 
  • Eggs:  an inexpensive source of protein. 
  • Ground turkey can be added to other ground meat for meatloaf or makes good taco filling. 

Thursday Safeways Haul

Safeways Haul for 6/15/18

Cheese .5.00
Tillamook ice cream 2.88
Milk 1.79
Salads .99:   Shreds, salad, spinach express salad
Strawberries 2.50

Total 19.01

Saturday ‘s Winco haul

Green grapes 1.98

Romas .98

Yams .98

Tater tots 2 lbs 1.68

Bread 2.78

Salmon 4.98

Shredded parm 1.98

Beans .48

Olives .78

Green chillies .66

Total 20.88

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Chain store ads 6/21/18

Again, we didnt get any ads in the mail his week.   

Just fort You digital coupons 

Milk 99 gallon 
Eggs .79
Bread .49
Ground turkey 1.99
Bubbly water free 
Salsa 1.79

Blueberries 18 oz 3.49
DiGiorno pizza 3.99
Shrimp 5.99

Buy 6, save 3
Sargento cheese 1.99-coupons?
Sour cream -large 1.99
Cottage cheese 1.99
Natural choice lunch mat 2.99

Fred Meyers 



Tuesday, June 19, 2018

How did she do that? TUESDAY

Remember, Its not what you buy as much as when an where you buy it..   A little planning is key .
If you decide at ten o’clock at night that you want some chicken noodle soup and you hit the nearest store , you are probably going to pay three times the price as if you plan and buy that soup on sale.

Not everything on a sale ad is a sale.  On sale is just saying that you can buy it.   A real sale is a marked down price or a price that is less.   Knowing what price is the lowest price is key.   It doesn’t have to be on everything in the store.   Simplify, buy at low cost, and always have food in the house.

BBQ pork sliders.

Sometimes adjusting for what you have is a  good thing.   We have hamburger buns from the hamburgers we had earlier.   There is not much sense in making slider buns and then throwing away the hamburger buns.  The smaller buns that are store brand are a lot less expensive , especially at a holiday time.

Buns: .88 or .44 for a half package

Pork Roast is from a Pork Loin.  It was 1.29 a pound.   Slicing your own roast and chops takes a matter of minutes, almost no talent, and saves a lot of money.   Center cut porkchops can be 3.50 a pound.   The difference between the dollar or dollar twenty nine that I am paying, and 3.50 is two dollars a pound.   This is huge.   Pork Roast for a smaller family does two meals. Pork Roast “Sunday Dinner” and a bbq slider another day.   Slice roast thin, and heat in bbq sauce that has been watered down a little.   You can add cheese if you want.

1.5 pounds of thinly sliced pork roast 1.94

Salad :   1.00
We use head lettuce these days.  I would prefer to buy romaine.  The darker the leaf , the better food value and it lasts longer.  But, there have been too many times lately, that there have been ecoli outbreaks.   We will grow our own soon.   Meanwhile, we are using dollar a head iceberg lettuce.   Tomatoes have been .88 a pound.   Lettuce  and tomato salad is good.   I add cucumber when I find it.

There is also a cucumber and tomato salad that is really good.  Cost is probably close to the dollar or more like 1.50 if you don’t get cucumbers cheap.

1.94 .44, 1.25 for salad is 3.63  condiments are not added.   Still, way below the five dollar budget.

Monday, June 18, 2018

Monday Kitchen Managment.

Kitchen management is a tool that helps save time and money in the kitchen.   By rotating deep cleaning chores and doing some meal prep in one kitchen session, you can save the set up and clean up time and save the hectic dinner time.

Recap of Meals:
Tomato, roasted red pepper and carrot soup quesadillas
Minestrone , bread
Stuffed chicken breast, baked potatoes, green beans
Salmon, rice pilaf, fruit
Enchiladas, lettuce, tomato
Breakfast for dinner

  • Wash kitchen floor 
  • Clean and disinfect countertops and sinks and drains.
  • Clean refrigerator and dump anything dead 
  • Wash veggies 
  • Mark the meal plan with the time to take chicken out of freezer. 
  • Make rice mix 
  • Make bread 
  • File recipes 

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Meal Plans 6/17/18

Meal Plans are a tool that saves time and money.   Because GOC operates on the assumption that you have a stock of versatile basic food , you write meal plans after you grocery shop.   Having a stock of food on hand, you can always do a pick up meal.  
  • Tomato, roasted red pepper and carrot soup, bean and bacon quesadillas  
  •  Pizza      
  •  Stuffed chicken breast, baked potato, green beans 
  •  Salmon, rice pilaf , fruit cup
  •  Enchiladas , lettuce, tomato 
  •  Breakfast for Dinner 
  •  Minestrone , bread 

