Showing posts with label saving money. Show all posts
Showing posts with label saving money. Show all posts

Monday, September 14, 2015

Haute Hippie Couture


I walked into a woman's boutique shop in Santa Cruz to check out a very cute East-Indian style top that I saw in its window. It was similar to ones I wore when I was a very young thing. I thought if the cost was right it was going home with me. I was even willing to pay $45 for it, although I thought it was worth $20 bucks.

I have no sense of how much clothing are worth these days. Twenty bucks was how much I paid for eccentric stuff, which the the parents called hippie clothes, at import shops when I was a very young thing.

The East-Indian tops of yore were made of a thin cotton. This modern version was made of a smooth, rich-feeling fabric that turned out to be rayon. Not being silk, I figured the top would be very affordable.

Then I finally found the price tag.

One hundred ninety-eight dollars!

Shall I say that again: $198.00!!

Seriously.

When I got home, I looked up the designer online. Maybe I'd find the top for cheaper.

Ha!

$218.00!!!

I saw several other tops on the designer's website that were my type of clothing. Free-flowing, patchwork tunics that started at $168.00. Wowza!

It's time to sew me some crazy tops.

Monday, May 12, 2014

A Bargain Jar of Pickles


$3.99 for a gallon jar of kosher whole dill pickles. About 70 of them. Three to four-inches long and rather thick, too. As far as I'm concerned, the $3.99 gallon jar of pickles is the best deal at Costco.Yes, indeed.

A medium-size jar of kosher pickles at the supermarkets costs more than that. And, when I think how much a single Kosher pickle of this kind costs at a deli—oh, my!

The Husband and I bought our second gigantic jar of pickles last week. We went through the first jar in a little over two months. Uh-huh, we like our pickles. We don't eat a pickle every day nor do we each eat a pickle. Even though pickles contribute to our probiotic consumption, we gotta be moderate about it. We also do not want to get tired of these yummy pickles that take up a lot of space on the top shelf of the refrigerator.

The Mama doesn't care for pickles. Too sour. But, she does eye the jar, no doubt thinking about what could be stored in it. I asked her if she would like the first jar. Magnanimously, she answered, "Keep the jar." Cool! She can have this second jar. I still have no idea what to use the empty jar for. So many possibilities. One of which is a terrarium. Maybe an aquarium for goldfish. Molly the Cat wouldn't be able to reach in there.

Open-Faced Tuna Fish Sandwich

Have you tried deep-fried pickles yet? Me, either. But, what I shall try making one day are baked cheesy pickle balls. It's the same, simple concept as cheesy olive balls. Make a dough out of flour, cheese, and butter; next wrap pieces of the dough around small chucks of pickle; then bake at 400 degrees for  about 20 minutes.

The other day, I made open-faced tuna fish sandwiches that the Husband said was "Tasty!" and that the Mama ate all up. Molly took a nibble and smacked her lips, which I've chosen to interpret as a paws up.

It's a very simple recipe. Mix together some or all of these ingredients in a bowl (Add other ingredients that you like, too):
1 can of tuna
Diced pickle
Diced avocado
Diced olives
Diced red pepper
Minced green onion
1 heaping Tablespoon of mayonnaise
1 heaping Tablespoon of pesto (I used some from the jar we bought at Costco)
Black pepper to taste

Cut a sandwich roll in half, lengthwise. Hollow out each half, and then fill with the concoction.

As Julia Child used to say, "Bon App├ętit!"


Thursday, August 2, 2012

What If We Had to Live on Food Stamps?

Last week I decided to experiment with our food budget. Not that I—or we—keep one. Formally, that is. I just figured that since we are being conservative about the flow of money out of our pockets these days,  why not pretend how it would be if we had to suddenly depend on food stamps. This is be a good time to try it, too, since our staples in both the pantry and freezer are running low.

Did you know that the monthly average benefit for a household in California is $200? Are you shocked too?

By the way, it isn't easy to qualify for food stamps. Plus, you need to have the proper documents to prove that you are eligible. And, anyone who receives food stamps, only gets them for a limited time and must meet specific conditions during that period. That said, I really don't understand why some people go insanely rabid about others who finally give in and jump through hoops with hopes of qualifying for some financial help to keep from starving. Seriously.

You can only use food stamps to purchase food and vegetable seeds and plants that will be grown for food. You cannot use food stamps to purchase liquor, tobacco, non-food items (such as toothpaste), or pet food. You also can't use them to purchase any prepared food that must be heated at the grocery store or is meant to be eaten in the grocery store.

Did you know it was only in recent years that some farmers markets started accepting food stamps? I think that is a very big deal.

The only ground rule that I've established for is that we continue as much as possible to purchase local organic produce, local eggs, wild-caught fish, and organic poultry and beef.  I plan on doing this experiment for one month, as of July 27. Fortunately, the husband is up for the experiment. He thinks that if we were to do this for real, the foods we buy would be different. I don't know. We'll see.

After nearly a week into this experiment, our food budget is already down to $73.95. I know. My head is spinning, too. August is a very long month.

To be continued. . . .

© 2012 Su-sieee! Mac. All rights reserved.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Rambling about my Garage Sale Ramble


I got up early (for me) and headed out to a garage sale this morning. Excuse me, an estate sale. The belongings were those of the widow of the late publisher of our local newspaper, who gave me my first paying job as a writer when I was in high school a long time ago. I was hoping that there might be stuff from the publishing world for sale. But, that was not my intent for checking out the sale.

