Thursday, January 31, 2019

Hauls to 1/30

Grocery outlet

Celestial seasoning tea 1.49
Elbow macaroni .33
Blue cheese 1.00
Pepper jack slices 2.00
Swiss slices 2.00
Total 8.15

Big lots
V 8 2.40
Marshmallows .76
Total 3.18

Ice cream 2.99
Potatoes 1.99

Total 16.31

3 pasta @.49
Milk .99
Brats 2.77
Diced ham 2.00
Butter 2.50
Pork shoulder 6.29
Total 18.02


Roma tomatoes 1.40
Bell peppers .98
Olives (2) 1.56
Green chili 1.38
Pepperoni 1.78
Low carb taco shells 3.48
Turkey 2.88
Celery 2.96
Total 17.28
Grand total 51.61

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Dinners in Pictures

Ham and cheese quiche, pear and blue cheese salad 


Start or tuna casserole. I forgot to take a picture.  

Garlic fries, chicken wings , celery sticks 

Tomato salad, fries, sausage 

Baked potatoes, green beans with tomato and red pepper flakes 

The best of the ads 1/30

The best of the ads .  I still haven’t seen any case lot sales this year.


Draper valley  whole chicken  .99

Oranges 4# 2.99
Grapefruit 5# 2.99

Digital, can buy 5 * Thursday to Sunday
Sliced cheese 1.49
Chicken wings 4.99

Country style ribs  1.99
Roma tomatoes .99
Grapes 1.99
Tillamook ice cream 2/6 must buy 2

Milk 1.99@@

Barilla 1.49 - my buy price is a dollar and a lot of times, I can get cheaper with a coupon, sometimes at the DT.

Fab 4 Sale
Another case of it is NOT WHAT  you buy as much as it is where it when you buy it.
Best foods mayo.  2.99 - I have some in my pantry that I paid .67 for with coupons and sale.  It’s a good idea to keep one ahead,  running out in the middle of making a salad is not a good thing,

Sweet baby rays 1.39.   My best price  on that was .54.   The most I ever pay is a dollar.  Use coupons and  buy in the summer holiday picnic bbq time.

Salad dressing is almost always simeth My youmcan find sales and coupons for. Q.67 is my buy price and the closer to a dollar is better.

The one bargain here is the hamburger and hot dog buns at .89.

Fred Meyers

Foster Farms chicken - whole, thighs, legs, breast BOGO

3# clementines 2.99
Avacados  .88
DiGiorno 3.99
Grapes 1.99
Yoplait 10/5$$

Buy 6 save 3 net cost
Ritz 1.49
Goldfish .99
Chunky  soup .99
Chili, Nalleys .89
Sour cream .89
Mission tortilla chips 1.49
Kroger ice cream 2.29
Cheerios, Frosted Flakes 1.99$$
American beauty pasta .49

Digi , up to 5 third to Sunday 
Sausage ropes 1.88
80 percent ground beef 1.97
Red Baron pizza .99
Cheese slices 1.49 

Senior discount 10 percent off private selection and regular non food merchandise is with in ad coupon and Tuesday feb 4th . Some restrictions apply 

Insta pot 6 quart 79.99 with in store coupon and you get a ten dollar gift card.

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Retailers Dirty Little Tricks

It should come to no surprise that retailers have studied our shopping habits in order to extract as much money from us as possible,   Knowing their tricks, you can make the best of their strategies .

  • 70 percent of our purchases at the grocery store are impulse buys. Its 80 percent in England. 
  • Impulse buys means that we are not being logical about our decisions,   This could speak trouble. 
  • 50 percent of any given cart is usually liquids and snacks.  Cutting these off your grocery list can save a lot.   If you just have to have the pop and chips, set aside a different ‘entertainment’ budget so it’s really evident how much you are spending,   
  • The verbiage  10 for 10 in an ad, is to entice you to buy 10.  Unless it specifically states buy 10, you don’t have to buy 10.   
  • It is no accident that the snack attack and bakery items bombard you as you walk in the door.   Its a good idea to not go to the store hungry or uptight.   Your resistance is down and you will spend more.
  • Stick  to your list. Make a list, or at least know what categories you are shopping for. If you shop to replentish stock, take a quick inventory so you have a good idea that you need dairy, and produce, and quite possibly a rotation protein.   Do keep a list of staples that you are noting are dwindling. Watch for a RBP on those things.   
  • Don’t impulse buy, but do take advantage of an unadvertised special if the price is at your buy price or below if you can readily use it.   One time I walked onto QFC and Local chicken was .50 a pound because they needed to be cooked that day or the next.  I bought three and went home and cooked them.  It was then that I researched and found the easiest way to cook a chicken.   
  • Offering basket coupons is another way to get you into a store. Pay attention to the minimum amount that you need to spend.  The closer to that minimum amount you come to, the more percent off you are saving,   Be sure to include the coupons you may have on items so you don’t come up short.   Only buy things that are at or close to your buy price.   It is  not a good deal if you buy things that they have already marked up the 20 percent they are giving you for instance.  
  • Manufacturers pay slotting fees to get to display their merchandise in preferable places.  Notably the end caps and middle shelves.  Some chains get upwards of a million dollars for the privilege.  You have to know that the companies are going to still make a profit and that cost is going to be reflected in your purchase price.   Look up and down.   Consider the store brand. Those brands are mostly name brands that manufacture for the stores.   The cost is remarkably different.  Mild green chillies at Winco for Winco brand are .66.  The name brand is 1.28.  
  • Knowing where things are on the store helps.   You can, for instance, pass a lot of hamburger buns at Winco until you get to the bread isle and find the cheapest Winco brand buns.   We are talking 1/2 price.   
  • If a store is offering hot  dogs on sale cheap especially on a holiday weekend, you can bet the buns will be full or an inflated price.   This is why you shop at two stores.   
  • Shopping  at two stores gives you the best selection of produce and with some ad watching, the  best prices on any particular item on your must have list.  That being said, being flexible can save a lot of money.   
  •   Certain stores are have a reputation for the best price on certain things.  Fred Meyers has a huge bag of English muffins for 3/5 all the time.   It used to be by the eggs, but now that they remodeled, I will have to hunt it up again. 
  • Going with a clear view in your mind of what you are specifically looking for is you best hedge against falling for the impulse buys.
  • Winco has been having a freezer near the door, skip the  bakery and snacks, and The check the freezer.  It usually has bargain meats. Again, know your prices.  
  • Some items will have instant coupons on them.  Be sure to read the fine print and remind the checker to use the coupon. 
  • Winco will give you six cents per bag you use that you brought .  It he,os to remind them of that too.   

Monday, January 28, 2019

Monday Kitchen Management aka meal prep

Kitchen management is a tool that Saves time and stress at dinner time.  By prepping  food for dinners and tackling a little deep cleaning , life is just a bit easier.

Reminder of meals

  • Fajitas, rice 4.98
  • Pizza  1.27
  • Chicken adobo, rice 1.64
  • Potato soup. .73
  • Beef stew 2.68
  • Tuna casserole 3.03
  • Breakfast for dinner varies 
Total dinners for foir people less than 20.00.  
  1. Wash kitchen floor
  2. Clean and disinfect countertops and sinks and drains.
  3. Clean refrigerator and dump anything dead 💀.
  4. Note what needs to be used up. 
  5. Wash potatoes and carrots with vinegar water and dry. Place on a bowl that wil allow air circulation, 
  6. Mark on meal plan the day before having chicken to thaw chicken ,
  7. Straighten the pantry, 
  8. Spot clean cabinets 
  9. Wash kitchen linens, 

Sunday, January 27, 2019

Meal plans

The old adage of make a plan, or plan to fail is a good one.   Meal plans save time and money and answer the question, what’s for dinner,

Using some kind of a matrix helps keep planning down to a nano minute— or maybe five.
Prices are for four people

  • Fajitas , rice  4.98
  • Pizza  1.27 including pepperoni 
  • Chicken adobo, rice 1.64
  • Potato soup .73 not including toppings 
  • Beef stew 2.68
  • Tuna casserole 3.03 
  • Breakfast for dinner varies 

  1. Using pulled pork and peppers bought for a dollar each, onions were 3 lbs for a dollar. 
  2. Pizza is a mainstay.  With scratch crust, it costs 1.27 we got pepperoni for .02 a slice . 
  3. Chicken adobo uses chicken thighs , purchased for .78 a pound, Idaho grown 
  4. Potato soup is an insta pot recipe and takes three minutes plus cutting potatoes, carrots, and celery.  Top with bacon, cheese, sour cream or chives. 
  5. Beef stew,  add rolls or biscuits 
  6. Tuna casserole uses Costco solid albacore tuna,  noodles left from chicken soup. 
  7. Breakfast for dinner is a family dinner where everyone cooks.

