Sunday, July 31, 2011

Ikea Not Just For Furniture

When you think of Ikea, probably two words come to mind: cheap and furniture. I went to this mega store yesterday and was surprised by the deals on their lesser known departments, like kitchenware (my weakness).

They sell bakeware and cool kitchen gadgets for as low as .99! I found loaf pans and garlic presses for .99, and springform pans were only $2.99. These are unadvertised deals; the price is not featured on their website.

I loved this discovery as I'm a bakeware nut and love to buy new pans. On the other hand, it's also horrible because I have no room in my city apartment for all these cool gadgets. Next time you visit Ikea take a slow walk through their kitchen department and look closely at the prices. If you see a yellow tag hanging the price has probably been reduced on that product.

Happy shopping!

Friday, July 29, 2011

All You Grocery Challenge Top 10 Finalist

Yes, that means what you think it means! I'm one of the top 10 semi-finalists in the All You Grocery Challenge! I got the email yesterday and couldn't open it fast enough when I saw the subject line. I pinched myself...a couple of times... and then again this morning.

To be precise, my exact reaction went something like, '"AAAAHHHHHH!!!!" The whole family is so excited, and it's awesome to have made it this far. I've gotten some sweet notes of encouragement, thank you so much, it means a lot.

They requested my receipts, which I already mailed out and now sleepless nights until August 5th when they contact the winner and two runners-up.

I'm thrilled just to be nominated. I've always wanted to say that. Good luck to the other finalists!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Smaller Stores Offer Reduced Produce

I'm always trying to find a way to reduce our produce budget, and I may have found it! I went to Shaw's, a big chain grocery store, but I went to a smaller sized one. At the beginning of their produce section, I found this interesting shelf..and check out all those beautiful colors!

It was filled with produce that was ripe or almost ripe and what a deal. Each package in this shelf was only $.99! I bought 3 avocados for $.99..that is an unheard of price around here. I also picked up 2 lbs. of potatoes, and 2 lbs of zucchini.

The guy filling up this shelf said the smaller sized grocery stores usually have some sort of reduced produce section as the selling rate is not as high as the bigger stores. It might be worth checking out in your local grocery store or at least asking if they have something like it.

Guess who ate guacamole tonight!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Catalina Promotions Equal Big Savings

 profit: $1.34

When you check out, have you noticed that little machine next to the cash register, it's called a Catalina Machine. Sometimes it spits out random, annoying ads, like getting an oil maintenance on your car, or an offer for a reduced newspaper subscription...really great stuff, right? In Day 5 I posted a picture of one of my Catalinas, or CATs.

Well, occasionally there is great stuff, like this week. 

This week there are 43 different CAT promotions happening at Shaw's (gasp). Since Catalina deals are national, there's a good chance you have some or all of the same promotions happening at your local big chain grocery store. If you are not familiar with Catalina promotions, I urge you to become familiar...NOW! Here is what I did:

4 single Viva paper towels $1.99 each
2 Bailey's Coffee Creamers (it's an amazing, delicious, non-alcoholic, coffe-house style creamer, can you tell I love it?) $1.50 (regular, 2.50)

=$10.96 total
- 4 $.85/1 viva coupons (shaws doubles, so these become  $1.70...EACH)
-2 $1/1 bailey's creamer coupons
=$2.16 (this is how much I paid)
now it gets interesting...stick with me folks...

There is a CAT promo on the Viva.

When you buy 4 rolls, that cute little CAT machine will spit out, no not a car check-up..but $2.50! Yes, it gives money, people! It will look like a coupon, but it is actually $2.50 to use on your next purchase, on ANYTHING you want in the store!

But, wait, there's more (I feel so late night infomercial), there is also a CAT promo on the Bailey's creamer. When you buy 2 Bailey's, the machine will print out $1!..Yes, it prints money, kind's in the form of a coupon, but basically you're getting your money back!

So, let's recap...I spent $2.16, and I got back $3.50, so I made a profit of $1.34. They paid me to take home my favorite Irish Cream creamer. I love CATs! Can you say meow...

