Sunday, September 30, 2018

Buying and Eating: =September 16-30

We began the second half of the month with $133.18 left in the budget.

What We Ate:  ham, zucchini pancakes, Waldorf salad, baked potatoes;  pizza and popcorn;  Chinese orange chicken and chicken lo mien; leftovers; hamburgers, French fries, Caesar salad;
The low carb diet has restarted.
Cheeseburger soup, cheese quesadilla, cucumber and onion salad, blueberries;  meatballs, spaghetti squash with Alfredo sauce, sauteed spinach, cucumber and onion salad;  rotisserie chicken, zucchini, cucumber and onion salad;  meatzza, garlic low carb muffins;  chicken cordon bleu soup, Swiss cheese tortilla, strawberries;  soybean and ham soup with homemade low carb bread; leftover smorgasbord; chicken salad sandwich, cottage cheese and sunflower seeds, strawberries; sausage, onions and peppers on the grill, Caesar salad with homemade dressing and croutons, strawberries

What We Bought:

Walgreen's:  instant coffee for my iced coffee habit (6)  $17.94

Giant Eagle:  cottage cheese. Free with coupon

Price Rite:  vegetable oil, pork roast (7.5 lbs), cheese (5), deli turkey (lb)  $18.70

Aldi:  spaghetti squash (2), butternut squash (2), acorn squash (2), shredded cheese (4),   low carb bars (2), cream   $28.02

Sam's Club: sandwich croissants (12), muffins (9),  chocolate chunk cookies (18) for free, 16 inch pepperoni pizza for free, rotisserie chicken for free, pepperoni (4 lbs), baguettes (2), ground beef  (6lb)  $17.20

Tops:  beef broth (32 oz.),  Folgers (10.3 oz), Rinaldi marinara sauce, lettuce, strawberries (2 lb),     $8.17

Total for Groceries:  $90.03

Eating Out:
Breakfast .$5.85
Oriental Meal .$19.50

Total for Eating Out:  $25.35

Grand Total:  $115.38

Amount left over from budget,  $17.80.

The new cushion amounts are now $664.36 ytd and  $1147.55 in total.

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Renewal Freebies and More Good Deals

We recently renewed our Sam's Club membership.  That made us eligible for some deals.  While not all of them appealed to us, there were a few we liked and that made financial sense.

Free Items:

1 rotisserie chicken $4.98 saved
16 inch pepperoni pizza  $6.99 saved
18 chocolate chunk cookies.  $5.98 saved

I love free food!

Money Off Deals:

Bathroom Tissue.   $1.50 saved.   45 rolls  40 cents/roll
Facial Tissue.  $3.00 saved.     12 packages 180count.     $0.75/box
Paper Towels.  $1.50 saved .   15 rolls   $1.12/ premium roll
Garbage Bags   $2.00 saved.     200 flex bags at 7 cents /bag
50 count box of assorted chips (for the lake)   $2.50 saved.    20 cents/bag
French Baguettes.  $1.50 saved.     $1.24/ extra long baguette
Sandwich Croissants.  $2.50 saved.  37 cents/sandwich croissants
Pepperoni. $2.00 saved.     $1.90/pound
6 lbs. ground beef  $6.00 saved.  $1.98/ pound

Savings:  $40.45

Always try to take advantage of these kind of special discounts if they work for you.  They are like found money.

Monday, September 24, 2018

Charitable Donations on a Budget

We like to help those in need.  But what if your budget is tight?
You can still help out.

Sending money is not the only way to donate.
Use your shopping skills.

Donate things that, for whatever reason, are no longer useful to you.

Donate things you have the skills to create.

Below are some donations I made recently.  The monetary cost was nominal.

Humane Society:  old knit throws from around the house, crocheted mini throws for cats and dogs, canned cat food our cats can no longer eat, dog food free with a coupon, dry cat food our cats can no longer eat, generic laundry detergent bought for under a dollar

Linus Project:  nine baby afghans made with thrift store yarn

Food Bank:  food and household items bought free or cheap with coupons, basic food items bought when on rock bottom sale (flour, pasta, rice, beans, peanut butter, canned soup, canned vegetables, cereal, cornmeal)

No matter our budget, we can still have the satisfaction of helping others.

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Inexpensive and Good

Baked Meatloaf Potatoes:

Four large baking potatoes                                        2 Tbs oil
1/2 pound ground beef .                                             3 Tbs flour
1/4 cup chopped onion                                               1 1/4 cup milk
2 chopped garlic cloves.                                            Salt and pepper
Salt and pepper.                                                         Paprika for color

With a knife, hollow out the potatoes to make "boats".  Combine the raw p potato, beef, onion, garlic , salt and pepper.  Spoon into the potatoes, mounding the tops.  Bake at 400 for about an hour or until done.
Make a gravy by mixing the oil and flour over medium heat until bubbly.  Add the milk and stir until thick and smooth.  Serve over the potatoes.

