How I Keep Myself Wealthy

587fd5f944027151941214bdFor over forty-five years, the giant supermarket, Shop Rite, has been offering its customers a twice-a-year (January 1st and July 1st) savings bonanza entitled ‘The Can Can Sale‘ (click here). I’ve been going to this bi-annual event since 1987. That’s thirty years of stocking up on the basic essentials, as long as it came in a can! On each visit, I would buy enough to last me for 6 months until the next can can sale. That meant healthy caned fruit juices for my kids, oodles of tuna fish, peanut butter, fresh pasta sauces, coffee, vegetables, fruits and beans (to name a few of the many items offered at steep discounts) If you live within driving distance to the store, it’s worth the can-can sale trip!

FullSizeRenderSince it’s just DH and me now, our hoarding has narrowed down a bit. I still get cases of Tuttorossa plum and crushed tomatoes, Botticelli Virgin olive oil, Bumble Bee tuna fish, assorted canned beans (kidney, chick peas and white beans), olives and a few more canned incidentals. Instead of going twice a year, however, we go once and buy enough to last us throughout the year. The sale usually goes on for two weeks. This week I bought one case each of plum tomatoes and crushed tomatoes, a case of assorted canned beans, some cans of Bumble Bee tuna fish (packed in water) and 6 cans of small black olives. That savings came to $36.24.

Next week, Botticelli virgin olive oil will be marked down by $3.00 to only $9.99 a can. Last year this was marked down to $8.88 a can but in all honesty, over the years I’ve seen these can-can sales dwindle in value. Nonetheless, we use about one gallon of olive oil per month and if you’ve ever checked out the price of olive oil, it’s very, very expensive. Shop Rite’s can-can sales still offer great values. DH and I are both Italian, so cases of plum tomatoes and olive oil are staples in our family. Stocking up on these items alone is a great value to us. (every Sunday is still pasta night in our home!) We’ll be buying a case of olive oil which will be another savings of $36.00.

Another way we have saved money this past week/month/whatever was by buying a new, left-over, heavily discounted RV all set up for boondocking. What is boondocking you might ask? Boondocking is the ultimate way for any travel frugalista to well, travel. Boondocking means you are camping for free! Boondocking has been so popular that websites, YouTube videos and smart phone apps have been dedicated to it. Our RV is set up to be totally self-sufficient, solar ready (to heat water, work the fridge, keep the lights and TV on) has a large capacity water storage unit just perfect for a daily Navy-style shower, has a back up generator and enough propane to heat the RV, heat the water, run the BBQ or interior kitchen two-burner gas stove.  In other words, DH and I plan on doing a lot of traveling throughout America via boondocking; meaning much of our travel expenses will be null.

I downloaded a free app off of iTunes for my iPhone called Park Advisor (vs $9.99 for All Stays). It lets me know where all the free campsites are located (Wal Mart, casinos, military locations, public state and federal parkland) as well as rest stops, RV campsites (KOA & Good Sam’s and other private camp grounds) the nearest gas station, restaurant and help center. If there’s a phone available, I just click and call for more information. Directions are just another quick click away. On the first night we got our RV we stayed at a campground that cost $60 a night, but I got a 10% discount with my Good Sam’s card. Nonetheless, we paid $54 for a full hook up. Next night, I used the app while we were on the road, the app found the closest Wal Mart AND gave us directions to the location. DH and I had a great nights sleep, for free. Got up the next morning, DH was able to brew us some coffee and we had a few muffins for breakfast before we were out on the road again.

Total cost: ZERO. Now, that’s the new way I like traveling. Times have certainly changed.

Another bonus on the road traveling: the discovery of Panera Bread cafe’s. It’s nice to get a good, organic, clean, chilled and healthy salad on the road. We joined Panera Bread’s frequent customer appreciation program and we will be getting some nice rewards (free food) on our many trails.

Plan on hearing some more good RV savings from me in addition to my landlubber savings. Retirement is all about keeping down expenses while doing more things, adding on more activities and more adventures. At least, that is what it is for me!

Live well and prosper, my friend. Lie well and prosper.

31 thoughts on “How I Keep Myself Wealthy

  1. Hi Cindi,
    Glad to hear you have found out about our wonderful Panera Bread Company. It was originally called St Louis Bread Company ( I grew up in East St Louis) and DH and I have it all worked out so we can eat there at least once a week, often after church. They are, in fact, so popular now with the clean eating and NO artificial junk that we no longer go there for weekday lunches. Waaaay too crowded but we do enjoy our evening meal there immensely.

