Friday, August 30, 2019

My Buy Prices for Basic Items

These are the prices in my area that I look to buy at:

Ground Chuck at $2.99 a lb. I believe I would buy as high as $3.49 if beef prices go up.

Ground Beef in our area is $1.99 a lb. but we don't like it. For those of you who do, it is a good price.

Beef Roasts run between $2.99 and $3.99 a lb. I would stock at $ 2.99.

NY Strip Steaks are between $5.99 and $7.99. I will not buy them higher than $7.99. We would just go without.

Boneless Chicken Breasts are usually $1.99 a lb. and below. My stock up price is $1.49 to $1.69. I did notice that Sloan's Meat Market had them on sale this week for $1.19 a lb. but you had to buy a 40 lb. case. I did not have room in my freezer nor did I need 40 more lbs. Some day if they have that price it might work out better.

Bone In Chicken Breasts run $ .99 to $1.19 a lb. Stock up price for me would be $ .99.

Whole Chickens are between $ .69 and $ .99 a lb. My stock up price is $ .69 - $ .79.

Turkey Breasts run $ .88 to $1.19 a lb. I stock when they are $ .88 - .99 a lb.

Whole Turkeys at Thanksgiving are usually between $.47 and $.99 a lb. I will buy a couple of Butterball at the $.99 price. Any others I buy will be closer to the $ .47 price. We like the Butterballs for the holidays. The other ones I will cook and freeze the meat and use it like I would chicken.

Hams at Thanksgiving or Christmas are on sale for $ .89 to $1.29 a lb. I will stock under $ .99 a lb. 

Shrimp runs between $ 7.99 and $13.00 a lb. I don't like paying more than $8.99.

Pork chops or pork roasts run between $.99 and $ 1.39 a lb. I will pay $1.39 for the roasts but only $ .99 to $ 1.09 for the chops.  

Bacon runs between $ 3.99 and $5.00 a lb. I try to find it at $3.99 but recently I haven't been able to. Hence I had to pay $5.00 a lb. this week because I was totally out. I will keep watching for a stock up price. 

Breakfast sausage runs between $.99 and $ 1.49 a lb. I will stock when it is $ .99.  

I stock on butter only at the Thanksgiving or Christmas sales. I usually pay under $ 2.00 a lb. I buy enough to last me a year.

Half and Half is usually $ 1.55 to $ 2.49 a quart. I only buy 2 because I don't stock on this.

A good price on a gallon of milk is $1.99. 

Eggs have been between $.59 and $ .89 a dozen. I stock up when they are $ .59 but buy less at the higher price. 

I will stock on ice cream when it is under $ 2.99.

I buy SF Cool Whip at $1.99 a lb. This is a sale price in my area so I will buy 2-4 and keep one in the fridge and the rest in the freezer.

Bread I like to buy under $ .99. Hot dog and hamburg rolls $.69 - $ .79.

Strawberries I will stock on when they are $1.49 or under a lb. For blueberries my buy price is below $ 1.69 a lb. 

Apples I will stock on under $ 1.49 a lb. We rarely see them below that.

My stock up price on peaches is $ .89 a lb., on seedless grapes is $ .88 a lb. and on cuties $ 1.25 a lb. I will pay $.99 to $ 1.49 for in season cantaloupe.

Frozen veggies on sale are usually $1.00 and under. I will stock at those prices. Canned veggies I will buy at $.59 and under.

When corn on the cob is in season it runs $ .10 to $.30 an ear. I will buy a few for Hubby to eat fresh and then a few to freeze.

My buy prices for the following are: 

Fresh Asparagus - Under $ 1.49 a lb.
Cucumbers $ .50
Zucchini $ .99
Cauliflower - Under $ 2.50 a head
Romaine Lettuce - $ 2.99 - $ 3.99 for a pkg. of 3 
Bagged Spinach - Under $ 1.59 
Potatoes - Under $ .40 a lb.
Broccoli Crowns - Under $ .99 a lb. 
Onions - My stock up price is $ .39 a lb.
Green Cabbage - Under $ .59 a lb.
Peppers - Under $ 1.30 a lb.
Fresh Mushrooms - Under $ 2.00 a container 

I buy rice at $ .59 a lb.and under. Cereal has to be under $2.00 a box. Cake and brownie mixes have to be $ .50 and under. Frosting has to be $ 1.67 and under. Diced Tomatoes must be $.89 a can and under. I buy tomato sauce in a #10 can for $ 2.98.  

I think I have covered most of what I stock up on regularly. 

Can you get these buy prices? Are yours cheaper or more expensive? 

I hope you all have a safe and fun Labor Day weekend. I will be back posting after the holiday. 

Thursday, August 29, 2019

Why I No Longer Meal Plan and How I Use My Freezer

In the fifty two years that we have been married, I have tried it all. On and off over the years, I have meal planned. Whenever it gets hectic around here, I go back and try to meal plan. 

But you know what? It doesn't work for us. It never really worked for us. I always have trouble sticking to the plan. It causes me a lot of stress and that is not good for my mind or my body.

One of the major reasons that it does not work for us is that I stockpile meat and frozen or canned veggies. I also buy a lot of fresh produce.

