Sunday, October 29, 2017

Savings on Non Food Items, 2

Tide simply oxide 24 loads, normally $4.25.  On sale for $2.94.  We used an instore cash back of $2.00 to take the price down to $0.94.  Normally, the price per load would be$0.18.  At the price we paid, the cost per load would be $0.04, the same price as my homemade laundry detergent.

Dawn 4X, 8 oz., normally$1.79.  On sale for 0.99.  We used a coupon to bring the price down to $0.74.  Then we found another Dawn Platinum, regularly priced at $1.19,  on sale for $0.99.  We used $0.20 in rewards savings and a $0.25 coupon taking the price to $0.54.  These will be used to create my homemade cleaning products so they will last a long time.

20 Gallon reclosable storage bags ( I'm using a lot now freezing fruits and vegetables).  Originally priced for $2.99 they were on sale for $0.99.  Originally, each bag cost $0.15.  Now they only cost $0.05 per bag.

A 4pound bag of Domino sugar, normally $3.46 or $0.86 per pound.  It was on sale for $1.89 or $0.45 per pound.  This will come in handy for jam making.

1000 sheets toilet paper, normally 79 cents each, on sale for 50 cents each.  That's a 25% savings.

Xtra liquid laundry detergent, 34 loads, normally $3.69 each.  On sale for $0.89 each.  Normally, the price per load would be $0.11 per load.  At the sale price, the price per load is $0.02.  That's half the cost of my homemade laundry detergent.  That's a big win.  And we have enough for 204 loads.

Scott paper towels, 15 rolls, are normally $15.79 or $1.05 per roll.  I bought them on sale for $9.99 or $0.67 per roll.  A definite savings.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Grocery Shopping in England Oct 15-24: Buying and Eating

We spent ten days in England cleaning out our boat and getting it ready to sell.  It was hard to say goodbye but certain issues forced our hand

Now we have to plan phase two of our retirement.  I see an RV in our future and some touring of the U.S. and Canada.

But, back to our England trip.  :)

What we bought:

Food Co-Op:   blueberry mini wheats, berry soft breakfast cookies, potato crisps, English breakfast tea bags, 6 eggs, crackers (2), chocolate macaroons, Lincolnshire sausages, pepperoni pizza, Cornish pasty, pork pies, double cream, chicken Kiev, potatoes, root vegetables, strawberry apple pie, bacon, pate, cheddar (2), garlic baguette, wine (2), bananas, butter, mussels (2), whole chicken, sliced salami, marmalade. £36.20 or $48.10. Most of the items were yellow stickered (reduced).

Co-Op:  butter £1.69 or $2.20

Total spent on groceries:  $50.30

When we started cleaning out the boat in England we found some food items that were still good to eat ( cans, dried, bread mix, etc) that we will work into our menu while here.  That's a score as far as the budget is concerned.  :)

What we ate:

Breakfast- eggs and bacon; homemade toast; cinnamon toast; Lincolnshire sausages and toast; beans on toast; fried potatoes with eggs and cheese; toast; leftover beans on toast with bacon; Belvita breakfast cookies

Lunch- Cornish Pastie and crisps; lunch courtesy of friends Leslie and Pete; bacon sandwiches, bananas, chips and cookies; leftover pizza; lunch with Annie; ham sandwich with crisps and cookies; leftovers; lunch with Annie; grazed the leftovers; meat, cheese and crackers for the airport

Dinner- pepperoni pizza;  Chicken Kiev, baked potato, fruit, garlic bread, pie;  pasta with mussels, garlic, wine and cream, roasted rhutabegas, cheese bread;  chicken with mustard sauce, mashed root vegetables, fruit; ham, fried potatoes, corn; leftover smorgasbord; pork pies, corn and mash; pate and cheese; dinner with Kim and Robert; back in Erie late so settled on cereal

What we spent in restaurants:

Lunch with Annie. £11.00 or $14.50
Lunch with Annie  £10 or $13.20
Dinner with Kim and Robert  £26 or $34.30
Total in restaurants:  $62.00

Total spent:  112.30

We had $114.44 of October's allotment to spend so now we are at $2.14 left plus the cushion of $480.19.  This week's CSA will take us into the cushion.

But, all things considered, I'm pleased with where we are at.  Only one more week to go this month.

Monday, October 23, 2017

Stovetop Stuffing Swiss Casserole

This is more a list of ingredients than an actual precise recipe.  But that is true of most great casseroles.

Here are your ingredients:
Cooked chicken (think leftover), cut into cubes
Swiss cheese, grated, or use the cheese you have
Cooked pasta, leftover works
Sour cream or Greek yogurt
Stuffing mix with flavor packet
Cream of chicken soup

Mix the chicken, pasta and soup.

