Dollars & Sense columnist John Ewoldt searches the Twin Cities and beyond for bargains and strategies to spare you time, money and hassles.
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Posts about Food and drink

At $1.50 per gallon, you can't beat these milk prices

Posted by: John Ewoldt Updated: June 17, 2013 - 3:28 PM

 

 

You could pay $6 for a 2-gallon pack of milk at Holiday in Edina, but if you go to any Circle K station by June 30, you can get 2-gallons of any Schroeder milk for $2.99. It's the best deal in the Twin Cities on milk as Circle K franchisees try to establish themselves in the Twin Cities.

 

Go outside of Circle K, and the lowest prices will be on store brands. On Monday, June 17, Costco in St. Louis Park was $2.43 per gallon and Aldi on Lake St. in Minneapolis was $2.49 for skim or 2 percent. Most other stores such as Wal-Mart, Target, Cub and Rainbow are charging between $2.80 and $2.89 for store brands on Monday in their Minneapolis stores.

One more good deal Circle K through the end of the month? Hot dogs for 49 cents each, no limit. Neither the milk nor the hot dog price requires a coupon, although the milk is a 2 gallon limit per customer per visit.

Most of the 13 locations in the Twin Cities have only been Circle K's since last year, although the locations may still be co-branded as a Mobil, Exxon or BP station.

 

Participating locations include Albertville at 94 and Labeaux, 763-497-4333; Blaine at Radisson and Cloud, 763-784-8071, and Central and 129th, 763-757-9655; Champlin at 169 and Elm Creek, 763-323-9642; Elk River at 169 and Main, 763-441-3810, and 169 and 197th, 763-241-9490; Mahtomedi, 694 and Century, 651-777-7417; New Brighton at 35W and E2, 651-633-2371, and Silver Lake and 45th, 651-636-3998; Rogers at 94 and 101, 763-426-9070; Roseville at 36 and Dale, 651-489-8359; Shoreview at 694 and Lexington, 651-483-1219 and 35W and J/85th, 651-784-3369.

You must buy two gallons to get the discount.

Cheerios fanatic? Prices don't get much better than this.

Posted by: John Ewoldt Updated: May 31, 2013 - 3:13 PM

Every consumer buys at least one item with a price they watch with unnatural intensity. Maybe they collect coupons on it, wait for a sale and hope for a rebate. It's a triple play and it can make the day of any super shopper. 

 

I'm not here to make your day with a triple play, at least not this time. But for families who buy can fill their Honda's backseat with Cheerios boxes and never let even one box pass its freshness date, this is a good week to buy.

 

Target, CVS and Costco all have the toasted o's on sale. Yes, even Costco has them on sale through June 2. Members who buy 2 twin packs (4 individual boxes, 81.4 ounces total) pay $5.49 each for the 2 twin boxes, minus a $4 instant rebate. At $6.68 for the 81.4 ounces, it's 8.5 cents per ounce for regular flavored Cheerios.That's the lowest price I've ever paid, including on Rainbow's double coupon days, but I don't pay Rainbow $50 annually for a membership.

If you're not a Costco member, Target has a good deal too. If you buy 6 boxes (14 oz. each for $2.75 each), you also get a $5 Target gift card. That's 13.6 cents per ounce with the gift card. Use a couple of $1 manufacturers' coupons and it's 11.3 cents per ounce. Use a Red Card and it's 10.7 cents per ounce.

Or you could take an easier route at CVS where a 14 oz. box is $1.79 with an ExtraCare card (12.7 cents per ounce). But the offer is limited to one box. It's a better deal if you can find a coupon for 50 cents off, which is occasionally available online.

All are good sale prices. Admittedly, the savings don't add up to big bucks. Sometimes a shopper gets more excited saving a few bucks at the grocery store than, say, $500 at an appliance retailer. It's similar to consumers who prefer inflated prices discounted during a sale to an everyday low price.

 

Free local veggies given away Tuesday at 10 a.m.

Posted by: John Ewoldt Updated: August 7, 2012 - 8:20 AM

Remember that half-price cheesecake offer last week? Today (Tuesday, Aug. 7)  it's time for a health rush instead of a sugar rush. HealthPartners Clinics are giving away a bag of locally grown vegetables to the first 300 people in line at five clinics in the Twin Cities area. The giveway runs from 10 a.m. to noon.

The fresh produce is provided by Costa Farm & Greenhouse in Mahtomedi.

