Posts Tagged ‘Jill Cooper’

Big Box Stores and Food Stamps Cooking Club

February 24th, 2012

Do big box stores have little price tags on their merchandise?

We have some food for thought and a treat from our blogger pal, Tawra Kellam today!  Tawra graciously offered a Guest Post, written by Jill Cooper, about saving money, which is what she is all about.  She gives us some really sound advice.  See what hits YOU like a brick…

Before I share her thoughts with you I want to remind you that 40 million of us are using food stamps or SNAP.  Many more have not applied for that sort of help, even though they might qualify. There are children in our own country who are going to bed with empty tummies.  Others who are living on a dime-or less-lean on food pantries, food commodities and whatever other help is out there.  Our purpose here is to help you stretch those food dollars to get the very most you can from your food budgets and feed your family well to keep them healthy.

Now let’s give Jill the floor: 

 Are Warehouse Stores Wearing Out Your Wallet?

 *Do they save you money or just create more work?

by Jill Cooper from Living On a Dime

It’s Saturday morning. With grocery list in hand, you drag a very unwilling family out to the car where you proceed to take them on a mega shopping spree at Sam’s or Costco.

Marching down each isle you tell your family members “We need 3 cases of corn, 4 cases of green beans and — Oh! That’s a good deal on peanut butter so let’s get 3 gallons. Of course Susie, your can get a bag of cookies. They are so cheap! …and Billy you can have a few bags of your favorite chips! Yum! Oh look — samples! These taste great. Let’s get some! What a great buy on chicken – we need 20…

At the dog food aisle the excitement mounts as each member of the family grabs a corner of the 50 lb. bag of dog food to stack on top of the basket. (We won’t mention you only have 1 toy poodle at home.) After waiting in line and waiting in line and waiting in line you push your agonizingly heavy and overloaded baskets out to the car. Getting everything into the trunk of the car makes putting together a 1,000 piece puzzle seem like a breeze but, finally, home you go.

After you lug everything into the house, it’s time to spend the next few hours repackaging things for the freezer. You double wrap your 20 chickens (they could be in that freezer for quite a while) and frantically try to find places for everything else in your cupboards and pantry. By the time you are done, you are so exhausted that you couldn’t begin to lift a finger to cook, so you all go out to eat.

A few weeks later you gingerly sniff the gallon of half used peanut butter as you try to decide if that strange taste is because it has gone rancid or simply because you are sick of peanut butter. You threw out that partially used gallon of maple syrup yesterday because it had sugared and was looking really strange. You still have ten of your chickens left but if you bathe them in some spicy sauce you are pretty sure your family won’t notice the freezer burned taste. In spite of having to throw out most of the 50 lbs. of dog food (after a growing family of mice had invaded it), you’re sure you saved money because “they” said you would.

People constantly ask me, “Can you really save more money at warehouse stores?” I usually answer, “Not any more so than at other stores.” I have checked prices at various stores on many different occasions and factoring everything in, I haven’t found any exceptional savings at warehouse stores.

Here are some tips to help you decide if a warehouse store is for you:


  1. Do your homework and compare prices. Buying in bulk is not always cheaper. You can really save by checking and comparing prices. I was at Costco one day where there was a display of two Clorox one gallon bottles for $1.98 AFTER rebate. I stood there amazed as people frantically grabbed this “great deal.” I knew I could get that same Clorox for $.98 a gallon at my regular discount store and I didn’t have to mess with a rebate, pay postage or lug two gallons of Clorox shrink wrapped together to my car.
  2. Don’t buy impulsively just because it sounds like a good deal. Say you can get 12 bottles of sunscreen for a great price. Think it through before you buy. If your family only uses one bottle of sunscreen a year, that means you will be storing sunscreen for 12 years, not to mention that most of the sunscreen will expire long before then.
  3. In most homes, one quarter of the food people buy gets thrown away. If your family of four eats pancakes once a week, that gallon of syrup is going to last you a VERY long time. You might also consider that unless dry goods and freezer items are very carefully stored, they will go bad or get bugs in them. Remember to buy the size that is appropriate for you.
  4. You need to be very well organized to buy in bulk. Finding places to store everything and then carefully keeping track of what you have is critical if you want to use it all before it spoils.
  5. Most people usually spend more than they originally planned on things they don’t need. This never saves money. We taste samples and so often end up buying. If this is you, be careful. Maybe sampling is a bad idea (unless you’re making lunch of it)!

If you have ten kids, run a day care or are buying for an organization then you almost have to buy in bulk. If you have a small or average sized family, you will probably save as much shopping for sales at your regular grocery store or discount store. The key is to do the math and evaluate your practical needs. You have to decide for yourself if buying at warehouse stores actually saves you money or just creates more work.