Mix the dry stuffing mix with the flavor packet and the sour cream.

Layer the chicken mix, then the stuffing mix and top with the cheese

Bake at 350 until hot and bubbly.

Dig in and enjoy.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Ingredients DIY'd

Hate the cost of certain ingredients?

In the middle of a recipe and missing an ingredient?

Make them yourself and save.

Brown Sugar:  1 cup sugar mixed with 2 T molasses

Mock Cream:  double the amount of dry milk to the normal amount of water

Sweetened Condensed Milk:  1 cup dry milk, 2/3 cup sugar, 3 T melted butter, 1/3 cup boiling water makes 1 1/4 cup

Self Rising Flour:  3/4 cup flour, 1 tsp baking powder, 1/4 tsp salt

Corn Syrup:  substitute 1 cup sugar dissolved in 1/4 c hot water

Pumpkin:  use the same amount of cooked and pureed winter squash or sweet potatoes

Sour Cream:  substitute Greek Yogurt

Bread Crumbs:  depending on what the recipe calls for, fresh or dry, zap slices of fresh or dried out bread in your food processor.  You can dry out bread quickly in your oven if need be.

Fat in baking:  substitute an equal amount of applesauce

Buttermilk:  1cup milk and 1 T lemon juice or vinegar

Saturday, October 14, 2017

October 1-14: Buying and Eating

I'm stopping at the fourteenth because that is the day we are flying to England.  We will be there ten days while we clean out the boat and get it ready to sell.  Due to some health issues, we are moving on from phase one of our retirement plan.  We will still be traveling, only differently.

Now, on to our food budget for this month.

The allotment for October is $381.61.   We also have a cushion of $480.19.  We will need a lot of this to cover our eating out while in England.  I'm a little nervous.

What we ate:  fried potatoes and onions, baked beans, corn on the cob (fast but a carb overload); BLTs with leftover tomato basil soup; homemade pizza with sausage, onion, peppers, mushrooms, black olives, and eggplant; homemade scrapple, baked yams, fried zucchini; ham salad, fried green tomatoes, leftover baked beans;  cheese strata, roasted Brussels sprouts, salad; gather up the fragments beef stew over mashed potatoes; rice and bean enchiladas, homemade applesauce and roasted cauliflower; cottage cheese pasta bake, Italian tostadas, applesauce; leftover smorgasbord(x3)

What we bought:

Aldi:  pretzel rods. $3.49. (I love the rods but I hate the price)

Aldi:  trail mix. $1.99

Giant Eagle:  yogurt (single serving)  Free with store coupon

CSA:  tomatoes, butternut squash, zucchini, apples, Brussels sprouts, red pepper, carrots.  $12.00

CSA:  tomatoes, zucchini, apples, peppers,eggplant, pumpkin, spaghetti squash, corn.  $12

Giant Eagle:  Nestea peach tea,  Enlightened mint ice cream bars.  Free with store and manufacturer's coupon

Dollar Tree:  5 pounds dry beans (pinto, kidney, black, great northern)  $4.00

Save a Lot:  cabbage, Delmonico steak, round steak (5 lbs)  $24.07

Salvage:  coffee (6), tea (2), baking chips (6), flour (6), brown sugar (2), marshmallows (2), dry black eyed peas, crackers (2), canned milk, red wine vinegar, white wine vinegar, parmesan garlic salad dressing, mayo, macaroni and cheese (3), salt, nuts (6), rice, iced coffee (4), olives, garlic salt, corn syrup, canned milk, croutons (2), mustard (2), enchilada sauce, teriyaki sauce, pudding mix. $56.89

Meals Out:

Dinner at Taco Bell on trip to D.C. :  $9.73
Pizza Dinner in D.C. after the birthday party :  $13.78 (enough for lunch on the way home)
Lunch with Mike after my audiology appointment:  $3.48
Lunch with Ginger, Anne and Mary Beth:  $4.12
Lunch with MJ:  $17
Lunch with Mike:  $5.30
Lunch for Mike:  $3.29
 food at airport:  $9.71

Of the $381..61 allocated for the month, we have spent $114.44 on groceries and $66.41 on meals out.  That leaves us with $ 200.76  Of the monthly allotment and $480.19 of our cushion to get us through the remainder of the month.  With all the meals out ahead of us, wish us luck.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Tuscan sausage and potato soup

This is my go to version of an Italian restaurant favorite.  It's wonderful with freshly made bread.

