Every Day

Dollar Tree and Family Dollar

There are so many Dollar Trees and Family Dollar stores closing across the U.S. I don’t know how many of you shop either place but I bet you have used them for some products at one time or another. Here is just one of the articles in the news:

You can find many more if you just google for information.

I panicked the other day when someone posted online that our Dollar Tree was one of the ones closing and that it was already permanently closed. However I knew that there was one in the next town south of us. I decided to check it out myself and not take someone else’s word for it. I had a return to drop off at our local Fed Ex place. Dollar Tree is in the same plaza.

I was relieved when I got there to find that it was not only open but jammed with people. So I picked up a few of the items that I regularly buy there. The lines were long but I was patient and chatted with the cashier whose line I usually go to. I asked her if that store was closing. She told me no that it is one of the highest earning stores in the U.S. However she did tell me that the prices would be going up soon to a maximum of $ 7.00. Here is just one of those articles:

Since prices will be going up soon, it would behoove people to stock up on some of the things that they regularly buy there to get a small stockpile of those items.

These are some of the things that I buy there almost all of the time: Scotties tissues, greeting cards, thank you cards, and blank cards, security envelopes, organizing baskets, deodorant, makeup, combs, Q-Tips, gift bags and wrapping paper, plastic forks, spoons, and knives, shelf stable milk, pasta, bags of frozen peppers and onions to make quick omelets, White Rain and VO5 shampoo and conditioner, Plackers, first aid gauze and tape, peroxide, isopropyl alcohol, sticky notes, blank notebooks, pencils, candy for the grandchildren, and reading glasses. Just recently I found out that they carry John Morrell smoked sausage. We used to have that in our grocery stores in Arizona and it was a good brand. So I bought a package to try it. It was just as good as I remember. So we now have a few packages on hand. I use it in red beans and rice but there are many other ways to use it.

If there are things that you buy there on a regular basis that I have not listed, would you please take the time to leave a comment and let us all know.

I will be taking a small amount of money from our savings to pick up a few of these things before the prices go up.

As a side note, we are having family for dinner on Easter Sunday. I will be cooking a leg of lamb that I bought on sale in January. We have a favorite recipe from the 1960’s that we use and love.

I want to wish all of you a Happy Easter. Enjoy your celebration.

Every Day

This Past Weekend

Saturday and Sunday I cooked from what we had in the house. Saturday night I made mandarin orange chicken using orange sauce, mandarin oranges, and chicken over rice. I added a vegetarian egg roll which was delicious.

Last night we had cheeseburgers with sauteed onions and sliced tomato.We had a bag of French fries in the freezer that had just a few in it so we split them. An hour or so after dinner, we had some pistachio pudding that I made in the morning. I like to have SF puddings and jello’s in the refrigerator for a snack or dessert. Tonight we will have leftover hamburgers with some lettuce, onions and tomato.

For breakfasts, we had egg, ham, and cheese McMuffins. I made a couple extra for today’s breakfast. After breakfast today, I will cook up a pound of bacon to use with eggs the rest of the week. I am also going to hard boil some eggs in the instant pot for breakfasts and for Hubby to make some egg salad.

Hubby and I watched a lot of March Madness this weekend. I multi-tasked doing some sewing repairs while I was watching. I also did a bit of work in the basement. And two loads of wash got done and one was hung. The other was towels which I dry in our dryer. We went nowhere which saved on gasoline.

We also got our 32 day utility bill. It was $ 208.81 Last year’s bill was $256.09 for the same period. We used 406 KWH and 110 ccf’s of gas. I have to believe that it was down because of the conservation we do and the warmer winter.

My plans this week are to get ready to have our family for Easter. I will be doing some cleaning and making our menu.

What are you doing to save money this week?

Every Day

It Didn’t Take Long To Find A Deal

I did well not shopping this week. However, I heard yesterday that Walmart had their corned beefs on sale for 50% off which brought them down to $ 2.78 a lb. Hubby and I so enjoyed the corned beef we had this week. When I told Hubby about the sale, he asked me to go get two. So I did this afternoon. They did not have very many left.

