On the best coupons/savings blog in the world, http://www.moneysavingmom.com/ , a reader mentioned she'd found books at 75% off at Kroger's. Hmmm...we don't have Kroger's out here in Colorado, but King Soopers is owned by the same corporation.
And I did see (and get) some great books for my piano students at 50% off the other week...
We ran out of milk, and I made a quick trip to Soopers. Sure enough, the same table was now 75% off!
Not only that, but summertime glasses, trays, grills and a wide variety were also marked 75% off. I got some Christmas presents, as well. (I won't say what, because Daughter #1 occasionally reads this blog. But they were Good Stuff.)
Didn't get home until after midnight. But my present box is full!
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Don't miss this very thoughtful post on Salon.com --what it feels like to go to a soup kitchen:
I don't think Heather Ryan's reasons for going are entirely as forced as she tries to make them sound. (More on this below.) But her account is surprisingly descriptive, and certainly conveys the desperation she felt.
What surprised me, though, was her lack of initiative in finding other food sources. She's a clever, well-reasoned writer. Couldn't she have done some research, tried other options? (According to Ryan, her income was too high for food stamps...many people, myself included, would be wayyy too proud to accept those, anyways, unless we'd exhausted every other possibility.)
She could have:
*Taken advantage of marked-down items at the store (I just checked the bins last night at Soopers -- and another girl was right behind me, doing the same thing.)
*Purchased bulk items or cooked from scratch more. Oatmeal and other lower-cost items would stretch her budget. She could have also baked her own bread, purchased fruit from an orchard or farmers market...
*Grown her own vegetables and greens, either in pots or a garden plot. (And if you can't do it outside, you can definitely grow sprouts. Frugal Babe has talked a lot about this lately:
I'm not that big on her enthusiasm for 'green smoothies.' (Ergh) But sprouts do wake up a sandwich or stir-fry, and they're jumping with vitamins.
*Used the Share program, which is a godsend. Order a package of different foods, including meats, fruits and veggies that's 3-5 times the value of the price you pay: $25 or less. Our version is called Share Colorado, but it's active in plenty of other states. Find out more at
Angel Food Ministries sounds very similar. Although I've never tried this program, I've heard good things about it. Perhaps it's available in your hometown, when the Share program isn't:
"Right," someone may say. "Take a potshot at the girl when she's down. After all, you don't know what it's like. You never had a near-empty pantry, no money and kids to feed."
Oh, but I did. Not now, not for years...but trust me. I know.