Why do I stockpile? Because I buy at sale prices that are low for my area. I have purchased food this way since the 1960's. Even before I owned  a freezer, I stocked on what I could if the deal was fantastic. In our first apartment, we only had a tiny little freezer in a small fridge. So each week when I shopped, I would buy the meat loss leader for the week and one or two for the following weeks. I would do the same for items for my pantry. I would have purchased more but buying a freezer was not a top priority in our budget at that time. Plus I had a very limited grocery budget. 

When we moved into our first home, a freezer still was not in the budget. Eight years and a move to a new home and 2 children later, a freezer became a priority so that I could get the best deals possible and continue to be a stay at home mom.

I remember how excited I was to go shopping for that first freezer. We went to Sears and got a great deal on a 27 cu.ft. chest freezer that was a scratch and dent. That was perfect because it was going in our basement. When we moved to Arizona when Hubby retired, we gave that freezer to a friend. It was so old we did not want to pay to move it nor did we have room for one in our home in Arizona. We had a 2000+ square foot home but the only place to put one was in our garage. In the Arizona heat, that is not a good place for a freezer. The last we talked to our friend that freezer is still working.

While we lived in Arizona, I made due with our freezer in our side by side refrigerator. I would still stockpile meat at rock bottom prices and some pantry items. When you have limited space, you stockpile the most expensive product at the lowest price. And that was meat! 

When we moved here, we purchased a small 8.8 cu. ft. freezer that we put in our basement. It is perfect for the two of us and only costs us about $31. a year to operate.  We also have a French door refrigerator with two bottom freezer drawers.  

The reason we have always purchased chest freezers is that they are cheaper to operate. We have never had large utility bills annually because of them. When you open a chest freezer, the air doesn't fall out like in a stand up freezer. 

Chest freezers are a pain to use sometimes because you have to dig to find what you are looking for. But I have mine pretty well organized with reusable grocery bags. So at the most I have to lift one bag out to get to another one.  We have meats separated with them. We have a bag for veggies and one for fruits. The same goes for cheese and nuts. Bread just lays on top because I don't really stockpile much of that. Only Hubby eats bread and then we sometimes use it for our family breakfasts. 

Buying meat at the lowest prices for our area is our top priority. That is because the biggest savings is on meat. Every week, our sale ads have a loss leader price on one or two meats. The loss leaders for any particular store are usually on the front page. The only exception that I have found is Dash's. Sometimes their loss leader is buried in the ad. If I am in need or a particular meat and it is the loss leader, I will buy a lot. It all depends on how much I already have stockpiled. 

The above boneless chicken breasts were on sale for $1.68 per lb. I already had some chicken but I estimated that I needed another 7 packages to get us through the winter. What I already had in my freezer cost me $ 1.49 to $ 1.99 a lb. I try to buy at the low end when I see a deal. 

We have been buying organic ground beef at Aldi's when it goes on sale for $ 4.49 a lb because it tastes so much better than the ground beef in our area. I have quite a few packages of that. But when I saw the $2.99 price on the ground chuck at Dash's, I bought 8 packages because it is delicious according to our friends.  We always used to buy ground chuck but I had not been able to find it up here. It has great flavor and is usually very tender.  So all of this ground meat should get us through the winter. 

So instead of meal planning, we cook from our stockpile to use up what we have purchased at the best prices. I transfer a piece of meat or fish from the freezer to the refrigerator to thaw the night before I am serving it. By not planning our meals, we are making sure that we eat at the best prices and before our meat gets freezer burned. It also let's me use up all of our leftovers.

The first place I look when making a meal each day is the produce drawers to use up what needs to be used. If the fresh produce gets low, I look for our veggies in the freezer, then the canned in the pantry.  Then I pick out what meat is needed. I constantly rotate my meat and fish and veggies so that we use the oldest first.
 

Most of the food we buy is at rock bottom prices for my area. Sure sometimes I buy at higher prices if I am in desperate need of something(that I didn't think to plan ahead on) or for a company meal. But that only happens about 10% - 15% of the time. I am working on getting that percentage down.

If I don't find a rock bottom price, I just don't buy it. I am patient and will wait till I see my buy price.

Speaking of my buy prices, I will be doing a post on those tomorrow. I am in the Buffalo area of New York. Buffalo is the second largest city in New York state for those who don't know. Many of our prices are high if you don't buy on the loss leaders. Some of our loss leader prices are high compared to others. But know YOUR rock bottom prices in your area and buy the loss leaders when they are at or below those prices.

Do you meal plan or do you cook from your stockpile? Do you have a freezer and what is your best way to use it?

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

What We Ate and Grocery Shopping

Well, I wasn't any better this past week on taking pictures of our dinner. But I did keep track of what we ate:

Salads with bits of turkey, lettuce, mozzarella cheese, tomatoes, black olives and avocado - 2 dinners

Taco salad - 1 dinner

Hamburgers with tomato, onion and lettuce =1 dinner

Salmon and a tossed salad - 1 dinner

Salmon and Broccoli - 1 dinner

Diced turkey salad - 1 dinner

Breakfasts and lunches were the usual.


I shopped at Aldi's, Top's, Walmart, and Dash's this  past week. I also shopped at Consumer's Beverage and the Wine and Liquor Outlet. While I was doing those, I picked up Hubby's prescriptions at the drugstore and went to the bank for our September cash. I spent a fortune this week stocking up. Hubby is cooking dinner for our friends next week. So he had a list of items he needed to do that. The shopping took me two days. One shopping day was in town and the other was in another town about 45 minutes from us. Yes, it is worth the hour and half drive when they have such good deals plus it is only about 20 minutes from our bank.