So, what are you waiting for...find your grocery store circular and get shopping!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Earth's Best Baby Food on Clearance at Target

When I can't make homemade baby food, I love Earth's Best organic! I found them on clearance at Target, not all were marked. The smaller 4 oz. size was $.68 from $.82, and the larger, stage 3, 6 oz. size was $.88 from $1.04. There are coupons on Earth's Best site for $1 off 7 jars HERE. If you bought 7 of the small size, you could get them for as low as $.53 a jar! Great price!

These are the varieties I found on sale, if you find anymore let me know in the comments section!

  • Winter Squash
  • Pears & Mangos
  • Harvest Squash Turkey
  • Peas & Brown Rice
  • Tender Chicken & Stars
  • Vegetable Beef Pilaf
I also found Earth's Best teething biscuits on clearance, keep your coupons handy!

FREE Lunch Tote with Any Backpack Purchase at Toys R Us

I noticed when the kids have lunch totes that they picked out, they are eager to fill them up with snacks and water, which cuts down on the temptation to stop at fast food when we are out and about, and of course for school lunches!

Toys R Us just started a promotion, 7/24-8/27, buy any backpack $12.99 or more and get ANY lunch tote FREE (value up to $9.99). Toys R Us ran a similar promotion a couple weeks back, but this one is better because you can pick which lunch tote you want, in the previous promotion you could only pick the matching lunch tote with the backpack.

My son picked a Cars backpack (big surprise), and my daughter picked a Hello Kitty backpack (bigger surprise), and I picked arctic critter lunch totes, retail $9.99, worth more then the matching tote for the backpacks.

If you do the promotion, go early as the favorite characters sell out fast, also look inside the lunch totes for coupons. The ones we got had two coupon booklets in them. One with coupons up to $6 in savings on food and drinks and another by Scotch with coupons up to $10.50  in savings, including a rare coupon for $5 off Scotch Thermal Laminator.

If you get one, come back and let me know what you got!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

And the Giveaway Winner is...

Rachel! Congratulations, check your email from thefrugalette at gmail dot com! Thank you everyone for entering and checking out my blog! This is my first giveaway, but not my last. I'll be back before you can say 'frugalette who?' OK, maybe not that fast.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Santa Cruz Organic Juice Stockpile

total: $0

Contrary to popular belief,  there are coupons and deals on healthy, organic food. I present to you this picture as evidence. In my Day 18 post I wrote about trying new stores to find deals on organic food. I visited my local Coop store here in Cambridge and was excited to find an organic food coupon booklet filled with high value coupons. One coupon that caught my eye was $.75 off 1 Santa Cruz Organic product.

Since they were manufacturer coupons and not store specific, I took them to Shaw's where they were on sale this week for $1.50. Since Shaw's doubles coupons, I got all these pretty bottles for FREE!

Today Boston hit 103 degrees, first time in 85 years...perfect timing for a juice deal!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

First Tomato Bud

Do you see what I see! We woke up this morning to our first tomato bud! My first post of this blog, Day 2 ,was about planting a tomato plant as a way to start the challenge. We had never gardened...ever! I was born in Chicago, raised in Los Angeles and now live in Boston...I have pure city girl blood in my veins.

We currently live in a cement jungle, but I really wanted to try gardening, and this was our solution; a topsy turvy plant hanging in our porch. I'm worried about that little guy growing as much as my own kids..well..almost as much. :P

If you have any space, even some small counter space you can start a little herb garden. No excuses my fellow city dwellers!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

How to Tenderize Cheap Meat?

Meat is often the biggest budget buster (say that 10 times!).  High quality steak and beef comes at a premium price. Usually you read to put it in a slow cooker and the 5-6 hours will often soften up any cheaper cuts of meat and make them tender. However, for those of us that are not big on a slow cooker, or decided 2 hours before dinner they want to make beef, slow cooker is not going to work.

My mom (are you reading) always taught me to put the meat in water, turn up the heat until it starts to boil, cover and turn down the heat to a low simmer for about 1 hour. Add fried onions, garlic, ginger (all natural tenderizers). After an hour, turn up the heat and let the extra water evaporate and add salt, pepper and any spices or flavor you want. It works so well!