Saturday, January 26, 2019

Bulk meat and four to six week rotation,

The government shutdown is a good reminder that bleep can happen when you least expect it.  Anything from an weather related snag to an earthquake or illness.  Having a four to six weeks supply of food is a good thing.   It can be done even on a low food budget, it just takes some planning and paying attention to prices on food.  

Buying things on sale to replenish your stock instead of going to the store and buying just what you need to get through the day or week is the key.  This drastically lowers your food bill.

Yesterday, we went to Winco and QFC.  That’s another key. If you go to two stores a week, you get the best of two worlds.

We had not purchased meat in a while,   We have chicken and hamburger in the freezer and a few pork roasts and chops, sausage.  I try to limit our processed meat.  .

QFC has pork shoulder for a dollar a pound .   The smallest we could find was six dollars. I plan to cook it in the insta pot in two batches.  6.29.  Savings 19.05.  Tacos,  , bbq sliders, enchaladas.

Brats were 2.77. That’s good for about three meals for the two of us,

Diced ham was 2.00.  It is good for omelettes, to add protein to soups and beans or to add to a quiche.

Winco has a large pepperoni oni bag for less than than the  dollar store price and it looked like it was less fat.   I still use a paper towel to absorb some of the fat and load pizzas with vegetables so less pepperoni is used. 1.78 for 70 slices.   DT is 1.00 for28.

We also bought turkey lunch meat for 2.88. Total savings on QFC was 40.74 and that was 68 percent
My goal is to have the savings be 1/2.  I want to save as much or more than I spend.

My goal is to spread the pork and turkey out over the next month to six weeks,   We already have boneless  chicken breast and some hamburger, cheese, eggs, and beans.  

We bought a six pack of French bread.  I see Dagwood sandwiches in our future.

Taking advantage of sales, rotating what you buy, knowing your prices and using coupons are all part of slashing your food bill.

Or average food bill for last year was about five dollars a week under the four dollar a day budget we set for ourselves,  (56.00) and we do share with granddaughter.   We still grew a stock.

Keeping a six  week supply of non perishable food hedges off disaster.   Most dairy can be bought on sale with a month pull date.  Basics can be bought in bulk,   That leaves you weekly fresh fruits and veggies.

Our outlay was 17.00 yesterday.  We got veggies, a lot of meat, pasta, olives and green chilies, butter, and low carb tortillas.  

  • Peppers and shredded pork fajitas 
  • Brats and sauerkraut 
  • Brats and oven roasted vegetables 
  • Tacos
  • Enchaladas. 
  • Ham and cheese pizza 
  • Ham and vegetabke quiche 
  • Ham and bean soup , or potato soup 
  • Dagwood sandwiches 
  • Pepperoni pizza
  • At least five more pulled pork meals 
  • At least six more pepperoni meals 
  • One more sandwich meal 
Total of at least 22 meals for 15.61 or 1.04 a meal 

Friday, January 25, 2019

Ideas for meals - low cost

Something Different .  It’s been over a month now since the shutdown and things may be getting a bit more tight.  There are creative ways to make good meals.

  • French Toast, fruit , sausage or bacon if you have it
  • Loaded baked potato bar uses inexpensive potatoes and can use up bits of anything that sounds good. We often have them if we have leftover chili.  Taco meat, cheese, sour cream, chives, bacon, just about anyth8ng,   
  • Impossible pie.  Uses a bit of meat and cheese or vegetable and eggs, milk, and bisquick,  you can make your own bisquick, 
  • Depression stew.  Potatoes, carrots , and any meat you have.  I remember my. Other adding a little bacon and some meatballs, 
  • Meatball subs.  “Noreen’s Kitchen” on u tube has a good recipe for rolls,   Add homemade French fries.  Meatballs are two dollars for almost a pound ( equivalent of a pound of raw meat) at Winco.  ARMOUR. Brand. I have found coupons for them 
  • 1/2 lb of spaghetti, pasta sauce, and some parm.  Spaghetti can be found for as low as .59.  Pasta sauce has been a dollar lately.  Parmesan cheese - the real stiff is cheap at Winco and is a  treat that can upscale almost anything. Sometimes Barilla is at the dollar store, 
  • Chili fries, 
  • Nachos. Huge bags of tortilla chips are at Costco, but you can also get so,e at the dollar tree or make your own 
  • Pizza is cheap and can have just about anything on it.  Buffalo chicken pizza takes a bit of cooked chicken, ranch or blue cheese dressing, cheese if you have it and we add chopped peppers. Dollar store pepperoni, any wetback. 
  • Potato soup.  Add carrots and celery.  Uses only a cup of milk and some chicken broth.  Bouillon can be cheap.   
  • Tomato soup.  Make baking powder biscuits with a little grated cheese on them.  Roll dough like you were making cinnamon rolls and sprinkle cheese on it,  roll it and cut into slices, bake off just like you were making the biscuits. Homemade is cheap if you have diced tomatoes, we get the organic pacific roasted red pepper. and tomato for two dollars when we can.  Add blue cheese and basil of you like those flavors  yum.  Blue cheese was a dollar at grocery outlet.   
  • Vegetarian chili. 
  • Rice and beans , add a red sauce and SASON
  • Enchiladas,  use dollar store tortillas, beans. Cheese, shredded chicken or pork. Make sauce.  We isle red for meat and beans, or green for chicken. Pork shoulder is .99 specified days at qfc this week.  Shredded pork goes a long ways,   Tacos, pulled pork sandwiches, enchiladas.  
  • Vegetable bean  soup comes in at a bit more than two dollars for a Six quart pot. You can do a lot of things with carrots and celery. Onions help too.   Onions were three pounds for a dollar at Winco,   Carrots are 2.28 for FIVE pounds.  Save the peels after you wash them with vinegar for stock. 
  • Sausage (brown and serve in a pinch DT) eggs, pancakes. 
  • Chicken noodle soup.  Add homemade noodles, noodles from the Dollar Tree, or dumplings.

Thursday, January 24, 2019

Hauls to 1/23

bread store
Many things are 4/5.
Seniors and military on Wednesday and Sunday get 10 percent
And you get 1 free thing for 10.00 and another when you reach 15.00.
2 loaves regular bread
English muffins
Hoagie rolls
2 pkgs  hambuger buns
6 French bread loaves
Chocolate donuts
Slider rolls


Note bagels alone were 2.50 at qfc.



Butter 2.50
Crescent rolls 3-2.00
Ham 3.50


Total 43.81

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

The best? Of the chain store ads

Blues 3.88

Draper valley breast/thighs BOGO
Note:  this may or may,not be a bargain, the price is not listed.
I am not a fan of Draper valley, bad experience twice.  It is from Washington ,
In their favor, they did give me ten dollars so I could go buy Foster Farms.
I am sure the chicken  was good, it was just a nasty butcher job.

Buy 6, save 3
Milk .99
Goldfish .99
Dreyers 2.99
Dave’s killer bread 3.99
Ritz crackers 1.99
Cheerios 1.99 $$$
Clementines  3.99

Fred Meyers
Half pork loin BOGO as with others, the jury is still out on wether or not it is a bargain,  it should be between a dollar and 1,69 a pound.

Buy 6, save 5
Dave’s bread 3.99
Cheerios 1.79
Marie Callender’s  enteees 1.88

Not much there, I did find good buys  at grocery outlet in the  last week.

Note : artisan bread is 3.79 at Alberways,  it cost a quarter to make a round of bread and ,30 to make loaves of French type bread,   The time....about 10 minutes hands on time and that is spread between 2 days.  In the time it takes to take offd your coat, hang it up and sort the mail, you can have bread dough started.   Bake it off the next day.  It doesn’t even take up refrigerator space.  

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

The principals behind survival food shopping

I have done two blogs about survival shopping.  Some people are effected by the government shutdown because they are working without pay;  some aren’t working and not getting paid.  Some have had January and February snap money in January and don’t know where or when they will get any more .

The basic principal is to buy the basics that you don’t  already have first.  With a bulk rice, beans, and flour and a few things you need to add to make real food, you could go a long time.  Truly,  not very fantastic meals but survive.  Then, with what you have left, you can take a specified amount and fill in with specials and make decent meals. Maybe not what you are used to, but good meals none the less.

I remember a time when my dad was hurt at work and he wasn’t making any money.  We were supposed to get Labor and Industries, but it finally came well into his healing period.  My oarents used savings to pay for their mortgage  and utilities, and we stretched the pantry and freezer as far as we could.  We are liver, and depression stew, and a lot of bananas that were given to us.  My dad hated liver, but he ate it without complaining.   You just do what you have to do.

Taking the basic supplies, you can study the ads and add the ingredients you need to make meals.
First, check the meat ads if you eat meat.  Chicken is a good start.  You can make at least four meals for a proverbial family of four.  Adding meat to a casserole, pot pie, enchiladas or tacos stretches the meat.  Chicken noodle soup for four servings cost me 1.63 for the pot of soup.