  1. Tomato, roasted red pepper and carrrot soup uses red peppers purchased for .88 last week.  And part of the milk bought for 1.79.   Usually the regular price of milk here is 1.79 for a half gallon rather than a whole gallon.   Bean and bacon  quesadillas bump up the protein.  
  2. Pizza is a mainstay:  everyone likes it and it can be made for 1.00 a pizza.  Save toppings from other meals .  
  3. Stuffed chicken breast uses spinach purchased for a dollar at Alberways.  
  4. Salmon is frozen. Pilaf uses peas purchased for a dollar frozen. 
  5. Chicken or beef enchaladas.  Chicken enchaladas have a homemade sauce made with chi;clean stock, mild diced peppers and sour cream. 
  6. Minestrone uses more spinach.   
Incorporating items found on sale helps to keep your food costs down.   Working with a stock of inexpensive , but versitle foods and scratch cooking .  Using every available way of saving money on food maximizes your savings.   


Saturday Concepts

What not to buy at Grocery Outlet ( Or any other discount overstock store)

  1. Dented cans 
  2. Items out of date :  except items that truly never go out of date.   Pasta has an eight year shelf life.  Honey never goes out of date.   Cereal a little out of date is a little stale, but won’t  hurt you.  Canned goods are good for a while out of date.  Check the internet for exact numbers.   I tend to be really careful of anything acidic.   
  3. Anything that is more expensive than other stores.   Yes, everything at any store is not necesssarily a good buy.   It always goes back to knowing your prices.   
  4. Stick to tried and true brands.   If you are adventurous, try an off brand by buying one.   
  5. I steer clear of produce and meat.   The meat is prepackaged .   
  6. Do buy deli that is name brand.   The sliced cheese, while more expensive than grated, is good. We have been getting it for two dollars a package.   The grated cheese is not a bargain . 
  7. They carry Nathan's and Hebrew National hot dogs.  There are just some things that are best bought high quality.   Dont buy dollar hot dogs.   They are full of nasty things.   
  8. Many things are on the edge.   IF you intend on eating them immediately, its OK.  W bought bacon for 1.50 a package yesterday.  It had a pull date of today.  It usually means its good for a while.   I cut it up and put it rendering in the pan while I put the groceries away and fixed our lunch.  When it was done, we removed it with a slotted spoon and drained it on paper towels. It hit a zip lock and the freezer.   I will use it to season greenbeans, or bean soup.   A little bit goes a long way to season a dish.   
  9. I have been getting diced tomatoes or tomato sauce for really cheap:  like .33 and .50 cents.   It can be 1.58. Don’t buy quantities of things close to the pull date.   Only buy what you can safely use before the pull date.  This is where having meal plans and knowing how often you make certain dishes works.   You can incorporate those items in your weekly meal plans and us them before they expire.   A few days past doesn’t hurt.   Nothing is going to expire exactly on the date it is marked.   
  10. Tilipa.   Just Tilipa......never anywhere!  Its garbage fish.   Its hard these days to get good fish.   Dont skimp.   There are places to economize and places not to economize.   

Friday, June 15, 2018

Recipe Friday- pasta with garlic sauce

Friday recipes will be an attempt to incorporate things on sale this week into a meal.    Even if you are not in the PNW, things on sale are typically things in season.  Bacon was on sale for 2.99 at Fred Meyers last Saturday and Spinach is on sale at Alberways this week.   Barilla Pasta is a dollar fat QFC.  It is on sale for 1.25 at Alberways today only.  That is 25 percent more.   It pays to know your prices and make your decisions accordingly.

Pasta with Garlic Sauce

1/2 package of spaghetti , cooked
8 ounces of bacon

Two handfuls of fresh spinach
1/2 small onion , chopped
1/2 tsp garlic powder

1 1/4 cups milk
3/4 cup sour cream
2T butter.
1/4 cup chopped walnuts

Salt, pepper to taste

  • Cook bacon in skillet. 
  • Remove  bacon with a slotted spoon  and reserve some of the drippings. 
  • Add chopped onion and garlic powder to the skillet and cook until the onion is softened.   
  • Add the spinach and let it wilt.  
  • Scoop vegetables to the side and add milk, sour cream and butter.   Stir sauce together.   Gradually add in the cooked vegetables and sprinkle with bacon.  
  • Salt and pepper to taste 
  • Sprinkle with 1/4 cup chopped walnuts 

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Winco Haul

Special Note:   We are on a limited spend month.   We have plenty of stock on hand and are over budget a little because of buying bulk meat.


