Every Day

How I Save on Groceries

Unless you live under a rock, you know that prices have risen rapidly in the past year. We have all been paying a lot more for food and many other products. Because of this, I have been shopping differently this year.

I always try to find a great sale. I scan the flyers each week to see what has a rock bottom price that week. For example, this week Top’s had Newman’s Peach Salsa on sale for $ 2.00 each. If you purchased 5, you got 100 gas points. Gasoline here is $3.46 a gallon. That 100 points equates to $ .10 off for each gallon on a fill up. We love this peach salsa so I bought 5. I have not been able to find a recipe that replicates it.

The only other thing I got was a 1 lb. container of strawberries. By using a Super coupon, I was able to buy them for $ 2.99. Most of the strawberries in my markets have been rotten the past couple of months. But these actually looked good and the price was right. We love a few strawberries or blueberries for a sweet treat. I have plenty of blueberries in the freezer. I froze them when they were in season this past August.

I did not make a special trip to buy these 6 items. I had other errands to run and Top’s happened to be on my route.

We no longer get the newspaper so I don’t get the printed coupons. But most of them I can find online. The majority of them are not for products that I use. But if there is one I will print it and match it up with a sale before it expires. For the first time in a couple of years, I found coupons in the market. They were $1./2 Green Giant Riced Veggies. I took a few to use when they go on sale because we do use these.

I use Fetch and Ibotta to save also. Fetch is so easy and I can use it to get $25. Walmart gift cards which I use for groceries. All you have to do is scan your receipt. Ibotta is not as user friendly so I use it less frequently. But if they have a free item after rebate, I will look for it when I go to the market.

It’s been hard to keep up a price book with prices rising so rapidly. However I do my best to update it when I see a new price. I also still have a great memory so I pretty much know what prices are at a any give time. That way if I spot a deal in the market, I grab it.

Meat has been the biggest issue in my area. I saw a package of Nathan’s hot dogs the other day for $ 9.00. We love them but I will not be buying them any time soon. I refuse to pay that for them. The cheapest meats in our area have been chicken and ground beef. Whenever Aldi’s puts the organic ground beef on sale in the 3 pack for $ 4.49 a lb., I purchase a few. I can get regular ground beef here for $ 2.99 a lb. but it looks and tastes awful. Chicken has been under $2.00 a lb. so we have been buying a lot of that recently. However, with the bird flu rearing it’s ugly head in the U.S., I would not be surprised if they start ordering the killing of chickens and then there will be a real shortage and the prices will skyrocket if you can even find it. I can’t tell you when the last time was that I purchased any other meat. It’s been a long time.

I am always on the look out for reduced price meat. However, these days I don’t see much. Many months ago I found sausages at Niagara Produce on reduced price so I bought a few packages. However I have seen none since. If I do and it is something we eat, I would not hesitate to purchase it and freeze or can it.

I am researching local farms because we are seriously considering ordering a half of a cow to be picked up this fall.

We only buy fresh produce when it is on sale. Lately, we have been sticking to the basics like lettuce, carrots, celery, onions, potatoes, apples, and cabbage. We love simple salads and Hubby loves to make a coleslaw that is more like a Waldorf salad with apples and walnuts. Apples and cabbage have been in season. I have 10 lbs. of carrots that I got on a sale a while ago. I have some in the fridge and I canned some slices. We use a lot of onions and carrots in different recipes like casseroles, soups and stews. Onions and potatoes I buy in 10 lb. bags at the produce store. Apples we buy in bulk quantities there also. I love cooking up onions and apples to put on pork ribeye chops. I have freeze dried green and red peppers in a #10 can that I use in dishes like Spanish rice, etc. I also use frozen peppers for stir fry.

Dairy products are purchased at Aldi’s 90% of the time. They have the best prices here. We use heavy whipping cream and half and half, butter, eggs, cream cheese, milk and sour cream. I purchased all of our butter for a year when they had it on sale during Thanksgiving.

We also purchase all of our cheeses and most of our deli meats there. Hubby enjoys provolone on sandwiches and we love ham, turkey, roast beef, pastrami, pepperoni and salami on different charcuterie boards. I buy cheeses to snack on or shred with our Kitchen Aid.