Aldi's:

Lemon Juice - $ 2.39
Dill Pickles - $ 1.35
Spinach - $ 1.39
Parsley - $ .95
Olives - $ .79
Yeast - $ .89
Gruyere Cheese - $ 2.99
Tortilla Rounds - $ .89
1% Milk - $ 1.29

Total $ 12.93




Consumer's Beverage:

2 - 2ltr. Pepsi - $ 2.50 for both
Thin Man No Pressure Beer - $ 13.99
Thin Man Burning Money Beer - $11.99

Total $ 31.36(incl. deposits and tax)

Wine and Liquor Outlet:

Captain Morgan's Rum - $ 26.95
Moscato - $ 7.67

Total - $37.39

Top's:

Cantaloupe $ 1.28
4 Oscar Mayer Bacon - $19.98 for all
2 Cracker Barrel Cheddar Cheese - $4.99 for both
2 SF Cool Whip - $ 1.99 each
3 Shaved Beef Steak - $ 7.99 each
4 Weck Rolls - $ 3.00 for all
2 G Hughes BBQ Sauce - $ 3.49 each
1 Rotisserie Chicken - $ 4.99
1 Hellman's Mayonaise - $ 1.24
6 lbs. of Onions - $ 7.98
5 Beef Consomme - $ 9.95
2 Beefsteak tomatoes - $ 2.57
24 pack of Diet Coke - $ 4.99

Total - $ 96.65

Walmart:

2 Linguine - $ 1.00 each
1 Capers - $1.89

Total - $ 3.89

Dash's:

2 Thick Cut Boneless Strip Steaks @ $ 7.99 a lb. =
$22.61

1 Zucchini - $ .88 a lb. = $ .82  

7 pkgs. of Boneless Chicken Breasts @ $ 1.68 a lb. =
$ 23.88

2 pkgs. of Ground Chicken @ $ 2.29 a lb. = $ 5.11

8 pkgs. of Ground Chuck @ $ 2.99 a lb. = $ 25.78
3 cans of Duncan Hines Frosting - $ 5.00 for all

Total was $ 83.21. 

The total for two days worth of grocery shopping, beer, and liquor was $ 265.43. I still have lots of money saved up in my grocery budget for a big shop around Thanksgiving and Christmas.  

Hubby and I will share an end of the season grilled strip steak on Labor Day. Hubby is making French onion soup and  lemon chicken piccata with linguine when our friends come for dinner. I am making homemade French bread( for the soup) and SF pudding with SF cool whip for dessert. Hubby won a contest years ago for his soup and his lemon chicken piccata is outstanding. Our friends wanted to try both dishes so Hubby has decided to do both of them.

Dash's has the best meats. They are tender and flavorful. So when I saw the sale on the ground chuck and the chicken, I knew I had to make the trip. Their chicken has no fluid added to it which we like.

No one in my area makes ground chuck anymore. So I stocked for the winter. Some nights we substitute the ground chicken in our taco salads. 

Yesterday I shopped for so long that I was beat. So I picked up the rotisserie chicken. I do that when I can buy it cheaper than buying one and cooking it. At $ 4.99, it was a no brainer.  

Did you make anything special for dinner last week? Did you get any good stock up deals?

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Frugal Things This Past Week

These were the frugal happenings here this past week.

Hubby hung hooks in the garage so that we can get the glass/or screen for our back door off the floor. It has been leaning against a wall behind our garbage cans. He also hung hooks to hang our spare chairs and get them off the floor.

I ordered a year's supply(10 cans) of 30.5 oz. Folger's coffee from a deal at Office Depot through Rakuten. They ended up costing me about $4.50 per can after the rebate. I won't have to buy coffee for me for well over a year.

Leaf Filter people came at no charge and put up flashing that they should have done when they installed the filters on the gutters.  

Our security alarm people came out on a repair call. We had a code pop up on our control panels that we had never seen before. When we called them, they said they had to come out to fix it. The repairman found that something had never been connected in our control panel when it was installed. That is what caused this code and a failure. It took over 9 years to fail. He also said another code would be caused to pop up too so he fixed that also. Hubby had also asked them to look at one of our motion detectors that was giving us trouble. Hubby decided to replace it and since technology has come a long way in 9 years, he had all the motion detectors replaced.  Because the alarm company didn't install the system properly, he waived the $120. fee to just come out to the house. He also only charged us $25. for labor. It would have been close to $150. Yes, we had to pay for the motion detectors but we saved about $245. in total.

I washed one load of clothes with cold water in my HE washer. I tried to use my dryer to dry them with the wool balls. The dryer was giving me trouble. It didn't seem to be heating up. So Hubby went outside to make sure that nothing was blocking the air from going outside. He found no problem. I switched to a different setting than the one I was going to use and the dryer worked. Then about 10 minutes later I cancelled that setting and went back to the original one and it worked. Whether it will continue to work when I use it, time will tell. It is getting old and I purchased it used when we bought it and the washer. So I am researching washers and dryers to see what our next purchase will be just in case it is dieing.