Carrots and celery are generally inexpensive and are versatile.   That is a key issue. Apples 🍏  are under a dollar a pound in the fall and winter.  Anything close to a dollar is good. Frozen vegetables can be found for a dollar a pound.  If you don’t have a stock, you need to buy just what you need, so a meal plan based on REAL sales is necessary.  Try for a meat that is versatile and try to get enough to stretch into the next week.  After a few weeks of that you will start getting more variety.

Breakfast for dinner is a good option,   With your flour, you can make pancakes or waffles, and make applesauce and turkey bacon is a dollar at the dollar store.  Or, make eggs, English muffins and orange slices.   English muffins here are cheapest at Fred Meyers NOT in the regular  bread isle, but near the eggs, or cheap at the bread outlet.   French Toast is another option.

Bread is cheap to make.  Peasant bread costs a quarter to make.  Big Family Homestead is a I tube channel and she teaches how to make cheap  bread,   They also have a lot of really inexpensive recipes and ideas.

Bread and soup make an inexpensive  meal that is comforting and filling,   Potato soup with carrots and celery and potatoes uses some chicken stock and a cup of milk.   Chicken stock can be free.

Chili will use your beans and some diced tomatoes and stock.  Add meat if you have it.

Rice and beans uses tomatoes too.   Both potatoes and diced tomatoes are cheapest here at Winco.

Pizza is a mainstay around here.  Kids usually love it.   Pizza dough made from scratch costs .19. Add   Some red sauce.  You can buy it at the dollar store and freeze it in ice cube trays, it takes two cubes to make a pizza.  Or, buy an 8 ounce can of tomato sauce and freeze the rest.  Add some Italian seasoning.  An 8 ounce can should cost about a quarter,   Any more than that you are better off at the dollar store.  A months worth of pizza will cost you five bucks.  Find cheese for less than 2.50 a pound. The trick is to be frugal.   Add lettuce salad if you have enough.

There is always diced ham for around 2.25 on the deli section.   Add it to soup or eggs. Vegetable omelette's are good and eggs are still a dollar a dozen here.   Of you aren’t here, check Aldi.   I’m seeing them there too.   When they are a dollar , try buying more than a dozen, like four dozen.   They are a good staple and can fill up a family cheap,

Anything you can get for a dollar  and feed the family, is a good bet, generally.
Make biscuits and cream chicken and frozen peas.  Use up every bit of a chicken or anything else you make,  our chili from yesterday is becoming a topping on a baked potato bar.   Leftover  spaghetti
Can be reheated in a baking dish with some cheese on top.

A grocery list can start with whatever you need to fill in of the basics, like eggs,  then find a meat on a real sale. And add fruit , vegetables, dairy and any dry goods you need.  If you find pasta on sale for less than a dollar, buy a few weeks supply, like four weeks. Remember four servings is a HALF a box. I would try for a twenty to twenty five dollar a week budget.  That makes for a hundred dollars a month.  Don’t  forget the bulk foods isle and Grocery Outlet.   I got pasta for .33 for a almost half pound last week.

Good luck and we will hope all his gets rectified soon.  I a, positive of the legislature had to live in the same circumstances,  it would have already been a done deal .

Monday, January 21, 2019

Kitchen Management aka meal prep

Kitchen  management is a tool that saves time and money in the kitchen. It makes meal time a lot less hectic.  A few minutes when you have time without interruptions, can save a lot of time becaise you are cleaning up once and things are peeled for dinner cooking.

Reminder of meals

  1. Chili 
  2. Pizza
  3. Baked potato bar 
  4. Chicken pot pie 
  5. Chicken parm 
  6. Ham and Swiss sliders 
  7. Breakfast for dinner 

  1. Wash kitchen floor.
  2. Clean out the refrigerator and dump anything dead 💀. 
  3. Clean the outside and top of the refrigerator. 
  4. Clean and disinfect countertops and sinks and drains, 
  5. Wash the potatoes and carrots with vinegar water, 
  6. Make the chili in the insta pot on slow cook. 
  7. Organize the pantry, 
  8. Make pudding 
  9. Make rice crispy treats, 
Notes : we got pumpkin flavored marshmallows a while back, so we are making rice crispy treats.   One way to save money is to buy seasonal flavors after the season,   I just purchased a Christmas blend of tea.   It is still good, and it still is enjoyable.   

Taking advantage of every kind of sale you can is a way to cut your budget for consumables. Big lots has a twenty percent sale a couple of times a year.   Buying things ahead that you know you are going to use is a way of saving money.  It all ads up.   We bought our name brand liquid soap for less than the knockoff at the dollar store.  It was two dollars a gallon.   We just fill pump bottles.   It saves the landfill and our budget.   

Every little bit helps and that is how we have been able to eat and grow a stock on a budget t of less than four dollars a day.   

  • Never pay full price.  Prices on food can very as much as two dollars for the EXACT same thing and the exact same brand. 
  • Know your prices on  the things  you buy on a regular basis.   Use a small notebook that you can carry in your purse if you need to or out it on your phone if you have a note app. 
  • Buy in bulk when it makes sense,  you are saving the landfill and your budget.   
  • Buy your meat on a rotation basis when it is at its lowest price.  Buy enough to eat that meal an allotted number of times in a four to six week period.   Ditto other protein sources,  
  • Buy the things you use on a regular basis when they are at their lowest prices and keep a four to six week supply.  This hedges disaster when it might arise, anything from a government shutdown, or a snow storm, or sickness.  It’s just piece of  mind not having to get to the store 
  • the minute payday happens. Studies have  shown that not having food in the house can lower you life expectancy,  
  • Meal plan,  it just saves time and money.  Make a plan or plan to fail. 

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Meal pictures

Chicken soup in the insta pot. Cost 1.63


Chicken quesadillas, salad


Pork chops. Bread dressing with apple and Craisens, mixed vegetables.

pork chop , apple compote, baked potatoes

Burrito Bowl



It saddens me that people that haven’t had to seriously cut corners before have been thrust into the situation through no fault of their own.

On a frecious blog, we talked about getting basics .  Some people already may have some of this, but if they don’t there is a list.  Bulk foods can be purchased at Costco, but if you have a sams club of bjs I’m guessing they have them too.   We only  have Costco here,   

  1. 20 # bag of flour 
  2. 25# rice 
  3. 10# oatmeal 
  4. 25# pinto beans 
  5. Jar of yeast 
  1. Vegetable oil 
  2. Butter 
  3. Eggs
  4. Salt, baking powder, baking soda 
  5. Sugar 
  6. Dry milk 

With the basics, a lot of things can happen.
Flour can make : 
Muffins, pancakes, pizza crust, bread, dumplings, biscuits, tortillas, pie crust, impossible pie , and much more . 

Beans and rice make a complete protein. 

Now, set aside a small amount of money per week to fill in and make meals,  work off of the sale ads in the paper.  You are looking for any meat your family will eat for two dollars a pound or less.   Chicken here is .88 for a whole chicken.  I would buy 2, one for this  week, one for next at that price.  Chicken hind quarters are often .59 a pound in ten pound bags.  Here, we find pork sirloin for 1.59 and sometimes pork loin for a dollar.   ( we live on the 7th highest COL in the lower 48) . 

After finding a meat, look for what you need to fill in to make meals.  
Potatoes, diced tomatoes, carrots, celery come to mind. 

The dollar tree has a lot of food, some from China .  They also have a few things that are made in USA and a good buy.   
  • Name brand pizza sauce.  Freeze it in an ice cube tray and pop it out intoa zip lock bag for the freezer.  We use 2 cubes per pizza. 
  • Tortillas are a dollar, or you can make them yourself. Quesedias take cheese.  Don’t buy it at the DT, though.  It is not real cheese. 
  • Gnocchi 
  • Pepperoni 
  • Barilla pasta sometimes. Note four servings is a half a pound box. 
  1. Pizza.  Easy crust in a food processor or by hand. Cost is a dollar a pizza if you use cheese purchased at 2.00 a pound.  2.50 a pound is my target price.  Of it isn’t that or lower, I don’t buy it. 
  2. Chicken noodle soup.  I provided four servings at 1.63.  That was based on the Target Store price of .99 cents for noodles and chicken thighs we bought for .78 a pound.  You can make noodles from scratch. Carrots and celery.
  3. From a chicken : avoid whole pieces of chicken. You should be able to get two meals from a whole breast, another from the dark meat and one or two from the bones and other meat.  Chicken pot pie, chicken soup, chicken enchiladas, chicken and stuffing, bbq chicken legs and thighs.  chicken pizza. Many more check out Betty Crocker on,one cookbook. It is free and full of ideas.  Remember, just because it calls for a name brand doesn’t mean you can’t substitute scratch.
  4. From pork : pork loin can be a dollar a pound.  Cut it up yourself into  roasts and chops,  make stew meat or stir fry out of the tapered ends. 
  5. Pork sirloin can be roasted or cut into stew meat or tips over rice.  
  6. Cheese and eggs are a good base for many meals. Try for 2.00 a pound cheese, and eggs as close to a dollar as possible. Breakfast for dinner is a good way to cut costs.  Some French toast or pancakes and fruit is good.  Look for bacon ends cheap.  Fruit up and drain it well.  It’s good addition to soups and omelettes. Also vegetable omelettes are good and inexpensive. 
  7. Add beans to some ground beef to stretch tacos or beef enchiladas.  Chili is a good stretcher.  Use leftovers to make a baked potato bar.  Kids love it. 
  8. Make your own chicken broth from bones. Or use chicken bouillon. It is easy and takes a matter of minutes.  Use a slow cooker or insta pot. 
  9. Potato soup is a good stretcher.  Add carrots and celery and use bacon crumbles for garnish or croutons made from dry bread or snipped chives from the garden. 
  10. Add biscuits or bread to a soup meal.
Peasant bread takes ten minutes hands on time and costs a quarter.   And, the ten minutes are split nbetween 2 days.