Since I always have frozen spinach on hand, I'm going to add spinach to mine. Remember to add salt and pepper at the very end, as salt inhibits the meat from getting soft. Do you have any tips or tricks, other then the slow cooker for tenderizing meat? I'd love to hear them!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Cheap Eggs

I got cheap eggs, so what right? Well, yes and no. There is this idea that reduced dairy must be expiring that day or the next. These are Land O Lakes, cage-free brown eggs, usually cost around $3.xx, and their expiration was 8 days from the day I bought these...plenty of time to use a dozen eggs!

The lesson here is don't count out reduced dairy..check the expiration date, it may not be any earlier then others, the store might have just gotten overstock on them. 

So, now you're thinking, where do I find them? In our local Shaw's (Super Valu family) they keep the reduced eggs in the milk fridge on the bottom most shelf. People don't like to bend...I don't mind. :)

Monday, July 18, 2011

Let's Move Summer Program Fun and Free Food

The First Lady Michelle Obama created the Let's Move program to help tackle and prevent the threatening rise of childhood obesity in the US. This summer parks across the nation are participating in the Let's Move program by having sports and fun activities and giving FREE healthy lunches to all kids under 18!

The program is being promoted as a way to feed hungry kids who rely on school lunches throughout the year, however, where I live it's for ANY kid under 18 and it seems that's how it's now being promoted as the turnout has been much lower then expected. When we went my kids were the only ones there!
Here are the details:
  • Check  HERE for more info and to find a local group.
  • Program runs M-F, June 27-August 12.
  • Activities are from 10:30-11:30
  • Lunch is between 11:30-12:30
Lunches are healthy and come with  whole wheat bread, salad and fresh fruit. They are, however, giving chocolate milk with the lunch. I hope you find a park near you and try it out, feels good to support our local community programs.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

All You Grocery Challenge Exit Survey

Check your emails! If you particiapted in the All You Grocery Challenge this year, you should be getting an email that looks like this. The Challenge officially ended yesterday, but the contest has just begun!

Here are the next steps:
  1. Fill out and submit the exit survey by Saturday, July 23rd.
  2. The top 10 finalists will be notified.
  3. The top 10 finalists submit their receipts for review.
  4. By August 5th, the winner and 2 runners up will be notified.
  5. The top 3 winners will be featured in the Novemeber issue of All You! 
Even though the challenge has officially ended I will continue to update this blog until the winners are announced. Last year 7000 people entered!

Personally, I think anyone who entered is really a winner for trying to save their family money and feed them healthier! Good Luck!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Day 28 and Today I Ate A Rainbow Giveaway!

Today marks the last day in the All You Grocery Challenge! I can't believe what a difference it has made in our family. Within the first couple days it became clear that my biggest hurdle would be to improve the eating habits of my almost 3 year old daughter, Salma. Her idea of a varied diet included different chicken nugget shapes and deciding between chocolate milk or chocolate ice cream. Then I had an inspirational moment  to make it a game and challenge her to eat the rainbow everyday! She loved it and took to the "game" right away. The theme of our family's challenge became "eat the rainbow everyday."
Imagine my surprise and excitement when I stumbled upon a whole kit to help parents teach their kids to eat the rainbow everyday! Kia Robertson, the brains behind this ingenious product, created the Today I Ate A Rainbow Chart to keep track of her daughter's eating habits and found it to be a fun and interactive tool to help her daughter make healthy, varied choices. 
Kia generously sent me a kit to review and it is exactly what my family needed to motivate them and visually track how we were doing in eating the rainbow. With three kids' eating habits to track, it wasn't easy to know if they were all eating the rainbow! Kia's kit makes it super easy! 

I love that each kit comes with enough magnets to track up to 4 children. Salma quickly picked the star shape, Eissa wanted the triangle and I used squares for our 10 month old. The chart can be put on the fridge and with a quick glance I was able to check if the kids' were eating the rainbow and what color they were lacking in; surprisingly we were lacking in yellow and that was fixed easily with some bananas. Although I found the kit late in the challenge, it's going to be key in helping us maintain our new eating habits.