I took the inside of my dishwasher apart and cleaned it really well. Then I ran some citrus Koolaid through it on the short cycle. This keeps it working efficiently.

I have been using up our fresh produce so that none of it goes to waste. If you are throwing produce out you might as well just throw the dollars in the garbage.

Hubby has been watering our hanging baskets really well this summer. The sprinkler system does not reach those. They look as good today as when we purchased them.

Our air conditioning has been off for days. I am hoping to not have to turn it on again.

I washed the SUV in the driveway.

I filled the car up with gas getting $.50 off a gallon with supermarket points. 

I have not been spending a lot on groceries the past few months because we have been eating out of our freezer and pantries. So there is a great deal on chicken this week and I will do some stocking up for the winter. But not as much as I thought because my inventory shows I have about 25 lbs.

I complained online to Hormel who sells the Jennie O turkey breast that was so awful. They sent me 3 - $5.00 off coupons. One good on Cure 81 ham and 2 that are good on one product up to $5.00 each. The ham one expires in October 2019 but the others are good till October 2020. It pays to take the time to complain. They also sent me a full list of the products they sell which is very helpful for figuring out how to fully take advantage of them. 

I have a busy two days of shopping to do. So I switched this Wednesday post with my Tuesday post. Tomorrow will be Tuesdays.

So what did you do frugally this past week? Please share with all of us.

Monday, August 26, 2019

A Little Of This and a Little of That

We had a quiet weekend with the exception of our son and grandson coming for a delicious blueberry pancake breakfast. I am using up the last bag of blueberries that I froze last August. I cooked sausage to go with it and we had V8 juice and coffee. I just cooked two eggs for me since I am pretty much carbohydrate free. 

I spent some time looking at the grocery sale ads and making a grocery list. We are having company for dinner on Sept. 3rd so I need some things for that. I am also planning on stocking up on sale chicken for the winter. I think I will get 20 - 30 lbs.

Here is my to do list this week:

Defrost the freezer(DONE)

Grocery shopping - 4 stores (DONE)

Pick Up Hubby's prescriptions at the drugstore(DONE)

Order Norelco shaver replacement blades for Hubby's shaver(DONE)

Fall clean the guest bathroom(DONE), hallway(DONE), laundry room(DONE), kitchen(DONE), breakfast room(DONE), and great room(DONE)

Practice making a loaf of French bread in my oven. This is needed for French Onion soup that Hubby is making for a first course for our company dinner. I want to make sure the bread will turn out the way I want before I make it the day of the dinner. Otherwise, I will get a French bread loaf at the market that day. Our bread maker doesn't make the shape loaf that we want for the soup.(DONE)

Pay $450. in charitable donations(DONE)

Go over the budget and make sure that we are going to be able to eek out the large bills coming this week and next week without taking money from our investments(DONE)

Get one Christmas gift from my Christmas list( DONE)

As you can see, I have a very busy week. I like to get all of my Fall cleaning done before Labor Day. So I had best run and get started on my day.

What is on your to do list this week?

Friday, August 23, 2019

Cutting Our Electric Bills

This has been a hot and humid summer yet we have cut our electric bills. We have had three bills so far and we have cut our electric bill and gas bills by $ 115.94 this summer. Most of our summer usage is electric. We use very little natural gas in the summer. Of course we always have to pay for the gas meter and associated taxes and service charges. 

Some of the decrease was because of the 3 days we had broken A/C but that was minimal compared to the big picture.

If you had told me that we would be able to cut our electric bill by this much, I would not have thought it would be possible. You all know that I have always tried to keep our utility bills low. So I would have thought it was not possible to cut it this much.

But this summer, when the days were cooler(70-80), we were diligent about turning our A/C off instead of just leaving it on most of summer. We always did the latter because we knew it would only run when we needed it. 

However, I got thinking about how spoiled we have become. We did not have A/C when I grew up in the city. Nor did we have it when we summered on a lake. Granted we were kids and the heat didn't bother us much.

The first two years we were married, we lived in a very hot attic apartment with one window fan and we survived. When we bought our first home, we did not put central A/C in for a few years. We survived. In all three of our homes after the first one, we have always had central A/C. I think we just got used to putting that A/C on for the summer. 

We probably would not have survived the heat in Arizona without the central A/C. But we had really cheap electricity out there. In New York, it is costly.

Our utility company, NYSEG, has requested a rate increase of 24% for this coming year. I doubt the PSC will agree to that(time will tell) but they will get a hefty portion of it. They say they need the increase because their costs have gone up which is probably true. We have all seen our costs go up. 

A good portion of the increase they are asking for is to pay for the smart meters that they want to install over the next 5 years in all of their customers homes. Are those necessary? Yes and no. They normally replace a certain number of meters each year because of age. Do they need to replace all meters? I would think not.  But they do not have residential meters that would allow a Time Of Use(TOU) rate. They have not said how that will operate yet. I am very curious about that.

We opted for TOU metering in Arizona and we saved a lot of money even though we were retired and home all day long. That said, I really don't know how much we would really save here with the extreme temperatures we get in both the summer and the winter. It all depends on how the company sets their TOU hours and rates for that.

But anyhow, we cut back to try to lower the utility bills over the summer and it has been working. We have been very comfortable without it on the days we have turned it off. It is off now at least until Monday or Tuesday because cooler air has come in. We are enjoying the fresh air.