-Jill

Good info, Jill and Tawra!  Food Stamps Cooking Club Members, if you liked this article, you can find more of the same on their website Living On a DimeCruise on over and scope out “Dig Out of DebtThere is a plethora of good ideas there and Dig Out of Debt is one of their best offerings yet!

You  are all welcome to offer YOUR best ideas by contacting us at foodstampscookingclub@gmail.com.  WE LOVE MAIL.

Connie Baum

The FTC wants you to know there are links in this post.  Should they be clicked, resulting in sales, your humble blogger would be fairly compensated.  Please do your due diligence when conducting affairs online or offline.  Always do business with those you trust implicitly.

Food Stamps Cooking Club: Easter Ideas?

April 1st, 2011

 

The Easter Bunny will soon make his appearance...Tawra has some great ideas for getting ready for his arrival!

Tawra Kellam has been kind enough to provide us with a Guest Post today!

Users of SNAP or WIC, take note!  If you have food from Angel Food Ministries or Farmers Market coupons; food commodities or things from a food pantry…even if you just want to stretch every food dollar in your food budget…you can appreciate these clever ideas.  EVEN IF you do not have little people in your home any more, you will enjoy reading what Tawra has sent to us about observing the Easter Holiday:

“A reader asks:

Got any inexpensive ideas for Easter gifts for the kids? Also, do you have any ideas that would focus on the real meaning of Easter and not just bunnies and eggs?

Easter is a great time of the year to celebrate, especially if you have the hope that comes from Jesus Christ and His resurrection. Here are some ideas for Easter gifts. Try some of them and if the creative juices start flowing, make up some of your own!

If you don’t have Easter baskets, you can also use:

  • Plain wicker baskets
  • Baskets spray painted an Easter color
  • A cute straw hat
  • A pail for the sandbox
  • A bowl wrapped in tissue paper
  • Paper sacks that the kids decorate. Cut out pictures from magazines or use stickers. Glue or stick them on and then paint or color around them.
  • Any sort of plastic storage container. These often can be used later for storage.
  • For a “family” Easter basket, set a nice plate on the table with Easter grass and goodies arranged on the plate or platter. This is great when you have older kids.

Fillers for Easter Baskets:

  • Buy candy after Valentine’s Day at half price and keep to fill Easter baskets.
  • Make Easter cookies in the shapes of bunnies, eggs, crosses or any other Easter shape that comes to mind and decorate.
  • Popcorn Balls or Rice Krispie Treats colored in pastel colors.
  • String Froot Loops onto yarn and tie to make a necklace.
  • Don’t fill baskets. Instead put jelly beans and candy in plastic eggs so the kids can fill their own baskets. You can also put nickels, dimes, toy soldiers, bugs, stickers, barrettes or hair ribbons in the eggs. Hide them outside or in the house if you live in a climate where it’s usually cold on Easter.
  • Make coupons for getting out of chores, staying up late one night, having a friend over for a sleep over or a special dinner that they like.
  • Include like new books purchased at garage sales or thrift stores.

 

  • Homemade slime, play dough, sidewalk chalk, bubbles or the ingredients for crystal gardens.
  • Wacky crayons- Crayon pieces melted together in a muffin tin to make a “big” crayon.
  • Flower seeds that the kids can grow
  • Mini-stuffed animals purchased at garage sales or on clearance the year before.
  • Paper dolls or coloring books. There are many available on the Internet that you can print yourself.
  • For teenagers, put these items in baskets: lotions, soaps, suntan lotions, fingernail polish, movie tickets, tickets for getting out of a chore, ticket for $5 worth of car gas, clothes purchased on clearance and of course lots of candy!
  • Leave a trail of jelly beans or candy kisses from their rooms to their Easter baskets.
  • Easter Kisses

Put some Hershey Kisses or chocolate chips in a plastic bag and attach the following poem:

This cute little bunny has hopped all day
Been delivering baskets for the holiday.
His paws are so tired and his little nose itches.
He left you something special-something to fill all your wishes.
These cute little hugs and Easter kisses.

  • Put 1 Pound Jelly Beans into a bag and attach this poem:RED is for the blood He gave.
    GREEN is for the grass He made.
    YELLOW is for the sun so bright.
    ORANGE is for the edge of night.
    BLACK is for the sins we made.
    WHITE is for the grace he gave.
    PURPLE is for His hour of sorrow.
    PINK is for our new tomorrow.
    A bag full of jelly beans colorful and sweet,
    Is a prayer, is a promise, is a special treat.
  • Easter Carrot TreatsBuy disposable plastic decorating bags and fill them with orange jellybeans or cheese balls. Then stick some green Easter grass in the top of the bag (leave some hanging out) and secure the bag with a rubber band and then ribbon so that it resembles a carrot.

