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Old 06-05-2017, 07:08 PM
 
1,912 posts, read 889,302 times
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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.
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Old 06-05-2017, 07:46 PM
 
Location: Ohio
17,993 posts, read 13,233,625 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BellaLind View Post
My grocery bill is food and also household stuff like shampoo, soap, cleaners, etc.
Try the Dollar Store or Dollar General or whatever for non-food household items to save money.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BellaLind View Post
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.
Try frozen vegetables to cut down on waste, or shop more frequently, like every two to three days so the produce doesn't go bad.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BellaLind View Post
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.
Substitute fish or pork. For chicken try buying whole fryers which are often on sale in my locale for $0.88/lb. Learn how to cut them up -- there's plenty of Useless Tube videos out there. You'll get two legs, two thighs (boneless if you want), two breasts -- bone in or out, your choice, plus chicken tenders if you want them and two wings, in addition to soup stock. You can freeze the wings until you have enough -- maybe 6 to 8, for dinner.

Same with filet Mignon. Buy the cheaper beef tenderloin and cut your own filet Mignon into 1" or 1-1/2" thick slices. You can also try substituting sirloin filet or chicken steak for filet Mignon, for cheaper cuts of meat with good taste.
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Old 06-06-2017, 07:35 AM
 
364 posts, read 177,615 times
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In bulk: oats & rice. For storage/freshness, put saltines in to absorb moisture. Also, certain kinds of cheese work well "bricked" and frozen. At Aldi or similar: potatoes (but they can go bad, so not too many). Eggs are a great value, IMO, and if you can catch them on sale, all the better (we have coupon for $0.49/dz this week). Frozen veges at Walmart.
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Old 06-06-2017, 09:03 AM
 
3,205 posts, read 2,810,962 times
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I understand growing up rurally and having access to homegrown or pretty close to it food. It's hard to replace that flavor and quality when you move into a city. I'm not convinced Whole Foods or other 'organic' grocers do that. Unless they have an item I can't buy elsewhere, I rarely shop there.

I don't know about storing food in the garage long term. That and the attic are the two hottest places in my house in the summer. Do you have room to add a dresser or shelves some place? I think that might be a better solution. Or I've converted minimally used closets to a pantry before by adding shelving. Or if it has to go in the garage, maybe you would be better off with an extra refrigerator or freezer. Another option would be to go through what you already own in the house and possibly declutter and regroup to make more room. For instance, I have small appliances like an ice cream maker and a muffin maker sitting in cabinets that haven't been used in over five years. Those could go if I needed the space.

Maybe you need to shop for 3-4 days worth of fresh food at a time if it goes bad too fast.
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Old 06-06-2017, 09:12 AM
 
Location: Pennsylvania
8,954 posts, read 3,114,068 times
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If you have one around you, shop at a store that has a loyalty card, and then use it heavily.
I'm saving $1K per year with mine. It really adds up over time. It also helps me with gasoline purchases every now and then.


Also buy store brands unless there's a good reason not to.
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Old 06-06-2017, 09:52 AM
 
9,082 posts, read 3,697,658 times
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Quote:
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.
buy the cow or chicken off the farm

it's a lot cheaper
https://kansascity.craigslist.org/grd/6163801126.html
something like this, but your area
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Old 06-06-2017, 11:44 AM
 
Location: USA
1,809 posts, read 2,139,957 times
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The Whole Foods and buying non-grocery items at the store is probably a lot of what's hurting your budget.


Like previous poster said, go to Dollar Store or even Walmart. You don't need fancy shampoos and cleaners -- soap is soap.


You only eat beef and chicken? What about pork? Pork is one of the cheapest meats in my area.


On the meat label, look at the price per pound and see the difference in the boneless chicken breasts per pound and a whole chicken or regular chicken breasts per pound.
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Old 06-06-2017, 12:06 PM
 
Location: The Triad (NC)
26,837 posts, read 57,830,396 times
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The most commonly overlooked expense is waste.

Buy perishables more carefully and NEVER throw any away.
Wring the last ounce or drop out of every box, bottle and jar.
If you have something about to turn... cook it that day.
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Old 06-06-2017, 02:38 PM
 
1,912 posts, read 889,302 times
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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.
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Old 06-06-2017, 06:32 PM
 
Location: Las Vegas
13,432 posts, read 24,199,022 times
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Doesn't say where you live but if there are 99centsOnly Stores in your area, go! That's always my first stop. Much better than most other dollar stores!
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