You all know that I do lots of other things to keep our utility bills down as shown in these posts:

 More Energy Saved

Watching The Large Expenses 

How do you cut your utility bills? Do you go without A/C sporadically during the summer or for all of the summer? 

Thursday, August 22, 2019

Recession or Not?

Lately when Hubby has the news on which I don't watch, I am hearing people scaring Americans about a recession coming.

Is there one coming? Probably, but when is another question. There has been a recession about every 10-12 years in the 52 years that we have been married. So this is nothing new and we are due. Things aren't always good. What is surprising to me is that they are talking recession when the economy is so good. Flooding in the midwest this year could contribute to one along with other factors. Time will tell.

But I don't worry too much about a recession because they don't usually affect us much. There were recessions in the early years of our marriage that I didn't even realize were happening.

Sure the stock market will be affected but what goes down will eventually go back up.  I doubt we will have a depression like the 1929 one. But of course all of this is just my opinion. Everyone should form their own opinion.

One of the reasons that we are pretty much recession proof is that we are always prepared. We have no debt, not even a mortgage. Even when we had a mortgage in the early years of our marriage, we always had an emergency fund. 

I read an article a few years ago that said that 69% of Americans could not cover an unexpected expense of $1,000. To me that is very scary! What do they do if the car breaks down, they lose a job, or the furnace needs an expensive repair? I don't think things have changed that much since 2017. If they had, the average American wouldn't have $8189. in outstanding credit card debt which includes bank and store credit cards. And remember, this is an average. Many Americans owe a whole lot more than this and some less and some none like us. This tells me that most Americans rely on credit cards and borrowing if they have an unexpected expense.  At an almost average 17% interest rate on unpaid balances, they just get themselves into more and more debt.

If you do not have an emergency fund, it should be your first priority over the next couple of months. $1,000. will help. But to really protect yourselves, you should build it up to at least 6 months of expenses. You say you don't know what your expenses are monthly? Well then, now is the time to track a month's worth and include those expenses that you only pay once or twice a year. Then multiply that by 6 months and you will have an idea of what you should have in your emergency fund to fully protect you and your family. But if you have no fund, building up to $1,000. will help when you have a small emergency. 

The other thing that we do to help during a recession is to build up our stockpile of food. When a recession is coming, you should put at least 6 month's worth of food away. We try to have a year's worth. Right now we don't have that much in our freezer because we have been eating out of it. However, I believe that we could make meals out of our pantries, if need be, for up to a year.  

Yes, we have some gaps that need to be filled but I am working on that with a list I worked up of what they are. You saw that this past week, I purchased 2 cases of canned whole potatoes.  Fresh potato prices are going up here and I pay attention to things like that. These potatoes will also help me not to shop over the winter. You all know that I hate driving in the snow. If I could stay home all winter, I would.

I also stock on food when I believe that food prices will be rising which could happen with all of the flooding. We are already seeing beef and pork prices rising here. By stocking, I insulate our family from these rising prices. Yes, the prices are getting higher but I believe they will go even higher. 

The other choice that we have is to not eat those products that are rising. With beef and pork prices rising, buy poultry. If they rise, buy whatever hasn't risen or go meatless.

If you don't have an emergency fund start working on it by figuring out what you truly need. Then start funding it. Next, stock some food in your pantry. If you only have an extra $10. a week, then just buy $10. worth of food. Next week buy another $10. worth. Keep doing that and eventually you will have a stockpile that you can rely on.

By doing this the next time you have an emergency, hopefully you can handle it without pulling out your credit card and going deeper into debt. If you build up your pantry, you know that you and your family will be able to eat.

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Frugal Things This Past Week

This is one of my favorite lamps. It resides in our master bedroom. We have owned it for about 30 years. It was starting to give me trouble. It would flicker on it's own when I turned it on. I was worried about a short in it so I unplugged it and told Hubby. He took it apart and found loose wiring and repaired it. Now it works perfectly. I am so glad that I never considered throwing it out.

I went to the salon and had my hair done. She told me the roots and highlights were fine. She just did a cut for $30.00 plus a $6.00 tip.


Having a lot of eggs in the fridge, I boiled up 11. We used them for a quick breakfast, some snacks and Hubby made egg salad one day.

I cleaned out and sanitized the inside of  my refrigerator checking to see what produce needed to be used up. So it has been worked into my plan for the week.

Rather than take the turkey breast back to the market, Hubby diced it up and we are using it for chicken salad and to make turkey soup. It's easier to eat in small pieces. I have another turkey breast in the freezer that I purchased the same day as this one. I am hoping it is not tough. I can tell you that I will not be buying this brand again.


I have made a list of items to stock up on in the next few weeks. They are things that I believe may go up in price soon. I already stocked Monday on 2 cases of canned whole potatoes at $ .49 a can. Hubby loves them roasted. I no longer eat any potatoes so rather than buy a bag that can't be used up before it goes bad, I will use canned roasted or in stew all fall and winter into the spring. 

I washed two loads of wash with cold water. They were hung to dry.

There are so few homes in our town for sale that the two homes that were put up for sale in our development the past couple of days sold within days. People were bidding the prices up. It is good for the seller but it is going to kill us when they reassess us for taxes in the spring. Add to that the new homes that are being built in our development that are selling very quickly and we are in big trouble for taxes. Moral: Sell now if you want to move.