Meal plans

The old adage make a plan, or plan to fail works here.  Having a meal plan saves time and money and a lot of stress at the dinner hour.

We ate a lot of pork last week, so this week we will concentrate on chicken.

  • Chilli 
  •  Pizza 
  •  Baked potato bar 
  •  Chicken pot pie ( crescent rolls) 
  •  Chicken parm 
  •  Ham and Swiss cheese sliders , oven fries, vegetabke platter 
  •  Breakfast for dinner

  1. Chili is from beans already cooked.
  2. Pizza is a mainstay. A cheese pizza costs a dollar if made from scratch and ingredient purchased on sale, 
  3. Baked potato bar uses leftover chili and sour cream, cheese, and any refrigerator leftovers 
  4. Chicken pot pie uses crescent rolls purchased for .67.  One crust cuts  the carbs.
  5.  Chicken parm can be made in the insta pot without the chicken,  add salad 
  6. Ham and Swiss cheese sliders are from rolls purchased at the bread outlet.  Oven fries use almost no oil.  Toss potatoes in a little olive oil. 
  7. Breakfast for dinner is a family meal. Everyone cooks. 

Please share and push the follow button.  
Coming- another installment of what to do when you have to stretch your money becaise of  the shutdown.   

Saturday, January 19, 2019

Efficient Cooking from scratch

There are people that have cooking as a hobby and make gorgeous labor intensive meals.   And, then there are people that have busy lives, working and caring for children that just dint have the time  to spend all day over a hot stove cooking.  I’m guessing the majority of people are the latter.

You can still make good  food and not have  to spend all day in the kitchen and cook from scratch.  There are recipes all over the Internet, and appliances that save time and money. 

Whether you have been thrust into economy scratch cooking on purpose or by someone else’s bad decisions, it is reality and we can take positive things from the experience. Scratch cooking is more healthy than the alternative ready or half ready made meals.  You are eliminating  the preservatives and other chemicals manufacturers use to stabilize their products.  Most people don’t sit and read the ingredients of pre packaged food.  It’s a real education.  

Some Mac and cheese boxes have tsp in them.  Tsp is what we sold at the paint store to wash the grease off the walls to ready them for paint.  You were cautioned to wear rubber gloves 🧤 to protect your hands from its harsh properties.  Some things have wood pulp in them as an anti caking agent. Some cold  cereals have tsp in them as well. Fake butter can have palm oil in it .  So does Nutella.  Palm oil as well as a host of other oils are hydrogenated.  Hydrogenated oils can thicken your blood.  Not a good thing I’m guessing,   Vegetable oil is a necessary part of cooking,  we use as much olive oil as we can. But, some things require a lighter oil.  The least of the oils in my opinion is canola oil. 

The more bulk you buy, the less packaging you will buy.   Less garbage to lay to be removed and the less garbage to put in the landfill.   We do recycle a lot.  Our town has a plastic bag ban, the brown paper bags we get are recycled to the food bank to be reused.  We have bags that clip on the sides of the grocery cart.  This restricts the amount of things that can be loaded on the cart,  that’s a good thing.  The grocery carts are larger for a reason.   The grocers want you to fill them up.  But that’s another blog in itself I have already written.  The bags are also good because  studies have found feces on the bottom of carts —a lot.  Think of the contamination and how it can spread.   

If I do buy something in a box and with a bag inside like oatmeal, I recycle the box and cut the bag into a tube and save it for when I want to separate things to go on freezer bags, like hamburger patties or tuna cakes.  I get two uses out of them and I don’t add another piece of plastic to the landfill or spend more money. 

The box of regular Quaker Oats at Costco is about eight dollars .  It makes a serving .085 each.  One serving is equivalent of four of those instant packets,  even at a dime each, that’s 40 cents and over four times the price.  It takes four packets to get the same nutrition as one 1/2 cup serving,   The time is about the same.  Anything that we buy in bulk that takes the same measurement consistently, I leave a measuring cup on the canister.  You can get measuring cups at the dollar store or at the goodwill or other thrift store.  One cup of water, 1/2 cup of oatmeal and 1.5 minutes in the microwave.  Use a cup bigger than you need to reduce spill overs.   My husband usually makes it, I suspect he uses less water.   Experiment to get the consistency you like.   I recently found oatmeal sprinkles at Winco. They  had a dollar coupon on them so the end cost was a dollar.  They were 1 to 1.5 carbs and a slice sized bottle has lasted a long time,   We have also used a shaker of cinnamon sugar in the past. 

Dried beans can be purchased on the bulk department, or in bags at Costco .  Smaller quantities of pinto beans are cheapest  at the dollar tree, (DT) they are 1.5 pounds, grown in the USA and non GMO.

The cost of store bought bakery items can be up to 90 percent more than making the same thing at home.  Make your own muffin mix.  It takes very few minutes to whip up a muffin tin of muffins.  The cost is .30 plus the spices or fruit you put on them.  The cost of four muffins can be five dollars.  
The size is smaller when you make them at home, but that can be a good thing, the volume is the same.  You are making 12, not four.  Most of the things I have cost are 90 percent cheaper.  Artisan bread aka peasant bread is a quarter and ten minutes hands on time,  it cost upwards of 2.50.  

Homemade just tastes better.   

Friday, January 18, 2019

Bulk french bread...what?

Things  you can do with six loaves of French bread .

Six  loaves of French bread at the overstock bread store are 6.00 .  Subtract ten percent for seniors or military, subtract the two loaves of bread we got free or another 15 percent,  so, the cost would be .75

Things you can do with French bread

  • Make side for spaghetti etc by aplotongnthe bread lengthwise, buttering both sides, and sprinkling it with steak seasoning, or parm cheese and dried parsley, 
  • Cut into cubes, toss with olive oil and herbs and dry in the oven on a sheet pan for bread stuffing.
  • Cut into pieces and whirl on the food processer for breadmcrumbs.  Place in an oven that has been used recently and use the residual heat to dry the bread . 
  • Make French toast. 
  • Make bread pudding.
  • Make overnight breakfast casserole.
  • Make milk toast.   Ok, that’s a stretch, we ate it when we were kids,  Puke! 
  • Dagwood sandwiches, 
  • Meatball subs
  • Pizza bread 🥖 
  • Pork stuffed sandwich, 

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Hauls to 1/16/19


Boboli (8) 8.99
Olive oil 14.59
Whip cream 8.69
Romaine 3.99

Total 36.28

Grocery outlet
Cheese slices 2.29
Cheese, shredded, Sharp 4.99
Stuffing .25
Coffee 3.99
Bacon 1.99
Caramel flan.78

Total 29.11

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Government shutdown survival.

We all know about the government shutdown.  It is effecting not only those that are not working or working and not getting paid but those that depend on food stamps to feed their families.   In Washington, people have already got and probably already spent most of their January allotment and can only rely on February’s money.  They are not guaranteeing anything after that.  It’s survival mode  at this point in time.

That is why I advocate having a four to six weeks supply of food on hand.  None the less, having a plan to get through a uncertain future is a good thing to do.

Some suggestions assuming you have a family to feed.

Go to Costco amd purchase

  • A bag of pinto beans 
  • A bag of rice 
  • A bag of flour
  • A box of oatmeal
  • A jar of yeast 
That’s close to forty dollars..   The reason why this  is that it can provide a good number of meals.  The cost of a bowl of oatmeal is .085 cents,  It has fiber and protein. Flour and some vegetabke oil can become muffins, pancakes, waffles, tortillas and more.  Rice and beans are a complete protein and can be used to stretch what meat you can get. 

The next thing I would purchase would be a bag of dry milk from Winco or Amazon.  Now you can have milk on your oatmeal and a base for cream sauce or enchalada sauce. Also , some vegetabke oil.  

This gets you some basics .  