    So, our standard fare: one full size salad with chicken in 2 bowls with the baguette for the side, and a second baguette so we each get one. One beverage, which allows us to get a dessert for $.99 to share. Since we are watching portions and avoiding meaty/cheesy/saucy sandwiches we have found this works quite well. They have enough variety in salads so we are not always eating the same thing. The ambience is good, We generally fit into $15 for a satisfying, healthy and delicious meal. Since I don’t like their coffee and am satisfied with water, I don’t miss a beverage. And the freebies add up with several visits. And they have free wifi so I can save my tracfone data charges.
    Jeannine in Iowa

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    • Hi Jeannine. I’m loving the half Greek salad with grilled chicken (for only a dollar more!) Love the baguette (with butter!). It’s a great meal for around $6.29 or so. Just found out there’s a Panera in my home town. Woo Hoo!
      So nice to eat good, clean food! Haven’t tried their dessert yet, but I already have enough rewards for a free treat! Hubby likes the half sirloin sandwich. I tried the turkey with avocado. Delish. REAL slices of turkey.
      Thanks for sharing. It’s so nice when you find a place that serves good, decent food at reasonable prices, right??

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  2. Love Panera! Up to now, I had to go way out of town to eat at one, but a new Panera is opening just 25 minutes away. Yay!! I’ve never had a bad meal there.

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  3. Hmmm, at this point RV’ing is definitely not for me. I guess I’m a vacation snob and more of a homebody. I would rather stay at beautiful resorts 2x a year, than driving everywhere and sleeping in a trailer. I do like being at home. BUT, that’s just me. We aren’t retired yet, and I may change my tune. In fact I didn’t think I would like cruising, but I LOVE it. We have three cruises in the wings right now. Alaska and the Eastern and Western Caribbean are on our itineraries. You guys have done the RV thing before, so you know what to expect. Can’t wait to see the pics of the grand canyon!

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    • Hi Sharon. RVing has its plus and minuses. But Nick and I want to drive cross country and see as many National Parks as possible and without an RV, it’s too cost prohibitive for us. Once we get there, however, we’re going to do as my sister did: spend a few nights in some top notch resort hotels for a change of pace. She loved it and was able to afford it because they did a lot of boondocking along the way (saving money). I’m glad my sister paved they way for me because our trip is going to be a lot less hectic without fear of the unknown. LOL!
      DH hates cruises BUT would love to do Alaska! That sounds like an adventure. He was there before and said its America’s last frontier. Enjoy!

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  4. Hi Cindi, Great minds think alike. I have been taking advantage of Shop Rite Can Can sale for Sixteen years since They opened one close to me. Didn’t make it there last week but Tuttorosa canned tomatoe products are cheaper this week at 77 cents instead of 88 cents! A suggestion from my nutritionist is to buy the fresh organic tomatoes on sale this week at 99 cents a pound ( limit four pounds) and dice and freeze excess for my soups.I do this with my excess garden organic cherry tomatoes and it makes my heart healthy vegetable soup taste fantastic in the winter. She also suggested getting use to using dried organic black beans soak and cook the day before I make my soup and frozen peas eliminating the salt and BHT from canned products. Since I shop only every other week at Aldi’s, I am buying Aldi’s fresh organic baby spinach and freezing it right away in the bag. So the second week I crush it and add to my omelettes and soups.
    I forgo the tuna at 99 cents since it’s now only two and half ounces of tuna in a Can ~$6.50 a lb. and way too much salt for my cardiac nutritionist diet recommendation. Manufacturers of tuna are adding vegetable protein to the cans too. Instead I use Aldi’s frozen individually wrapped Wild caught skinless pink salmon $3.99 for the pound.
    I also want to pick up this week lots of the butterball 93% lean ground turkey, and boneless chicken breast at $1.99lb. First though I have to read Butterball ground turkey ingredients for sodium and other additives?
    Even better I will go on Shop Rite five percent off senior day and use my credit card to qualify for more rebate savings. And the money sits in my savings making interest till the credit card bill is due. Cha-Ching! Occasionally I will also peruse the free coupons at my library and catch some coupons matching their sale items and also use Shop Rite own digital coupons.
    I so agree every little bit helps to maintain your wealth and stretch our retirement dollars and allow more for fun things.
    sincerely, Lara

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    • Hi Lara. When I saw that the Tuttorrossa canned tomatoes were reduced .11 cents more per can, when we went back to Shop Rite yesterday (to buy the olive oil) I went to Customer Service with my receipt and got a refund. That came to a little over six bucks! Woo Hoo! That made up for the shortchanging I got on the Shop Rite canned beans. The price is 59 cents per can but there is only 15 ounces per can. Aldi is also .59 cents a can ALL YEAR LONG but each can is 15.5 ounces! We consumers have to look at EVERYTHING. It’s exhausting.
      I get the same salmon that you do. How do you cook yours? I saute it but I don’t like the texture. Need some other methods or recipes. Thanks for sharing.
      When Aldi has a sale on boneless chicken breast, its priced anywhere from $1.49 a pound to $1.89. Although $1.99 a pond is good, I usually wait and then stock up for a few months.
      When does Shop Rite have senior day? That I did not know!!!! (I know TOPS is the first Tuesday of the month).
      Saving money is sooooooo much fun. Good for us!