I blanched three of the four ears of corn I bought and froze them so Hubby can have them over the winter. 

My friend who had the party this past weekend makes a dill pickle dip that Hubby loves. She surprised him with a 16 oz. jar of it when we were leaving to come home on Saturday. He is enjoying it immensely. She reuses jars as I do.

I started a list of Christmas gifts that I need to buy. I will be working on those over the next two months and hope to have all my shopping done by the end of October.


I was able to buy a 3 lb. bag of Lakanto Monkfruit Sweetener that was $22.99 using credit card rewards.

Since our state is getting rid of plastic bags the beginning of next year, I am still saving every one I get including large packaging like toilet paper wrappers, Amazon plastic shipping envelopes, etc. I use these to empty wastebaskets which saves me from using extra tall kitchen garbage bags or trash bags. I put them in empty tissue boxes and stack them in the basement. When we had a cat, I would save the empty cat food bags for the same purpose. 

Hubby needed a new piece of medical equipment. Fortunately it was covered under our medical plans. There was not even a co-pay. 

We had some tortillas that were getting old. Hubby made himself a scrambled egg, onion, cheese and sausage wrap for breakfast. He also made a few others to put in the freezer and just nuke when he wants one.

For entertainment, we have been watching preseason football games, watching You Tube, reading some free books on our Kindles, and doing a puzzle. 

I have been running the dishwasher every other day using up a container of homemade dishwasher detergent and using vinegar in place of Jet Dry. 

For exercise, I have been walking, going on the treadmill, and going to the gym.

We are supposed to have a cool down today. I am glad because it has been 88 during the days. So I have been collecting scraps of wood at the dumpsters where they are building in here. We will be ready to enjoy our outdoor fireplace in the evenings with the cooler weather.

We needed to stock on air filters for the furnace since we were getting low. We stopped at Lowe's and the prices were expensive and they no longer carried a package in bulk like I used to get. The guy that checks our furnace for us every year told us a long time ago to buy the cheapest filters you can. He said other filters block air flow and that is not a good thing. So I ordered 12 filters from Home Depot for $.98 each and picked them up there so that I didn't have to pay for shipping.

What have you been doing frugally this past week?

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

What We Ate and Grocery Shopping This Past Week

These are the groceries that we purchased the past week.

Top's:

4 ears of Corn on the Cob- 4 for $1.00
Broccoli Crowns - $ .88 lb. = $1.02

Total OOP was $2.02.



Aldi's:

24 cans of Whole Potatoes - $ .49 each = $ 11.76
1 Pkg. of Romaine Hearts - $ 2.19
1 Pkg of 3 Colored Peppers - $2.99
Organic Bananas - $ .59 lb. = $1.24
1 Mustard - $ .55

Total OOP was $18.73.

We are eating from our pantries, fridge and freezers. I am starting to stock on items I believe will go up in price over the next year and getting a few things to fill in the gaps to stock us for the winter since I hate the snow and cold. 

Last week we ate bagels(Hubby), eggs, Canadian bacon, regular bacon and ham for breakfasts.

Dinners were:

Turkey with mashed cauliflower, stuffing, and brussel sprouts - 2 dinners

Chicken with SF BBQ sauce and side salads - 2 dinners

Taco Salads - 1 dinner

Choice of Salmon or Haddock and broccoli - 1 dinner

Dinner at the Party - 1 dinner 

I hope to take more pics of what we eat this coming week. It has been hectic here.

Did you cook anything special this past week? Did you get any good grocery deals?

Monday, August 19, 2019

A Little of This and A Little Of That

We had the worst weather this weekend. About the time I left for the hair salon on Saturday morning, the skies opened up and the thunder and lightning was bad. Fortunately, we always keep an umbrella in the car. After I left the hairdresser, I had to run another errand but I was very happy to get home. It was hard to see to drive the rain was so heavy.

I was standing in the kitchen, when a bolt of lightning hit in the woods right behind us. It scared me so badly. More on that later.

I appreciate all of the feedback on my hair dilemma. I did go and this was the result. I even wore a shirt that was 4 sizes too big for me(for occasions like this, for cleaning the house or working in the yard)  so that I could get it off easily to change into my party clothes without messing up my hair. 

It had been 6 weeks since I had been to the salon. My hairdresser on that appointment did something different. I have blonde highlights on the sides and the front. She decided to color my roots the same shade. What a difference that has made!  After these 6 weeks, I did not have to have the roots done. She said there was no gray. She told me I could easily go another 4-6 weeks because it will blend as my hair grows. So since roots and highlights were fine, she only had to shampoo and cut it. She only charged me $30. I added a $6. tip and I was on my way. I was thrilled.

When I got home, I gave myself a manicure. No nail salon for me. 

We had an annual picnic party to go to at a good friend's home. I went over an hour early to help her shred all of the smoked pork bellies and slice the smoked beef briskets and get them into the large chafing containers. Hubby arrived at the starting time of the party. We had such a good time with friends and neighbors. There was good conversation, good food, and drink. I behaved myself and stuck to my diet food, although I did have just one draft beer.  We look forward to this get together every year. Fortunately, the rain stopped and the sun came out about an hour before the party began.

