Frugal Living - Challenge 2021 Daily Frugal challenge

Gardencook

Well-Known Member
Trader Group
Has anyone else run into wildly fluctuating fresh garlic prices the past several weeks? Can't help but mention it, since I don't think I've ever seen anything quite like it in my lifetime.

We've got two different Kroger affiliates here and need both of them, because each stocks items the other doesn't carry.

I like their garlic, because it is American grown, something that is easy to tell without asking. If garlic has any roots left on the bottom it is grown here. The USDA doesn't want pathogens creeping in, so anything that might contain dirt is cut off with a clean slice on imported garlic.

California used to supply most of the world's garlic, but the past few decades imported Chinese garlic has been putting the California growers out of business. I try to buy domestic if possible. They're having enough trouble with the weather down there, I don't want to see the nation unable to produce enough garlic to meet our needs.

Our stores do sell slightly larger heads of loose garlic. They 've been 50 cents each for years now. The smaller store is still holding to that price, but the larger store has them "on sale" for 67 cents each this week, so the price has gone up considerably there with the new year.

Lately I've been buying sleeves with five smaller heads of house brand garlic -- when I can find it. If you haven't noticed, we use a LOT of garlic and onions in this house. They go in just about anything we cook.

Our larger store was selling the sleeves for $1.99 and the smaller store wanted about $1.79 for a while. Then it went on sale for $1.49 at the smaller store so we bought quite a bit there when the price was right.

We used up most of that and when I checked prices, I noticed both stores had the sleeves on sale for $1.29 and the web site claimed the "regular price" at both stores was $1.49 -- so I was pleasantly surprised to see the price had gone down on something for a change.

We don't want to lose either store, so we bought about three sleeves at the smaller store and planned to buy three more at the larger one. However, as is often the case, the larger store was out AGAIN and I regretted not getting more at the smaller store.

I checked the garlic in the sleeves and they seemed solid. Since garlic is usually harvested in the autumn, I could only assume it wasn't last year's garlic they were trying to clear out and must have been harvested this fall.

Then a couple days later, they got a big shipment in at the larger store and it was still on sale, so I bought some while they had it.

That store considers itself a bit more "elite" than the smaller one, so the fact that they are out so often left me assuming it just didn't want to stock the house brand. We can get quite a few house brands at the smaller store that they never bother to carry at the larger one.

When we went back a couple days that huge shipment was nearly gone again and I realized they must honestly be out of stock when I can't find it.

A few days ago, I checked prices on the web sites and while the smaller store had kept the $1.49 price after the sale, the larger store had hiked its price to $2.99! OUCH! As of this morning, it had brought the price down to $2.29, but that is still a pretty big price hike from the $1.49 the computer claimed was "regular" price a little more than a week ago.

During "bad times" like we've got now, I've seen plenty of prices go up and during "good times" I've even seen prices go down on some things. However, I don't ever remember garlic jumping up and down in price so rapidly like a yo-yo. Just wondering if anyone else has noticed something similar.

Not quite the same topic, but after three stores were unable to supply rotisserie chicken early last week, by Friday, two of them were selling them again, but the small store still had an empty cart with no chickens in sight.
 
Last edited:

KmmCo

Well-Known Member
Trader Group
Revisited car rentals this morning. I got a different reservation for $21 less at Dollar, so I am going with that and cancelling the other one. It is a "supplier choice" car rather than economy car, so it could be anything. For less money, I really don't care as long as it has 4 wheels and an engine.:) I think the company is better too. Fox kind of has mixed reviews on them.

Oh, I got a Jury summons too during the week before I go. I call to see if I report first. If I have to go in, I will have to show them the travel reservations to make sure that I don't get stuck on a long trial. I can't cancel the timeshare, plus I already invited a friend to come that is game for the trip. I have to hash out details with her in a day or two.....
 

Gardencook

Well-Known Member
Trader Group
We hit several stores to make for an exhausting day. The main roads weren't too bad after last night's thick snow dump. After several days of single digit temperatures, it warmed up enough to snow profusely. :rolleyes:

Did end up finding some bakery markdowns at the first store and got 4x points on them. We also used a digital coupon with the yogurt sale, but decided against a roast, since they'll be on sale this week for the same price, but I can get a 10 percent discount if we want to go on Thursday.

Our regular store provided a huge haul of markdown produce. We got everything from grapefruit (including one pomelo), tangerines, lemons, tomatoes, red pears, a head of cauliflower, organic fresh carrots (not the old bagged ones), daikon radish, sweet bell peppers, mini sweet peppers and a variety of hot peppers -- all for one dollar a bag. Picked up a bag of coleslaw mix on markdown, as well.