Kia has generously offered to give one lucky reader their own Today I Ate A Rainbow Kit!

One lucky reader will win the following prize package worth $25!
  • 1 Today I Ate A Rainbow chart
  • 4 sets of magnets 
  • 4 achievement magnets
  • 2 fridge magnets
  • 1 color coded shopping list
  • 1 The Rainbow Bunch book
  • 1 Rainbow bookmark
This contest will end Friday, July 22, is open to residents of the US and CAN only. I'll announce the winner the next day.

Every participant can have up to 4 entries! For each method of entry make a new comment to this post letting me know you did.

Mandatory entry: Leave a comment below!
1 entry: Follow me @thefrugalette on twitter-leave your twitter name in comment
1 entry: Subscribe to my blog via Google Friend Connect
1 entry: Follow my blog via Networked Blogs (click follow button on sidebar)

Good Luck!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Day 27

The grocery challenge rules allow for $25 per family member, children under 1 are not included. We are a family of 5, but our youngest is under 1, so our weekly budget is $100 on all food, including eating out.

I'm calculating my budget one day early because tomorrow is the last day of the challenge and I have something very special planned..think giveaway..think theme giveaway. :)

Since we focused on homemade this week, shopping was spent at one store and we got way under budget! Yeah for stockpile cooking!
This is how we did this week:

-$38.49 (Shaws/Starmarket)
= $61.51 under budget!

This week we also recycled our soda cans that we started collecting at the beginning of the challenge, which gave us a small $1.25 credit. Some highlights from this week's shopping includes 4 boxes of granola bars, 4 cartons of refrigerated juice, 2 bottles of organic mango juice, organic pears, apples, bananas, milk, eggs and mushrooms for slow cooker beef stroganoff! I can't believe this is the last budget for the challenge, great way to end!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Day 26

Since I'm focusing on everything homemade this week, I'd like to give a special nod to my husband. While homemade dinner was already standard around here; eating lunch was not. Before this challenge began, my dear husband used to regularly stop for lunch at Dunkin Donuts (a Boston icon). His idea of eating the rainbow consisted of white cream cheese on a golden bagel and a black coffee on the side; more like shades of the rainbow. In the beginning I was regularly making lunch for him and I even dropped lunch off at his work a couple times, not an easy feat with 3 jumping beans, I mean kids in tow. I was really trying to get him on board with not eating out, not just money-wise but health-wise also!

We rarely have leftovers from dinner, so lunches are made fresh daily. This morning I witnessed a first, he was making a sandwich for his lunch. I didn't remind him, I didn't take anything out of the fridge, on his own people! He is the one that suggested I write this post also. After what happened this morning, he better believe I'm going to write about it!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Day 25

I used the last of our cherries to make this very easy Julia Child cherry clafouti! I had no idea what a clafouti was before this, but I had all the ingredients so this is what I made. It's a mix between a crepe and a pancake, and brought out the sweet and sour in the cherries. We couldn't wait to taste it and the part you don't see had a big piece taken out before I had a chance to take a picture of it; hence the odd angle.

Julia Child's Clafouti
1 1/4 cups milk
1/3 cup sugar
3 eggs
1 Tablespoon vanilla
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup flour
3 cups cherries, pitted
1/3 cup sugar

In a blender blend the milk, sugar, eggs, vanilla, salt and flour. Pour a 1/4 inch layer of the batter in a buttered 7 or 8 cup lightly buttered fireproof baking dish. Place in the oven until a film of batter sets in the pan. Remove from the heat and spread the cherries over the batter. Sprinkle on the 1/3 cup of sugar. Pour on the rest of the batter. Bake at 350 degrees for about for about 45 minutes to an hour. The clafouti is done when puffed and brown and and a knife plunged in the center comes out clean.

Julia Child famously said, "You don't have to cook fancy or complicated masterpieces-just good food from fresh ingredients." Agreed, Julia, agreed!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Day 24

Homemade is not just for big kids! With the whole family eating more organic and homemade, I didn't want our 10 month old feeling left out. Today I bought a brand new KidCo foodmill for $5! My neighbor got one as a gift and never got around to using it, I happily bought it from her. It's so simple and easy to put together. I already used it twice today, once with fresh cherries and then for lunch I mashed up rice and carrots.

