Spending Like It’s 1990- Dirt Cheap Potatoes

by Kayla K on January 18, 2010

I love the Tightwad Gazette series by Amy Dacyczyn just as much as the next thrifty blogger.  My favorite part is when she breaks grocery costs down to a thousandth of a cent.  I love crunching numbers and get a sort of thrill from calculating my exact savings.  Savings on hot chocolate? Chili? Popcorn? Love it!

For some good reading, look up the Tightwad Gazette series on Amazon and read all of the book reviews.  When I looked today 244 people have commented on the book.  When people aren’t criticizing her extreme methods (hey, I saved the aluminum foil from my $1-promotion Pancheros burrito!), they are complaining about how out-of-date it is.

Sorry, I have to agree to a certain extent.  The newsletter started when I was two years old and grocery prices have changed a lot since then.  I still read the book a lot just because it makes me feel all warm and fuzzy about saving money.  I relate to Neil buying his own Dorritos, or wearing patched pants.  I think my mom and Amy would be great friends if given the chance to meet.

So, imagine my surprise when I got the chance to do a potato study at Tightwad Gazette prices! Although I bought groceries last week I had to make a stop back for a five-pound bag of potatoes for $.79.  This equals out to only about $.06 for a potato.  If I had a family to feed I would have stocked up for sure.  As it is, I am scrambling for ways to consume five pounds of potatoes before they turn into vines for my window.

My favorite way to eat up potatoes? Baked, with broccoli, chili, and melted cheese.  I happened to have everything I needed for this in my cupboard and freezer:

  • Canned turkey chili, on sale for $1.25
  • Velveeta, the generic version.  What’s the technical name for this stuff? Processed cheese?
  • Frozen broccoli

I scrubbed up a potato, poked it with a fork, and put it in the microwave with the broccoli for four minutes.  To cook the frozen broccoli I put it in a soup bowl, sprinkled it with water, and covered it with a saucer.


After four minutes I took out my broccoli and zapped the potato another four minutes.

I cut the potato in half, put my broccoli on top, added half a can of chili, and topped with my “processed melty cheese.”

One serving of that ‘stuff’ is a 1/4″ slice.  I found this out by measuring with a ruler and dividing by the number of servings.  Just a fun fact to share.

Microwave for two more minutes to heat the chili and melt the cheese, and it’s ready to enjoy!


Which do you prefer?

Just because eating a whole plateful of delicious seemed like a bad decision, I did a calorie count.  A package of Ramens has 390 calories, while the potato option has only 425 and a whole lot more nutrients.  This could actually be considered healthy!

Make it better:

  • Substitute shredded cheddar cheese to cut calories and sodium
  • Use homemade chili for a less expensive option, and to cut sodium

Check back this week for more ways to use up those $.06 potatoes!

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