Now, with what’s left, you can carefully shop to fill in.  This week, Fred Meyers has whole chicken on sale for 88 a pound,   It is easy to roast a chicken off  or use a insta pot or slow cooker. This could make, a meal of the dark meat, one or two of breast meat and the bones can make soup.  Another alternative is to buy a bag of chicken quarters.  The last ones I saw are .59 at Winco.  They, too can be stretched into many meals.  The last chicken soup I made cost 1.63 for four servings.  With your flour you can make noodles or biscuits to go with the soup.

Another good thing to buy is eggs. Watch for a sale and stock up to four dozen.  We have been getting them for a dollar a dozen or close to it.  Beside baking, eggs are a good nutrition source for little money. 

Peasant bread is water, flour, yeast and salt.   

Fill in with fruits and vegetables in season.  Start with carrots and celery and onions,   
Add whatever you can that’s cheap.  Apples can be a dollar a pound or less.   Butter  and sugar.  

Let’s recap
  • A bag of bulk flour 
  • A bag of bulk rice
  • A bag of bulk pinto beans
  • A 10# box of oatmeal 
  • A jar of yeast 
  • A large bottle of vegetable oil 
  • 1 bag of sugar 
  • Dry milk.

Whole chicken or a bag of chicken legs and thighs, 
Carrots, celery, and any fruit or vegetabke less than a dollar a pound 
Diced tomatoes 

This can take you a long ways. . With a core or about fifty dollars, you can go a long ways,   
  1.  Pancakes 
  2. Waffles
  3. Tortillas 
  4. Noodles
  5. Muffins 
  6. Cream soup bases 
  7. Rice and beans 
  8. Burritos, tacos, enchilada
  9. Chicken soup
  10. Chicken and rice 
  11. Rice pudding 
  12. Oatmeal 
  13. Eggs, toast 
  14. Chili and bread 
  15. Chicken noodle soup 
  16. Bean burger
  17. Tuna  cakes 
  18. Pizza 
  19. Chicken pot pie 

The best of chain store ads


Progresso soup .99 must buy 8
Lean cuisine 1.77
Raspberries, blackberries, blueberries 2/5


Ground beef 7 percent 3.99
Blueberries 3.99
Milk 1.99@@
Kellogg’s cereal 3/5 - $$
Rolls of biscuits 1.00$$
Cucumbers, green peppers .99

Friday, Saturday, Sunday  only
Butter 2.49

Fred Meyers
Blues  3.88
Clementines , 3# 2.99
Foster Farms chicken,whole .88
Progresso soup .99 must buy 8

Kroger brats 
Perfectly cooked meatballs 
Cinnamon rolls 


Sour cream 1.99
Cream cheese 3/5
Raspberries, blackberries 2/5
Kroger smoked sausage 2/4 

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Chicken noodle soup - insta pot

Yesterday, I made chicken noodle soup in the insta pot.  I made 4 servings and it really would have been plenty for a proverbial family of four,  

Note: I adapted the recipe to exclude onions and make 1/2 a batch because it was tomfeed 8. Adjusting recipes is a way to keep from wasting food or eating it for d a y s.  

1 T butter
2 carrots, peeled and sliced thin
1 celery rib, chopped.

1.2 tsp each of

Sauté the vegetables in butter and add the spices using the sauté  mode on the insta pot. Sauté for a oit 3 minutes.

Add 2 cups chicken broth and turn the pot off .

Add 1 pound of chicken pieces.  We used 3 FROZEN chicken thighs.

Add an additional 2 cups of water.

Put the lid on the insta pot and set the lever to the seal position.
Process 7 minutes for thawed chicken, or 15 for FROZEN chicken.

When soup has processed and finished it’s release cycle, open lid carefully and remove the chicken pieces.  Shred the chicken and place on a container.

At this point the soup and chicken can be refrigerated until you are ready to eat.

Place the soup base on sauté mode and bring to a boil.  Add 3 ounces of egg noodles.   Cook until done.  Add in shredded meat.


Note: Our chicken stock was salty, so I did not add any more salt.  You may need to adjust your salt to taste.  I saved the peels, and tops of the celery and bones for the freezer to make another batch of stock.  Chicken thighs were less than a dollar a pound a while back at Winco.  This makes for a very economical dinner.  We added crackers we got for .50 at big lots.  

Monday, January 14, 2019

Random simple concepts

It is all about getting the most for your money.  Simple things and smart changes can save a lot or a little that all ads up.

We ate on less than four dollars  a day each last year and grew a stock in the pantry.   We ate well .  

  • Classico pasta sauce on sale is a good bet becaise it comes in a jar that takes a canning lid.  I wouldn’t use it formcanning, but it works for dehydrated things and can be used with the food saver.   Canning jars can cost a dollar alone. 
  • Roma tomatoes have more ‘meat’ and less seeds.  They are often cheaper too. 
  • Canned diced tomatoes can be drained as used in dishes that cake for tomatoes,  save the juice to add to soups or chili. 
  • Winco canned food has no BPA. 
  • Fresh corn on the freezer is better for you than canned corn 
  • Soups are a good way to s t r e t c h a little meat. 
  • The less ready made food you buy the better - less preservatives, less money, and just better. 
  • Peasant bread is four ingredients most people have on hand. It takes ten minutes hands in time and that is split between 2 days.  The cost is a quarter when you buy your flour in bulk, 
  • Buying your flour etc in bulk and making your baked goods can save 90 percent.  I recently saw 4 muffins for five dollars.  They were too big  for any one person to legitimize eating, and making a muffin mix takes almost no time and costs 30 cents a batch.  Add some blueberries, apple, spices, etc. 
  • Not enough time! Make bread in the bread baker.  Bread bakers aren’t as popular as they were. You can find them at garage sales or thrift stores.   Parm sun dried tomato bread?  Parm peppercorn? Homey wheat? Bread has taken another hike and I can’t find it at the DT anymore,  for a while we could get orowheat bread.  
  • The bread at the bread overstock store here is 4/5 including bagels and english muffins.  On Sunday and Wednesday it is 10 percent off for seniors and military,   In addition, you get a free bread with ten dollars or two free with fifteen dollars.  That’s before discount.  Includes organic and whole wheat.  
  • Silicone cupcake liners are five dollars a dozen and save money and the landfill from a zillion liners. 
  • Save vegetable  scraps for soup stock. Almost free stock instead of more than two dollars a quart.  No cost except for the power.   
  • Use your bread crusts for breadcrumbs and bread stuffing. 
  • Make a low carb coating for fish, chicken, or to top casseroles.  Equal parts, chopped nits. Parm, amd bread crumbs.   
  • Nuts are cheaper in the bulk section.   The broken ones are even cheaper and you don’t have to chop. 
  • Refill your spices from the bulk section.  You probably already have spice jars for most of the things  you use on a regular basis.   Or save pizza sauce or other small jars .   
  • Need to dry bread cubes for croutons or stuffing,   Put your bread on a sheet pan and put the pan in an oven that is turned off, but still warm from baking. 
  • A yogurt cup can be the starter to make more yogurt. Some insta .  Use up milk that isn’t getting drunk, 
  • You can candy orange peels. 
  • You can save lemons by preserving them in salt, 
  • You can dry peels from fruit, vegetables, or the greens from SAFE fruits and pulverize them . 
  • Zucchini can be grated and dried in a de hydrater for use in soups.  
  • Celery and green onions can be regrown from the bases.  

Monday Kitchen Management aka meal prep

kitchen management is a tool that saves time and money.  Prepping ingredients for meals saves time during the hectic dinner hour.

  1. wash kitchen floor 
  2. Wash and disinfect countertops and sinks and drains.
  3. Clean out the refrigerator and dump anything dead 💀. 
  4. Note things that need to be used up soon.
  5. Wash vegetables with vinegar water and pat dry.
  6. Straighten pantry for a pantry challenge.   
  7. Make muffins 

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Meal plans

Meal plans are a tool that saves time and money.  The old adage of make a plan, or plan to fail.

  • Chicken and noodles, bread 
  • Pizza
  • Pork chops, bread dressing with apples and cranberries , salad 
  • Chicken burrito bowls 
  • Tuna melt, oven fries, salad 
  • Tacos, refried beans 
  • Breakfast for dinner,

  1. Chicken was purchased at a dollar a pound for boneless, skinless .  Bread is a quarter a loaf. 
  2. Pizza is a mainstay.  It costs a dollar for scratch cheese pizza.  Bomboli was 1.12 including the red sauce at Costco.   Pizza sauce is a name brand and at the dollar tree.  Freeze it on ice cube tray and dump it onto a quart zip lock for the freezer.   
  3. Pork chops w dressing uses bread stuffing from the grocery outlet for a quarter.   Add chicken stock, apple and Craisens.  Pork chops can be cooked in the insta pot.  Round it off with green beans and salad , 
  4. Chicken burrito bowls are leftover chicken, rice, beans, black olives, sour cream . 
  5. Tuna melts.  Salad, oven fries from scratch.  
  6. Tacos with hard or soft shells purchased for a dollar.   Hamburger purchased for 2.44 and precooked for the freezer.  Pre cooking affords you the time to de fat the meat and saves time during the dinner hour.  Cheese was purchased for 2.50 a pound,  our buy or target price is two to 2.50 a pound.   Roma tomatoes have less seeds and give you more bang for your dollar.   
  7. Breakfast for dinner is a mainstay family affair. 

