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foray into Costco

 I found that if I buy non-organic spinach at Cotsco, I can get 2lbs for under $4.  I will be eating a heck of a lot of spinach this week.  I posted a recipe for a garbanzo bean/spinach dish here.  I got the ingredients at costco.  I know I can make garbanzo beans from scratch rather cheaply, but given my lack of time in the next two weeks, I bought a case of beans from costco for under $6.

A good snack that hubby and I regularly purchase from costco are the red baby bell cheeses.  You can get a bag of 20+ for about $10, which is a very good price considering the small bags at the supermarket are generally around $6.  No more waiting for them to go on sale in order to stockpile.

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healthier lunch while on the go

 If you're like me, you may be traveling 45 minutes to work, or even taking the caltrain or bart into a major city into work.  

As part of my attempt to save money and eat healthier, I wanted a lunch that traveled well, could be stuck in my bag, and could be thrown together in the morning before I left the house.  Compact was important because while you can get a tiffin or insulated lunch bag, I didn't want to be one of those people on the train loaded down with bags - I wanted to keep my stuff limited to a small purse and a backpack.  Furthermore, I like eating hot lunches and my office has a fridge and microwave in the breakroom (tiffins don't microwave for the most part).

I started taking leftovers to work in a 1 quart glass container with a lid (we have a fridge at work), however, I wanted more to add more veggies (rather than just fill up the container with rice and chicken, or pasta).  This last week I bought a big 1 pound box of spinach from costco.  I found that by squishing the raw spinach and packing the bottom of the container full of it until there was 1/3 to 1/4 of the container left (or even less) I've been able to add more servings of leafy greens into my diet.  

When I heat of the food in the microwave, it cooks the spinach a bit so the volume goes down, and you can mix the spinach with the pasta, or whatever is in the bowl, so the spinach doesn't taste so bland.

The key to the one quart container has been to think bento like (without the cutsie prep that goes into bentos).  On days that there are no leftovers, I've cut a sandwich into quarters and added chips or (my preference) pretzel sticks into the bowl along with cookies.

I'm hoping that adding more leafy greens into my diet with increase my energy level.

I experimented this week with buying  a lb of salad greens and spinach.  I found the spinach easier to incorporate into lunch, the salad greens were harder, and my dislike of bitter flavor of the salad greens made me less inclined to add an extra bowl of salad to my lunch prep in the morning.
Hubby likes the Planters NUT-rition south Beach Diet Mix because it contains a lot of the nuts he likes.  However, It's usually about $5.99. 

This week safeway card holders will save $2 (I believe this ends 9/7, but am not sure). 

In the safeway store, I also discovered a Planters $1.00 off display coupon (NUT-rition or Deluxe mixes only) and grabbed two.

The combo of the safeway savings and Planters brings the cost of the can of South Beach Diet nut mix down to $2.99 (I saved $3).

I got my first can yesterday and will pick up the second can tomorrow.  I'm debating if I should pick up another coupon (if they're not wiped out) as well, but don't want to be greedy.

We will store the extra cans in the freezer if we don't go through them fast enough.

My one problem was that the register didn't seem to pick up the savings at first.  When the cashier scanned the coupon, it told him I needed a NUT-rition product, but the guy had it in his hand, so he pushed a key that said he had the product.  Make sure that they give you the coupon discount.
Today in the mail from Rite Aid i found coupons but I'm not sure they're useful.

Usually the kind of coupons that come in the mail are pretty worthless - for example, we routinely get "coupons" for local services with a nominal (very very small) discount offer. The might as well be an ad.

However, Rite Aid has some kind of "triple coupon" deal where the value of the coupon is tripled. The issue iss, for most items the savings aren't super good. For example the original price for l'oreal vive pro shampo or conditioner is $4.75 but the coupon gets the price down to $2.50. Ruffles Potatoe chips go from $3.99 to $2.49. If I wanted some candy the savings are pretty good, but I'm going to have to look through the flyer to see if there is anything worth treking to Rite Aid for.

Part of my issue is that I'm so used to shopping at trader joes or the grocery outlet that spending $5 on shampoo (when I can do no poo or spend $2-3) seems quite pricey.