It was a senior discount day on house brands, but there wasn't much that we needed this week so we only got a discount on a few items, as well as picking up a deal on razor blades with a coupon on the discount table.

The next store didn't have a lot, but we did pick up some apple and peanut butter snacks, baby cauliflower and some vegan Bolognese sauce -- all on markdown. Had a problem getting our bag points again this week, however.

The new discount store didn't have what we went in for, but did yield a great deal on extra virgin olive oil.

The final couple stores are the really old discount stores that have been around for decades -- both on the same property. We had to go to the original store to check and see if we'd won anything in the drawing last week. Not surprisingly, we didn't win. I didn't even realize there was a drawing until the last day for entry. ;)

We did find some vitamins while we were there.

The second location next door is where we finally located some discounted black pepper. I hadn't realized how much the price of that stuff had skyrocketed. We really like the coarse grind stuff instead of powdered, but I've noticed they haven't had it in discount stores like Dollar Tree or Big Lots for quite a while. When I checked the regular grocery stores the "best deal" was nearly $11 for a six-ounce bottle. The small bottles were virtually non-existent.

The last discount store provided five bottles of McCormick whole peppercorn grinders for $1.29 each. They've only got one ounce in each bottle, but still a lot cheaper than the alternative house brand and the McCormick bottles retail for $3.49 in a regular store. There was a bottle of the same stuff in our rental house last autumn and I really enjoyed it. The grinder worked better than I expected.

We got a few other things on that stop, as well. We did get some 100 percent cranberry juice for 49 cents. We haven't been to that store for quite awhile now and he had really hiked the price of many items I would have considered at a lower price.

It was a 50 percent discount day at Goodwill, but I forgot to print the coupon and was too tired to go anyway. By the time we got home, booted up the computer to print the coupon and made our way back down on snowy roads, it wasn't worth it. Besides that, the frigid cold was returning and the slush was going to turn to ice shortly.
 
Last edited:

KmmCo

Well-Known Member
Trader Group
My friend is wanting to do Hollywood Studios on the day she is going to Disney with me. I am going to do Epcot by myself on another day since she is only staying half the week. We can enjoy the resort activities the rest of the time she is there.

*Lunch was the taco meat (soft tacos) with some Knorr Spanish rice and some beans that I got out of the freezer The beans were from the big pot that I made before going to AZ. There is a bunch of rice, beans, and taco meat left. I thought both the rice and beans were a little bland, so I may have to dig around for some peppers or hot sauce to jazz them up the next time I eat them.

*I ate lunch late, so instead of dinner I am just snacking on microwave popcorn. I had brownies and some blackberries earlier today for snacks too.

*Today had been a pretty boring hang around the house day. I had to do two loads of laundry and a load of dishes. Tomorrow's project is to clean up the corner downstairs where my son had his desk. Now that he moved out, I am taking over the area as my art/craft spot for a while. It was really dirty under his desk and I am not sure just a vaccum is enough - I may need to shampoo the carpet.

I was looking over some of my finances too. My Arizona stuff is all paid off other than the gas that I put in the van getting home (and the two meals that I ate on the way). I need to have a few no spend days here for a while so that I can enjoy my Disney trip. The only real plan I had this month is an RV show in a couple of weekends and my dentist cleaning. It should be pretty easy to keep my spending down. I will need to gas up a couple of times if I go up skiing. I only have half a tank left from the trip home. I never head to the mountains without a full tank, just to be on the safe side.
 

KmmCo

Well-Known Member
Trader Group
Today for Breakfast: I made a yogurt and granola bowl and used up the last of the blackberries on top.

Lunch is in the oven: I am baking a spaghetti squash from the garden. I have some leftover spaghetti sauce in the jar that I will top it with for lunch.

Dinner will be burritos or nachos from the leftover taco stuff.

*I am baking some potatoes at the same time the spaghetti squash is cooking. They were in my van that night it got so cold and are a bit soft but I thought that if I go ahead and bake them then I can use them for something this week....

Pantry challenge is good as I am getting creative to clean stuff out that really needs to go away.....

I did a load of dishes as soon a DH left for work this morning.. My cooler is sitting in the bathtub soaking with dishsoap.