Many, many items we have been buying in bulk at our Amish store and Gordon’s Restaurant Supply. Flour, sugars, oatmeal, spices, green olives, dried fruits, nuts, and maple syrup are so much cheaper than the market prices. If you store them correctly, they keep a long time. Hubby makes the best granola with some of these items.

One of the ways we have been saving on groceries is by eating the proper portions. Your body only needs food to live. With prices so high and shortages everywhere, it does not hurt to start rationing your food. Some of the markets have done it by setting limits on what you can purchase. You can do it at home and make your food last longer. I believe that shortages will continue and prices will escalate even more.

We also eat every morsel of food that we buy. There is no waste in this household. I refuse to burn up money by throwing food out. If you can’t use it all up before, it goes bad, freeze it or can it.

We are now making any food that we can from scratch. Hubby has been making cocktail sauce, tartar sauce, our salad dressings, etc. Any condiment that we are running out of and that we have the ingredients for he makes.

We don’t eat a lot of bread and rolls but we are making what we do eat. We have a bread maker so it makes it easier. Although it you don’t, there are many recipes out on google for bread that you just put together and bake. No kneading necessary. We are getting low on tortillas also, so they will be the next thing I will try my hand at making.

Make your own desserts and yogurt which is easy to make in a pressure cooker. Eat fruit for a sweet treat instead of junk food. Junk food prices are outrageous!

Lastly we just don’t buy an item that we feel has risen too high in price. We have our limits on what we are willing to pay. Soda, many meats, and other items are off our list today.

I have much more I could say on this topic but I will leave that for another day. What are you doing differently now when buying your groceries? Feel free to leave a comment.

Every Day

What I Saw At The Grocery Store Today

I went to my local Top’s grocery store today to get some BS Chicken Breasts to can. They were on sale for $ 1.99 a lb. I picked up a large package.

They also had frozen extra large cooked shrimp at $ 8.99. It was the same price I had paid in early 2021 which I thought was weird. So I went to the freezer case to get one or two. That is when I noticed that they had smudged off the best buy date on every package. That immediately warned me that they were old and out of date. I went through every package to try to find one that still had the date on it. There were none; they were all wiped off. I left without buying any. They are trying to get rid of old stuff and I was not paying good money for that. So watch your dates. I have seen this on cans too where the dates show they will expire in a couple of weeks. I saw it today on dried fruits also.

I am getting low on eggs also but it was $ 1.89 on sale for a dozen eggs. Then I noticed that I could get 24 Eggland’s Best eggs for $ 8.49. I walked right on by. I have two other places that I will look for eggs tomorrow. If I can’t get eggs for a decent price, we will eat powdered eggs.

As I perused the dairy aisle, I noticed that cow’s milk was almost non- existent but there was plenty of vegan or oat milk. A quart of heavy whipping cream or half and half was $ 6.49. Our yogurt aisle which is normally a huge part of a dairy aisle was getting low but all of a sudden there is a vegan section that has taken over part of it and it is well stocked.

The Beyond Meat section is growing and growing but the meat is getting low. Hopefully, you can read between the lines here. I wouldn’t want to say that this is being orchestrated!

They also had fresh berries B1GF that I would not feed to anyone. They had put the paper liners in the bottoms to soak up the juice. They were way beyond fresh.

The freezer cases were really lacking on pizzas and frozen snacks. Many aisles were not well stocked. There were holes everywhere.

I don’t even want to get into how high the prices have gone up just in the last 10 days. So many are ridiculous! I will not pay them.

Soon I will write about what you can do to try to save a little money at the market. That is if you can even find the food!

Are any of you guys seeing these same things in your area? I live very close to the second largest city in New York State.

Every Day

If You Have Never Paid Attention To Me Before,Please Listen To This Warning

Times are tough for all of us! The last two years have been very trying between the virus and the inflation that we are seeing in our food supply and on many other items that we pay for monthly.

You have all seen the increases in food, natural gas, electricity, oil, propane, lumber, housing prices, gasoline, OTC medications, insurances, property taxes, and many other products and services.