Jill Cooper and Tawra Kellam are frugal living experts and the authors of the Dining On A Dime Cookbook. Dining On A Dime will help you save money on groceries and get out of debt, by cooking quick and simple homemade meals. For free tips & recipes visit Living on a Dime!“   ~Tawra Kellam

Many thanks to Tawra!

Connie Baum

The FTC wants you to know there are links in this post.  Should they be clicked, resulting in sales, your humble blogger would be fairly compensated.  Please do your due diligence when conducting affairs online or offline.  Always do business with those you trust implicitly

Food Stamps Cooking Club: If You’re Living On a Dime…

February 25th, 2011

 

Tawra Kellam has some super cooking and shopping tips to share!

Those of you who have been coming to the Club House for awhile know that we cater to users of public assistance…many of you have signed up for our series of cooking tips-and we appreciate that, btw-but today I got a message from Tawra I just HAD to share:

“Cooking Tips To Save You Money!
by Tawra Kellam

http://www.LivingOnADime.com

Need a quick cooking tip? Here are a bunch of little things you can do to save a lot of money in the kitchen!
*Put flour in an old spice bottle to use when flouring cake pans.

*Unsure what a Dutch oven is? It’s just a 6-8 quart saucepan or large pot.

*Having leftovers again? Serve them by candlelight with tablecloths or place mats. A tablecloth and candles make even plain meals look special.

*This is an unexpected canape and a handy little finger food. Take your favorite cream cheese dip and roll about 1 teaspoon full into a ball. Press it between two walnut halves.  Lay on a platter to serve.

*Save dry cereal odds and ends to add to your Chex mix when you make it.

*Wrap celery in aluminum foil when putting it in the fridge. It will keep much longer.

*When you have one hot dog, hamburger, sausage patty, or slice of ham left over, put it in a container in the freezer. Use these leftovers to make a meat lover’s pizza or to add a little more zip to a regular frozen pizza.

*Add a few of your favorite spices to a frozen pizza or add extra cheese and toppings.

Mix and match any of these:
Bread and honey butter. This is an old fashioned easy stand by. Place some soft, fresh bread on a plate and honey butter in a bowl for something that is good and couldn’t be easier. Make honey butter by mixing a little bit of honey into regular butter.
Sliced fruit of any kind. Cantaloupe, watermelon, strawberries, kiwi and others work well.
Sliced veggies of any kind. Try tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots or celery.
Sandwiches of every kind. You aren’t committing a sin by serving your family easy sandwiches on a hot summer day. Combine them with fresh fruits or veggies and you’ve got a meal.
Salads – Jello, fruit, veggie, pasta or potato salads make great summer fare.
Desserts – Ice cream, ice cream and more ice cream. Make it into floats, banana splits, brownie sundaes or regular sundaes, milk shakes, ice cream pie or ice cream sandwiches.
If you have leftover brownies or cake, add a few pieces to the bottom of a dish and then top with pudding and whipped cream.
Keep a bag or container in your freezer to store that 1 or 2 pieces of coffee cake, donuts or other baked goods that are sometimes left over, which doesn’t happen often in my house ;-). Then when you get enough for your favorite bread pudding recipe. Hopefully one that is in the Dining on a Dime Cookbook; use them instead of bread.

Jill Cooper and Tawra Kellam are frugal living experts and the authors of the Dining On A Dime Cookbook. Dining On A Dime will help you save money on groceries and get out of debt, by cooking quick and simple homemade meals. For free tips & recipes visit  Living On A Dime.”

*THANKS A BUNCH, JILL AND TAWRA!  ~Mother Connie

We have all been in a spot.  We KNOW what it feels like to be living on a dime.  Been there, done that.  Even have the Tee shirt…if you are using public assistance like SNAP or WIC or if you have food commodities or frequent food pantries you can benefit from Tawra and Jill’s good advice.  If you have Angel Food Ministries bundles or you just appreciate a food budget that s t r e t c h e s…this blog and Jill and Tawra’s materials can really help a lot.

Connie Baum

The FTC wants you to know there are links in this post. Should they be clicked, resulting in sales, your humble blogger would be fairly compensated. Please do your due diligence when conducting affairs online or offline. Always do business with those you trust implicitly

Food Stamps Cooking Club: More About Turkeys?