Saturday, January 12, 2019

Taste of Home -Soups- book review

Taste of Home Soups  is a soft side book that can be purchased at Costco for 30 percent off the marked price of 9.99. It has recipes for 128 soups.

Chicken and dumplings
Bacon cheeseburger soup
Shortcut split pea soup

In addition, there are breads and salads to fill in your meal.

Soup is a good , filling meal especially during the cold weather months.  A lot of soup recipes are inexpensive and easy to put into a slow cooker or insta pot and make the whole house inviting.
  • French onion soup 7 ways 
  • Mexican bean soup
  • Chicken noodle 
  • Cream of cauliflower
  • Gumbo
  • Country sausage 
  • Squash and hominy 
  • Spinach tortellini soup 
  • Quick tomato 
  • Fiesta twisted Brunswick stew
  • 25 minute chili
  • Fast refried bean soup 
  • Quick vegetabke soup 
  • Cream of chicken 
  • Dill chicken 
  • Spicy Thai cocoanut chicken soup 
  • Ancient grain beef stew 
  • Chicken soup with beans 
  •  Both types of clam chowder
  • A section on stews. 

Friday, January 11, 2019

Concept- use it up

Some doomsday people are warning about a recession or worse in our government climate,   I don’t want to buy into their negativity, but some of that mindset is,not a bad idea.  

It never hurts to be mindful of not wasting food,   Some people estimate that forty percent of the food we buy goes to waste.  That is  one reason why I don’t gmfor organic fresh veggies; the other one is the cost.  On a four dollar a day budget, it just isn’t practical .

It just makes sense to incorporate bits of things into your meals.  Soup is a way of doing that, as well as portion control.

Recently we found a chicken pot pie recipe for two.  We made it a couple of nights ago.  It is hard when you have cooked for many to cut your recipes down to a manageable size for two people.  
Bit that left half a can of cream soup.   Last night we had potato soup in the instant  pot. I found a good recipe that takes three minutes.  Now, it does take a lot of chopping, but it is  really good and economical.   I just added the rest of them to the soup after it was done and in the stage where you add milk and thicken the soup.   We topped it with some crumbled bacon and chives.

I saved the vegetable peelings and ends for stock in the freezer.

Making your own bread crumbs  is another way to save. Instead of buying them at Howard’s if two dollars a pound, you make them  and use up the heels of your bread.  Easy and quick.  

We have chicken left from the chicken pot pie.  I cooked one breast on the insta pot from frozen.  We can make chicken salad sandwiches for lunch.

Think out of the box. Buying frozen veggies instead of canned ones means of you have a smaller family, you can cook just what you need.  My buy price for veggies is a dollar a  pound or less.
This is getting harder to find.m

When buying fruits and veggies, we try to stay as close to a dollar a pound as possible.  Winco seems to help.  I almost always try to keep blueberries and tomatoes in the house for their nutritional value.
Corn, mixed vegetables, peas, and green beans are all good choices.

Cooking your own dried beans is about 90 percent cheaper than buying canned. We used to buy canned because it was too time consuming to cook a couple of cups of beans on the stove.  Que the insta pot.  Wash and pick beans, pit beans on the insta pot, cover with water, cover and seal pot, push the bean button.  Done.

Adding some beans  to meat mixture for tacos or burritos is a tool some people use to stretch the ground beef.  There are some healthcare professionals that want you to limit your beef consumption to 18 ounces a week.   That’s not hard with the cost of beef.   You really only need four ounce portions and less for tacos because you are adding cheese to the protein mix.

Chili and burrito bowls are good choices to stretch your dollar.

Rice and beans make a complete protein. Rice and beans have a short refrigerator life.  Making small batches of you have a small family makes sense.  Beans don’t freeze well.   They change their texture.  Some people are not bothered by that, but our freezers are full of vegetables and meat and we don’t fill them with beans or ready made freezer meals.  We might if we had bigger freezer.  There are times when having a freezer meal would be beneficial; but with small space, I don’t want to take up room with something  that is shelf stable and not necessary to be frozen.

Sour cream can be thinned down and used in a recipe that calls for cream many times— Especially when it is to be added to a casserole.  Or, you can make a dip for vegetables.  Or garnish enchiladas. Make  salad dressing.   Ranch dressing mix is easy to make and  a lot cheaper than buying it.  Winco has a bulk spice section that allows you to buy just what you need cheaper.  If you already have spice jars, refilling them saves the landfill and money too.

There are some good cookbooks on line that allow you to search an ingredient you want to use up and      It will supply you with recipes to cook.

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Free soup

Now that should  get some people’s l

I recently watched some videos  on making broth or stock.  The buzz word these days is bone broth.  Whatever you call it, our great grandmothers did it for years.  Rumor has it that our great grandmothers had a pot of broth working on the back of the old wood stoves all day.  The wood stove kept the house warm, the broth was the start of soup and the steam hydrated the house.

Now, we have slow cookers.   April Holly Smith (u-tube) turned me on to the fact that you can start broth before you go to bed and have it done in the morning.   The older I get, the more I like passive cooking,   You can still have scratch food, but not slave over a hot stove all day.

I watched another lady make broth from bones, vegetabke clippings including the peels from garlic and onions and carrot tops, etc  and water.   She also added the powder that was a byproduct of the vegetables she grew in her garden.   She took the tops of her vegetables and dried them and made them into powder.   Please note not all vegetabke greens are edible,  tomatoes, for one, are poisonous.
She also took the skins  amd pulp from when she made tomato sauce to can and dried them for tomato powder.   Now, that’s being resourceful.

Beef, chicken and vegetable stock is costly.   It bumps up the cost of homemade soup  to the cost of canned soup or more. It also adds sodium and preservatives to your diet.  Throwing your ‘garbage’ into a slow cooker before  you go to bed seems like a quick, cheap alternative.

Another way to save is to throw bits of things on the freezer that could go on a pizza.   If you dedicate a part of a freezer shelf to pizza toppings, they won’t get lost on the black hole every freezer has.

It is surprisingly simple and the concept can save money.  You can eat well on less than four dollars a day, it just takes effort to take advantage of every trick you can use.

I was surprised when I bought special buys at QFC this week.  I had gone threw and clicked all the digital coupons that I thought I might use.  They are sitting in cyberspace waiting to be used.  I rarely buy anything that isn’t a good price.  That’s the secret of low cost food budgets.  I bought cottage cheese and sour cream because  it was a buck.  The surprise was that there was a .40 coupon hiding in cyberspace.   The same thing happened when I did a epic lean cuisine haul. It made my lunches .49 a day for a week and the bonus is that they are all really low carb.

Sometimes a little time can produce a lot of savings.  You can hit a computer screen in a few minutes while watching TV. You can make bone broth while sleeping, or make free money clicking a few UPC codes while you put  away the groceries.  I almost have a free amazon card and I haven’t even tried very hard.  One lady has hit a thousand dollars.  I suspect she tried a bit harder than I have!

It’s what you do when you have more time than money.

Alternative shopping haul

We took a trip to the neighboring town. We needed pillows for the family room.

Blue cheese 7.49

World market 
Pizza cristm(3) 5.99

Big Lots 
Protein meal bars .97
Nabisco saltine crackers .50
Top ramen 5 pack 1.00
Chives, dill weed, 2.00
Tortillas 1.00

Total 6.44

Total 19.92 

Lean cuisine (7) total cost 3.44
Note also, everything Christmas is 70 percent off. 

Sour cream .99
Cottage cheese .59
Blueberries 3.88
Total 5.46

Total 28.82

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Best of chain store ads

First, lean cuisine is normally retail for 3.99.  On sale for 1.67 last week at both Safeways amd QFC,   QFC has a digital for 1.25.  There is an Ibotta for 7.00.  Nets .49 each.  You can still get this deal I believe , but the lean cuisine is now 1.77.  Still a good deal.  

If you are worried about Ibotta being a attack on your privacy, really, that ship has sailed.   Everywhere you go, every time you swipe a store card or your debit card, you are being watched.  
A few minutes of your time can read great rewards,   I have almost twenty dikkarsmamd I am not do,ogent at looking every week.   I don’t let the app dictate what I buy, but, rather, look after my shopping trip when I think about it for any matchups.  I have already cashed in 25.00 of free money,

Honestly, I could find no real bargains on basic food.  Their eggs were on a coupon for 1,25, they are .99 at both QFC and Fred Meyers,


18 ounce blues 3.88
Eggs .99
Sour cream, cottage cheese .99
Progresso soup .99 must buy 8

Cheese 6.00 a pound 

Fred Meyers 
Pork loin BOGO. Savings ????

