Monday – Lunch and Dinner

Filed under :Dinner Costs, Extreme Frugal Meter, LEFTOVERS!, Lunch Costs, Meal Costs

For lunch today, we took the easy way out and just had turkey and cheese sandwiches :-)   The cost for sandwiches made at home is very frugal LOL!    For us:

$0.48 — 4 slices of bread at 12 cents each

$1.12 — 1/4 lb of lunch meat (1/8 of a lb on each sandwich) at 56 cents per 1/8 lb

$0.26 — 2 slices of cheese at 13 cents per slice

$1.86 — Total for lunch for 2 adults

I didn’t cunt the cost of the mayo.

I had a question from a reader who asked what we drink with our meals.  We are drinking filtered tap water :-)   My husband and I both have a time drinking the recommended amount of water per day, so drinking water with our meals really helps.

For dinner tonight, it’s leftover black-eyed peas with ham :-)   And that cost is 70 cents each for a total of $1.40 for dinner for both of us.

Happy New Year – Welcome to 2013!

Filed under :Food Items, Meal Planning

Good morning!  I’m getting an early start to my 2013 New Year :-)

Today will be filled with many things to do as our family gets things in order from the Christmas and New Years holidays, and gets organized and prepared for going back to school, work and LIFE!  Every year since I can’t remember when, we’ve had the traditional cabbage/corned beef and black-eyed peas for GOOD LUCK.  This year will be no different…. why take a chance? LOL

So, off to Wally World I trudged last night to purchase the items I was missing.  I thought it would be a good idea to document the prices that I paid on 12/31/2012.  So here goes!

Cabbage — Regular $0.53/lb on sale for $0.33/lb — 2 heads total cost $2.20

1 Can of Corned Beef — $4.88

1 Pkg of Dried Black-eyed Peas — $1.38

1 container of herb salad — $3.38

1 box of cornbread mix — $0.50

So today, for our lunch, we’ll be eating a green salad, cabbage & corned beef, black-eyed peas and rice, cornbread, and tea to drink.  I guess what really surprised me was the price for the corned beef @ $4.88 per can.   Actually, I haven’t seen corned beef in the grocery store in about two years!  Last year I couldn’t find any and ended up using ground sausage with cabbage.

The total approximate cost for our meals today (and this will be for lunch and dinner for 3 people) $12.34 – not counting the cost of some seasonings, the tea and some rice.  Not bad at all when comparing to the price of going out to eat!

Using SALES To Build Your Food Storage

Filed under :Food Items, Food Storage

Let’s face it, building a food storage can be expensive especially if your budget is pretty tight and there isn’t much money left over at the end of each paycheck.   But, taking advantage of SALES at your local grocery stores as well as “DRUG STORES” such as CVS, Walgreens and RiteAid can really help you to stretch your food storage dollar.

Typically, when people think of food storage, their mind immediately goes to thoughts of  freeze-dried, canned foods that last for 20 or 30 years.   That’s fine if you’re working on building your long-term food storage, but what about if you need to work on your 90 day (3 month) or 1 year food storage?

I try to keep an “eagle eye” out for sales that are offered by local grocery stores and “drug stores” in my area.  I’ve had considerable success in adding many items to my 3 month and also my 1 year food storage pantries.  Let me give you an example:  This past week I stocked up on canned ham (12 oz size) at Walgreens for $1.39/can.  This ham is regularly priced at $3.99/can.    The brand is “Celebrity” and is a “boneless – cooked” ham that is 96% fat free.   And the expiration date is March of 2015!   The per purchase limit was 3 cans.    Well, I travel by this one particular Walgreens once per day during the weekdays so making several trips wasn’t a problem for me.     This canned ham is going to be a great addition to my food storage!

Another item that was offered on sale last week at Walgreen’s was SPAM.  It was $1.39/can.   The cheapest price I can purchase SPAM is for $2.62/can at WalMart – so the Walgreens sale price was a tremendous savings for me.  The per purchase limit on the SPAM was also 3 cans.  The expiration date for the SPAM is September of 2013.

A food storage item that I found with a very long expiration date is Chicken of the Sea “Pink Salmon”.    This was also on sale last week for $1.99/can.  The salmon is “Wild Alaska” salmon so it’s not the genetically-modified frankenfish (my opinion).   The expiration date is July of 2016!

This week (April 24th, 2011) there are a couple of interesting items on sale at Walgreens – they have a 24 pack of 16.9 oz water on sale for $2.99 and gallons of distilled or drinking water on sale for $0.69/gallon.  You can also pick up toothpaste for 99 cents and band-aids for FREE with a “register reward”.   Over at CVS, a 24 pack of 16.9 oz water is on sale for $2.88 with “Extra Bucks”, men’s antiperspirant is only 99 cents (limit 5), and tuna is 59 cents per can (limit 10).

In addition to food items, stores like Walgreens, CVS and RiteAid are excellent places to pick up many personal care and hygiene items (like q-tips, shampoo/conditioner, soap) and medical supplies (medicine, band-aids, vitamins).

AND — don’t forget to use those free coupons (you can print them online at places like to further lower your food storage costs.

Leftovers…. A Great Way to Stretch Food & Save Money

Filed under :Extreme Frugal Meter, Food Items, LEFTOVERS!

There are so many jokes about leftovers…. You’ve probably heard them all.    But American families throw away so much uneaten, edible food.  Throwing away leftover food is like throwing away money.