I also got that corner cleaned up in the basement and put up my folding table. I have a shelf that I am going to clean off and move there to hold my paper craft and painting stuff. I need to find a chair around here that will work for the space - there is an extra folding chair in the office here or I might have something else that will work. There are a few nails still in the wall and I can hang up a few of the paintings that I did last winter. My son left a lot of stuff in his bedroom and I need to get him over to go through it later this winter and see what he wants to get rid of.....

I actually feel like I have some energy now to tackle some of these house organization projects. It has been 6 months since I retired from my stressful job before I really feel rested and relaxed. The housesit really helped as I only played with the dogs and watched a lot of TV for a week.

Amazon job really helped to get a few odd and end items paid that are a huge relief off my budget too. I am even $27 ahead on my water bill, so I won't have much to pay on it this month. My pension check covered all the spending that I did the last couple of days for the Disney trip, Without much spending this month I should be able to actually save some of my 401K withdrawal to go into my travel funds for the future. (Taking a weeks vacation with DH in late Sept. - flying to St Pete's Beach in FL.) Then in October I may do a short road trip - Missouri maybe - before going back to work Amazon in November.)

I do have a big list to do before going to Sitka AK for my summer job, but I feel like I have plenty of time to do it all. If I tackle one or two small projects everyday, then it will all add up over the next 4 months.

Anyway, lunch is ready so I gotta run.
 
Last edited:

KmmCo

Well-Known Member
Trader Group
*first trip to grocery this month. I got some maltomeal cereals for .97 with digital coupon, so I got my limit 5 at Kroger. I picked up celery hearts marked down for $1.29. a couple of loose carrots. and a half gallon of milk (digital coupon made it .87). I also found a smoky breakfast sausage pkg for $1.50 that was originally $9.49. The sausage was only a little over a pound, so I see why they didn't sell at full price. A bag of tortilla chips at $2.29 rounded out the purchases. NO out of pocket because I used my Amex gift card at the store!

*breakfast - granola bar and a Halo (the last one)

*more mexican food for lunch. DH had a little enchilada sauce left in the fridge so I used that to flavor it a bit. I was able to transfer the refried beans to a smaller container. Got rid of one package of tortillas today, but there are 2 opened ones and a sealed one still in the fridge. I think DH bought a fresh 2 pack at Costco and the other opened one is what I brought home from my trip.

The Knorr rice it not very good comparted to the Mahatma one that I usually buy, I am eating it anyway, just to get rid of it. Glad I only got one package of it.

Dinner is still to be determined. Was leaning toward some kind of casserole with the spaghetti leftovers, but I also have lunchmeat to finish up and my just do a sandwich instead. We will Se what I feel like later.

Laundry going on again. Towels in the wash and sheets are next. *I am washing a couple of my shopping bags that got grungy in the van. Not sure how well they will wash but it was worth a try before I just tossed them in the trash... We have so many reusable bags and I try to keep big stashed of them in the vehicles, but there are a lot still in the house too.,, Our city now charges .10 for bags at the store, so I have been trying to get better at remembering to take the bags in.

*I had $29.45 left over from December that I was able to transfer to my travel funds. I have a goal of saving around $8000 to $ 10000 by the time DH retires to take a nice trip with him to Europe. My summer job and doing Amazon next Christmas should go a long ways toward that goal....
 

KmmCo

Well-Known Member
Trader Group
Friday: Cereal for breakfast, Nachos for lunch (taco meat is now gone), spaghetti for dinner.

Today DH filled a crockpot with some steak cubed up and a Street Taco seasoning mix. That is dinner and also his work lunches for the next week. I will pull out the Spanish rice to go with dinner.

Lunch is just help yourself to whatever is in the fridge.... I think I will finish off the last of the spaghetti just to get rid of it.
 

KmmCo

Well-Known Member
Trader Group
I am tired of mexican food, so for lunch I pulled some chicken nuggets out of the freezer. I am cooking just enough for lunch along with some homemade sweet potato fries. The chicken nuggets came from a big bag that I had bought on sale for $2.39 quite a while back.

I still have a few odds and ends in the fridge that I will try to use up for dinner tonight. I will let you know what I do later on. for dinner.
 

KmmCo

Well-Known Member
Trader Group
Dinner last night ended up being a ham and potato hash. I threw in corn, onion and topped it with some melted cheddar cheese slices that needed used up. I seasoned it with garlic sauce and a random seasoning blend in the spice cabinet called "trail dust" that was probably meant for grilling meat, We end up with so many spice mixes like that and I need to start using them up. Not bad for a random leftovers meal.