1 pound ground Italian sausage
1 diced onion
6 diced potatoes
4 cups broth, any type
1 tsp minced garlic
a pinch of cayenne pepper
1 Tbs Italian seasoning
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp basil
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 pkg frozen spinach,  drained of excess liquid; kale or Swiss chard can be substituted
1 can evaporated milk

Combine all ingredients but milk.  The Italian sausage goes in raw and is cooked along with the vegetables.  Cook until the vegetables are tender.  Add the milk and stir well to blend.


Friday, October 6, 2017

Substitute for Savings

Working with what I have, bought at discounted prices, often means a substitution or two when cooking.

This means I avoid another trip to the grocery store. And, I'm not buying an ingredient or two at full price.

Result:  money saved.

And, the more you do it, the more you can do it.  You become more and more comfortable with your creativity.

Ground chicken is turned into sausage instead of using ground pork.  After all, pork is the other white meat.

Cheerio marshmallow treats are made instead of rice krispie treats because I found the cheerios on sale.

No sunflower seeds for in your broccoli salad, use slivered almonds instead.

No mozzarella for your pizza, use Colby or Monterrey Jack or cheddar.

No lime juice, use lemon juice or grapefruit juice or cider vinegar.

Out of pancake syrup, melt jelly or jam over low heat and use that.

Forgot to buy raisins, use craisins.

Out of eggs?   Substitute 1 Tbs of soy flour and 1 Tbs of water  or 1 Tbs of flax meal and 3 Tbs of water for every egg when baking.  Want to make scrambled eggs?  For that you need to use your frozen eggs.

Out of soft butter?  With your mixer, slowly beat in 1/3 cup of milk to a pound of butter.  The result, a pound and a half of soft butter due to the added liquid and the air incorporated while beating it in.

Out of self rising flour, for each cup called for use 3/4 cup of all purpose flour to which you add 1 Tbs baking powder and 1/4 tsp salt.

Make your own brown sugar.  Combine 1 cup white sugar and 2 Tbs molasses.  Want it darker, add a little more molasses.

No evaporated milk in the cupboard?  Use double the amount of dry milk powder to the amount of water called for.

Need sweetened condensed milk?  Combine 1 cup dry milk, 2/3 cup sugar, 3 Tbs butter and 1/3 cup boiling water for each 1 1/4 cup of condensed milk called for.

Thickening something and you are out of flour, substitute 1/2 Tbs cornstarch for every 1Tbs of flour called for.

You get the idea.  Get creative. Substitute ground chicken for ground beef.  Cut the meat in half and substitute beans.  Don't have kidney beans, substitute pinto beans.  Creative substitutes help your budget.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Save Hundreds of Dollars Per Year Doing Ten Things

Need some wiggle room in your budget?  Try implementing some of, or all of, the following ideas and you could save hundreds.

1.  When you need to buy something, check out the used market first.  There's some great stuff out there, and a lot of it has barely been used.

2.  Give your dryer a vacation and hang your laundry to dry.  Not only will you save money but your clothes will wear longer.  Dryers are hard on clothes.

3.  Make your own pizza.  Spend less than half of what a take out would cost you and get exactly the toppings you want.  If you don't want to make your own crust try a loaf of Italian bread and cut it in half lengthwise.  Or use a flat bread.  Or buy a premade crust.  Easy.

4.  Drink a lot of soda?  Substitute iced tea or lemon water.  You can easily save a dollar a day.

5.  Bread is the staff of life.  Save money by making your own bread.  The Cuban bread I recently posted is super fast and super easy.  And, I have never had it fail. If that is more than you want to take on, buy it at a bread store or a dollar store.  When I don't make my own, I buy it for 89 cents a loaf at a local bread store.

6.  Need a lunch for work or school?  Try packing at least a few days a week.  Leftovers are great for lunch if you have access to a microwave.  Pack your lunch the night before after dinner.  That will save you time and stress in the morning.

7.  Help your health and budget by eating at least one vegetarian meal a week.  When you start out go for familiar foods like grilled cheese and tomato soup,  pasta with sauce, vegetable fried rice, or a baked potato bar.  Meat is expensive so even just one vegetarian meal a week can save a ton.

8.  Avoid expensive snack foods.  Trying popping your own popcorn instead.  A big bowl is much less expensive than a bag of chips.

9.  Pilot lights cost money because they are constantly burning natural gas.  So, if you have a gas stove, shut off the pilot lights to the burners.  Light them by hand when you want to use them.. Save natural resources as well as money.

10.  Eating at a restaurant?  Don't order your usual drink.  Drink water instead.  Restaurants make a lot of their money on drinks.  Make sure it stays in your pocket instead.

See, that budget can fit a lot easier by easily saving some dollars.  Good luck.