I know some of you have gotten raises but will they be enough to keep up with all these increases? I doubt it. I believe that prices are going to continue to go up this year and possibly into 2023. I am already seeing big increases just since the 1st of the year. Many companies have come out and said they will be raising prices this month.

Most of you know that I am pretty old so I have been through times like this before. If you aren’t in the Baby Boomer generation, you probably don’t remember the worst time. The one that has always stuck in my mind was during the Carter years. Fed Chair Volcker, who served under President Carter raised the interest rates way up to 22%. Inflation reached 18%. I had a friend who purchased a home down the street from us at a 16% mortgage rate. Gasoline went up to $5.00 a gallon. We had gas shortages. We spent lots of time just waiting in line to gas up our car if we could find a station that had some. I even remember speed limits being decreased on some highways to 55 to conserve gasoline. The only thing that made any money was CD’s because the interest rates went up on them.

A number of you have written to me and asked me what to do with your money. I am not a financial advisor so I have no expertise in that field. We do the best we can with what we have learned over the years but even that is not guaranteed to work in this economy. So do your own research on it.

However, there is one piece of advice that I feel comfortable giving you. If you have any debt whatsoever, pay it off as fast as you can. The Feds said this week that they are going to start raising interest rates. When they start doing that, the interest rates on any outstanding money on your credit cards will follow. Any adjustable rate debt that you owe can go up depending on the terms. If you have a conventional mortgage your term is locked in. If you purchased a house at these lower rates over the the past couple of years, you are lucky and will have that lower rate for the life of the mortgage. Hopefully, many of you refinanced your mortgages while these rates were low.

But please, pay off those credit cards as fast as you can! If you are carrying large balances on them, it is going to really hurt when those interest rates rise! Don’t open any more! I have often talked about paying off your debt over the years. But this time, it needs to go or you will be paying a lot more to carry those balances.

President Biden and Treasurer Yellen, are saying they remember all of this from the Volcker years. We won’t let it get this bad they say. If you believe that, I have a bridge to sell you. I honestly do not know how they will get out of this. Just take a look at the debt clock for this country.

I truly hope you take heed for your own good. If not, I tried.

Every Day

I won’t pay…………

On Tuesday, I went and paid my property taxes and filled up my car with gasoline. I paid $ 3.26 a gallon after using $ .20 off in points from Top’s supermarket. All errands were run in a circle so as to save on gasoline.

On Monday, I gave Hubby the last 24 pack of Diet Coke that we had in the house. I told him unless I can get it at a good sale price, I am not buying it anymore. So after I got gasoline, I walked into the market. They showed 12 packs of Diet Coke on sale for B2G2F. But as usual, It turned out to not be a good deal. Each 12 pack worked out to be about $ 6.90 each. I am not paying that for colored, flavored bubbly water. I am keeping a a list now of all the things I will not buy because I deem the prices too high! Red meat with the exception of on sale organic grass fed beef at Aldi’s comes to mind. I have buy prices that I will not go beyond.

We have Crystal Light, many teas, coffee, diet juices, Gatorade Zero, etc. in our home so he has plenty of choices besides soda. There is always water that we can flavor or put lemon slices in also.

Yesterday, Hubby took most of the meat off the bone and I added it to the beans that I had soaked overnight. Then I added chicken broth, a lot of spices, and extra ham, and made bean soup in my Instant Pot. Hubby loved it. We will be having it again tonight for dinner.

Breakfast this morning was fried ham and 2 eggs over easy. Yes, we are trying to use up most of the ham. Hubby did cut quite a huge portion off to be sliced sometime in the future. I froze it. Fortunately, we like ham so we don’t mind eating it many days in a row which goes along with our plan of not wasting any food.

Yesterday I cleaned up the fridge and mopped the kitchen floor. Today, while Hubby was out for two appointments, I cleaned the bathrooms, changed the towels and restocked the toilet paper. I still have to collect the trash to get it ready to be picked up tomorrow. I am also working on reorganizing a pantry.

We may or may not get snow today. South of us is supposed to get over a foot but it is not clear as to whether we will get none or 2-4 inches. The snowblower is tanked up and ready to go in case they are way off on their predictions.