This is also great with sausage meat.
You get a great meal with only a little meat and the flavor of the meat soaks into the potatoes, too.
I have used bacon grease instead of the oil and it is wonderful.

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Buying and Eating: September 1-15

Our September grocery and meals out budget is $369.30 for the two of us or $12.31 per day for two and $6.155 per person per day.  We do have a YTD cushion of $646.76 and a grand total cushion of $1129.75 we can go into if we need to do so.

We are still low carb dieting and our expenses reflect it as far as fruit, veg, eggs, dairy and specialty ingredients are concerned.  We have been lucky to have a well stocked freezer to use for most of the meat this diet relies on.

What We Ate:  bacon wrapped grilled pork chops, spinach salad, creamy cauliflower with cheese;  creamy kale and sausage soup, tossed salad, homemade low carb bread;  spinach savoury cheesecake, roasted zucchini and Brussels sprouts; steak and shrimp for anniversary with salad and fruit; eggplant and meatballs with sauce; grilled salmon, shrimp cocktail, fresh fruit; leftover smorgasbord;  cheeseburger soup with cheese and vegetable quesadilla; meatloaf, Brussels sprouts, zucchini, low carb cinnamon muffins, strawberries; leftovers

What We Bought:

Aldi:  strawberries, blueberries, eggs (3),  cottage cheese, olives (2), whipping cream (2), carb bars (5 boxes)  $31.32

Erie County Farms: cucumbers (3), zucchini (3), cabbage, eggs (8), Smith's bacon (10lbs), onions (10 lbs), pepperoni (lb), cold cuts (lb)   $50.42

New Salvage Store ( for our future stockpile):  crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce (3), diced tomatoes (3), Rotel tomatoes (2), grey poupon, no sugar ketchup, spaghetti (4 lbs), low carb tortillas (2), pork rinds (2), evaporated milk (6), cream of chicken soup (4), tomato soup, clam broth, bean sprouts (2), baby corn, water chestnuts, ripe olives, artichoke hearts, green beans (2), pad Thai Mix, caramel swirl bean coffee (5 lbs), Columbian Supreme coffee beans (5 lbs), ground coffee (2.5 lbs), canned peaches (2), canned pears (2), canned pineapple, soy flour (1 lb), TVP (10 ounces), vital wheat gluten (6.5 ounces), semi sweet baking chocolate bar, hot sauce, croutons, toaster pastries (3 boxes), carb bars (4 boxes)   $77.11

Aldi:  shredded cheese (2 lbs), blackberries, sour cream  $7.54

Commissary at Fort Mead:  shredded cheese (3 lbs), popcorn (1 lb), cinnamon rolls ( a treat), poptarts (another treat), dried lima beans (2 lbs), Mac and cheese, cornstarch, vinegar with mother, brownie mix, Italian bread, apples.  $31.29.      We are taking a break from the low carb diet while we visit the girls.

Total :  $197.68

Eating Out:

Dinner with Ellen  $ 18.85
Dinner at Meg's  $19.59

Total: $ 38.44

Grand Total for Two Weeks:  $236.12

Remaining for September:  $133.18

The budget is taking a pounding but that's what cushions are for.  :)

Sunday, September 9, 2018

A Shop At A New Salvage Store

We tried out a new salvage grocery we had heard about.  I like my regular one better and I think their prices are generally lower.  But I did find some deals and some things I don't see very often.  The large bags of coffee worked out to $2.99/pound.  And, I see a yummy stir fry in our future.  :)

Here is what we bought:

Large can of crushed tomatoes
Tomato sauce  (3)
Diced tomatoes (3)
Rotel tomatoes (2)
Grey Poupon mustard (16 oz.)
No sugar ketchup
Spaghetti .(4 lbs)
8 count low carb tortillas (2)
Pork rinds, for Mike. (2)
Evaporated milk (6), an early Christmas stock up
Cream of chicken soup (4), we are entering casserole season
Tomato soup, the perfect comfort meal with grilled cheese
Clam broth (4 cups), for making chowder and clam sauce for pasta
Bean sprouts (2)
Baby corn
Water chestnuts
Ripe olives
Artichoke hearts
French style green beans (2)
Pad Thai Mix
Carmel swirl coffee beans (5 lbs.)
Columbian Supreme coffee beans (5 lbs.)
Ground coffee (2.5 lbs.)
Canned peaches (2)
Canned pears (2)
Canned pineapple (2)
Soy flour (lb)
Texturized Vegetable Protein (10 oz), great for chili
Vital Wheat Gluten (6.5 oz), for bread making
Semi Sweet Cooking Chocolate Bar
Hot sauce
Croutons, for Mike when I don't make them fresh
Kellogg's Toaster Pastries (3 boxes), a post diet treat
Atkins Carb Bars (4 boxes)
80 Glad Garbage Bags
5 Reynolds oven bags
Six rolls of TP for the RV
50 tide pods for the RV

Total Spent:  $93.31:  $77.11 for food items and $ 16.20 for non-food items.