It comes with a cool carrying case and I definitely plan to take it out with us. This is the first time I made my own baby food and I wish I had tried it before with my older kids. I always thought it would be so much work, but I just took whatever food we had in the kitchen and cranked it through the mill, voila, homemade baby food!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Day 23

I was going to wait and take a picture of the finished product; but seeing my son's enthusiasm for the process made me realize that's much more important. We are far from finishing, but homemade is not just about cooking in one's own kitchen, it's about being surrounded by your loved ones and trying your best to nourish them well, and love is part of that nourishment. Laughing, spilling, getting cherry juice everywhere, all of it is what makes something truly homemade.

Yesterday the kids helped make our first ever bread, and Salma, the girl who never eats bread, was asking for more! Sure, it tasted good, but I'm convinced it was the act of being a part of the process and seeing the family's excitement at tasting the bread that made her want to be part of the experience also. Homemade is not Home-easy..but it is Home-worth-it!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Day 22

This is the last and final week of the All You Grocery Challenge! While the past three weeks have focused on shopping, this week will be all about homemade. How creative can we get in the kitchen without going to the store? My bread maker came and I was excited to test it out. This is a picture of our first ever homemade bread, nothing fancy, but so wholesome. The smell of fresh bread baking in our kitchen was worth the price of the bread machine alone!

For me, the challenge began with a budget but is ending up in a lifestyle change. It was all about the money and not over spending, but here I am three weeks later baking bread and waiting on my canning kit to make cherry jam. I started this challenge resisting to change anything except our spending and the month became something much more profound. The first week opened my eyes to Salma's poor eating habits. The second week was an effort in shopping"outside the grocery store" and the third week brought organic produce into our home after years of buying only conventional. 

I talked to my mom the other day and she reminded me about an age old quote, "It's not about the destination, it's about the journey." That was pretty sneaky of All You to disguise my journey in the form of a contest. ;)

What changes have you seen the past month? Good luck in the last week!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Day 21

Every Saturday marks the end of a week in the four week challenge. It's a good day to look at how much was spent, where it was spent and what adjustments can be made for the coming week. The rules allow for $25 per family member, children under 1 are not included. We are a family of 5, but our youngest is under 1, so our weekly budget is $100 on all food, including eating out.

This week had such a different vibe than last week. My challenge this week was to find frugal ways to bring organic food back into our home after a three year break! Organic, like anything, is not all or nothing. If eating more organic is a priority for you and your family, there are ways to incorporate it into your diet without breaking the bank. We always hear buzz words like 'in-season' and 'bulk' and that is key to budgeting organic. Cherries are synonymous with summer, so stock up! When the price gets to $3/lb.,or less, buy in bulk and have recipes on hand to incorporate all that bounty or learn how to can fruit

I was so inspired this week to get my family eating more local and organic produce I bought a canning starter kit to make cherry jam and preserve that delicious summer fruit all winter. With conventional jam selling $.40/oz, I estimate my homemade version will cost roughly $.20/oz. and it's organic! Not only will it be a 50% savings, my kids will have so much fun making their own jam.

Here is how we did this week:
-$15.39 (Shaws/Star Market)
-$1.49 (Trader Joes)
-$6.50 (Cedar Market)
-$10.63 (Harvest Coop)
-$53.19 (Whole Foods)
=$12.80 under budget!

Some highlights from our shopping include over 5 lbs. of organic cherries, 16 lbs. of vidalia onions, 2 lbs. of dried chickpeas and tahini sauce (homemade hummus that will last 2 months!),a 4 lb. cabbage head, 8 boxes of honey nut cheerios and 2 gallons of all natural local farmed milk and no eating out at all. 

