Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy 2009! Grocery circulars for this week

Happy 2009 to all of my fellow frugal friends. In yesterday's mail, we received the Ralph's and Albertson's grocery circulars for the week. The sales start today and go through next Tuesday. The best buys are on:


  • Foster Farms Chicken - 50% off
  • Baby back ribs - $2.97
  • Heirloom tomatoes - 2 lbs. for $5 - normally not a good deal, but considering we are in the deepest, darkest part of winter, these can be a treat.
  • Dennison's, Hormel, and Stagg chili - 10 cans for $10 - great quick meal suggestion - Chili Pie. Grab a snack size bag of Frito's, pour some heated chili on the Frito's and top with shredded cheese. Yum!
  • The best sales are in the produce aisle. Broccoli crowns, cauliflower, italian and yellow squash, baby peeled carrots, green bell peppers, sweet red onions, and Fresh Express Garden Salads are all 10 for $10.
  • Boneless pork loin, $2.99lb. Buy a package that is already presliced for delicious pork chop recipes. Freeze what you don't need in family size portions in ziplock bags to reduce your leftovers.
  • Yoplait Yogurt, 20 for $10 - these have been much more expensive, even on sale for the past several months.
To finish off your shopping list, visit Albertson's for a few good specials. There is a two day sale going on starting today. Pick up your new year's eve and day treats here, because they are on sale.

  • Snow crab clusters, $3.99 lb.
  • King crab legs, $9.99 lb.
  • Lobster tails, $4.99 each
  • Potatoes, $1.99 for 10 lb bag

Use coupons for:
  • Avocados, 2 for $1
  • Mission tortilla chips, $1.79 a bag
  • Ruffles and Doritos 2 for $3
  • Domaine Chandon champagne, Jose Cuervo Tequila Especial are both $9.99
  • Heineken, $9.99 for 12 bottles

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

My Husband's 10 Commandments of Saving Money

My husband also has his Ten Commandments of saving money.

1. Take your shoes off at the front door to save in carpet cleaning costs.

2. Buy quality – it lasts longer – in clothes, shoes, etc.

3. Invest in items that appreciate in value such as your home, antiquities, art, stock and other financial vehicles. Do not overspend on items that depreciate like cars, furniture, and housewares.

4. If you work in a profession that can make your clothes dirty, wear work clothes that are durable and cheap.

5. Go to brunches instead of dinners. The champagne is normally included and the meals are less expensive. Besides, you have all day to digest the food and you don’t end up sleeping on a full stomach.

6. Don’t go to Costco by yourself. You need someone to go with you to talk you out of the 25 pounds of flour and the lifetime supply of yeast.

7. Learn how to "do it yourself" by watching the Food Network, DIY, and Discovery Channels.

8. Buy the book instead of going to see the movie at the theater. The entertainment lasts longer.

9. For movie night, borrow it from the library or rent it from Blockbuster video. Microwave the popcorn.

10. If the wife buys something he doesn’t like, put it in the closet and don’t complain. This saves in future legal fees!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Mom's 10 Commandments of Shopping

My mother, the savviest shopper that I know, shared her Ten Commandments of shopping with me. They all seem to be true in Santa Barbara.

1. The price of a product or service is not always an indicator of quality.

2. If it sounds too good to be true, do more research. Sometimes there really are great bargains out there!

3. The zip code of the service will reflect in the price of that service. If you shop in Montecito, you will pay more than if you shop in Santa Barbara, even at garage sales.

4. Everything goes on sale eventually. You just need to know where and when to look.

5. The back of the store is usually where the bargains are, except in January when they move the sales to the front of the store.

6. There is always a less expensive way to get a service. Choices include to ‘do it yourself,’ go to an apprentice, or go for the splurge.

7. Sometimes it makes sense to spend the extra money. Get the $100 haircut when you want a new style, but go to Fantastic Sam’s for the $17 haircut to maintain your style.

8. You will always spend more for spa services if you purchase them at a resort or on a cruise ship. My most expensive pedicure was on Cunard’s QE2, on a transatlantic voyage. For $50, the salon ‘expert’ removed my polish, washed my feet, cut my nails, and added 3 layers of polish. No massage, no small talk. To make matters worse, the nail polish never dried, and smeared 5 hours after the service. I had to pay an additional $50 for a redo. The best pedicure was at a salon called Artistic Nails in the Calle Real Shopping Center. For $25, I sat in a heated massage chair, while the salon ‘expert’ washed my feet, exfoliated, clipped my nails and cuticles, gave my legs a 10 minute massage, and then added 3 coats of polish. She even gave me a pair of flip flops so that I wouldn’t smear the polish.