Eggs .99
Gala apples .88
Coffee 5.99
Cheerios BOGO -coupons at coupons,com 

Beef patties 2 lbs 6.99 these are in the freezer section and Kroger brand. Flavored and delicious, 
Based on the cost of beef these days, that’s not bad . 

Not to buy 
Muffins 4 ea for 5.00
Muffins cost about .30 plus the add ins for a dozen.  It pays to get floirmat Costco or when it’s on sale . 

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Cheap meals that taste good

five dollar or less meals
Four  people. One meal, Five bucks.

  1. Spaghetti with meat sauce, French bread , green beans 
  2. Pizza
  3. Tacos, refried beans or Spanish rice 
  4. Impossible ham  pie 
  5. Vegetable bean soup 
  6. Chili 
  7. Rice and beans 
  8. Pork roast, mashed potatoes, glazed carrots 
  9. Pork chops, bread dressing with apple, Craisens, green beans 
  10. Mac and cheese, peas and carrots 
  11. Chicken stir fry, rice, 
  12. Chicken enchiladas with  green enchilada sauce 
  13. Bbq chicken, oven fries, coleslaw or homemade chicken  nuggets, oven fries, coleslaw, 
  14. Pork stew with potatoes, carrots, peasant bread 

As of this  writing, we recently got 

  1. Russet potatoes for 1.98 for ten pounds at Winco 
  2. Pork loin for 1.00 a pound 
  3. Chicken breast was 1.28 a pound at Winco, we paid .99 in bulk earlier last year. 
  4. We can always get Barilla pasta for a dollar, then last was with coupon for closer to .75. 
  5. Cheese is always purchased for between two and two fifty a pound.  I usually keep pizza and Tex mex blend cheese. . 
  6. Pinto beans are 1.00 for 1.5 pounds at the Dollar Tree.  Non gmo and grown in America. 
  7. Rice is purchased in bulk at Costco as is flour 
  8. Peasant bread costs .25 and takes about ten minutes hands on time and that is split between 2 days, 
  9. Enchilada sauce is homemade and easy, 
  10. Ham is inexpensive in a package at Winco.   Little more than two dollars 
  11. Spaghetti is made in the insta pot n 8 minutes. 
  12. A cheese   pizza costs 1.00 to make.   Add saved meat and vegetables. 
  13. Carrots are 2.28 for five pounds at Winco, 
  14. Hamburger is cooked, de fatted, and frozen on portion controlled quart bags from the dollar tree, then package in a zip lock gallon bag and labeled . Makes life quick and easy for spaghetti or tacos, or enchiladas, 

Monday, January 7, 2019

Kitchen Management aka meal prep

Kitchen management along with meal planning just makes life easier and less hectic during the dinner hour,  it saves time and money.  Doing things in batches instead of one portion at a time saves time and clean up.

Reminder of meals

  • Baked salmon, potatoes, veggie 
  • Pizza
  • Chicken pot pie 
  • Pork sausage, acorn squash, green beans 
  • Quiche 
  • Spaghetti 
  • Breakfast for dinner 

  1. Wash kitchen floor 
  2. Clean and disinfect countertops and sinks and drains.
  3. Clean out refrigerator and dump anything dead 💀. 
  4. Make special note of things  that need  to be used up soon .
  5. Wash potatoes and carrots with vinegar water, dry, 
  6. Make muffins 
  7. Make pudding 
  8. Find pancake mix recipe .personal cookbook? 
  9. Straighten pantry.  Clean out the dry goods cupboard. 

We are trying to be on no spend, eat down the pantry challenge.  I thawed  a bag of sausage, thus  a lot of sausage meals this week.  

Our food purchases last year were an average of almost five dollars a week less than our 4.00 a day budget of 56.00 a week.   This grew a pantry.

It’s not what you buy as much as it is when and where you buy it,   
Nabisco saltine crackers are 2.74 at Walmart for a box,  the same box was purchased yesterday for .50.  Over five times more money.   

Sunday, January 6, 2019

Meal Plans

Meal plans are a necessary tool to save your time and money resources.   We are on a pantry challenge and in the second month.   We cleaned out the refrigerator freezer and found more things.  As careful as you can try, things will still get buried.

  • Salmon, oven potatoes, mixed vegetables 
  • Pizza
  • Chicken pot pie 
  • Pork sausage, acorn squash tomato and cucumber salad 
  • Quiche  
  • Pork chops w mushroom gravy, mashed potatoes, green beans. 
  • Breakfast for dinner 

Salmon is some purchased at safeways 
Pizza is a mainstay that comes in at a dollar  a pizza plus toppings.  Pepperoni is  a dollar at the DT. 
Chicken pot pie used chicken breast bought for  a dollar a pound.   Mixed vegetables, again, a dollar a pound, 
Pork sausage thawed from freezer storage, it has been cooked and de fatted.  Replaced with two dollar a pound jommymdean sausage.  This one was free, 
Pork chops are from a pork loin that we purchased for a dollar a pound.  Cream of mushroom soup was .41, and mashed potatoes are 20 cents a pound, 
Breakfast for dinner is a family affair and everyone cooks. 

Last years calculations are in,  we spent almost five dollars under our 4 dollar a day budget of 56.00 a week.   We live in one of the highest COL states in the continental US. 

Saturday, January 5, 2019

Which came first, the chicken or the egg?

Watching too many videos lately,   Lol

Most economy shoppers will tell you to look at the ads, prepare a menu plan and go to the store with a list.  There are  reasons why that isn’t a good idea.

  • Buying just what  you need does not give you the luxury of creating a stock and taking advantage of sales.  Btw, it is rude to take all of what is on sale and not leave some for another shopper that may be in more dire straights than you are.
  • You may get to to the store and find that there is either no stock of the sale item, or it is not good quality.   It doesn’t save you any money of the vegetables are growing mold or the meat is full of fat and you cant eat a rain check.  I guess you could, but it wouldn’t be very tasty!  
  • It takes a lot more time to do the meal planning and shopping that way.
  1. Have a simplified master list of things you carry,  like a grocery store does. 
  2. Buy in quantity  when things are at their RBP and replenish when they are on sale again.  Usually ,  it only  requires a four to six weeks supply.  
  3. It takes a lot less time to glance on the organized cupboards and freezers and tell what you need to watch for a sale than to wrote a detailed list of everything you need for your meals.  
  4. Buying less variety of items and more quantity is faster at the checkout line and a lot better for your pocketbook. 
  5. Make meal plans, but pretty much, you can make any of your list of seven to ten dinners anytime you want.  Rarely will you be out of your basic supplies.   
  6. The last big thing is that of an emergency happens— anything from a government shutdown to a snow storm, you are ok.  You can still eat.   One Christmas  time, the main part of I-5 was flooded here, the trucks that supply food to the grocery stores couldn’t deliver. Grocery stores typically carry a three day supply of food.   That could be disastrous .  If you have a small stock of basics, you have yourself covered.   

Friday, January 4, 2019

Cost of food

Caviat here.....Washington has a cost of living of almost 30 percent higher than other parts of America.
I read this on the Internet and it is evidenced but my watching a lot of food hauls on u tube all over America from South Carolina to Ohio and upstate NY.    I especially like “April Holly Smith” that covers two stores ads and then shows what she purchases.

The cost  of our foods in Seattle area is greatly predicated on what store you buy it from.  Not looking at the alternative  stores of Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, PCC etc, even the chain stores vary greatly in prices of the exact same things.  You can’t , however blame it on labor costs because the workers belong to the same labor union.   It pays to know prices and take advantage of the lower prices when you can .

The whole premise of groceries on the cheap  is to carry a stock and not pay top dollar for your food.   It has,  I think to do with quality, we still want good quality— just not  at the highest price.  The exact same thing, in the exact same box and brand can be as much as two dollars cheaper  at another store.
It just seems silly to waste your money paying full price.  I don’t believe in driving across town for a quarter savings, but planning trips and buying in an educated bulk when something is a good price saves a lot of time and money.

About  five  years ago, I bought a bag of salt for five dollars.  Years ago, we had been buying dill pickles in a gallon jar.  It was glass.  I put the salt in a gallon jar .  We are still using the salt.  My children will probably still be using themsalt after I am gone and maybe even our grandchildren. lol Salt doesn’t go bad and the difference in the cost was remarkable.  Another thing that doesn’t go bad is soda.  A bag of soda is far cheaper than the equivalent buying in the small boxes. Soda and salt are both good cleaning agents.  We also buy vinegar at Costco for a little more than two dollars a gallon.  I wash veggies and clean with it.  Vinegar is a good disinfectant that is safe.  We wash veggies with it . A chemistry professor says that most pesticides are water solvable, wash your produce.   Buying non perishables in bulk saves money and time becaise you never have to remember to buy them again for a long time.  Less things in your cart means less money and less time shopping.