And how is my other challenge doing? This morning Salma ASKED for a banana for breakfast, not chocolate, not chicken nuggets....a banana. We are heading into the last week of the challenge, how are you all doing? Good luck in the final week!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Day 20

Today only Whole Foods is selling organic cherries for $2.99/lb.! Cherries are my favorite fruit and one of the most expensive. Whole Foods cherries are also well-known for being bigger and juicier than cherries you find elsewhere. Last week I bought conventional cherries for $5.99/lb., so this is a stock up price! I'm already getting my recipes together of what to make, and at the top of my list is this super easy skillet cherry jam. I just ordered a cherry pitter and am waiting on my bread maker; I see lots of homemade bread and cherry jam in our future! Best part is cherries are even a favorite of my super picky eater, Salma.

Besides being delicious, little cherries pack a nutritional punch, better known as a "super fruit." Compared to other fruits, cherries have the highest levels of disease-fighting antioxidants. They contain beta-carotene, 19 times more than strawberries or blueberries! They are also rich in Vitamin C, potassium, magnesium, iron, fiber and folate. I hope there's still some left when I get there tonight! Happy cherry-picking!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Day 19

 $9.39 total

Shaw's promotion this week is FREE milk when you buy four General Mills cereals. Honey Nut Cheerios, one of our favorites, is part of the promotion and there are lots of great internet coupons available. After coupons, I paid $5.80 and got back a FREE milk Catalina worth up to $4.50. This week since I'm focusing on organic I was shocked to see a 1/2 gallon of organic milk for $4.79! The kids alone go through almost 2 gallons a week. It would cost us more than $16 a week if we bought organic milk, that's quite a spike in our budget. Since the kids drink a lot of it though, it is important to me that I try to give them as natural as possible with the least amount of  artificial ingredients. Instead, I chose Garelick Farms. The milk comes from local farms here in New England and they pledge to never use artificial growth hormones on their cows. I felt a lot better about that choice, and it's usually $4.19/gallon, this week on sale for $3.79.While not USDA organic, it is all natural, so that is definitely a great step in the right direction!

This week has been a real eye-opener. No one will argue that conventional is better than organic, it's simply cost that prevents us from purchasing one over the other. The key to staying on budget is to prioritize what organic products are important for you and your family. For my family, it's first what the kids eat raw or as natural as possible without a lot of cooking involved and that means: fruits, salad and milk. Their systems are young and developing and if I can buy these items organic or all natural it will hopefully make a difference in their health long term. Have you changed any of your shopping habits recently?

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Day 18

$10.63 total

My first organic purchase in over 3 years! It's hard to believe I haven't purchased any organic produce in so long. When we made the decision to tackle our debt and reduce our grocery bill I thought that would be the end of organic food forever. I went to HarvestCoop yesterday. I was surprised to find organic romaine lettuce for $2.29 and the farmer's market sells it for $2.50! I had to resist buying everything. It all looked so delicious and knowing that the store is owned and operated by locals in our community felt good.

I bought organic grapes and organic pears. The grapes were $3.99/lb., conventional grapes are selling for $2.99/lb, so I thought that was a good price. The pears were selling for $2.49/lb. Although my dollar doesn't get as much quantity, I feel better about buying small quantities of organic rather than large amounts of conventional. I'm focusing on prioritizing what I buy. Since we usually eat raw fruit, I will continue to try and buy organic and buy conventional for foods that have a thick skin to remove or that will be used in cooking. Organic doesn't have to be all or nothing, progress not perfection!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Day 17


There are lots of alternative ways to get discounts on groceries. A site I like which often posts deals for real consumers is Eversave. I had never heard of them until I won a $100 credit for their site. I mainly use my credit on offers that give discounts for food.

Last week they had a save, as they refer to it, for $10 for $20 worth of products at McKinnons. McKinnon's is a small meat and deli shop here in Cambridge. If you live in Cambridge, McKinnon's is famous! We have shopped there previously and knew their prices were already cheap. For example, a couple weeks ago I got 1.5/lb of steak for $4! They cut and butcher all their meat in house, which allows them to cut out the middle man and thereby passing the savings onto their customers. So, when eversave put a deal for them I knew I had to jump on it. I used $40 of my credit to buy 4 saves, that equals to $80 worth of meat..FREE! If you haven't checked out eversave, I highly recommend it. You might have to wade through a lot of other deals you don't like, but when one comes up that you do like, it will be well worth it. What are some alternative ways you've found for buying groceries?

