Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Grocery Basket 3/28

Miss MoneyPenny was pleased when the new QFC ad came out and there is actually a sale going on.  I'm almost out of Tide and was going to have to fall back on Costco, but since it is on sale and I have five coupons and there is a promotion, I'll stock up.  Likewise with the Starbucks coffee and Colgate.  With the coupon for .75, the toothpaste will be a quarter.  Not free, but pretty darn close.

Here are the interesting offerings this week:

Starbucks coffee - $7.99/12 oz ($1.50 coupon S/3/25)
Tide - $4.99 when you buy 4 ($1 coupon S/3/11)
Kroger Greek yogurt - 10/$5
QFC cottage cheese or sour cream - $1/16oz
Tillamook medium cheddar - $4.99/2lb
Tillamook butter - 2/$5
Fresh wild caught rockfish - $5.99/lb
Driscoll's strawberries - $2.50/lb
Jazz apples - $1/lb
Seedless grapes - $1.28/lb
Whole or cored pineapple - $1.99 (I always get the cored so I don't amputate a thumb trying to peel that thing)
Colgate toothpaste - $1/ea (.75 coupon S/3/25)
Hot Wheels cars - .69/ea (what? little boys love these)

Regarding the cored pineapple - I was picking out a big old leafy pineapple one day when the produce guy said that he didn't understand why people didn't buy the cored as all the work was done for us and it was the same price.  I said that we want fresh.  He said it is the same pineapple as on display.  Okay.  So now that is what I buy.  I'm no fool.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012


Now, in case you did not know, Miss MoneyPenny is a fan of Suze Orman, but not for the reasons you might think.  She was a waitress for years and I can totally relate because I spent a good part of my 20s in that very occupation.  You really learn it all waiting tables.  Some of the money-smartest ladies I know did waitress work.  I'm not talking hash slinging here, but high end restaurants, of course.

So I listen to what Suze has to say.  A lot of her advice is for people with lots of money, but lately she is addressing the concerns of the rest of us.  I really like her advice to fund your retirement first and then help your child with college or, for crying out loud, teach him how to work and save money so he can pay for it.

I'm still not willing to put money anywhere near a stock market (Miss MoneyPenny lost $2000 overnight in the Enron debacle and has never forgotten it) but I really believe in saving as much as you can by careful spending.  My dear old mother would be shocked to hear me say that saving money is sometimes more fun than spending it.  She used to say that I could stretch a dollar until it squeaked but couldn't save a dime and she was right...back then.

What I'm getting around to here is I heard Suze say something the other night that I can't quit thinking about, so I'm gonna share.  She said that the stock market and the economy are not the same thing.  Did you know that?  I'm not sure that I did.  The nice people on the news are telling us that since the stock market is going up, the economy must be improving.  I looked around and thought maybe I don't understand anything about economics because things sure don't look like they are improving.

Since I am now a little more clear on what is really going on, I am going to continue to be very careful with my money so it will carry me through retirement and did I say vet bills?  Suzette's dental surgery cost me $1100 last week!!  I had to sit down when they presented me with the bill.  And this is her third dental surgery.  How many teeth can she have left?  And I brush her teeth.  If there is a next time, I'm going to suggest doggy dentures for her.  Sheesh!!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Grocery Basket 3/25

Since QFC isn't running a decent ad this week, Miss MoneyPenny decided to concentrate on the food bank.  They had tuna, pasta and pasta sauce for a good price to I bought five cans of tuna and two each of the pasta and pasta sauce.  The guy from Seattle pitched in five cans of good chili.  I was happy to see that the bin was already half full with other food donations.

Here is what I thought was of interest this week:

Chicken of the Sea tuna - .69/ea
Ragu pasta sauce/Kroger pasta - $1.00/ea
Kroger cheese - $2.99/lb
Nature's Way supplements - 40% off
Spice Island spices - 33% off
Certified Angus New York steak - $5.88/lb
Wild caught fresh Dover sole - $4.99/lb

There were no coupons available.  I checked.

We stopped off at Trader Joe's on our way to my son's BBQ on Saturday for a few things.  They really do have some good prices and if you are down in SilverTown, it is worth a stop by.  For instance, we like crumbled blue cheese on salads and vegetables (I got this from the guy from Seattle - much better than that creamy greasy blue cheese dressing in the jar.  Who knew?) - anyway, at TJs you get twice as much for half the cost at QFC.  And their organic coconut oil is also half the price.  Lots of good deals there.

We were pleasantly surprised when were told that the burgers for the BBQ were from Shorts Farm in Chimacum.  My son went to school with these guys and is now buying all of his meat from them.  I don't know what is going on with my kids, but they are also putting in a big veggie garden for the first time this year.  I'm thrilled with all of this!!  I'm pretty sure that they are serious about this because they have the posts planted in concrete for the deer fence.  They should just get schnauzers.  I've yet to see a deer in my backyard.