We will be watching our shows that Hubby DVRed this week this afternoon. I love the NCIS’s and the FBI’s but I hate commercials. So he fast forwards through them.

I hope you all have a great day. I am curious. What are you not buying now because the price is too high?

Every Day

Frugal Things Today and Yesterday

The ham that I cooked on New Year’s day was delicious. Hubby and I had it again for dinner on Sunday night. We also had some leftover pineapple that roasted on the ham in the oven. I decided since I hadn’t eaten much(guess I forgot to eat brunch) that I wanted an egg, cheese(gouda), and ham omelet with some pineapple on the side. It doesn’t make for a colorful looking plate but it sure was yummy! Hubby made himself some ham salad with diced celery, pickle relish, mayonnaise and a sprinkle of garlic powder served on Ritz crackers.

I am using up paper plates this week that were left from when we had pizza one night with company. And yes those are my bare feet! I am still learning how to take pictures with my cellphone.

I was going to throw a load of laundry in on Sunday while we watched the Buffalo Bills game. But I didn’t have enough for a full load. Hence I didn’t do it. I am trying to only do full laundry and dishwasher loads since electricity is so expensive. We ran our full dishwasher on the quick cycle using homemade detergent on Sunday night so it won’t have to be run again for a day or two.

We watched the game which the Bills won and now they have clinched a playoff spot. Way to go Bills!

We got snow overnight from Saturday into Sunday. But we decided not to waste the gasoline to use the snowblower. We didn’t even shovel. No one has to go out until Wednesday and it is supposed to warm up and rain. That will wash the snow away.

Today is Monday. Breakfast this morning was 2 eggs over easy and a piece of fried ham.

I finally had enough clothes to run a full load today using cold water and the ECO dry setting.

My property tax bill came today so I wrote a check and will go pay it tomorrow. That has risen steadily because of increases in our assessment every other year. We really got hit this year with a $30,000. increase.

We got notice in the mail today that our secondary health insurance went up by $60. a month for 2022. It is the largest monthly increase that we have ever had. That was on top of our primary Medicare going up for 2022 also.

I spent some time this afternoon doing some cleaning and watching a couple of You Tube videos. We did not leave the house today.

Hubby cut up the rest of the ham leaving a little on the ham bone so that I can make ham and bean soup tomorrow. I am hoping to put that in the Instant Pot on slow cook.

I put my great northern beans in a pot to soak overnight. I will rinse them in the morning and double check for stones.

Hubby had a ham and egg omelet tonight for dinner. I made a ham, cheddar cheese, and lettuce sandwich on a croissant and added some pickles to my plate. We have a few croissants that need to be used up.

At Amazon, I ordered some white socks for Hubby. He has been throwing his out one by one as they get holes in them. Luckily, I was able to find the same ones he is now wearing which have lasted him over 4 years. However the prices are way up. So instead of getting him 10 pair, I got him 20 figuring the prices will continue to go up.

We will be continuing to eat from our stockpile, not waste any food and do very little shopping.

So many things are rising in price including food, clothing, lumber(again), gasoline, and now my property taxes, and health insurances. We were already given notice that our homeowners and auto insurance will be going up too. I will have that bill in 6-8 weeks. Am I the the only one seeing these increases? Or are you guys seeing them too?

Every Day

Happy New Year 2022

Happy New Year 2022 word cloud. Happy New Year 2022 greetings card  - word cloud on a retro handmade paper stock image

Happy New Year to all of you and your families! I hope you all had wonderful holidays as we did. This is the first year since we have been married that I didn’t have to do the holiday cooking. We spent Thanksgiving at one son’s home and we spent Christmas at the other son’s home. It was wonderful!

My son and my granddaughter came to visit for a few days the day after Christmas. While they were here, we went to the Amish store so that I could add some spices and bread flour that were needed to our pantry. She loved picking out some fudge, cookies and other goodies for herself. We also tried their glazed donuts which they are noted for. They didn’t disappoint but now it is time to get back to some healthier eating.

For this new year, I am making no New Year’s resolutions. I have decided to do a theme instead. That theme is going to be “Self Sufficiency”. I know that it is hard to be totally self sufficient but we are going to strive to do whatever we can to rely on ourselves while spending as little as possible doing it.

