Friday, September 26, 2014

Big Y Roasters and more shopping..............

The last time they had roasters advertised at .88 a pound I had some problems.  They couldn't seem to decide which roasters (big roasters or those labeled roasting chickens) were the one's on sale.  I was quite frustrated, and voiced my whining via this blog.

So, when I got home from a work/leisure NYC long weekend (varying portions were obligations for both DH and myself) I was excited but cautious when I saw their flyer for the sale starting yesterday. I went right to work Tuesday from arriving back home from the busy weekend (Over 50K steps in 48 hours, I was hurting)  Wednesday was get caught up on laundry and rest before going back to studio.  I had guilt about that, but DD convinced me it was ok to just sit on couch and read for my class work (went back to college too, AGAIN!)

I had already been to the produce market (just lots of veggies and flax wraps, sourdough bread and a pound of their tuna salad)  No reduced produce on a Thursday that I would even get closer to look at, definitely know it's Mon/Tues for the best choices.  So full price for everything, $34.00.

BJ's warehouse, their 50 percent off special on Real Food Made Simple breakfast wraps was ending this Sunday.  DD let me know that she liked the turkey sausage one's better than the southwest veggie one's.  We needed milk too, so I swung into their lot.  Gallon of Milk 1 percent (2.99), Levi's rye bread (2.99) 6 boxes of the wraps (29.94, a lot I know, comes to .84 cents per breakfast...)  DD and I spoke about trying to make them ourselves and freezing them, need to look into that.  Pound of Italian Hard Salami sliced thin.  (6.49)  $42.41, the smallest total I have ever had here.

So, on the way to studio Thursday, I allowed 30 minutes for Big Y.  Got three cases of water (10.00 plus deposit, Now waiting for these grocery store prices on cases of water is cheaper than buying from the warehouse store (unless they have a coupon.....BJ's went way up on their cases of water) and then trudged back to the meat cases.  There was the sign!  There were the chickens.  No other chickens to be seen.  These were the huge roasters.  I tried not to get too excited.  No limits posted, but I figured I could come again a different day.  I put two in the cart.

YAY!!!!!  They rang up correctly.

On the way back home from the studio (I have bitten off way more than I can handle this year, Thurs I'm teaching til 830, Friday is 10 a.m. to 8:30 and Saturdays first student is 8 am.)  I am grateful I can physically still do it.....and will continue to feel blessed that I love what I do....but need to be very careful to balance studio and home, leisure and work.   Started my own renewed education path (I'm figuring if I finish, 10 years nice and slow) exercise, saving money, Sunday adventures with DH.  Up to 85 private students starting in October, ensembles and the preschool classes have all started this month.  Newborn/Parent bonding classes start next week.  

Sorry, got off on a tangent there.  Back to driving home.  Stopped in again at Big Y, three more cases of water (I plan on doing this each time I drive by) and two more chickens (they had restocked the case)  Still ringing up correctly!

So the freezers are stocked with 4 nice roasters.  I hope to get one more to actually roast on Monday.  Then make stock over night in the crockpot with the bones.

I'm satisfied.  No more shopping needed (Unless we count the new CD player I had to purchase as one of the studios bit the dust)

Enjoy the deal finding!

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Zaycon Foods sent a disturbing email

As we have all been noticing, food prices (and meat especially) are going through the roof.   I am grateful that I was able to get the beef at such a good price, and in turn lock in one 40 pound case of boneless/skinless breasts at $1.49 a pound (regularly at the time 1.89)  Now that price has gone up considerably a pound according to the email I am about to share with you.

If you have been on the fence about ordering meat from their truckload sales, I would highly suggest doing so now, before prices go up any higher.  I am copying my recent Facebook post which does include my referral link (I would get a $1.00 credit towards future meat purchases for every person who orders through this link.

HI All. I have mentioned that I had purchased meat previously from Zaycon Foods. We just got a notice that due to the increased meat prices around our country that more of their deliveries and prices are being affected. If you want to get on their chicken deal (fresh boneless/skinless chicken breasts) that is coming into CT in November, at $2.49 a pound per 40 pound case (the price has increased due to demand and prices rising) please consider ordering through my referral link before the price increases again!