2 dz eggs @ 1.14

5 lbs carrots 2.28

Celery .78

Frozen french fries 1.37

Total 8.08

Peppers .88
Cucumbers .88
Total 3.52

Total spent 11.60

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Chain Store Ads


QFC went to a one four page spread ad.
Not much there.

Kroger cheese slices 3/5
Bread 3/5

Barilla pasta 1.00

Fruit pie 2.99



Hot Dog or Hamburger buns .79@@
Milk 1.79 @@

Cottage cheese/ sour cream 2/5 - large
Strawberries 2/5

Fred Meyers

Cantaloupe 2/4

Buy 6, save. 3

Sargento cheese 1.99$$
Cream cheese 2 pack 3.49
Nathan’s 3.49

2 lbs strawberries 3.99
Grapes 1.99
Lettuce .99

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Dinner: How did she do that?

Vegetable platter container we got from Winco after Christmas for a couple of dollars. 
Filling it on Kitchen Management Day is prepping for snacks and a quick veggie/fruit course anytime during the week.   Just add more as it is depleted.

Sausage, cheese, and diced mild peppers quiche.   
A quick and easy main dish that is low carb.   

How did she do that?   

2 eggs .20
Milk .13
Bisquick .15
Sausage :  2.00*
Chillis  .33*
Cheese .50

Total 3.31
Serves 4 


I held back a half cup of cooked sausage that had been de-fatted for a pizza on Tuesday.  
I also held back 1/2 the peppers for pizza or re-fried beans (scratch) -no fat.
Place cooked meat of choice in bottom of a baking dish.  Add cheese and peppers or diced green chillis.   Mix eggs, milk and bisquick in the blender (liquids first) and blend until homogeneous.  Pour over the proteins and bake at 400 for for 25 minutes or until tests done.   

Its easy, made in a few minutes.  And well within a five dollar dinner range even wih a veggie tray.   

Monday, June 11, 2018

Monday: Kitchen Management

Kitchen Management is a tool that saves time and stress during the hectic dinner hour.  

Our meal plan form has spaces for the weeks dinners and a grocery list of the perishable things that we use on a regular basis.   Taking a very quick invenemtory is a good tool to facilitate meal plans and kitchen management.  

Recap of meals :

  1. Mac and cheese 
  2. Pizza 
  3. Chicken nuggets, oven fries, veggie platter 
  4. Chicken rice casserole 
  5. Salmon cakes, rice, green beans 
  6. Tacos, refried beans in the insta pot.
  7. Breakfast for dinner.  

  • Wash carrots and potatoes with vinegar water.  Use a dedicated brush. 
  • Mark the meal plan with a reminder to thaw chicken 
  • Clean refrigerator and dump anything dead.
  • Note things on the edge to incorporate into meals. 
  • Clean and disinfect counters and clean sink drains. 
  • Wash kitchen floor. 
  • Put the stove vent screen through the dishwasher.   
  • Wash kitchen window.   
  • Fill veggie tray with washed veggies. 
  • Run vinegar through the coffee pot. 
Stairsteppng meals saves time and money.    One batch of chicken cubes makes chicken nuggets and chicken and rice cassarole.   One batch of rice makes the carb for salmon dinner and the chicken and rice casserole.  The toppings for the pizza are set aside from the quiche last week. (Freeze) The taco kit purchased at the grocery outlet was the price of a package of taco shells and includes tacos sauce and seasoning.  You can add your already cooked and de- fatted hamburger to a small pan, with a little water and the taco seasoning and heat the meat.   It heats quickly from frozen.   Slicing lettuce and tomatoes and pulling the grated cheese from the refrigerator takes a matter of minutes while the meat heats up.   Insta Pot refried beans have NO fat and take a matter of minutes to gather ingredients and set the pot.   

Efficiently scratch cooking is a key in lowering your food bill without taking a disproportionate amount of time to accomplish the task.   

Buying in bulk simplifies the shopping experience.   By minimizing the amount of things you have to buy, the shopping trip takes less time and effort.   

Simplify, buy at a RBP in bulk if it makes sense, and always have food in the house.   