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  5. I was so out of food, toiletries, cleaning, paper goods, and health and beauty items. Can Can sale prices were good but could I do better? This old dog learned a lot of new tricks. An experiment or adventure in trying Shop Rite Shop from Home service that got me 2 full carts of groceries totaling $352.45 that ended up costing me out of my own cash-$119.25 or a savings of 66% on every item I bought. Ten pounds of Ground Turkey, five pounds boneless chicken breast, five pounds boneless pork chops , all at 66 cents a pound. Five pounds thighs at 33 cents a pound. 20 yogurts at two and a half cents each. Organic tomatoes on the vine at 33 cents a pound. Chi chi burritoes and salsa at fifty cents, my vitamins,& Bayer baby aspirin at a penny a piece, tutorossa tomatoes 27 cents each. And so much more. I use their digital coupons, sale items, and their at home only promotional deals Uncanny, Kellogg’s, General Mills, Scotts Kimberly Clark, $10 off first time at home shopper, 5% Tuesday senior discount which gave me Fifty three dollars off the order, and then General Mills gave me a$3.50 next shopping order coupon and 3 Kleenex tissues have 25 cents off on the boxes which they will honor when I take them back. and finally my new Bank Of America travel card rewards will give me $37 dollars or 22.65% back.
    This is for two reasons, I am accumulating the requirement of spending $1000 to qualify for twenty thousand bonus miles which is worth $200. Or twenty percent back on this. And I bump up the bonus on both this card and my 123 card by 75% by transferring IRA money to Merrill Lynch besides my checking account to maintain a $100,000 qualifying relationship. Crazy this also gave a reward of $50. Merrill also has the better rate brokerage CDS I mentioned a long time ago. So using this card meant every dollar spent gives me 2.65 miles. So each of the dollars spent at Shop Rite ended up,getting 22.65 % discount! Also this card could be really good for your future camping plans because camp ground fees qualify as travel besides hotels and other forms of transportation! And you have a year to request reimbursement. Cha cha Ching, Baby. Three hours spent calling the store to verify senior discount, doing the order online and picking it up, savings equated to an eighty dollar and hour pay! Sincerely, Lara

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      • FYI: Kiplingers August 2017 issue has an article “the best rewards card.”.
        Just go to Bankofamerica.com. They show the different credit cards offered. You can have two of their credit cards. 123′ and the travel rewards card. If you put the rewards in the checking account they increase the amount of the rewards. I started out getting 10%, increase to 50% then when I was thinking of moving, the mortgage customer service rep notice my accounts were close to bumping to 75% and that I would get no cost home equity line at 2.4% instead of 4% and it was the way to go on my old home instead of a mortgage for the new condo. Total cost to do,it was an Early $300 penalty if I sold before theee years! I had to put more in to the IRA because as a current customer they calculated the last three months average and after that qualifies the next month is when you bump up to 75% increase but I,would check if you bring the $100,000 in right away if it starts from day one. Without the preferred honors relationship the travel card rewards you 1.5 miles per dollar spent and the twenty thousands points equals $200 and additionally $15 for the thousand you spend for the bonus in the first ninety days I think. You had to apply online to get the 20,000 bonus. I am new to travel rewards credit cards rules but I am getting down all their nuances.Getting the Barclays Arrival card, 50,000 miles bonus with $3000 in first three months, I put my house insurance and the Cape Cod hotel, restaurants and a few groceries and Grandson Birthday gifts on it and already have the $560 towards the stay and the customer service rep said I have till October fifth to accumulate more up to the total charges. So sweet! . Sincerely, Lara

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  6. To answer your question about Aldi’s salmon I use it several different ways- sprinkle dried dill weed then panko bread crumbs. No,egg needed to make them stick. use a no,stick pan lightly coated with canola oil and brown on each side, turn off the burner, cover and let sit five minutes. Also sauté fresh vegetables in the other half of the pan. Substitute it for tuna in tuna mac salad. Or make a spread for on crackers or in scoup out tomatoes using homegrown chives, and dill and a little mayonnaise or lemon olive oil, and of course minced celery for my heart. I prefer to cook it in the nonstick fry pan no oil, letnit cool and shred it for the spread and salmon salad or salmon mac. I have no problem with its texture. sincerely, Lara