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Five Frugal Things From August

1.  Gathering up the fragments at the end of the week at the lake:  butter, lettuce, blueberries, bread, eggs, cheese, corn, ribs, lasagna, potatoes, summer squash, grapes, plums,  pasta salad and frozen treats such as popsicles, etc. that we shared with the camper next to us that had children who will enjoy.  All of this would have been thrown away if we hadn't taken it.  Nobody else was interested, We tried.

2.  We needed some kitchen items for the RV.  Instead of paying to buy them new, we found them in a thrift store.  We got a glass 9x13 pan, a large sauce pan with lid, two cake pans, a muffin tin, a colander and a large tempered glass cutting board for $9.00.

3.  I wanted to read the new biography of Laura Ingalls Wilder but I didn't want to spend the money ($22) to buy a copy.  So I got on the list at the library and my turn came rather quickly.  I'm now enjoying a free read.

4.  Mike found a set of brand new king size sheets at Goodwill for $ 5.99.  They will be great for the RV.

5.  I did some time consuming comparison shopping between our local Co-Op, Amazon, and Vitacost checking the cost of some low carb ingredients I needed to buy.  Vitacost came out on top and saved us about $10.00.  It pays to compare.

Extra:   Taking advantage of a back to school special, I got a half price haircut.

Saturday, September 1, 2018

Buying and Eating : August 16-31

Remaining allocation for the month:  $236.42.  Cushion remaining:  $ 620 YTD and $ 1103.59 in total.

My jeans have been talking to me.  It was time to do the low carb diet again, hence the Vitacost order for low carb ingredients and some extra shopping trips.  Expensive, but the diet works for both of us.  :)

What We Ate:  leftover kabobs, baked beans, salad; Sloppy Joe, garlic potato rounds, roasted eggplant, yogurt with raspberries;  Indian curry and lentil pancakes with grapes;  leftovers to clear out fridge for starting low carb diet tomorrow;
The low carb diet is starting:
kielbasa, roasted broccoli, Parmesan cheese crisps;. sage rubbed grilled pork chops, mashed cauliflower, kale wedges, deviled eggs; beef roast with mushrooms, celery and onions braised in beer and cream with crumbled bleu cheese, leftover sides; eggplant based meatzza;  BBQ ribs with a dry rub, fresh strawberries, broccoli salad with cheese, bacon and nuts; Philly cheese steak wrap, fried cabbage, creamed spinach; ham steak, leftover sides; hamburgers on the grill, broccoli salad, strawberries, coleslaw;  meat and cheese burritos, Mexican cauliflower steak, deviled eggs, salad; corned beef and cheese wraps, cottage cheese with sunflower seeds, baked artichoke hearts with Parmesan cheese;  Asian marinated flank steak and leftover sides

What We Bought:

Vitacost:  coconut milk, unsweetened coconut, no calorie sweetener, psyllium husks, almond flour, coconut flour, coconut oil, xanthan gum,  Chia seeds   $ 75.27 (we saved an additional $ by going through E-Bates)

Aldi:  sour cream, cream cheese, strawberries, whipping cream, cantaloupe, mushrooms, Parmesan cheese, bleu cheese, feta cheese, onions. $ 18.37

Tops:  lettuce, eggs, butter, applewood smoked bacon  $ 8.35

Aldi:  Apple juice (2) for making vinegar, almond milk, cauliflower, broccoli, cottage cheese, artichokes hearts (2), olives (3), cucumber, sweet peppers, grape tomatoes, fresh spinach, zucchini, cream cheese, almonds and cashews mix (2)  $37.40

Giant Eagle:  goldfish crackers. $0.99

Save a Lot:  English beef steaks (1.7 lbs), coleslaw mix (2), onions (3lb), Brussels sprouts.$ 10.35

Meat Market:  breakfast sausage (2 lbs)  $3.96

Trader Joe's:  Olive oil, sunflower seeds, sliced almonds, whole almonds, peanuts, coffee (2), eggs, flax tortilla chips. $34.31

Total Groceries:  $188.50

Eating Out:

Lunch with Ginger   $8.78
Lunch with Joyce. $12.98

Total Eating Out:  $ 21.76

Two Weeks Grand Total:  210.76

Amount to add to the cushion:  $26.16
Adjusted YTD cushion:  $646.76. And total cushion:  $1129.75