Penny Pinchers


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A Penny Pinching Ski Lunch

By Julie Norman
Monday, February 23, 2015

We decided to take a trip to Snowmass this weekend to use 2 of our Classic Pass days. Snowmass, you ask??? How do we make that cheap at all???  It's not easy, but it can be accomplished by:

1. Not staying in Snowmass.

2. Not eating out for breakfast (we take something to heat up in the microwave in our room or we make do with whatever is at the "continental breakfast" at our hotel).

3. Not eating out on the hill for lunch. This is the part that really makes the difference.  Yes, we're going to eat out for dinner, but even that can be cheap..lunch on the mountain? No way. It's pricey!

Here's a picture of what we had to eat this weekend for our ski trip lunches:

We made bagel sandwiches (bagels were BOGO this week at City Market) using blueberry bagels, peanut butter and honey.  We also had packs of our favorite completely over the top processed crackers and (not pictured) granola bars. The beers? Yes, we splurged on those!  Still, a sandwich and 2 sides at a mid-mountain restaurant would easily set you back $20 PER PERSON. As it was, we spent $7 each on the beer. It was worth it though!

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Ask for a refund?

By Julie Norman
Wednesday, February 18, 2015

I jus saw this post today from The Frugal Girl about asking for a refund when you miss a credit card payment.  I'm one of those crazy people who pays bills as soon as they arrive, but even I, on occassion, have forgotten a bill until after it's due date. Still, it's never occurred to me to ask for a refund! She's got some great tips for how to handle yourself if you find yourself in this situation.  It never hurts to try, right?

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Valentine’s Day Update

By Julie Norman
Monday, February 9, 2015

When I was at the store this past Saturday I remembered Valentine's Day was only a week away and I still had items to pick up! I searched the clearance bin for some good Open Nature filet mignons, but the ones I found looked too fatty.  So I wandered over to the regular Open Nature beef section and discovered 2 perfect sized New York Strip steaks for a total of $10! I was pretty pleased with that deal so I threw those in the cart.  Then I noticed my favorite yellow 50% off sticker looming nearby. I looked over and found grass-fed butcher's cut ground beef (93% lean) 50% off! I hardly ever buy ground beef, but I couldn't pass up that deal.

So let's recap:  so far we have 1 lb of large, raw ez peel shrimp for $7.50 and 2 NY Strips for $10 total. 

I've got lettuce, lemon and croutons for a caesar salad (about $5).

Dessert? I splurged on Breyer's Lactose Free vanilla but scored a BOGO deal on the Safeway brand of cool whip in a can. I also bought some Smucker's "Simply Natural" salted caramel topping.  We have roasted almonds at home that I thought would add a great topping too.  So dessert was around $10.

I do still want to get another vegetable, but I'm thinking maybe just some nice baked potatoes would be great with our surf and turf.  I've got those at home already too.  Let's assume a 5lb bag of potatoes (about $2.99) contains 8 potatoes.  That makes these .74 cents total.

So far then on Valentine's Day dinner I've spent: $33.25.  I'm pretty sure that unless you take your Valentine out to Taco Bell (not that there's anything wrong with that) you'll be hard pressed to spend less!

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Prepping for Valentine’s Day

By Julie Norman
Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Yes, I realize Valentine's day is still 11 days away, but it's never too early to start prepping! We never go out on Valentine's.  To us, a great meal together at home is just as special.  I try to "fancy it up" a little bit but at the same time I don't want to do so much that I end up tired and sweaty byt the time dinner is ready.  This year we decided on a simple menu:

Surf n Turf (surf being whatever seafood I found on sale and turf being a splurge on grass-fed filet mignons)

Caesar Salad

Some sort of roasted vegetable

A dessert of double-caramel sundaes (caramel ice cream topped with caramel sauce, nuts and whipped cream)

Today while I was at Safeway I decided to check out the seafood and lo and behold I found Waterfront Bistro shrimp on sale! I got a 2lb bag of large, raw shrimp for $15 (regularly $23).  Later I realized they weren't wild caught, but still...what a great deal! We'll have plenty for Valentine's Day AND another meal, which is even better.

So Valentine's Day doesn't have to cost a fortune.  In face today I saw all sorts of great beef options in the clearance bin: 50% off flat iron steak, steaks and roasts, and even lamb chops!  Shrimp like those I got would feed a whole family if you added them to pasta and made a big batch of shrimp fettucini alfredo.  That along with a side of asparagus or roasted broccoli would make a lovely meal.

In the end, isn't it really about celebrating with the ones you love anyway?

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My Annual Safeway Savings

By Julie Norman
Tuesday, January 27, 2015

We all know that one of the ways I save money at the grocery store is by using Safeway's "Just for U" personalized deals program. In conjunction with their digital coupons and in-store sale items, I can save usually 15% of my grocery bill.  The Just for U personalized deals sometimes aren't for things I'm buying anymore, but often I can save on produce, which I really appreciate.  Today I got an email with my annual Just for U savings report: 

So that means that just with the personalized deals portion of Safeway's ways to save, I saved $12 a month.  It might not seem like much, but in the days of "every little bit helps" that money adds up!  Just yesterday I was able to find 2 tuna steaks and a large package of tilapia for fish tacos ALL 50% off! If you can't invest any other way, investing in food will often help you more than anything else.

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