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  7. Made my red sauce yesterday. So today is another massive cook a thon in my convection oven with all of the great groceries I got, including meat balls,bolognese sauce, all of the chicken thighs, vegetable soup base, brown rice, lasagne roll ups and stuff shells, sweet potatoes, zucchini casserole, Mexican flavored ground turkey for burritos, and tacos, taco salad. I calculated more then 100 single serve meals and when I get done I will freeze single portions for days when it’s too too hot to cook. The chicken thighs I will make chicken soup stock from the bones for wedding soup and chicken rice soup, and make stir fry, barbecue pulled chicken sandwiches, lomein and fajitas. Thin sliced some of the chicken for chicken piccata and thick sliced for chicken Parmesan and cut off the tenders for chicken fingers and then froze the lot of it. The pork chops were too thick for my liking removed visible fat and then I sliced them in two and froze the twelve chops individually.. I love that there will be so much variety for the next three months. I also will make stuffed peppers, burgers, and meatloaf sometime in August with the ground turkey I froze. Life is so so Good! sincerely., Lara

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    • Um….Lara….what’s your address? I’m coming to your house for my meals from now on. LOL! Your menu sounds delish! So many tasty things and so many ideas. My head is spinning. Where do you get the energy? Do you have an extra freezer to hold all of this? 100 single serve meals? Amazing!
      You go girl!
      The most I would do is make a few freezer containers of marinara sauce. Everything else I make on the fly.

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      • No,I don’t have a freezer anymore. I use recycled sour cream containers for soup and store in the door shelves, The small ziplock containers for single serve taco meat and bolognese sauce, stuff shells. Freeze the meatballs unsauce in recycled bread bag. I leave the next week meals in my refrigerator. Small square ziploc containers for individual lasagne. it all seems to fit along with the frozen 5 pounds of ground teurkey, chicken breast, and pork chops. I push myself now-don’t have the energy I use to. The great motivator is it so much easier for a huge amount of time to have a nutritious meal ready super fast.much better then TV dinners! And don”t have to shop for a while. Which saves time, money, and gas. In the summer you save heating up the kitchen and during flu season I am not expose going to the grocery store. Before I was widow. My DH and I could enjoy different favorites at the dinner table. Sincerely, Lara

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  8. Hi again, just wanted to update you on Shoprite shop at home sending via email a thank you for trying their service and a code good for $20 off my next order of $150 valid till August 5th. Not sure if I will use it, since I stockpiled so much stuff. I have been sitting down and eating within five minutes lunch and dinner out of my refrigerator since the 13th, which has been wonderful with our heat wave! sincerely, Lara

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    • Lara, you did fantastic! Did you see my photos of my stockpile? It’s up to the pantry ceiling. And it feels so good!
      I’d like to try your massive pre-cooking for when we go RVing. That’ll come in very handy! Thanks so much for sharing.

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  9. Yea, I did see your pictures way to go, Girl! The kids loved when I use to do lasagne roll ups and freeze them in ziplock sandwich bags. Put cheese on top before they microwave them in a corell soup bowl. Another thing I do is a massive pot of oatmeal once a week with lots of cinnamon and small chopped apple pieces put in when the water is boiling. Add walnuts peices before I microwave individual serving for a minute to One half minute depending on size of portion, and add milk when I take it out. Also grind oats in my blender into flour, a slightly heaping cup of oats yields one cup flour and I use the Betty Crocker pancake recipe with an added teaspoon of cinnamon and brown sugar instead of white sugar. When I went camping I prepackaged the dry ingredients together in cool whip containers and added the milk and egg when I was going to make them stirring with a whisk lightly with lumps to keep them very tender. You probably have read about the benefits of cinnamon for your heart and blood sugar regulating. Sincerely, Lara

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    • I love the lasagna roll up idea. But you have to boil the lasagna noodle first, right? When I make lasagna I just use the noodles right out of the box. You don’t have to pre-boil them that way. Saves me time, work and energy!
      I like your camping pancake recipe. THAT I am going to use!!! I just love pancakes, eggs and bacon on a camping morning!!! PLus, I also have oatmeal almost every single morning, while home. I have mine with brown sugar, low fat “butter” and now, cinnamon. Who knew? Thanks for some great tips and ideas Lara!

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  10. Your welcome. Do you use the special lasagne noodles ready to use or the regular old fashion ones? I use to be really a ” home made ” frugal Mom and make lasagne noodles and ravioli with my hand crank pasta machine. Took two or three minutes in boiling water to cook them. never tried using them raw. The oat flour also makes the best peanut butter cookies when you substitute it for white flour. All of my extended family wanted the recipe! 🍀Lara

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    • Lara, you are just a plethora of fabulous ideas, woman! I used the regular lasagna noodles. Just make sure you put in some extra sauce. The noodles cook right in the sauce while baking! That’s an elimination of a mighty big energy-sucking step IMHO.
      I love, love, love your idea of oat flour.
      Who knew?

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  11. Yea I would boil the noodles first, sometimes make seafood roll ups with homemade Alfredo sauce. Your way just freeze cooked single lasagne servings in smaller square ziploc containers.🍀Lara

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