Save money on food: secrets from a chef’s wife

In Food, Money on March 20, 2010 by cheapnewlywed


Food is expensive!

When I first began working full-time after college, I didn’t make much money.  My daily food budget was around $5, and I stuck to it.  Like most twentysomethings, I relied on Taco Bell, McDonald’s Dollar Menu, and the $1 Totino’s party pizzas.

A few years later, my income has gone up and the single days are over.  My husband is an executive chef at a fine dining establishment (update: he has now switched restaurants and is working at O’Maddy’s  Bar & Grille in Gulfport, and I feel lucky to have this culinary genius in my life.
Here are a few things we do together to save on our food bill:
  • Shop at Sam’s Club for bulk items like pasta, cheese, and meat.  Particularly the 5 lb. bags of pasta, 5 lb. blocks of cheese for $10-$12 (MUCH cheaper than grocery store), chicken breasts and steak, and large containers of Bertolli olive oil for around $16.  Sam’s Club sells whole USDA choice ribeye and NY strip steak for about $5-6 per pound, and you can break it down yourself simply to slicing your own steaks.
  • Shop at Aldi’s for staples like produce, wine ($3 Winking Owl comes in Shiraz, Merlot, Cabernet, Chardonnay and it’s very drinkable), baking ingredients, and random items.
  • Buy a FoodSaver.  We use it to save and freeze that cheese, chicken, and steak from Sam’s Club.
  • Clip coupons from the Sunday St. Petersburg Times, then look for those items as BOGO deals at Publix.  Best items for this are pasta sauce, juice, and frozen dinners.
  • Don’t buy expensive knives and cookware.  My professional chef husband says they are nice, but completely unnecessary for quality home cooking.  We buy knives and pans from Sam’s Club and they just need to be sharp.  For pans, just look for the words “hard anodized” and those will last quite awhile.  We bought our pots and pans from WalMart for $9 each, and they came with lids.
  • DO spend money on spices, salt, pepper.  Seasoning your cooking and making sure to taste it will make a world of difference.


Bank of America

In Money on March 13, 2010 by cheapnewlywed

Since I moved to Florida three years ago, I’ve been using Bank of America.  It’s been quite the adventure.

My husband Tim and I have our mortgage through BOA, and the customer service representatives we worked with during the process of getting the mortgage — was awful.

They would assure us that they were doing something, and then find out that the action had not been taken.

Last month, our account became overdrawn due to miscalculations — and the hubby paying his student loan unexpectedly (to me).

He also made three debit purchases under $10, which brought on three separate $35 charges.

Overall, BOA charged us $170 in overdraft fees.


After reading on other blogs how other people have gotten banks to remove the fees, I decided to call.

I spoke to a woman on the phone.

At first she told me they could not remove the fees.

Then, when I explained that this was the first time this has ever happened, that I was a good customer, and that I didn’t want to take my business elsewhere… she changed her tune.

They removed all but one of the charges.

Meaning, that we only had to pay $35.

Not bad for a five minute phone call.

This was my first positive experience with Bank of America.


Clear skin regiment

In Beauty on October 28, 2009 by cheapnewlywed

Ever since high school, I suffered from severe acne.  Being Korean, my skin tends to be very oily.  When I applied foundation in the morning, it was practically running down my face an hour later.   Although my face didn’t look totally like a pizza, I would get painful and intense breakouts.

The more I would try to hide my acne with makeup, the more my skin would breakout.  It was a terrible cycle.  If I used strong astringents, my skin would flake badly.  My skin had lots of acne scars from previous battles.

I felt so ugly.  You have no idea how hideous I thought I was.

Seeing pictures of myself was terrible.

And trust me, I tried everything.  Neutrogena, Cetaphil, Clearasil, Clinique, Proactiv Solution, VERY expensive products from a shady dermatologist, VERY expensive products from a spa, and what seemed to somewhat work was the Body Shop tea tree oil line and generic Walmart acne cream called Equate.

But as I write this, my skin has been totally transformed.  The transition started about a year and a half ago.  I finally saw a good dermatologist.

They prescribed me Tazorac, a strong cream that dries out the skin.  It would work fairly well for awhile, but I had to really balance out how often I used it at night.  Too much — lots of flaking.  Too little — more zits.

One night Tim told me that he’d heard a story about an older man who had lost sensation in his fingers and the skin had begun dying.  But he’d apparently started applying Neosporin, and the skin was healed.

Quite randomly, I decided to mix in (generic Equate brand that costs about $2 per tube) Neosporin in with my nightly acne Body Shop moisturizer with tea trea oil.  When I woke up the next morning and checked myself in the mirror, oddly enough, there was some improvement.

I followed this same routine for about two weeks, and I have to say, MY SKIN COMPLETELY CLEARED UP.  The scars healed, no more new breakouts appeared, and the texture changed dramatically.  It was smooth, easy to apply makeup, even toned, and significantly less oily.

Since I have begun using the Neutrogene Stress-Free Acne line, in conjunction with the Neosporin, my complexion has improved even more.  And that stuff is cheap as far as skincare goes, about $6 each for the cleanser, toner, and moisturizer.  The moisturizer is awesome — it dries matte and helps prevent breakouts. But I would definitely recommend using all the products in this line.

The price is way better than purchasing $28 cleanser from that shady-ass dermatologist.

Occasionally I will get a lone pimple, but they have all cleared up in less than 48 hours. 

I can’t believe my skin is this good.

For those of you out there that can’t seem to find that magic solution to your skin problems, why not give Neosporin (the cheap, generic version) a try?  It sounds weird, but it was my own miracle product.


First post!

In Uncategorized on October 16, 2009 by cheapnewlywed

While I’m new to Word Press, I’m definitely not new to blogging.  This is probably the 5th or 6th blog I’ve worked on.  (Yes, I am a total dork)  It started in college with writing about humorous nothings, dating, and other miscellaneous topics. 

It’s been about six months since I’ve blogged, and I’ve decided that I want a fresh start.

My husband Tim and I have been married for nearly a year, and my life just feels drastically different.  Reading old blog posts makes me realize that I’m not the same.  Hence the new title and direction.

We bought a house two months ago, but still have not moved in.  Very slowly, we are doing some renovations.  Until most of that is done, the place can’t really be moved into. 

I work for an unnamed media outlet, and am on a constant quest to become the ultimate cheapskate.  If you’re on this page, thanks for visiting!