At the party, a neighbor told us that many other neighbors had problems with things blowing out about the time of the lightning strikes. A number of neighbors lost power for a bit. One neighbor had many of their shingles blown off which is what we experienced in a wind storm last spring.

I made a mental note to check my freezer in the basement when we got home to make sure it was running.  When Hubby came to the party, he didn't arm the house alarm because we were right across the street and could see the house. When we got home, we realized that there was a fault message on the alarm panel. It was one that we had never seen before. So we have our alarm people coming to find the problem today. This may have occurred during the storm. We again had bad storms early yesterday morning and again last night. It has gotten so hot here- upper 80's that I expect that we will get more this week. I had to put the A/C back on a couple of days ago.

Yesterday was a quiet day at home. We stayed home all day. My family did not come to breakfast because my DIL took West to NYC on Thursday to do some sightseeing and for a Ninja competition on Saturday.

Hubby was happy to watch some preseason football. I looked over all the food ads for this week. There were really no good buys except broccoli crowns for $.88 a lb. and Amaize sweet corn that is 4 for a $1.00. I may or may not get some this week. Hubby loves the corn, so I may blanch some to put in the freezer. I did notice that beef prices are rising. Steaks were up about $ 2.00 a lb. and ground beef that is usually $1.99 a lb. is now $ 2.29 a lb. on sale. Time will tell if Aldi's raises the price of the 100% grass fed ground beef that I always buy.

For dinner last night I roasted a turkey breast that I purchased at Top's for $.88 a lb a few weeks ago. It was the worst turkey breast that we have ever had. It is so tough that we could barely chew it. I am going to see if it is more tender cold. If not, I am considering calling the meat department to see if I can get my money back. I don't know if they will want the turkey back even though it is roasted or not. I will call and find out what to do.

Well, I am off to start my day. I have a lot of cleaning to do. I hope you all have a good one. 

Have any of you returned meat like this? Did they give you your money back? Did you bring the meat back cooked?    

 

Friday, August 16, 2019

Bare Bones: A Dilemma

I have a dilemma tomorrow. Those of you who have read here know that I get my hair cut, colored, and highlighted at what some would think is a high end salon. It really is only a few dollars more than the cheaper salons in my area. Part of my dilemma is that I love my hairdresser because she does a fantastic job. I also enjoy chatting with her because she reminds me of a young me. She is very frugal and has her head on straight when it comes to money.

I definitely need a cut tomorrow and my roots done. But I believe that the highlights are good for another 4-6 weeks. So it will cost much less than normal.

However this is definitely not bare bones. I do pay cash for this each time I go out of my monthly spending money. But it nags at me that there must be a better way.

I am not good at coloring my hair. I make a mess and I miss parts of my head so the gray shows. But I am considering doing it myself and trying to do a better job. I have blonde highlights put in but I have so many that my hair is almost all blond.

So I am thinking that buying hair color in a light shade that kind of matches the highlights would work. I know that I can get some good deals on hair color using coupons. I have also seen hair color on clearance at my local drugstores. But then again I wonder if it really wouldn't look as good as the highlights do. 

I would then only have to pay for a haircut. Hubby used to cut my hair for me and he did as good a job as most hairdressers. But ever since he developed back issues, he does not want to do it because the standing for any length of time puts him in major pain. There is no way that I would even attempt to cut my own hair. 

So help me with this dilemma that has been eating at me for a very long time. Do you go to the salon or do your own hair? Is the salon worth the price? What do you think? Is it a luxury that is worth paying for? It is so expensive that it nags at me that I should be spending that money on something else or investing it.  

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Savings With My Kitchen Aid

One of my very favorite appliances is my Kitchen Aid Mixer. I purchased it refurbished for about $150. many years ago when we lived in Arizona.

I use it so often that I keep it out on our counter. Both Hubby and I use it a lot when we are baking cakes, cookies, muffins, etc. I use it to make homemade frosting, whip heavy cream, or make mashed potatoes.

Over the years, I have purchased some attachments when I saw a great sale on them. I have the food grinder which I use for grinding meat or poultry that I purchase at rock bottom prices. 99% of the time those prices on the larger piece of meat I grind are less than I can buy the ground meat. Over the years, I have ground beef roasts, steaks, chicken, and turkey breasts. Pork chops or roasts make ground pork or sausages. I have also used it to grind nuts and make bread crumbs. I have made pickle relish by grinding pickles. I have ground dried fruits to make cookies. This versatility has saved me a fortune on purchasing these items prepared. 

I have also purchased attachments that slice and shred. Because of this, I have not had to purchase a food processor. I can easily shred my own cheese when I find a chunk cheap. I can shred all kinds of vegetables and fruits. I have also shredded cooked chicken with them. I have made coleslaw. It does a great job making pesto. Making applesauce is easy.

The best thing is that it does not take much electricity to use it. The second best thing is because  I purchased it so cheap that I have gotten my money back many times over the years.

If you own a Kitchen Aid, please share with us what you use yours for.

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Frugal Things We Did This Past Week

These are the frugal things we have done the past week.

I already told you about Hubby's purchase of shelving for the garage. It is all up now except for the bottom shelf which will get put up after they do our garage floor.

My son brought his jack so that Hubby and he could jack up the shed. In the meantime, Hubby was cleaning the garage and he found his jack in a cabinet. They worked on this last Sunday.

