Simplicity – Small & Cheap

Living simply & cheaply…wherever you are!

Meijer Trip

As I write this, I am sitting in the van because Lil’ Bit fell asleep and I don’t want to wake her.

I did pretty well at Meijers this week and was even close to budget–after buying some of my sale + coupon extras!

On sale + coupons
2 Cinnamon rolls – 2/$3 – $0.35/1 IP and $0.30/1Q – $1.525 each 🙂
1 Activia yogurt – 2/$4 -$1/1Q – $1
4 hormel compleats – 2/$4 – four $0.75Q – $1.25 each
2 Velveeta (BIG one…a pound?)- $4.49 each – $1/1Q – $3.49
8 rice-a-ronis – 9/$10 – two $1/4Q – $0.86 each

Not on sale but I needed & had a coupon
3 Campbells tomato soups – $0.82 each – $0.40/3Q – $0.72 each
2 light n fluffy egg noodles – $1.79 each – $0.50/2Q – $1.54 each
Marjoram – $3.35 – $1/1Q – $2.35
Basil – $2.89 – $0.25/1Q – $2.64
kings bounty rolls $3.19 – $0.55/1Q – $2.64 (fume…they still had the 2/$4 signs up…I thought I was getting them for $1.45 😦 it’s hard to pay attention with little ones and I always seem to miss something)

On sale , no coupons
6 lbs. Butter – 2/$3
4 Hunts tomato paste – 4/$5
2 hot Italian sausage – 2/$5
6 Krusteaz waffle mix – 3/$5
3 dole salads – 3/$5
Clearance Vienna bread – $1.13 (for bread pudding or French toast)

Not on Sale, no coupons
Bananas – $0.59/lb.
Coke – $0.99
Pepperoni – $1.89
eggs (2 dzn) – $2.89

Total value – $110.76
Total sale price – $99.41
Less coupns – $11.35
Total OOP – $77.61
Savings – 23%

Not quite as impressive as my receipt would indicate…I impulse-bought a sweater for DD for church and it was on sale from $12.99 to $4.99. And I was prepared to pay full price…in fact I was contemplating returning it but for $5, I’ll keep it!


March 31, 2009 Posted by | grocery shopping | , , | Leave a comment

Leftover Makeover – Twice-Baked Potato Casserole


Last week, I made a bunch of baked potatoes and had about 12 more to bake before they went bad.   We aren’t baked potato people (meaning DH).   But I had to do SOMETHING with them or they’d go to waste.   Some friends who were over for dinner suggested twice baked potatoes and this weeks LOMO was born!   I went online to find a recipe and didn’t find any I liked.    So I made it up 🙂

2-1/2 to 3 lbs cooked russet potatoes

1-1/2 – 2 c cheddar cheese, shredded (leftover from hashbrown casserole)

1/2 to 3/4 c sour cream (leftover from mashed potatoes a few weeks ago)

1/4 c butter (pantry)

1/4 to 1/2 c milk (expires tomorrow)

1/4 c bacon pieces (leftover from breakfast & pizza making)

Cut the potatoes in half lengthwise and scoop out meat and put into a LARGE bowl.    If cold (like I did) chop into bits and put in microwave.    If not, just proceed to :   add milk, butter and sour cream and mash them up to your liking.   We like smoother, some people like chunky–whatever floats your boat.

Add cheddar cheese and bacon pieces and stir until evenly combined(ish).    Put in 2 quart casserole dish (or 8×8 brownie pan).

The consensus seemed to be to cover loosely with foil bake for 30-60 minutes from 325 to 400 degrees.   Yeesh.   We cooked ours at 350 for 60 minutes.   We had prepared ours the day before so it was cold from being in the fridge.   If everything was warmish when you threw it in, it might be more like 30 minutes.

DH declared this to be the best twice-baked potatoes he’s ever had (!).    He suggested the addition of a little salt.   I thought some sauted onions might be good, too.   This is another great recipe to adapt to the tastes of your family and the stuff in your pantry.   You could add leftover ham, onions, taco meat, chives…the possibilities are endless!!!

March 30, 2009 Posted by | Leftover Makeover, Recipes | , , | 1 Comment

Menu Plan Monday


Breakfasts – nutragrain bars, leftover pancakes, yogurt

Lunches- leftovers & pb&j

Sunday – LO chicken, twice baked potato casserole, LO carrots

Monday- corned beef, potatoes, carrots

Tuesday- beef n noodles

Wednesday – LO corned beef, LO 2x potatoes, veg

Thursday – LO beef n noodles

Friday- fish sticks & tater tots with veg (gotta love lent!)

Saturday – homemade pizza

Stay tuned for recipes and more this week! For more menu fun, go to

March 30, 2009 Posted by | Menu Plan Monday | | 1 Comment

Quick N Crunchy Potato Chip Chicken

Like the Fiesta Taco Casserole, this one came from the same Betty Crocker magazine cookbook jobby.   I changed a bit on this one too.   The original can be found here.

6 c sour cream and onion-flavored potato chips, crushed (1-1/2  c)   – ($2.00)

1 Tblsp. parsley flakes (negligible)

2 eggs ($0.24)

2 tsp Worcestershire sauce ($0.10)

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (~$5.00)

In a shallow bowl, mix crushed potato chips & parsley– I used a pie plate.   In another shallow bowl, beat eggs and Worcestershire sauce.

Dip chicken into egg mixture and then coat with potato chip mixture.

Place chicken breast in a 9×12 baking dish uncovered at 400 degrees for 45-60 minutes or until the thickest part registers 170 on a meat thermometer*.

