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Old 06-06-2017, 07:12 PM
 
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grow those extra garnishes on the window edge

i have 12 onions growing above sink and i cut 6 every week alternating them
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Old 06-06-2017, 07:23 PM
 
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I personally feel like I save a lot of money by buying meat and produce at Costco, but we are a family of 3 (or 4 in summer, with my college kid). Our bill with two teenagers is around $1000, so you definitely can go lower.

If you can split your Costco purchases with someone - that would be the way to go. Do you like sweet peppers? My Costco has them in packs of 6, and those last forever, as in don't go bad for several weeks. Their cucumbers die a quick death in my fridge though. One thought about Costco produce is their pre-packaged salad kits. They are more expensive than buying similar sized packs of just lettuce, for example, but they come in smaller bags, and are usually of good quality.

Do you like eggs? They are a great substitute for meat, and are relatively cheap. They are also more sustainable product if you are concerned with that.

As far as chicken parts go, I only buy organic chicken thighs at Costco: I like them better than more expensive breasts (they seem juicier to me). I would be hesitant buying a whole fryer, if I lived alone. Too much meat, and once you cook it, you need to eat it in a few days. You can cook it and freeze it, but I doubt it will be good afterwards. Chicken broth freezes well, on the other hand. Buying smaller packs of breasts or things (or even drumsticks, if you like them) seem like a good approach.
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Old 06-06-2017, 07:26 PM
 
1,258 posts, read 1,468,134 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MLSFan View Post
grow those extra garnishes on the window edge

i have 12 onions growing above sink and i cut 6 every week alternating them
Yes! Also, buy a tomato plant that can grow in a pot, and you won't need to buy tomatoes for several months (you will need a few months for them to develop and ripen).
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Old 06-06-2017, 07:28 PM
 
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Eat leftovers. Every last morsel. Equivalent to two to five meals a week. Whatever your per meal cost is, that is your savings. Used dried beans and grains. Better nutrition - no sodium , more fibre - and much cheaper than the processed. Make your own chicken and vegetable broth. More nutritious, less cost, easily divided up for freezer. Lots of uses.
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Old 06-06-2017, 08:01 PM
 
Location: Brawndo-Thirst-Mutilator-Nation
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Ditch the scamganic meat!
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Old 06-06-2017, 08:35 PM
 
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Since your produce is going bad so quickly, you might want to check with the market to see what day they bring in the fresh and be there then to buy it. Greens that are wilting can be rejuvenated by a cold water bath of at least 20 minutes. Cut off any brown and soak the leaves in cold water.

Have you tried ethnic markets for produce? Are you near Target, Walmart, or Aldi? All have some good produce finds. Check the sales flyers online for all of the local stores to see who has what on sale and plan your shopping around that. Know your normal prices so you'll know when something is a true sale. Keep a list of normal prices for items you usually buy at each store.

I buy apples and oranges by the bagful. It's usually much cheaper that way, and they have lasted up to a month. I love frozen blueberries and buy huge bags at Target or Walmart that last all month.

You have to carefully plan how much produce you're going to eat when buying it. I know it all looks good, but you have to make choices. One week I'll have broccoli, the next it will be cauliflower or whatever is on sale. I get variety, just not all in the same week. I usually buy one leafy green, one cruciferous vegetable, and other longer-lasting veggies like carrots, tomatoes, and potatoes. Buy less of those items that go bad quickly on you. I always have frozen peas and lima beans for protein. Make a pot of soup or stew with veggies that are starting to turn so they don't get wasted.

As for meat, look for stores that will reduce the price when it gets close to the sell-by date. I've picked up organic chicken and beef for half price at Target, usually with additional off under their Cartwheel plus 5% with their redcard. I can't always find it like that, but when I do, I stock up and freeze it. I also buy frozen fish there when on sale, and it's very good and reasonable. On occasion, I've managed to pick up Perdue's Harvestland chicken at Walmart also marked down because of the sell-by date. Again, I stock the freezer. I rarely eat meat, but I like having some of the good stuff around for when I need a bit more iron.

