Sunday, February 21, 2010

Cheap Lunch

I'm embarrassed about this week's stockpile post because I'm going to recommend getting a bunch of something that really isn't good for you.

Okay, it's horrible for you.

But if your kids love it and they're bugging you about an afterschool snack, or you're grabbing a lunch for them as you're running out the door...

El Rancho Market at 19th Ave and Dunlap, and also in Chandler, is selling the Maruchan Instant Ramen CUPS for 20c/each. I think there's a limit on these of 10. If not, I'd stockpile a pallet. Or send each of your kids through another line with 10 cups and 2 bucks.

There, I did it. And during Lent. Yikes.

Which is why you should balance that karma with a nice can of tuna. Or three. Everybody has it on sale this week. It's cheapest at Fry's for 44c/can.

Hmmm...I wonder what a Ramen-Tuna Casserole would taste like?

Gosh. Tuna and Ramen. Is that all I have for you this week?

No. I also have Long Grain Brown Rice for 59c/lb in the bulk bins at Sprouts. Think Tuna/Rice casserole.

Also, Aim or Pepsodent toothpaste, 50c/tube at Albertsons. But not in the casserole.

Remember, my stockpiling mind thinks different. I look for basics (like the Maruchan Lunch Cups...) to buy at rock bottom so I can forget about them otherwise. I should be surprised to find myself running low on items like this. Who wants to be dashing to the store at 10 p.m. to pay four bucks for a tube of toothpaste so everybody can brush their teeth in the morning?

EDITED TO ADD: And for the coupon-minded among you...FREE PAPER TOWELS AT ALBERTSONS!!

The Marcal Small Steps Paper Towels are $1 for the single roll. Use the $1 off 1 (try if for free) coupon from the Smartsource 1/31 insert to get it for FREE.

(This is an unadvertised sale, but I've taken advantage of it at several Albertsons, so have fun. One coupon per person per transactions. Send your kids through their own checkouts if you have extra coupons.)

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Think Different

Every once in a while, my son will open the refrigerator, open the freezers, open the pantry and announce, 'We have no food.'

Is he kidding? Most of the time I can't fit one more box of anything into my walk-in pantry without a shoehorn. Often we eat what I bought that day because there's no way I'll wedge it into the freezer. Leftovers become a race against time, a game to see if we can eat them before they become science projects.

My son doesn't actually mean we have no food. He means nothing obvious comes to mind to do with what's there. It's the same old cereal and bread and potatoes and fruit and crackers - edible, but not new.

So do something different. Anything. Scoop yesterday's homemade rice pudding (preferably brown rice) into a bowl. Slice a banana over it, add some milk. Poof! Breakfast.

Slice an avocado between two slices of homemade whole-wheat bread. Top with some leftover salsa. Voila! Lunch.

Mash up those chickpeas you pressure cooked over the weekend. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar and extra virgin olive oil. Top with a sliced up hardboiled egg. Serve over a bed of spinach, sprinkle with garlic guessed it! Dinner!

Couple of things to note with this menu - There's no meat, yet it's high in protein (the milk in the rice pudding, the egg, the chickpeas, and even the whole-wheat bread). Plenty of whole grains. Good fats (avocado, egg, olive oil), vegetables and fruit. Total fat and calorie count is low and it's cheap. Dirt cheap. Yet tasty.

Very tasty.

So tasty I don't care that there aren't any super-screaming sale deals this week. Fry's has a Daytona promo, buy 10 get $3 off. The Purex laundry detergent and softener is a good price ($2.19 WYB10). If you have coupons, it's even sweeter and I've heard rumors that it also spits out catalinas for money off your next order. (I never count on the catalinas. I never seem to get any). Also, Basha's has toothpaste, deodorant and shampoo for $1 or less this week and milk is $1.88/gallon at Fry's and Albertson's. Food City has avocados 3/$1.

It's a good week to check out El Rancho Market, or stop by Pro's Ranch and see what's doing in the produce department. It's a good week to shake out the pantry, burrow through the freezer, or get creative with all the plastic containers clogging your fridge with a cup of broccoli, two slices of roast, those 3 uneaten biscuits. Clean out the vegetable drawer. Do something with the fruit and produce. Feed it to your family before you feed it to the garbage disposal.

It's easy to eat cheap. You just have to buy it at rock bottom, then eat what you have.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

What I did yesterday

I went to Fresh and Easy. They had 18-packs of eggs for $1.57.
Don't go looking for your car keys, the sale ended yesterday. (HEY! It was in my newsletter. See previous post.) I TAKE IT BACK!!! THOSE EGGS ARE STILL ON SALE AT FRESH AND EASY!!!! Don't have a $5 off $20? There's a $3 off $30 in the Wednesday ad for Fresh and Easy.
And I bought 13 cartons of them.
I already did the math for you. That's 234 large eggs for a total of $20.41.
Fresh and Easy had mailed me a $5 off $20 coupon, so I actually paid $15.41 for the lot.
That works out to about $1.20 for 18 or 79c/dozen. (I'll finish the math. 13 18-packs is equal to 19.5 dozen eggs.)
How come I did that?

Um...I like egg nog?

No, because eggs haven't been super cheap in a pretty long time and I expect they won't be super cheap until Easter and eggs last a really, really long time. Seriously, I've eaten eggs four, five, six weeks past their 'sell by' date and haven't died yet. (Sell-by on these eggs is 2/22).
I'll deny that if ever pressed by the media, by the way.
Besides, I couldn't use the 5 off 20 until I'd spent 20 and I'm not a Fresh and Easy shopper because I'm a better cook than they are.

So say these eggs are good until the end of March, or 8 wks from now. 234 divided by 8 is about 29, or almost 2.5 dozen eggs/week.
Ha! Not so overwhelming anymore, is it? Don't worry, I'll probably freeze a lot of them.
Now that I'm into the numbers, 29 eggs a week works out to a little more than one egg per day for each of my four family members. Those numbers look a lot less overwhelming. So let's call it a 4-week supply, give everybody in my family two eggs a day at breakfast, and serve it to them over fresh homemade whole wheat bread.
(use the search box on the side of my blog here to find out about the bread)
I just provided my family a healthy
(I poached the eggs)
high protein breakfast for the entire month for under 20 bucks.
I'm allowing for electricity and ingredients for the bread baking.
See, now I'm not a nut-case with 234 eggs in my garage refrigerator. I'm a provident provider ensuring frugal brain-enhancing choline and eye-protecting lutein for my family.

Mama always said, 'It's all a matter of how you look at things, honey.'

Since that sale is over, I'll catch ya back tomorrow on what to stockpile this week. Mama also told me, 'Best you get all the beauty rest you can, baby.'



If you have to use a $3 off $30 coupon, you will have to buy 20 18-packs. That will give you 360 eggs or 30 dozen at 94.6c/dozen. That makes you only 126 eggs nuttier than me. I say...

Maybe you could go in on them with a friend?