Saturday, June 12, 2010

Cheap Bastid Says Tina's a Bitch

Yep, you can take it from me, Tina’s a bitch. She’s tempermental. She only shows up when she wants to. She teases and offers delectable delights and then pulls them tantalizingly out of reach. You never want to go shopping for her unless you’re totally prepared to be disappointed.

And Cheap Bastid loves to shop. I love to shop for food bargains. I love to stretch my grocery budget like room temperature taffy. Every week we go to our grocery store, Stater Brothers as well as to a different grocer, Fraiser’s Farms for produce along with stops at both 99 Cent Only and Dollar Tree. They’re each within a mile of where we live and within a total of 2 miles of each other, so it’s just a matter of a little extra time rather than running all over town burning up gas.

So what does that have to do with that tempermental bitch Tina? Well, it seems like everything we develop a liking for either disappears or gets pricey.

Tina’s Burritos got us hooked. They come in a variety of flavors (we prefer Red Hot Beef) of frozen, microwavable burritos. First with a special at 4 for $1 and then 5 for $1. This went on for about 3 weeks. We stocked up. Then she went back to her regular price of 3 for $1. Nope. Not going to pay 33 cents each! I’m the Cheap Bastid. Screw Tina.

And she’s not the only one. A company called Hartford House kept the shelves of the dollar stores stocked for over a year with cans of $1 corned beef hash. And, in the world of corned beef hash it was actually pretty good. OK, it was a buck. It was cheap. That makes it taste better with a couple of eggs. Then it disappeared and we can’t get our corned beef hash Jones going anymore. Assholes.

And speaking of assholes, this same august company actually made a pretty good can of no-bean chili that we could get for a buck. Then that disappeared. We had to pay $1.50 at Wal-Mart for Hormel no-bean. Pretty good stuff but that’s a rip-off when you’re used to chili dogs or chili fries on the cheap. And why would I want to spend an extra 50 cents just for some really good pooters (as my delicate flower of a wife so elegantly calls flatulence).

But that’s OK. Sometimes it’s like trying to find these values (or is that bargains?) is like an endless treasure hunt. We love being able to score some hash or burritos or chili on the cheap. It makes eating it all the more pleasurable.

Call me a Cheap Bastid if you want to. I prefer to think of myself as suave, sophisticated and frugal. Most of it for us is “why spend money you don’t have to?”

Why should I go to the store and spend $3.50 on 15 ounces of Cherrios when I can get the store brand for $1.99. Stater Brothers calls them “Tasty O’s” I call them “Faux O’s”. And I can get the store brand Corn Flakes ("Fake Flakes") for $1.88 for 18 oz. Or, $3.50 on Captain Crunch when I can get Fake Crunch for $1.99. Why pay for Kellogg's or General Mills and their advertising? Buy the same stuff a lot cheaper. If the kids don't "like" it--tough toe-nails. Eat this stuff or go hungry.

Why spend $3 on Fritos when I can get “Fakitos” for $.99 at the dollar store. They taste just as good but they’re a lot cheaper. I’m just not that into having to have the brand name. And if I make salsa fresca from scratch or homemade bean dip then the chip takes second place to the tasty dip.

But there’s still stuff that gripes my butt. It seems as if I really like something that somehow it’s going to disappear from the shelves. I was liking pop tarts for a while. But, I don’t like the frosted ones. I prefer the non-frosted, especially strawberry. So what happens? They disappear from the shelves of Wal-Mart where I’ve been cheap buying them 16 for $1.88. Toast-ems aren’t too bad but they’re frosted.

And, I take snacks to work. A lot of the guys I work with are always hitting vending machines. Not me. I’m cheap. I like Mrs. Freshley’s “Buddy Bars”—scrumptious peanut butter wafers, 12 bars for a buck. But, just when I’m good and addicted, they disappear from the shelves at the dollar stores. What the hell? Then they reappeared. We stocked up. Mrs. Freshley, I bet she’s a menopausal old hag who is actually Tina's mother, gleefully addicting me and then cutting me off so I can wallow in my peanut buttery wafer withdrawal.

And then there’s the all time best soda in the world. I love it. I’ve been drinking it since I was 6 years old at my Grandparent’s house just outside Detroit. And, damn, you can get it in California. Stater’s carried it. It was a bit pricey, but at $1.79 a 2 liter I rationalized it as a total treat (especially since I’m not much of a soda drinker and even less of a beer drinker). It’s Vernor’s. The best ginger ale ever. Not like that wussy, wimpy Canada Dry crap. I love Vernor’s and then it disappeared from Stater’s. I bet Tina told them to do it.

So, I went without. For months. Until my bride made the horrendous trek a mile and a half to Albertson’s and got me 2 bottles for Valentine’s Day. It’s no wonder why I love Mrs. CB so much. This stuff is pure nectar. Gingery on the roof of your mouth. Just enough carbonation. I ration it out drinking one small glass a day to stretch it. But it’s almost gone now and I’m just too cheap to make the trip down to Albertson’s and keep drinking it at the $2.79 they charge.

So anyway, old Cheap Bastid loves the hunt just about as much as I love the cooking and eating. There’s a lot of little things we do consistently to spend less on our food and grocery budget. We chortle and giggle while we’re eating the results of a particularly good find—like a $1 corned beef “brinner”.

So what's next? In just a little bit we're taking off to Costco. They've got a $2 off coupon for Lipton Green Tea--which I drink at work (no way is Cheap Bastid paying $1.25 in a vending machine for soda). I usually buy it at Stater's when it's on special for $.99 or less (the "regular" price is $1.59 but I ain't paying that much). At $.99 it's 2 cents an ounce. This is 24 16.9 ounce bottles or 308 total ounces. At 2 cents an ounce anything less than 6 bucks is a bargain. Oh boy, the hunt is on! But, what it comes down to is I guess that we manage to “save” about $5 to $10 a week from our grocery bills by planning and being frugal (read that cheap) in what we buy. OK, that’s going to save us anywhere from $250 to $500 a year which for us is somewhere between 1 and 2 months of our grocery bills. Now we’re talking real money. Thanks Tina.

And you know what that is? It’s the Cheap Bastid Way:

Eat Good. Eat Cheap. Be Grateful.

1 comment:

  1. you should fucking happy to pay 33 cents per food item these days