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Meal Plans -week of June 11, 2018

Meal plans are a good tol to organize and keep  yourself on track .   They save time, money, and stress.

  • Mac and Cheese , glazed carrots : comfort food
  • Pizza 
  • Chicken nuggets (homemade) oven fries, vegetable platter 
  • Chicken rice cassarole 
  • Salmon cakes, seasoned rice, green beans 
  • Tacos, insta pot refried beans, 
  • Breakfast for dinner.   

There is a faction out in U tube land that is low spend month.   Its when you declare that you have enough food to ‘eat down’ the pantry.   It is a winning thing. 

  1. Mac and cheese, the great comfort food.    Easy and satisfying.   
  2. Pizza is a staple.   Everyone likes it and a cheese pizza is less than a dollar. 
  3. Chicken nuggets are handmade with a breading of homemade bread crumbs, nuts, and parmesean cheese.   Oven fries use almost no fat.  
  4. Chicken and rice cassarole uses the rest of a package of chicken and is just good. 
  5. Salmon cakes are from Costco salmon.   Seasoned rice is a homemade mix.   Using your own mixes gives you the flavor of favorite mixes without the things you can't pronounce.   
  6. Tacos are from a kit bought at GO.  It saves money because the kit cost what taco shells cost, but has taco sauce and seasoning in it as well. 
  7. Breakfast for dinner is a favorite and a family affair, we all cook.   I remember putting our ten 3 yo granddaughter at the buttering bread station.   She was about half way through when she announced “ I can’t  believe I get to do this!”
I just read that Seattle has some of the most expensive groceries in the nation.   I teach people how to feed their family on four dollars a day and keep a pantry.   Please consider sharing this blog. I would like to help more people.   

Saturday, June 9, 2018

Pics in review -SATURDAY

Pasta salad 


Steak, mixed veggies, mashed potatoes

Quiche, salad 

Edamame black bean salad :  Betty. Crocker 

Vegetable bean soup

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Chicken Salad

  • Summers is time to start thinking of dinners on the deck or patio with a nice glass of iced tea or lemonade.    

You can still enjoy a hearty salad and keep your costs down.

Recently, Barilla Pasta was on sale at Kroger (QFC) for a dollar.   Instead of using a deli chicken, you can save a lot of money by cooking a breast in the insta pot or poaching it in the microwave.   We have also just roasted a whole chicken or cooked it in the slow cooker.   The recipe for slow cooker chicken is on another blog and the hands down easiest way to cook a chicken if you are only interested in cooked chicken and not necessarily a crispy skin.


  • 1 cup orzo pasta (raw) cooked according to package directions 
  •  1.5 cups shredded chicken 
  •  6 cherry or grape tomatoes.   - half if using cherry 
  •  1 can sliced black olives
  •  1 stalk celery, cut 
  •  3 T fresh parmesean cheese.   

Place ingredients in a large serving bowl and toss well with a vinaigrette.


Background -what is this blog anyway ?

Welcome.   I started this blog six years ago because I was having requests from some single moms that needed to feed their families and were ‘running out of money before they ran out of month.    

I was a single mother for seven years.  It was during a time in America when we had double digit inflation and I had no raises for three years.   It was sink or swim and I had to swim.   I read everything I could find about economizing .   Food included.   Food is the biggest part of our discretionary spending.   Fifty years later.....I am sharing what I learned with anyone I can help;.   
I am still learning.....

This is about well balanced meals.  Its about watching the amount of salt, sugar, saturated fat, hydrogenated oil, HFCS, and GMO’s.   Its about efficient scratch cooking. (  It’s not as scary as it seems.). It’s  about not paying full price for anything.  It’s about using every bit of what you buy if possible. It is about always having food in the house.   It is about basis.   

On Sunday’s, I publish a meal plan.   It’s ideas. It is more about the thought process than telling someone what to eat.  Meal plans keep us organized.   

Monday is Kitchen Management Day.   Again, kitchen management can happen any day it is convenient for you.   Its is a tool to make the sometimes hectic dinner hour less hectic and make it easier to stay on track.   

Tuesday is new here.   It is “ How did she do that?”   .   It takes a very basic inexpensive dish and maps out what it cost and how it is made.   Tips and tricks.   We live in the  7th highest COL in the United States for prospective.    Not everyone will get the same ‘bargains”. I study other parts of the county’s prices.   A lot of them are cheaper.   My guess is that some are more expensive too.   Its all relative.   