Since Top’s is just a block away, I stopped there on the way home to pick up my Free Rosina Italian meatballs with the coupon that the company sent. They normally are $ 9.99. I looked last week and since the coupon was only good up to $ 8.99, I did not get them. Today I looked at the ad to see what I missed this week and I saw that they were on sale for $ 6.99. So they are now in my freezer. The corned beefs for now are in my refrigerator because they don’t expire until April 19th and May 1st. As I free up freezer space, they will go in the freezer.

For breakfast’s the last two days, we have had scrambled eggs with breakfast sausage.

Last night we finished up a bag of potstickers that were in the freezer for dinner. I was too tired to do anything else after working in the basement most of the day. Today I shopped for the things above and worked in the basement for 2 and 1/2 hours. So I was craving strip steaks for dinner. Hubby grilled them indoors while I cleaned up some mushrooms and cooked them in butter to go on the steak. I steamed up some corn to go with it.

I am hoping to get the basement done sometime this weekend. Then Hubby has a major project to do down there. My next project is to clean the garage. I am trying to get a head start so all of this is done when the good weather hits.

So instead of saving grocery money this week, I spent $ 17.71.

Every Day

A Little of This and a Little of That

Grilled Reuben sandwiches were our dinner last night. It was made on marble rye bread with sliced corned beef slices, swiss cheese, sauerkraut, and homemade Russian dressing. Hubby put them together and grilled them on our indoor grill. They were so good.

Breakfast yesterday was sausage and egg with grilled peppers in it and cheese McMuffins. We love them and have to use up the English muffins before they go bad. Today’s brunch for me was the leftover home fries from our breakfast out on Sunday. I cooked them with some butter to heat them through. That was all I wanted. I had a headache and was not too hungry. Hubby had sausage and eggs.

Dinner tonight was Rastelli’s rib eye pork chops with some Epicurean Herb Butter on top. We had some macaroni and cheese with it and Hubby was making a quick green salad to go with all of it while I was taking this picture.

I have only gone out to the Post Office this week. We had a very busy day yesterday submitting our meter readings to the electric and gas company, getting paperwork all filled out to go to the Post Office, rolling over a large Share Certificate that was expiring to a 5% interest one, doing laundry, calling my sister for our Monday chat and a bunch of other little things. I did get a Free coupon and a $1.00 off one for Ken’s salad dressing in the mail.

Hubby’s computer decided to turn on the day after we thought it had died. However it is 5-6 years old so he purchased one from Dell but they say it will take a month to build what he wants. So hopefully, his will hold up until the new one comes.

We spent the day working in the basement again today. Hopefully it will be done soon. I also cleaned the inside of the refrigerator today. Now I have to fold the load of laundry I did today.

How are you doing keeping your grocery bills down?

Every Day

Happy St. Patrick’s Day: Corned Beef and Cabbage

This was our dinner last night and will be tonight. I put a 3.75 lb. round corned beef in my slow cooker along with 2 cans of Yuengling lager. Then I threw in the spice packet that came with the corned beef. The beer tenderizes the beef while it slow cooks. I cooked this a total of 8 hours on low. You couldn’t taste the beer when it was done. I would have preferred Guinness but I already had a case of the Yuengling lager which I use in recipes and Hubby drinks when he wants a beer. So I used what we had.

When the corned beef had 2 hours to go, I threw in 1/2 of a whole cabbage. I wanted to use fresh potatoes but they were too soft to use. They seem to go bad quickly these days. Not wanting to go to the market, I made mashed potatoes from flakes. It was all delicious.

Our brunch yesterday was homemade turkey soup that I had in the freezer.

This morning we went out to breakfast with our son and grandson at our favorite Greek restaurant. Three of us had eggs or an omelet, home fries, toast, and our choice of steak, bacon, sausage or ham. West had 4 of the largest pancakes with maple syrup that I have ever seen with lots of sausage. My son is Keto and since he does not eat starches, he gave his toast to Hubby and I brought his big plate of home fries home to have as a side for dinner tomorrow or breakfasts this week. Breakfast was so expensive. The cost for the food was $ 74. and a $15.00 tip for a total of $89.00. It had really gone up in price since we ate there a few months ago. But it was all delicious and a nice break for me from cooking. The cost was paid out of our cash envelope for Eating Out.