 

Bags will include tomatoes, green beans, bell peppers, zucchini and kale. Recipes are also included. Maybe there will be a recipe that makes kale palatable.   

 

Choose from the following sites for the veggies:

HealthPartners Brooklyn Center Clinic (6845 Lee Av. N,)

Eagan (1654 Diffley Rd, Suite 100)

Minneapolis (Nokomis, 4730 Chicago Av. S.)

Elk River (Riverway, 550 3rd St. NW) 

Where can you get fresh Copper River salmon for less in local stores?

Posted by: John Ewoldt Updated: May 30, 2012 - 10:07 AM

 

Over Memorial Day weekend I stumbled upon a rare find--the Copper River salmon  in stock at local restaurants and grocery stores. It's a rich, blood orange filet that's got a meatier, nuttier flavor than other salmon. And it's rich in healthy Omega-3 oils. Although a person can buy it frozen year round, it's only available fresh from the Copper River in Alaska for about three weeks every year.

 

Lunds/Byerly's currently has the Copper River salmon (sockeye, not the more expensive king) for $17 per pound on sale, regularly about $29 per pound. Others are charging similar amounts:

 

Cub Foods: $15 per pound on sale starting today (May 30)

Coastal Seafoods: $19 per pound on sale

Kowalski's: $17 per pound on sale

Costco: $10 per pound.

The great thing about Copper River salmon is that it's a forgiving fish. It's hard to ruin it and it's easy to dress it up with any simple marinade. And just think how much money you're saving compared to buying it in a restaurant. At Kincaid's in Bloomington and St. Paul, for example, you'll pay $29 for an eight ounce salmon steak (plus asparagus and mashed potatoes), where it's on the menu for two to three weeks while supplies last.

Anyone else found another reasonably-priced source for CR salmon this week?  Get it while you can.

Clever, cheap ideas to make life easier

Posted by: John Ewoldt Updated: December 13, 2011 - 8:18 AM

Here are some great tips from my friend Ken, who saw this in the Daily Buzz. There are more tips at the Buzz, but here are some of the best. I still can't figure out how to fold a fitted sheet tho. Feel free to add your own.

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Clever ideas: hull strawberries with a straw
Why didn’t I think of that?! We guarantee you’ll be uttering those words more than once at these ingenious little tips, tricks and ideas that solve everyday problems … some you never knew you had! (Above: hull strawberries easily using a straw).
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Rubbing a walnut over scratches in your furniture will disguise dings and scrapes.
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Remove crayon masterpieces from your TV or computer screen with WD40 (also works on walls).
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Stop cut apples browning in your child’s lunch box by securing with a rubber band.
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Overhaul your linen cupboard – store bedlinen sets inside one of their own pillowcases and there will be no more hunting through piles for a match.
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Pump up the volume by placing your iPhone / iPod in a bowl – the concave shape amplifies the music.
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Re-use a wet-wipes container to store plastic bags.
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Add this item to your beach bag. Baby powder gets sand off your skin easily – who knew?!
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Attach a velcro strip to the wall to store soft toys.
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Look up! Use wire to make a space to store gift wrap rolls against the ceiling, rather than cluttering up the floor.
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Gotcha! Find tiny lost items like earrings by putting a stocking over the vacuum hose.
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Make an instant cupcake carrier by cutting crosses into a box lid.
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For those who can’t stand the scrunching and bunching: how to perfectly fold a fitted sheet.
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Forever losing your bathroom essentials? Use magnetic strips to store bobby pins (and tweezers and clippers) behind a vanity door
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A tip for holiday packing. Store shoes inside shower caps to stop dirty soles rubbing on your clothes. And you can find them in just about every hotel!
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A muffin pan becomes a craft caddy. Magnets hold the plastic cups down to make them tip-resistant.
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Bread tags make the perfect-sized cord labels.
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Bake cupcakes directly in ice-cream cones – so much more fun and easier for kids to eat. Definitely doing this!
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Microwave your own popcorn in a plain brown paper bag. Much healthier and cheaper than the packet stuff.
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Brilliant space-saver: install a tension rod to hang your spray bottles. Genius!
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Win friends at breakfast with this heart-shaped egg tutorial. Aww shucks!
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Turn your muffin pan upside down, bake cookie-dough over the top and voila – you have cookie bowls for fruit or ice-cream. Click here for recipe.
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Freeze Aloe Vera in ice-cube trays for soothing sunburn relief.
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Gutter garden: Create a window-box veggie patch using guttering.
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Use egg cartons to separate and store your Christmas decorations.


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