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99 Cent Store, Day 2: Let the Games Begin

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Homeschool Mom embarks on day two of her 99 Cent Only Store experiment. Will her family run away from home?

pancake syrup

Well, we did it. We filled our coffers with the 99 Cent store groceries and I will now attempt to make do. Yesterday we were happily surprised by the produce. I have to say that, except for an unattractive arrangement (things are generally piled up in the cold section of the produce or they are wrapped in plastic left in boxes), the produce was pretty darn good. My kids were awed by the delicious little seedless watermelon that I got for -- guess what -- 99 cents. Big beautiful strawberries were ours for, you guessed it, 99 cents, and they were locally grown. In fact, my husband had paid $4.00 on Mother's Day for the same brand and amount of strawberries. Bags of apples without wax from California were ours for 99 cents. You see the pattern. It was mostly good, edible, and in fact locally grown, with the occasional Mexican-grown label here and there.

We found plenty of chicken noodle soup, Campbell's in the big cans. We got bread and crackers and even Quaker Oats Cereal Bars with dark chocolate chunks, for which I had paid almost $3.00 at Target the week before. I found brown rice, and beautiful large cans of tomatoes, beans, and olives. We found basically enough grains through bread and crackers and pasta to keep us going. The most disturbing part about the canned goods or any of the products, for that matter, is the country of origin. I mean, considering the whole China melamine incident, it is a bit worrisome to be consuming their products willy-nilly. I tried therefore to buy only American or Canadian products.

Our first day went rather well. I made pancakes from scratch because all the mixes -- cake, pancake, cookie, etc. -- are filled with trans fats and other unwholesome ingredients. We had sausage, although not the usual chicken: we had Farmer John Pork Sausages. The creepiest part of breakfast was the syrup. I decided to take a gamble on a product from China. It was rice syrup with maple flavoring, and even the cute bear bottle couldn't make it palatable. We had chicken noodle soup and sourdough bread and butter and watermelon for lunch. For dinner I made a lentil and rice dish and I was a bit concerned it would be rejected, but they all had seconds.

The dish cost about $3.00 to make, and I froze two more family-serving-sized portions, without the vegetable sauté, to be used later.

I prepared a whole bag of lentils per the directions on the package, and did the same for the brown rice. Once they were done, I combined them with the can of tomatoes, which I had to dice, and a tsp of cumin and salt and pepper to taste. I then sautéed the veggies and onion and garlic and laid them on top. Those of us who like spicy food added salsa.

So, I guess so far so good. No one has run away from home. My husband seems pleased, and even suggested that we make the 99 Cent Only Store our primary grocery destination. Um, forever?? I'm not sure if we can make it through the week.

See Also:

next: Adoption Journey: The End or Beginning?
12 comments so far | Post a comment now
frugal mom May 20, 2009, 4:05 PM

Wow…I must say that I’m impressed and am getting ready to run to my Dollar Tree to see what treats await my family!
You seem to be quite the pragmatic mom.
I love your sense of humor.
I look forward to hearing more about your creative meals.

Jodi May 20, 2009, 6:42 PM

Now, I hate to break this to you but not every thing at the 99 cent store is a deal. You’re probably doing yourself a disservice by ONLY buying groceries there. Unless you normally shop ONLY at Whole Foods or Albertson’s where grocery prices are WAY too high. I generally shop for our groceries and necessities at a minimum of 3 different stores. The trick to truly saving money is knowing/remembering the price of your most commonly bought items, stocking up when it’s cheap, using coupons and shopping sales. Just this week I saved us a minimum of $65 by shopping this way and I do that twice a month. Rarely do I spend more than $300 a month (add in a few dollars for gas on trips between stores) for a family of 3 and that’s on food and necessities. Mind you- that’s good, healthy food. Do your homework before you shop and that will truly save you money.

mommaof4wife2r May 20, 2009, 9:15 PM

nice experiment…and the fam hasn’t ran away yet. good deal. i love those kind of deals. i honestly had no idea that they had produce! i need to check out DEALS i guess…

Watty May 20, 2009, 10:04 PM

You’re making me miss that specific store! Mine was in Las Vegas. *sigh*

Like the experiment! Good luck with the rest of the week :)

scratch May 21, 2009, 2:15 AM

You could make homemade syrup instead. It’s easy, and I’m sure you can find the ingredients at the $0.99 store.

Kelley May 21, 2009, 10:42 PM

You can make home made brown sugar syrup…it’s fantastic when mixed with peanut butter!

Christina Fiedler May 21, 2009, 10:49 PM

Really enjoying this series. Keep it coming!

Mark Anderson May 24, 2009, 11:19 AM

That is so awesome.

Will be watching this series as it progresses.


Len June 21, 2009, 2:33 PM

Badly need your help. The excellence of a gift lies in its appropriateness rather than in its value.
I am from Tanzania and too poorly know English, tell me right I wrote the following sentence: “Aurobindo approval of terbinafine tablets is already entering a saturated aurobindo terbinafine approval what effect will this have.”

Thank you very much ;-). Len.

Alodie July 1, 2009, 6:14 PM

Hey. TV is chewing gum for the eyes.
I am from Republic and , too, and now am writing in English, give true I wrote the following sentence: “Save on flea shampoo and more at kay fresh clean flea tick scented shampoo for dogs.”

THX ;-), Alodie.

Jerolin September 9, 2009, 7:21 AM

Good afternoon. Doubt ‘til thou canst doubt no more…doubt is thought and thought is life. Systems which end doubt are devices for drugging thought.
I am from Lebanon and also am speaking English, give please true I wrote the following sentence: “Applying lace front wigs: nicholas witchell was other, sometimes writing up during a jail to take as a film joke actually than a presumption.”

;) Thanks in advance. Jerolin.

Ten Tees January 9, 2011, 7:55 AM

Nice post. Good and fun reading. I have one observation to make about funny shirts.

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