Eating healthy food on a budget is possible, it just takes a little planning.
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Old 06-07-2017, 01:04 PM
 
Location: Bella Vista, Ark
69,344 posts, read 79,526,740 times
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Originally Posted by BellaLind View Post
I like to read this forum, even if I'm not great at being frugal myself. I've been told I'm frugal, but compared to most here, I don't hold a candle. I could use some grocery saving tips from you experts... please.

I want to save an extra $100 a month. I need to make cuts somewhere to do this and ran some reports in Quicken. I spend about $500-$600 a month on groceries! I read in another thread where singles were spending $200 or $300 a month and I think I can make some improvements. I'm single, but I have a relative I take care of who lives with me most of the time and I buy her food too. So we are kind of a house of two. But she doesn't eat much and she also spends a lot of time with other family. She really doesn't add much to the bill other than some easy to prepare food for herself should I not be home.

My grocery bill is food and also household stuff like shampoo, soap, cleaners, etc.

I've looked at a lot of websites and I do what they list. Cook at home, from scratch. Don't buy a lot of prepared foods etc.

I can get better at buying stuff on sale, but I have a small house and don't have the space to stock up on things. I'm thinking of buying a pantry cabinet for the garage so I can store extra stuff on it. There never seem to be coupons for what I buy (generic and fresh foods).

I do have an issue with produce waste. A lot of it goes bad in a day or two. I try to cook it up quickly and reheat it as needed. But I throw away too much. Also my choices of grocery stores is "inexpensive but horrible produce" or Whole Paycheck (Whole Foods). When I visit my mom (who lives rurally) I stock up at roadside produce stands (best produce I can get at a reasonable price).

I'm also kind of a meat snob (because of what I ate growing up). Filet mignon and boneless chicken breasts, that sort of thing. I tend to buy organic chicken and beef too. I'd love suggestions for other types of meat that's cheaper and tastes just as good. Although I honestly don't buy a lot of meat.

My boyfriend bought me a Kurig and that thing is pricey! I bought a reusable pod for it and I'm going to buy cans of coffee again. Boxes of coffee pods are $8 for 12 cups.

So that's what I know. I might be able to pull things off with just that, but I'd appreciate more grocery saving tips. I also live in a high cost of living area. But I know I can be smarter about shopping.

I wish I could cut "eating out" but that only nets me an extra $45 a month.
oh my, you are spending a lot on food. Even with your extra person you should be able to eat for $300 a month or there abouts.

Here are some ideas. They may not always work for you but here is what I do.

1-I shop based on sale products each week. I take a few minutes and that is all it takes to glance at the ads that come in the morning paper or on line. I base my menu for the week on that as much as possible.

2-I try to keep my shopping to only one or two stores each week. Every time you walk into a store, regardless of your list you will be tempted to buy other things that are not on your list.The stores may vary from week to week. This week I am doing most of my shopping at our favorite independent grocery store. Last week it was Aldi's plus our monthly visit to Sam's. You do not have to buy organic anything to have it taste good. You might want to try more pork as well as chicken. Both are less than 1/2 of what beef costs. Keep the beef down to once a week. Even a vegetarian meal once a week will save you money and they are usually healthier.

3-stay away from processed foods. It doesn't take long at all to prepare most meals from scratch. You can even stick a pork roast, chicken, soup etc in the slow cooker if you are going to be gone from the house all day.

4-snacks are a for sure money waster. I know it is easy to pick a few up and we all do from time to time but think about the wasted calories and the wasted few $$s.

5- I use coupons, but have to say, now days the coupons are not as good as in years past and for only 2 people they are not much of a money saver, but they do help some.

You say things seem to spoil quickly. If this is the case, either you have bad fridge or you are overly concerned. Good produce and dairy products should keep fresh for much longer than a few days. Most will keep fresh for days, some for weeks.
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Old 06-07-2017, 01:11 PM
 
Location: Bella Vista, Ark
69,344 posts, read 79,526,740 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BellaLind View Post
Thanks for the ideas so far.

I'll be sure to check out the dollar store. I haven't been there in a while. I last went there a few years ago when I read an "Ultimate Cheapskate" book (because he made suggestions for food items at the dollar store). I was disappointed that my local dollar store doesn't really carry food other than candy and snack food. It's a lot of "junk" for the most part. But I didn't really look at soaps or cleaners (or remember them). So it's time to look again.