Wednesday is for Chain Store ADS.   I post the best of the buys.   DT means Dollar Tree.   @@ means there is an in ad coupon for a product.   $$ means there are coupons out there for the product to lower the price.   Good coupons are harder to find these days.   Main sources are and inserts in the newspaper.   Digital coupons are coming into their own.....   Kroger stores have Saturday specials that are sometimes fruitful.   Not everything in a grocery ad is a SALE.   By essence of the word, SALE just means that you can BUY the item.    RBP is the lowest price you might ever see for that item.   It is what you strive for.   You should have a BUY price in your head or in a small notebook.for the things you buy on a regular basis.  Unless  something is a real necessity and there are no substitutions, don’t cross over that price.   

Thursday is Haul Day.   Sometimes with pics, sometimes not.   

Friday is Recipe Day. 

Saturday is concept day.   It is a rant, or a comparison, or an idea of how to cut costs on food.   

This is all written to help you s t t e t c h your food dollar.    Studies show that people that have to wonder where the next meal is coming from have a lower life expectancy.   It isn’t being a hoarder to have a month to six weeks supply of food basics in the house.   It is smart planning.    Bleep happens. Being prepared is a good thing.    It isn’t had to do when you buy your food at a RBP.   

We have stuck to a four dollar a day budget and have a stock with that amount of money.   It can be done and it doesn’t take a lot of time and not that much effort after you get organized.   

Grocery Outlet Haul ; THURSDAY

Had to go....we were out of nuts ...LOL

Total food  15.49

Total slip 41.4
Savings 46.05

This is unusual for us to buy this much extra stuff.  Nuts were on a big sale and we stocked because they are a special buy with a holiday theme.   Buying holiday or seasonal things past their season that far still in pull date is a good way to get good food cheap.   Fractions of what they cost if they are a flavor that is the current season.

Coffee. 5.99
Tomato sauce .50 can
Nuts 2.99

Fruit snacks .50

Pumpkin bar mix .50

Tri colour tortellini 1.50

2 lbs strawberries 3.99

Bacon 1.48 12 ounces.   This is dated like now.   We took it home and I cut it with a pizza cutter and rendered it down while I put the food away.   I intend to freeze it and use it for flarvoring in dishes.

White chocolate yogurt:  Yoplait . 3/1.00

Safeways Haul 

I bought a bunch.   Next week I am going to be recovering from surgery, so no haul is planned. 
Total before discounts was 80.00 , then the discounts started posting.  I’d remarked to the clerk that 
this was like extreme couponing without the coupons.   LOL. End result minus charity jpurchases and drinks was 33.73 

Organic maple syrup 3.99
Kraft sliced cheese (4) 7.96 
Sour cream .99

Frozen veggies (3) 3.00
Yoplait yogurt (10) 3.80
Bread .98
Turkey Breast Lunch meat 2.99
Grapes 4.22
Raspberries and blueberries 5.00

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Chain store ads

Fred Meyers has to be on line.   I haven’t figured out how to get paper unless I go to the store.   Its five miles, thats not happening.  LOL

QFC has gone to a one sheet of paper ad.   Its 4 pages of mostly organic and booze.   I don’t buy booze.

Strawberries 2 lb 2.99
7 percent hamburger 3.99
Organic grapes 1.99
Milk .99
Lean cuisine entree 1.88
Multi colored peppers....88
Cucumbers .88

Buy 5, save 5
Goldfish .99
Cheese 32 ounces 4.99
Tide or. Paper towels. 4.99


Signature farms chicken breast 1.77
Lean 7 percent beef 3.77

🥑  or tomatoes .77
Berries 2/5
Grapes 1.99

Bread .98@@
Yoplait .38@@
Pasta .69

Cheese is a 7 ounce package and it is on sale for 1.99 on fab 4.  That means you are paying over four dollars a pound for cheese.   My RBP is 2.00 and 2.50 a lb is the top of my buy price.


Tri tip roast 3.88
Foster Farms chicken breast 1.99
Peaches .99
2 bs berries 3.99

Buy 5, save 5

Dryers 2.49
GM cereal 1.49$$
Classico 1.99
Goldfish .99
Hebrew national 2.99
Cheese 4.99

BACON 2.99

Tuesday, June 5, 2018


Fact:  we eat on less than four dollars a day.   Four dollars a day is some  magic number for the lowest price you are supposed to get buy with.  We didn’t start out with that number in mind.   I have always been economical, but I set out to teach people without a lot of money how to stretch what they have.   I kept adding ideas and trying new things until IT happened.   I was writing a class on cutting  your grocery bill in half and did some math.   I surprised  myself.