Food waste update:

What is it?  Nasty bitter cabbage that ruined my salad.  Not my fault.  The white bowl is some salsa that blew the lid off and the blue jar is Mexican Duck sauce.

Cha ching:  $3:00

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Big Pharma in Hadlock

Now this isn't something that you see everyday, especially in this day and age.  It seems that my favorite pharmacist up at QFC has decided that he doesn't care for the way QFC does business and has opened his own pharmacy.  And to add injury to insult, he left that vile place with two of the nicest lady pharmacy techs to help him run the new place.  I bet QFC gritted their teeth.

I'm not the only one who is unhappy with QFC's pharmacy.  I have stood in line for up to 45 minutes waiting to pick up a called in prescription.  That is just plain crazy!!  Don't get me started on the prices, but unless you want to drive into town (9 miles) and stand in the Safeway line, QFC was what you had and half the time, they acted like they didn't have a clue who Miss MoneyPenny was!! if you can believe that.

So now we have Tri-Area Pharmacy and an excellent pharmacist who won't be shuttled around to different QFC stores all week.  When I called today, they were so happy to hear from me and that I am moving my business.  They even knew who I was.  I am happy now.

Will I save money?  Damned if I know, but at least I'm not giving up my hard earned money to a big corporation who could care less about me.  Money spent locally, that stays local, goes a long way with me.  We need to do more of this and I'm trying.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

For the Halibut Alert

Eeeks!!  Miss MoneyPenny was talking to the world's best (I kid you not) fish lady at our local QFC the other day and she is reporting some worrisome information for those of us who love fresh wild fish. 

According to her sources, halibut will not go for less than $20 a pound this year!!  This is due to the dwindling supplies and a much shorter fishing season.  She also mentioned that salmon isn't going to be a big bargain either.  What next!!  It never ends so gird your loins for higher grocery prices.

You may have noticed that Miss MoneyPenny usually lists the fresh wild caught fish on sale in the grocery basket post.  I grew up on the southern Oregon coast where fish and seafood were so plentiful that we took it for granted.  And I married two guys (not at the same time) who fished everything that swam, so I really prefer fresh wild fish and I'm going to tell you why.

Farm raised fish seems like a good idea, right?  Incorrect.  Those fish do not swim free like they are meant to, as they are in a type of cage eating processed feed of all things.  And since they are all penned up, disease happens and you know where that leads.

After they are killed, their flesh is not that wonderful pink to red that indicates good oily fish that is so healthy.  So what do they do?  They add dye, of course.  Sounds wonderful, doesn't it?  And then there is the texture and the all important flavor.  No comparison, but you make the call.

What to do?  I am lucky enough to have a fabulous fish lady who really knows her stuff.  When we ask what is good, she is all over it and with the best way to cook it.  I have no problem asking for a half pound as that is two servings and nothing gets wasted.  If I'm cooking salmon, I always save the cooked skin for the dogs for a treat.  They love it.  The cat won't touch it.  Go figure.

If you are at QFC this week, pick up some asparagus for 99 cents a pound and grab a couple bunches of daffodils (2/$4).  Nothing says spring like a big bouquet of daffodils on the dining room table.  And it makes us feel better after contemplating grocery prices.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Corned Beef, Anyone?

So, tomorrow is St. Patrick's Day and that is an important day for all of us that have a touch of the Irish in our genes.  Miss MoneyPenny has some Irish and her relatives were probably referred to as the McMoneyPenny clan back in the old country.

St. Patrick's Day can be a good excuse to get really inebriated.  Back in the 70s when I was waiting tables in Portland, this was a big day for us.  You could get any Irish sounding drink for a dollar a shot and I am here to tell you that you can only get throwing up sick on Bailey's Irish Cream and not drunk.  Just giving you information that might come in handy tomorrow.

Anyway, Corned Beef  and Cabbage is the traditional dish for this holiday.  The way I learned it was you boiled your brisket for a long time and then threw in the cabbage and spuds an hour before serving.  This usually worked pretty well, but several years ago, I was having a big party and decided that I should go to the local butcher shop and order a special Corned Beef.  I followed all of the butcher's (he isn't there anymore, don't get me started on his prime rib) directions carefully and served the most god awful salty piece of meat ever.  Nobody could eat it, including the cabbage or the spuds.  Good thing we had lots of beer.

Now, you are going to think that this is totally weird, but the best way that I have found to cook Corned Beef is in a cooking bag.  Shock and awe!!  But it makes a perfect piece of meat and the cabbage and potatoes are delicious.  Just add them later.  And the best thing of all?  Hardly any cleanup!!  Just throw the bag in the garbage. 

Don't forget the horseradish sauce.  Easy peasy.  Just mix plain horseradish with sour cream to taste.  The stuff in the jar is not near as good.

Hint:  Bailey's is really best in an after dinner coffee drink or if you are truly Irish, in your morning coffee.