Below is the letter that I received from Zaycon today:

This is not the usual email from Zaycon Foods – this is what it looks like when a company is honest with its customers. Please take a minute to read this message; it affects all of us.
We are seeing truly unprecedented circumstances in the protein commodity markets this fall; in fact, they are turned upside down. You can see it on the news, in stories online and in print, or simply by checking meat prices at your local grocery store: the extremely short supplies in the beef and pork markets have now pushed into the chicken market, and demand for chicken is up more than 17% nationwide.
This squeeze on the market has not merely reduced supply, it has completely changed production forecasts, impacting the production ability of suppliers of beef, pork, and chicken products. These unforeseen circumstances have caused a marked shift in the availability of products this fall.
Zaycon is committed to getting you quality foods at the lowest prices possible. There’s no trick to how we keep pricing so low: we give you the best prices the going market rates allow. And we always try to secure as much inventory as our customers want. As our events near the point of selling out, usually we just order more truckloads from our suppliers. This fall, the inventory is simply not there.
Given the reality of current supply circumstances, we simply must raise the price of our chicken to $2.49 per pound. This is, in all honesty, the smallest increase we can possibly make without actually losing money on this sale.
And there’s more: given the strained supply of chicken available right now, we must move the deliveries scheduled to start in early October to the end of the month.
To be very clear, all past sales will be honored at the price you paid: if you have already ordered your cases of chicken, your event’s date is moving, but your price will not. The new pricing only affects future orders.
Please know that we are working hard to minimize the impact this change will have on you: your deliveries will occur at the same locations and on the same days of the week, but with the dates moved approximately three weeks later.
We will send details about these adjustments soon; please stay tuned to your email, texts, and our Facebook page for updates. Also, for the record: once we can lower pricing again, we’ll do it.
You have our heartfelt thanks for the understanding and loyalty our customers never fail to show us.

A truly honest, yet nerve wracking email.    I have been worrying about the rising costs.  I'm self employed, need to worry about my independent contractors making enough too.   I actually TEACH more than the four other educators combined by 20 hours, so that I can afford a part time office manager so that I CAN teach this much.  I am currently doing over 65 hours a week between teaching and administrative, never mind practice time and performing.

Is this a sign of what is to come?  Food shortages?  Am I being a bit over dramatic?

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Shop Rite big spend

I go to Shop Rite most Tuesday mornings when they open at 7 a.m.  I usually just get the loss leaders, spending the $25.00 to get the coupon deals on the front of the flyer.  The most I've usually spent is below $55.00 until today.

My total after sale/coupons was 128.98   Enough that the cashier (who now knows me by name) commented, 'I think this is the most you have ever spent with us'.  Yes, you are correct Mary Ann.

I had $77.98 in coupon savings.  Approximately 37.5 percent savings.  Not the best, but I am happy with the purchase I made.

With a flyer coupon deal of a full pork loin at a 1.49 a pound (with a 25.00 purchase) this was the main purpose of the trip (and I shamefully will admit, I drove all the way there, thank goodness only 5 minutes away via backroads, to have to turn around again because I did NOT cut out the flyer coupons).  I paid $15.63 after the coupon deal for 10.48 pounds of pork loin.

I cut it up this morning to provide a pork roast (for when the Uncle is here from California later in October) which will also provide leftovers , two packages of 6 thick pork chops (for when Gpa P is eating with us) and one package of 4 pork chops (when it's just myself, DH and DD)  I always provide 2 chops per man at the meal. That's $3.12 per meal, or a hopeful .78 cents per plate protein serving.  I account for 6 people the first night of the roast (DD, Gpa, DH, DD bf, Uncle, myself), at least three servings leftovers (or I might dice up the meat and save for a future casserole/soup meal by freezing) and 11 chop servings.  I was very pleased with this purchase, as in the past I have gotten it for no less than $1.89 a pound.

They were also having their chef's fair sale (something to do with Rachel Ray and other celebrity chefs, I didn't really read up on it, just saw what was on special because of it)  I got 4 more of their organic brand of vegetable stock, 3 turkey and 1 chicken.  All for $1.49 each.  I haven't been roasting any birds lately, so stocking up when I can.  I did go to Dollar Tree yesterday, but they only had Beef stock, which I have plenty of. 

I got an 8 pack of Sparkle towels for 2.88 after sale/store coupon/mfg coupon

I purchased $20.00 of Goya products which were on sale (and then deducted 2.50 in coupons) and will also get $5.00 back from savings star.  So, 12.50 for rice, olive oil, 9 cans of beans and seasonings.  Hubby will be happy, as he likes Goya products. 

8 jars of Colonna Sauce at .77 a jar.  This is even cheaper than their can can sale. 

5 yogurts for DH (on sale for 5 for $4.00)  not their best price, I usually stock up when they are 10 for $6, I'll have to get more next time this sale runs. 

10 yogurts for DD on sale for 10/$10, minus 2 in coupons.  

3 boxes of Barilla pasta, .89 cents each.  We actually do not eat a lot of pasta, but figured it would be a nice treat. 

1 family sized  pouch of starkist tuna, after .75 doubled coupon I paid $1.19

2 cans of Starkist albacore canned, $1.48 total spent after another doubled coupon. 

3 cases of water for the daily drinking.  I wish I could get everyone on board with filtered water, but so far not happening.  