We eat on less than four dollars a day.   Our BMI is within healthy perimeters.   We have food in the house before payday.   We don’t eat tahini topped broiled eggplant for dinner.   We have eaten on four dollars a day budget for almost a year and a half.   We have grown a stock on that, so actually we eat on less.  Now, caviat time, we do not include any drinks beyond coffee and tea and snacks in our food budget.   Extra drinks and snacks can be eliminated in hard times and they aren't a necessary part of a good balanced diet.   If you have a separate budget, you are well aware of the cost of your garbage eating.   LOL  We don’t feed a 17 yo linebacker.

I am thirty or so dollars over for the year.  But, I bought bulk meat.   I suspect that by the end of the month, we will be back on track and have meat in the freezer.  

The key concepts are :

  • Simplify your grocery list.   Identify the foods you use on a regular basis to cook your meals.  We all have  a list of ten or so meals we prep on a regular basis.   List seven to  ten that use inexpensive sources of protein.  Inexpensive sources here are average two dollars a pound.,   Yes, there is good food for two dollars a pound average.    Find the lowest possible price for those foods.   The average family has 10-15 foods they buy on a regular basis.   NEVER pay full price.   Buy enough bulk - usually 4-6 weeks worth of that food— and wait for another sale.   
  • Meal plan .   The old adage : make  a plan, or plan to fail works here.   Doesn’t have to be fancy, just jot down a list of main dishes.   
  • Buy fruits and veggies that are a dollar or less in season.    Buy dairy on sale.  Most dairy has a two week to four week life.   Buy a months worth of eggs and other dairy when its on sale with a coupon if possible.   
  • Efficient scratch cook. Avoid most ‘boxes’ .  
  • Buy things in bulk when they make sense.   When you buy something that has a enormous shelf life and you buy it in bulk, you don't have to buy it again.  You’re done.   Soda, salt come to mind.   I bought a five pound bag of salt.   I’m done.   I have enough for the rest of my life, my daughters life and probably well into my granddaughters life......LOL.  Flour, rice and oatmeal are our go to’s.   They are cheap and they save a lot of money. 
  • Try new things.   It helps to mix things up.   
  • The key is to know how much of something you use on a regular basis and do not over buy.  No food is going to do your family any good if you are feeding it to the garbage disposal.  

 Simplify, never pay full price, always have food in the house.

How did she do that? TUESDAY

Vegetable Bean Soup ...another miracle worker.....six quarts of soup feeds a family well.   Its low in carbs and with a loaf of bread serves six.

Peasant Bread takes then minutes total hands on time and that is split between two days.   In the time it takes you to pick up the mail and hang up your coat, you can have a batch of bread dough waiting on the counter developing .

The soup:

Sauté 2 celery ribs and 2 large carrots, cut in small slices.   Add olive oil and some. Italian herbs.
Add to the slow cooker or the insta pot that you program on slow cook.   We use the leaves as well as the ends of the celery.   I save the ends for vegetable stock.   You can grow more celery from the stub end of the celery bunch.   It’s a good lesson for children.   They have fun watching it get bigger every day and changing the water.

Add 2 cans of diced tomatoes .   A full quart of any stock you choose.   I keep chicken, tomato, vegetable and beef boullion on hand for those days when I dont have scratch.   In bulk, the cost of he teaspoon you put in a cup of water is minimal.   Beef is the exception, Better than boullion is m9or expensive but we don't use it often.

2 cans of beans....not necessarily the same.   Beans are .50 at Winco lately.   IF you make beans in the insta pot, they cost less than 02 a 1/2 cup serving.   The four cups you use for this recipe cost .16.   Beans would be cheaper if you bought bags in bulk, but unless you have a dry large family, they would not be used up fast enough.

Celery and carrots :  .45
Beans .16
Tomatoes @ .39 can equals .78
Total 1.39

You can add pasta or orzo to the pot if you want to stretch it.   I have been getting Barilla pasta for a dollar....either at the regular stores or at the DT.

Monday, June 4, 2018

Kitchen Managment 6/4/18

Kitchen Management is a tool that saves time and money.   By grouping tasks together, you spend less time in the kitchen and meal time is a lot less hectic.    Dinner is prepped and cooking dinner is a snap.  It’s taking a page out of the professional cooks book.   Having the ingredients repped, cuts your time in the kitchen dramatically.   Efficient scratch cooking is a key component to four dollar a day eating .