9. The fewer things you own, the larger your home feels, so have garage sales and donate items you are not using.

10. Don’t skimp if it makes you feel like a martyr.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

After Christmas Sales - Sunday Circular

Honestly, I think that the pre-Christmas sales were all hype and no substance compared to last year. In 2007, we were able to take advantage of an abundance of "Free with Rebate" offers and true doorbuster specials. This year, the offering was mediocre at best. Besides the closing of Circuit City, there were no major deals to be had. No wonder the stores are struggling.

Now, we have the Sunday circulars in the Santa Barbara News Press. Anything worth getting dressed for?

K-Mart - $6 stability balls - great for the New Year's resolutions. In the local sports stores, these are often $29.99.

P&G Brand Saver - great coupons for every day needs. You'll pay for your paper after clipping a couple of these and going to Ralphs to take advantage of double coupons.

Michaels - 50% off coupon for one item. By the way, visit their website at and register. You will receive these coupons via email, so if you are a crafting junkie like me, you can get double the savings almost every week. If you pay full price at this store, you are a sucker. I'm currently knitting an afgan and rather than buying all the yarn at the same time, I've been buying only one color at a time and using the coupons.

Longs Drugs: Domaine Chandon Brut Champagne - $11.99 - best sparkling for the price, only on sale this Sun through Thurs. Tide detergent $5.49 after rebate - plus use a 35 cent coupon from this week's paper for more savings.

Office Max: They are offering the free software bundles with Turbo Tax software. If you need antivirus software or a dozen new software titles to go with your new computer, go ahead and buy the tax software and fill out the rebate cards. Since we use an accountant, I normally buy the software and collect on the rebates and then sell the software that I don't use on ebay - making a profit in the process.

That's all for now.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Turkey Picking

Now that Thanksgiving has been over for a few days, the turkey in your refrigerator probably resembles something you should leave for the buzzards to finish off. You've had your fill of turkey sandwiches, turkey tetrizzini, and all the other turkey leftover recipes that are in the women's magazines. Don't throw the bird out yet, because it still has some 'life' left in it.

Turkey Stock:

Turkey Carcass, well picked of the best parts of meat, but leaving the wings, back meat, and everything you couldn't easily get at - you know, the pieces that have gristle attached, or the ones that just won't separate from the bird. Break the carcass down until it fits in the largest soup pot that you own. Place any fat or juices that are left in your turkey pan into the soup pot.

All of your stuffing leftovers in the vegetable bin - onions, celery, carrots, minced garlic and any other vegetables that you can find. It is fine if the veggies are a bit wilted. Just clean them off and remove any spoiled pieces. Peel the onions of the outer skin, Peel the carrots of the part that sticks out of the ground, and throw these parts away. Quantities don't matter much here. Just use whatever veggie is around the house.

Place all ingredients in the soup pot and cover with water. Add 1 teaspoon of salt or garlic (or onion) salt, 2 bay leaves, and 1 teaspoon of your favorite herb. Bring to a boil and then simmer for 1 to 2 hours.

Now, for the messy, but fun part. Grab a large bowl and a colander (the kind you strain spaghetti with) and place the colander over the bowl in the sink. Use tongs to remove the bones and place them in the colander to cool for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes, come back and separate the meat from the bones. You will have enough meat from this exercise to use either in turkey soup or another leftover turkey recipe. Throw away the bones.

Next, pour the remaining contents of the soup pot into the colander. Throw all of the items in the colander away. The veggies have given up their flavor to the stock that is left inside the bowl.

If you have a fat separater, you can reduce the fat from the stock if you wish, or you can place all of the stock in the refrigerator and allow it to cool. The fat will separate on its own, and you can use a spoon to remove the fat when it is cool.

You are left with a beautiful stock that can be used in a variety of ways including as a base to soup, seasoning for veggies, or flavor for rice. Place in 1 to 2 cup containers and freeze or refrigerate until needed.