2 gallons of shoprite water (.89 each) that I hid in the basement for emergencies.  I plan on buying at least two gallons each time I go into a big store.   I have to hide them as Gpa P will only give his dog bottled water, and I refuse to purchase any items for the dog (long story and a personal grudge). 

2 pounds of Shop rite butter on sale for not so great a price of 3.49 a pound.  Especially when it looks like either I or DH bought some butter and froze it and I didn't realize it.  Oh well, it will get used eventually, and I will have to make a note not to buy anymore until it goes for a really good price.  Any thoughts on what the lowest ticket price of butter might be?

2 16 ounce containers of Sour Cream, one regular, one light, 1.49 each.  We haven't had some in a while, and DD requested. 

5 pounds bag Eastern Potatoes .99 and another dozen eggs .99.  I will not pay more than .99 for eggs, if I cannot find that price, we won't get them. 

Two more tubes of Pepsodent, DH's favorite tooth paste, .88 each.  

3 cartons of Minute Maid lemonade (pink)  not a great sale price, 1.99, but he has requested for several weeks, so I bought the last 3 cartons they had. 

That's it!  After coupons 128.09.  Paid 80 cash, 48.09 from debit card.  

How did you do this week on shopping?

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Target Starbucks Deal

In the past I have gotten K cups at a pretty good deal.  Costing less than a case at BJ's.

This deal got me coffee beans.  12 ounce bags on sale for 6.99.  I bought 6 bags. $41.94.  I had three $4.00 off (2) bags.  $29.94.  Less 5% using my Target credit card (I pay it off the next day after use) now down to $28.44.  They also handed me $10.00 in gift cards.  $18.44 for 4.5 lbs of Starbucks coffee beans.  $4.10 per pound.    I was pleased.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

My big news

This is why I've been so preoccupied and why I was so busy the last few days.   Still a frugal venture as the Church was giving the piano away to us (though we will be mailing a donation to their children's programs).  I made the decision to add 5 new students to my schedule to pay for the moving.

I also paid cash for the move, which saved us some more dollars.

A 30 year dream has been realized today.  I am feeling very blessed.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

New farm stand (to me) and stocking up on supplies

Down the main Route from our house (17) there has always been a strawberry field.  Now there is also a very large produce stand, attached to the Christoforo Farms fields.  I went there today as I haven't made it to the farmers market (a shopping and social event with my sister most Sunday's) in the last two weeks.

I was pleasantly surprised.  Closer than the produce market that is usually closed when I'm on my way home in the evening....I could actually walk to this stand if I am feeling overly energetic.

For 16 dollars I got two large Zucchini, 3 large Golden Zucchini, 10 pickling cukes, 4 large slicing tomatoes, 2 pints of grape tomatoes and 6 ears of corn.  I watched them pick the corn and then bring it into the stand, why I bought this unplanned purchase.  About what I would have paid at the produce market I normally shop at, just closer to the house, and I can really see where the produce came from.  The plants are all right there.  That to me is a 'no brainer'.

They also had lots of fall annuals and other plants, as well as bread from local bakeries.  I plan on stocking up on tomatoes for making sauce within the next week or so.  I also will make more produce purchases there until the season runs out.

At BJ's warehouse I spent $185.00.  $85 was items for the studio, cleaning and office supplies.  For the house there were snack sized items for DH and DD lunches. Trail mix, cheeze-it crackers and fiber one fruit snacks.   I know that most will feel this is not frugal, but in our house; where if GPa P see's a bag open he consumes the entire thing, this is much more frugal.  I hide these snack sizes in several key places (and as far as I know he has never found any of them) I can make these purchases last for over a month.

I also got personal care items for the house, mouthwash, aspirin, ibuprofen, baby wipes (for makeup removal and other things) milk, shredded cheese, hebrew national salami (a fav of hubbies, I only buy it every few months) a loaf of rye bread. Fresh Express iceburg salad mix (in the long run, this is cheaper than buying two heads of iceburg lettuce and then washing/shredding), three pounds of mushrooms.

It's been a big spend day.  Tomorrow will be even bigger.  More news on that later.

A busy morning

Laundry, bill paying, money planning, house maintenance (furnace cleaning folks here, and I plan on starting a yearly service contract)  And then some baking.

First I explored a product that had been gifted to my DH from one of my students.  ( I deal with some amazing families.  They even remember Mr. J!)  It was a set of Bacon Jam.  Had never heard of this product, three jars, one Bacon Jam, one Bacon Hot Pepper Jam and one Bacon Black Pepper Honey Jam.  I didn't want to use it as a spread, as I felt it would be a bit unhealthy.  I contemplated the items that had to be used up before they became useless, and came up with this.  One tomato diced, half onion chopped, three whole eggs, last of carton of egg whites, flour, baking soda, black pepper, one tablespoon of bacon jam.  Looks tasty!