My son took my origami shelving unit down into the basement from the garage. I had him place it where I wanted it. I haven't decided what I will use the shelves for. I think I will be rearranging things down there and then making decisions. I plan on spending an hour a day this week doing that.

I washed a load of clothing once last week using cold water to wash and rinse. I hung everything to dry.

I washed a load of towels along with some guest room sheets. They were dried in my dryer using the wool balls which cuts down the dryer time by 20-30 minutes.

Our A/C has been off most of the past week. It has been cooler and a lot less humid. We have been enjoying the fresh air blowing in through the windows. We have had some nice gentle winds those days. 

For entertainment, we enjoyed watching the Buffalo Bills pre-season football game. We played board games with West. 

I have been doing a lot of walking around our neighborhood. I want to slowly work my way up to 8 miles a day. I have been invited to go to Disney World for their 50th Anniversary in 2021. Now that I am getting healthier, I want to see if I can walk the parks down there and not have to maneuver a scooter. My family walks about 8 miles in a park each day when they go. So by working on this now, I will know whether I can do it or not. If I can, the bonus is that I will not have to rent a scooter for a week.

I am getting low on quart size storage bags. They are wearing thin from being washed again and again. I got a great deal on Amazon . It works out to $.05 a bag which is a terrific deal. Better yet I paid for them using reward points. These are storage bags only not freezer bags.

I got my Rakuten rebate of $ 17.03. I got a mail in rebate of $6.00.

My liquid hand soap order that I told you about in a prior post arrived yesterday. That was about 2-4 weeks earlier than they said it would. I always worry about liquid things leaking in shipment. This was packed so well that it never would have leaked. This 4 gallons will last us a long, long time.

A friend, who started blogging way back when I did, mentioned that she uses fold over blank cards for gifts.  I am getting low on my blank cards that I sometimes use, so I searched on Amazon for these blank cards . They were $24.50+ tax for 100. They do not come with envelopes but due to a bulk purchase 16 years ago when we lived in Arizona, I already have envelopes that will fit them. I am always looking for a cheaper way to do things. This purchase will cut my card using price to less than half of what I normally pay. I can use them for gifts or even just when I need a card to mail. I have many ways that I can dress them up including my stamps and ink pads. 

I bought some more bagels at Panera Bread yesterday for Hubby. They are cheaper for 13 on Tuesdays...just $6.99.  I bagged them up in portions and put them in the freezer. He can just pull one out the night before he wants one. I paid for them with a gift card. 


Hubby made some more homemade cinnamon cream cheese spread for his bagels.

Hubby and I had our teeth cleaned. Two cleanings, flouride treatments, and exams twice a year, for each of us are covered in full by our discount dental plan. Hubby also had some work done and we got a discount of 20% on that.

I repaired a pair of shorts for Hubby.

Knowing that we were going to be out a good part of the day on dental cleaning and errand day, I put 2 nights worth of chicken in the crock pot to cook on low. All I had to do for dinner later was steam some broccoli and make Hubby some rice.

What are the frugal things you have done this past week? Please share with all of us. 

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

What We Ate and Grocery Shopping

I am being honest when I say that I didn't take a lot of pictures of what we ate last week. I had a very busy week so this just didn't happen.

We had our usual meat and eggs for breakfast and no lunches. We had two nights of homemade spaghetti and meatballs. Mine was on homemade zoodles. We had two nights of Cheesy Bacon Ranch Chicken and asparagus which is pictured above. We had one night of pizza while my grandson was here. Being totally honest, I actually ate a piece of pizza. That being said, I was sick the entire next day. It seems the pizza did not agree with me. My body does not seem to like carbohydrate laden food anymore. So I will not be doing that again. The other two nights we had Chef's salads. I continue on my weight loss journey. 

I went to the grocery store twice this past week. At Top's, I purchased: 

3 dozen eggs - $ .59 each or $ 1.77
1 All Purpose Flour - -$ 2.99
1 Baking Powder - $ 2.69

Total OOP was $ 7.45

At Aldi's, I purchased:

Red Seedless Grapes - $ .89 a lb. - $ 2.52
1 Heavy Whipping Cream - $ 1.55
1 Whipped Cream Cheese - $ 1.49
1 Feta Cheese - $ 2.99
1 Irish Butter - $2.49
1 Queso Fresco Cheese - $ 2.49
1 bag of Avocados - $4.99
1 frozen Asian Blend Vegetables - $ 1.69
1 frozen Brussel Sprouts - $ 1.09

Total OOP was $ 21.30.  

I know that I could have purchased the flour and baking soda cheaper at Aldi's. But I didn't because I do not like their baking ingredients. They have a funny taste.

When I can get eggs this cheap, I stock. They had a limit of three but if I go near Top's again, I will get three more. We use a lot of eggs for breakfasts.

I am trying the Irish Butter which Aldi's now has under their own label. It is exactly the ingredients of the name brand. It is made with milk from grass fed cows. If we like it, I am hoping they have it on sale near Thanksgiving and I will stock up. We still have a lot of pounds of butter that we purchased last Thanksgiving.

I don't know how much longer I will buy avocados now that they are no longer in season. They are expensive. But I needed them for something this week and I love them. So we will see. 

Did you make a new recipe this week that you loved? Would you share it with us. Did you get any deals at the grocery store this past week?