When Hubby got up this morning, he went to print the crossword from his online newspaper subscription on his desktop computer to find it was dead. When we got back from breakfast, my son confirmed that it was truly dead. So he helped Hubby decide what he will order from Dell tomorrow. We are hoping that we can pay extra to get it overnight when it is built. Hubby needs it to monitor some healthcare issues. In the meantime, he can download the software on mine and use it.

I hope all of you are having a nice St. Patrick’s Day. Are you doing anything special today?

Every Day

Reverse Meal Planning

This is the way I meal plan 100% of the time now. Off and on through the years, I have tried to just make a menu of things that we want to eat for the week. I have almost always found that it costs me much more money.

A reason for that is when I have to buy what I don’t have in the house at full price instead of purchasing it on sale it ups my grocery bill. By reverse meal planning, I can buy grocery items when they are on sale at loss leader prices. Then I decide in advance what we will eat from our pantries, refrigerator, and freezer that week. At the same time, I keep an eye on the sale ads to see if there is anything I can use at rock bottom loss leaders in my area. Some weeks there are and some weeks there are none.

We are not fortune enough to live in an area that marks down prices on items that will expire the next day or so. They are far and few in between. For example, when I went into Walmart yesterday to pick up the popcorn that I had a free coupon for, I took the time to look for reduced price food items. The few bakery items they had were two days out of expiration which I would not buy. There was no marked down produce. Most of their on sale produce had seen it’s better days. Then I looked at the meat. They had a few beef steaks and roasts marked down for quick sale. But I don’t consider a markdown of $ .37 to $ .57 enough to make me buy an expensive steak or roast that was going out of date. Lastly, I went to the clearance shelf to see what they had. There were only two items and none of them were food.

At Top’s the last time I was there, they had a couple of meat items marked down. But their markdowns were as lousy as Walmart’s. At Aldi’s yesterday, they had no markdowns.

When I am going to a doctor’s appointment, I try to stop at Niagara Produce when they have sale items I need. I always look for the reduced price meat while I am there. I have found it just 5 times in a year and it is never more than one or two items.

The lack of reduced price items is why I purchase items on rock bottom loss leader. I certainly do miss Fry’s in AZ. It was a Kroger store and the markdowns were plentiful. But I do what you can with the stores that I have.

So starting today, I will be eating from our pantries, refrigerator, and freezer exclusively. I know that most of that food was purchased on sale a while ago when prices were lower. Meanwhile I will keep an eye on the ads but will not buy anything unless it is a price that says to me you need to buy this in bulk. For me to do that. it would have to be a very great price.

Tonight we are eating leftovers that are lingering in the fridge. I hate food waste. I have some fresh asparagus that needs to be cooked. I will do that this afternoon and eat a bit each time with my eggs for breakfast in the coming days.

Tomorrow, I will be cooking a corned beef, cabbage, and potato dinner. That will be leftovers for 3-4 days including the corned beef sandwiches that Hubby loves. I have also thawed a meal of homemade chicken soup for brunch today and tomorrow.

I am hoping to put my menu up every day with pictures when I can.

I also want to correct Hubby’s figures on how much our utility bills have decreased year over year. I finally had time to look at it. From 4/16/22 through 3/16/23, our bills totaled $ 2236.34. From 4/16/23 through 3/16/24, our bills totaled $ 2002.51. So we have saved $ 233.83 over last years bills. I don’t know where Hubby got that figure he told me but I will forgive him and correct my prior post.

Do any of you reverse meal plan?

Every Day

Grocery Shopping Today

This is my grocery shop from Aldi’s this week. I got 3 jars of Specially Selected Premium Marinara Sauce. They were $ 3.89 each. We really like Raos but it so expensive. This sauce is as close to being Raos as you can buy. It has very clean ingredients and is delicious. I make my own most of the time but when I in a hurry, this is what I grab. The two packages of breakfast sausage is what I use for Sunday family breakfasts. They were $2.19 each. I picked up 6(the limit) pounds of butter. These and what I purchased last Thanksgiving should give me enough until next Thanksgiving.