 I made a zucchini onion and shredded cheese quiche with vegetables that I had prepped earlier and frozen. Some leftover shredded cheese, baking ingredients and voila! 

I also made my usual banana bread with coconut oil, one egg, quarter cup of sugar, 1.75 cups of flour, baking soda, chocolate chips and shredded coconut. 

As soon as the furnace company is done I need to run to BJ's to replenish alot of things.  Cleaning supplies for studio, personal care supplies for family.  Milk, cheese etc etc.  Staples. 

Sunday, September 7, 2014

First week of school year schedule..........means a busy week

Well, this past week was a blur.  I thought my private schedule was going to lighten up, instead I added 5 more students instead of going down by 4.  40 hours of private teaching a week, and adding 4 group classes and ensembles by the end of the month.  Never mind events, billing, newsletter, masterclass planning, record keeping regarding lessons and any performances I have booked.  Whoa!

But it's all good.  I am very lucky to love what I do, and I take a true interest in every student at the studio, whether I teach them or not.  So I asked a lot of 'how is school, tell me about your teacher' questions to every child who walked into the studio.  I explained to a new family (whose child I was not going to teach) I consider myself surrogate grandma to all of our students, and want them to know I care.  Very important to me, as the studio owner that I know each family.

I'm also very lucky to have a very supportive husband, who is very involved at the studio.  Speaking of DH, he was very busy at the local fair working the fundraising booth for his Lodge.  In fact, many of our students made sure to say hello to "Mr. J"

 So, since we were both so busy.... that meant not much shopping and/or cooking for either of us this week.

He cooked hot dogs one night, grilled boneless/skinless chicken thighs.  I made two huge (and I mean HUGE) chef salads.  I ate a lot of salads.

 Had a free item at SB, and got an egg salad sandwich.  I also got my hair done  (barter client).

I did do 2 Target deals for Starbucks K cups.  First was three boxes at 11.99 each minus 5.50 in coupons minus 5 percent (used Target credit card which I pay off the next day after using it) paid 28.95.  Got a five dollar gift card back, so technically paid 23.95.   Just under .50 a k cup.

Second deal, almost as good, this time only had 4.50 in coupons.  Still got another five dollar gift card.  $24.95  Almost .52 cents a k cup.

Staff luncheon after teaching on Saturday, and then rush home to get DH as we had tickets to Fiddler on the Roof at the Good Speed.  It was amazing.  I don't get 'wowwed' very often, but this one had me speechless.

Today DH again had to be at the local fair.  I took protein's out of the freezer, picked apples in the back yard, did four loads of laundry.  Got the cat's food and litter.  Caught up on bookkeeping for the business.  Did a basic tidy up cleaning of the main rooms.  Made the bed.  Made a delightful soup.

3 large carrots, 4 ribs of celery, 1 large onion, garlic, green pepper.  All diced up and softened in olive oil.  Added cumin and chili powder.  Three cans of black beans, one carton of beef broth, two cups of water.  All thrown into the crockpot on high.  Four hours later, Gpa P consumed over half of it.  LOL

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Watching $$ and eating well

It is possible to feed your family a healthy, well balanced diet if you are aware of what's available.  Don't overlook that reduced produce rack.

I check our local produce markets reduced produce rack at least twice a week.  I drive by it twice a day, so it's not out of my regular routine or travels.

This week I was able to get two one pound bags of broccoli rabe (normally 2.99 a pound) for .80 a pound.  It was still in good shape, the ends were starting to brown.  That's it!  $1.60 for two pounds that I am now sauteing in olive oil and garlic.  That's 50% off regular price.

Bananas are a regular at the reduced bin, and yes, sometimes they are so brown they are only good for breads.  But my market also puts singles together and then marks them .29 a pound.  Still half green.  No brown spots at all.  6 bananas for .96 cents.  All ready for cereal or just eating.  When they turn brown (if there are any left) I will freeze them for a baking day.

Yellow squash.  Oddly shaped, with some blemishes but no scrapes/holes/rotten spots.  Just not the pretty ones.  Regular price was 1.99 a pound.  I paid .89 cents a pound.  Two pounds was $1.78.  Less than 50% off regular price.

Cucumbers.  Regular price .79 each.  I got 5 in a pack for 1.29.  All still firm, no mushy spots, just not picture perfect.  I believe these were 66% off regular price.

Onions, which we needed were also bagged up in the reduced section.  I cannot for the life of me figure out why.  Still firm, no mushy spots, skins nice and shiny still.  I got 3 lbs for .89 cents.

Not a bad day at the produce market if you ask me!