I never met the missus of my first publishing boss. I did get to know a bit about her this morning as I rummaged around her belongings. She liked Christmas. She enjoyed traveling and playing bridge. She was into doll making and crafts. And, for a costume party, I'm guessing she was Little Bo Peep or some kind of doll.

Because the husband and I are supposed to be downsizing our stuff, I managed to stay focused on my mission. Kinda. I have been seeking cups and saucers to make more teacup bird feeders. I found two perfect sets. Right after I paid for them, I broke one. Ka-pow! I've saved the pieces 'cause I may be able to make something with the fragments. Uh-huh.

At the estate sale, I also bought a hand-crank wooden, iron coffee grinder. It was exactly the thing the husband and I had been talking about getting for those days when the power goes off. Two bucks versus $80 for a brand-new one is a bargain. The husband couldn't shake his head at me for that.

I also got a couple of baskets (which I know the Mama will hog after commenting, "More baskets!"), a springform cake pan, a book about how the California mining towns got their names, and a box of miniature wooden toy soldiers and wheels. Don't ask me what I'm going to do with the last item. The husband didn't, thank goodness. But, painting the toy soldiers in rainbow colors came to my mind when I first saw them.

After leaving the estate sale, I was in the mood for more perusing of other peoples' stuff. Fortunately, there were a few yard sales going on around town and out in the country. I went home first for breakfast. Just in time, too. The husband was making coffee.

An hour later, I headed out again. I had a mission, remember, to find teacups and saucers. I did come home with two cups and one saucer. Also in my booty was a hat box (I've always wanted one) and two ceramic candle holders and a vase, which are in the photo way above. You can see why I couldn't resist those items. At the last yard sale, the owner had a tree full of oranges. I agreed to go back tomorrow with a couple of sacks of lemons in exchange for two bags full of her oranges. What a bargain, don't you think?

Such a great day of rambling. And, it's far from being over.

I'm partying about at Java's Follow Friday 40 and Over Blog Hop. Come and join me, by clicking here.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Sunday Food Shopping

Many people visit Monterey to check out the Monterey Aquarium, eat at Fisherman's Wharf, or walk along the beach. All things the husband and I like to do. But, yesterday, we headed over to do some food shopping for organic products because the selection is just limited in our town. I can only hope that one day that may change.

We first stopped at the farmers' market in Marina and bought fresh veggies to last us a couple of weeks. Baby bok choy, Chinese mustard, regular mustard, radishes, chard,  broccoli, avocado, lettuce, garlic greens, yellow onions, green onions, and baby potatoes. Also got ourselves some sweet strawberries and clementines as well as a 10-pound bag of tasty oranges. Ok. We stopped at the kettle corn booth and bought us a bag.

The cost was a bit more than buying at the local Pinnacle Organic Produce Farm stand in San Juan Valley on Saturday morning. But, then, that's what we get for forgetting to go. Still, it was worth driving over yesterday. The weather was just right in Monterey. No sweaters needed at all. And, Monterey Bay was soooo blue.

After some debate, we decided to drive over to the Whole Foods Market further down the road to buy staples we can't get in town, such as brown rice flour, or actually cost less there, such as olive oil. We we got a few fun items, too—habanero pepper Monterey Cheese, do-it-yourself grounded peanut butter, and a jar of organic virgin coconut oil.  Lots of creative cooking to come in this household.


Our best buy of the day was 12 artichokes for $1. Yep, you read right. After seeing fields of artichokes, we had to drop by the Pezzini Farms Stand just outside of Castroville. They probably were on sale because they were on the small to medium size and not 100% blemish free. Didn't matter. The husband, the mama, and I had one each for dinner. Definitely  tasty-licious.  Now to find some artichoke recipes. Any suggestions?

If you're interested in any of the places where we shopped, here are some links for you:
    Marina Farmers Market
    Pinnacle Organic Produce Farm
    Whole Foods Market, Monterey
    Pezzini Farms

Friday, January 29, 2010

Saving Cents

This morning's frenzy was all about finding e-coupons for our weekly grocery outing. As far as I'm concerned 25 cents off something is 25 cents saved. Right?

Until recently, I had been an inconsistent coupon user. Most times, I tore them out of newspapers and magazines and then forgot to bring them along or forgot what pile of papers they're under. Now I put coupons in a basket and check it before heading off to the store. Most times. Every so often the husband asks if I have a coupon for such-and-such product and I happily seek out the basket. I call that progress.

Today, I decided to go online and find e-coupons for the products we buy on a regular basis. (Something I should've thought of much earlier.) I thought it would be easy to do. Ha, ha. What was I thinking? I was very specific in my keyword searches: entering "coupon" plus the brand of the product, such as coupons Special K.  I was surprised that not all company web sites blatantly offer e-coupons. That ought to be a no-brainer. I was also amazed that many e-coupon web sites offer coupons for a fee. There also some web sites that send coupons instead of allowing subscribers to print them instantly.

I didn't feel like reading the small print at e-coupon web sites or downloading installers to print e-coupons, so I was unable to get the coupons that I wanted. That's what comes from being paranoid. I did register or sign up for a newsletter at a few company web sites.  I'm happy to report that I got one-dollar off coupons from Seventh Generation and the 50-cent off coupons from Brown Cow. Signing up for promotional offers at company web sites may be the way for me to go. Still, I won't give up on finding an e-coupon web site that has me jumping only through a few hoops to save money. Any suggestions?