Did you know that I sometimes “overcook” just so I will have leftovers?  Why, you ask?  I’m going to list a couple of reasons and then expand on each one:

  • Cooking a little extra ensures that I will have a nice meal for DH to take to work for lunch the next day.  This saves our family so much money!  If I account for the cost of the original meal, then the leftovers are FREE and his lunch is FREE.  This is so much better than him having to leave work (cost of gas) and drive to the local greasy spoon or fast food drive thru for a quick burger and fries (at least $5).   Also, it’s less stressful for him – he can heat his food at work, go into his office and shut the door, and enjoy his lunch break without having to fight traffic or get out on extreme weather days (high temps, low temps, or even rainy weather).   By DH taking his lunch to work everyday, I figure we save around $1,250 per year!  This doesn’t even take into account that he’s eating much better, homecooked, healthy meals!
  • Cooking a little extra one day saves me time & energy the next day :-)    Yes, sometimes it cost just as much in electricity to cook 1 cup of something as it does to cook 2 cups of the same item.   Let me give you an idea – RICE.  I cook my rice in a rice cooker.  I always cook probably DOUBLE what we need for a meal and plan to save 1/2 of it for a meal later.  Rice is excellent to freeze in Ziplock bags too.   So for tonights meal, I cook 6 cups of rice (instead of just the 2 cups we plan to eat) and then I freeze 2 cups in a Ziplock bag (for a meal in the future) and save the last 2 cups in a Ziplock bag in the refrig for a meal to eat within 2 days.  It’s just as easy for me to cook those 6 cups as it would be to cook 2 cups.  And, for 3 meals with rice I only have 1 clean up of the rice cooker :-)    Oh, and did you know that you can microwave the refrigerated rice (or the frozen rice) and it will turn out just like it came out of the rice cooker the first time?   Also, many dishes call for pre-cooked rice – like fried rice or rice pudding.  So, it’s nice to have some in the freezer ready to go in a just few minutes.
  • Cooking a little extra one day,  saving it in the refrigerator and then AMENDING it a little, gives me a completely different meal the next day.  How about an example?  If we have baked chicken today, I will make sure to bake enough so that either the next day or the day after that (always within 2 days!) that I will have a meal that will utilize the extra chicken I baked.  There are 3 of us in our home – so, if we have baked chicken tonight, I will bake 8 chicken breasts.  We will eat 3 of them tonight, I will make a lunch plate for DH for the next day, and I will save the last 4 for a future meal that uses cooked chicken.  Some example meals for the extra baked chicken breast are chicken soup, chicken & dumplings, chicken spaghetti, chicken pot pie, and chicken fried rice.  See how I can transform the baked chicken into something completely different for the next meal?  Oh, if you noticed, I also pre-planned the extra chicken for the future meal to include enough for DH’s lunch the next day.  Once again I’m going to bring this up — NOTICE that I cooked all of the chicken in 1 baking dish and only had to wash that baking dish once and not twice :-)   Can you tell I’m not a fan of washing dishes?  And, it would basically take the same amount of electricity using the oven to bake 4 chicken breasts as it would to bake 8 chicken breasts, so you’re saving money on electricity too!

So plan on cooking extra and plan on having leftovers when you make out your meal list for the week.

How do you ensure that you DO NOT end up with a refrigerator full of leftovers?  Easy – make sure that you package and date all leftovers from meals before putting them up in the refrigerator.  AND, every day, check the refrigerator and get creative on meals that will use your leftovers.  Make sure that you consume all leftovers within 2 days!  If you follow these simple rules, you will not end up with a refrigerator full of leftovers to throw away.

Coffee, Anyone??

Filed under :Coffee, Extreme Frugal Meter, Food Storage

How many times have you made a larger pot of coffee than what you needed?  I personally have wasted so much coffee in the past!  And coffee isn’t cheap!   And definitely NOT when you’re pouring it down the drain.  So, this tip is going to show you how you can save money on your coffee purchases as well as save a little $$$ on electricity.

We’re going to get EXTREME on the FRUGAL METER!  First – ALWAYS make a FULL POT of coffee… never only make a portion of a pot.  Why?  Well, think about it for a little while…. you’re going to all the trouble to make it, so why not make the entire pot for your efforts?  Second, it’s just as easy to make a full pot as it is to make a 1/2 pot, right?  Keep this in mind – what you do not consume after initially brewing the pot of coffee is not going to go to waste :-)

Now, 2nd step is to pour your cup of coffee into your cup and turn off the coffee maker.  The coffee in the pot will continue to stay warm enough for you to have at least 2 cups of your favorite beverage :-)    If you decide you want cup #3, well, it’s so easy to pop your cup into the microwave for 20 seconds and warm it back up.  And, you’re not consuming electricity by just leaving the coffee pot turned on.  You’re also not COOKING your coffee with the coffee maker which makes it taste bitter and strong.

Let’s say that you’ve had a couple of cups of coffee and you still have plenty left over that is cool in your coffee pot.  Wait for it to cool down to room temperature and then pour it into a glass quart canning jar.  Then put the lid on (you can re-use a “used” canning lid) and put the rim/band on.  Put this in your refrigerator!

Tomorrow morning when you’re half asleep and craving a cup of coffee to wake you up, pour you a cup from the refrigerator and microwave it (test your microwave to determine the proper amount of time – since all microwaves are a little different) to your desired temperature.  Imagine having a piping hot cup of coffee in about a minute instead of waiting on the coffee maker to brew.  I personally cannot taste a difference in the refrigerated cup of coffee after it’s been reheated in the microwave.

And not only have you saved yourself some time, but you’ve saved some electricity and you get a day off from washing the coffee pot :-)

We drink a good bit of coffee around my house so the longest that I’ve kept brewed coffee refrigerated is 2 days.

Give this tip a try and see what you think!  Post your comments below – I’d love to know your results and opinions!