The Chavez supermarket seemd to have some good prices on boneless chicken breasts ($1.69/lb) and chayote was $0.59/lb.

The smart and final flyer listed one of our favorite cookies (mother's circus animals) at $1.99 bag but it's hard to shop there when we're only cooking for two.

Food cos produce seemed also to have some deals - 3 bunches of radishes for $0.99, 2 lbs of jicama for $0.98, mustard or collard greens $..58/each, and carrots 2 1lb bags for $0.98. I've never been, so I'll have to check it out.

I even got a flyer from the grocery outlet, where, apparently, some stores are selling jeans for $6 a pair and men's polo shirts and tees at $4/each.

April 3 - Grocery Outlet

The Grocery Outlet was crowded today, partly due to the fact that easter is tomorrow and partly due to the fact that wine was 20% and the sale ends today (people were buying wine by the case).

There wasn't a lot of good options there this time. We still managed to spend around $60 but we didn't get as many good deals this time.

A flat of eggs organic was really pricey - around $6. We got the smaller package of 18 eggs for $2.29 (but they weren't organic).

I did find that non-dairy ice cream was on sale, a pint was $1.99 and a half gallon was about $2.99. I bought a pint of blueberry cheesecake purely decadent dairy free dessert. I might go back and buy the soy ice cream though.

I also found frozen edamame packages for $1.29/each, cheaper than at Trader Joes.

Purchases included
Fruit Newton Crisps - $1.99/package
White Chicken chili $1.99/bottle
coffee filters - $1.59/package
1 bottle 2007 Decadenza muscat alexandria - $4.99 (plus a 20% discount)

I found good tea at the grocery outlet once, but haven't been able to repeat the find. I was also looking for instant oatmeal, but could only find maple flavored packages (my least favorite).

When we paid our receipt came with a $3.00 off a $25 minimum purchase (dairy and alcohol excluded) to be used between april 15-30

negative heel shoes

As an earlier post indicates I'm looking for a decent but thrifty pair of sandals now that it's getting warm.

I found a pair of negative heel earth shoes at a marshalls near me for about $30 (they had several kinds). When I tried them on, standing in the shoe, due to the the downward slope created by the heel, felt weird and I worried about damaging my knee. The rest of the sandal totally felt great - my foot wasn't squished and my toes had room to spread out (it feels like my feet have spreading due to the fact that I wear mostly tennis shoes and clogs, it's hard to fit into narrow, dressy, cheap shoes now).

Does anyone have any experience with these kind of shoes

Are thrift store worth it?

I grew up in a rural community with a lot of retirees. As a result, the thrift stores always seemed to contain a lot of good deals - cute (non valuable) jewelry (I've seriously gotten lots of compliments on a ladybug pin I bought for $2), sweaters and clothes (if you're not plus size), and household items that while sometimes old, are usable. My parents have even scored (recently) chairs, couches, and tables that a hotel donated to the woman's shelter thrift store (they were in very good condition).

When I went to a couple of thrift stores on the peninsula (Savers, a Salvation Army Store, several goodwill stores) the only one that seemed to have really decent items was the St. Vincent de Paul one in Palo Alto, but there stuff was also pretty pricey (for a thrift store).

Is my perception that thrift stores here are pretty picked over and somewhat pricey (for thrift items) correct? I've stopped going to thrift stores and yard sales and only go when I head up to my folks.
Does anyone know of a good place to get inexpensive good quality summer sandals? Occasionally I can find Reef flip flops at Ross, but I wanted a good pair of sandals that I don't have to spend more than $30 on.

I went to db shoes, and most of the sandals are junkie sandals that have no support and are bedazzled.

Giveaway of the Day Software

Since we all live in or by Silicon Valley, surely free software's counts toward frugal living, right?  Giveaway of the Day picks out a software title every day  with the permission of the publisher and offers it for free.  The titles are fully licensed versions, too, not limited shareware/freeware versions of the software. 

http://www.giveawayoftheday.com/

Groupons

Does anyone realize any savings using groupons?

I signed up and they seem to be mostly luxury items. I did get a discount haircut for hubby ($25 for a $50 haircut) but we ended up feeling so-so about the place he went.

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