*yesterday I had to run to walmart for a nonfood item and I picked up a sliced deli cheese package for $1.89. That is my first grocery out of pocket for the month.... That is the only think that I will probably need before the end of the month is more cheese as we eat a lot of it around here.

Todays meals: B; cereal L: Marie Callender frozen dinner (a chicken pesto pasta) D: Beef soup - I have 1/2 of a vegetable beef Bear Creek mix and am going to throw in a little leftover beef from the crockpot street taco into it. Not even worried about the spices on the beef as it will give the soup a little flavor,

* I finally got to my budgeting app for January and started to rearrange it. My gasoline and grocery budget are cut a bunch and that is rolled into travel to pay for the items I have on my Disney trip ( tickets $ 246, time share exchange $169, and car rental $180). I am saving my restaurant budget for Hollywood studios on 1/31. I might buy my friend lunch that day too.

*I got a random $3 in Amazon pay last Friday that they calculated I was due from Dec. My end of season bonus is going to net about $80 and will come on either the 14th or 22nd according to the notice that I got. I am not sure why they didn't just wait to pay me the $3 with that check, but I guess it doesn't cost them much to do direct deposit anyway....
 
Last edited:

KmmCo

Well-Known Member
Trader Group
Finally got around to entering the huge pile of receipts from November and December. The only budget fail was gasoline for November. The entire trip to Phoenix was on that months budget. On the way back, I did better because the last bit of gas was on January 1st so it did not all fall into the same month.....

I did better than I thought on groceries and eating out for both months. That makes up some of the difference for being over budget on gasoline.

I can't really complain because I made plenty of money at the job. I didn't spend too much on gift items, entertainment, or other misc stuff.

By eating down the excess food this month, I should be able to get all the canned goods out of the van and start fresh next fall when I am back on my next planned road trip. Over the summer I will have no gas expenses in AK - just food and the $25/day for housing expense. I should be able to save a lot of what I make there for my travel fund....
 

KmmCo

Well-Known Member
Trader Group
*yesterday at lunch, I had one last crack at the spanish rice before freezing the rest. I made a rice bowl meal the remaining beans and some beef. Topped it with some sour cream and the last of the open can of olives. Dumping some enchilada sauce on the rice helped the flavor.

*My son came over for dinner and we had chicken nuggets, I cut up carrot and celery sticks and opened a can of pears. We finished off the brownies too.

I am going to bake another dessert/snack today of some sort - maybe some muffins.

Finally going to go get my booster Covid shot today. I am saving my soup to eat after that, just in case I don't feel good.
I think lunch will be a gathering of some odd and end leftovers out of the fridge. There are a few things starting to accumulate in there again....

Pantry challenge going well. The local Krogers are on strike as of today. Gives me a good excuse to stay out of the store for a while.... Not sure how effective a strike is anymore, but I won't shop there while it is going on. Most of my groceries come from Walmart or Costco anyway. I only run into Kroger for sales ad items and to check their clearance racks.
 

KmmCo

Well-Known Member
Trader Group
I made cranberry orange muffins and am having that for todays breakfast. I also made my last package of cheddar bay biscuits to have with my soup. I still have a half dozen left today from those.

Dh and I are going to an RV show this afternoon for fun. It costs $12 to go and $6 for public transit to get there and back, so $36 total for the show.
 

KmmCo

Well-Known Member
Trader Group
We decided not to go to the RV show yesterday and are going today instead. My arm still hurt and I had a headache so I took a nap instead.

* Yesterday: Lunch was grilled bacon and cheese sandwiches. Dinner was homemade pizza.

I looked in the pantry today and noted that I have have 7 muffin mixes and about 8 or 9 cake mixes To use up. I also have several corn muffin mixes as well. I think I will be doing some baking for a couple of months. I am going to try and keep fewer mixes in the future. Now that I am retired, I can make more stuff from scratch instead of relying on mixes.

I am definitely going to have to stock up canned goods though in about March. Veggies are slim and so are canned beans. I still have 4 lbs of dried beans though to go thru first. The only thig that is abundant is tomato products, so I may be making my own spaghetti sauce too. I have the last jar of regular spaghetti sauce opened in the fridge, but there is plenty of alfredo. I have tons of pasta in the pantry too.
 
Last edited:

Cathy

Happy Birthday Cathy!!
I did a big shop this last week, knowing that the snow was coming: got a ham hock for bean soup, chicken for chicken and noodles, beef stew for a beef/rice dish I like and various ingredients for tuna casserole, salisbury steak and banana bread. It feels good to be all stocked up when I sit in my recliner and watch the snow coming down.
 
Top