I finally found a head of cabbage that wasn’t the size of a baseball. It was $ .49 a pound. I paid $ 1.57 for 3.2 pounds. Hubby does not like cooked cabbage so I will only cook 1/2 of it and he can make his Waldorf coleslaw from the other half. I have a corned beef so these things plus potatoes will be our St. Patrick’s day dinner.

The 3 packs( 4 lbs.) of Organic ground beef were on sale again. They totaled $ 18.99 which is $2.00 more than I am used to paying. But this meat is so good I am willing to pay that increase.

I also purchased 1 bar of white cheddar cheese at $ 2.75, 1 package of fresh mushrooms at $ 1.39, 1 pound of hot pork sausage at $ 2.29, 1 bag of Italian Style Meatballs for $ 5.99( our dinner tonight: meatballs and sauce) 1 Mexican shredded cheese at $ 2.89, 1 package of salami for $ 3.49, 1 bottle of Cocktail sauce at $.79, and 1 bottle of General Tso’s sauce for $2.19. My total for Aldi’s came to $ 74.53.

At Dollar Tree, I bought 5 packages of John Morrell Smoked Sausage for $1.25 each. They come two in a package. One package sliced and mixed into a Mexican dish like Spanish rice or a Louisiana dish like red beans and rice is perfect for the two of us. I picked one of these up a while ago and they were really good in the red beans and rice. Since then they had been out of stock until this week. You can’t beat $ 1.25 for meat for one meal. I also purchased 2 of the oven ready lasagna pasta for $ 1.25 each. Total here was $ 8.75.

Next I stopped at Walmart to use up my last free coupon for the Indiana popcorn.

My last stop was at Top’s gasoline station to fill the car up. I paid $ 2.86 a gallon after using my gasoline points for $ .40 off a gallon. My total was $21.35.

Did you get any good deals this week?

Every Day

A Little Of This And A Little Of That

I am finally peaceful because I got some important financial things done this morning. Between those types of things and my recent doctor and test appointments, I have been very stressed out the past couple of months. I don’t have another appointment until May and then one in August. My time is finally mine, Hubby’s, and my sons and their families. What a relief I feel. I should be around here more often too.

This afternoon I cooked up some bacon to make Turkey BLT’s for dinner. That will make them easy to put together.

The middle of last week, I contacted a few companies whose products I buy and whose products I was getting low on. I didn’t know if they would send me some coupons but it was worth a try since paper coupons are rare these days. These all came in the mail today. I am loving all of them especially the free one. The $.50 ones will double at my Top’s. All of them do not expire until the end of December so I will be saving them to combine with a sale. Score!

Some other things that I have done in the last few days are:

I scanned 2 weeks worth of receipts into Fetch.

Instead of paying $ 25. including tip for 2 fish fry dinners at Chiavetta’s last Friday for dinner, I baked some coconut shrimp I found in the bottom of my freezer.

The only waste I had was a slice of a tomato that got buried in the crisper drawer.

I am using up food in the freezer and pantries for the next few weeks so I am only buying sale items that we need or reduced priced deals. Matter of fact I will be going out to shop for my corned beef and cabbage and going to the drugstore for a prescription after I post this. I will also bring a bag of bottles to Fast Cash. My menu’s with the exception of the corned beef and cabbage will be made from what I already have in the house.

I almost forgot to talk about February’s budget. I spent $ 490. of my $534. food budget last month. The remainder will be saved to stock on good deals when I see them. Also we only spent $ 24.92 on fish fries for take out on one Friday dinner. Our gas and electric bill was $ 235.66. We saved $233.83 this past year compared to last year’s bills. That has to be the warm winter we have had and keeping the heat so low from 10PM to 9AM.

What have you guys been doing to save money?

Every Day

What I Did To Save Money The Past Few Days

On Monday we had a high of 71 and on Tuesday we had a high of 73. As soon as the sun came up, I had the shades and blinds up on the sunny windows to warm it up in here. We followed the sun around the house all day each day.