Reminder of Meals : 
  • Sloppy joes
  • Pizza 
  • Chix Pot Pie 
  • Pork stew, bread 
  • Soup bread 
  • Dad cooks 
  • Breakfast for Dinner. 

Kitchen Management
  1.  Wash kitchen floor 
  2. Clean out refrigerator and dump anything dead.
  3. Wash and disinfect counters and sinks and drains 
  4. Wash carrots, potatoes with vinegar, strawberries 
  5. Make veggie tray. 
  6. Straighten pantry 
  7. Make bread dough 

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Meal Plans for week of June 4, 2018

Meal plans are a tool to keep you organized and saves time and money.   It doesn’t have to be time consuming, just a quick jot down of main dishes is all you really need.  Most of us have a good idea of what we serve with what.  The basics of protein,starch, and vegetable/fruit is time tested.   Our grandparents have lived to be 98 years old, why mess with tried and true.   The basic difference in my opinion, was that they ate basics and there wasn't all the garbage snack food, pop, and easily purchased sugar based treats.  We all love them, but they are not good for us.

Simplify, use a RBP for food, always have food in the house.
Your attitude on shopping changes greatly when you are not destitute for food.  When you don't have that fight or flight reaction because it’s finally ‘payday” and the cupboards are bare.

Take a quick look at the fresh foods you have and note what you need to use up.   Incorporate them into your meals.  Look at your schedule and adjust for any busy days.   Soup is a good go to when the family is going to be coming home at different times.   The slow cooker is a good tool.

  • Sloppy Joes, Oven fries, veggie platter 
  • Pizza
  • Chicken Pot Pie; yogurt parfaits 
  • Pork stew, bread 
  • Vegetable bean soup, bread 
  • Dad cooks: Mom in for surgery 
  • Breakfast for Dinner. 
Sloppy joes use the buns we got for .88. Hamburger is already cooked and de-fatted in the freezer.  Dinner in less than fifteen minutes.   Cut and soak the fries in the morning.   Wash in vinegar water, place in deli container with paper towel.  Homemade sloppy joe sauce .  Heat with hamburger.   
Veggie platter is done at kitchen. Management time and replentished all week.  Good for snacks and I picked up hummus on sale.  

Pizza is at a cost of less than a dollar for a cheese pizza.   Scratch dough cost .19 even with the raise of the cost of flour.   Add toppings.   It is easy to pull out toppings as you are cooking other things and freeze.   When its time for pizza, everything is chopped, cooked, and ready to roll. 

Chicken pot pie is a Betty Crocker recipe and uses frozen mixed veggies.   Easy with a bisquit crust.  Less carbs, no bottom crust.. 

Parfaits are yogurt, granola (homemade) and berries 

Pork stew is from the 1.29 a pound pork loin.   Cooked in insta pot with carrots and potatoes.   

Vegetable bean soup recipe is on a blogpost.   I now make beans from scratch that cuts the cost down considerably more.   Peasant bread cost .25 a loaf.   Easy, peasy and good. 

Breakfast for dinner isn’t necessarily the cheapest dinner of the five dollar dinners.   Eggs are still realatively cheap.   Its any bacon etc that you add that bumps up the cost.  We recently got bacon for three dollars a POUND at the GO.  It is Oscar Mayer.   Still, a quiche is a good thing for dinner.  It is easy and saves a lot of money.  None of these meals are over the five dollar mark, it just takes buying and efficiently scratch cooking.   

Saturday, June 2, 2018

Opinion :Zaycon chicken

Zaycon is a company that literally brings you chicken breast straight from the farm.    We tried it when it was on a one time only price of .99 a pound.   You have to order 40 pounds and it is not individually packed.   It is packed in bags of about ten pounds.

You order and prepay for your chicken about 60 to 90 days before you get it.   There are specified pick up spots at a town near you and a window of time to pick up your product.   We picked the next town over and traveled about 5 miles.   I can see where this wouldn't work for a working family unless you have a neighbors or family member that was free that day.   We knew they were coming and could make a concentrated effort to eat down the freezer.

The breasts were huge, which wasn’t necessarily a bad thing, but I had to cut them in half and they were still 1.25 pounds.  For a moral family where 4 people ate chicken, this would not be a problem.   There are two of us and a small child so I cut the tenderloin off and bagged the rest of the breast.   The tenderloin, I cut into cubes for chicken dishes or chicken nuggets (homemade) .  This took about an hour and a half.