Take a list of the things that you buy on a regular basis.  We all have a list of 7-10 meals  we make for dinner.  Most of our dinners are Tex mex or Italian.    They use the same basics.  Find the RBP on those ingredients.

For us..
Diced tomatoes.  We have paid as low as .39 and as high as .58.  I don’t want to pay more than the .58, so that is my “buy” or “target” price.  If they are not at or below that price, I do not buy them .
Winco has no BPA in their canned goods.

Pasta sauce .  A dollar  is good in glass, .88 in cans.

Canned veggies .50
Frozen veggies 1.00 a POUND.

Chili canned , less than a dollar.

Cream soup.  Less than a dollar.  We recently got them for .41.  The time to buy is at thanksgiving and Christmas.

Pinto beans are .67 a pound at the dollar tree,   They are non gmo and grown in USA.   Cheaper at  Costco , but we can’t justify 25 pounds.

Oatmeal at Costco is cheapest in a ten pound box.

Flour at Costco.
Yeast in a jar, at Costco or Winco.

I have seen Jimmy Dean sausage as low as two dollars with a coupon and as high has 6.00.
Cheese can be 6.00 a pound or two dollars a pound. Cheese is cheese  no matter what shape it is in. pay attention to the per pound price.  I carry a small calculator in my coupon book,  phones these days have a great calculator on them. Do the math.  Some signs tell per ounce price .

Bacon and frozen vegetables can come in 12 ounce and 16  ounce packaging.   To level the price playing field, take  the 12 ounce price and times it by 1.25.  You can then compare price per pound.

On bacon, the closer to three dollars I can get it the better.

Thursday, January 3, 2019

Hauls to 1/10/19

Ice cream 2.98
Blue cheese 2.40
Mixed frozen veggies 1.08
Barilla pasta (2) 1.96 minus nets 1.45/2 or .725 ea
Jimmy Dean sausage lb chubs (2) 4.96 less 1.00 coupon is 3.96 /2 is 1.98
Low  carb balance tortillas 4.47
Acorn squash .39 lb was 1.45 - overcharge
Apples 1.48
Cucumbers .48
Oranges .99
Apples 1.97
Roma’s 1.13
Pears .59
Blueberries (2) 3.96

Total including overcharge

Dollar tree and grocery outlet

Marinated artichokes 2@ 1.00. Cara Mia

Coffee 5.99
Crackers 2/1,00
Tortillas 1.99
Corn frozen .99
Cheese, sliced (2) 2.29

Total 14.55

Grand total 48.04   Regular budget

Last year, the figures were less than four dollars a day.  We averaged about 5.00 a week less than the 56.00 a week and we have stock.

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Chain store ads / the best of

Oranges .88
Digital coupon / uncured ham 2.49

Cheese 2# 4.99
Classico pasta sauce .99
Skippy peanut butter 1.79
Dbl cream cheese 2.99
Black berries 2/4

Lean cuisine 3/5 -coupon @coupons,com?

Fred Meyers 
FF Chicken breast or thighs BOGO
Clementines 5#-4.88
Blues 2/3
Milk .99
Oranges .99
Barilla 1.00

Cheese 2#-4.99
Goldfish .99
Cream cheese dbl 2.99
Skippy 1.79
Classico pasta sauce .99
Foldgers coffee 6.99

Meat sale BOGO
80/20 ground beef , chicken breast, sirloin lean cuisine 

Grapes 1.99
Lean cuisine 3/5 coupons? 
Spaghetti .59
Milk 1.99@@
Bread .89@@
Salad .99
Ice cream 2.49 

Note @@ / in ad coupon needed 
$$ there is a coupon out there. 
Classico pasta sauce is always a bargain at .99 because the jar is worth the dollar.   I probably wouldn’t can on it, but for storage or refrigerator storage, it works great amd fits a canning jar lid so you can suck the air out of dehydrated foods with the food saver.  

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

What not to buy — just my ideas

Caviat :  this is my opinion and based on research if many years. The optimum end result is lower food bills without sacrificing good food.

  • Bread crumbs.  We just took the last three slices of bread from the french Toast  on Christmas and made bread crumbs.  It took barely a few minutes and our almost 7 yo granddaughter knows how.  According to an ad from grocery outlet, their pound of breadcrumbs would retail for 6.80.  Even dollar tree bread crumbs are 2.00 a pound,   Why pay two dollars a pound  for someone else’s dry bread.   Break it up into a food processer bowl, process until it becomes crumbs.  Put it on a sheet pan and place it on an oven that you have just baked something in,  or just put  it in the oven for a day or two.  When I didn’t have a food processer, I just out the slices in the oven until they were dry and grated them with a box grater that I set on a sheet pan.  Costco business has 1/2 and 1/4 sheet pans really inexpensive.  If you don’t like using aluminum, consider covering them with dollar store parchment paper.   It makes clean up easier and you aren’t cooking in aluminum.   
  • Parmesan cheese in a green canister.  It is laced with wood pulp and is old.  Fresh parm is well worth the additional money.  We buy parm, a blend of cheeses, or any hard cheese that I can find that is reasonable.  Costco has one for 12.00 for a huge wedge. I can’t remember what it is called, but it lasts a long time.  They all impart a good flavor to enhance some dishes. 
  • Mac and cheese in a box.  Even the organic kind is not the best.  They have tsp in them. And the organic one has more fat than the blue box kind.  It’s nit hard to make scratch Mac and cheese and the quality is much better. 
  • Fake butter.   Some of them have palm oil on them and other oils that are not healthy,   Hydrogenated oils, so I read, thicken your blood.   You are better off using a smaller amount of real butter. My nutritionist told me that a skim of butter was better than margarine or fake butter.  I was amused that an article click bated that Nutella was so bad for your children. So, I looked up the ingredients .  Skim milk, ok.  Chocolate, ok. Peanut butter, ok.  Palm oil....not so ok.   So, Nutella will kill your children, so they say, but fake butter is not ok?   My accountant logic doesn’t see that.   Lol.   
  • Anything fake.  I read the ingredients in my daughters fake cheese. A few tablespoons of coconut oil has more saturated fat than a big beef steak.  All fake cheese was just oils and a stabilizer.  I don’t know how that can be better or you.   If you have to be dairy free, just avoid dairy. Nut butters can be a better alternative, so I hear. 
  • Enchilada sauces are really expensive and take minutes to make.  They are basically the roux technique.   Cheap ingredients and a can of enchilada sauce  can cost more than the enchiladas.   
  • Instant oatmeal.  The cost of instant oatmeal is ten cents a pack at best.   It takes 4 packages to get the same nutrition as a serving of regular oatmeal.  The cooking time difference is minimal. One cup water, 1/2 cup oatmeal, 1-1/2 minutes in the microwave.  Use a bowl or mug bigger than you think you need.  We got sprinkles for oatmeal with a coupon at winco for a dollar,  they are 1-2 carbs a serving.  You can also add cinnamon sugar, a bit if apple, or raisins.  The cost of a serving of oatmeal when purchased in the 10 pound box at Costco is .085 a serving.  No, there is no mistake in the decimal point. 
  • Bakery goods are cheaper made from scratch than store bought.  It takes a matter of minutes, real hands on time to make a loaf of peasant bread.  The cost is upwards of 2.50.  The cost of making it scratch is about a quarter.  90 percent savings.  When we go to the bread outlet, the bread is 1.25 .  Then you have to factor on that we get 10 percent for seniors or military, and freebies.  One loaf for 10.00. Two loaves for 15.00, and last time we got a 2.50 box of donuts.  I figured we averaged .93 or so each including bagels, English muffins, French bread, Texas toast, and hoagie rolls.   It pays us to buy in  bulk because  it is five miles to the store. We combine it with other errands if we can . 
  • We buy pizza sauce from the dollar tree (DT) .  It is a name brand  and is at least 1/2 the price of any other jar at Winco.  Winco is about the cheapest store in our area, except for the grocery outlet that isn’t a full service store.  The  (GO) is one of those stores that items are here today, gone tomorrow.  They are overstocks for the most part and it’s a treasure hunt. Freeze it on ice cube trays, then snap it out into a quart bag and freeze.  We use 2 ice cubes per 12-14 inch pizza.  One jar makes 5 pizzas.   The alternative would be to find a sale prices 8 ounce can of tomato sauce and Italian seasoning and freeze it yourself.  
  • A jus mix, ranch dressing mix, and taco seasoning.  Those envelopes can cost 16.00 a pound.  And, of you don’t need the whole envelope, some is likely to get wasted.   Meal h cheaper to make your own,  slices are cheap on the bulk isle at Winco. Any Mexican spice  is usually cheaper in packages found on the Mexican Foods isle.
  • Individual juice or fruit cups.  Juice is nit the best for you.   The nutritionist for my daughter told me 40 years ago that she would be better off eating the apple than drinking our natural juice.  Fruit cups are loaded with sugar and expensive.  Fresh fruit is best,  it the alternative would be unsweetened applesauce in a individual container .