I took our car yesterday to the car wash while I was out running errands. It was filthy from the road dirt and salt from the snowstorm last week. It was a perfect day to do it. Our car wash gives out coupons each time you get the car washed. They never expire. I now have collected 5 of them so my next car wash will be free.

I tried an experiment on Monday morning. I use reusable cups in my Keurig. I added some more grounds to the first cup pod and brewed a second cup. The second cup was perfect. I will be doing this all the time now. I used to do this when I made pots of coffee. Why I never thought to do this with the pods I don’t know.

On Monday I took my navy shower. While the water was warming up, I caught that water in a pail. I used it to wash the bathroom floors.

I ran a lot of errands yesterday in a circle. I started with a doctor’s appointment and some testing in the next town where I got really good news. The doctor also gave me a sample of the drug I take. That sample will last me 30 days. Then I went to the bank to deposit some checks. Next I went to Niagara Produce and purchased about 3 lbs. of fresh asparagus for $ .99 a lb. and 2 boxes of canning lids for $ 5.29 each. These are getting very hard to find so I pick them up when I see them. I also purchased a large value pack of fresh chicken tenders for $ 1.99 a lb. I will be doing them up for the freezer with the food saver today. I got 2 lbs. of strawberries for $5.00, 3 pints of blueberries for $ .99 each, 5 lbs. of carrots for $ 3.69, and a 10 lb. bag of onions for $ 4.99.

Next I went to the drug store to pick up a prescription for Hubby and then to Top’s for some loss leader items. They were out of stock on all them and it was senior citizens discount day. I was shocked at how empty the store was. Since I was there and could get the discount I picked up some hot dogs that were on sale but not by much because we are low on them.

My last stop was because of exhaustion. I was out of the house all day and I forgot to thaw something. I stopped at Subway and got two 12 inch subs with a coupon for $ 12.99 and $1.04 tax. I said to the person making them, do you have a way to put the dressings on the side? She said yes and I was thrilled because it was 3pm when I was getting them and we would not eat until 5pm. I never knew they could do this. I did not want them soggy plus I knew that Hubby and I would only eat 1/2 of each of them so we now have dinner for tonight too.

Today I will be dicing up some gallon bags of onions along with cutting up some apples in the refrigerator that are getting old. I will bag up some of the blueberries and strawberries and all of these things will go in the freezer. Waste not, want not!

Most of the day will be spent reorganizing my pantries and updating my inventories.

What have you done to save money?

Every Day

Some Great Deals Today

Sorry that the pictures are a little weird. Hubby needed the phone and I was rushing when I did them.

I know I told you that I was not going to shop this week again. However, after we ate the some of the strip steaks that I purchased earlier in the week, Hubby wanted more. We agreed that they were the best strip steaks we have ever purchased at Top’s. They were very tender and very flavorful. Since I still had grocery money leftover last month and in January, I went back today to get two more packages of 4 each. Tomorrow is the last day of the sale and I avoid shopping on the weekends if I can. My cost for those were $50.95.

Top’s was having a three day only sale and today was one of the days. I got a loaf of bakery French bread for $ 1.29, bananas at $.29 a lb, 1 yogurt for $ .29 and 1 peanut butter for $ 1.29. They had other things but these were the only good deals that I could use with the 3 day coupons.

I also picked up 4 more of the Cabot cheeses at 4/$10. My total for all was $ 64.57.

Every couple of weeks, I have been looking at the price of my favorite mouthwash on Walmart. It had been too high for my blood. I have been out for a while. Finally it came down to $ 11.89. I still did not want to pay that price. Last night, I looked and found out that it was on sale for $ 6.78 bottle. Walmart is just a block from Top’s. So I stopped in and got three bottles today which will last me a long time. My total with $ 1.63 in sales tax came to $ 21.97. Natural Dentist is the best mouthwash I have ever used. It really pays to be patient.

Tonight Hubby will be coating and frying a large piece of haddock that we will split for dinner. When he cooked the steaks the other night, I baked 4 extra potatoes to make potato salad. I will do that right after I finish posting this.

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend. It is supposed to be 52 here today and then high 50’s and then up to 67 through Wednesday. I am loving it!