November 10th, 2010

Maxine has us ALL excited about turkeys! These guys' days are numbered and we have more info about their preparation!

Ready or not, Turkey Day is comingWe know and understand about celebrating and giving thanks when food budgets are as tight as they are for users of EBT cards for WIC or SNAP; we know how frugal folks and users of food pantry goods or food commodities appreciate all the information available about getting the most for their food dollar.  Our pals at Living On a Dime have done a good job of covering the subject and we are featuring them today:

“Thanksgiving for Less
by Jill Cooper from the website Living On A Dime

It’s really hard to find ways to save on your Thanksgiving dinner because, let’s face it — It doesn’t get a whole lot cheaper than a turkey dinner! Still, I have found some ways that you can save and today I’ll pass them on to you! ;-)

For starters, the larger turkeys are usually cheaper so buy the largest one you can. I hear some of you groaning now about what to do with all those leftovers because you really don’t need a 22 pound turkey for 6 people. Not to worry — just don’t bake the whole thing.

I discovered one year by accident that my butcher (at a regular national chain grocery store) would cut the turkey in half for me. Even if it is frozen, he can still cut the turkey in half. This discovery really changed my life.  That sounds dramatic, but I was really having a problem becoming “one” with my turkeys.

I suddenly had the revelation that I didn’t have to deal with the mounds of leftover turkey that haunted my post-Thanksgiving menu for years. I had just enough for a good old turkey sandwich and some soup. I mean Thanksgiving really isn’t Thanksgiving without a few leftovers, is it?

It was so much easier to handle and prepare an 11 pound turkey rather than to manhandle a 22 pound one. Getting the turkey cleaned and into the pan was a breeze and getting it in and out of the oven was just plain simple.

Just wrap the other half and freeze it to use for Christmas. I’ve often made ham for Christmas just because by Christmas we are so sick of turkey that we don’t want to think of preparing another one — ever! By not creating so many leftovers, your family might not mind having turkey again. That’s also potentially one less thing to buy for Christmas dinner.

If you still don’t want to have turkey for Christmas, save it for some cold day in January. If you have a large enough crockpot, cook the turkey it the crockpot. If not, cook it on very low in the oven so that it slow cooks all day. Do you know how delightful it is to come home to the yummy smell of slow cooked turkey?

Save money by making your own pies instead of buying the expensive pre-made ones. If you are daunted by the thought of making pie crust, just buy a ready made one. They are usually on sale for very little around Thanksgiving.

It really isn’t that hard to make the filling for most pies. Often they are easier to make than cakes or cookies. If you like the traditional pumpkin pie, most cans have the recipe on the back.

If your family and friends aren’t fussy about having the traditional pumpkin pie, then you can make banana cream, chocolate, or butterscotch pie. Just take a box of banana pudding, mix it and pour it into a baked pie crust. Cover with sliced bananas and whipped topping. For the chocolate pie, use chocolate pudding with chocolate chips in it and cover it with whipped topping. For the butterscotch, use butterscotch pudding, whipped topping and sprinkle with butterscotch chips. My mouth is watering just thinking about it!

You don’t have to make so many pies that you could open a bakery. I have found that most kids are just as happy with a platter of cookies. Don’t overdo it. You’ll just wear yourself out! If you have time, make the cookies in the shapes of pumpkins and turkeys.

Save on your relish dish. Buying ingredients for a relish dish can get expensive, especially where we live. One year I paid more for my relish dish items than my turkey. If you’re having this problem, only use 3-4 veggies on it instead of 10 and cut out on the more expensive veggies. For example broccoli and cauliflower are very high priced for us so I would probably use carrots and celery. I fill the celery with cheese or peanut butter or cut them into fancy shapes. On this occasion, the turkey is the star and most people won’t even notice that you cut back on the relish dish.

Don’t make so many side dishes Like I said the turkey, gravy and mashed potatoes are more important than everything else. By the time everyone stuffs themselves with those, they only eat a token amount of the side dishes. Why? –Because, of course, everyone wants to save room for dessert!!!!!”

Jill Cooper and Tawra Kellam are frugal living experts and the authors of the Dining On A Dime Cookbook. Dining On A Dime will help you save money on groceries and get out of debt by cooking quick and simple homemade meals. For free tips & recipes visit LivingOnADime.com

Thanks oodles, Jill.  All the Food Stamps Cooking Clubbers need help in getting the turkey on the table without raiding the bank account!

Connie Baum

The FTC wants you to know there are links in this post.  Should they be clicked, resulting in sales, your humble blogger would be fairly compensated.  Please do your due diligence when conducting affairs online or offline.  Always do business with those you trust implicitly.