Monday, March 12, 2012

North To Alaska

Johnny Horton made that song a hit back in 1960 and little Miss MoneyPenny really liked it.  In fact, as you know, Miss MoneyPenny is planning a cruise up that way next summer with sister SmartyPants.  Where is she going with this, you ask?

I'm using "found money" to pay for this trip!!  Shocking idea, don't you agree?  It came to me that I was neglecting some good sources.  How about this?  Every time I get a Senior Discount, I put the equivalent that I saved into the Cruise Fund.  Genius on board!!

So, like last Saturday, the guy from Seattle and I went to the matinee at The Rose and took advantage of the senior discount, saving $1 off each ticket.  Even though he paid, I'm still putting $1 in the fund.

I'm not done yet.  How about those loyalty cards that we get from our favorite coffee place?  You buy 10 and get one free.  Same with the pizza place.  These things add up pretty fast for me, so instead of just feeling smug when I get the free one, I'll stick the money that I would have spent anyway in the fund.  And let us not forget change, which I never spend anyway.

Below is a snap of my loyalty cards.  I even have a yarn card from Churchmouse Yarns.  That might be over the top, now that I think of it.  I will keep you posted on how my fund is progressing.  At this moment I have $33.24 in it.

Food waste update:

Ewww!!  What is it?  Canned pumpkin with mold on it and a shrivelled sweet potato that got lost.

Cha ching: $2

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Reward Check

Whoo hoo!!  Miss MoneyPenny was thrilled to get her American Express bill today because, sure enough, at the end of all that paperwork was the CHECK!! and here is what it looks like, so don't throw it away like somebody we know:

Remember - you have to cash it at Costco, but you don't gotta spend it there.  $130.44 right into the Cruise Fund.  Thank you very much AMEX for letting me charge up my card every month for free and then giving me a nice little check.  See?  Money for long as you don't carry a balance, that is.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

The Full Worm Moon

Miss MoneyPenny will probably do most of her shopping at Chimacum Corners this week as the QFC ad is pretty weak, but there are a few items of interest, and here they are:

Starbucks coffee - $6.99/12 oz ($1.50 coupon over at
Fage Greek yogurt - $1.25/ea
QFC butter - $2.50/lb
Fresh Dover Sole fillets - $4.99/lb
Red or Green grapes - $1.28/lb
Whole or cored pineapple - $2.99/ea

Heather over at has started "Deals to Meals" to show how she makes menus using items on sale.  I think that this is a splendid idea, especially for young families such as hers.  Since it is only me and the guy from Seattle (when he shows up) meal planning is less structured.  I wait until he shows up on Friday and then we sit down and discuss what we want to eat for the weekend based on the sales, what is in the freezer, or what he has brought over.  For us, this works out pretty good.

Tomorrow is the Full Worm moon and I could not pass up a chance to show a snap of my little red wigglers.  Compost worms are different than your night crawlers - although I used to send the leftover crawlers from my favorite ex-husbands fishing trips on a freedom ride out to the compost, so maybe they are great great great, etc. grandchildren.  Who knows about worm genealogy, anyway?

These little wigglers work really hard and I try to give them lots of love.  Speaking of love, it seems that egg shells really turn these guys on and make them want to reproduce, which is a good thing in my opinion.  Have I mentioned that I throw full vacuum cleaner bags in and never see them again?  Amazing.

I also threw in a pix of the world's cutest dog, also known as the "five pound devil dog".

Friday, March 2, 2012

Grocery Basket 3/2

Before we get to the groceries Miss MoneyPenny wanted to let you know about a killer deal on Danskos over at and it includes free shipping.  I follow because she is out of the Olympia area and is really on the ball with the deals.  Miss MoneyPenny loves Danskos.

This is what I'm looking at this week at QFC:

Coffee Mate - $2.99ea
Silk almond milk - $2.79ea
Oikos Greek yogurt - 10/$10
Fage Greek yogurt - 4/$5 (better yogurt in my humble opinion)
New York strip steak - $5.99/lb
Fresh rockfish fillets - $5.99/lb
Broccoli/Cauliflower - $1/lb
Del Monte cantaloupes - 2/$6
Lady Alice apples - $1.49/lb

The guy from Seattle is making his famous pizza this weekend so I will really need to roast a bunch of veggies to offset what it will do to my weight loss plans.

Doctor My Eyes Revisited

You may remember that Miss MoneyPenny was dismayed when she received a bill for almost $500 for new glasses and services rendered from the eye clinic.  Neither MoneyPenny or the nice office ladies could make any sense of the bill, so it went back to the billing office.

Guess what?  They sent me a new bill ($228) and an apology, no less, and paperwork showing me what went wrong.  I sure never expected that, but I have been a patient for almost 30 years and that must have counted for something.

Granted, it did take the better part of an afternoon and some tactful inquiry, but it did save me over $200.  I think that was time well spent.  Don't you agree?