It looks like I need to add a little bit more explanation. Yes, I do eat more than chicken and beef... I just brought those two up because I read that chicken breasts and filet are probably the most expensive way to go on meat and I knew it was a easy place to cut. The idea on buying the whole chicken makes sense. I don't really buy pork, not a fan of it. Although I do like Polish ham and buy that when I can find it on sale. I also buy seafood, mainly tilapia or cod. But that's rare. Even more rare I will buy bison meat. Love that. But actually my whole meat budget is pretty small. I usually only buy one package of meat a week, maybe two. So I'd estimate I spend about $40-$50 a month on meat stuffs. But every cut to the budget adds up and can help... so thanks!

I need to look into it better, but I think my biggest hit is produce. It's probably where I have the most opportunity to save and make cuts. I am terrible, I just don't like most frozen veggies and I hate canned (other than canned tomatoes for pasta sauce, soups, or chili). Both are tasteless and since they seem to be pre-cooked, they aren't good for salads and such. For example, my main lunch I pack is hummus and raw veggies (carrots, tomatoes, cucumber, broccoli, cauliflower, etc). Or I pack myself a salad. Dinner too is mostly veggies and just a little bit of meat (not much bread-stuff either). I love buying fresh veggies out by my family where it's literally fresh picked on a farm that day. It tastes "normal" to me and it lasts longer and it's cheaper (almost half the price of stores). It's a three hour drive and a few tolls to get there though and then another three hours back, so I save that for when I visit.

I forgot to mention I checked out two local "farmer's markets." I put that in quotes because maybe there are one or two vendors with a limited selection selling fruits, veggies, or meat. Most people seem to sell trinkets, bread, snacks, even ice cream and makeup. It's only around in spring and summer. I need to start going back to that too... it may have changed.

Anyway, my problem with produce is while it easily makes up half of my grocery bill (roughly) I waste a lot because it goes bad. I've literally have had stuff go bad in a day (but more commonly it's 3-4 days although some stuff does last the whole week: carrots, potatoes, apples, onions, garlic, etc). Maybe I do have to simply run to the store 2-3 times a week to keep up with fresh--that seems like the best fix based on my area. Kind of a pain, but it should save me money.

You know whose produce I really like around here (if I can't get my farm produce)... Costco! the problem is there is so much bulk it goes bad. But overall it seem fresher and keeps longer than the grocery store stuff. I wish I could buy smaller quantities of Costco product... maybe I can find someone to split Costco produce with.
just read your comment about $stores: I have to agree with you. I do buy a few food items in our local store: canned soups and pastas plus vegetable juice and some paper products but the quality isn't all that great and we try to stay away from canned goods anyway. As for splitting Costco products that is what we often do. I will go to Sam's and get romaine, some packaged, non parishable items, lemons, mushrooms, etc and split them with my daughter.
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Old 06-07-2017, 01:22 PM
 
Location: N of citrus, S of decent corn
34,606 posts, read 42,768,368 times
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So, there are just two off you? You can do a lot better without even noticing, I bet. A hundred dollars is a piece of cake, and you can even cut your total in half.

Stop buying organic. It's a ripoff.
Buy meat on sale. Once you have chosen the meat or fish for the week, then buy what you need to go with it. There is no reason to buy lesser cuts of meat if you don't like it, as long as you watch the sales, although you are missing out on some good meals that use them.

Two people cannot possibly go through very much shampoo, laundry detergent, etc. but watch for specials on those things. I am picky about things like TP and paper towels, but I watch for them to go on sale.

The keurig is an expensive way to make coffee, but if you are like us, we throw away too much coffee if we make a whole pot on weekdays, so we think the keurig is worth it. If you are drinking more than a cup or two of keurig coffee, you'd be better buying a $20 coffee pot.

If you use a planned approach, instead of a scattered approach to food shopping it is sort of a fun game, really, to see how much you can save.
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Old 06-07-2017, 01:46 PM
 
1,937 posts, read 1,161,511 times
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Is it possible your fridge is set wrong if your produce is going bad so quickly?

I buy a lot of fresh veggies each week, and the only thing that goes bad before the week is out is sometimes bagged spinach.

Buy seasonal produce and that which is on sale. Never buy pre-cut or pre-washed stuff. Waste of money and more packaging.
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