As usual, I modified this to what I had on hand.   My 4 bs chicken breasts were HUGE!!!   Instead of 1-1/4 lbs, they were more like 2-1/2 lbs and pan-frying would NEVER work unless I pounded them down.    Because they were so big, I doubled the amount of eggs and needed more chips to get a good coating.   This would be fantabulous with BBQ or Cheddar and Sour Cream chips.  YUM!     Also, because the chicken breasts were so large, this feeds 6, not 4.    Cost per serving approximately $1.22.    We had some smallish baked potatoes (5lbs for $2.99) and some carrots ($0.99/lb on sale) as a side dish so add $.40/pp for sides.

* I never cook chicken to 170.   I find it takes to long to get those last 10 degrees and ends up dry.    But you should unless you want to get sick and die of some horrible disease.   Don’t say I didn’t warn you :).

March 28, 2009 Posted by | Recipes | , | Leave a comment

Frugal Friday – Grocery Prices

One of the things that was the hardest about moving here was trying to figure out what is a good deal on grocery prices.    The prices are vastly different than up north.   One of the hazards about living on an island, I guess :).

There are several different ways to determine the best prices and what is the best deal to use coupons with.    The cheapest, but most difficult way is to make a price book.   Essentially, you need to find a notebook, preferably a loose-leaf notebook with paper.    An old day planner works pretty well for this.   Pick the products that you use most often and note the following details of each item:

  • Date
  • Store
  • Brand
  • Cost
  • # & Type of Units
  • Price Per Unit

It will take approximately 3 months to gather the data you need.   Soon, you will start to get an idea of how often it goes on sale and how much you need at the current sale price to tide you over to the next sale.    You will also get an idea of what is the normal sale price and what is the ROCK-BOTTOM, buy-2-years-worth-NOW price.   Some people use it to determine how often they will buy treats.  For example, I will only buy Lay’s Chips when I can get a bag (the bigish looking ones that usually sell for $3.49) for $1.00.    Usually that will involve coupons & coupons for that product are RARE!.   You get the idea.    It will also help you to determine which store generally offers the lowest regular price so if you run out and NEED it, you know where to get it.

There are also online price books.  While they aren’t complete (most people don’t WORK at these stores but have shared their hard work with you), they are a good place to start and find basics.

The Grocery Game – This website has advertised and unadvertised deals for several stores in your area.   Since we’ve moved to a new area, I’m using it to bolster my efficiency while I get acquainted with the area.   If you sign up as a result of this post, please name me as a referral (jensteed.08 at gmail dot com)

Grocery Guide – This site shows the best rated deals, offers coupons, recipes and is a great resource, searchable by zip code.

Grocery Price Books – This blog offers price books for Meijer, Kroger and Giant Eagle.

How have you set up your price book?    How often do you update it.    Share your tricks and hints in the comments!

March 27, 2009 Posted by | Frugal Friday, grocery shopping | , | Leave a comment

Furniture Purge

Last week we had a viewing on our house and found out we were on the short list. YIKES!!! It’s great because It means that we have an attractive, well-priced house. But it ALSO means that I have to get my butt in gear and get ready to move. So on Friday AM, I started listing furniture that we didn’t need and know we aren’t moving. I listed 13 small items and ended up selling nearly everything I wanted gone. I really should have taken pics but essentially the whole downstairs is empty now.

We sold 5 bookshelves, a tv, an end table, a vanity/makeup table, 2 couches, 2 wingback recliners, and some little stuff. Three of the bookshelves, the end table, none of the couches, nor the recliners were listed…people just found out we were moving and asked what else we were selling. I sold a few more items over the weekend. But Friday, man, it was a flurry of wheelin’ & dealin’!

I was so full of adreniline (and cash–now tucked safely in the bank) that I started listing other smaller stuff. I will feel much better about taking remnants to goodwill now that I’ve gotten over $500 for our stuff. I didn’t think that was possible–we consider all our furniture junk. But $10 here and $200 there (our tv), well, it adds up.

Anyway, I am now addicted to Craigslist. What about you? Have you considered thining your “essential” furniture? Try thinking about what you would take if you had to pack it all up to move across country or would replace after a fire. Let us know your thoughts!

March 25, 2009 Posted by | Living Simply | | Leave a comment

Meijer’s Trip

Today I stocked up on some stuff on which I NEVER find coupons and needed some household stuff as well.   For a change, I brought all my coupons in and got to use three of them that I hadn’t planned on.

I bought:


12 Minute Maid oj turds – 3/$5 = 1.67 each

6 Kraft Cheeses – 1/2 off ($1.69 each) – ONE $1/2 Q (wish I had picked up more!) – 4 at $1.69 and 2 at $1.19 🙂

2 Jay’s Potato Chips – $2.89 each

CLEARANCE w/coupon

2 Trident Gum 3pks – $1.18 – $1/1Q = $0.18 each!!!   Yeehaw!

No Sale, No coupons, just needed

Country Crock Margarine – $1.49

Sour Cream – $1.49

Flour – 5lbs. – $2.39

Edge Shave Gel – $2.37

65w lightbulb (recessed light) – $5.59!!

Dawn (big one!) – $1.90 on clearance

TREAT – $0.99 – Fountain Coke–YUM!!

Total Value – $81.46

Total Sale Price – $57.15

Less Coupons – $3.00

Total OOP – $54.15

Savings – 33%

March 24, 2009 Posted by | grocery shopping | , , , | 1 Comment