Monday, July 4, 2011

Day 16

$7.89 total

We came back from our staycation at the beach feeling refreshed and renewed! We couldn't wait to find frugal deals at Whole Foods! Until tomorrow conventional Vidalia onions are on sale for $.49/lb. As you can tell from the picture, we stocked up! We bought about 16lbs. for just under $8. This amount will last us about 6 months. Since we only use this type of onion for cooking, we chop and freeze them.

I am prioritizing my organic budget, which means I am carefully deciding where my precious organic dollars will go and I decided onions would not be it. Since we peel off a good layer of skin and use them only in cooking I thought it would be best to take advantage of the low price and save my organic budget for fruits and vegetables that we eat raw. Do you shop organic?

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Day 15

I'm finding myself more drawn to shopping organic for fruits and vegetables. Three years ago, before we decided to tackle our debt, we used to buy organic regularly. We were even signed up with a delivery service that brought fresh, cream-filled raw milk, organic veggies/fruits and even homemade jam to our front door, needless to say it got very expensive! When the reality of our finances kicked in, organics were kicked out unfortunately.

Now that we are on stronger financial footing, and have learned to shop frugally for almost everything, it's time to shop frugal for organic foods! My challenge this week will be to shop smart at our local farmer's markets. has a great article on their site, "10 Secrets to Affordable Organic Food," it really got me thinking how to afford organic fruits and vegetables. Some of the tips I'm planning to try are to shop at the end of the sale when they are more willing to offer a better deal and to prioritize my organic purchases. I will try to buy organic fruits I know the kids will eat, like peaches and strawberries and get conventional bananas, as its skin protects the fruit inside anyways. What a great tip!

Here in Cambridge we also have a food co-op called Harvest, which I will be adding to my list of places to check out. So, looks like I'm going frugal organic shopping! How about you, what are your goals for the week?

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Day 14

Every Saturday marks the end of a week in the four week challenge. It's a good day to look at how much was spent, where it was spent and what adjustments can be made for the coming week. The rules allow for $25 per family member, children under 1 are not included. We are a family of 5, but our youngest is under 1, so our weekly budget is $100 on all food, including eating out.
This week was fun as we challenged ourselves to get out of our comfort zone and shop for groceries in non-grocery stores. We found great deals at Rite Aid, and even Kmart. While I still enjoy shopping the traditional grocery stores, it's good to know there are alternatives and great deals to be had at drugstores and online.
We were going out of town for the July 4th weekend, so my grocery consisted of a lot of snacks and fruit from Whole Foods.
-$.69 (Rite Aid)
-$6.34 (Shaw's/Star Market)
-$52.53 (
-$34.67 (Whole Foods)
=$5.77 under budget!
Even though I had a lower budget last week, I'm much happier with our budget this week because it includes a lot of organic fresh fruit and food for our weekend getaway. I only shop Whole Foods for their fruits and vegetables. If you stick to their produce it's not much more than the regular grocery store. Salma ate scallops for the first time yesterday and didn't spit them out! She said it tastes like chicken..mmm...OK! Today marks the halfway point in the challenge, how are you doing? Good luck in week 3!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Day 13

$0 Total

Sears had a Father's Day promotion this year for buy $50 on any men's clothing and get a $25 gift card to use later. I did this promotion and it worked out well for the challenge this week, who knew?! At the time there was also a Shaw's promotion; buy $100 worth of any gift cards and get a $20 Catalina to use on your next order. I bought a $50 Sears card and a $50 gas card at the time. I used the Sears gift card to buy essentials like socks and underwear and got back a $25 gift card. Since Kmart is part of the Sears company I was able to use the gift card there today.

Kmart has a limited grocery section but I was able to buy snack items to use this weekend as we are going out of town for Fourth of July. This has been my favorite non-grocery store purchase this week since it crossed so many different promotions! From Shaw's to Sears to Kmart and now off to the beach with our FREE food!