This all worked out well, but, because the price is normally a lot more money. we would probably not do it again.  They came out recently with a price of 1.29 if you bought 80 pounds.   Maybe if we needed them, and I could share with another family.   Not happening any time soon .  LOL.   We eat chicken or pork three times a week.   This will last us a long time.

Chicken breast cooks in the insta pot in 8-15 minutes depending on the thickness of the breast.
This does not give you a crispy crust or great appearance, but if you are using it for a recipe like chicken pot pie , it leaves you with about the same appearance as if you poached the chicken.

Boneless, skinless chicken breast here run about 1.99 a pound lately.   Sometimes split chicken breast with ribs are 1.50.   You can cut the ribs off fairly easy and cook the ribs in a slow cooker .   April Holly Smith gave me the great idea of putting chicken bone to cook over night in a slow cooker and putting them through a sieve in the morning and saving the stock-(freezer or can) and picking the bones.   You can get at least another dinner out of the bones.    Add vegetable scraps and some herbs.

Friday, June 1, 2018

Friday Recipe day

Sometimes it is a pleasant surprise when you have an abundance of a particular item and find it necessary to google the ingredient for new ideas.  Chocolate zucchini muffins comes to mind.  The Facebook pages these days are full of ideas.  Unfortunately, most of them look really really good, but probably not what your doctor wants you to eat.   Anything with  bacon and cheese in it can’t be all bad....can it? LOL

Today I saw french toast bites.  Looks like a little work but I can see where a child especially would think it was great.   They just cut the crusts off of bread and cut the bread in cubes.   They made an egg mixture with egg, milk and vanilla.   Dipped the bread and fried it off the same as you would if you were making regular french toast.   They sprinkled it with sugar and cinnamon .  Kids would like it and it would be less messy and more portable if need be.   Take breakfast to the beach?  

Another one I saw lately was one I had forgot about.  Sometimes , my mother would make Bisquits with cheese.  Roll your dough like you would for a cinnamon roll, fill it with grated cheese and herbs and cut it in slices.   Bake off according to regular baking powder bisquit directions.   This is a good alternative to ‘bread’ if you are having a main dish that hasn’t a lot of protein.  

Pudding is another good desert to serve if your meal is lacking enough protein.  Add bananas and you have a fruit serving too.   Even trying to eat on four dollars a day, you can still keep fresh fruit in the house.  

Potatoes have gotten a bad wrap lately, potatoes are full of protein and good vitamins.   Depression era recipe books are full of potato recipes.   It’s not hard to adapt them to more healthy, modern versions.   Potato soup is good and one of the recipes that I usually serve with cheezy bisquits.   Together its carbs, but also protein and calcium.   Active children need the carbs and protein.   Moderation is the key.  

One way to keep costs down and your waistline too, is to avoid having desert every meal.   Having cakes and pies on a special occasion, or just on Sunday Dinner is probably a good option.   Most doctors will probably tell you that the ingredients in all of those cakes and cookies are not the best option for your health.   Again, moderation is the key.  I think that you can reduce the sugar in many recipes, use recipes that incorporate other good ingredients (zucchini comes  to mind.  There is also carrot cake and muffins, you can replace some of the flour in some recipes with whole wheat flour. Chocolate is supposed to be good for you.

Chocolate Waffles.   They are the same as regular waffles, but have some cocoa powder in them.   We don’t make them often, but they are a favorite.   I also make a parfait with plain yogurt, fruit, and homemade granola.   Its good and full of a balance of grains, protein.

Cassarole are a good and easy dinner.   There are some people that got burned out as children on cassaroles—-ahh.   The intent of the sheet pan dinner.   They are coming into vogue but have been around for years.   Oven roasted veggies are a good alternative to boiling them.   The roasting seems to concentrate flavors and not boil away the nutrition.   Oven roast potatoes, carrots, onion , radishes, and parsnips and turnips if your family will eat them and you can find them inexpensive enough.   The radishes are a pleasant surprise.   They take on a sweet, rather than  sharp taste.  Just line a aluminum sheet pan with parchment, toss veggies with olive oil, salt, and pepper.  Bake at 350-400 degrees until vegetables are tender.   I bake them at whatever temperature that I need for the meat in the oven.   Usually 400.  

My daughter did new potatoes with garlic last week.   They were really good.  

Looking for new recipes, and thinking out of the box, can mix things up and make dinner more interesting.