Friday, August 3, 2012

Topeka Grocery Deals August 1-7, 2012

Hy-Vee Deals

What is a deal? It's only a deal if it's something you need and will use.  That is why I advocate only using coupons when you are purchasing products you need or will use within 3-4 months. You do not want to get in the habit of buying things just because you have a coupon.  I believe you will save more money by simply buying what is on sale and planning your weekly menu accordingly.

This week, Hy-Vee has sugar on sale for $1.98.  It's rare to find sugar under $2 so I bought two packages. Hy-Vee also has chicken breast on sale for $1.88 a pound. You guessed it, we will be eating a lot of chicken this week.  I stocked up on chicken a couple of weeks ago when Dillon's had chicken on sale for $1.88 a pound but went ahead and bought another couple of packages to replace what I have already used.

Farmland sausage is on sale for $1.33 a package (3 for $4).  I HATE when stores don't tell you the price per individual package in an effort to get you to buy more of the product. You will pay $1.33 a package regardless if you buy one or three or ten. Oh well, I guess that's why I took third grade math. You may remember this same sausage was on sale at Apple Market about a month ago for 98 cents. Still, $1.33 is a good price. I went ahead and bought four more packages to replace what I have used.

Sausage is one of the best meat values out there. Think about can buy a pound of sausage for $1.33 or a pound of hamburger for somewhere between $3-4 a pound. Buy sausage and try substituting it in dishes where you normally use hamburger.  I personally think sausage is also way more flavorful than hamburger.

I also bought two Kraft Parmesan grated cheese for $3.69 a container. There was a 50 cent coupon attached to each container (Hy-Vee doubles coupons up to $1 on Tuesday and Thursday) bringing the final price down to $2.69 each. I have been out of Parmesan cheese for a long time because I refused to pay $4 or $5 for it. As consumers, our biggest weapon is to refuse to buy a product when the price becomes outrageous.

Other good deals at Hy-Vee this week included Colgate toothpaste for 77 cents, Suave or V05 shampoo/conditioner for 77 cents, Chef Boyardee pasta for 79 cents and Breyers ice cream for $1.99. Of course, it's only a deal if you like and need it.

A lot of chicken
I decided to bake and then shred all the chicken I bought at Hy-Vee to use in various recipes throughout the week. It saves money to bake the chicken all at once rather than run the oven three or four different times. The biggest savings is probably in only heating up your house once, saving money off your air conditioning bill.

I didn't find many deals at Dillon's this week. I did purchase a bunch of discounted brown sugar for 59 cents a box and a roast for under nine dollars. Highlighers are still 99 cents, notebooks 19 cents and crayola crayons for 29 cents. Buy enough to last all year.

I ran into Aldi's with a friend. I hadn't been to Aldi's in a couple of weeks. I purchased the above bananas for $1.37 (44 cents a pound), the baby carrots were 49 cents a package and the almonds were $2.49.

I have noticed the price of bananas has steadily been increasing. The average price seems to be around 54 cents a pound. So what's the big deal...we're only talking about a dime. Think of it this way, I saved 30 cents buying the bananas at Aldi's, rather than Wal-Mart. I buy about 3 pounds of bananas every week. 52 weeks x 30 cents = $15.60 saved over the course of a year. Dimes add up.

A pound of baby carrots at Wal-Mart is approximately $1.78. At Aldi's, they are 49 cents. I saved $1.29. If I bought even one package of carrots a month, I would save $15.48 over a year's time.

The last time I bought almonds at Dillon's I paid $1.65 for 2 ounces. This 6 ounce bag at Aldi's cost $2.49. To buy the same amount of almond's at Dillon's would have cost $4.95 or 83 cents an ounce. The Aldi's almonds cost 42 cents an ounce.

People ask me all the time how I save so much money on groceries. When I tell them, they are a little disappointed. It takes some effort to save money. There isn't a "trick" to it. 

Last night's dinner included fresh salsa. Salsa is so simple to make and incredibly delicious. Here's how I make mine:

Half of an onion
Half of a green pepper
3 cloves garlic.
1/4 teaspoon red pepper (I like mild)
1/2 to 1 teaspoon cumin (add 1/2 teaspoon, add more if desired)
1 Tablespoon olive oil
squeeze in half a lime
salt and pepper to taste (I use sea salt)
fill the rest of the food processor with tomatoes, probably about 4-6 or in this case a bunch of cherry tomatoes.

Pulse and you have great fresh salsa which goes great with almost everything and is low calorie.

Ban Insipid Store Bought Jar Salsa

Baked Chicken
  The finished baked product. I seasoned a couple of the breasts and left the rest unseasoned.

Oh, the recipe possibilities!
I am attempting to cut down on eating out as much as possible. I went to lunch with a friend yesterday and it cost $11 without even ordering a drink. I always carry little packets of Crystal Light to add to water or just ask for extra lemon to add a little flavor. The average restaurant drink (tea, lemonade, soda) costs anywhere from $2-3 dollars. One drink out a week (average of $2.50) will add up to $130 a year.

I find I want to eat out the most when I am tired or don't have a meal planned. This is why planning ahead is so important. But sometimes you just want to get out. I will be researching and posting any great restaurant values I find.  Any ideas?

Menu Board
One of the most commented on things in my home is my menu board.  This old chalkboard belonged to my mother-in-law. With nine children, she used it to keep track of her brood's comings and goings. I hung it on the side of my refrigerator to keep track of meals. One day, my husband wrote, "The King's Menu" at the top of the board. His point was that we eat like "Kings" not that he is "King".  I thought it was cute and never erased it, though some of my feminist friends have eyed it with suspicion.

When a meal is sub-par, my husband likes to complain we are eating like landed gentry, still good but not as good as the King's table.

Here is this week's menu:

Shredded chicken, black bean & cheese tortilla
BBQ chicken pizza
Roast with roasted potatoes, onion & carrots
Roast beef sandwiches
Leftover pizza or Chicken pot pie
One night planned out

Simple, easy & cheap
Last night's meal was simple and delicious. Shredded chicken, black beans, sour cream, shredded cheese and fresh salsa rolled up in a tortilla.

Leftover chicken & broth
The rest of the shredded chicken I divided into three equal packages to use throughout the week. I also saved the chicken broth from cooking the chicken. A can of chicken broth costs $1 and is not near as flavorful as the real thing. Having the chicken already cooked will make it very easy to throw together this week's meals and keep me on track to not spend money on eating out.

Bon Appetit!

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