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Welcome to the Cheap Bastard Fans at the Kirkland Library

October 28, 2013

cheapbastardsseattle3Thanks so much to all those of you who showed up at the Cheap Bastard reading at the Kirkland Library this weekend. It was a great turnout and I appreciate your time and your great questions. If you missed it, I’ll be doing at least three more readings in November at King County branch libraries in Burien and Mercer Island as well as the main library in Bellevue. These readings are a bit different than my standard readings because they are focused on the subject of “Cheap Eats.”

Food may have been the focus, but I was happy to answer any questions that came up about ways to save money during my question and answer session. And, as you’ll see, the areas we covered were pretty wide-ranging. 

As promised, here are all the deals that were discussed during the Kirkland event:

CHEAP STUDENT EATS. The Lake Washington Institute of Technology’s culinary program does indeed have a full-service restaurant where students prepare meals. It’s called the Chef City Grill. It’s located in the East Building and is open from 11 am to 1:30 pm Wednesday through Friday when school is in session. Based on the prices on the menu I’m seeing from the summer session, I prefer Cafe Alki at South Seattle Community College, which is mentioned in the new edition of the book. Prices at SSCC’s Alhadeff Grill are closer to those at Chef City. 

COLLEGE SAVINGS. There’s no question textbooks are expensive, but Amazon.com has several ways to help students save money. First, amazon has its own textbook store where it sells textbooks. Students can save up to 90 percent off on used books, 70 percent on textbook rentals and 40 percent on new books. At the end of the semester, they can also trade their books in for amazon gift cards (what a racket). And if the students join Amazon student, they’ll get free two day shipping on many items, deals that are just for students for free for the first six months, then half off Amazon Prime ($39). Amazon Prime members get free shipping and unilimited instant streaming of 41,000 movies and TV shows. 

INSURANCE. Although I have not been able to confirm which insurance companies do this, apparently at least one offers  gift cards for customers who engage in healthy activities and document them on an exercise log. If you know more about this, please let me know. 

BIG FOOD. The Burrito Grande at Gordito’s in Greenwood is a great deal, easily feeding two people for around $9. (Personal Note: I’ve always loved Gordito’s but wasn’t quite as impressed with the quality on my last visit a few weeks back.)

MORE THAN JUST BOOKS. In case you hadn’t noticed, libraries offer more than just books these days. They offer help with homework, free tickets to museums, online access to current magazines, computer training, up to 75 pages of computer printing a week and many other services for free.

EAT CHEAP AT ANTHONY’S. Sure, Anthony’s Homeport has a reputation for being pricey, but there are bargains to be had. An audience member reported that the bar’s happy hour menu featured a Kobe beef burger for $5 as well as other dishes for the same price. Also, Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse happy hour in Bellevue features a prime burger with fries and other menu items for $7. If you want to splurge and don’t mind eating early, though, Anthony’s Homeport in Kirkland offers a four-course dinner for $19.95. 

EATING WHILE WALKING. Most PCC’s periodically offer a Walk, Talk and Taste Class, which is essentially a 90-minute tour of the store that shows you organic and sustainable food options. Participants also get to taste many of the products mentioned and receive a coupon for $10 off their next purchase. The class is free. 

SWANSON’S SENIOR DISCOUNT. Swanson’s Nursery has 55+ Thursdays where people over age 55 get 10 percent off their purchases. 

BE TRUE TO YOUR SCHOOL. Alumni Association membership can be a great deal not only because recent grads can get reduced price memberships, but also because members often get discounts at restaurants, stores and services that allow them to save at least as much as they’ve spent on the membership.  

WENDYS HALLOWEEN DEAL. Participating Wendy’s are offering books of 10 coupons good for 6 ounce Frosty milkshakes for just $1. Not only is it a good backup to have in case you run out of candy on Halloween night, but you can use any leftover coupons as an occasional treat for your own kids.  Supplies are limited and they do sell out. 

SPEAKING OF HALLOWEEN..Participating Krispy Kreme stores are offering a free donut to anyone who comes into the store wearing a costume on Halloween. 

DON’T WORRY, THAT BARKING FROG IS HAPPY. An audience member mentioned that the Barking Frog in Woodinville has a happy hour. I’m currently trying to get more details about the menu. NOTE: I’VE CHECKED WITH THE HOTEL’S PR REPRESENTATIVE AND SHE TELLS ME THE HAPPY HOUR IS ACTUALLY AT THE FIRESIDE. IT’S CALLED THE HAPPIER HOUR, IT RUNS FROM 4 TO 6 P.M. AND IT INCLUDES PULLED PORK SLIDERS FOR $8 AND A MARGARITA PIZZA FOR $8.  

A DIFFERENT KIND OF WHOLE FOODS. Bastyr University’s cafeteria offers good food at a good price and half price portions for kids, an audience member said. 

GROCERY OUTLET. Go ahead, laugh if you will, but this chain that specializes in selling what I like to call surplus food offers great deals on yogurt, cheese, wine and other odds and ends, especially products that weren’t as popular with the buying public as the manufacturers hoped. Also, if you buy a bunch of wine for a party and don’t end up using all of it, you can return your unused bottles and get a full refund. There a number of Grocery Outlet stores throughout Puget Sound. Sure, my friends and I call it Smashed Foods, but we do so in a loving kind of way. I agreed with an audience member who suggested that it may not be the best place to buy produce, however. 

FARMERS MARKETS AND FRUIT STANDS. Sure, produce may be more expensive at farmer’s markets, but it’s a better deal because it’s fresher and because the producers know their product and can help you save money by giving you recipes that may reduce waste. Most also offer free samples of their products (check out the food chapter in the book for more details). There are also a number of great fruit stands around town that offer fruit that my not be as pretty as that found at QFC, but is less expensive and just as good. My favorite places are Rising Sun Farms & Produce  (6329 15th Ave. NE) and McPherson’s Fruit & Produce (4500 15th Ave. S, Seattle).

While we were discussing produce, the subject of the Environmental Working Group and its Dirty Dozen and Clean 15 lists came up. The list changes every year. In case you were wondering, this year’s dirty dozen list includes apple, celery, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, grapes, hot peppers, imported nectarines, peaches, potatoes, spinach, strawberries, sweet bell peppers as well as kale/collard greens and summer squash because they still have traces of pesticides in them. The Clean 15 are asparagus, avocados, cabbage, cantaloupe, sweet corn, eggplant, grapefruit, kiwi, mangos, mushrooms, onions, papyas, pineapples, frozen sweet peas and sweet potatoes.

It’s worth noting that people came with so many cheap bastard deals that I ended up giving away three kitschy prizes (a flying screaming chicken, a brain and a kid’s whistle). You, too, could be the proud owner of a kitschy prize if you show up at a reading with a great cheap bastard deal. 

If time permits today after kid swimming lessons, a playdate, the Seahawks game and a number of other details, I’ll also list my favorite blogs to go to for great food deals…..

 

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Julie Lyss permalink
    October 28, 2013 10:28 pm

    Grocery Outlet – I liked your moniker, but we call it Groc (Gross) – Out I’ve never been in one, but liked the nickname

    I agree about Gordito’s BTW!

    J

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