I know it is only January but I am planning my container garden already. This year besides tomatoes, I would like to plant lettuce and perhaps peppers. I may plant some things in grow bags along with using my big pots. We love salads here and produce has gotten rather expensive and is about to get another huge increase this month.

I have been baking bread the past few weeks in my new bread maker. Because there are only the two of us, I divide it into thirds and only use 1/3 at a time. The rest gets frozen until we need it. We do have some rolls in the refrigerator and low carbohydrate tortillas, croissants, and English muffins in the freezer. With the exception of low carbohydrate tortillas, we will not be purchasing them again. We use very little bread so it will be easy and a lot cheaper to make our own. If I can find a good recipe, I may attempt to make our own low carbohydrate tortillas. Does anyone here do that?

I have Walmart Plus so I can get groceries delivered. I actually have a small order of fresh things like eggs, heavy whipping cream, 1/2 and 1/2, sour cream, Two Good vanilla yogurt, lettuce, cucumber, chicken breasts( $ 2.06 a lb.), etc. coming today. You all know that I hate driving in the snow but the virus has also blown up here so staying home is the right thing to do for us. My sister’s family got together for Christmas Eve and Christmas day and now 5 out of 8 of them have the virus. I have been praying that they all get well soon.

Today, I will be cooking a ham in the Instant pot if it fits. If not, it will have to go in the oven. This will give us many meals. I portion our meat so that I eat 4 oz. and Hubby eats 6 oz. I will serve augratin potatoes and spinach with it. After a few days of eating it, any meat that is left will be portioned up and frozen with the exception of using the ham bone and some of the meat for homemade bean soup.

Meat has gotten so expensive that we will be eating more meatless meals. I have a real problem spending “tens of dollars’ for any kind of roasts. We do have a couple in the freezer( purchased while they were still reasonable) but I will be buying no more unless the prices come down. I don’t see that happening any time soon. Right now, chicken and ground beef seem to the most affordable. But if they go much higher, I will be using them like condiments. I am remembering the 1970’s and early 1980’s right now. We ate a lot of bean type meals, peanut butter, pasta with just a small handful of ground meat thrown into the sauce to get our protein requirement. We also ate a lot of salads with a few tidbits of meat.

Hubby has always been our repair guy. If he can easily fix it, he does. Two days ago while vacuuming, our Dyson decided to not stand up on it’s own anymore. So Hubby immediately went to You Tube to research a fix. He found a video that showed that it was a loose screw. However getting to the screw was not easy. But by following the video, he did it and as you can see, the vacuum now stands up on it’s own again.

We have had another monthly electric and natural gas bill since we last talked about it. The cost of our natural gas went up 24% and the electricity went up 7% more than the same period last year. I was shocked when I opened the bill. We continue to not use as much electricity as possible. I try to not use my gas oven or range top. Small appliance use is so much cheaper. Anything that we can do to keep it down we are doing. Since our family left, I have closed off those two bedrooms until we no longer need heat. I have the vents closed, the doors closed, drapes and tight fitting shades on the windows and snakes in front of the doors.

I used up chicken, leftover from Hubby making chicken piccata when our family was here, to make a noodle and chicken skillet dish for dinner last night. We will eat some of the leftovers for brunch today. We waste no food in this home.

Our doorbell just rang! It was our next door neighbor with one of her little sons. They wanted to wish us a Happy New Year! She said that we are always bringing Timbits to her boys so they wanted to bring some to us. How nice of them to do that! They will be a great treat.

Well, my 9 lb. ham is not going to fit in the Instant Pot. Shucks! So I am just about to put it in the oven at 325 to warm it through. That will take about 2 hours and 10 minutes. I will do the augratin potatoes in the microwave because the oven won’t be hot enough for them. It will cheaper than using the natural gas stove top.

Hubby is and has been watching all of the football bowl games. So while the ham is cooking, I will check my planner to see what else I have scheduled for today and do some work in my 2022 financial planner.

I hope you all have a terrific start to the New Year! Are you doing anything to save money this year?